Friday, September 29, 2006

NFL Week 4 Picks, No Shoe Laces Allowed

*It's been impossible to escape the T.O media storm this week. Did he attempt to kill himself, or was it just a miscommunication? Well, without getting too deep into it, I'd like to throw my point of view out there. Now that all of the "facts" are supposedly out there, there are still a lot of questions I need answered. If Kim Etheredge, T.O's publicist, claims she doesn't remember T.O having pills in his mouth, then why is she heard talking about those pills on the 911 tape. Also, if Owens was in and out of the hospital on Tuesday night, and the story didn't hit the media until Wednesday morning, then why did Etheredge complain of having a "bad night" and why did she look like she had been thrown around in a dumpster for the past 24 hours? I mean is it too much to ask that she cleans herself up before addressing millions of people? And finally for Kim, how bad of a publicist is she? Isn't the point of hiring a publicist so that they can prevent incidents like this from reaching the media as opposed to turning an "accidental overdose" into a national phenomena? But Kim can't take all the blame here that's for sure. Looking back, is it just coincidence that one day after being told he didn't have time off to go see his 7-year-old son for his birthday, and separating from his fiance of 3 years, a man renowned for how well he takes care of his body has an accidental drug overdose? Combine all that with reports during the day Tuesday from various anonymous former teammates and friends that T.O had been depressed, and that's a lot of smoke. Now, just because there's smoke doesn't mean there's fire, but usually there is something more than we are being told. So, allow me to give you my opinion, based solely on what I've pieced together from TV and radio reports over the past few days. After being dumped by his fiance, and feeling depressed for reason ranging from missing his son's birthday to being unhappy as a sports-media villain, Owen's found refuge in the arms of his publicist, Kim Etheredge. After they took a roll in the supportive hay, Owens realized that his life was out of control. He wasn't happy in Dallas, his personal life or the way he was viewed in the media. In a moment of severe weakness, T.O decided it was all too much for him to handle and swallowed a bunch of pain killers in an attempt to take his own life. So there's my take. Do I have any real evidence? Of course I don't. But what I do have is my gut feeling boys and girls, and since when isn't that good enough? And speaking of gut feelings, here is what my intestines are telling me to do for Week 4 of the NFL season. Only managed 1 notch in the dubya column last week, but as always I am looking to go a cool 6-0. I strive for perfection here folks. And no matter how sketchy my picks may seem, you can guarantee I wasn't under the influence of any prescription drugs when I made them, or so says my publicist.*

Week 4 Picks
Atlanta Falcons (-7) vs Arizona Cardinals
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) @ Washington Redskins
Chicago Bears (-3) vs Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers (+7) @ Kansas City Chiefs

Monday Night
Philadelphia Eagles (-11) vs Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 1-2-2
Monday Night: 0-1-0

2006 Season: 8-8-3

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Madden Curse and Mile High Hangover

Alexander the Great No Match
for Madden Curse
I can't say I believe in curses. I didn't think the Red Sox were cursed, I don't think the Cubs are cursed (they are just idiots) and I have no issues with stepping on cracks or the number 13. However, after Shaun Alexander was injured this weekend, I may need to look into reversing my stance. Whether it was McNabb, Ray Lewis, Vick, Culpepper or Eddie George, all the Madden cover boys of the last 5+ years have either been injured or made a costly mistake for their team (Eddie George). And lest we forget Barry Sanders. Just weeks after appearing on the cover for Madden 2000, Sanders retired just days before training camp opened. This time, it's a bone crack in the 2005 MVP's foot that has him out indefinitely, leaving the 'Hawks without a featured back and putting their season in limbo at least for the time being. First word is that Shauny boy may only be out for as little as two weeks, which must be music to Mike Holmgren's ears. In any other division 2 games could be costly, but the in the hapless NFC West he could probably miss 6-8 games and the 'Hawks could still waltz to the division title. But as the Giants game proved, home-field advantage is very important to Seattle and their playoff hopes, so we will have to stay tuned and see how Alexander progresses. But how about this curse? I mean should we take it seriously or what? All I'm saying is, John Madden should do the rest of the free world a favor and throw George W Bush on the cover of Madden '08. Problem solved.

Patriots Update
Last Week: Denver Broncos 17 New England Patriots 7
Record: 2-1

Next Week @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-0)

*Let me tell ya, there were a lot of things I didn't like about the Patriots 17-7 loss Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady may have put up good numbers, but he didn't look like the Tom Brady we are all used to that's for sure. The Pats may have a vastly improved running game this season, but if Brady can't find some go-to receivers in a hurry, Dillon and Maroney are going to see a lot of 8 and 9 man fronts to slow them down. And things aren't going to get any easier next week as the Pats battle the 3-0 Bengals who are riding high after a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. This game should give Pats fans a good idea of what may be on the horizon for the rest of the year. If Tommy Boy can get on the same page as his new receiving corps, then it should be business as usual, but if not, Patriot Nation could be in for a very frustrating year.

NFL News and Notes
*Raise your hand if you can locate your spleen. Yeah me either. But, if your Tampa QB Chris Simms, all you have to do is point to a jar full of liquid next to your hospital bed, or god for bid, a medical trash can. That's because, after taking several monster hits in his team's 24-23 loss to the Panthers this Sunday, Simms was rushed to the hospital where they had to remove his spleen before any serious damage was done to the rest of his body. Now the Bucs are handing over the QB duties to former University of Toledo stand-out Bruce Gradkowski. Sucks to be 3rd string QB Tim Rattay that's for sure. The guy can't catch a break, first he gets run out of Washington, and now he doesn't even get the nod when a shaky and injured Chris Simms gets lit up like a blunt at Snoop Dogg's bbq. Oh well, there are already 4 other MAC QB's starting in the NFL, and one of them won a Super Bowl last year. Maybe Gruden isn't as crazy as he looks. Then again, maybe he is just throwing in the towel seeing as his team is already 0-3 and staring up at the 3-0 Saints.

*Just 3 games into the season and Dennis Green has already had enough of Kurt Warner. I can't say I blame him. And although I'd like to make some crack here about Warner's wife's spike mohawk that she sported during the Rams Super Bowl days, I saw him with a rather different looking wife recently which would lead me to believe he may have also ditched his allegiance to the Lord our God. Can you say spiritual revenge? Is it possible that after Warner ditched his butch wife for a milf, God turned Warner from a stud to a dud? Or is it possible that I made a mistake and it wasn't his wife? Either way, Warner is now officially out, and Matt "Hollywood" Leinart is in. Hopefully his pregnant girlfriend/some chick he knocked up will be excited for him, seeing as she is missing her entire USC basketball season to carry his child.

*You know who make a great pair? Jeremy Shockey and Tom Coughlin. Matter of fact, I bet the networks are lining up right now to set up a reality TV deal for the two of them. Moments after the Giants 42-30 loss to the Seahawks, Shockey was quit to point out that the Giants were "out-coached", and that when Eli called the plays the team had much more success. Now, I don't know if I want my offense in the hands of a guy who couldn't read until he was in 7th grade, but the Giants did have much more success when Eli and crew went no huddle than when Coughlin and Co. were calling them into the headset. So, for the second time in two years (the other being when Tiki called him out after the playoff loss to the Panthers), Coughlin and his staff have been accused by their own players of being "out-coached". I smell trouble in the Big Apple, and for once it doesn't smell like subway fumes and George Steinbrenner.

*The NFC South has got to me one of pro sports biggest enigmas. Anyone that bets on pro football can tell you that when it comes to the NFC South teams, no pun intended, all bets are off. Last night's game just goes to prove my point, and I'm not just saying that because I picked the Falcons as 4 point favorites. Just look at the standings as we sit here today, they are the exact reverse of where they were when the season ended last year. But take this warning from me, I guarantee things continue to shake up in this division as the year rolls along. The standings won't look like this when the post season rolls around. The Panthers will be heard from even if the Bucs aren't, and the Saints will surely show their inexperience and cough up a few crucial games down the stretch.

*I don't care if he completed 100 passes in a row, Mark Brunell still sucks, and so do the Washington Redskins. Brunell may have completed 22 straight passes this Sunday, but it was against the Houston Texans, arguably the worst team in the NFL. So, just to recap....the Texans suck, the Redskins suck, and Mark Brunell still sucks.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 1-3-2

Overall: 8-8-3

*Took it on the chin this past week. Which is why I don't actually bet on the picks I make. If I had stuck with my gut, I would have had the Titans and Bengals covering which would have really saved me. But, alas, I wimped out and took some easier picks to stomach. Oh well, I still haven't dipped below .500 for the season, and I don't plan it on bitches!

*So Notre Dame pulled another one out of their ass this weekend. Does that mean they aren't that good, or do they just have a knack for falling behind and then pulling it out in the end? Whichever it is, it's surely not the trait of a National champion. Playing like this guarantees the Irish are bound to drop at least one more game this year, and most likely it will be to the USC Trojans. As for the rest of my top ten, there are still a lot of scary teams out there without a loss. Everyone you see below that has a 0 in the loss column has a legit claim to be in the BCS title game if the season ended today. Well, maybe not Georgia, who almost coughed one up to Colorado this weekend, but you get the point.

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (4-0) 1
2. Auburn (4-0) 3
3. West Virginia (4-0) 2
4. Florida (4-0) 4
5. USC (3-0) 5
6. Virginia Tech (4-0) 7
7. Michigan (4-0) 8
8. Georgia (4-0) 6
9. Notre Dame (3-1) 9
10. LSU (3-1) 10

just missed: Texas, Louisville, Oregon, Iowa, Boston College
dropped: none

Games to Watch This Week
Ohio St. @ Iowa
*It seems every time you look up, the Buckeyes are playing a powerhouse, and this week is no different. Kirk Ferentz and his boys will host the #1 team in the country this weekend, and who knows, if they win maybe we will be talking about the Hawkeyes for the National Title.

Auburn @ South Carolina
*Auburn is the team to beat in the SEC, as they proved with their win over LSU, but I'm not one to count out Steve Spurrier. He may not have completely installed his offense and his players in Columbia this season, but if Auburn is foolish enough to take them lightly, it could spell the end of their championship hopes.

Rutgers @ South Florida
*Yeah, I did a double take myself when I wrote this one down, but it's a very important game in Big East. Rutgers could make the conference a 3 team race with Louisville and WVU if they can get by the Bulls, who are 2-0 at home. Hopefully for the Scarlet Knights, they can stay in the top 25 for 2 weeks in a row, which might be a school record!

Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech
*Save your cheesy "I bet you Tech wins" lines, this one should be a legit shootout. Georgia Tech has showed that hanging with ND for an entire game was no fluke, but Va Tech can become the lone ACC Coastal team without a loss if they can hold home-field.

Purdue @ Notre Dame
*Just like OSU, it seems every week Notre Dame is playing a tough team. Purdue has shown the ability to score some points, and since the Irish defense has been rather leaky lately, expect another shootout for Charlie Weis and crew. But if Charlie cries again, he's gonna hear it from me that's for sure.

You Cudda Been a Contenda!
Boxing may not be the sport it was when historic figures like Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis or Jim Braddock (you remember, Russell Crowe played him in Cinderella Man) were the stars, and long gone are the days when heavyweight champions were considered the best athletes in the world. However, while the pro ranks may still fail to deliver the kind of drama and excitement they once did, reality TV has given the sport a much needed shot in the arm. I started watching ESPN's The Contender about 3/4 of the way through season 1 and I have been hooked ever since. The show provides a perfect blend of standard reality show drama (you know...all these people living in one house, shit tends to get messy) with actual high level amateur boxing. And tonight is the grand finale, with former 130 pound IBF champion Steve "Two Pound" Forbes battling Grady "Bad Boy" Brewer. Both contenders battled their way through a 16 man field to reach the final, a 10 round bought at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. I know nobody likes to walk into a show late in the season, let alone the finale, but if I had never done it then I wouldn't be able to enjoy this battle tonite. So do yourself a favor and tune in. I guarantee it will leave you looking forward to next season.

US embarrassed Again on National Stage
This just in. The United States is not nearly as good at sports as we think they are. If the recent World Basketball Championships where both the men and women failed to win gold weren't enough proof, I give you, the Ryder Cup. Not only did the US squad fail to win the Ryder Cup, yet again, this time they lost in spectacular fashion. Despite Tiger Woods walking away with his first ever winning record in Ryder Cup play, the US got blasted by the tune of 18 1/2 to 9 1/2. After the smoke cleared, all the talk was how the reason yet again for the Eurotrash dominance was that they played more like a team and that they did it for each other. What are they trying to say? That Americans are selfish bastards that are only in it for themselves? Fair enough. But if that's the case shouldn't they at least have won most of the singles matches? Nope, instead the US flew home from the K Club in Ireland with their collective tails square between their legs yet again. Personally, I'm sick and tired of the US getting blown out in these international events, whether its the worlds, Olympics, Davis Cup or the Ryder Cup. Maybe we have been spoiled with all the success over the years in all of these events and this is just the rest of the world catching up to us. And maybe we should look at this in the eye of "imitation is the greatest form of flattery". But I look at it more like, what goes around comes around. We have been busy pummeling all these loser 3rd world countries for decades and now they are taking their revenge. I say we start to turn the tides. You say we are lacking in our international skills, I say it's nothing a trade embargo and a few nukes can't take care of.

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 2-5
Overall: 83-74

*I never thought I would say this, write this or even think this. But a Julian Tavarez complete game victory? God help us all when Tavarez appears as the bright spot for the week. But there is some good news ahead, and it's called the off-season. On tap this year? Well of course there will be the usual Manny Ramirez trade rumors that we have grown to expect and love. But look out for a lot of Theo bashing this off-season. There are a lot of people unhappy with a lot of the recent moves he's made, so expect some fireworks. And if all that isn't enough, now we have the mystery man who has "demands" for handing over David Ortiz's 50th homerun ball. Demands? Yeah, he's serious. The guy wants tickets to games and wants to be married in Fenway Park! How bout this buddy, I demand you see a shrink. What a nut case. Just hand the ball over pal, get your Ortiz autograph, and feel fortunate you got even that. I mean it's an important ball and everything, but it's not like Big Papi just hit #756 or anything.

Fantasy Update
Week 3: Open Back Door 47 Lord Shirtless Inc 89
Record: 1-2, 10th place

Next Week vs Grundle-Ni**er-Aids (2-1)

*My team can't score touchdowns! I'll let you know when they do, because after three weeks I am already sick of having my running backs run for 125+ yards without a touchdown! Perfect example. In the Bills game this weekend I had a 107 yard receiver (Lee Evans) and a 150 yard rusher (Willis McGahee), with no touchdowns! In the next two weeks I should know for sure if my team is destined to do this all year, or if they will bust out and become the true gangstas I know they can be. And yes, I am well aware of the racial epithet above, but you can't kill the messenger. Well I guess you could, but please don't. Kill Kevin Barry instead.

Friday, September 22, 2006

NFL Week 3 Picks

*After sweating out the Giants comeback against the Eagles, I managed to go 4-1 last week before Monday Night. So, I'm taking the Giants again for the 3rd straight week. I'm not some sort of closet Giants fan or anything, I just happen to like the lines they get every week I guess. I wish I could take the Patriots again this week, as I am 1-0 when I take them this year, but I never really like their chances against the Broncos. Instead I have chosen to pick 5 road teams this week. Two as dogs coming off big statement games (Giants and Jags), the Skins playing a team possibly more inept than they are, and the red hot Bears and Ravens. In those last two, I respect both the Vikes and even the Browns to a degree, but the Bears and Ravens defenses are just way too hot to bet against at this point. Also, I was tempted to take the 2-0 Saints to cover on Monday Night, maybe riding a bit of that Super Dome re-opening momentum. Instead, I think the game will serve as a display for the new "Greatest Show on Turf" (aka Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick). That means Vick will probably have his head taken off and be out for the season, but either way it should be fun to watch. I went 4-2 last week which has me dreaming of 6-0, but I'll settle for my third straight week of breaking even or better...*

Week 3 Picks
New York Giants (+3.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) @ Indianapolis Colts
Washington Redskins (-4) @ Houston Texans
Chicago Bears (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings
Baltimore Ravens (-7) @ Cleveland Browns

Monday Night
Atlanta Falcons (-4) @ New Orleans Saints

Last Week: 4-1-0
Monday Night: 0-1-0

2006 Season: 7-5-1

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pats top Jets and Week 2 Notes

Boy-gini Can't Stop Man-genius
The talk all week surrounding the Pats/Jets game was less about the actual players and mostly about the relationship between the two head coaches. A lot of outsiders speculated as to whether new Jets head coach Eric Mangini (aka Boygini; aka Little Bill) and his former boss with the Patriot's, Bill Belichick (aka pimp daddy; aka Super Bowl Ring collector; aka Mangini's daddy) were even still on speaking terms. After all, Mangini bolted New England after only one season as defensive co-ordinator, leaving Bill to scramble for a replacement when he thought he was grooming for the future. But as usual, the story that was covered all throughout the week took a back seat to the action on the field. While the 24-17 score would indicate a pretty close game, this one was in doubt for only a few minutes late in the 4th. New England dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 147 yards and allowing only 1 sack, and on defense only allowing 51 yards rushing on 24 carries while picking up 4 sacks on Jets QB Chad Pennington. I will give the Jets credit for putting together a nice 2nd half comeback in which they did out score the Pats 17-7, and also for those amazing catches and runs by both Laverneus Coles and Jericho Cotchery. But it still seems to me that the Jet's are missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but, oh wait yes I can. A running game, a QB that can throw deep patterns and the proper personnel to run the 3-4 defense. That's where Mangini comes in. Basically because he "felt like it" he decided to install a 3-4 in NY despite not having the right players for it. The guy the Jets traded up to get a few years ago, DT DeWayne Robertson, is too small to play nose tackle in the 3-4 and their LB's aren't experienced in the system. As for Pennington, I'm glad for his sake he is healthy, but the guy still can't throw the ball more than 30 yards. Once a defense realizes that, it basically holds the running game hostage. And we all saw this week how bad their running game and O-line are, so that's not going to be pretty. It's nice to see the Jets at least competing again after the past few seasons, but if coach Mangina doesn't start using what he has, as opposed to trying to force what he wants to do, he could add "youngest coach to be fired" to his resume as well. They may be 1-1, but even after just 2 weeks, it's looking like that one win was over possibly the worst team in the league as Tennessee got blown out in week two 40-7 by the Chargers. J-E-T-S! forget it I've already dumped on them enough.

Patriots Update

Last Week: New England 24 New York Jetropolitans 17
Record: 2-0

Next Week vs Denver Broncos (1-1)

NFL News and Notes
*Last week I told people not to panic just because their team may have lost on opening weekend. Well, for some of you, your team won this week, while for others it may be time to panic. But just because your team is 0-2 doesn't mean that all is lost. Unless of course your team is Cleveland, Oakland, Houston, Tennessee, Detroit, or Green Bay. But then again, you're team never really had a shot to begin with so you were just kidding yourself. Then there are the Dolphins, Chiefs and Redskins, three teams that many thought would make the playoffs. (Personally I had them both out and actually had the Redskins finishing last in the NFC East "toot toot") These teams may have started 0-2, but they appear to have the ability to turn things around as long as they begin doing it next week. An 0-3 start by either of them and they will be in full on scramble mode just to grab a Wild Card berth.

*So we all knew that eventually things wouldn't be all good in Big D for TO, but who knew an injury would take him down. Not me, and I don't think it is. Allow me to do my best Oliver Stone impersonation and submit to you my "Magic Finger Theory". I mean if actual doctors performed surgery on him, then I guess I will have to admit there was something physically wrong with him. But doesn't it seem a little odd that the game after he dropped at least 3 very catchable balls he claims to have a broken finger? Seems a little fishy to me. I think it's more a case of broken pride than any broken bones. And seeing as we all have seen how Bill Parcells treats players that don't have grit and guts, there should be some big time fireworks in Big D any week now. Good thing I have Thanksgiving in the "When will TO explode and challenge to fight Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells in a steel cage death match" pool.

*Whoever said kickers were wimps obviously didn't say it in the presence of Eagles K David Akers. Did you see that fool at the start of the Eagles/Giants game tangling on the sideline with some Giants players? Well I'm not about to change my view on Philly or kickers, but I def don't want to mess with that guy. Just think about it, what is their strongest body part and where can that body part do the most damage? Ouch.

*I'm not sure this qualifies as NFL News, but it has to go somewhere. Remember when the cops had to chase down Maurice Clarett and they found him boozed up with 6 guns and wearing a bullett proof vest? Well apparently that's only good enough to get you 3 1/2 years in the slammer. Hmmm. So you're telling me I can go stalk a witness in my robbery case while carrying more ammo than Hezbollah and more booze than Joe Namath and Rick Sutcliffe, and all I will get is 3 1/2 years? Anyone not busy this Friday?

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 4-2-0

Overall: 7-5-1

*This week in college football saw a lot of things. An amazing comeback by Oregon, only to be marred by horrendous officiating. We saw Michigan dismantle Notre Dame and of course we all saw Steve Slaton and WVU run rough shot all over the Maryland Terripans. Not to mention all of those "Separation Saturday" games where teams were supposed to distinguish themselves and pull ahead of the pack. Well some teams certainly did that, but it still looks pretty crowded at the top if you ask me...

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (3-0) 2
2. West Virginia (3-0) 3
3. Auburn (3-0) 4
4. Florida (3-0) 5
5. USC (2-0) 6
6. Georgia (3-0) NR
7. Virginia Tech (3-0) NR
8. Michigan (3-0) NR
9. Notre Dame (2-1) 1
10. LSU (2-1) 7

just missed: Oregon, BC, Louisville, Texas
dropped: (8) Florida St, (9) Oklahoma, (10) Tennessee

Games to Watch This Week
Penn St. @ Ohio St.
*Well Penn St. has already been blown out by Notre Dame this season, and we have all seen how good the Irish really are. But in a conference rivalry like this, OSU better not let their guard down or they could be out of the National Championship picture faster than you can say Joe-Pa.

Wisconsin @ Michigan
*Classic scenario for a let down game. After bullying the Irish in South Bend, the Wolverines are going to return to the Big House with a lot of confidence. They better be prepared though because the 3-0 Badgers are not a team they can take lightly and expect to win, at home or not. If Michigan posts another blowout in this one though, get ready for the title talk to heat up in Ann Arbor.

Notre Dame @ Michigan St.
* Revenge? Not only will Charlie Weis and crew be looking to bounce back from their embarrassment last week, they will be looking to get revenge on a Spartan squad that helped spoil their season last year.

Arizona St. @ Cal
* Ok, so nobody is actually going to watch this game, but it should be a thriller. Cal is looking to bounce back from their opening defeat to Tennessee, while the Sun Devils look to continue undefeated and gain some more momentum for their next two games at home vs Oregon and on the road against the USC Trojans.

Louisville @ Kansas St.
* Another possible let down game here for the Cardinals. After destroying Miami last week, they better be ready for Kansas St. Yeah, it might have been against Illinois St, FAU and Marshall, but the Wildcats have out scored their opponents 92-30 so far this season so they should not be taken lightly. Not to mention Louisville is now also without QB Brian Brohm after he tore ligaments in his hand. They started the season with two Heisman trophy hopefuls, and combine with Michael Bush's injury in week 1, now they have none.

Easy Ryder?
You may not like Indy League racing, but you probably watch the Indy 500. And just because you don't watch tennis on a regular basis doesn't stop a lot of you from watching the Wimbledon final. And sure, nobody follows the Competitive Eating circuit, but plenty of us watch the 4th of July hot dog eating contest. OK, so maybe that last one is just me, but man nothin' says American Independence like watching a tiny Asian dynamo shimmy down 50+ sticks of hot beef. But to my point, another one of those events is upon us, the 2006 Ryder Cup. What a great event. The US gets to talk on Europe, the match play and best ball format is entertaining and each time the site rotates between Europe and the US. You can't really beat that. Except, the US can never win the damn thing! Team Europe has actually won 4 of the last 5 Ryder Cups including the last one in 2004 in Michigan. It baffles my mind. I mean we have the best pro basketball league in the world, but we can't beat other countries when it counts, we have the best hockey league in the world, and we always get trounced in international play, same with baseball and now golf! It didn't used to be this way though. Between 1927 when the Ryder Cup started and 1983 the US was 21-3-1 in Ryder Cup play. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! What happened to the good ole days where the came across the pond, made fun of their accents and kicked their asses? Well hopefully the US can take a step toward restoring that dominance this week in Ireland, led by the two top ranked players in the world. Mr. Elderick "Tiger" Woods (aka my main man) and "Slim" Jim Furyk. Nothing was more exciting than when Justin Leonard holed out from 30 feet to give the US a one point win and remarkable comeback in Brookline, MA ,in 1999, and I want to see that excitement repeated this year. When the Ryder Cup is good, nothing beats it. So make sure to watch this weekend, because you never know what you might miss. The US may actually win this year!

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 5-2
Overall: 81-69
Standings: 2nd place 10 games back; Wild Card 3rd place 7.5 games back

*How bout them Sox taking 3 out of 4 against the Yankees huh? Oh, wait. Time to bust out every Sox fans' favorite saying whether they like to admit it or not. NEXT YEAR.

Diamonds Are Forever
*I'll be the first person to tell you that I have lost a lot of interest in the 2006 MLB season since the Yankees came in and crushed my boys hopes and dreams, but that doesn't mean there still aren't some good stories out there. It just means I don't like talking or writing about them because it makes me a little upset! But here is my best attempt at swallowing this bitter pill...

*Thanks to MVP like play from both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, not to mention another Cy Young season by Johan Santana, the Twins are not only 4 games up in the American League Wild Card race, but they find themselves only 1 game behind the Detroit Tigers. Terry Ryan has got to be one of the best GM's in baseball the way he constantly finds young talent along with top notch pitching. Sure he may have blown it with David Ortiz, but the way this team plays, he appears to have made more right decisions than wrong ones.

*As for the National League Wild Card race, the Phillies appear to be making it interesting. Better yet, should they catch the Dodgers, I will have predicted all four teams correctly in the National League playoffs! Hopefully that will make up for the fact that I will have only one team (the NY Yankees how sad is that) correctly picked from the American League. Thanks a lot Boston, Chicago and Anaheim.

*And I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the return of Peter Gammons to ESPN this Wednesday. The man suffered a brain aneurysm about 4 months ago and he is already back to work, and you you really have to commend him for that. That's real dedication. Although if that happened to me, I probably would have been on a laptop working on my blog and talking smack in my fantasy league the next day. But we can't all be me....not yet anyway.

*One thing that has been pushed to the back burner since the Yanks did away with the Sox a while ago was the myriad of choke jobs A-Rod was continuing to put on in the clutch. That's why I'm actually interested in watching the Yankees this postseason. Prediction: A-Rod bats less than .225 with runners in scoring position this post season and the Yankee faithful try to run him out of town faster than Steve Bartman.

Fantasy Update
Week 2: Open Back Door 55 Jack Bauer +1 47
Record: 1-1, 8th place

Week 3 vs Lord Shirtless Inc (1-1)

*Well the good news is I won. The bad news is, my team still can't score any freaking touchdowns! Despite rushing for 455 yards in week 2, my team managed only 1 touchdown on the ground, and that was scored by Michael Vick! But, I have confidence my boys will start getting in the end zone sooner rather than later and with Jericho Cotchery stepping up big for me, maybe my WR corps will even be able to contribute. Next up, Lord Shirtless, but he's not the real Lord Shirtless so I shouldn't have any issues.

Friday, September 15, 2006

NFL Week 2 Picks

*While I certainly wouldn't call last week's start "good", I did manage to save myself quite nicely with a Monday Night sweep to break even. The beginning of the season there are always a lot of teams that surprise you so it makes it a little tricky to pick 'em. But that's an excuse, and I don't want to sound like a whiner, so instead of complaining, I'll just go ahead and do my damnedest to go undefeated this week. And no I'm not picking the Patriots because I am a huge Pats fan, you should know better. I'm picking them because they were embarrassed last week and are going to come out and stomp the J-E-T-S. Time to show we don't miss Branch and to expose Eric Mangini as a F-R-A-U-D.*

Week 2 Picks
NY Giants (+3.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Rams (-3) @ San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots (-5.5) @ New York Jets
Chicago Bears (-8.5) vs Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts (-13.5) vs Houston Texans

Monday Night
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week:
Monday Night: 2-0-0

2006 Season:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bye Bye Bowtie

Hawks Land on Branch
After weeks of holding out, former Patriots WR Deion Branch has found a new home with the Seattle Seahawks. Monday afternoon, the Patriots agreed to send the disgruntled wideout to Seattle in exchange for a first round draft pick in 2007. The way I feel about this deal is pretty easy to explain. Of course I would rather Deion Branch be on the Pats than not, and I agree that he was underpaid, but I don't think he was deserving of being paid as one the best WR's in the league. The fact is, as valuable Branch may have been to the Patriots, he never posted a 1,000 year season and only has 14 touchdowns in 4 seasons. Also, while he may have been the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX, he's only had one season where he has played in all 16 games and has missed a total of 11 during his 4 year career (not counting last week). So you see, for every plus he brings to the table, I feel their is just as big of a minus. That's not to say that he's garbage, or that I'm trying to disrespect him, I just feel he was way out of line with his demands for a contract equal to the top receivers in the game. Any Patriot fan, or NFL fan for that matter, knows that the one player the Pats can't do without on offense is Tom Brady. He's what makes that offense go, not Deion Branch. As far as Deion as an addition in Seattle, he should be a great fit. For a team without a legit #1 WR, now they at least have 2 great #2 WR's in Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch. Hopefully for Seattle's sake the Patriot's underestimated Branch's future potential and he will blossom into one of the best in the league. But if Bill Belichik and company hold to form, they may have just made out again, getting a team to give them a first round pick while feeling they didn't really subtract from their overall performance on the field.

Patriots Update
Last Week: New England 19 Buffalo 17
Record: 1-0

Next Week @ New York Jets (1-0)

*Well the season probably couldn't have started on a more sour note, with Brady fumbling on the first play from scrimmage of '06 and the Bills taking it in for a touchdown. But despite that, the Pats were able to rally behind a great debut from RB Laurence Maroney and a key safety late in the 4th by OLB Tully Banta-Cain and DE Ty Warren. My main concern going into week two is pass protection. This new O-line, which I thought was a strength going into the season, is going to need to gel quick or the Brady might find himself rushing to get a lot of passes out and without enough time to throw any deep routes.

NFL News and Notes
*So what did week 1 in the NFL teach us? Well as usual, pretty much nothing. Team's that many picked to go the the Super Bowl either lost (Carolina, Denver, Dallas, Giants) or were less than impressive (New England, Indy, Seattle). The thing is, that's what week 1 always shows us! So let's nobody go running to make deals with the devil quite yet (Actually if I were a Bronco fan I might go beg the Prince of Darkness to kill Jake Plummer so Jay Cutler could start, but that's just me). I know a lot of people hold high standards for their teams, and after waiting all off-season a loss or poor performance in the opener may really discourage them, but give it at least 2 more games before you start throwing dirt on them.

*Hey Trent Green. That sucked didn't it buddy? I don't know what was worse for poor Trent. Getting his pre-high school memories erased by a Bengals DB, or being carted into the hospital only to be awoken by Herm Edwards screaming to him: "Trent! We play to win the games!"

My NFL Picks

Record Last Week: 1-3-1
Monday Night: 2-0-0

Overall: 3-3-0

*Not a terrible start to the season, obviously, but it's always scary when you need the Vikings and Chargers to save your credibility. Oh well, I'm sure I will have no trouble destroying whatever credibility I have left next week.

College Football Top 10
1. Notre Dame (2-0) 1
2. Ohio St. (2-0) 2
3. West Virginia (2-0) 3
4. Auburn (2-0) 4
5. Florida (2-0) 5
6. USC (1-0) 6
7. LSU (2-0) 7
8. Florida St. (2-0) 9
9. Oklahoma (2-0) 10
10. Tennessee (2-0) NR

just missed: Georgia, Virginia Tech, Michigan
dropped: (8) Texas

*As if I needed another reason to hate on Syracuse football. In double OT, with a big chance to get a big win against #14 Iowa, the Orange choked it up as usual. Greg Robinson's boys had 6 chances to punch the ball in from the 2 yardline and came away with NADA. Yea, it sure looks like that program is getting turned around...or maybe the exact opposite. I actually heard Marvin Harrison is starting to tell people he is actually a Temple alum. Pathetic.

Games to Watch This Week
Michigan @ Notre Dame
* The Irish want people to believe that they are the team that creamed Penn St., not the guys that almost lost to Georgia Tech. Well a win over the Wolverines would be a big step toward proving that.

LSU @ Auburn
* It's time for the SEC front-runner to make themselves known in this one. Whoever snatches this one could easily claim an inside track to the National Championship game with one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

Nebraska @ USC
* The Huskers are trying to prove they are returning to their recent glory days of the 1990's, and a win over Pete Carroll's Trojans would certainly be a nice feather to stick in their cap.

Florida @ Tennessee
* Another SEC power struggle. This time Urban Meyer and Chris Leak are in search of that marquee win that can bring them both into the BCS bowl conversation for the first time down in Gainsville.

Miami @ Louisville
* Louisville tries to show Miami who the new boss of the Big Least is despite the loss of star RB Michael Bush. And the 'Canes want to prove they can beat some legit competition after throddling Florida A&M, but being deflated by FSU in the season opener.

Oklahoma @ Oregon
* The Sooners haven't exactly had walkovers against UAB and Washington, but a win over Oregon would put the loss of Rhett Bomar this off-season squarely in their rear view mirror, at least for a few weeks.

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 2-3
Overall: 76-67
Standings: 2nd place 10.5 games back; 8 out of the Wild Card

* The great part about baseball in Boston, is that even when the Sox are way out of the playoff race, their is still plenty to talk about. Now all anyone wants to talk about around here is how big a failure Theo Epstein has been. That's right, the same Theo that everyone was begging to come back, and the same guy that brought the Sox their first World Series in 86 years. Thanks to all his wheeling and dealing, fans are wondering why are the Sox stuck with bums like Matt Clement, Kyle Snyder and Kevin Jarvis when just a few years ago they had this impressive list of pros in their minor leagues that Theo has since traded away:

Freddy Sanchez: .339 6 HR 77 RBI with Pittsburgh (traded for Scott Sauerbeck)

Anibal Sanchez: 8-2 2.96 ERA and a no hitter with Florida (Lowell/Beckett)

Cla Meredith: 5-1 .69 ERA and 23+ consecutive scoreless IP with San Diego (Mirabelli)

Hanley Ramirez: .286 13 HR 49 RBI 10 3B 36 2B 47 SB with Florida (Lowell/Beckett)

...All the success of these guys should make for a very interesting off-season here in good 'ole Beantown that's for sure.

*And as far as Ortiz saying he should win the MVP and that he's getting snubbed because he doesn't play in the field, I love ya Papi but that's just bogus. When you're team is a million games out, and the division leader has a guy hitting .350 with 200 hits, 30 steals and 100 runs, you probably should just shut your mouth. But that's just my opinion.

Fantasy Update
*Well my fantasy baseball season has basically come to an abrupt end. After being the hottest team in the league for the better part of the last month, I ran into major injury issues, along with a red hot Johan Santana, thus leading to my demise. Obviously part of me is disappointed that I didn't win, but another part of me is glad to put the weirdest league I've ever been in behind me. (Note: As if it weren't bad enough that this league had the worst scoring structure I had ever seen, the commish did himself one better by changing the scoring rules the first week of the playoffs. I guess what they say is true, ignorance is bliss. So if that's true, complete idiocy must mean this kid is happier than Paris Hilton at a see-thru underwear convention.)

Now onto the more pressing matter at hand....fantasy football.....

Week 1: Creepy Foot Doctor 54 Bowtie Revolution 33
Record: 0-1, 14th place

Week 2 vs Jack Bauer +1 (0-1)

*Unfortunately, this will be the last week for the Bowtie Revolution. Thanks to the (-7) points Jake Plummer was able to bless me with, combine with the fact that my team managed only one touchdown (Jeremy Shockey), I lost my game to Frosco, thus losing my naming rights. So now my new team name is "Open Back Door", despite the various prejudicial epithets he wanted to have their instead. The bet was a risk I was willing to take though, seeing as after winning last year I was able to name his team "I Touch Little Kids". What might be even more embarrassing, is that after setting up the league and talking vast amounts of pre-season smack, my team managed the fewest points in week 1, and I find myself in last place.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Rascal Flatts? How 'Bout We Just Play Some Football

*So here's how this works. Each Friday I am going to pick the five games I believe are the best picks for this weekend. Call them "locks" if you will, but I just call them my gut feeling. And by gut I mean, I've been watching sports so long that I've realized I couldn't beat the Vegas odds makers with the an army consisting of Tiger Woods, the Soviet Union hockey team, Ray Lewis and Maurice Clarett's back seat. So I leave the actual monetary betting up to you my friends if you chose to do so. So here they are, and let's hope we all have better luck than Joe Cullen at the drive-thru window.*

Week 1 Picks

Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) @ Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) @ Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys (+1.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants (+3.5) vs Indianapolis Colts
Arizona Cardinals (-7) vs San Francisco 49ers

Monday Night
Minnesota Vikings (+4.5) @ Washington Redskins
San Diego Chargers (-3) @ Oakland Raiders

Last Season
Regular Season: 52-27-3
Monday Night: 10-7-0
Playoffs: 7-4-0
Overall: 69-38-3

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

2006 NFL Kickoff

Nothin' Could Be Finer
2006 NFL Predictions
So, instead of having my picks for week 1 already, I have decided to revert back to the usual format I use during football season. So I will be posting every Tuesday, but my picks will not be posted until that Friday or Saturday. No don't fret my gamble-aholic friends, you will get your fix. But until then, here is a little sample of how I think the 2006 NFL season as a whole will shake out....

Picks Record Last Season
Regular Season: 52-27-3
Monday Night: 10-7-0
Playoffs: 7-4-0
Total: 69-38-3

AFC East
1. New England Patriots
2. Miami Dolphins
3. New York Jets
4. Buffalo Bills

*A lot of people want to jump the Dolphins right to the front of the line, but needles to say I'm not one of those people. They may be much improved with the addition of Daunte Culpepper and the maturation of young studs like McMichael, Brown and Chambers, but I just don't see them having enough big game experience to put them over the top this season. As for the Pats, the loss of Adam Vinatieri and Willie McGinnest hurts, and of course the Deion Branch situation isn't helping, but any team with Tom Brady and Richard Seymour in their lineup is still going to be tough to beat. Notice I didn't mention the Jets or Bills. They are garbage, and the best shot they have at winning any games is the two times they play each other.

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Houston Texans

*You might just look at these picks and think all I did was copy the standings from the end of last season. While they are the same, it's for good reason. None of these teams seemed to really improve themselves this offseason, so I expect Indy to remain on top, and the rest of the teams will fall in line. Jacksonville showed some promise last year, but the Pats dismantling of them in the playoffs was a sign that they still don't have what it takes on either side of the ball to hang with real contenders for a full game.

AFC North
1. Cincinnati Bengals
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Cleveland Browns

*Maybe it's my hatred for the Steelers, or maybe it's because I think the Bengals are a better team. Even I'm not sure which one it is. But with Carson Palmer appearing to be healthy enough to lead that ferocious passing attack and Rudi Johnson ready to pound the ball down people's throats, Cincy is going to be hard to handle again in '06. Pittsburgh should be about as good as they were last year, but the issues with Big Ben and the departure of Jerome Bettis and Randle El might be a little too much to overcome in a year where everyone will be bringing their A game against you week after week.

AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. San Diego Chargers
3. Denver Broncos
4. Oakland Raiders

*This division always gives me major issues. Will Denver hold to form with their mixture of strong defense and bottomless pit of thousand yard backs? Will the Chargers finally emerge with Philip Rivers at the helm? Can KC finally overcome a leaky defense that has kept them from thriving the past few years? Well, at least I don't have to worry about Oakland, because I know they won't be going anywhere. I'm giving the nod to the Chiefs in this one, not because I think their D is all that much better, but more just on a gut feeling. If Trent Green can continue his success, teams won't be able to stack the box against Larry Johnson, which should make their offense very dangerous. As long as Herm Edwards doesn't try and actually coach too much, they should be able to grab the division. And look for Jake the Snake to continue sliding backwards just like he did in the pressure of last years playoffs.

Wild Card Teams: San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens

NFC East
1. New York Giants
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Washington Redskins

*Arguably the toughest division in the whole league, but I feel it's the Giants to lose. They have the most well rounded team, and with Eli Manning a year older, their offense could be in for big time results this year. Tiki Barber still remains one of the most underrated players in league, and as long as Eli can keep the D honest, they should be able to be on top of the East all season long. As for the rest, Dallas did get a lot better on the field by adding TO, but who knows what that might do to their mind set if he continues acting a fool. And you might wonder why I have Washington so low even after their playoff run a year ago. Well it's simple, and it has nothing to do with the health of Clinton Portis. Mark Brunell is just way too old. Joe Gibbs seemed to do a lot with smoke and mirrors last year, and I just think that this team doesn't have enough fire power on either side of the ball to hang in this tough division.

NFC South
1. Carolina Panthers
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. New Orleans Saints

*Now here's the division that I feel is the toughest in the NFL, and probably has been for the best 4 or 5 years. The Saints may be garbage, but by adding Drew Brees and Reggie Bush this offseason at least makes them formidable offensively and no longer quite the pushover. As for the top, Carolina is again my pick this year to make it to and win the Super Bowl. Additions like RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Keyshawn Johnson and the return of DL Kris Jenkins make the Panthers the most improved and most feared team. In Atlanta, something tells me Mike Vick is due for another injury, so that's why I have them so low. But even if he stays healthy, what has he actually shown that should make me put them any higher? As usual, these guys will probably beat each other up during division play, so don't expect even Carolina and Tampa to make it to the postseason with great records.

NFC North
1. Chicago Bears
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. Detroit Lions
4. Green Bay Packers

*Talk about picking the best of the worst. Chicago may have great defense, but what's the story with QB Rex Grossman? You can count on Detroit to be awful again, but probably score a lot more points with new offensive guru Mike Martz. Brett Favre swears he is on the most talented team he has ever played for, but too bad his teammates probably don't feel the same way. Prediction, he throws 25+ picks and bows out 2 years too late. As for the Vikes, I really do think they have a great shot with Brad Johnson calling the shots, but if it's not one thing it's another with this team. I got money that says they'll make it to the strip club before they make it to the Super Bowl.

NFC West
1. Seattle Seahawks
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. St. Louis Rams
4. San Fransisco 49ers

*If not for Seattle, the West would make the North look like the English premier League. The Seahawks should have no trouble running away with the division again, but that doesn't mean a return trip to the big game is likely. People want to downplay the exodus of some of their O-line, but not this guy. Arizona burned me last year when I picked them to make the playoffs as a wild card, and it's very possible they will burn me again. But, I do like their ball hawking defense and what's not to love about probably the most talented receiver tandem in the league in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. St. Louis will still continue to score, and you have to love Stephen Jackson, but they just don't have enough on D to make any real run. As for the 49ers? To quote the immortal Jim Mora. Playoffs?!?!?! We can't even win a game! Translation, expect them to play like "diddly poo".

Wild Card Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Super Bowl Prediction: Carolina Panthers 30 New England Patriots 24

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 3-5
Overall: 74-64
Standings: 2nd place 9 games back

*The white flag has been up for a few weeks now, so let's all do ourselves a favor and just hope that a good number of the Sox will simply be alive when next season begins. Talk about a bad stretch of luck...

Fantasy Update
Last Week:
Overall: 241-189-64 (3rd place 11.5 games back)

This Week: Round 1 of the playoffs (3) Hanley's Wang vs (6) Suck It France!

*That's got to be my most lopsided victory of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time. With the playoffs starting this week, I was able to slide into 3rd place and avoid a potential first round clash with Frosco. Now if I see him, it will be for all the marbles. Nobody can touch Hanley's Wang!