Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 4 Picks...

After a brilliant start, my picks took a blow in Week 2. Sometimes you just need a reality check. I think the pick gods were afraid I might drive Vegas to bankruptcy, so the only solution was a 7-9 week for me. Last week, I flipped that score to go 9-7. I'm ready to get back into double digits though. Seriously, I just plan on dominating this week.

But before we get to my picks. There are some things I need to discuss.

1) Are the Kansas City Chiefs seriously 3-0 right now?
Great googely moogely they're a surprise. Chargers, Browns, Niners. Four weeks ago, I'm thinking, "Boy three weeks from now the Chiefs are going to be 1-2" (this is a hypothetical situation, because I never think about the Chiefs). Now I'm trying to gather whether or not this team is for real. The 3-0 record they boast looks mighty fine in the AFC West right now. They've already got a 2-game lead on everybody. Let's not forget though, the Denver Broncos were 6-0 last year and didn't make the playoffs in that division. Now, I slotted the Chiefs at 5-11 in my preseason picks this year, so I'm going to need them to go on a 2-11 snide right now. With crazy, drunken fans like these, and if there are any monsoons in the forecast, I don't see them falling apart that badly. I'm just gonna consider this one a minor glitch in my near perfect 2010 predictions. Also, before you say the Chiefs are for real, you gotta ask yourself - "Can the Chiefs really hold this team off?":

2) Did anyone see this McClain hit two weeks ago?

Wow! Enough said.

3) And while we're on the subject of "Did anyone see this", did anyone see this referee last week?

Was this guy struggling or what? He looks like he's trying to tell the ruling on the field to Adriana Lima or something.

4) Braylon Edwards is a true role model.
Let's get the facts straight. Braylon Edwards got a DWI early, last Tuesday morning for blowing a .16 on the Breathalyzer. He was driving two teammates. He admitted to having drinks. And he's lucky he didn't get anyone killed. Oh wait. There's more. He's also been caught going 120 mph on the open road. He beat the s#!% out of a 130 lb. man in Lebron's entourage without any real cause. He partied with Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth killed a person while driving drunk. He's a notorious trouble-maker. And I had to listen to countless Jets fans call in on the radio and defend this guy???? I mean really? Not only does this defend the age-old saying that "Most Jets fans are d-bags" (not a real saying, but it could be, ya never know), but it just goes to show how ignorant and stupid people in this society can really be. My favorite argument of the week, from a Jets fan: "Everybody drinks and drives, Braylon should be allowed to!" Convincing point buddy.

What really makes me mad, is the almost equally-disappointing crime that came out of this whole story. That crime being that the Jets thought they could pull a fast-one on society, just because they know the league wouldn't do anything about the incident before the Dolphins game. "Oh there's nothing we can do about it, we have to play Braylon." No you don't. The coach has every right to sit whoever he wants. One quarter versus the Dolphins? That's so pathetic. You're condoning a guy who's BAC was .16, when his good buddy killed a man (the night he partied with Braylon), with a BAC of .12. What does it take for a guy to learn a lesson? According to the Jets, not starting, but still playing against the Dolphins. One quarter? Which probably only came as a result of all the media attention they were getting. I wouldn't have been surprised if Rex put him out there on the second play of the game. What did Braylon learn? Better yet, what did the team learn? Rules don't matter if you can catch the football.

Then Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum has the gall to say, "I'm not sitting him because of the drinking, I'm sitting him because he was out so late." Oh really Mike? So how come you didn't sit D'Brickashaw or the other Jets player in the car? Were they not out partying with Braylon until 5:15 in the morning? The whole organization is a joke. Hard Knocks did nothing, but inflate their bad boy egos and attitudes. Who cares about what's right and wrong as long as you're winning?You're seriously going to complain about SpyGate when Mangini was caught doing the same thing and you run the organization the way you do now? It doesn't surprise it's run this poorly either. Woody Johnson doesn't know a thing about running an organization. His stake in Johnson & Johnson was all inherited. Then there's Tannenbaum who once said, "We [the Jets] only want people with character on our team." All of a sudden rumors swirl that Tannenbaum's job is on the line and he completely loses his morals, buying into Rex Ryan's controversial style as long as it means "W's" and he gets to keep his job. The Jets and the fans that defend their actions make me sick.

Oh, and thankfully, Edwards showed us just how much he learned when a 67-yard TD that was handed to him by a fallen defender ended in Braylon doing "the Dougie" - the same celebration that got him a taunting penalty the week before. The kid is just class in a football uniform.

I decided to put that portion of the article in the middle, so I could still have time to lighten the mood before you finished reading this.

5) San Francisco, you're making me look like a rah-tard.
I have you winning you're division handedly and advancing to the second round of the playoffs! I picked you every week in my picks and I'm picking you again this week! You're trailing the Rams and the Cardinals (who don't have a real quarterback I might add)! I'll forgive you for Seattle, even though you got routed by them and the Chiefs. What gives? My readers are laughing at me. And it's your fault.

And the Giants!

6) Remind me again why I'm Giants fan?

Is it because they lead the league in personal fouls? No. Is it because Eli has six interceptions this year, five of which are off dropped passes by wide-open receivers? No. Is it because Perry Fewell ran a defensive scheme with one real linebacker and two safeties playing linebacker against the Colts for three quarters in a row unsuccessfully, without ever feeling the need to change things up? No. Is it because Kevin Gilbride is the worst and most predictable offensive coordinator in the NFL? No. Excuse me, while I go run into oncoming traffic.

What are the odds that suburban road was empty at 1:00am? Well, I'm back.

7) Why is Mark Sanchez playing well?

Hold on. I'm going to give the oncoming traffic thing another shot.


8) Is giving my row free hot dogs during a Giants game, one of the two times I haven't sat in my seat while attending the game some sort of sick joke?
You know what that means? My Aunt Nancy said it best. "Now they don't have to give our row anything for another 75 years." A hot dog totally would have hit the spot at that juncture of the game. Right before the Giants rallied for 4 personal fouls, 19 unanswered points, a few turnovers and a safety. Man I coulda used that hot dog. I paid thousands of dollars for my PSL and I miss my free hot dog?! Damnit world! How are you gonna do this to me at a time Mark Sanchez is playing well?! Damn you! (Does this make me sound fat or cheap? Both? You're probably right. Just a big fan of free stuff, that's all).

9) Are the Bears for real or did they kind of beat the Lions and the Packers had 468 penalties against them Monday night?
Sorry, BachTalk, I'm not buying it yet. You said it yourself, "They didn't deserve to win that game." But something can be said for luck in the NFL. Great teams catch luck along the way. They find a way to win it in the end, even when it's not pretty. The Bears caught their luck early. The "Calvin-rule" and the "fumble-that-somehow-avoided the sideline"/"468-penalties-the-other-way" are the difference between the Bears being 3-0 right now and 1-2. The
one thing they've got going for them? Their next two games are against my Giants and the Panthers. 5-0 is a must for them. I think it would certainly mean a potential trip to the playoffs, but they're still definitely not Super Bowl contenders in my mind. I'm going to the game with BachTalk on Sunday. My only hope is the Bears are so cocky after that win that they forget to prepare for the Giants. Then again, a Pop Warner team could probably forget to prepare and beat the Giants right now. Okay, so let's change that to my only hope is the Bears are so cocky and enamored by their win on Monday versus the Packers that they forget to show up on Sunday against the Giants. Yeah, that works better.

10) How many more times are we gonna say Dallas is the most talented team in football before we realize they've won one playoff game in 13 years?
My guess is never. My favorite analyst quote from the weekend: "Dallas hops back on the train towards the Super Bowl." Really?? A team in a must-win situation. A "Wade-Phillips-has-to-win-or-he'll-be-fired" (Version 7.0) situation, defeats a Texan team riding a little too high with one of the league's worst secondaries statistically, and all of a sudden they're back on the road to the Super Bowl. They've seriously been on the road to the Super Bowl for the last six years. At what point does unused talent become maybe there wasn't talent there after all? I say 16 more years. Analysts love the Cowboys so much, I think it'll take that long to notice.

11) Al Davis is undoubtedly the most peculiar man in the world.
I saw the beginning of an Al Davis special on ESPN Classic today. Learned a few things. 1) Al Davis firmly believes death can be beaten. Which he's proven to this day - seeing as, at 124, he's still alive. The solution - don't take care of your skin and either dress like Elvis or wear a jumpsuit everyday. 2) Al Davis is Jewish. 3) Al Davis was and is captivated by and admires Adolf Hitler. To recap - Al thinks death can be beaten, he's Jewish, and he admires Hitler. You can't make this stuff up. (Except for the skin care and the Elvis/jumpsuit thing. I made that part up).

My picks are embedded in the column as always. Give Vegas a call. I'm running the table this week. I'd recommend parlaying every game together and just using all of my picks straight-up.

Should be like a 40,000-1 payout or something.

Last Week: 9-7
Season: 27-21

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 3 Picks...

Didn't have a chance to finish up the corresponding article for my Week 3 picks. A college reunion called. In short. The Jets showed just how classy they are handling Braylon Edwards' DWI. I will touch upon this topic in next week's article though.

Last Week: 7-9 (ouch)
Season: (18-14)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Game-Losing Catch...

Week 1 of the 2010-11 NFL season, brought three things. 1) As I predicted, a lot of upsets, 2) more first week season-ending injuries than I can ever remember, and 3) the "Calvin Johnson rule." No wait, I thought of another. Yep, four things. 4) We learned just how great the Jets offense is. (Still laughing....still laughing.........yep, still laughing). But back to the Calvin Johnson rule.

Exhibit A:

This is a catch people! And while we're on the topic, this is a travel Duke fans. Look, I get it Bears fans. You think it's an incompletion because he...Oh wait, you thought it was a catch too? Well then who, other then the referee, thought it was an incomplete pass? The answer: Very few. Which is why I can almost guarantee there will be a rule change next Spring. And why is that? Because it was obviously a catch.

The Editor and Chief of the soon-to-be Pulitzer Prize winning website, BachTalk, is convinced the only reason I'm taking 98% of society's viewpoint on this play is because I'm bitter about the 8.5 fantasy points I lost from it. I tried to explain to him that the fantasy points were meaningless. After all, I started Arian Foster in that league. I was the "Toyota Greatest Fantasy Victor" of Week 1. It's obvious. I didn't need the points. Maybe I was pissed it dropped my Week 1 picks record to 11-5. Or maybe I just wanted to insert a cameo right there to show you that I went 11-5 last week and that for all you gamblers out there: Listen to my picks! Regardless, I'm not bitter about the points. I'm not bitter towards the Bears. I'm not bitter that one of my upset specials should have been an upset special. I'm bitter about the fact that there's a rule in place that leaves no room for interpretation, and that a play like that could possibly be conceived as an incompletion.

Should Calvin Johnson have brought the ball into his chest as he was falling to the ground? Yes. If he does, there's no story here. But Calvin clearly caught the ball, had both feet in bounds, both thighs in bounds, his rear-end in bounds, and clear possession of the ball when he hit the ground. He even added a left hand for good measure. But according to the head referee, Gene Steratore, Johnson didn't maintain possession of the ball through the complete act. Last time I checked, the act of catching a ball, with complete possession, and two feet in bounds was the act of a touchdown. How can you tell me a quarterback placing the nose of the ball a millimeter over the goal line and having the defense immediately strip it from him is a touchdown. But, Calvin having complete possession of the ball and two feet down in the end zone isn't a touchdown if the ball slips out of his hand when he's using it as a means to help him rise to his own feet so he can run and celebrate? I just can't agree with that.

Quick sidenote: At 28 seconds, I love the commentator's comment: "Very good point. Ya know, was he trying to reach to gain additional yards?" No sir, are you kidding me? Was he trying to reach for additional yards 9 yards deep into the end zone? Newsflash to the guy that's been covering football since long before I was born: You get the same number of yards whether you're in the front of the end zone or the back. Which goes to show just how hard it is to determine a second act in the end zone. In my opinion. If Calvin "Megatron" Johnson has his paws wrapped around a football, gets two feet and his ass down with possession and no ball disruption in the end zone - that's a TD. No question. It's just not fair that as that right hand was falling to the ground he could have done a sweet ball flip, or casually tossed it to the ref and the act would have been considered "completed," but since he chose to use it as a means of leverage to rise to his feet, it's considered incomplete.

Oh well. I give up.

Please take note of my Week 2 picks in the side bar. I don't know if you caught it on the Bottom Line or not, but I was 11-5 last week. I know. Not as good as my 13-3 start last year. But if we consider the fact Calvin caught the ball, and that I wasn't expecting Kansas City to throw a monsoon party and totally psych Rivers and the Chargers out of their game, I would've been 13-3; keeping pace with last season.

Just saying.

Lastly, I can't believe I almost forgot. Mark Sanchez was quoted in the The Record (NJ) this morning, saying the following things. Yes, these are actual quotes.

"We're ready to get rolling on offense"


"We're ready to have a breakout game"

(Still laughing...)

"We joke around about it, but there's nothing wrong with going 15-1"

(Rolling on the floor laughing...)

"We'll have games where we throw for over 300 yards"

(I can't take this. Mark Sanchez was 10-21 with 74 yards passing last week)

Work on throwing 300 yards for the season first Sanchez.

Week 1: 11-5
Season: 11-5

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Football Preview...

Alright so if everyone else gets to try the impossible, I figure, why can't I? I've said it once and I'll say it a thousand times. Football is the most unpredictable sport. One ACL tear, one suspension or one conviction for shooting yourself in the leg, and a season is changed. There's just no telling which wrong cut or tackle is going to sideline a key player for a season and crumble the Super Bowl hopes of a team. There's also no telling which breakout star will change the game, which defense will come together under their coach's system, or what lucky break will go a team's way. That's right. It's all unpredictable. Injuries mean too much in a 16 game season, and football leads all sports in injuries (Don't quote me on that, but come on, everyone leaves that game with long-term injuries). Why else do we have 50 rules in place to protect the quarterback. I know Joe Theisman and Ron Jaworski, "You gotttttaaaa proootect the quuuuarrrttterrrbacccck". But why? Because the players in this game are so susceptible to injuries! Translation: Season-changing injuries can occur at any time. See: Brady, Tom/Burress, Plaxico/Sanders, Bob/Green, Trent (Oh no wait, that last one brought Kurt Warner to the helm and led to a St. Louis Super Bowl title). But even still, that changed the season. The same can be said for Drew Bledsoe's season-ending injury years ago. That gave way to Tom Brady's rise to prominence. Do we even know who Tom Brady is without that season-changing injury? No, we don't. I think what I'm trying to say is that it's impossible to predict the NFL. The only thing certain in the NFL is that the Lions will use their first round pick to draft a top wide-out each year. That's seriously the only thing.

So, with all that being said, I'm gonna try to predict the NFL anyways. I could thoroughly research each team, their schedule, injury reports, potential outbreak stars, how religious the player's on each team are, the farmer's almanac for anticipated weather reports each Sunday this Fall, but I'm not gonna do that. I'm strictly going gut, instinct, and Talbot Talks Sports intellect on these predictions.

So without further adieu, my 95% fairly confident predictions as to how this NFL season will play out with limited research (and yes, I know this will be mis-proven before the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, but I don't care). Don't forget to check out my weekly picks on the side as well. I get all my picks right 54% of the time, eeeevery time.

AFC East
New England Patriots (11-5)
New York Jets (9-7)
Miami Dolphins (8-8)
Buffalo Bills (2-14)

There's always Jake Locker Bills fans. The Patriots are old, yes, but they just get the job done year in and year out in the AFC East. Jets fans, I know I'm so biased it's not even fair, but I took Hard Knocks seriously this year, and I came up with an honest opinion on the New York Jets. So here goes. 1) You're defense is the Miami Heat of defenses. Not your team Antonio Cromartie, but on paper your defense is for sure. Now get back to remembering the names of your kids before you rebuttal with an unnecessary comment. 2) I can't tell if you're cocky or confident. I know you guys truly believe you can win the Super Bowl, but you walk around as if you actually won the Super Bowl last year. As if the whole league fears you. Newsflash guys: You don't make the playoffs if the Colts don't sit their starters against you. You were 9-7 last year. You had two nice playoff wins (against the Bengals who were fading faster than Rex Ryan in a race against Usain Bolt and the Chargers, who literally have a complex that prevents them from ever winning an important playoff game), then got beat handedly by the Colts 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game. Losing by 13 after being handed a playoff spot, a cake walk through Wild Card Weekend and an unproven playoff Chargers team isn't winning the Super Bowl. Stop acting like you won it all last year. And 3) When I look at Mark Sanchez on Hard Knocks, I don't see a leader. I see a little kid that doesn't want to read his playbook just like he didn't want to finish his broccoli. And that's not a good thing. Everyone's saying watch out for the second year slump. Hey people!!! Sanchez threw for 2444 yards, 12 TDs and 20 INTs last season!!! What is a second year slump going to look like?! If you want to win a Super Bowl, stop changing your coach's desktop background to ponies, shooting bball on a mini hoop in the coaches room, whining about your mistakes on the sideline, and work on getting better at being a leader and a quarterback! You haven't proven Pete Carroll wrong yet. That's why you're no better than 9-7. Not unless Mark Sanchez changes his attitude.

I promise this is the only division I will talk that much about.

AFC North
Baltimore (12-4)
Pittsburgh (10-6)
Cincinnati (9-7)
Cleveland (4-12)

I think Baltimore is for real. It's weird how teams are going to fear their offense this season and that they are shaky on defense. Never thought I'd see that day. For Pittsburgh, I love Dennis Dixon and I think Big Ben will try to use some good play on the field to shield his troubles off the field. With Polamalu back, I think they're much improved this season. They have to be a contender. After all, they won the Super Bowl two years ago. Cincinnati: I'm loving their defense (gotta love Mike Zimmer), I'm loving their personalities, and most of all, I'm loving their coach's motivational speeches. I think they're still kind of for real.

AFC South
Indianapolis (12-4)
Houston (10-6)
Tennessee (9-7)
Jacksonville (6-10)

It's time Houston!!! This is your time!!! Keep throwing to Andre!!! Make me proud!!! They're the team I look forward to watching the most this season. Last year I said they were the Dip n' Dots of football. Dip n' Dots has been the ice cream of the future for 22 years (seriously I looked it up). 22 years!! When does the future become the present and we like Dip n' Dots more than regular ice cream? When do the Texans stop being the team of the future and start to become the team of the present? I think that transition starts right now.

AFC West
San Diego Chargers (11-5)
Denver Broncos (7-9)
Kansas City Chiefs (5-11)
Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Al Davis is here to win titles, and throw deep. This year I expect him to reign as the defending champion for most times calling down to the field and requesting the Raiders to throw it deep. Good news Al! Campbell connects on about 14 more of those than Jamarcus Russell did last year. And he misses his wide receivers by 20 yards 95 fewer times. Is anyone in the world picking against the Chargers?

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
New York Giants (10-6)
Washington Redskins (8-8)
Philadelphia Eagles (7-9)

How do you like that Philly? McNabb is laughing somewhere right now.

NFC North
Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
Chicago Bears (8-8)
Detroit Lions (4-12)

Considering Favre has nothing more to show for himself in the last two years than Rodgers does, and since Favre's departure Rodgers has quickly established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in football (and the best fantasy player I might add), I think it's safe to say the Green Bay execs made the right decision moving on to Rodgers. I got a hunch they're going to really like that decision this year.

NFC South
New Orleans (12-4)
Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
Carolina Panthers (9-7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13)

Great division race this year. Let's see how quickly the Panthers search for flaws in Matt Moore so they can start the Jimmy Clausen regime. Newsflash Panther fans: You're not gonna find many flaws in Moore. He's the real deal. Realize it. It'll be a shame if they rush him out of the starting job for no reason because Clausen is new and exciting. This isn't a relationship. Moore doesn't deserve to be beat out by some new broad because she's young and different. What the hell am I saying right now?

NFC West
San Francisco 49ers (11-5)
Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
St. Louis Rams (5-11)

What the hell is going on in this division? It's mayhem. Lovin' the Niners right now. So is everybody else so they'll probably disappoint, but I'm lovin' the Niners right now!

But what does it all mean?

Wild Card Weekend:
6) Pittsburgh 3) San Diego
5) Houston 4) New England

6) New York Giants 3) San Francisco
5) Minnesota 4) Dallas

Divisional Round:
5) Houston 1) Indianapolis
3) San Diego 2) Baltimore

6) New York Giants 1) New Orleans
5) Minnesota 2) Green Bay

Championship Weekend:
2) Baltimore 1) Indianapolis
2) Green Bay 1) New Orleans

Super Bowl XLV:
Green Bay vs. Indianapolis

I'm fairly confident everything will unfold exactly like this.

Image taken from Google Images

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I ended last season incorrectly predicting the last seven NFL games. That's a near impossible task. Was I betting on the spread? No. The picks were straight up. I don't think I could do that again if I tried. This season, expect a turnaround. I'm talking Kobe Bryant turnaround jumper turnaround. (Yes, I'm aware that doesn't make sense). For the last seven months I've been training. Ready to remedy the prediction woes of last season. The formula? A steady dose of espn.com, talbottalksports.blogspot.com (because this blog is so good even I have to read it and freshen up on my sports knowledge), and barstoolsports.com (not so much for sports, but for videos like the one below).

There was no way I was writing anything today without some way incorporating this video. I think I could watch it 1000 times and still laugh every time.

Another laughing matter is that Brett Favre convinced some people that he wasn't coming back this year. I mean really guys? You honestly thought Favre would retire? Sure he texted teammates saying he would, but that's only because Lebron was stealing the spotlight in the news. Favre needed more airtime with his "decision". So he planted a lie to throw people for a loop, then denied, denied, denied it the next day.

Well Brett, you got what you wanted. For a day or two, people cared about your pending decision. And for a day or two people might have been unsure of your intentions. But just know that I called your bluff. As did most of America I would imagine.

So on to the pick. New Orleans might still be celebrating its Super Bowl championship on Bourbon Street, but it's time to get back to playing some football. The title is anybody's for the taking, and judging by recent history (only 8 repeat winners), someone else will take their title come season's end. Many thought it would be the Vikings. But with an ailing Favre, eight weeks without Sidney Rice, and however many weeks with a bottle of Advil for Harvin, the Vikings are a huge question mark. (When I say an ailing Favre, I mean that's if he's not lying. Favre is like the kid in a pickup basketball game that isn't confident he's as good as everybody else, so he throws an excuse out before the start of the game like, "My shoulder has been bothering me" or "I haven't played in a while", just to set people straight that he might not play well not because he's inferior, but because he's hurt or been out of the game too long).

One thing that isn't a question mark is AP. He should be running "all day" on the Saints. While I think he gives fantasy owners a fantasy treat or nightmare (for his opponents), I expect the Saints to keep the tradition of winning Week 1 after a Super Bowl title alive.

Saints 34 - Vikings 24

More picks to come later this week.