Saturday, December 29, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 17

This is it - the final regular season picks in what has been a disappointing season for this column. Another 7-9 last week continued the downward spiral toward mediocrity, and with the lines so out of whack this week the choices are even more difficult.

New England (-14.5) over NY GIANTS
The Game Which Pissed Off Bar Owners From Coast To Coast. Thanks, Mr. Goodell, for arriving at such a royally screwy compromise to allow us all to see this classic battle. Hey, why not show it on Lifetime and Home & Garden TV as well, in case you missed some other potential audiences? As fot the game, we'll go with the Pats on the simple premise that they will want to keep the starters in since they will be off next week, while the Giants have to stay intact for the first round game in Tampa next week.
Patriots 27 Giants 10

ATLANTA (-2.5) over Seattle
Screwy line #1. Hawks, bad on the road and with nothing to play for, will mail one in and give the Falcs the chance to end this awful year on a positive note.
Falcons 20 Seahawks 17

CLEVELAND (-9.5) over San Francisco
Browns need this one badly, and Niners are not going to play so well in frigid Cleveland.
Browns 27 49ers 10

New Orleans (-2.5) over CHICAGO
No rational explanation, other than the fact that the Saints need to win in order to have any mathematical chance. We'll lay the figgie.
Saints 23 Bears 20

Cincinnati (-2.5) over MIAMI
Dolphins have been more competitive, and new honcho Bill Parcells will be in attendance actively evaluating players and coaches. Still, Bengals should be able to cover this small number.
Bengals 21 Dolphins 12

PHILADELPHIA (-7.5) over Buffalo
Eagles on late season tear, while Bills blew any chance by collapsing at home vs. Jints. Farewell game for Donovan McNabb?
Eagles 27 Bills 17

Carolina (-2.5) over TAMPA BAY
Screwy line #2. Bucs have zero to play for, and should rest key players, while Panthers look to close out on an upswing.
Panthers 20 Buccaneers 17

GREEN BAY (-3.5) over Detroit
This would have been another "rest the starters" game, but blowout loss in Chicago last week makes us think the Pack will stay on the gas pedal here and head into the bye feeling better about themselves.
Packers 30 Lions 14

Jacksonville (+6.5) over HOUSTON
Screwy line #3. We understand the sentiment behind making Texans the fave, we just don;t think they can cover this many points. Still think the Jags are rolling, and won't be deterred here.
Jaguars 23 Texans 16

Pittsburgh (-5.5) over BALTIMORE
Steelers need to re-establish the running game after losing Willie Parker, and will take it to overmatched Ravens.
Steelers 24 Ravens 9

WASHINGTON (-8.5) over Dallas
No T.O., no Gurode, a QB with a bad thumb, Skins need to win to stay alive. All these add up to the inflated number, and a Washington win.
Redskins 19 Cowboys 10

ARIZONA (-6.5) over St. Louis
Ugh. In a game nobody should have to watch, we like the Cards.
Cardinals 27 Rams 17

Minnesota (-2.5) over DENVER
Tough call, since Broncos play better at home. Vikes have incentive, and can run the ball against surprisingly porous run defense.
Vikings 27 Broncos 10

San Diego (-6.5) over OAKLAND
Raiders will go with Jamarcus Russell, who will become quite intimate with Shawn Merriman by the fourth quarter. Bolts will keep the throttle on and cruise into playoffs on an up note.
Chargers 37 Raiders 9

Kansas City (+5.5) over NY JETS
This was originally scheduled as the Sunday nighter - thank you Flex Scheduling! Chiefs finish worst year since '88 by watching Herm Edwards make a less than triumphant return to team he abandoned. Jets have a knack for keeping all games close, win or lose, so we can see a tight, boring one here.
Jets 17 Chiefs 13

INDIANAPOLIS (+6.5) over Tennessee
Screwy line #4. Colts getting 6.5 at home seems unthinkable, even if Jim Sorgi plays the whole game. Titans need the game, but it will not come easy.
Colts 23 Titans 17

Best Bets: Chargers, Packers, Eagles

Last Week: 7-9, again
Season Total: 125-115 (52.1%)

Last Week: 2-1
Season Total: 24-18 (57.1%)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baseball Hall Of Fame - Class of 2008

Some interesting names appear on the nomination list for the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Mark McGwire's inclusion marks the second (of what, sadly, will be many) opportunity for voters to sound off on The Steroid Era. Bristol In My Rear View Mirror presents the entire list below, with comments on each. Enjoy the Bill Simmons-esque groupings below:

The "We're Listed Because, By Rule, We Have To Be" Group
Brady Anderson - A more obvious 'roid aided player. C'mon, are you kidding?
Chuck Finley - Better known for getting smacked by a blitzed Tawny Kittan.
Todd Stottlemyre - Dad was better.
Robb Nen - A dominant closer when healthy, he just didn't last long enough. Still, an impressive career.
Jose Rijo - Too bad his career was filled with so many injuries, or else he could have been a great one.
Travis Fryman - Nice player, who helped several of us to fantasy league titles, but not a Hall of Famer.

The "Who Will Be The First True DH Elected" Group
Harold Baines - We're not counting Paul Molitor as a true DH - he cut his teeth playing infield before going the "extend my career" route by DH toward the end. Would you believe that Molitor played at least 50 games at five different positions, not counting his stints at DH? Baines is remembered as perhaps the quintessential DH, a true hitting machine. Is he the one? Not this year, maybe someday in the future as a Veterans entry.

The Closer Not Named Gossage
Rod Beck - A guy who would have been a blast to have a beer with, which unfortunately doesn't result in many HOF votes. RIP, Shooter.

The Recent Near Misses/Enough Votes To Be Optimistic
Goose Gossage - Now or never for the Goose. A true reliever, as opposed to closer - he would enter games in the 7th with guys on base, escape the jam, then finish the game. They don't make them like this anymore. If Sutter is in, you have to let Gossage in too.
Jim Rice - A stud; his 1978 season (46-139-.315) would have been legendary if the Sox didn't collapse. Another case of a guy who didn't exactly endear himself to writers, which ultimately hurts the HOF cause.
Bert Blyleven - Getting closer, but could be overshadowed by the two names above.
Andre Dawson - The Hawk was a true pro, and one can only imagine what kind of career he would have had if not for the cement like turf in Montreal screwing up his knees.
Jack Morris - If only for Game 7 of the '91 Series. Morris would routinely throw 250+ innings per year, which is unheard of today, and his 254 career wins rank 40th of all time. Also, a winning percentage of .577, with 145 complete games. Perhaps the most dominant pitcher of his era, which the Hall must acknowledge.
Lee Smith - #2 All time in Saves, but won't get in before the Goose. The save total, while impressive, isn't enough, otherwise John Franco would be getting votes.

Great Players, No Support (Yet)
Dale Murphy - 2 MVP's, 7 All-Star games, a truly feared player in his prime. The only problem? His prime didn't last very long. Needs a stronger showing than last year, when he garnered only 9%.
Dave Parker - Another monster player, who hit for power (339 HR) as well as average (.290 lifetime). Throw in an absolute cannon of an arm and you have a player who deserves consideration.
Don Mattingly - An amazing hitter, as well as a Gold Glove (9 times) first baseman, Donnie Baseball's only knock will be the relatively short career he had. Never making the post-season didn't help from an exposure point of view, even though he played for the Yankees.
Alan Trammell - Twenty seasons with one team, part of one of the all time great double play combinations (with Lou Whitaker), excelled in the post season. He'll also need to boost his percentage this time around if he expects to make a run at this.

The Ongoing Controversial Guys List
Mark McGwire - Did not appear in the Mitchell Report, but his case is well documented. He will likely get incremental increases each year, as some writers feel the need to "punish" him by delaying support.
Chuck Knoblauch - Appeared in the Mitchell Report. Not that he had much of a prayer anyway, but that sure won't help him. Also, most guys in the Hall never had issues throwing to first base.

First Timers Who Will Eventually Get Strong Consideration
Tim Raines - Might see some punishment delay due to the nose candy issues, but should eventually merit strong consideration.

First Timer, Little To No Eventual Chance
Shawon Dunston - Never lived up to the hype, but nevertheless had a decent career. His arm could be its own exhibit.

Great Players, Not HOF Material
Dave Concepcion - Use the Phil Rizzuto defense here: the starting shortstop on the reigning dynasty of his era. If that works, we'll see Davey in the Hall in about 40 years or so. A steady defender who patented the one hop throw off of the turf.
Tommy John - A special mention is deserved for having a surgery named after you, no? Points for longevity, and doing what he did after what had been up till then a career wrecking injury.
David Justice - He was married to Halle Berry, which always, always has to be mentioned. Oh, and he could play a bit too, but there is no way he ever makes the Hall. Actually, losing Halle Berry should work against him.

The Verdict:
We're betting on Gossage and Rice, with Dawson and Blyleven inching closer (in the 50-65% range), but falling just short.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 16

Man, has any franchise ever suffered what amounts to a season long crotch kick like the Atlanta Falcons? From having its franchise player caught torturing and killing dogs and subsequently heading off to prison, to seeing its newly hired college coach gutlessly bail on the team after a Monday Nighter without telling his players in person, to the latest - being led to believe that Bill Parcells was en route to help straighten out the team, only to shaft Arthur Blank at the altar and grab a deal with the Miami Dolphins (whom he will no doubt abandon in a few years if something better comes along). Man, it must royally suck to be a Falcons fan right now.
The funniest part, though, is seeing the idiots carrying the "Free Michael Vick" signs at the last few home games. Um, folks, he actually admitted doing what he was accused of, and is serving his penance. Normally, the "Free" whomever signs are used when a person is wrongly being held, ya know? Jerks.

Speaking of kicks to the crotch, our picks have kinda felt like that of late. Another 7-9 mark last week, adding to the current misery of a 28-36 run over the past four weeks, has us in desperation mode. Knowing that the final weeks are usually filled with some unpredictable results (some bad teams have simply quit, others are bad but playing well, some good teams are coasting with nothing to play for, others are tuning up), we bravely submit the following:

ST. LOUIS (+7.5) over Pittsburgh
Steelers are a bad road team, plain and simple. Rams threw blanks in second half at home last week vs. Pack, but should be able to at least keep it interesting in front of a "national" TV audience. (See what we did there? It's "national" because it's on the NFL Network, which is in about 37 homes.)
Steelers 23 Rams 17

Dallas (-11.5) over CAROLINA
Yes, we know Tony Romo has "a thumb", and yes, we know the Panthers looked frisky last week in knocking off Seattle. We don;t care - it seems highly unlikely the 'pokes will put together back-to-back stinkers with home field advantage at stake.
Cowboys 34 Panthers 17

Kansas City (+4.5) over DETROIT
Two teams on a combined 0-12 run - something's gotta give! We'll take our beloved Chiefs to stay close and ultimately fall in some sort of disappointing fashion.
Lions 23 Chiefs 20

INDIANAPOLIS (-7.5) over Houston
Indy's tight win over Oakland last week, coupled with Texans' impressive home win over Denver probably helped keep this line down. No matter, Colts are back home and will roll, despite having next to nothing to play for.
Colts 30 Texans 20

JACKSONVILLE (-12.5) over Oakland
Everybody loves and fears the Jags right now, and with good reason. Who would have believed a few months back that the Jags, led by David Garrard, would be The Team Nobody Wants To Face in the Playoffs? Not us.
Jaguars 41 Raiders 10

Green Bay (-7.5) over CHICAGO
Pack still has a shot at top seed, and will go all out in the Windy City against a very bad Bear team.
Packers 27 Bears 10

BUFFALO (+3.5) over NY Giants
G-Men are very good on the road, but the weather conditions are forecast to eerily resemble the mess they played in last week vs. Skins, and we all saw how that turned out. Combine that with Eli Manning losing his safety net option in Jeremey Shockey, PLUS the return of injured Bill Kevin Everett, and you've got an ugly scenario for Tom Coughlin and his team. How does a must win game against the 15-0 Patriots next week sound to you, Tom?
Bills 20 Giants 17

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Philadelphia
Saints have quietly moved up in the offensive ranks to #4, and are poised to move into a playoff berth which seemed like a pipe dream after an 0-4 start. Eagles are tough, and might stick around, but we like Brees and Co.
Saints 24 Eagles 20

Cleveland (-3.5) over CINCINNATI
Brownies will be happy to play in a non-blizzard, that's for sure. Bengals are still a mess (see last week's dismal performance in San Fran), and Cleveland has too much at stake to falter here. A repeat of the 51-45 shootout from Week2? Maybe.
Browns 40 Bengals 24

ARIZONA (-10.5) over Atlanta
Cardinals take out frustrations at missing playoffs (again) at the expense of the hapless Falcs, who simply can't wait for this nightmare year to finally end.
Cardinals 38 Falcons 10

SAN FRANCISCO (+7.5) over Tampa Bay
Niners, as they did last season, are suddenly spunky in December (recall the upset in Denver last year which propelled the Chiefs to an improbable playoff berth?). Is Shaun Hill the answer at QB? Probably not, but he's playing with house money here, and can keep the 49ers within this high number.
Buccaneers 20 49ers 14

NEW ENGLAND (-21.5) over Miami
Pats have had all kinds of issues covering these big lines (and we should know - we've laid the 20+, and lost, each time), but the weather looks like it will cooperate on Sunday, and Miami got their win last week. All signs point to a large win for the Pats on the road to 16-0.
Patriots 41 Dolphins 13

SEATTLE (-10.5) over Baltimore
Seahawks did a nice job screwing over all those who were finally starting to believe in them last week, dropping a nasty game to Carolina. Don't fret, we still believe, at least when they're back home against a craptacular team like the Ravens.
Seahawks 24 Ravens 9

NY Jets (+8.5) over TENNESSEE
Jets have been in just about every game they've lost, save for the ugly Thanksgiving game in Dallas. Titans are a crapshoot team that has been almost impossible to pick all year, so we'll take the touchdown plus.
Titans 22 Jets 17

Washington (+7.5) over MINNESOTA
Skins will know the results of Giants game by kickoff, and will be extra motivated if G-Men fail in Buffalo. Again, after watching the Vikes and Tavaris Jackson last week, it's hard to expect them to lay over a touchdown to a team that plays good defense like Washington.
Redskins 23 Vikings 21

SAN DIEGO (-9.5) over Denver
Broncos are woeful on the road, and the Bolts are looking to keep the engine chugging toward the playoffs. No signs of a letdown after cracking the 50 point barrier last week, we like San Diego in a runaway.
Chargers 37 Broncos 17

BEST BETS: Cardinals, Chargers, Redskins

Last week: 7-9
Season Total: 118-106 (52.7%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 1-2
Season Total: 22-17 (56.4%)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 15

You stay classy, Petrino. Man, what a douchebag.

Weather looks to be a huge factor this weekend as a nasty storm moves toward the Northeast. Lucky for us we made these picks well before looking at a weather forecast, which will force us to defend what could be ridiculous choices.

On Thursday, we did take Houston -1.5 over Denver, so we're up 1 so far this week. Sorry the picks didn't make it in before that game kicked off.

For the rest:

Cincinnati (-8.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
One look at this line tells you all you need to know about the wretched state of things in Frisco. Bengals should not be giving anyone 8.5 points, but we're going to lay it anyway.
Bengals 30 49ers 13

Arizona (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS
Essentially a playoff game for both teams, we'll take the uneven Cardinals over the slightly less unstable Saints, in a field goal game.
Saints 24 Cardinals 21

PITTSBURGH (-4.5) over Jacksonville
A bit of a head scratcher, this line. Steelers coming home after late blowout in New England, and should be able to move the ball on Jax D missing Marcus Stroud in the middle.
Steelers 20 Jaguars 14

Green Bay (-10.5) over ST. LOUIS
Packers are rolling, and won't be denied despite Favre's less than stellar record in domes. If Bulger doesn't play for St. Loo, this one is over by halftime.
Packers 31 Rams 13

TAMPA BAY (-10.5) over Atlanta
Will the Falcons play better and rally around the hatred for departed coach Bobby Pertrino? Maybe, but the team is still short on talent, and the Bucs are coming off an ugly loss last week, so we'll take Tampa.
Buccaneers 27 Falcons 16

MIAMI (+4.5) over Baltimore
This could be the one. If the Fins don't get it now, you can book the 0-16. Ravens are a nasty mess prone to peaks and valleys - after bigtrime letdown last week they just might put together a solid effort.
Ravens 20 Dolphins 17

NEW ENGLAND (-24.5) over NY Jets
See lead paragraph. Pats have not been able to cover when laying 20+ thus far, and the weather could prevent that from happening here. Since I have to defend the pick, I'll go with a low scoring blowout.
Patriots 28 Jets 3

CLEVELAND (-5.5) over Buffalo
Browns can taste the playoffs now, and a win here pretty much cinches it. Despite their penchant for playing tight games, we like the Brownies to pull away at home and continue the unlikely playoff run.
Browns 28 Bills 20

KANSAS CITY (+3.5) over Tennessee
Two teams which have been frustrating bets most of the year. In cases like this, we'll take the home underdog, even when they have an offense which struggles to score more than 13 points each week. We can no longer pick the Titans, given our inability to correctly predict what they will do from week to week.
Titans 20 Chiefs 17

Seattle (-7.5) over CAROLINA
Seahawks have quietly got themselves to 9-4 and are in prime position to grab a 3-4 seed in the NFC. how the heck did that happen? Panthers simply playing out the string, and aren't being very competitive while doing so.
Seahawks 31 Panthers 7

Indianapolis (-10.5) over OAKLAND
Colts must be loving the lack of attention they're seeing as the whole world focuses on the unbeaten Pats. Dungy's boys quietly and efficiently get win #12 and solidify hold on #2 seed here.
Colts 34 Raiders 14

SAN DIEGO (-11.5) over Detroit
Still not fully sold on Norv's guys, but Lions stink on the road and are coming off blowing big lead at home versus Cowboys last week. Not a good combo.
Chargers 30 Lions 10

DALLAS (-10.5) over Philadelphia
Cowboys are rolling, especially at home, and should be able to bottle up McNabb and the Eagles.
Cowboys 37 Eagles 24

Washington (+4.5) over NY GIANTS
Skins need this one to stay in the hunt, and always manage to keep things close against Giants.
Giants 20 Redskins 17

MINNESOTA (-9.5) over Chicago
Kyle Orton starts at QB for the Bears. 'Nuff said.
Vikings 30 Bears 10

BEST BETS: Seahawks, Chargers, Vikings

Last week: 7-9
Season Total: 111-97

Best Bets
Last week: 3-0
Season Total: 21-15

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We Suck Because You're Mean!

Knicks President/GM/Coach/Dismantler Isiah Thomas has finally discovered the reason for his squad's lackluster play, which, after last night's 99-89 loss to Dallas dropped the Knickerbockers (6-14) deeper into last place. Is it the "we barley care" attitude of the high priced imports like Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury? Is it the awful shooting? Is it a roster and accompanying slary structure seemingly put together during a three day hookers n' blow binge? Nope, it's you!

According to Altschuler, Thomas said, "We're missing layups because you're
booing." Altschuler, who worked 16 years for CBS News, said Thomas turned to
make his stream of remarks in the third and fourth quarters, directing it to the
first couple of rows.
According to Altschuler, Thomas invoked the phrase "Sixth Man," explaining what a crowd should be. Thomas mentioned Indiana and North Carolina as crowds that the Garden should emulate, she said. She said Thomas blamed a Quentin Richardson airball on the boos. Thomas could be seen by reporters in the third quarter exchanging words with fans, and did not deny it later.

So, remember, Knick fans: it's your responsibility, nay, your duty to cheer on your hometown squad, no matter how
horrid the play is on the court, nor how reprehensible the conduct of those in
charge. Be that Sixth Man!

The Garden of Hate (NY Post)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 14

Isn't it nice to be back to the point where nobody really cares that they can;t watch the Thursday night game? It kinda brings the normalcy back, and the NFL loses any chance to argue how much the world should embrace the ridiculous battle they chiose to fight with cable systems nationwide, where nobody wins. Nice job, guys!

A 9-7 rebound last week somewhat eased the pain of the 5-11 debacle in Week 12. Trying to keep that momentum, we submit the following for Week 14:

Chicago (+3.5) over WASHINGTON
Skins have played juuust well enough to lose last two weeks, and the short week following the Sean Taylor funeral might be togh on them. This one just seems like a field goal game, in whcih case we'll grab the points.
Redskins 20 Bears 17

BUFFALO (-7.5) over Miami

Tough to lay this many poiunts woth the Bills, but the Fins have zero offense. It isn't hard to imagine Buffalo winning a low scoring game and covering this rather easily.
Bills 17 Dolphins 6

Dallas (-10.5) over DETROIT
Lions collapse is a big enough reason, but add in the fact that Jon Kitna provided some bulletin board material after the game last season and you've got a recipe for a blowout.
Cowboys 31 Lions 16

St. Louis (+6.5) over CINCINNATI
Bulger is playing, so this line is a gift against defenseless Bengals. Could be high scoring, but we'll go with the better than their record Rams.
Rams 24 Bengals 20

GREEN BAY (-10.5) over Oakland
Favre is playing, and Pack will not let up against improving Raiders, especially at Lambeau. Let's go with a repeat of the socre from Super Bowl II:
Packers 33 Raiders 14

Tampa Bay (-2.5) over HOUSTON
Bucs focusing on playoff seeding now at 8-4, and should be able to cover the less than field goal line on the road. Texans might hang tough, but talent wins out.
Buccaneers 23 Texans 17

JACKSONVILLE (-10.5) over Carolina
Jags fell behind in Indy last week, and nearly recovered. Their collective anger and frustration can be spent this week against reeling Panthers. Duck, Vinnie!
Jaguars 30 Panthers 13

PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) over NY Giants
This will be a far cry from the 12 sack nightmare Eagles endured in first meeting. Philly has played back to back tough games, getting burned by bad iNT's by AJ Feely. Donovan McNabb returns this week and engineers a close win over the G-Men.
Eagles 20 Giants 17

TENNESSEE (+1.5) over San Diego
Two teams we hate to pick, going head-to-head. Titans at home a slightly better bet than Chargers on the road, so, good job there, Vegas, in setting this line. When in doubt, take the points.
Titans 20 Chargers 17

Minnesota (-8.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Vikings have come a long way to the point where they can lay this much on the road, eh? Too much Adrian Peterson, plus a defense that gains more confidence each week, spells doom for the pathetic Niners.
Vikings 27 49ers 13

Arizona (+7.5) over SEATTLE
Seahwaks have to be the least convincing "good" team in the NFL. Honestly, these guys are 8-4? Cards have the ability to hang tough with anyone, and should be able to keep this one close, maybe even take it outright.
Seahawks 31 Cardinals 30

Pittsburgh (+13.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Wow, a Pat line below 20! Have to like the fact that the Steelers have an actual runing game, which has shown to be a problem for the Pats to stop recently. Also, Big Ben is a much better quarterback than either A.J. Feely or Kyle Boller, each of whom almost engineered big upsets the past two weeks. Pittsburgh can drain the clock a little and frustrate Brady, Moss and Co. by keeping them on the sidelines, which should result in, at the very least, a cover.
Patriots 24 Steelers 21

Kansas City (+6.5) over DENVER
Even at Mile High (we will never, ever, use the corporate name for any edifice, thank you very much), it's hard to pick the Broncos as being 7 points better than anybody. That, and the fact we hate them, makes it hard to pick against KC. Chiefs break the schnied!
Chiefs 17 Broncos 16

Cleveland (-3.5) over NY JETS
The wheels came off the Browns bandwagon last week, but we still believe. Jets don;t have the firepower to match the Cleveland offense, and we can see a close game for about a half before Cleveland pulls away.
Browns 31 Jets 16

Indianapolis (-9.5) over BALTIMORE
Ravens left it all on the field in upset bid last Monday night, and will not have enough to get fired up to upset Colts. It won't take a self destruct job this time for Baltimore to lose, either.
Colts 24 Ravens 10

New Orleans (-4.5) over ATLANTA

One week after setting a ratings record for cable, it won't be a surprise if this game sets a new mark as well - least amount of total viewers for an NFL game. Saints have to pretty much win out for any kind of shot at the playoffs, and will get a boost of hope here.
Saints 27 Falcons 17

BEST BETS: Packers, Browns, Vikings

Last Week: 9-7
Season Total: 104-88 (54.2%)

Last Week: 1-2
Season Total: 18-15 (54.6%)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 13

First things first: terrible news regarding Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who was senselessly killed on Monday. We're often told how things like this "put things in perspective", and like all cliches, that has a ring of truth to it.

Let's move on.....the NFL has really mucked this one up, haven't they? A superb matchup (10-1 Cowboys vs. 10-1 Packers), which didn't look like much in April, falls into the (unecessary) Thursday night package, and the majority of fans will have no visibility to the game. Nice! Obviously, the honchos on Park Ave. are hoping this will create a groundswell of support for their channel, which will then force cable systems to place it on the basic level tier. No matter who wins the battle, which will ultimately be settled, the biggest losers, as usual, are the fans. Maybe we'll live blog the thing for the benfit of those who can't see it. Stay tuned.

On to the picks. The less said about last week's 5-11 crapfest, the better, but I will say that the following things do indeed suck:

  • Gus Frerotte

  • Pittsburgh's grounds crew

  • The Tenness Titans

  • The Jet offensive line

  • Eli Manning


DALLAS (-6.5) over Green Bay

Cowboys are very tough at home, while Favre has never won here. The number looks tempting, but Big D should be able to get out of this one with a win. By the way, is there a more quiet, unassuming coach in the league besides Wade Phillips?

Cowboys 28 Packers 20

That's a winn-ah!


CAROLINA (-2.5) over San Francisco
Ugh, another crapfest. Condolences to those who are forced to watch this one.
Panthers 20 49ers 18

Jacksonville (+7.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Big game for control of the AFC South. Jags always give Colts trouble, and since Indy hasn't been setting the league on fire much of late, we'll grab the touchdown plus.
Colts 24 Jaguars 20

MINNESOTA (-3.5) over Detroit
We're reasy to throw more disrt on the Lions, especially on the road. Vikes get Adrian Peterson back and should roll at home.
Vikings 27 Lions 16

KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over San Diego
Still not sold on the Chargers turning the corner yet, particularly in Arrowhead, which has been a House of Horrors for them. Chiefs can stay close and maybe steal this one.
Chiefs 20 Chargers 17

NY Jets (+1.5) over MIAMI
Wow, an 0-11 team is giving points? Do the Jets garner that little level of respect? Put no stock in the Monday Nighter by the Fish - your local high school team might have been capable of slowing down the Steelers on that crummy field.
Jets 17 Dolphins 16

WASHINGTON (-5.5) over Buffalo
In what should be a somber FedEx field, the Skins will rebound and dedicate this one to their fallen teammate Sean Taylor. It doesn't hurt that the Bills have been in free fall the past three weeks either.
Redskins 30 Bills 13

Houston (+3.5) over TENNESSEE
We're officially through with the Titans. They have become impossible to pick week-to-week. Texans getting healthy, and have returned to the level of competitiveness they showed in the first few weeks.
Texans 20 Titans 17

ST. LOUIS (-4.5) over Atlanta
No Bulger, which would have impacted this pick had we known. nevertheless, it's near impossible to trust the Falcons on the road, so we'll go with the hometown Rams.
Rams 22 Falcons 14

PHILADELPHIA (-3.5) over Seattle
Eagles, fresh off big important moral victory last week, return home in a prime spot to lay an egg. The hunch is that with Feely at the helm they can avoid that pitfall and take out the maddeningly inconsistent Hawks.
Eagles 24 Seahawks 17

Cleveland (+1.5) over ARIZONA
Browns are our anti-Titans: we're picking them every week, since they never seem to disappoint. Cards coming off ugly-ass loss to the Niners last week, and falling behind early here could finish them off quickly.
Browns 38 Cardinals 27

Denver (-3.5) over OAKLAND
Raiders a little tougher at home, but it's hard to imagine the Broncos not recovering from late collapse in Chicago last week. Besides, Raiders don't have a Devin Hester, so it's all good there.
Broncos 23 Raiders 10

Tampa Bay (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS
Okay, okay, we'll jump on the Bucs bandwagon now. Saints can;t seem to string together a decent run of games of late, and we can see this one maybe being decided by a late figgie.
Saints 23 Buccaneers 21

NY Giants (-1.5) over CHICAGO
Manning! Grossman! The Clash Of The QB's!!! So long as the G-Men don't kick it to Hester, and Eli can manage to hit the guys in the white jerseys (which he had no problem doing last week), this is a nice recovery week for them.
Giants 27 Bears 17

PITTSBURGH (-7.5) over Bengals
Show of hands: who else took a bath on the Steelers last week? Field has been repaired, and the Steely McBeamers (worst. mascot. ever.) will rebound.
Steelers 31 Bengals 20

NEW ENGLAND (-20.5) over Baltimore
So much for Vegas not requiring a "Patriot Tax" after last week. We'll bite on this one, since there is no way Ravens can match the offensive effort put forth by Philly last week. Blueprint, shmueprint, Pats are pissed off they nearly lost and will roll.
Patriots 40 Ravens 10

BEST BETS: Patriots, Vikings, Redskins

Last Week: 5-11
Season Total: 95-81 (54%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 1-2
Season Total: 17-13 (56.7%)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We'll Take A Shot At This One....

Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury continued his amazing year yesterday. After the Knickerbockers knocked off the Jazz 113-109 at MSG, the long suffering fans, apparently not ready to forgive all recent transgressions despite the win, booed. Marbury, not normally prone to broad, idiotic statements, uncorked this gem:

"If people feel like they need to come here and do that, then that's what they're going to do.....I don't even think they know why they're booing."

Hmm, you raise an interesting theory there, Mr. Marbury. Perhaps we can offer some points of rebuttal:

  • The team, once one of the jewels of the NBA, has become a laughingstock
  • The owner is a trust fund idiot who has absolutely no idea how to run the business of Madison Square Garden
  • Said owner hired a GM (who now doubles as coach) who has failed at every other endeavor he's undertaken since retiring as a player
  • Said GM/Coach recently took a bath (thus tarnishing an already damaged public image) by losing an embarassing sexual harassment lawsuit
  • Said owner allowed that case to go to court rather than pay a quick settlement
  • You, sir, Mr. Marbury, introduced the "fun truck" to that circus
  • You also ditched the team during a recent west coast road trip
  • The fans, realizing they were forced to pay exorbitant prices to fund this disaster, needed an outlet to express their collective frustration
Just a hunch.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Week 12 - What Did We Learn?

Welcome to a new feature which will appear sporadically after a NFL Sunday, What Did We Learn?

Pretty self explanatory, eh? Let's proceed:

1.) Kicking to Devin Hester is really stupid. This was actually learned by most people several weeks ago, but Mike Shanahan apparently did not get the memo.

2.) The Cardinals should rarely be favored over anyone, and Vegas is just messing with us when they set the line at 10+.

3.) The Rams will not run the table, go 8-8, and win the NFC West. Gus Frerotte saw to that.

4.) The Chiefs might have something special in Kolby Smith.

5.) It is actually possible to hit Tom Brady, bottle up Randy Moss, score 28 points on the New England defense, and still lose.

6.) The Ravens really, really suck. This makes us really, really happy.

7.) Eli Manning might have issues differentiating between blue and white jerseys.

8.) Vince Young might not be that good.

9.) The bookies made their point with the huge Pats/Eagles line. Might be awhile before we see it go that high again. Phew.

10.) Brett Favre kinds, sorta did the right thing by sticking around. Can't imagine why anyone would have said he was selfish for doing so.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 12

Two issue at the forefront this week: First, the ongoing debate about the Patriots. Are they exhibiting poor sportsmanship, or simply playing to perfection? Tough call, and the reason the issue is so hotly contested is simple: we've never, ever seen anything like this at the NFL level before. This argument was commonly heard about college teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma back in the day, and they would routinely be 35 point favorites on any given Saturday against a weak sister opponent and end up winning 73-6. Even the most dominant teams of recent years have not come close to producing consistent blowout wins each week. This leads to the oddsmakers, finally, forcing bettors to lay really big numbers in order to stay on the New England gravy train - this week the Pats are laying 22 1/2 (and this line has moved several times already, meaning it could go higher by Sunday)! We've learned our lesson after hopping off the bandwagon last week, taking the Bills plus 16 1/2....then watching Buffalo fall by 46.

Also, a quick note to bid farewell to Priest Holmes, who retired this week. Going from being undrafted to All-Pro is something one doesn't see very often, and 31 did it with class and professionalism. His comeback this year once again showed that he could never be counted out, and at least he can leave after starting one last time.

A 9-7 mark last week pushed the season total to a nice round 90-70, and we look to boost the record with some early wins on Turkey Day:

Thanksgiving Day
Green Bay (-3.5) over DETROIT
Going agianst the Lions on Thanksgiving is usually a bad idea, but Favre on national TV is too good to pass up. The Packers are on a roll and won't be deterred here.
Packers 24 Lions 16

NY Jets (+14.5) over DALLAS
Jets have been losing, but have a habit of staying close when doing so. Big win over Steelers has to give them a boost as they head into Big D. Count on TO having a big day, as he usually does when there are more cameras around, but we think the Jets can harass Romo a bit and keep this one closer than you'd think.
Cowboys 24 Jets 13

Indianapolis (-11.5) over ATLANTA
Falcs were blown out at home by Bucs, which leads us to think they are the perfect cure to what ails Indy. It won;t matter who the Colts are missing, this one will be over early.
Colts 31 Falcons 10

CAROLINA (+3.5) over New Orleans
As soon as we can figure out either one of these teams. we'll alert you. When in doubt, we'll go with a home underdog.
Panthers 20 Saints 14

CINCINNATI (+1.5) over Tennessee
Another pair of impossible teams, so we'll go with the same theory (home underdog).
Titans 20 Bengals 19

Houston (+3.5) over CLEVELAND
Texans are better now that Andre Johnson is back (and more importantly, Matt Schaub is finding him). Browns are the most entertaining team in the league, having mastered the art of 3 point wins. How about another one here?
Browns 30 Texans 27

Buffalo (+7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Let's see if the Bills can bounce back from the blowout last week. Maybe they can, but at the very least they should be able to stay within a touchdown of the oh-by-the-way-we're-7-3 Jags.
Jaguars 17 Bills 14

KANSAS CITY (-5.5) over Oakland
Brodie Croyle looked pretty good last week, despite being handcuffed by the ultra conservative play calling of Mike Solari and Herm Edwards. Croyle will have to step it up this week with the lack of an experienced halfback (Larry Johnson: OUT, Preist Holmes: Retired). Welcome to the show, (Chief RB) Kolby Smith.
Chiefs 20 Raiders 13

NY GIANTS (-7.5) over Minnesota
No Adrian Peterson for Minny, plus a devastating Giant pass rush against Tavaris Jackson, equals a Giant blowout.
Giants 30 Vikings 14

ST. LOUIS (+3.5) over Seattle
Rams have the horses (Bulger, Jackson) back, and can easily hang with a Seahawk team that does not travel well. We said it last week, and it still holds: the Rams run the table, finish 8-8 and win the West!
Rams 24 Seahawks 17

Washington (+3.5) over TAMPA BAY
Still not fully sold on the Bucs, and with a two game lead it's easy to see them fall into a bit of a trap here against the feisty Redskins.
Redskins 23 Buccaneers 20

ARIZONA (-10.5) over San Francisco
Niners are a train wreck, while the Cardinals have a real shot at (gulp) the division title. Even though 'Zona doesn't normally win big, this looks like the perfect chance to buck that trend.
Cardinals 27 49ers 7

CHICAGO (-2.5) over Denver
Time for the Broncos to come back to the pack. Given the recent play by these teams, this line doesn't really add up, and you know what that means: take the unlikely favorite.
Bears 20 Broncos 17

SAN DIEGO (-9.5) over Baltimore
Chargers are a mess, but play better at home, while the Ravens are still reeling from the we-won-no-we-didn't routine against the Browns last week. Bolts take control of the AFC West with win here, which seemed unfathomable a month ago.
Chargers 24 Ravens 13

NEW ENGLAND (-22.5) over Philadelphia
With or without Donovan McNabb, this line would still be huge. Patriots, at home, with the "let's not only win, let's break their spirit" attitude, will run away with another one, causing another vein in Don Shula's head to throb that much more intensely.
Patriots 41 Eagles 10

PITTSBURGH (-16.5) over Miami
Jeez, another huge spread, and we'll lay it, thanks very much. Steelers should be very focused after lackluster effort in the swamp, and will have enough anger to overrun the overmatched Dolphins.
Steelers 31 Dolphins 7

Best Bets: Colts, Rams, Steelers

Last Week: 9-7
Season Total: 90-70 (56.3%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 2-1
Season Total: 16-11 (59.3%)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 11

We regressed a bit last week, posting a 6-8 mark. Not fully damaging, but putting us in need of a big rebound this week. Let's get the ball rolling with these gems:

ATLANTA (+3.5) over Tampa Bay
Falcons show a little toughness at home, enough to stay close to the Bucs.
Buccaneers 20 Falcons 17

CINCINNATI (-3.5) over Arizona
Can't take Cardinals on the road, even against lackluster Bengal team.
Bengals 24 Cardinals 20

Kansas City (+14.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Look, we know that KC is starting Brodie Croyle, and is also missing Larry Johnson, but we can;t underestimate the loss of Dwight Freeney for Indy, combined with the key losses on the other side of the ball. Peyton Manning surely won;t throw 6 picks, but the hunch is that the Chiefs can put together a decent defensive effort to keep the score down.
Colts 23 Chiefs 13

JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) over San Diego
We're not folled by Chargers - the offense is still not doing a damned thing. Jags, at home, force more hair to fall out of Norv's head.
Jaguars 22 Chargers 14

MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Oakland
Note to selves: Never take the Radiers on the road, unless Vegas is spotting them 20+.
Vikings 24 Raiders 10

Cleveland (-2.5) over BALTIMORE
Browns almost pulled out big W in Pittsburgh, and will not suffer letdown against a bad Raven team.
Browns 24 Ravens 16

GREEN BAY (-9.5) over Carolina
Juggernaut that is The Pack will not be slowed down here. Panthers, once a staunch defensive squad, have been juts plain ordinary thus far, and we won't even mention the issues they have offensively.
Packers 30 Panthers 13

New Orleans (-1.5) over HOUSTON
Not sure why, but something says the Saints will rebound from the debacle last week against the previously winless Rams.
Saints 20 Texans 17

Miami (+10.5) over PHILADELPHIA
Up and Down Eagles now face a "down" week. Dolphins have been losing, but somewhat competitive, and are going with rookie QB this week. Look for Cleo Lemon to be in by the 3rd quarter.
Eagles 21 Dolphins 12

DETROIT (+2.5) over NY Giants
Lions are back home, where they have been deadly efficient bunch. Are the G-Men starting another second half swoon? Maybe, and expect that talk to increase with a loss here.
Lions 24 Giants 21

Pittsburgh (-9.5) over NY JETS
Even though Kellen Clemens has had an extra week to prepare, we just can't see the Jets hanging with a vastly superior team like the Steelers.
Steelers 27 Jets 13

Washington (+10.5) over DALLAS
Possible slight letdown after big win over Giants last week will allow the feisty Skins to keep it closer than it should be. Cowboys are still the class of the conference right now, and will ultimately prevail here.
Cowboys 24 Redskins 17

St. Louis (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Anyone else think the Rams can run the table, finish 8-8, and win the West? Don't laugh, this division is so bad even the Niners have a shot. Okay, everyone except the Niners has a shot.
Rams 27 49ers 13

SEATTLE (-4.5) over Chicago
Hawks better at home, and would love to payback Bears for 38-0 nationally televised shellacking last season.
Seahawks 20 Bears 10

Buffalo (+15.5) over NEW ENGLAND
C'mon, Bills have to be able to stay close, right? Pats have been obliterating everyone in their path not named Indy thus far, but the rest of the league might be able to catch up to them (or at least slow 'em down).
Patriots 29 Bills 16

Tennessee (+2.5) over DENVER
Two teams we hate to pick - something's gotta give. Since we like the Titans defense better, and feel that the erratic Vince Young has to have a big week sooner or later, we'll go with the visitors.
Titans 17 Broncos 13

Best Bets: Rams, Seahawks, Steelers

Last Week: 6-8
Season Total: 81-63 (56.3%)

Last Week: 1-2
Season Total: 14-10 (58.33%)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 10

Now what? Now that Super Bowl 41.5 is in the books, and the Pats appear on their way to a perfect season (one AP writer went so far as to say it was a virtual lock), what are we supposed to do? We're going to go out on a limb and say, what the hell, let's play the rest of the schedule out and see what transpires. Who knows, maybe we'll all learn something, and isn't that ultimately the point, kids?

On to the Picks, though with New England on their bye everything seems so......empty. Sigh.

CAROLINA (-4.5) over Atlanta
Neither team has shown much of anything, so we'll side with the home team and a relatively small line.
Panthers 24 Falcons 10

GREEN BAY (-6.5) over Minnesota
Pack return home after two big AFC West road wins, and will be primed to stop the only prong in the Viking attack: Adrian Peterson. It's obvious Minny coach Brad Childress reads this column, as he decided to use Peterson extensively last week, and the kid went ahead and set a new single game rushing record. You're welcome, Brad. That gets negated, however, by the idiotic team decision to fine WR Troy Williamson for burying his grandma (though today the team caved to public pressure and returned the check to Williamson). This from the team that gave us the infamous Sex Boat scandal last season. You stay classy, Vikings.
Packers 26 Vikings 13

KANSAS CITY (-4.5) over Denver
Chiefs should have been able to stave off Packers last week, but somehow allowed LB Donnie Edwards to cover a speedy wideout one-on-one while nursing lead late, with predictable big play results. Broncos have been one of the league's biggest disappointments, and do not win here since Elway retired. Think about Denver for a moment - last year, heading into a Thanksgiving Day showdown at Arrowhead, the team stood at 7-4 with the division in their grasp. After losing that night, overrated (no titles sans Elway) Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided to throw rokkie QB Jay Cutler into the starting role, and the team limped home to a 9-7 finish, missing the playoffs. At 3-5, a loss here would pretty much finish them off, and we're betting that is exactly what will happen, even as KC goes with Priest Holmes at HB.
Chiefs 23 Broncos 14

Buffalo (-2.5) over MIAMI
Only here would we take the Bills on the road, but this team has actually played pretty well of late. Think about it - if not for losing two winnable games ( a last second loss to Denver, and the ugly collapse against Dallas), these guys could be 6-2. No way they suffer a let down against the punchless Fish.
Bills 17 Dolphins 6

NEW ORLEANS (-11.5) over St. Louis
Drew Brees is the hottest QB not named Tom Brady right now, and this one could get ugly early. Betcha Sean Payton doesn't leave Brees in and have him throw the ball at that point though.
Saints 38 Rams 10

PITTSBURGH (-9.5) over Cleveland
Wow, this line is pretty large, don't you think? At home, look for the Pittsburgh defense to slow down Derek Anderson, Jamal Lewis and the rest of the high flying Brownies, and seize control of the division in the process.
Steelers 24 Browns 14

Jacksonville (+4.5) over TENNESSEE
Titans continue to win ugly each week, but they win. It can;t last forever, and Vince Young's erratic play is going to catch up with him sooner or later.
Titans 20 Jaguars 18

WASHINGTON (-2.5) over Philadelphia
Skins rebounded from Pat blowout with come from behind win at the Meadowlands, and even though we like Philly more on the road than at home, the number here is low enough to envision a narrow Washington victory.
Redskins 20 Eagles 17

BALTIMORE (-5.5) over Cincinnati
God, we hate taking the Ravens. No team is harder to root for (Brian Billick, Ray Lewis, need we go on?), and no team plays more havoc with the weekly pick sheet. the only team more difficult to pick and root for? The Bengals, thus the pick below.
Ravens 22 Bengals 16

ARIZONA (-1.5) over Detroit
No logic here - this is purely a "Vegas knows something we obviously don't" choice. How else could you explain it?
Cardinals 23 Lions 21

NY GIANTS (+1.5) over Dallas
Tough choice, but we're thinking the defense Tony Romo will see on Sunday will bear little to no resemblance to the unit he picked apart at will in Week 1. The pass rush is a monster, and will keep the pretty boy on his toes all afternoon. Eli Manning will do just enough to get the G-Men right in the thick of the NFC East title hunt.
Giants 27 Cowboys 24

Chicago (-3.5) over OAKLAND
Go ahead, Raiders, kick it to Devin Hester. Idiots.
Bears 27 Raiders 10

Indianapolis (-3.5) over SAN DIEGO
My oh my will Norv Turner be exposed this week. Colts are angry at themselves for letting the game get away in the last 10 minutes last week, and will take it out on the up and down Chargers, who were pitiful against the run last week.
Colts 31 Chargers 14

SEATTLE (-9.5) over San Francisco
It's an "On" week for the Seahawks as they return home, and the toothless Niners are the perfect foil. Once again, people will become convnced Seattle is a legitimate contender....until the next meltdown. This team isn;t very good, and may win the West through attrition thanks to games like this one.
Seahawks 34 49ers 14

BEST BETS: Colts, Seahwaks, Saints

Last Week: 11-3
Last 3 Weeks: 27-14 (65.9%)
Season Total: 75-55 (57.7%)

Last Week: 1-2
Season Total: 13-8 (61.9%)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 9

Apparently, there is a pretty big game this week. We hadn't heard too much about it. If you know which one of the below is the game in question, feel free to drop us a line.

The hot streak continues for this column, after a quietly efficient 8-5 week (though the 1-2 Best Bets were a concern). Looking to stay hot, we submit the choices for Week 9, relying pretty heavily on the favorites:

TENNESSEE (-4.5) over Carolina
Titans continue to have some pretty ugly games, win or lose, and could very easily be 3-4 right now, but the unsettles Panther QB situation, coupled with a tough road venue, leads us to believe Fisher's boys can lay the 4.5, though it will probably be ugly.
Titans 24 Panthers 17

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over Arizona
Like the Bucs at home just about as much as we don't like the Cards on the road. Always wary of the back door cover by 'Zona, but will lay the number nonetheless.
Buccaneers 27 Cardinals 20

Washington (-3.5) over NY JETS
The Kellen Clemens Era begins! Will that make a difference for the disappointing jets? Maybe a little bit, but we like a pissed off Washington team which was humiliated by the Pats last week to come back with a vengeance and take it out on Mangini and Co.
Redskins 30 Jets 13

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Jacksonville
Seems a bit high here, but we still think the Jags will struggle with Quinn Gray at QB against the resurgent Saints. This one could be one of the more entertaining games of the week, with the Saints pulling one out.
Saints 20 Jaguars 14

San Diego (-7.5) over MINNESOTA
Vikes just can't seem to understand that they have one of the most explosive weapons sitting in the backfield in Adrian Peterson, as shown by the sparse usage of the rookie. Chargers seem to have things back together now and can enhance their team speed in the Metrodome. This one might get ugly.
Chargers 31 Vikings 13

ATLANTA (-3.5) over San Francisco
Ugh. Woe be to those who are forced to watch this stinker. Niners are a mess on offense, which makes us think the Falcs can out enough on the board to cover.
Falcons 17 49ers 10

KANSAS CITY (-2.5) over Green Bay
Pack should have lost last week if not for the remarkable ineptitude of the Bronco red zone offense. Short week plus back-to-back tough venues add up to the biggest Chief victory thus far.
Chiefs 20 Packers 16

DETROIT (-3.5) over Denver
Wow, how the heck are the Lions 5-2? Denver has not traveled well and will have its hands full in the Motor City. Still trying to figure out how the Best Corners in Football(tm) were burned for two bombs last week against the Packers.
Lions 24 Broncos 19

BUFFALO (-1.5) over Cincinnati
Bills should be 5-2, and seem to be gaining confidence each week. Bengals are a mess of a team, and are going nowhere. Love the Bills at home with this low spread.
Bills 19 Bengals 10

CLEVELAND (-1.5) over Seattle
Seahawks are another team which can't seem to play consistently on the road, while the Brownies, behind Derek Anderson is playing his way to a Hawaii trip. Don't look now, but Cleveland might be able to maybe, possibly, hopefully think about the playoffs with a win here.
Browns 27 Seahawks 24

INDIANAPOLIS (+5.5) over New England
Oh, this is the game everyone is all hot and bothered over, eh? We've been riding the Pats train all year, and they have not let us down. Still, these Colts are easily the most potent offense, as well as the toughest defense New England has seen thus far, and if you think Brady and Co. will just show up and put 40 on the board you're nuts. While we believe the whole deal about NE being on a missions and crushing all in its path, we still think Indy will find a way to, at the very least, stay close.
Patriots 26 Colts 24

Houston (+3.5) over OAKLAND
Honestly, does anyone else besides the people who set the lines think the Raiders are 4 points better than anybody right now?
Texans 29 Raiders 27

Dallas (-3.5) over PHILADELPHIA
Tony Romo will have to try not to justify his shiny new contract in one day. Cowboys are better, and the Philly boo birds will be out early and often. The Andy Reid situation strikes us as more of a distraction than a rallying point right now as well. Throw in the TO Revenge factor, where he will most certainly do something douchebaggy if and when he scores, and you've got a recipe for a blowout.
Cowboys 31 Eagles 16

PITTSBURGH (-8.5) over Baltimore
Initially we thought this line was too high, but upon further review take the Steelers with no qualms. Ravens are not exactly a scoring machine, and the defense has just enough holes to allow Pittsburgh to put up a few points.
Steelers 23 Ravens 10

BEST BETS: Washington, Kansas City, Buffalo

Last Week: 8-5
Overall: 64-52

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 8

As the season progresses, we have learned about the struggle to achieve perfection, and the associated issues therein. We realize how difficult it is in the modern NFL to finish the season with a zero in any column besides the one marked "T". With the midway point of the 2007 NFL season just about here, we here at BIMRVM wholeheartedly support the efforts of the team that will not wilt in its relentless pursuit of perfection.....

The Miami Dolphins

On to the picks for Week 8:

Indianapolis (-6.5) over CAROLINA
No way Colts get caught looking ahead to Pats, and with the way the defense is playing we look for Indy to keep rolling. (The offense isn't too shabby either, by the way)
Colts 24 Panthers 13

Pittsburgh (-4.5) over CINCINNATI
Steelers have to get their act together on the road one of these weeks, and now is the time. Bengals defense will have all kinds of problems trying to slow down Willie Parker and Co.
Steelers 34 Bengals 16

CHICAGO (-5.5) over Detroit
Bears saved season with late TD drive in Philly last week, and come home to face Lion team that has issues playing away from Ford Field. Line might be a bit high, particularly if Lions do the sensible thing and never kick the ball anywhere near Devin Hester. Nonetheless, we like the MiIdway Monsters here.
Bears 22 Lions 16

TENNESSEE (-7.5) over Oakland
Speaking of crappy road teams, how 'bout the Radiers? Titans return home and welcome back Vince Young, but the real key will be the Tennessee rush defense's ability to stymie Raider running game. After near record collapse in 4th quarter last week in Houston, look for Jeff Fisher's bunch to stay focused and finish the job at home this week.
Titans 27 Raiders 7

Cleveland (-3.5) over ST. LOUIS
Stephen Jackson returns for Rams, but he still needs blockers, doesn't he? We mentioned the Dolphins in the opener, but Rams are in the same, leaky winless boat. They'll get one soon, but not this week.
Browns 27 Rams 19

Philadelphia (-1.5) over MINNESOTA
Hard to see how the Eagles can be favored on the road, so we're going with them using the "Vegas Knows Something" theory. There is no other explanation.
Eagles 19 Vikings 17

N.Y. Giants (-9.5) over "MIAMI" (in London, England)
Honestly Roger, give this crap a rest, It's all well and good to throw the occasional pre-season game to the Eurpoean fans, but this is just stupid. As for the actual game, it is somewhat fitting that the big international showing will showcase the winless Dolphins against the surging Giants. No contest here, G-Men in a rout.
Giants 34 Dolphins 16

N.Y. JETS (-2.5) over Buffalo
Bounce back game for the Jets, now that the pressure is off and Chad Pennington has been giving a stay of execution. This might be the most boring game on the docket this week, but Jet fans will take the W.
Jets 20 Bills 13

SAN DIEGO (-10.5) over Houston
Still unsure where this game will take p,ace, but we like the resurgent Chargers no matter the building. Texans showed tons o' moxie last week in nearly pulling off the most amazing comeback ever, but will be hard pressed to slow down LT and newly acquired WR Chris Chambers.
Chargers 30 Texans 14

TAMPA BAY (-4.5) over Jacksonville
Another head scratcher, until you realize the Jags are going on the road into a hostile venue with a rookie QB. Not the best recipe for success. Bucs remain tough to beat at the pirate ship and will keep the roll going this week.
Buccaneers 23 Jaguars 10

NEW ENGLAND (-16.5) over Washington
Another ridiculous double digit spread for the Pats...and once again we'll take 'em. Skins could be one of the toughest Patriot opponents thus far, and could slow down Brady, Moss and Co., however we can't see the offense generating enough points to match them. Win here sets up showdown vs. Colts which will be hyped more than the Super Bowl.
Patriots 31 Redskins 10

New Orleans (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
If Saints are truly back, they will not stumble here. Niners get Alex Smith back, but this offense hasn't been able to generate much of anything thus far and we can't see that changing anytime soon.
Saints 24 49ers 10

Green Bay (+3.5) over DENVER
The only underdog we're choosing this week is the Pack. Coming off the bye against what is still a pretty shaky Bronco team, look for Favre to shine in the prime time spotlight. On a side note, how does a non-playoff team like Denver get back-to-back prime time, national games?
Packers 27 Broncos 22

BEST BETS: Indianapolis, Tennessee, NY Giants

Last Week: 8-6
Overall: 56-47 (54.4%)

Last week: 2-1
Overall: 11-4 (73.3%)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 7

Nice, a return to glory in the short week! Please allow us a moment to bask in the glory of a 10-3 week, erasing the awful memory of the 4-10 abomination which preceded it.

Ahhh. That’s nice.

What a week it was, too. The Pats continue to flip off the rest of the league, and score points in buckets, 74 year old Vinny Testaverde played like he was 40 again, Adrian Peterson had a big-ass coming out party at the expense of the suddenly toothless Bear defense, Tony Gonzalez cemented his spot in Canton, and LaDanian Tomlinson stopped whining and started scoring touchdowns, to the delight of Fantasy owners nationwide.

(Also, the Chiefs are back in 1st place again. Shhhhh…….)

On to the choices:

DETROIT (-1.5) over Tampa Bay
Strange that Vegas is favoring the Lions, even though the game is in the Motor City. Lions have been pretty up and down, so this looks to be an "up" week.
Lions 19 Buccaneers 16

NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Atlanta
Are the Saints back? Sure looked like it last week, didn't it? If the opponent was anyone else it might be a different story, but it looks as if the Falcons have cashed it in. Byron Leftwich takes the helm for Atlanta, but it shouldn't matter, at least not yet.
Saints 34 Falcons 20

WASHINGTON (-7.5) over Arizona
Skins defense is very tough, and will feast at home against Tim Rattay-led Cards. The line seems a bit high, but the hunch here is that Washington can handle it.
Redskins 23 Cardinals 13

Baltimore (-3.5) over BUFFALO
Ravens always a close your eyes and hope for the best bet, and this could easily be the ugliest game of the week. In this case, we'll go with the stronger, big play defense, and that belongs to the Ravens.
Ravens 16 Bills 10

New England (-17.5) over MIAMI
That’s it, only 17.5? Cripes, we’d be willing to lay 25 here. Despite Pats recent struggles in this city, this team is on such a roll that it is impossible to place a ceiling on them. Dolphs look like they have a little more life with Cleo Lemon at the helm, but we feel he’ll be running for his life in the second half as opposed to putting up some cheap late scores.
Patriots 38 Dolphins 13

Tennessee (-1.5) over HOUSTON
Vice Young is listed as a "game time decision", but those of us gamblers/fantasy owners know that Jeff Fischer loves to mess with us via his injury report every week. Mark it down, Young will play, but even if he doesn't Kerry Collins can provide suitable numbers. Titans will not be able to run the ball versus stout Titan D, and the low number tells us to go with the visitors.
Titans 20 Texans 14

NY GIANTS (-10.5) over San Francisco
G-Men could be caught looking ahead to big London trip next week (side note to Roger Goodell: please stop floating the possibility of playing the Super Bowl overseas. It's stupid, nearly as much as playing a regular season game in Europe). Trent Dilfer will be a sitting duck for the Giant pass rush, and the manning-to-Burress combo will continue to click.
Giants 30 49ers 16

NY Jets (+6.5) over CINCINNATI
Jets have stunk less than Bengals have thus far. Line is too high for a team that plays defense as poorly as Cincy, and the team is this close to a full scale mutiny. Jets more relaxed on the road, and should stay close enough to cover if not win outright.
Jets 31 Bengals 28

Kansas City ( +2.5) over OAKLAND
Raiders are better than they've been in recent years, no question, and do play better in the Black Hole. However, Chiefs might be finally ready to turn the corner on offense now that Larry Johnson cracked the 100 yard mark last week (admittedly against an awful Bengal defense). Game could be tight, so we’ll take the points.
Chiefs 24 Raiders 20

DALLAS (-9.5) over Minnesota
Big bounceback for the Cowboys, despite facing All-World RB Adrian Peterson. Vikes have no other weapons, which will allow the 'Pokes to key on and contain him. Look for Dallas to take out the frustration from Patriot game here.
Cowboys 27 Vikings 14

SEATTLE (-9.5) over St. Louis
Please, please, can someone figure out the Seahawks? There is no explanation for getting blown out (and shut out) on the road in Pittsburgh, then coming home and getting torched in the first half by the Saints. Despite all that, the Rams are a welcome sight, as they are truly awful. Should Bulger and Jackson return, it could be closer, but this one has all the makings of Seattle getting its act together and taking out its collective frustrations.
Seahawks 23 Rams 9

PHILADELPHIA (-4.5) over Chicago
Eagles better at home, and you can be certain they will not kick the ball to Devin Hester, who is the Bear offense at this point. Line does seem a bit high, but honestly have the Bears shown themselves worthy of any respect recently?
Eagles 24 Bears 14

Pittsburgh (-3.5) over DENVER
Maybe Denver isn’t ready for prime time after all. Jay Cutler has had his moments, but the real surprise has been the woeful rushing defense displayed by Shanahan's bunch. Pittsburgh is not the team one would want to see when having that kind of problem. Look for the Steelers to control the line of scrimmage, the clock, and the game.
Steelers 20 Broncos 7

Monday Night
JACKSONVILLE (+3.5) over Indianapolis
Conventional wisdom tells us that the Colts are coming off a bye, and are likely the 2nd best team in the NFL right now, thus would be the smart play. Maybe, but CW also tells us that the Jags always play them tough, particularly in Florida. In what could be the best game of the week, we like the Jags to put up the first "L" on Indy.
Jaguars 27 Colts 24

BEST BETS: New England, Washington, Dallas

Last Week: 10-3
Overall: 48-41 (53.9%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 1-2
Overall: 9-3 (75%)

Manny: Too Stupid To Plunk?

How the heck nobody has drilled Manny Ramirez in the ribs multiple times by now is simply staggering to us. This guy has been preening and admiring his prodigious blasts, no matter the situation, for so long now it defies explanation that he hasn’t been knocked on his ass by an opposing pitcher.

We can somewhat understand the Indians not wanting to rock the boat right now – there is too much at stake. Plunking Manny tonight might awaken the sleeping giant, and there is no need for that when Cleveland is poised to eliminate the Sox. Next spring though? He should get decked, and there should be several teams lining up for the opportunity.

It occurs to us that there might be other valid reasons for not dusting Manny. He has been painted as such a character by the press (and teammates), that maybe, just maybe, he really has no idea what he’s doing up there after he swings the bat. He just happy that he did well! Maybe he thought the blast in Game 4 put the Sox ahead, rather than only closed the gap to 7-3?

Who knows? Maybe the pitchers know something we don’t – that Ramirez is simply not bright enough to know what he’s doing, and they in turn take pity on him. Being Manny might be enough punishment in and of itself.

Torre to Yanks: Thanks, But No Thanks

After managing to keep the team in the spotlight a full week after being eliminated, the Yankees dropped the other shoe on Thursday by announcing that Joe Torre would not be returning as Manager in 2008. Strangely, but perhaps predictably, the team statement put it all on Joe, stating that an offer was made which the skipper turned down.

On the surface, the offer seems somewhat fair: one year, $5 million, with separate $1 million bonuses for reaching each tier of the post-season, totaling $8 million if the Yankees make the World Series (make, not win it.) Should that occur, an option for a second year kicks in.

Until Torre makes a public statement, we’re left to speculate as to why he turned down the deal. Maybe he wanted a longer deal. Maybe he got the feeling that if the 2008 team started 21-29 like the 2007 team did, he’d be canned at that point. Perhaps he was simply tired of the whole ordeal that comes with managing this franchise, and the slow changing of the guard in Tampa as George The Elder fades into the sunset.

The Yankees come out of this with clean hands: they can rightfully claim that they made a fair offer which was refused, and begin the search for a replacement with no blood on their hands. Who will take the job now? Here’s a quick look at three oft-mentioned candidates:

Don Mattingly – This one baffles us. What, exactly, are Donnie Baseball’s qualifications to take the helm here? The fact that he is a “True Yankee”, whatever the hell that means today? Or, is it simply that he would be easily controlled? So, he was the hitting coach for this team? Honestly, big deal. We’re reasonably certain we could have done the same job and had similar results. Give #23 a minor league job first to get his feet wet. Anyone remember the similar infatuation with giving Bucky Dent this job a few years back? How’d that turn out?

Joe Girardi – Better. Here’s a guy who seems to be more of a student of the game (catchers often are). Besides, he’s proven himself as a big league skipper, though he pulled the unlikely exacta of being named Manager of the Year in Florida, while being fired. Girardi is a no nonsense guy, which could work well with some of the younger players, but might not play so well with the veterans, and also would not take any crap from Tampa, making his hiring that much less likely.

Tony LaRussa – Oh baby, this would be awesome. LaRussa has his head so far up his own ass that he bristles at any strategy questions thrown his way. He ran into issues with the normally benign St. Louis press – just imagine how he’d do with the New York tabloids screaming every morning. Good times! As Yankee Haters, we would love to see this happen.

Another intriguing sub-plot will be how the player retention drama plays out. Mariano Rivera has already publicly stated that the Torre situation would have an impact on his return, and the Alex Rodriguez soap opera just had another wrench tossed into the mix. Count on hearing more about this team all winter long, no matter who wins the World Series.

One last and perhaps more important thing: how is Suzyn Waldman taking this?

Monday, October 15, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 6

Never got the chance to post the Week 6 picks in time, but they were nevertheless made late Friday. (The picks are part of an ESPN Pigskin Pick 'Em pool).

Here they are, minus the commentary:

BALTIMORE -9.5 over St. Louis
Washington +3.5 over GREEN BAY
TAMPA BAY -2.5 over Tennessee
KANSAS CITY +3.5 over Cincinnati
Philadelphia -2.5 over NY JETS
JACKSONVILLE -6.5 over Houston
CHICAGO -5.5 over Minnesota
CLEVELAND -4.5 over Miami
Carolina +4.5 over ARIZONA
Oakland +10.5 over SAN DIEGO
New England -4.5 over DALLAS
SEATTLE -6.5 over New Orleans

NY Giants -3.5 over ATLANTA

BEST BETS: Chicago, Seattle, NY Giants

Last Week: 4-10
Season Total: 38-38 (50.0%)
Best Bets: 2-1 last week, 8-1 (88.9%) overall

Friday, October 5, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 5

Another stellar week (9-5) pushes the surplus up another notch. Let's stay hot and bestow these babies upon you for Week 5:

HOUSTON (-5.5) over Miami
Dolphins are crumbling to what could be the worst season since the pre-Shula days. Texans have struggled of late, but still show up every week and put out a solid effort for Coach Kubiak. Their efforts get rewarded here.
Texans 31 Dolphins 16

KANSAS CITY (+2.5) over Jacksonville
We need to say this now, since we might not get another chance all season:

The first place Kansas City Chiefs.

Wow, that was nice. Chiefs come home after tough 3 of 4 road stretch, and can keep the momentum rolling in Arrowhead against up and down Jags.
Chiefs 24 Jaguars 20

NY Jets (+3.5) over NY GIANTS
"Road" game for Jets, who need a solid effort after tough loss in Buffalo. Whihc version of the Giant D is the real one - the sorry bunch thrashed by Dallas or the 12 sack nightamre for last week versus Philly? We think the answer lies somewhere in between. Either way, Jets can steal one with this line.
Jets 20 Giants 17

NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Carolina
Do or die for the boys from Nawlins. Fresh off a bye week, where Coach Sean Payton constantly told the players how much the world has counted them out, back in the Dome, NO should roll. David Carr starts at QB for the inconsistent Panthers.
Saints 23 Panthers 13

NEW ENGLAND (-15.5) over Cleveland
How high will these lines go for the Pats before the season is out? 20? 25? It's beginning to look like College Football spreads with these guys - but they always cover. We can't see any reason to expect a slowdown this week against overmatched Brownies.
Patriots 41 Browns 16

Detroit (+3.5) over WASHINGTON
Lions showed tons of grit in late explosion over Bears last week, and Skins under Gibbs are strangely rusty off bye weeks. Again, maybe they don't win outright, but we like the number and are going with Kitna and the God Squad.
Redskins 24 Lions 23

TENNESSEE (-8.5) over Atlanta
Pretty large number for Vince Young and Co. to cover, but coming off the bye week we can't imagine Titans missing a beat. Falcs look to be a team that will slowly improve as the season progresses, and will be a tough out in December, but look for Titans to pull away late and make this one easy.
Titans 31 Falcons 16

Arizona (-2.5) over ST. LOUIS
Any other week, this would be an obvious trap - Cardinals coming off huge home win over Pittsburgh, due for massive letdown. But for the fact that the Rams are so banged up (Pace, Jackson, now Bulger) and just might be the worst team in the NFL right now. Folks will really start taking 'Zona seriously after it racks up another W this week.
Cardinals 24 Rams 10

Seattle (+6.5) over PITTSBURGH
Why this large number? Feels like a setup, but we just can't see Seahawks losing this one by more than 6. In fact, an outright win by Seattle would not be that big of an upset. Stillers need a bounceback win after last week, and we think they'll get it.
Steelers 24 Seahawks 20

INDIANAPOLIS (-10.5) over Tampa Bay
No way the line is this high if Cadiallac and Pettigout were healthy for TB, but Manning and Co. at home are tough to pick against. We're booking for a tight three quarters, followed by Colts pulling away late to cover.
Colts 29 Buccaneers 14

Baltimore (-3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Trent Dilfer starts for Niners. In what should be the ugliest game of the week, look for Ravens to prevail. Condolences to those who are forced to watch.
Ravens 12 49ers 6

San Diego (+1.5) over DENVER
Another team in a must win situation: Norv Turner's Chargers. Normally, trying to get well in the Mile High city would be a tall order, but this Bronco team could very well be 0-4 right now, and have had all kinds of issues stopping the run. So long as Bolts keep ramming LT down the Bronco's throats, they can prevail.....though watching Turner coach so far gives no indication this will occur.
Chargers 24 Broncos 17

GREEN BAY (-3.5) over Chicago
Wow. Just a few weeks ago, this line would have been, at the very least, reversed. Bears are an absolute mess right now, while Pack are the toast of the NFL. Okay, bandwagon, we'll jump on.
Packers 23 Bears 10

Dallas (-10.5) over BUFFALO
Bills looked good, and finally grabbed a W last week ( and might have found a new QB in Trent Edwards, but that's a whole 'nother story). That said, Cowboys are real solid right now, and will once again strut their stuff in front of the national TV audience.
Cowboys 27 Bills 13

BEST BETS: Patriots, Cardinals, Seahawks

Last week: 9-5

Last 3 weeks: 26-20 (56.5%)

Best Bets: 6-0 (100%)

Season Total: 34-28 (54.8%)