Monday, December 1, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 13

Late to the party, but the picks were in as of Wednesday night. A quick look at them shows that there is no way in hell these were made any later. Sigh.

Tennessee (-11.5) over DETROIT
DALLAS (-12.5) over Seattle
Arizona (+2.5) over PHILADELPHIA

BUFFALO (-6.5) over San Francisco
Baltimore (-7.5) over CINCINNATI
Indianapolis (-4.5) over CLEVELAND
GREEN BAY (-3.5) over Carolina
Miami (-7.5)over ST. LOUIS
TAMPA BAY (-4.5) over New Orleans
N.Y. Giants (-3.5) over WASHINGTON
Atlanta (+5.5) over SAN DIEGO
N.Y. JETS (-7.5) over Denver
Kansas City (+2.5) over OAKLAND
NEW ENGLAND (-1.5) over Pittsburgh
Chicago (+3.5) over MINNESOTA

HOUSTON (-3.5) over Jacksonville

End this miserable season already!

Monday, November 24, 2008

What We Learned...NFL Edition

As the calendar turns toward Turkey Day, things begin to take shape in the National Footbal League (say it loudly and emphatically, like Ron Jaworski, who we swear must get a residual from Roger Goodell every time he says that). Early season pretenders are snapped back to reality, while those teams with talent start gettign it together and gearing up for a playoff run.

So what did we learn thus far after the near completion of Week 12?

The Jets are for a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
If you're around Jet fans, you know how much their collective stomach turns when they see a sentence like that. They rival, to a degree, Chicago Cubs fans when it comes to pessimism and gloomy doomy expectations. Strangely, we haven't heard much of that after yesterday's 31-13 whipping of previously unbeaten Tennessee. Brett Favre seems really comfortable right now, the offensive line is playing as a cohesive group, and Thomas Jones has returned to feature back/workhorse status. Not to mention the play of the defensive line (Kris Jenkins, take your bow). The AFC is still a bit wide open for the first time in several years, but to not see the Jets as the potential team to beat down the stretch is not being realistic.

The Colts are Back
Meanwhile, Indy keeps quietly stringing together victories and is poised to be the Team Nobody Wants To Play in the playoffs. While still having some issues on defense, recall that the team that won the Super Bowl was ranked last against the run before winning as well. These guys have experience and can find a way.

Dallas Isn't Going Away
As much as the rest of the league wanted them to go inot the toilet, it looks as if the 'Pokes are in for the long haul. Romo's back, and T.O. just had a big game which will keep his trap shut for awhile. This could be the NFC version of the team everyone will dread facing in Round one.

The Rams, Chiefs, Bengals and Lions simply aren't very good
The battle for the #1 pick is as hot as ever! Rams players voiced support for interim coach Jim Haslett last week, then promptly went out and were humilated by teh Bears 27-3. The Chiefs undid four weeks of apparent progress by allowing a team record 54 points to a Buffalo team which was struggling mightily. Cincinnati puts up some game efforts, but can't seem to buy a win. The Lions head into the annual Turkey Day game winless, putting an emphatic excalmation point on the suckiness that was the Matt Millen Era. (Side note: Michigan has to be one of the most depressing places to be if you're a sports fan, right? The Tigers massively underachieved, the Lions are perpetually awful, Big Blue just lost it's 9th game, oh and the whole automobile industry about to go belly up. Um, go Pistons?)

The Road to The Super Bowl will go through Jersey
The Giants continue to methodically do whatever it takes to pile up win after win. This does beg the question, how the hell did this team lose to Cleveland, and by a lot?

We Still Suck at prognosticating
Even though we're headed for a 9 win week if Nawlins can cover tonight, we're still below 50%. Only a few weeks of miracles can save this pathetic season. Luckily, we don't "gamble" with "money".

Friday, November 21, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 12

Still reeling with bitterness after the touchdown/non-touchdown last week (hey, when you're having as crappy a year as this, you need every game you can get), we forge ahead with the selections for Week 11.

We had Cincinnati (+10.5) and the aforementioned Mr. CrazyHair was involved in making this one go against us as well.

ATLANTA (-1.5) over Carolina
Rare home loss for Falcs last week, look for a rebound in huge one here. Something seems off about the Panthers, despite the 8-2 record.
Falcons 23 Panthers 17

Houston (+3.5) over CLEVELAND
Two disappointing teams meet - when teams of equal value clash, expect it to be close. We'll grab the points. How exactly did this team beat the Giants again?
Texans 30 Browns 27

San Francisco (+10.5) over DALLAS
Niners have adopted the crazy ass persona of Coach Singletary, and have zero to lose here. Boys are not all the way back yet despite impressive win over Redskins last week. Grab the double digit line.
Cowboys 24 49ers 20

DETROIT (+8.5) over Tampa Bay
Symbolic pairing as the winless Lions have been compared to the 76-77 Bucs. What better time for the Motor City bunch to crack the W column? Upset of the week.
Lions 20 Buccaneers 19

NY Jets (+5.5) over TENNESSEE
Game of the Week! Titans have been flirting with losing of late, while the Jets are brimming with confidence after beating Pats. Titans might still win, but this line is too high, and we like the Jets to win outright.
Jets 24 Titans 16

KANSAS CITY (+3.5) over Buffalo
Improving Chiefs finally get 2nd win against free falling Bills. Build on this one, Herm!
Chiefs 20 Bills 17

Chicago (-7.5) over ST. LOUIS
Maybe Rams are this bad. Bears have to be pissed after being embarassed at Lambeau last week, and will take out frustrations here.
Bears 31 Rams 10

New England (+1.5) over MIAMI
Easily the WTF? line of the year, judging by pre-season standards. Pats have to be motivated after getting thumped by Fish earlier this year, right? Right?
Patriots 27 Dolphins 24

JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) over Minnesota
Two teams we cannot figure out. Since the line is under a Field Goal, we'll hold our nose and lay it.
Jaguars 23 Vikings 20

BALTIMORE (-1.5) over Philadelphia
Ravens return to form after rude awakening last week in the Meadowlands. Eagles look confused and listless. This one could get ugly, especially if Westbrook doesn't play.
Ravens 30 Eagles 17

DENVER (-9.5) over Oakland
As bad as the Denver defense is, the Raider offense is worse. Sonmething has to give! We'll take the Broncos at home in what will undoubtedly be frigid, non-California like weather, and lay the points.
Broncos 20 Raiders 10

NY Giants (-3.5) over ARIZONA
Can't bring ourselves to bet against the G-Men, even if Brandon Jacobs doesn't play. Kurt Warner will be pressured by Big Blue into rushing his throws, and the Cardinal defense has not shown us any reason to believe they will stop the Giants. Potentially high scoring affair, but take the better team.
Giants 30 Cardinals 24

Washington (-3.5) over SEATTLE
Look for the Skins to bounce back and keep the NFC East race tight for at least another week.
Redskins 24 Seahawks 14

Indianapolis (+2.5) over SAN DIEGO
Chargers continue to play just well enough to lose, and the red hot Colts are hitting their stride at precisely the right time. An ominous sign if you're Norv Turner.
Colts 22 Chargers 17

NEW ORLEANS (-2.5) over Green Bay
Big play offense back in the Dome. PAck ripe for letdown after blowout win.
Saints 27 Packers 24

Last Week: 8-8
Season Total: 77-82 (48%)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Farewell, FJM

A fond goodbye to a favorite of this site, Fire Joe Morgan. The snarky, stat loving blog is being retired, and we'll miss it.

Thanks, guys, and best of luck in any and all future endeavors. Let's just say that you and your site were able to develop a great amount of consistency over the years, and as we all know, consistency is really the cornerstone of everything.

That's A Lot Of Cheeseburgers

Back up the Brink's truck, boys, the Yankees are prepared to make C.C. Sabathia the highest paid pitcher in baseball history.

Reports are the offer exceeds the $137.5 million the Mets gave to Johan Santana last year. Hey, when it comes to throwing around large sums of cash, the Yankees wrote the damn book.

Sabathia, by all accounts, would perfer to pitch on the West Coast, and in the NL where he could display his hitting prowess. However, as it often does, cash will likely win out, and we can expect to see him with a cap and jersey at the inevitable press conference in a few weeks.

Here's the thing - Sabathia is, not to be too delicate, large. He's an innings eater, no question, but try to name a large pitcher who succeeded in pitching effectively into his thirties. Scouts already reported arm fatigue down the stretch last year, which could have resulted from the Brewers pitching him every three days in the heat of the playoff race, but could also be indicative of residual effects of tossing nearly 500 innings over the last two seasons.

The feeling here is that C.C. is a batch of DL stints waiting to happen. A guy his size will inevitably develop leg problems from supporting the weight, and the guy has been so durable that the sheer number of innings has to catch up with him. We understand why the Yankees feel the need to make a big splash and nab the biggest fish in the pond - a new stadium, a TV netowk, and a return to the playoffs, and this signing should provide a much needed short term boost. We'd just be really surprised if that by the time the contract is up that Sabathia isn't being compared to Carl Pavano.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 11

November is upon us already, meaning the games get that much important as playoff seedings are decided, and the contenders are separated from the pretenders, the men from the boys, the wheat from the chaff if you will.

More cliches, anyone? No? Okay, lets get the picks rolling as we look to start up some serious momentum to finish with a flourish:

NY Jets (+3.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Jets finally have discovered the potent ground game, and while there is no way they rack up totals like last week here in muddy Foxboro, the hunch here is that they'll ahve enough to grind out a tough win.
Jets 17 Patriots 14

ATLANTA (-5.5) over Denver
Falcs dominant at home, Broncos can;t stop a decent rushing attack. We're through underestimating Atlanta. This one could be a blowout.
Falcons 31 Broncos 17

CINCINNATI (+9.5) over Philadelphia
Bengals are a little friskier at home, and should be able to hang tight with Philly team which could be looking ahead to Baltimore, then Arizona in the next two weeks.
Eagles 23 Bengals 21

Chicago (+5.5) over GREEN BAY
LIne seems a bit high, so we'll take the Bears, since they won't be fazed by any crazy weather in Wisconsin.
Bears 20 Packers 16

INDIANAPOLIS (-8.5) over Houston
Colts are wide awake and poised for a nice run. No way they let Texans control game as they did for about 54 minutes in last meeting.
Colts 30 Texans 13

KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over New Orleans
Chiefs have to win one of these close ones after falling just short last three games, right? No better option that here at Arrowhead against a fragile Saint team.
Chiefs 23 Saints 20

MIAMI (-10.5) over Oakland
It shows just how far the Fins have come in such a short time to see them laying double digits to anhyone, even a woeful bunch like the Raiders. Here, we just can't see the Silver and Black scoring enough, if at all, to get the cover.
Dolphins 24 Raiders 6

NY GIANTS (-6.5) over Baltimore
G-Men now embark on the tougher part of the schedule, but this is one poised group. Ravens have been a pleasant surprise, but we can see young Joe Flacco feeling some heat this week frmo the Big Blue pass rush.
Giants 24 Ravens 16

Minnesota (+3.5) over TAMPA BAY
Bucs better at home, but it looks like Adrian Peterson is upping his game. Bucs could be starting to fade here.
Vikings 27 Bucs 20

Detroit (+14.5) over CAROLINA
No logical reason to take the Lions, who have been absolutely dreadful. Jake Delomme looked off his game last week, so we'll go out on a very shaky limb and grab the boatload of points.
Panthers 27 Lions 15

Tennessee (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Is this the week the '72 Dolphins pop the corks? Nope. Jags waaaay too inconsistent, and we can see the Titans grinding out an efficient road win.
Titans 20 Jaguars 16

SAN FRANCISCO (-3.5) over St. Louis
Rams can't be as bad as they showed the world last week, but the Niners are due to have a laugher, and will get one here.
49ers 30 Rams 17

Arizona (-6.5) over SEATTLE
Cards laying nearly a touchdown on the road, in November? Yep, we're in bizarro world alright.
Hawks are a mess, and this line is well within reach for surging Redbirds.
Cardinals 31 Seahawks 20

PITTSBURGH (-6.5) over San Diego
Bow your heads for the Chargers, whose season will suffer a nearly fatal blow with a loss here. Steelers are due to roll after tough home losses to Giants and Colts in recent weeks.
Steelers 22 Chargers 13

WASHINGTON (+1.5) over Dallas
Romo returns, but there are several other problems surrounding this team. Skin pass rush can and will force #9 to make mistakes, as he is prone to do. Grab the home team and the points.
Redskins 20 Cowboys 17

Cleveland (+4.5) over BUFFALO
Bills winless since granting a contract extension to coach. Coincindence, or simply the league catching up to the team? Not sure, but Buffalo really needs a win here to keep pace with Jets/Pats/Dolphins, and should get it, but it won't be easy.
Bills 23 Browns 20

Last Week: 6-8, yet again
Season: Let's just say we're still below 50% and leave it at that, okay?

Monday, November 10, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 10

Another week, another bout of flirting with 50%. Madeness, I say, this league is madness!

In what appears to be a futile attempt to get back to sea level, we submit our Week 10 selections.

Denver (+4.5) over CLEVELAND

New Orleans (+.5) over ATLANTA
Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO
DETROIT (+6.5) over Jacksonville
MIAMI (-9.5) over Seattle
MINNESOTA (-2.5) over Green Bay
NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) over Buffalo
St. Louis (+8.5) over NY JETS
HOUSTON (-1.5) over Baltimore
Carolina (-9.5) over OAKLAND
PITTSBURGH (-3.5) over Indianapolis
Kansas City (+15.5) over SAN DIEGO
NY Giants (+2.5) over PHILADELPHIA

ARIZONA (-9.5) over San Francisco

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 9

Time is short, onto the selections:

BUFFALO (-5.5) over NY Jets
CHICAGO (-12.5) over Detroit
Jacksonville (-7.5) over Cincinnati
CLEVELAND (-1.5) over Baltimore
Arizona (-2.5) over ST. LOUIS
MINNESOTA (-4.5) over Houston
TENNESSEE (-7.5) over Green Bay
KANSAS CITY (+8.5) over Tampa Bay
DENVER (-3.5) over Miami
NY GIANTS (-7.5) over Dallas
SEATTLE (+6.5) over Philadelphia
Atlanta (-2.5) over OAKLAND
New England (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
WASHINGTON (-2.5) over Pittsburgh

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 8

Back to our regular format this week, despite having tied our season high last week after not publishing an entry on the site. Here goes nothin'.....

Tampa Bay (+3.5) over DALLAS
We can no longer depend on the Cowboys rising to the occasion, and as banged up as they are, they'll have all they can handle with the Bucs. Let the Wade Phillips Watch commence....
Buccaneers 24 Cowboys 16

DETROIT (+7.5) over Washington
Skins have been unable to blow anyone out all season, and we have a hunch this might be the week the Lions decide not to fall behind by three touchdowns before halftime.
Redskins 28 Lions 21

MIAMI (+1.5) over Buffalo
Flashback to the 70's, when the Bills were utterly unable to win in Miami. Fins can keep this one very close, and maybe steal it.
Dolphins 17 Bills 16

NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) over St. Louis
Are the Pats back? Are the Rams suddenly this much better? We don;t know, but we think New England can cover this number regardless.
Patriots 27 Rams 14

NEW ORLEANS (+3.5) over San Diego (game played in London)
Another pointless Euro-game. Going against the Bolts simply due to the 9 hour time lag. We can't put a team in Hawaii, but we can pull this crap every season?
Saints 20 Chargers 17

NY JETS (-12.5) over Kansas City
Chiefs, bad enough when at full strength, are going with a 3rd striung QB (Tyler Thigpen), and have benched Larry Johnson. Further, Jets are returning home after bad loss in Oakland. It's a recipe for a blowout.
Jets 34 Chiefs 10

Atlanta (+8.5) over PHILADELPHIA
City of Brotherly Love hosting a big sports Sunday, starting with this one. Falcons have been a tough out and can move to 5-2 (!) with win here. Eagles have been a mystery, and this line seems a bit high, so we'll take Matt Ryan and Co.
Eagles 21 Falcons 17

BALTIMORE (-6.5) over Oakland
Raiders got their win last week, now face hard reality known as the Ravens defense. This one won't be pretty, and is unlikely to show up on ESPN Classic anytime in the near future.
Ravens 20 Raiders 9

Arizona (+4.5) over CAROLINA
Gotta love the Cardinals, even though Panthers are a monster at home. This one could be wild, but it should stay close no matter what.
Panthers 31 Cardinals 28

JACKSONVILLE (-6.5) over Cleveland
Jags looking to start their run, and this is the perfect week to start.
Jaguars 27 Browns 13

HOUSTON (-9.5) over Cincinnati
Texans living large after back-to-back wins, should be able to keep it alive against the mess that is the Bengals. Houston moo cows will know better than to allow a back door cover like they did last week, right?
Texans 30 Bengals 16

NY Giants (+2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Game of the Week, no doubt. Giants need to put some heat on Big Ben or it will be a long day. Pitt ground game will struggle minus Willie Parker. Late figgie decides it.
Giants 20 Steelers 17

SAN FRANCISCO (-4.5) over Seattle
After having the crazy Manson-like eyes of Mike Singletary stargin you down all week, you think these Niners don't want to go out and tear something apart? Throw in a woeful road team like Seattle and you'll see the fur fly in Frisco.
49ers 30 Seahawks 10

TENNESSEE (-4.5) over Indianapolis
...and this is the week in which America finally discovers the Titans are for real. Colts have been so up and down, and will have all kinds of trouble moving the football against a fired up Tennessee bunch.
Titans 24 Colts 13

Last Week: 8-6
Season: 50-51

Friday, October 24, 2008

MLB Predictions - A Bold Look Back

That's right, we're doing something that one never sees the "Big Boys" do - actually reviewing the predictions we made back in March and gauging the results. As expected, they ain't pretty, but if you look back at the choices the ESPN "experts" made you'd likely find similar results.

First, the good. Where were we accurate?

Correctly picked as Division Winners (1 out of 6):
Chicago Cubs

Correctly picked as playoff teams (3 out of 8):
Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers

Closest to actual W-L record:
Milwaukee (90-72), which we nailed exactly!

Also: We nailed the Yankees missing the playoffs, which was nice.

Now, the suckitutde:

Tampa Bay- 76-86, 4th place (with the "watch out for them in 2009" warning)

Seattle - 92-70, AL Champs(!)

Detroit - 93-69, AL Central winner

NY Mets - 95-67, World Series Champions

The Mariners, in the World Series? Really? Reality showed this team succumbing to infinghting, bad play, and the worst record in baseball. Could not have been more wrong here. In a feeble attempt a defense, many other "experts" had this team making noise. Easily the worst pick we made, followed closely by....

Detroit. Man, this team put together a modern day Murderers Row, was armed with a bevy of good young arms, and seemed poised to stomp through the AL Central. Didn't happen. The Tigers stumbled out of the gate and were never able to recover, save for a brief run in mid-summer which propelled them back to .500.

Finally, the Mets. Ugh. We really thought they could erase the epic failure of 17 up with 7 to play and get the full redemption. Probably just our hearts winning out over our heads.

Despite these horrid results, we will not be deterred from rolling out more predictions next March. The jury is still out on if we will exhibit this level of honest reflection should the choices be so horribly off.

NFL Picks - Week 7

Last week, we were rushed/sick/busy, and didn't even enter the selctions until Sunday morning. As was to be expected, we had one of our best weeks of this wretched season, going 8-6. Verification of the choices is shown here.
Full Week 8 picks and analysis is coming, watch this space.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 6

We're thisclose to giving up - the season is showing no signs of rhyme nor of reason. Miami smoking the Pats, then beating up the Chargers? Really?

Let's just get these out of the way, with the usual soon-to-be-disproven analysis:

ATLANTA (+2.5) over Chicago

Falcons showing plenty, especially at home. Figure this one to be close, so we'll grab the points.

Falcons 19 Bears 17

TAMPA BAY (-2.5) over Carolina

Bucs return home after tough loss in Denver, while Panthers might start slowly after last week's blowout vs. KC. Another close one, so we'll take the home team.

Buccaneers 20 Panthers 17

WASHINGTON (-13.5) over St. Louis

Are the Rams really this bad? Maybe not, but the REdskins sure do look to be that good, and it is hard to imagine them not being able to cover this number, even if it takes a late tack on score to do so.

Redskins 31 Rams 13

HOUSTON (-3.5) over Miami

A risky choice, but the Texans were a very solid team for 56 miinutes last week, and don't think every single player in that locker room isn't fully focused on taking out the frustration from that stomach punching loss. Picking against the Fish hasn;t helped us at all, but they could be due for a slight letdown.

Texans 23 Dolphins 17

INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over Baltimore

We can't really explain why we're taking the Colts, who have played about 34 minutes of good football thus far in 2008. Somethign seems off about this team, but we'll play the hunch that they will be able to string together a solid 60 minutes and gut one out to get their first win in their new digs.

Colts 20 Ravens 13

MINNESOTA (-13.5) over Detroit

So long as the Vikes tighten up their punt coverage, we see no reason why they can't enjoy a laugher here.

Vikings 34 Lions 16

NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Oakland

Just can't take the Raiders, who solved their "problem" by removing Lane Kiffin prior to last week's bye. Sean Payton will have his sloppy Saints ready to go this week after ugly MNF showing last week.

Saints 24 Raiders 14

NY JETS (-5.5) over Cincinnati

Bengals getting a little more respect from Vegas, hence this line. Jets, fresh off bye, should be ready to roll, and Bengals have played just well enough to lose last two. Look for Jet ground game to get back on track, enough to make Favre's play action that much more effective.

Jets 27 Bengals 17

DENVER (-3.5) over Jacksonville

Line seems a tad high, but Broncos have shown themselves to be very tough at home, while up and down Jags forced to make this gtrip after ugly game vs. Steelers. Close, but we'll take the Mile High guys.

Broncos 20 Jaguars 16

ARIZONA (+5.5) over Dallas

Cowboys have shown disturbing tendency to play to opponents level, and the Cards are just dangerous enough to stick around here. Will the house still be half filled with Cowboy fans, still?

Cardinals 31 Cowboys 28

SAN FRANCISCO (+5.5) over Philadelphia

Can't figure out the Eagles, who've gone from Super Bowl contender to also-ran in 3 short weeks. They're likely somewhere between the two extremes, and the hunch here is that the Niners can hang close, and maybe even steal this one.

Eagles 27 49ers 24

SEATTLE (-2.5) over Green Bay

Never in a million years would we think the Seahawks should be favored, but using the "Vegas knows something" theory, we'll take 'em. No further questions, Your Honor.

Seahawks 23 Packers 21

New England (+6.5) over SAN DIEGO

Another line which seems a little steep - Pats spent the week in Cali, and the Bolts have shown very little consistency thus far. Matt Cassell looked more confortable last week, and the San Diego pass rush has been nothing to write home about. Look for the Pats to add to further bury the Bolts.

Patriots 25 Chargers 20


NY Giants (-7.5) over CLEVELAND

Thanks, Powers That Be, for subjecting us to yet another nationally televised Browns game. Can we safely assume that the boys from Cleveland will not be part of any Flex scheduling come the second half? Please? As for the game, the Giants look very solid, and will not be deterred here.

Giants 24 Browns 10

Best Bets: Redskins, Vikings, Giants

Last Week: 6-8
Season Total: 36-38 (48.6%)

Best Bets
Last Week: 3-0
Season Total: 4-5 (44.4%)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NFL PIcks - Week 5

After boldly proclaiming a return to awesomeness last week, we were able to stumble home with a 7-6 record. Small steps, kids, small steps, but still in the right direction, as we now sit right smack dab at 50%. Looking to continue to move the line on the graph upward, we submit these gems for Week 5...

Chicago (-3.5) over DETROIT
Do the Lions get a boost for finally ending the Matt Millen Era? Absolutely, but the fact remains the BEars are a better team, and should be able to cover the relatively small number here.
Bears 27 Lions 20

GREEN BAY (-7.5) over Atlanta
If ever a team needed a Homecoming Game like this one, it's the Pack. Despite Aaron Rodgers dodgy status for this one, the Cheeseheads should have enough to roll at home.
Packers 30 Falcons 17

San Diego (-6.5) over MIAMI
Chargers can't afford to take 3 quarters off like they did against the Raiders last week, or else the frisky Fins will make them pay. This is right about the time the Bolts take their game to another level and establish themselves as the best of the west.
Chargers 23 Dolphins 10

NY GIANTS (-7.5) over Seattle
Champs are rested after bye week and even without suspended wideout Plaxico Burress should have no trouble dispatching woeful on the road Seahawks.
Giants 27 Seahawks 13

Washington (+5.5) over PHILADELPHIA
Tough going against the Eagles in Philly, but the Skins, perhaps due for a letdown after winning in Dallas, have shown improvement every week and we can't see this game being decided by more than a figgie.
Eagles 20 Redskins 17

Kansas City (+9.5) over CAROLINA
Chiefs finally back in Win column after 12 straight losses. It dcertainly won't be as easy to run against Panthers as it was versus Denver, but the hunch here is that with Huard at the controls, KC can stay close against Carolina tream which doesn't seem to ever blow anyone out.
Panthers 24 Chiefs 16

BALTIMORE (+3.5) over Tennessee
Ravens in control at Pitt last week before ugly fumble turned game around. A slugfest is virtually guaranteed here, and that usually means a tight score.
Ravens 16 Titans 13

HOUSTON (+3.5) over Indianapolis
Have to take the Texans at home against wildly inconsistent Colt team, and would not be at all surprised if they win outright. Indy could be looking at dreaded "Most Disappointing" team designation at this rate.
Texans 20 Colts 17

Tampa Bay (+3.5) over DENVER
KC exposed serious flaws in Denver's D last week, and no doubt Mike Shanahan has been working all week to plug the leaks. Broncs always better at Mile High, but Buc Cover 2 is making noise again, and should be able to hang tough.
Broncos 27 Buccaneers 24

Buffalo (+.5) over ARIZONA
Essentially a "No Line" game, we'll have no trouble taking the Bills straight up. Card lose big time weapon in Anquan Boldin, and Bills will punish and harass Kurt Warner all day.
Bills 30 Cardinals 17

New England (-3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Really? Three and a half? Pats have fallen, but not that much, and Bellichicks's post-bye record is ridiculous. Liking the Pats big here.
Patriots 34 49ers 13

DALLAS (-15.5) over Cincinnati
Speaking of big, how fired up do you think the Cowboys are after dropping home game to rival Redskins last week? Bank on many, many carries for Marion Barber and Felix Jones to atone for the head scratching decision last week to not give them the ball. Oh, and the Bengals are without Carson Palmer, just thought we'd throw that in there.
Cowboys 38 Bengals 10

JACKSONVILLE (-4.5) over Pittsburgh
Steelers are incredibly banged up, while Jags are surging. Pittsburgh is overdue to lose one ugly, and this is where it happens.
Jaguars 24 Steelers 13

Monday Night
NEW ORLEANS (-3.5) over Minnesota
Tough call here, but have to go with the Saints in the Big Easy. Watch it with the volume down.
Saints 23 Vikings 16

Best Bets: Patriots, Cowboys, Bears

Last week: 7-6
Season Total: 30-30

Best Bets
Last Week: None (forgot!)
Season Total: 1-5

Monday, September 29, 2008

We've Been Here Before

Ah, the perils of being a Met fan these days. I admit to watching the entire game unfold yesterday with a huge sense of foreboding, just waiting for something to go wrong. That's what this team has done to us in 2008, save for a few glorious weeks when the team caught fire and got itself back into the NL East race. Adminttedly, after Carlos Beltran tied the game with one swing, the hope crept back in. It should have been expected, to watch the bullpen allow back-to-back homers in the 8th (just as Ryan Braun's 2 run jack put the Brewers ahead), and add a final element of urgency to the last six outs. Not agood sign, since this team seemed incapable of rising up to pressure all season.

I said out loud during the game that this team never, ever, makes it easy, either on itself or it's fans. It's been this way for well, forever. Sunday would be no different, and true to form the boys from Flushing managed to get two men on with two out with the most clutch player on the team coming up. As soon as the ball left Carols Delgado's bat, In jumped and yelled "He GOT IT!" as he smashed a missile to left center, which, died on the warning track. That was pretty much all she wrote, although I did find some optimism creeping up in the 9th after a two out walk when I quietly piped up "This is the same situation as Game 6, right?"

The bottom line is simply this team really didn't deserve to advance. As it was last year, the fate of the post-season berth was in their hands, and they let it slip away. Thye took no momentum from the heroic performance of Johan Santana on Saturday, only musterd 5 runs in three must win games, and looked like a team afraid. Can that be fixed? I don't know. Murmurings on talk radio about breaking up the core (trading Wright? Reyes? Are you nuts?) ring hollow. Throwing a ton of desperation money at Manny Ramirez and/or KRod seems almost inevitable. Not winning in 2009, with an even bigger payroll and a shiny new ballpark will further plumb the fanbase into the depths.

So, it ends again, only this time with the quite surreal ritual closing ceremonies for beloved Shea Stadium. The event was classy, but the stench of what took place hung over the whole thing, which was a risk the organization was willing to risk from the outset. Goodbye, Shea. It was time for you to go. Congratulations Phillies and Brewers.

(photo - NY Post)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 4

Our condolences to any of our loyal readers who might have put down some friendly wagers based on the information contained within this column. The picks thus far have been downright nasty, dropping below the 50% threshold for the first time, well, ever.

Armed with a newfound determination to right our previous wrongs, we forge ahead with the promise, nay, the guarantee, that a 60% success rate will be achiveed. Yes we can!

Let's do this:

Cleveland (+3.5) over CINCINNATI
As bad as Browns have been, it remains an indisputable fact that there is no way in Hell the Cincinnati Bengals are 3.5 points better than anybody.
Browns 20 Bengals 17

Minnesota (+3.5) over TENNESSEE
As much as we love the Titans, they seem like the kind of team that will be locked into tight games most of the time. Vikes are good enough to keep it close.
Titans 17 Vikings 14

KANSAS CITY (+9.5) over Denver
Broncos are easily the most entertaining team in the league, due as much to their porous defense as the explosive offense. Chiefs go back to their best QB, Damon Huard, who gives them best chance of putting up points.
Broncos 31 Chiefs 23

NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) over San Francisco
Saints are due for easy one, and having the Niners in the Dome is just the ticket.
Saints 30 49ers 21

NY JETS (-2.5) over Arizona
Samll line for Jet team returning home against Cards bunch due for a raod letdown. Look for a big week from Favre.
Jets 27 Cardinals 20

Green Bay (+1.5) over TAMPA BAY
Still not believeing in the Bucs, who needed 60+ throws frmo Brian Griese and an awful call ont he game tying drive to beat Bears last week. Big bounce back for the Pack.
Packers 24 Bucs 16

Atlanta (+7.5) over CAROLINA
Falcs showing lots of moxie, might just have enough to scare the up-and-down Panthers.
Panthers 23 Falcons 16

Houston (+7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Jags suffer inevitable letdown after finally beating Colts. Texans nned thisw one badly to avoid 0-3 start, placing Gary Kubiak on the hot seat.
Jaguars 19 Texans 16

San Diego (-7.5) over OAKLAND
Chargers putting early season woes behind them, while the ongoing mess that is the Radiers simplty don't have enough firepower to keep up. It is amazing that this team is playing so wekll for coach lane Kiffin, who, incredibly, is still leading the team. This would never happen if Al Davis were still alive.
Chargers 30 Raiders 16

ST. LOUIS (+8.5) over Buffalo
Can the Rams actually be this bad? Maybe. Switching to Trent Green is one of those rare desperation moves which makes absolutely non sense. We imagine Marc Bulger will be back under center by halftime, taking baby steps toward leading this team to slight respectability.
Bills 27 Rams 20

Washington (+11.5) over DALLAS
Cowboys, right now, are the best team in the NFL, but this seems like an awfully high number in a series whcih always seems to produce a tight game. Skins have looked good since Week 1 debacle and can stick around here.
Cowboys 24 Redskins 16

Philadelphia (-3.5) over CHICAGO
Dominant Eagle pass rush will hit Kyle Orton hard enough to dislodge his neck beard. Can't see Bears generating nearly enoughn offense to keep this one close.
Eagles 20 Bears 8

Monday Night
PITTSBURGH (-7.5) over Baltimore
Risky pick at this number, but Pittsburgh has aleways shown the ability to come back big after a toiugh loss, and defense will lead the way in Prime Time.
Steelers 17 Ravens 7

Last Week: 6-10
Season Total: 23-24

Best Bets
Last Week: 0-3
Season Total: 1-5

Thursday, September 18, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 3

We saw a little bit of everything last week: horrific officiating in Denver, incredibly dumbass showboating in Dallas, a seemingly lame duck coach winning by 16 points, and a team from New England putting a halt to 76,000 J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jest! fans all to ready to shovel the dirt.

As for the picks, we had an incredibly mediocre 8-7 week (thanks to the cancellation in Houston, only 15 games were on the docket).

Week 3 sees some very intriguing matchups - Pittsburgh/Philly and Dallas/Green Bay the most prominent. Some of the lines seem very wacky, and if we've learned anything, it's to go with the wacky. On to the choices:

Kansas City (+4.5) over ATLANTA
As bad as KC looked at home last week vs. the Radiers, and trsut us, it was bad, we just have issues with the Falcons being 4.5 point faves over anyone. Tyler Thigpen, with a week of first team reps under his belt, starts at QB for KC. On second thought, maybe this is simply a heart pick.
Atlanta 20 Kansas City 17

BUFFALO (-8.5) over Oakland
Surprising Bills, at home, will in no way, shape or form allow the Radiers to even sniff 300 yards on the ground. Force JaMarcus Russel to out it up, and bad things will happen. Toss in the uncertainty surrounding Lane Kiffin, and you've got the recipe for a Buffalo Blowout.
Bills 27 Raiders 10

CHICAGO (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Not loving the Bucs on the road, and thinking that Mr. Forte will pop a few big runs, allowing the Bears to move to 2-1.
Bears 20 Bucs 16

TENNESSEE (-4.5) over Houston
Impromptu bye week for TExans last week won't help here. Titans look tough, and should be able to cover this number in their own digs.
Titans 24 Texans 13

MINNESOTA (-3.5) over Carolina
Let's see, 0-2 Vikes favored over 2-0 Panthers? Yeah, that makes sense. Is Gus Frerotte that much of a difference maker? We'll see. He can't help but improve an offense that had to settle for 5 FG's last week. Panthers might be due for a bit of a letdown here.
Vikings 23 Panthers 17

NEW ENGLAND (-12.5) over Miami
And you thought the days of double digit Pat lines were over? Well, they likely are after this week. Matt Cassell will act as the caretaker of the offense, while 3 headed running back attack will keep Fish on their heels all afternoon. Pat D will harass Pennington all day.
Patriots 30 Dolphins 13

NY GIANTS (-13.5) over Cincinnati
Early season scheduling gifts just keep coming for Big Blue. No way do they letdown against hapless Bungles. Carson Palmer's feet are already shuffling...
Giants 31 Bengals 10

WASHINGTON (-1.5) over Arizona
Skins found some life last week, and this Cardinal team has yet to really be tested. Washington defense can bottle up the immobile Kurt Warner while Clinton Portis and Co. will grind up yards, and clock.
Redskins 24 Cardinals 13

DENVER (-5.5) over New Orleans
Saints have trouble stopping anyone consistently, and Broncos offense is in mid-season form (despite "assistance" from Ed Hoculi). Another shootout? Very, very likely?
Broncos 37 Saints 28

Detroit (+3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
Egads, we're actually taking the Lions? On the road? Yep - they hung tough before late cosmetic scores led to Packer blowout last week, while the Niners just seem like the kind of team that will play a tight game every week.
49ers 27 Lions 24

SEATTLE (-9.5) over St. Louis
Seahawks are all over the place, but the Rams are a straight up mess.
Seahawks 31 Rams 16

BALTIMORE (-1.5) over Cleveland
Did you hear that thump? It was the Browns, crashing back to Earth. It's gonna be a long year in Cleveland, as maybe, just maybe, this team wasn't really as good as everyone thought.
Ravens 17 Browns 10

PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) over Pittsburgh
Home team pick, plain and simple. Iggles looking dangerous, and you just know the defense will clamp down after allowing Dallas to rack up 40+. Status of Big Ben casts a bit of a shadow over Pitt as well.
Eagles 24 Steelers 20

INDIANAPOLIS (-5.5) over Jacksonville
Add Bob Sanders to the list of Indy's walking wounded, which is another huge blow - recall how the run defense was shredded in 2006 while he was out. Jags, pre-season Super Bowl pick for many a writer, drop to 0-3? It's more likely than you think.
Colts 23 Jaguars 13

GREEN BAY (+2.5) over Dallas
First real test for Aaron Rogers, on the big stage against the Big Bad Cowboys. WE get the feeling that this is where Dallas will stumble - Philly exposed some flaws in the defense last week which a good team like the Pack can exploit, while the tough Green Bay defense will put some heat on Romo and Co.
Packers 23 Cowboys 20


NY Jets (+8.5) over SAN DIEGO
Normally, a team as good as the Chargers, staring 0-3 in the face, would be an automatic pick. A few reasons why we're going the other way: 1) Chargers have had a hell of a time stopping anyone thus far, and letting Brett Favre have all kinds of time means he'll eventually find someone to throw to, 2) LT is nicked up, and losing your most synamic offensive force has to knock your effectiveness down a notch or two, 3) getting jobbed last week in Denver seems to have made the whiny Chargers even more so, if that's even possible. Shockingly, we like the Jets to win outright.
Jets 27 Chargers 26

Best Bets: Giants, Patriots, Broncos

Last Week: 8-7
Season total: 17-14

Best Bets
Last Week: 1-2
Season: 1-2

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 2

As expected, Week 1 was a mixed bag, and we came out with a 9-7 mark thanks to a Monday Night seweep. PLenty of question marks surround Week 2, as big names are either out for the year (Brady, Merriman), or haven't really found their legs yet (Peyton Manning). Best Bets have returned (we were rushed last week and simply ignored them. We can do that, since this is our blog). Let's get started:

Tennessee (+1.5) over CINCINNATI
Titans might be more effective on offense with Kerry Collins. Bengals are a mess.
Titans 24 Bengals 10

New Orleans (+1.5) over WASHINGTON
It's gonna take awhile for the Redskins to mesh on offense, while the Saints seem intent on unleashing Reggie Bush. Could be a blowout.
Saints 23 Redskins 13

CAROLINA (-3.5) over Chicago
Bears a fluke last week? Maybe. A healthy Jake Delomme couplled with second straight road game for Bears spells a Panther win.
Panthers 20 Bears 12

JACKSONVILLE (-6.5) over Buffalo
Bills looked solid in opening day win, but facing an angry Jags team that can't afford to start 0-2 n the wilting FLA heat will prove to be too much.
Jaguars 24 Bills 14

Green Bay (-2.5) over DETROIT
The Aaron Rogers Era starts with a bang, and here is where he gets his first road win. Lions are a mess whcih can make some noise on offense, but we're not counting on late garbage time TD's this week.
Packers 27 Lions 13

KANSAS CITY (-3.5) over Oakland
Game Chiefs nearly shocked the world in Foxboro last week, and could be one of those teamsn whihc end up playing tough and coming up short every week. The home opener at Arrowhead is one they can, and should, take.
Chiefs 20 Raiders 9

NY Giants (-8.5) over ST. LOUIS
Giants were the best road team in the world in '07, and opponents like the woeful Rams will do nothing to diminish that standing. Ugly one here.
Giants 30 Rams 13

Indianapolis (-1.5) over MINNESOTA
Leap of Faith taking the Colts, but we just can't see this team starting 0-2. Vikes, pre-season Super Bowl pick for many, face a quick 2 game deficit in division. YIkes.
Colts 24 Vikings 20

San Francisco (+8.5) over SEATTLE
Does home field mean this much for a Seahawk team using a backup QB, a team of RB's, and backup wideouts? Really? We'll grab the plethora of points and hold our nose.
Seahawks 23 49ers 21

TAMPA BAY (-8.5) over Atlanta
Despite Jon Gruden's insistence on using as many QB's as possible, and the impressive debut of Matt Ryan and the new-look Falcs, we just can't drink the Kool-Aid yet.
Buccaneers 28 Falcons 14

New England (+2.5) over NY JETS
Jet fans (and Jet media) might be overestimating this team a wee bit, putting them in the Super Bowl before Tom Brady was even off the filed on Sunday. Pats will find a way to keep this one tight, and keep the heat on Favre all day.
Patriots 23 Jets 20

ARIZONA (-6.5) over Miami
Fish hung tough vs. Jets last week, but cross country travel can't be helpful here. Cardinals at 2-0 after this, can stake claim to legitimate shot at division. Really.
Cardinals 19 Dolphins 10

San Diego (-2.5) over DENVER
Not buying Broncs big explosion last week against befuddled Raiders. Chargers steamed after last second defeat at home vs. Panthers last week, will come out ready ro roll.
Chargers 27 Broncos 16

Pittsburgh (-5.5) over CLEVELAND
Tough way to open for Brownies, facing Steelers after opening vs. Cowboys, but if it expects to contend will have to find a way to beat the good teams. Not gonna happen this week.
Steelers 24 Browns 13


Baltimore (+4.5) over HOUSTON
Joe Flacco! He's 1-0, and showed some moxie last week - more inmportantly, his team seems to believe in him. Texans might win outright, but Raven D will keep it tight.
Texans 20 Ravens 17

DALLAS (-6.5) over Philadelphia
Cowboys are on a mission, and will not be folled by 38 point Eagle outburst last week. TO loves the prime time games, and this one could be a blowout.
Cowboys 31 Eagles 17

BEST BETS: Saints, Giants, Chargers

Last Week: 9-7 (56.25%)
Season: 9-7 (56.25%)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

NFL Picks - Week 1

Finally, the NFL is back, baby!

Time is short this week, and analysis for Week 1 is usually pointless, so let's just roll out the selections and see how they fly...

We had the Giants (-3.5), honestly.

Detroit (-2.5) over ATLANTA (Lions 23 Falcons 10)
Seattle (+.5) over BUFFALO (Seahawks 21 Bills 16)
TENNESSEE (+3.5) over Jacksonville (Titans 20 Jaguars 17)
N.Y. Jets (-2.5) over MIAMI (Jets 30 Dolphins 17)
Kansas City (+16.5) over NEW ENGLAND (Pats 24 Chiefs 10)
Tampa Bay (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS (Saints 21 Bucs 20)
St. Louis (+7.5) over PHILADELPHIA (Eagles 27 Rams 20)
Houston (+6.5) over PITTSBURGH (Steelers 23 Texans 20)
BALTIMORE (-.5) over Cincinnati (Ravens 17 Bengals 13)
Carolina (+9.5) over SAN DIEGO (Chargers 26 Panthers 21)
Arizona (-2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO (Cardinals 24 49ers 10)
CLEVELAND (+3.5) over Dallas (Cowboys 20 Browns 17)
INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5) over Chicago (Colts 29 Bears 7)

GREEN BAY (-2.5) over Minnesota (Packers 19 Vikings 14)
Denver (-1.5) over OAKLAND (Broncos 16 Raiders 9)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Just Do What They Say And I Won't Get Hurt

Worlds collided on Thursday when everyone's favorite prima donna attention whore extraordinaire Brett Favre put down what should be very temporary roots in the media capital of the world.
This should end well.
Does this look like the face of a guy who ended up where he wanted to go? We swear that if you watch the video closely from yesterday's introductory press conference, you could see Favre blinking in morse code "s-a-v-e-m-e". The whole thing looked like a hostage video. It was very clear that Ol #4 wanted no part of the Jets, and fully expected to be holding up a Viking or Buc jersey at this point.
Too bad, Brett. You played this whole thing about as poorly as it could be done, tarnishing your legacy in the process. Sure, a handful of dumbasses in Green Bay will clamor for your return and never stop loving you, but the large majority of fans think you're an idiot. Football's Roger Clemens, if you will. We hope Aaron Rogers kicks ass this season.
How will this play out? Is it more Joe Montana to KC (got as far as the Conference Championship game) or more like Joe Namath to the Rams (generally shit the bed)? Our guess is somewhere in between, say 8-8, with plenty of slobbering commentary from Peter King and John Madden along the way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Spin it any way you want, but John Calipari's Memphis Tigers gagged one up big time last night. Up by 9 with 2:12 to play, in the biggest game of their lives, and they simply couldn't seal the deal, and lost the NCAA Championship to Kansas, 75-68.

Blame can be placed all around for this one, from the players (whose awful free throw shooting - this has been a problem all season - came back to bite them in the end as they converted only 1 of 5 down the stretch), to the coach, who inexplicably didn't have his team commit a foul on Sherron Collins as he brought the ball upcourt with 10 seconds to go and the Tigers up 3. Hello, McFly? Put him on the line and even if he hits both of 'em, you're still up one with about 5 seconds to go.

Be that as it may, congrats to Kansas, as they still had to convert the opportunities presented to them as the game wound down. Mario Chalmers, welcome to highlight reel immortality.
(photo from Getty Images)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baseball Preview

Here it is. the First Annual BIMRVM Baseball Preview!

Unlike ESPN, these picks actually work - meaning that the Win-Loss totals actually reconcile. As for the accuracy, let's be honest - they can't be any worse than some of the so called experts.

American League
Boston 98- 64 - Champs have too much talent not to win again
NY Yankees 90-72 - Pitching questions offest awesome lineup
Toronto 83-79 - Talented, but two teams above will always be in the way
Tampa Bay 76-86 - Improving, team to watch in 2010
Baltimore 58-104 - Wisely blew up the team to rebuild for real. '08 will be painful.

Detroit 93-69 - Loaded lineup plus decent enough arms allow Tigers to steal division
Cleveland (wc) 91-71 - Enjoy C.C. this year, and order up another bug infestation for October
Chicago W. Sox80-82 - Ozzie Guillen's head just might explode this year. Good times.
Minnesota 73-89 - The post-Johan era begins, but this team won't be down long.
Kansas City 62-100 - Does anyone remember when this was the model franchise?

Seattle 92-70 - A well rounded team with a new ace in Bedard
Anahiem 90-72 - Recent pitching issues will force Halos to come up just short
Texas 73-89 - Hey, maybe G.W. Bush will come back in '09!
Oakland 67-95 - Beane retools his team. Again.

National League
NY Mets 95-67 - Johan will help erase the bitter ending of '07.
Philadelphia 90-72 - Bullpen seems shaky; lineup is best in NL
Atlanta 85-77 - Better, but don't have enough to unseat Mets/Phils.
Washington 79-83 - A big time spoiler that will make the 3 teams' above lives miserable for much of the season. Another one to watch in '09.
Florida 60-102 - Team makes less than ARod in 2008. 'Nuff said.

Chi. Cubs 91-71 - Cubbies are locked and loaded; Behold the power of Fukodome!
Milwaukee 90-72 - Improved Brew Crew fall just short.
St. Louis 82-80 - This is generous, but the hunch is LaRussa will find a way to keep Birds afloat.
Houston 78-84 - Roy Oswalt has to be wondering why he re-upped.
Cincinnati 73-89 - A fun team to watch, but will be on the short end of a few 10-9 games.
Pittsburgh 63-99 - These guys were good once too, right?

Arizona 95-67 - Arms galore equals big time success. Young lineup has another year under it's belt as well.
L.A. (wc) 90-72 - Torre weaves his magic to grab another post-season berth.
San Diego 89-73 - HE MISSED THE PLATE!
Colorado 81-81 - Good young team, but we just see a big post-World Series hangover this year.
San Fran 63-99 - Barry? Barry who?

Division Winners
AL: Boston, Detroit, Seattle
Wild Card: Cleveland

Boston over Cleveland
Seattle over Detroit

AL Champion: Seattle

NL: NY Mets, Chi. Cubs, Arizona
Wild Card: Los Angeles

Arizona over Chi Cubs
NY Mets over Los Angeles

NL Champion: NY Mets

World Series
NY Mets over Seattle

Biased? A little, but the Mets are loaded and ready to win now, and will outlaqst the surprising Mariners in October.

Of course, we could be wrong....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Masters:Welcome, ESPN. Leave The Blowhard Behind

As you might have heard, ESPN was granted the rights to televise the first two rounds of The Masters this year. This is a huge get for the World Wide Leader, another impressive feather to add to the cap which already includes the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR.

Surely, one would think, the coverage would be anchored by someone who is synonymous with the network. Someone who dons an (enormous) green blazer of his own every Masters Sunday while anchoring Baseball Tonight. Someonme who, each year, handles the on-site coverage for the U.S. Open. Someone who has been with the WWL since its inception in 1979. Someone like.....Chris Berman, right?

Um, no.

As reported in Phil Mushnick's column today, the ESPN coverage team does not include the rotund schtickmeister. Since no rationale is given by Masters officials nor ESPN for the omission, it stands to reason that the Augusta National folks, who are extremely protective of the televised presenataion, said a big fat "No" when imaging Berman yukking it up during the telecast.

We'll just have to get by without hearing nicknames for the golfers, tired references to Eagles and/or Fleetwood Mac songs, or a ramble on how a wedge from 90 yards "could...go...all...the.....WAY" into the hole.

How will we manage?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This Hoop Thingy Started Today

Not much comes from this site regarding college hoop, but if there was ever a time for it, it would be now.

We confess to only a passing interest in NCAA BAseketball, despite being in Connecticut, a state which has nothing else sports related with which to concern the folks.

Picks? Yeah, we got 'em. Accept them in the spirit in which they were made - on Thursday morning in a frantic effort to join some online pools. If form holds, this will be the year we win going away. On to the choices....

Sweet 16:
North Carolina over George Mason
Tennessee over Louisville

Winner: North Carolina

(Bold choice there, taking the 1 over the 2, eh?)

Sweet 16:
Vanderbilt over Kansas
Georgetown over Wisconsin

Winner: Georgetown

Sweet 16:
Memphis over Michigan State
Texas over Stanford

Winner: Texas

Sweet 16:
UCLA over Drake
Xavier over Duke

Winner: UCLA

Final Four:
North Carolina over Georgetown
Texas over UCLA

Champion: North Carolina

Boring, safe, and predictable choices. We get the feeling we'll either win the whole thing or be out of the running by Sunday.

We'll keep you posted as events develop.

(Not to get too excited, but as of right now we're 7-0)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dirty? Me?

Shelly Duncan doesn't understand why the Rays (sans Devil) are so hot and bothered about his "slide" yesterday. Look at the photo - does that look like a dirty play to you? Isn't it routine to play "hard nosed ball" by attempting to separate the pivot from his testicles?

The whole thing started last week when a Tampa Bay single-A player (trying, no doubt, to make an impression on the manager)ran into a Yankee single-A catcher during a play at the plate, breaking the young man's wrist. Apparently, there is some unwritten baseball rule which states one is not supposed to do things like that during spring training. Decorum states you stand there and get tagged, as one would in T-Ball. Yankee manager Joe Girardi got his panties all twisted and raised a stink, then was promptly rebuffed by Don Zimmer now a Rays coach). For a guy who is supposedly more Old School than former boss Joe Torre, Girardi sure sounded a little whiny about this whole deal.

Yesterday's game began with a plunking, which, if we're following the unwritten rules, meant the matter was then settled.

Oh no, sir, not by a longshot.

Enter Shelly Duncan and the slide shown here. Maybe if we were forced to go through life with a girl's name, we might be a tad more likely to feel the need to prove our masculinity say, daily. Listen, Shelly, take out your anger on your parents, not opponents.

We do secretly love the fact that the Rays are doing everything possible to engage this new rivalry with the big bad Yankees, and hope that the fireworks continue throughout the upcoming season.

Yanks' Duncan still doesn't know why Rays reacted to spikes high slide (ESPN)
(AP photo)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Love Mickey Mantle - Can I Play Now?

Speaking of stupid spring training stunts, the Yankees have pulled off a doozy. They're allowing long time Yankee fan (despite wearing a Mets cap in City Slickers) Billy Crystal to suit up and appear in a game.

Maybe it's just us, but if we were pitching for the Pirates we would not hesitate to buzz one right under his freaking chin. C'mon, you know if they were playing Tampa that's exactly what would happen!

How's The Slim Fast Thing Working Out, Tommy?

Isn't this cute? Former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasroda was allowed by current manager Joe Torre to take the reins for a spring game yesterday. Just for old times sake, and not at all for the benefit of the cameras, Ol' Number 2 even found the time to get into an argument with an umpire! Wow! Nothing contrived about that. And damn, doesn't he look great for his age? What are the odds he eschewed the post-game spread and instead enjoyed a nice glass of carrot juice and a little bean sprout salad?
Dodger beat writers will tell you that the whole persona this guy created for himself was total bullshit - he was a cantankerous bastard through and through. For us, nothing was better than the time he encountered Stuttering John.
To quote Irwin M. Fletcher, upon seeing a picture of Lasorda with the police chief:
Fletch: Hey! You and Tommy Lasorda! [points to picture, which is surrounded by dozens of celeb photos]]
Chief: (proudly) Yeah!
Fletch: [punches picture, cracking glass] I hate Tommy Lasorda.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Time To Can The Pro Bowl

The NFL played its annual Hawaii vacation All-Star game this past Sunday, not that you would have noticed. Seriously, half the big name players decline to attend, and the game itself generates absolutely zero interest. For that matter, All Star games in general seem to be on the decline - witness how baseball decided to spice things up by attaching home field advantage in the World Series to the winner, which will go down as one of the dumbest ideas of all time. The NBA game amounts to nothing more than a defenseless dunkfest, while the NHL version, while freewheeling, still places little to no emphasis on things that are important, like contact. Baseball, Basketball and Hockey have tries to make events of the games by celebrating All Star Weekends, or similarly themed Fan Fests, which were cool at first (like the Slam Dunk contest or Home Run Derby), but have seen interest on the wane.

The beef here, however, is with the NFL. By its very nature, football is a brutal contact sport. PLaying an actual game in which players clearly want to do nothing more than avoid getting hurt is never a good idea. Absolutely nothing is at stake for the participants, either. Seeing that the contract the league was under to hold the game in Hawaii each year is up, now is as good a time as any to call it a day and shut this game down. Would anyone actually care, other than the Honolulu tourism board? Quick: name the last 5 winners of the Pro Bowl? See, nobody cares!

The solution, then? We like the idea of integrating the All Star players with the events of Super Bowl week. Some have mentioned playing the game during the off week, but again, the game isn't the thing. Also, what about the players who are playing in the Super Bowl? No way in hell their respective coaches allow them to do this. How about naming the actual Pro Bowlers after the conclusion of the regular season? Once the All Conference players have been named, setup an event in the host city which honors these guys, and throw in the annual awards (MVP, Rookie of the Year, etc.) while you're at it, and make it the NFL Annual Awards Night or some such thing. A black tie event, with high priced tickets, right smack dab in the middle of the biggest self-congratulatory party week an organization can throw itself sonds like a winner to us.

So, to review: no more Pro Bowl, huge public high priced slobberfest instead, massive coverage, everybody wins. Mr. Goodell, you can contact us at the e-mail address provided for further details. We'll take a cut rate, because we care.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


This is a rough time of year to be a sports fan. Even though the NFL has managed to extend itself into February, thus shortening the space between the end of football and the beginning of meaningful hockey/hoop/baseball, the remainder of this month consists of….not much.
Okay, okay, stop it. "College Hoops", you say. Bleh. Wake us up when the conference tournaments start, and the March Madness seeds become a reality. "What about pitchers and catchers?" Again, nice, but not quite the real deal. Other than the first day when you begin seeing baseball players back in uniform, tossing balls and taking BP swings, we’re left with very little of interest amidst a barrage of spring training reports. Don’t you love those? After three weeks of hearing about your #3 starter’s new and improved slider, or the battle for the 24th roster spot on your local team, there’s not much happening.

"The Pro Bowl?" Please.

"NBA All Star Weekend?" You’re kidding, right?

"NFL Draft speculation?" Stop it. Stop that right now.

Hurry up and get here, March, we’ve got brackets to fill out

This Really Did Happen, Right?

Four days later and it still takes a minute to pause and realize that the Giants won the freaking Super Bowl, and Eli Manning is the MVP. This really happenend, right?
Pretty much everything that could have been said afterwards has been already, but a few things still stand out for us:

4th and 13, Coach Bellichick? Going for it on 4th and 13? If you can't trust your kicker to hit a 48 yarder, indoors, then he shouldn't be on the roster (recall that the terminally shaky Lawrence Tynes hit a 47 yarder in frigid Green Bay two weeks ago to get the Giants to this game?). It's unknown whether this was simple arrogance on Bellichick's part, thinking his juggernaut offense would bury the Giants with a TD, or just a lapse in judgement. It would be hard to understand the arrogance angle, given how his team was having all kinds of issues moving the ball anyway up until that point.
Seeing Tom Brady hit the turf time and time again was truly an amazing sight to see, especially when recalling how many times during the 18-0 run he just sat there, untouched, scanning the field for a receiver.
The Manning to David Tyree play, which is still awaiting a name for the ages. There are no words. Care to suggest what we call this play, a la "The Catch", or "The Drive"?
Tom Petty ripping through a note perfect version of "Free Fallin’" – just as the Pats dream began to crumble.
The racist stereotype ad. Wow. Just, wow.
[Note: The ad has since been pulled due to the uproar it caused. Imagine that.]

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Now We Believe

He even wore the traditional blue hat. Let's Go Mets.

Really, Steve Kerr? Really?

In what already sounds like a done deal, the Phoenix Suns are set to acquire Shaquille O'Neal from the Miami Heat in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

Like most of the sports world, we're having a hard time figuring out why this trade would take place, specifically, why would Phoenix want to do this? Let's do a Pro/Con breakdown, from a Suns perspective:

Chemistry: Marion is unhappy, and has publicly said so.
Banks has an absolutely ridiculous contract for a backup.
Getting Shaq in the middle allows Amare Stoudamire to move to his more natural power forward spot, playing next to his idol.
A motivated Shaq can still be an unstoppable force (at least if he's healthy).
Having him in the middle provides better match-ups against the center loaded Western Conference (against which this team is only 14-12).
The window is closing for this group, and standing pat simply wasn't going to get them a title.
The Suns have been way too reliant on shooting three's of late, and dropping Shaq in the middle will force opponents to collapse a little more than they have been.

Have you seen Shaq play recently? The guy is a shell of his former self.
He's not healthy.
How does he fit into Mike D'Antoni's offense, which stresses run-run-run?
Does this signify a power shift or the very least, a change in philosophy for Phoenix? It would be hard to imagine D'Antoni being in favor of this move.
Why Shaq? He is owed $40 Million, and this is a team which is adamently opposed to paying any luxury taxes. Wouldn't Marcus Camby be a better, more athletic fit?
Is this just a panic move in response to the Lakers getting Pau Gasol over the weekend?

This could completely backfire, but the conventional wisdom says this team had to do something if it wants to go deep into the playoffs and bring home that title which has long eluded the city of Phoenix. We're still not convinced, but as Suns fans, will sit back and hope for the best.

Maybe Shaq won't pass his physical, and make the whole thing a moot point?

(UPDATE: He passed. It's a done deal.)

Sources: Suns a 'yes' away from acquiring Shaq for Marion (ESPN)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl Preview

Finally, can we get to the damn game already? Whatever genius from the NFL made the executive decision to stick an extra week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, look what you have wrought. Media Day is an absolute joke, where nothing of note has happened since Jim McMahon mooned a helicopter in 1986. Reporters from such sports non-entities as and Entertainment Tonight descend upon the host city looking for “fun” “entertaining” “stories”, resulting in such hard hitting tales of what Tom Brady is doing at his baby mama’s house at 9:00 in the morning. Riveting stuff.

It’s a shame too, because as potentially great a game this could turn out to be, one gets the feeling it could’ve been even better had it been played last Sunday. The Giants’ momentum coupled with the drama surrounding Brady’s ankle….sounds like a great game. Too bad we had to endure BootGate instead.

That said, we feel this will still be a competitive game. Let’s do a little breakdown and see where we end up:

When The Pats Have The Ball – Ahh, so many weapons, only one football. Much has been made of how this group has slowed down as the season progressed, and there is some statistical evidence, mainly on the scoreboard, to support this. However, getting back into a dome/warm environment could be just what the doctor ordered to let this bunch flourish as it did in September/October. How impressive have the Pats been in the playoffs? Randy Moss has two, count ‘em, two catches in the two games, and they’re still here, winning by an average of 10 points. Brady is not afraid to make full use of everybody, and when Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson, Dante Stallworth or Jabar Gaffney are all covered, he dumps to no-longer unsung hero Kevin Faulk. Truly a terrifying bunch, and one that is no doubt keeping Giant defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo from getting a lot of sleep this week. Oh, and the emergence of a ground game, which drained the final 9 plus minutes of the AFC title game behind Lawrence Maroney and occasionally Heath Evans, needs to be considered as well. If there is one team that has as front seven which could unnerve the Pats, it’s the boys from Jersey. No team was better this year in pressuring the QB, and the Pats should expect plenty of heat along with some looks they didn’t see either on film or during the Week 17 match-up. Football purists will be in their glory watching the trenches during this game, particularly the Matt Light/Osi Umenyoura battle. The key will be found here, as any lack of pass rush or general pressure from the front seven will put immense pressure on the Giant secondary, which is no doubt still smarting from that December night in the Meadowlands. It will be a long night for these guys if Osi and Michael Strahan don’t make some noise.

When The Giants Have The Ball – What else can be said about Eli Manning? The kid has been fantastic in getting his team here, and you can see his confidence and leadership growing with each win. Jersey will not be intimidated by this Pats defense, which they moved the ball on quite well in Week 17. Only when the Pats started blitzing were they able to slow down Manning, so he should expect to see some blitzes, or blitz looks, early on. One way to neutralize that is by utilizing the double barreled ground attack of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw – both of whom have been able to pick up crucial yardage in big spots. Doing this along with a controlled passing attack could enable the Giants to drain some clock, keep an older bunch of guys on the field for a long time and, most importantly, keep Brady and Co. on the sidelines.

Special Teams – Lawrence Tynes is an adventure, and many Giant fans are hoping that this doesn’t come down to a late FG attempt. Nothing else about either team’s units poses a significant edge over the other.

Coaching – It’s been said that if you give Bill Bellichick two weeks, and he’ll usually come out ahead. Tough to argue with that, but don’t underestimate Tom Coughlin. Rarely, if ever, mentioned when talking about great current coaches, the guy seems to always find his way to the playoffs, and finally got over the hump to make his first Super Bowl. He modified his approach this year, and his players responded in kind. Well, losing Tiki Barber likely helped him a lot as well, since it eliminated the whispers to the beat writers that the Today Show pretty boy became noted for. Watching how the Pats players rallied around their leader after the whole “SpyGate” thing in Week 1 showed how much these guys love their coach too. Don’t think for a minute that these guys don’t want 19-0 as much for Bellichick as for themselves.

The Pick – All signs point to a close game, and we honestly have been going back and forth since the Tynes kick sailed through the frozen Lambeau uprights as to which team we would pick. We could see the Giants grinding it out a la the bunch that upset the Bills in Supe XXV. We could also see a high scoring, wildly entertaining repeat of the 38-35 game from December. After all that, we’re going with what many might feel is a cop out: Pats win, Giants cover, and the inevitable 19-0 dream year becomes a reality. Bonus: we’ll never have to see another televised interview with Mercury Morris!

Giants (+13.5)
Let’s say Patriots 31 Giants 20

Not So Fast...

This is what we Met fans fear the most right now: being unable to get the contract worked out for Johan Santana, and watching the deal get nullified just as the vision of a blue pinstriped S A N T A N A 57 was beginning to dance in our heads.

Remember, you're talking about fans who have recently seen seemingly sure things go the other way:
October 2006 - win NLCS Game 6, with Game 7 at home, huge momentum changing catch by Chavez, called striked three, game and season over.
September 2007 - up 7 with 17 to know the rest.....

Until we see a press conference where the best pitcher in baseball dons a blue NY cap (not the black/blue aberration) and pulls on the aforementioned jersey, not one chicken will be counted.

According to the ESPN's Jayson Stark, the stumbling block revolves around the length of the contract. Santana's agents want a six year extension, the Mets would rather only guarantee five. Whatever, guys, either way he instantly becomes the highest paid pitcher in baseball, both in total and average annual salary. With a new stadium on the horizon, plus the cash cow SNY available to tap into, there should be no issues. Just get the damn deal done already. Now. Please?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And The Winner Is......The Mets?!?

As you've no doubt heard by now, Johan Santana, the current Best Pitcher In Baseball, has been traded to the Mets in exchange for four young players. Whooah!

The deal is pending the signing of a contract extension which will deliver a metric assload of money to Mr. Santana, plus the requisite physical. It would be a huge surprise if the deal didn;t go down, since the Mets have to know roughly what it will take to lock up the lefty for the foreseeable future.

Mets GM Omar Minaya can now be forgiven for the inactivity of the last few months, with the notable exception of the head scratching Lastings Milledge/Ryan Church/Brian Schnieder deal in November. One thing is certain: there are no longer any excuses for this team to not win the East in '08. A rotation headed by the innings eating strikeout machine that is Santana, followed by a healthier Pedro Martinez, a maturing John Maine and Oliver Perez, with El Duque where he belongs as a fifth starter should be able to dominate the National League. The bullpen gets Duaner Sanchez back, which is huge as well. The offense should be fine, provided the extended slump Carlos Delgado went through last year was more an aberration than the beginning of a decline in skills. Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran will still be the main cogs, and a full year from hitting machine Moises Alou would be nice. It will be interesting to see how these guys respond to being an overwhelming favorite, especially after the classic collapse of '07.

The best part of the whole trade, though? Simple - #57 will not be suiting up for the Yankees or the Red Sox, much to the chagrin of ESPN, which simply adores all things pertaining to those two teams. Ha!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Get Well, Knucklehead

Best wishes go out to Michael Wilbon, who suffered chest pains yesterday and had an angioplasty done. As one of the few personalitites left on the Worldwide Leader whom we can tolerate, we honestly wish him a speedy return to health, and PTI.

[Must. Resist. Urge. To write "shoulda been you, name of obnoxious ESPN personality joke here]

Boston Fans, Media Play It Safe

You can bet the Patriots are a confident bunch heading into the Super Bowl, and with good reason: being the first team ever to go 18-0 will have that effect. Despite this fact, one will be hard pressed to hear any arrogance from them as the week progresses. Bill Bellichick runs a pretty tight ship, and you won't hear any declarations like "We're gonna win" out of the mouths of Brady, Bruschi, or even Moss. Boring? Maybe, but pretty standard stuff nonetheless.
The Boston media and fans, however, are a different story.
Risking embarassment, or just trying to strike just before the iron gets hot, two products hit the market yesterday:

1.) A book about the magical 19-0 season, courtesy of the Boston Globe, available for pre-order

2.) "19-0" T-Shirts, which you can "wear as history happens"...or be doused with salsa and beer and soundly humiliated when your dream dies.

The Pats can't be too happy about these things, while Giants coach Tom Coughlin will undoubtedly use them as motivational tools. In prior years things like this would be ready to go before the game, but wouldn't be advertised until the result was assured. Announcing their availability before the game just smacks of arrogance from a fan base which, admittedly, has plenty to crow about over the past few years.

We kinda liked Boston fans more when they were loveable losers. These jerks are just begging for a nice healthy dose of schadenfreude.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Following The Clemens Blueprint...Except For The Injections

Teemu Selanne is taking a page from the Roger Clemens playbook and is returning to the Ducks for the remainder of the season.

To be fair, the Finnish star never actually said he was retiring, never accepted the farewell accolades, and never took any cars or prizes on his way out. It is heretofore unknown if he has received any ass injections prior to the return (allegedly, of course).

Teammate Scott Neidermayer did a similar thing, and one wonders if this will become standard operating procedure for guys 35-plus. Skipping training camp at that age, and joining the team for the second half of the season plus playoffs, could prove to be a recipe for success, especially if the Ducks can repeat as Cup champs.

The Ducks are currently the #5 seed in the Western Conference.

After considering retirement, Selanne agrees to one-year deal with Ducks

Friday, January 25, 2008

You're Dead Wood But I Won't Fire You

Raiders owner Al Davis is apparently still alive, and continuing his sad, downward spiral. Hiring Lane Kiffin as his coach just a year ago did little to dispel the notion that any man follish enough to take this job would be constantly haunted by the specter of the crypt-keeper-like owner. Conventional wisdom dictated that the young coach would be merely a puppet for the whims of the crazy old man.

The result? A dismal 4-12 season. Losing patience, Davis allegedly asked Kiffin to resign his position so he could bring in Dennis "Crown Their Asses" Green to oversee the ongoing train wreck. As usual, control over player decisions is playing a factor. Kiffin, however, has other ideas - he's not giving Davis the satisfaction.

According to Chris Mortensen:
Davis has gone so far to draft a letter of resignation for Kiffin to sign, a source said. Kiffin has refused to do so but has dared Davis to fire him instead.

Kiffin, who was 4-12 in his first season as coach, has two years remaining on his contract at an estimated $2 million per year.

We love the idea of a lawyer calling up the coach and saying that your boss would like him to step down, likely so he won't have to pay him, and expecting the coach to say, "Sure, okay that sounds perfectly reasonable."

Fight the power, Lane!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It Could Be Worse

As much as we (and just about everyone else) hate how the NFL insists on taking an extra week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl every year, we do take some small comfort in realizing that somehow, on some level, it would have been ten times more unbearable if the Packers had won. Imagine the number of slobbering articles and gushing reports from Arizona as everybody's favorite gunslingin' fun havin' good ol' warrior Brett Favre was involved.


By comparison, having to endure 10 days of Manning related stories versus The State Of Brady's Foot doesn't sound so bad. Can't wait to see if anyone makes an ass of himself at Media Day. We're betting on Rodney Harrison, since he might actually hear some questions about A) Roids or B) his general asshole-ish tactics on the field. Grow a pair, media guys, and grill him. What's the worst that could happen, other than perhaps a little skirmish?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

NFL Picks - Conference Championships

It's going to be hard to top last week, let's get that out there right now. After an intensifying as the game progressed snowstorm in Green Bay to the Jags giving the Pats a decent battle on Saturday, followed by the Colts-Bolts see saw game to Big Blue showing a ton of grit and teamwork to shut down the Cowboys on Sunday, it was a tremendous 48 hours. To top it off, we went 3-1 as well, as only Indy didn't fare as expected.

Obviously, it sucks to be a team comes this far and loses. That gets compounded when you are the team that is expected to do well, only to find your season suddenly over. Despite all that, only in rare cases can a team say "we were robbed" or "they didn't win the game, we lost it!" or some such things, and 99% of the time these statements are made when the loss stings like a fresh wound, so they're taken with a grain of salt. None of this, however, applies to the idiotic statement by Dallas coach Wade Phillips a full day after his top seeded Cowboys were bounced by the Giants. "The better team didn't win", said the coach. Really, Wade? Let's have a look at that, shall we?

Is that "the better team" which committed a staggering 11 penalties (for 84 yards), many of them devastating?

Or is it "the better team" whose offensive line was gasping for wind in the fourth quarter as the Giant defensive lineman blew by them?

Perhaps it was "the better team" who had receivers aligator arming several passes, while dropping several others?

Sorry, Wade, but the better team emerged with the win on Sunday, despite what the yardage and time of possession numbers say. And, you are now 0-4 in the postseason.

The biggest highlight of the weekend, maybe the entire season however, had to be this:

Man, we're getting teary just watching it again, but these are from laughing so damn hard. What an ass.

On to the picks...

AFC - 3:00 PM EST
NEW ENGLAND (-13.5) over San Diego
All things being equal, the Pats are the clear choice, despite the fact that their games have gotten tighter as the second half of the season wore on. Toss in the number of dings to key Charger players and it seems like the Bolts will have a hard time keeping this one close at all. The Pats can taste it now, and the realization that they are just 2 games away from immortality is all the motivation they'll need. Throw in some stupid comments by Igor Olshansky, and the general douchebaggery that is Philp Rivers, and you're just adding more fuel to the fire.

KEY PLAYERS: San Diego - Antonio Cromartie. The ball hawking, big play abilities of this guy can play a huge factor in how well the Patriots offense can produce. Cro is always around the ball, and has an uncanny knack for finding the end zone (see last week's called back TD just before halftime, on what was a pretty bogus call). If he can disrupt Moss, Welker and the rest, it could force Tom Brady to check off and look for his 3rd or 4th option - perhaps giving Shawne Merriman and the gang a chance to knock Brady on his butt. For New England, we'll go with Randy Moss. He caught only one ball last week, but his presence alone caused matchups which allowed Wes Welker to grab approximately 57 balls, and Brady to be near perfect. If he draws double coverage, look for a repeat of last week. If not, he'll be a human highlight reel.

The Pick: No sense picking against what has seemed to be inevitable for months. Patriots 34 Chargers 15

NFC - 6:30 PM EST
NY Giants (+7) over GREEN BAY
First things first, the weather will be just as much a pain in the ass to Brett Favre as it will be to Eli Manning. Though it was a Winter Wonderland in Wisconsin last week, it wasn't accompanied by bone rattling temps and sub-zero wind chills. You don't have to look back very far (Week 16 in Chicago) to see how this severe weather affected Favre - he was brutal, as was the entire Packer team in a 35-7 loss. Manning has been no day at the beach either in these types of situations, but all this talk of "Packer Weather" and what not just sounds like posturing at this point. Both teams have solid running games, and the one that proves more effective and mistake free will likely lead its team to the Super Bowl.

KEY PLAYERS: New York - Eli Manning. Should the game plan work as designed, Eli should have to simply manage the game, not force any passes, and keep his cool, just like he's been doing since the Week 17 kickoff against New England. He's done a good job thus far, and doesn't get rattled in hostile environments, however if the G-Men fall behind early it will be interesting to see how he responds. For Green Bay, let's go with Ryan Grant. The ex-Giant had the game of his young career last week, and the fact that he bounced back after two disastrous early fumbles which resulted in Seattle touchdowns made his day even sweeter. He won't have the slippery field advantage this week, and the Giants showed they could clamp down on the run in the second half last week. Suffice it to say that if Grant gets his yards, the Packers will be hoisting the Halas trophy around 10:00 on Sunday.

The Pick: Somehow, Favre makes it happen, and the NFL gets the match up it wants.
Packers 24 Giants 21

Last Week: 3-1
Playoff Total: 4-3-1