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