I am back for another week of college football prognostication.
Yes I know I missed last weekend’s picks, and no I did not have bird flu like some of you have suggested. I merely got a severe case of procrastinationitis. Trust me you wouldn’t have wanted my picks anyway, it was a tough weekend, let’s just leave it at that. Anywho, there are a multitude of big games this weekend. This is the weekend that will separate the men from the boys.
West Virginia (4-0) @ South Florida (4-0): Depending on how Rutgers does the rest of the season this game may as well end up deciding the champion of the Big East. Pat White and Steve Slaton of West Virginia roll into Tampa Bay looking to avenge last year’s loss to the Bulls. Up until South Florida’s upset win over West Virginia last year most people, including myself, had no idea that South Florida had a competitive football program. There are some key names to watch - guys who will no doubt be 1st round picks in upcoming NFL Drafts. QB Pat White or “Mike Vick 3.0” (Remember Marcus Vick was Mike Vick 2.0) and RB Steve Slaton of West Virginia as well as QB Matt Grothe and DE George Selvie of South Florida. Selvie, a sophomore may just be the best DE in all of college football. This will be a back and forth, high scoring game, West Virginia will squeak out a victory, but not cover the spread of -7.5.
West Virginia 43 – South Florida 41
Cal (4-0) @ Oregon (4-0): This will be the game of the week by far. Two of the best offences in the nation, yet two of the poorest defenses in the nation. The winner of this game will undoubtedly be the only challenger to USC for the PAC-10 title. Oregon at home is almost unbeatable, the home crowd and the running ability of the Ducks QB Dennis Dixon out of the spread offence gives the Ducks the upper hand in this one. The Ducks will pull out the victory but not cover the spread.
Oregon 38 – Cal 35
Michigan St (4-0) @ Wisconsin (4-0): This will be a close, low scoring game where the favorite doesn’t cover the spread. Both teams may be a combined 8 – 0 but their wins have come against some weak opponents (ie: Notre Dame and The Citadel) and in these wins both teams have failed to put up the big numbers that you would expect to see. Wisconsin should pull out the victory thanks to what is one of the loudest crowds in the nation at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin 17 – Mich St 16
Clemson (4-0) @ Georgia Tech (2-2): Clemson goes into Atlanta as 3 point favorites against a Georgia Tech team that is coming of two straight losses to Boston College and Virginia. Georgia Tech’s explosive offense that was showcased at Notre Dame in week 1 is now proving to be more due to the lack of talent at Notre Dame than the Georgia Tech offense itself. Clemson with its dynamic back field duo of James Davis and CJ Spiller along with QB Cullen Harper who is the 7th ranked passer in the nation with 12 TD’s and 0 Ints should easily handle the Georgia Tech defense that was eviscerated by Virginia the previous week. Look for Clemson to cover the -2.5 point spread.
Clemson 24 – Georgia Tech 17
Pitt (2-2) @ Virginia (3-1): Dave Wannstedt was thrown out for life from the NFL (So I was told) for incompetent coaching abilities and now those same inept coaching abilities are on display at Pitt. Pitt is coming of an embarrassing loss to UConn, a school only known for basketball, while Virginia is coming of an upset win against Georgia Tech. Virginia has won 3 straight after an opening week loss to Wyoming and I see the streak staying alive this weekend. Virginia should cover the -7.5 point spread.
Virginia 27 – Pitt 7
And now finally my lock of the week. I am 0 – 2 on my lock of the week so far, in all honestly I thought the Generals were due. This week I look to change all that with this Saturday’s game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida St Seminoles...
Alabama (3-1) @ Florida St (2-1): The last time these two storied programs met was way back in 1974. I believe segregation was still all the rave with Paul “Bear” Bryant on his Alabama team that year. These two meet up at a neutral site in Jacksonville where there will be 40,000 Bama fans and 40,000 Seminole fans so home advantage is non-existent here. New Bama coach Nick Saban and his group of Crimson Tide are coming of a heartbreaking OT loss at home to Georgia last weekend. A game so exciting that ESPN’s Mike Patrick felt it more important to discuss the goings on of one Britney Spears in OT, during the winning play. It was Hilarious! This game should be no different. A defensive battle between two teams who excel at defense but suck, and suck out loud at offence. Florida States 2 wins have come against poor opponents in UAB and Colorado while Alabama has defeated a good team in Arkansas and a decent team in Vanderbilt. Florida St is favored to win by -2.5. I look for Alabama to win this game outright.
Alabama 20 – Florida St 16
Friday, September 28, 2007
I am back for another week of college football prognostication.
I said yesterday I was going to do an NHL Preview...but I just couldn't find the energy. I think the NHL has got to win me back as a fan before I can get excited about it again. Incompetent owners, a corrupt union, an on-ice product that I don't think is 'all the way back' and guys being stretchered off the ice almost weekly - have all really soured me. I'm still a Flames fan and I'll watch some Saturday night games but I won't be watching Dallas/Minnesota on a Tuesday night. I'll hit the highlights here and there with my coverage but I definitely won't be blanketing it.
And if you really want my opinion, Steve Downie should be suspended for the year. Clearly someone needs to be made example of - and why not him? Hits to the head is an issue that is going to dog the NHL until they finally address it one way or another.
12-4 in picks last week, try to do better this week...
Houston @ Atlanta
I'm going the other way on this one and I really, really have no idea why. Houston's receivers and running backs are so banged up right now I don't know who Matt Schaub is going to get the ball to. Atlanta has to win a game at some point...don't they?
NY Jets @ Buffalo
Once upon a time this would have been a classic AFC East battle - neither of the terms 'classic' or 'battle' now apply. Just like Atlanta, Buffalo has to win at some point...but I don't think it's going to be this week - too many injuries to overcome.
Winner: NY Jets
Baltimore @ Cleveland
I don't think Baltimore is a very good team, I really don't. Mind you, they're playing Cleveland - and I know they're not a good team.
St. Louis @ Dallas
You know in movies when someone says, "Piece of cake," or "This is going to be no problem," the exact opposite is actually true - it is not a piece of cake and it is going to be a problem. I'm thinking this might be that game for Dallas. St. Louis is missing its entire starting offensive line, their star running back is out and their quarterback has multiple broken ribs. Am I over thinking this? Why do I not think this is the slam dunk for Dallas it should be? I've got a bad feeling about this.
Chicago @ Detroit
Chicago's defence is beat up worse than Tina Turner circa 1978...too soon? Both starting cornerbacks are out, the starting safety, and possibly both starting defensive tackles...and maybe a starting linebacker. Detroit is built to beat people through the air and they should be able to do it against Chicago's once-proud defence. Of course Detroit can't stop anybody either and with the much anticipated debut of Brian Griese for the Bears it might be a shootout.
Oakland @ Miami
Revenge game. Daunte Culpepper looks to be finally getting a chance in Oakland and as luck would have it, he'll be playing the team that gave up on him in 0.001 nanoseconds - the Miami Dolphins. I suspect he's going to be properly motivated.
Green Bay @ Minnesota
The general rule of thumb is that you never bet on Brett Favre in a dome. However, I read yesterday that in his last 4 games in Minnesota Favre has averaged over 300 yards a game and has 10 touchdowns - thank you very much Matthew Berry. And that was when he wasn't even playing very well.
Winner: Green Bay
Seattle @ San Francisco
If I were a betting man, I'd be very leery about taking Seattle on the road this week. They lost both games they played against the 49ers last year. And even though San Francisco has the worst offence in the league, Seattle's defence is about as porous as a...well, something funny that's porous. I feel I'm going out on a limb here...
Winner: San Francisco
Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Honestly, I have no idea...There's a very real possibility that Tampa might actually be a good team. I don't know why that makes me sad.
Winner: Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh @ Arizona
Do you realize that Pittsburgh has only given up 8.7 points per game this year? Do you realize that Kurt Warner might be playing quarterback for Arizona?
Kansas City @ San Diego
Well Kansas City is not going to start 0-7, thankfully. And as hard as it is to believe, if Kansas City pulls out a win and Denver loses, KC will be tied for the division lead in the AFC West. But I don't see it happening. Although if San Diego loses this game at home, Norv Turner might be out of a job on Monday.
Winner: San Diego
Denver @ Indianapolis
This is finally the game that exposes Denver for what they really are - a bad team. "The Broncos are who we thought they were!" - sorry, just blacked out for a second there. Denver should really be 0-3 and not 2-1, I'm not sure why this bothers me as much as it does.
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
Was Philly's dismantling of Detroit an aberration? Was the Giants win more about Washington's collapse? I'm guessing yes to both of those. However, I'm still sticking with the Donovan F. McNabb train until it ruins me. Plus the Giants have Plaxico Burress on a wonky ankle and absolutely no defence.
New England @ Cincinnati
We might have to take legal action to get the Patriots stopped. They're not going to be satisfied until the whole league is laying at their feet in a smoldering rubble. Also my blatant reverse jinxes are not working at all, the Patriots just keep getting better and better. November 4th - New England @ Indianapolis, circle that date on your calender.
Winner: New England
You may have noticed that I've discontinued The Links and Artist of the Week. Finding links every week and a different band was getting to be too much work. That's more in line with what JK is doing on Music, Movies and TV anyway, so I'll leave that in his capable hands - unless someone wants to volunteer their time to do it for Sports As Life. I'll be doing some guest columns on his blog discussing music and things like that anyway - so keep an eye out for those.
Riders 29 - Montreal 18
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Good Morning All,
I had planned on writing something breaking down the new NHL jerseys but as I was browsing ESPN.com this morning I found that they had already done it - and done it much better and more professionally than I could. So check it out - there are lots of links to pictures of all the new jerseys.
Me? I think some of the new jerseys are not too bad - on the whole I think they're better than I though they'd be...but that's not saying much. It seems like the players don't like them too much, as it says in the Uni Watch article. We'll have to see how this plays out over the year.
I think I'll talk about the jerseys a little bit as the season starts and I actually watch a couple games.
I'm also thinking of doing a very, very short NHL preview - so that might be happening later in the day.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
...I got nothing to say.
...Some days it seems like there are a thousand things more important than sports that I should be writing about. But then I think that people also need diversion from those "more important" things sometimes - and I suppose I'm ok with providing that.
...Have you seen this latest coach tirade yet? It's college football coach Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, after a win I believe. Honestly, I don't really know the specifics of the situation but good for him for standing up for his team. But check out the video at the 2:25 mark, you won't laugh harder all week, I guarantee it.
...And since we're on the subject of coach tirades - you know what that means. This is quickly becoming my trampoline bear - there are probably 3 people out there who got that joke.
...Just for the heck of it.
...The NHL season starts next week? I am not ready for hockey at all.
...Are these NHL games in England part of the pre-season or the regular season?
...I see the NHL is picking up right where it left off - Steve Downie tried to decapitate Dean McAmmond last night...see for yourself. I said a few months ago that if something isn't done about hits to the head a player will die on the ice within 5 years - now I'm thinking more like 3.
...Ottawa head coach John Paddock had a great quote about what Downie did to his player, "I don't know what they can do with a player who's probably going to be in the minors. But it was one of those totally unnecessary [hits]." (from cbc.ca) I like Paddock already.
...And apparently Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo is going to quit hockey if the NHL decides to increase the size of the nets - read for yourself from ESPN.com.
...This is already adding up to be a bad start for the NHL.
...Well I was right about Sherko Haji-Rasouli of the B.C Lions being suspended for one game and Rob Murphy being fined. Apparently Eric Tillman got fined 1,000 bucks for his smart mouth as well.
...What happens if the Roughriders finish 9-9 and don't get a home playoff game?
...What do you people out there want to see for NHL coverage? I honestly have no idea how I'm going to do it. Suggestions are welcome and needed. With all the major sports running at once I'm going to be running out of hours in the day. I'm going to have to find a sponsor...soon.
...Hopefully you'll see something about the new NHL jerseys here tomorrow.
I'm 0-3 and starting 2 white wide receivers (not that I'm disparaging the athletic ability of white people) - I may never write about Fantasy Football again. Here are Trevor's Fantasy tips for the week...
First of all, I’ll start off with CHECK YOU ROSTERS.
This is the first bye week and you don’t want to be starting anyone from the Jags, Skins, Saints, or Titans. Chances are if you're starting any players from those teams except Reggie Bush or Clinton Portis you're probably in trouble already. Also you probably have a RB or two on your team that has an injury. Not sure what happened but the ones I’m aware of now (tues night) McCalister, Alexander, Steven Jackson, Caddillac, Fragile Fred, Larry Johnson, Rudi Johnson, Westbrook, Derrick Ward, Ahman Green. So the big ones are McCalister, Jackson, maybe Rudi and Green, the rest will probably play…but take a look at the RB situations right now.
Look at a growing trend….Caddy (who I thought would have a good game), he’s banged up this past week and lost goal line carries, Watson from Cincy also got some work, Reuben Droughns picked up goal line work from Ward. How many RB’s are on the free agent list right now with TD’s, but only have like 50 yds rushing. It doesn’t matter who your top running back is, if he ain't getting goal line carries you should look elsewhere and any injury has implications.
Lastly for those who don’t have the perfect team...there are some interesting pick-ups in most leagues…should check some out.
Now on to some apologies, to those who benched Chad Pennington in favor for Jason Campbell or Josh McCown, sorry.
But if you sat Matt Schaub, LJ, or Edge then you're welcome. In order to show you I’m not afraid to stand behind my prediction I started Josh McCown over Tony Romo. Now stupid…perhaps, but I would do the same thing all over again. At the moment I changed my QB Cooper was behind by 1 pnt with Chad Johnson, Drew Brees and Ronald Curry yet to play. Whereas I had Steve Smith and a QB (by the end of the morning games he would have been ahead outright). I thought Romo could get 200 yds, 1 TD…thinking the Bears wouldn’t allow a huge score and the (Marion) Barber would steal a TD. McCown had the chance to put up big numbers against a weak secondary… didn’t work out this week but oh well.
For my scoring I forgot to mention for a QB to get the thumbs up it means 15 points, 10 for RB’s and WR’s…the rest - who really cares.
My sleeper picks paid out this week with Harrington and Brown lighting it up. Which brings me to a point already mentioned last week I believe…
You don’t sit your studs. Frank Gore has shown he’s up at the top for RB’s and though he was against Pittsburgh, it doesn’t matter: you can’t sit him for Ronnie Brown. Ronnie did have a favorable match-up but has done nothing to show he’s a #1 or #2 back…a flex player at best. So that’s why Gore stayed in the lineup and Brown was on the bench.
This week I’ll try to do a little better. (17/25). No TE’s or Def…though GB, Dal would be good pick-ups.
Start’em (opposing teams in italics)
Favre – Minny… I would put Favre as a #1 right now it doesn’t matter who the defense is, especially with another WR coming off injury
Romo - St. Louis … Week 2 vs dolphins he was a bit shaky, but now after his performance against the Bears, he’s a top QB... behind Brady and …??
Garcia – Carolina… Did you see what Harrington did last week against the Panthers?
Eli – Philly… This guy is starting to rub off on me, may not be Peyton yet but …
Culpepper – Miami... This is assuming he starts… if you combine the stats of Josh and Daunte last week... not bad so this will be any Oak QB, I think it will be Culpepper but ??? Injuries to Donavon Darius and Zach Thomas has put this defense in a lot of hurt.
Marshawyn Lynch – NY Jets…Did you see what Ronnie Brown did to the Jets last week?
Cedric Benson - Detroit… How do you turn around a season...play the Lions or the Browns.
Lamont Jordan – Miami… This could be the last time he goes on this list with Rhodes coming back from suspension.
Sammie Morris – Cincy… It’s getting thin but with the injuries noted above it’s hard to pick any RB… who isn’t Addai, Gore, Parker. Sammy gets here even though Macaroni (Mauroney) isn’t hurt he doesn’t get goaline work…Sammy does and with an expected many trips to the red zone.
Galloway – Carolina ... Just like last season. He goes high, low, high, low…
Dallas Clark – Denver … I haven’t looked at stats but if someone said he’s outperforming Wayne and Harrison I wouldn’t be surprised
Wes Welker – Cincy… He’s officially #2 WR and has Brady throwing to him. (note: not sure if officially he is #2 but in my books he is)
Vincent Jackson – KC… Finally Rivers started looking his way...big things to come.
Kevin Curtis - NY Giants … this is the toughest one, as Sunday night I said one game wonder. He will not have this performance again, hopefully he wont wear the jersey again… but it looks like he’s the favorite target of McNabb so that right there puts him on the start list.
Brian Griese - Detroit... Originally it was Rex Grossman here but Rexy doesn't have a job anymore - so Griese's on the list now.
Jamal Lewis – Baltimore…This is purely based on match-ups… Balt could scare owners away from Lewis but I think he may give a little bit more this week.
Lee Evans – NY Jets… not sure if this is a sleeper or not, maybe he’s not playing... I haven’t heard anything about him this year. (just checked NFL.com..he’s #5 on the team for yrds and rec).. add that to the fact that the Bills have no TD’s in the air - this may be too big of sleeper but oh well.
Bulger- ?? It doesn’t matter…with 2 OL out and Jackson also out he’s on the bench unless your other choice are Brees or Leinart (damn them both) - he’s playing dallas by the way.
Warner I group them together cause as of right now it seems both coaches are content
McNair with a revolving quarterback ???? again it doesnt matter who they play and
Boller I’m not looking this one up.
Kevin Jones – Chicago…The Bears did give up points and yards but it wasn’t on the ground.
Edge – Pitt… He may have a permanent spot here... though it’s been a bad few match-ups.
LJ – San Diego… His spot is secure here till week 6.
DeAngelo Williams – TB… He should be close to off your team by now but in case your one of those people who listen to how he’s the better back, the system favors him not Foster yadda yadda yadda...at least sit him until further notice (note: I was/am one of those people).
Jerious Norwood – Houston… See the above reasoning, however I have always been a Dunn believer.
James Jones – Minny... Had the opportunity with Jennings being hurt to be #2 but didn’t step up.
Fitz - Pitt... If you haven’t checked out the stats yet, do it…he’s still doing alright but something's amiss plus with no sure qb …
I hate wide receivers... they can be on top one week and at the bottom next. See my team of Steve Smith, Hines Ward...
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
...Vince Young is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the NFL. His athletic ability is so jaw-dropping that every time he's on TV, it's a must watch. I don't care if he's got a funny throwing style. You know what else I like about him - he seems like a decent human being. TH and I were having this discussion about him on Sunday...Young does not perpetuate the "gangster" mentality that is so prevalent in young athletes today. That alone is such a breath of fresh air it makes me want to see him do well. I don't even mind that I'm going to be wrong about the Titans this year because of Young.
...I feel bad for the New Orleans Saints. Last year they brought hope to a city that needed something positive. And now this year they're almost back to being the 'Aints. On a related note, did you know that much-torched Saints cornerback Jason David is Canadian - you can look it up.
...New England is just unstoppable. The only game they might lose is November 4th at Indianapolis. Might. That game will have so many playoff implications, drama and tension it might rip the fabric of space and time. Make sure your insurance is up to date.
...Pittsburgh is actually a pretty good team. They haven't given up a 100 yard rusher since Brittney Spears was a teenage sexpot...which is to say, a long time. Speaking of Brittney, you have to see this clip from a college football game in which announcer Mike Patrick clearly lets his mind wander.
...Denver is inching towards the Do Not Bet On Until Further Notice list - I have no confidence in them right now. If you're keeping track at home the list now includes: Atlanta, Minnesota, Jacksonville, NY Giants, NY Jets, Buffalo, Oakland, Kansas City and Miami. But when two teams on the list are playing each other - all bets are off. I correctly picked the NY Jets and KC Chiefs to cover the spread at home...thank you very much (they were playing Miami and Minnesota respectively). But thanks to Denver and Seattle I was left tearing up my Point Spread ticket once again.
...Joey Harrington and Phillip Rivers are both trying to play their way off the Quarterbacks Who Are Killing Their Teams list...Rex Grossman remains firmly entrenched on the list.
...Why does Jay Cutler insist on wearing Bubby Brister's number 6?
...The downward spiral of NFL Sunday Countdown continues. Tom Jackson now sits and sulks through most of the show.
...Well, I guess that's about it for this week - I'm sure there's about a thousand things I'm forgetting.
"Get that lumber in his teeth. Let 'em know you're there!" - Player/Coach Reg Dunlop
With all the whining and complaining about the brawl between Saskatchewan and B.C on Saturday night I felt compelled to weigh in as well.
Here's what I know:
Should Sherko Haji-Rasoulli be suspended? Yes, absolutely without a doubt. One game and get it over with. Of course this will turn into an A.J Gass Arbitration Situation and if he does end up having to serve a game it won't be for a month. A further indictment of the CFL.
Should Rob Murphy be suspended? Meeehhhh......I don't know. I don't think so. A fine is probably more appropriate. Yeah he had John Chick pinned to the ground, chokehold or not, but Murphy didn't strike Chick or anything. But if Fred Perry doesn't get a fine or suspension for drilling Dave Dickenson in the chin with his helmet, who knows what's appropriate any more?
But here's what I want to know...why oh why oh why didn't any of Chick's teammates come to his defence? Murphy had him pinned to the ground and defenseless and not one of the Rider players came to help him. I think that says more about the Roughrider team than anything else I've seen or heard this year (I will admit that I didn't see the game but in the highlights I saw nobody made any attempt to get Murphy off Chick).
I realize that you don't want your team to be instigating anything and taking more penalties but you do want your team to stand up for itself - there is no way around that. And from what I saw the Roughriders did not stand up for their teammates. Someone should have been horse-collaring Murphy and sending him flying off of Chick.
I think an extra 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty is a small price to pay for something that would undoubtedly bring the team together as a group.
But now... how would you feel if someone from the opposing team had you defenseless on the ground and not one of your teammates came to your aide? Though you may deny it, it would probably make you feel like the people around you were not people you could trust to get your back. And that is not the mentality you want on a team.
What if someone on the Riders had stood up for Chick and blasted Murphy? I think this was the moment the defence has been looking for to give themselves an identity - one of those moments where you either stand up for each other or stand down. There is no doubt in my mind that the defence could have used that as a rallying cry for the rest of the game and probably the rest of the year.
Instead the exact opposite happened, BC used the brawl as a rallying cry to come back in the game.
Make no mistake, that was a street fight and from what I saw Saskatchewan got whipped - but who knows, I could be wrong....
...Ok, I just managed to find some more video of the fight and Fred Perry tugging at Rob Murphy's arm was not an adequate response to the situation.
Anyway...the NFL Review later on today.
Monday, September 24, 2007
First of all, I'm going to preface everything I write today by saying that I didn't watch Saturday's Roughrider/Lions game - I was receiving frequent score updates during a wedding dinner I was at, much to the chagrin of some people at my table I'm sure. And because the media is so saturated with Roughrider material and coverage I generally try to stay away from talking about them too much.
But in the immortal words of Frank Costanza, "I'm back ba-by!"
When Roughrider fans are telling me that they were so depressed after the game they went home and watched United 93 to cheer up, it's time to take action.
We'll start with a story I've been meaning to share with everybody for the past week but the opportunity hasn't really presented itself until now. Here is Trevor's comment from this morning - this will all make sense in a second I promise:
"First off Alex Smith needs to be fired...His special teams coaching is absolutely horrible. Here are some examples
1) We have ran pretty much the exact same kickoff/punt return coverage since he came into the league. Anybody who watches ONE practice or watches ONE punt return will see the exact same thing over and over.
2)That blocked punt. When they were doing punting drills this past week did they forget that BC has one of the most prolific punt blockers in the league?!?! It's not like he sprung free from the side and caught someone by surprise, he ran right up the middle and Mike McCullough misses the block. Brutal preparation and brutal execution.
Also some players need to sit out this week, unfortunately due to their nationality they will likely dress for the game: Tristan Clovis and Mike McCullough. Also Sean Lucas is borderline for the missed INT that should have been run back for a TD but unless TJ Stancil is good to go he plays.
The Riders can kiss 1st place goodbye and if they are to make it to the GreyCup they're going to have to learn how to win at B.C. Place in the playoffs."
I don't know if many people saw this story or not but after last week's loss in Calgary apparently there was a rumour making the rounds that Alex Smith had been fired. You can read Rod Pedersen's description of those events right here. As someone who has recently run afoul of Rider message boarders I found it quite interesting.
Now I would love to back up the argument for Smith's dismissal with statistical evidence but you try finding accurate, easily accesible stats for the CFL. The stats page on CFL.ca lists both Jason Armstead and Corey Holmes as playing for Hamilton. And of course both of their stats include Hamilton and Saskatchewan, so I can't tell what their numbers were for each team. TSN.ca's site is much better but also has the problem of not separating the Hamilton statistics from the Saskatchewan statistics - ditto for Sportsnet.ca.
The problem may not actually lie with kick returns but kick coverage.
Smith is also the linebacker coach and when was the last time a linebacker made a play? I think Marcus Lloyd peaked last year in the Western Semi-Final in Calgary. And do you ever hear Reggie Hunt's name called during Rider broadcasts anymore?
If Smith is not shown the door, something else needs to happen.
It's becoming more and more clear that Eddie Davis' presence is missed in the secondary - if only for leadership. If Davis is in the lineup does Geroy Simon get behind everyone for the winning touchdown? I doubt it.
Apparently we shouldn't have put Marcus Adams in the Hall of Fame after Week 1...or named our NFL Fantasy league after him. Oh well, "Fans of Marcus 'Chunky' Adams" is an ironic league name now at least.
In all seriousness, what happened to Fred Perry? Does he have a nagging injury that nobody talks about? Ever since that game at home against Edmonton that they won it seems like he hasn't been the same.
Who thought it would be the defence everyone would be cursing the heavens about this year?
Saturday's game against Montreal is an absolute must-win game. With the losses starting to pile up the team is getting closer and closer to that old familiar 9-9 mark.
Things I learned over the weekend...
Spake the soothsayer on June 4th, 2007 - "...right now the honeymoon is still on and everyone is in the throws of passion. But will reality set in once that first, inevitable 3-game losing streak hits? Will everyone remember that they used to loathe Austin when things aren't going well? That's some tough history for him to overcome."
Luckily for Kent right now most of the hate is being piled on the players, especially those in the defensive secondary - I'm looking at you Tristan Clovis. That might change though.
See: Clovis, Tristan. I don't want to pile on Clovis (see today's Leader-Post for award winning examples of that), but how a wide receiver gets behind a safety in the prevent defence I'll never know. There are no excuses and saying things like, "We just didn't make plays when we needed to," is not going far enough. Even though Clovis owned up to blowing the game winning play there seems to be a real lack of accountability on the team right now.
In the category of, "Nearly Ruining the Happiest Day of Someone's Life" - I was receiving Roughrider score updates via text message during the dinner of the wedding I was at on Saturday night. Don't look at me like that - the ringer was off.
That 'Umbrella' track is hot - or should I say 'Um-Ber-rel-la'. Although as someone who has seen Rihanna up close and sans airbrushing I can say she is not as hot as that track is. I would say like a 6 - 6.5 at best.
Clearly the gentleman who was DJ'ing the wedding I was at on Saturday worked for the firm of "55 Ways to Clear a Dance Floor."
Owning the rights to Star Wars sure makes it easier to do a parody of it - just like Family Guy did last night. Now normally I'm not a huge Family Guy fan but I am a huge Star Wars fan and I have to say that Family Guy episode was possibly the most well-crafted piece of television I have ever seen. The faithful recreation of the shots and the dialogue was great - and of course the stuff they added was fantastic. And for anyone who has moved a couch recently - and I have - the couch-moving scene is a must see...and here you go. Also, the Thai-fighters...hilarious.
In light of recent events, watch for a possible Roughrider-related post later today.
Friday, September 21, 2007
We're going with a seriously abbreviated version of the NFL picks this week. More next week I promise.
Buffalo @ New England
There is no humanly force that is going to stop New England. We might have to summon Captain Planet.
Winner: New England
Miami @ NY Jets
A team that almost beat Baltimore on the road last week should be able to win at home against Miami, shouldn't they?
Winner: J-E-T-S. JETS JETS JETS.
Detroit @ Philadelphia
I think the reason I'm still picking Philly to win games is that I picked Donovan McNabb to be the Comeback Player of the Year - which it looks like is not going to happen. He might not even be the starter by the end of the year.
San Francisco @ Pittsburgh
How the 49ers got to be 2-0 while having less offence than anyone else in the league is quite baffling. Don't expect that to continue against a surprising Steelers team.
San Diego @ Green Bay
There is a very real possibility that Norv Turner is already killing the Chargers. This is a must-win game for them.
Winner: San Diego
Minnesota @ Kansas City
If there was a game that Kansas City was going to win this year - it should be this one. It sounds like the Vikings' choices at QB are going to be Brooks Bollinger or Kelly Holcomb.
Winner: Kansas City
St. Louis @ Tampa Bay
Right now everybody who took Steven Jackson second overall in Fantasy Drafts is panicking more than Lindsay Lohan at last call (please don't leave Hollywood Lindsay, I need you)
Winner: Tampa Bay
Arizona @ Baltimore
So much for Anquan Boldin as Offensive Player of the Year - oh, well you gotta take a chance every now and then.
Indianapolis @ Houston
As much as I'd like to see Houston beat Indy...
Cleveland @ Oakland
As far as I'm concerned, last week's Cleveland/Cincinnati game never happened - you hear me, it never happened! I don't think I can live in a world where Derek Anderson is a stud QB.
Cincinnati @ Seattle
If Seattle can successfully execute a couple of handoffs they win this game, the Bengals sure aren't going to stop anybody.
Jacksonville @ Denver
I was wrong about Maurice Jones-Drew alright, I admit it. Jacksonville is not a good team and their running game is embarrassing. Do you think they wish they had Byron Leftwich now?
Carolina @ Atlanta
Yikes - it turns out we were right about Joey Harrington all along.
NY Giants @ Washington
Washington is showing a little bit of spark and the Giants, well the Giants, they aren't.
Dallas @ Chicago
Rex Grossman is a bad quarterback. There's just no way around it now. I thought maybe he could bounce back and prove people wrong - but it looks like I was wrong.
Tennessee @ New Orleans
This is the dictionary definition of a must-win game.
Winner: New Orleans
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The most common Fantasy Football thought this week has been, "I can't believe I started the Cincinnati defence!" If this was you, don't worry - you're not the only one. Just don't make that mistake again. Playing Cincinnati's D against Cleveland is a great argument for why you shouldn't play the match-up game. Of course playing Brett Favre against the NY Giants is a great argument for why you should play the match-up game. Which leads me to the second part of TH's comment from yesterday:
"Well I know it is a bit early in the week for fantasy talk (or is it?) but I must say, even though I won this week (oh, thanks for the tip on starting farve, sorry I couldn't offer you any advice)...I have a sneaking suspicion that that was an anomaly. So riddle me this, who should I play this week at qb? Rivers or Farve (who are playing each other)? Jordan, McGahee or the now resurgent Jamal Lewis? Oh and no bad advice since I am playing against you in the league this week (can you separate personal from professional?)."
No - in fact I cannot separate personal from professional - so you should start Joey Harrington, Matt Jones, Brandon Lloyd, Fred Taylor, Kenton Keith and the New Orleans defence. At 0-2 I need every win I can get - I have no scruples. Since I am playing you I'll let Trevor, the Sports As Life Fantasy Expert answer your questions:
"I would start Favre at QB. And RB's - Jordan of course, going against the Browns, and toss up, both other RBs have favorable match up's.... Henry did rush for 120 some yards against Oaktown so lewis should be able to do the same."
I still say you should be starting Kenton Keith - he's due.
Since you should, under no circumstances take Fantasy advice from someone who's 0-2 and starting Wes Welker and Jacoby Jones at wide receiver - here's Trevor's fantasy analysis for this week:
Get Them Off Your Bench
Cadillac Williams vs St. Louis
Lamont Jordan vs Cleveland - even if he wasn't against the browns he shouldn't be on the bench anymore
Travis Henry vs. Jacksonville - he may not get the TD’s but in leagues that give points per yard, he’s great
Donovan McNabb vs Detroit - he has looked bad but this is his breakout game
Matt Hasselbeck vs Cincinnati - nothing great yet, but he gets the Bungles so....
Josh McCown vs Cleveland - it’s the Browns and he hasn’t looked that bad thus far
Jason Cambell vs NY Giants - he did well against a blitz happy Eagles defence Monday...think what he’ll do against a team with no pass rush and an non-existent secondary.... NOTE: I’m not sure if they have players in those positions, maybe Tom Coughlin has just painted up some pylons which he controls poorly from the sideline.
Vince Young vs New Orleans - did you see Jeff Garcia last week, enough said
Larry Fitzgerald vs Baltimore - this may be a sleeper but I think if you're going to attack the Baltimore D it’s through the air
Donald Driver vs San Diego - see above
Jerricho Cotchery vs Miami - emerging as a favorite target
Deion Branch vs Cincinnati - see reason for starting Hasselbeck
Ronald Curry vs Cleveland - it's Cleveland, enough said
Jeremy Shockey vs Washington - Eli Manning has to throw it to someone
Tennessee Def vs New Orleans - look what they did to the Colts and the 'Aints have yet to show they have an offense
Kansas City Defence vs Minnesota - who knows who will be the Minny QB (hopefully we get another Brooks Bollinger sighting)
Kickers in the Cowboys/Bears game
Joey Harrington vs Carolina - no one will have this guy on their team and shouldn’t, but he gets to go in this category this week (for some reason)
Ronnie Brown vs NY Jets - he may lose some touches on the running side but I see him becoming a bigger part of the passing game
Antwaan Randel El - did you see on the last drive when he faked going out of bounds then tried for the goaline... sure not a smart decision...maybe a bit selfish...but I like it
Get Them On Your Bench
Edgerrin James vs Baltimore - he’s showing signs of getting back to old but not a good match-up
Larry Johnson vs Minnesota - ok yes he was a stud last year, but wow - candidate for biggest bust thus far
Jon Kitna vs Philadelphia - Kitna's prediction of a 10 win season is looking possible, but he will be on his back more than... no, no more cheap shots at Britney
Matt Schaub vs Indianpolis - this guy is hot right now, but Andre Johnson could be out and Bob Sanders is at full speed back at safety, getting to everything faster than Brittney can get to ... phew barley caught myself on that one... but it’s such an easy target...easier than... damn almost did it again
Chad Penington vs Miami - looks like the Jets are going to give the ball back to him - big mistake
Donte' Stallworth vs Buffalo - what happened to this guy??? Looks like Wes Welker is the #2 receiver in New England, bench him or drop him completely
Other Fantasy News.... On Monday night the sack of McNabb from Rocky Mcintosh lost me the week in my IDP league... it didn’t help that McNabb thinks Reggie Brown is 7 ft 5 (Reggie was my WR for the game)... he’s throwing like another QB in a green jersey that we’re all familiar with... I foresee , Feely or Kolb ( is that his name ??) getting a start or 2 before this year is over. In the editors drafted league....I’m going to try and compile a team of players with first names starting with T. It may not be possible but here is the team that could start:
Tampa Bay D/ST
Looked at the teams and it’s possible, though getting Terrel and Holt unlikely, and Brady would be tough to get ... if only Brees wasn’t sucking as much as....whoops, I almost did it again.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
"Hey buddy, you missed a qb on your "qbs who are killing their team" how bout the talentless McCown? Oh, I guess I should be specific since there is seemingly one on every other team in NFL. The hated Josh McCown of my beloved Raiders...who was 8/16 for 73 yds 1 td and...3...not 2...not 1...but 3 INTS!!!! Who knows what would have happened if they had had a servicable QB, perhaps a certain ex-Viking QB? Heck a one legged ex-Viking QB would be better than this guy...heck I caught myself hoping for Jeff George to come out of retirement for the 17th time.
Oh and yes you did see James 'taking out the trash' Thrash last nite...fantastic, it brought a smile to my face.
I thought the Monday Night Game was fantastic, cause I hate the Eagles and everyone on the ESPN pregame show picked them except the only one I can stand, Tom Jackson. Here is a question for ya, how long before TJ can't stand the panel any longer and quits in the middle of a show? I hope he punches one of them in the face before he goes...maybe Emmitt (although I might feel bad cause he would never really know what had happened) or Keyshawn (who is seemingly the biggest jerk on the planet).
See, this is what happens when people make me leave my house on Sunday mornings for non-football related activities - the work suffers. I can't believe I forgot to talk about the unravelling of ESPN's Countdown - but we'll get to that in a second.
I had McCown in my mind when I was doing up the list of QB's that are killing their teams - but he actually played pretty well in the Raiders first game, so I left him off. However, if he has another sub-100 yard game he's on the list in a big way. The Raiders really must not think much of Daunte Culpepper for McCown to be starting ahead of him. I would hope that McCown's leash this Sunday will be shorter than O.J Simpson's temper and Culpepper will finally see some action.
Now to the Sunday Morning Countdown situation, which I think is one of the big stories of the early season - only you don't hear about it anywhere because people rarely speak out about ESPN - except for Steve Czaban.
The situation is this: ESPN is the biggest sports broadcaster in the United States (and possibly the world, as they are the self-appointed "Worldwide Leader") and it has one of the most popular pre-game shows for the most popular sport in North America, the NFL. Now that pre-game show, NFL Sunday Countdown, is bogged down with chemistry so bad that it actually might bring the show down. It's definitely making it hard to watch.
TH's comment about an on-air punch being thrown is not that far off.
This year saw the addition of Keyshawn Johnson and Emmitt Smith and the subtraction of Steve Young and Michael Irvin from the Countdown panel. The whole panel now consists of Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, a certain Coach Ditka, Keyshawn and Emmitt. The chemistry is so bad between this group it unbelievable.
Berman and Jackson have been together forever, so they're used to working with one another. Ditka doesn't really say much and seems content to let everyone else do the talking most of the time - but that's fine, it's not like he brings the show down. Keyshawn and Emmitt are a whole different story altogether though.
Keyshawn comes off as a genuinely unlikeable person, intent on turning everybody on the show against him - you can read what I wrote about him in last Tuesday's column. This Monday, on the MNF preview show he said something ( I can't remember what) that made Chris Berman stare open-mouthed for a few seconds, shake his head and then move on.
Emmitt on the other hand seems like a really nice person but he also seems very, very uncomfortable being on television - which seems ridiculous for someone who was on Dancing With the Stars.
The two things that stood out to me between Week 1 and Week 2 of Countdown were: A) the seating arrangement on the show had changed, which I thought was very strange and B) in the hour and a bit I watched Countdown on Sunday, there were only 2 occasions when they did group discussions with all 5 guys at the desk - everything else was either out of studio stuff or pieces away from the desk. This really struck me as strange because why would you have 5 panelists if you're never going to let them all talk together?
Obviously what happens on a pre-game show is nowhere near as important as the games themselves, but watching this all unfold is very interesting to see. Keep an eye on all of this as the season progresses.
If things don't get better with the current Countdown lineup in the near future, I would expect big changes to come soon.
And I'm really hoping at least one punch is thrown.
...11-5 in my picks last week. I wonder if that would have been good enough to win me money in a Pick 'Em league. I'm probably better off not knowing.
...Speaking of money - Tarvaris Jackson of Minnesota is now on the Never Bet On list, along with Joey Harrington, after his 4 interceptions cost me a $100 payout. I will never forgive you.
...Speaking of Harrington and Jackson, those are the two quarterbacks in the league that are absolutely killing their teams right now. If Minnesota had even a serviceable quarterback, they'd be 2-0 simply on the strength of their defence. Atlanta probably wouldn't be 2-0 anyway but somebody other than Harrington might actually give them a chance to win. Which is probably why the Falcons are talking to Byron Leftwich.
...Rex Grossman and Phillip Rivers are not too far away from being added to the list of quarterbacks that are killing their teams. Their poor play gets hidden by their fantastic defences/special teams.
...To wit - if not for Devin Hester, Chicago probably doesn't win that game against the Chiefs. The Chiefs! Hester ran a punt back for a touchdown, ran another punt back for a touchdown that got called back because of a penalty, had another punt return of 30 or 40 yards and made a great play stepping out of bounds while catching a kickoff to give the Bears great field position. Take a look. He's one of the most exciting players in the league right now.
...And speaking of exciting young players, how about 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis? I feel a man-crush coming on. I'm one more big hit away from ordering a Willis throwback jersey. Here's the hit on Matt Leinart I was talking about last week (thanks to Trevor for the video).
...I feel bad for Donovan McNabb. He's clearly not healthy and his receivers are terrible (that seemed to be the theme of the Monday Night Football telecast last night). It brings back memories of the Todd Pinkston (Stinkston) and James Thrash (Trash) days. And I'm pretty sure I saw James Thrash in a Washington jersey last night. Inexplicable.
...With all the talk about the Patriots spy scandal (which I can't believe was called CameraGate and not Patriot Games), I got to thinking about the least likable coaches in the league. My top 3 are: 1. Bill Belicheck (New England) 2. Brian Billick (Baltimore) 3. Mike Shannahan (Denver)
Of course between the three of them they have 6 Super Bowl rings.
...This week New Orleans joined the Do Not Bet On Until Further Notice list, which also includes: Atlanta, Minnesota, Jacksonville, NY Giants, NY Jets, Buffalo Bills, Oakland, Kansas City and Miami. Feel free to bet against them though.
...In other news, I can't believe the NHL season starts in a couple weeks. Didn't the season just end two months ago? I'm not ready yet.
...What's with Randy Moss flashing gang signs every time he scores a touchdown? (Now I'm not a cultural studies Ph.D, so I'm not certain that what he's flashing are gang signs - but he's definitely flashing something every time he scores. Can someone please explain this to me?)
...Did you happen to catch the Cowboys/Dolphins game on SportsNet on Sunday? Of course you didn't because SportsNet was showing a Blue Jays game that went into the 12th inning. So those of us that tried to watch football missed the entire first half and some of the third quarter. I understand the rationale behind staying with the baseball game, as I'm sure there were 1 or 2 people that had invested a lot of their time in the game between 4th and 5th place teams and wanted to see how it ended. But the next time the NFL rights are up for grabs in Canada we have to make sure the channel that gets them has the technological capability to split screen at the very least. We need to come up with technology that allows the viewer to decide if they want to switch to something that's being pre-empted, or stay with whats currently on. For example, if at 2pm the baseball game is not over a message comes on the screen that says, "To begin viewing the Dallas Cowboys-Miami Dolphins game press 995 on your remote now." Is that so far-fetched? If I have the ability to pause live TV, how come we can't make that happen?
...Who knew that Cleveland/Cincinnati game would end up being one of the games of the week, while the New England/San Diego game would be bordering on terrible.
...San Diego is going to rue the day they dropped Marty Schottenheimer for a guy with a career winning percentage of .413 (Norv Turner).
...NY Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is now firmly entrenched as the leader for the first head coach to be fired. The only thing that's going to save him is the injury card. If San Diego starts 2-4 or something like that, don't be surprised to be Turner get canned - he could be a darkhorse favorite right now.
...That is all.
Monday, September 17, 2007
After two consecutive embarrassing losses by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, suicide lines in the province are on high alert. The bandwagon is emptying faster than you can say, "Another missed tackle." On Saturday night people were asking me what I was going to write about the game. At that point the only thing I had decided on was the line, "Defensive back James Johnson got burned worse than Joan of Arc." I've since decided to add the line, "James Johnson was schooled more thoroughly than Helen Keller." You guys can decided which one you like better. I also want to hear your historical analogies - along the lines of, "James Johnson got torched like a Salem witch."
(Editor's Note: I'm removing the historical stipulation from the James Johnson analogies in light of Trevor's two good, non-offensive ones- so anything goes)
...The opposing team's long-snapper catches a touchdown pass on you. That sneaky 'ol tackle eligible play.
After watching the USC/Nebraska football game on Saturday night, USC quarterback John David Booty is no longer the quarterback that the Kansas City Chiefs should pick #1 overall in next year's draft. The guy I'm rooting for now is Louisville's quarterback Brian Brohm. There was just something about Booty that didn't sit right with me - I couldn't even tell you what it was. Draft update: Chiefs fall to 0-2.
Since I routinely rip the Leader-Post when it's awful, I should say that they did run a wire service NFL re-cap today. So at least that's a step in the right directly - acknowledging the existence of the league at the very least.
Friday, September 14, 2007
That's going to be the new name of the NFL predictions, I think it works.
But before we get down to business this week, I'd like to address all the members of the Rider Nation that took the time to anonymously rip me this week (see comments here). Thank you to everyone who called me a loser, an idiot and threatened to punch me in the teeth - you proved my point with a clarity that I could not have achieved without you. You've legitimized everything I've said, only with more exclamation points and spelling errors - so thank you. And you may hate me - but at least you're reading me.
I welcome everyone's comments, both positive and negative - I know not everybody is going to agree with what I have to say. But put your name on it. My name is on everything I write. Not my full name, as I'd like to keep my privacy - I don't want to wake up one morning and find somebody has dumped manure on my neighbour's driveway.
To paraphrase Coach Herm Edwards, "Put your name on it, be a man...or a woman. Put your name on it." (I'm sure he said something like that, but I can't find the quote anywhere - if someone can help me out, do so.)
Onward and upward...10-6 in the picks last week, try to do better this week.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland
So Cleveland makes Charlie Frye their Week 1 starter, lets him play one quarter against a good Pittsburgh team, then benches him and then trades him two days later. Clearly the people in charge of the Browns organization have a firm grasp on what's going on. Why not just save us all a lot of time and sarcasm and just put Brady Quinn in there now?
On the other side Cincinnati looked pretty good against Baltimore - although that game ended up being a lot closer than it probably should have been. I might slowly be becoming a Cincinnati fan - nobody brings more joy to my heart than Chad Johnson. He just seems to enjoy the game so much and has so much fun its infectious. Sure he talks a lot but its all in good fun. If you didn't see his Mic'd Up segment this week, see if you can find the video - it's fantastic.
Buffalo @ Pittsburgh
Just when it seemed Buffalo would be playing with seriously heavy hearts in wake of the Kevin Everett injury last week - nothing short of a miracle happened and now it seems Everett will walk again. So I imagine the Bills will have a little extra inspiration this week. That being said, Buffalo did lose 3 defensive starters to injury last week and they are not going to be easily replaced.
Pittsburgh looked strong last week against a terrible Cleveland team. They'll get a tougher test this week, but not by much. Because I traded away "Fast" Willie Parker this week, expect him to go for about 205 and 3 touchdowns.
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
In Week 2 it might be too early for a "must-win" game - but this is a game that New Orleans has to have. As a pre-season Super Bowl darling falling to 0-2 might be disastrous. They couldn't possibly play any worse than they did last week, could they?
Tampa sums up what it means to be a mediocre team. From what I saw last week - they're just good enough to not win games. If head coach Jon Gruden goes to 0-2 his job is in big trouble - he and Jack Del Rio might be the favorites for the first to go now - at least Tom Coughlin has the injury card to play.
Winner: New Orleans
Houston @ Carolina
If you are the gambling sort and I'm not suggesting you should be - this looks like a game to stay away from all together - because really, who knows what these teams are actually like? Houston looked pretty decent against a terrible Kansas City team and Carolina beat a St. Louis team that lost two starting offensive linemen. It's entirely possible that both of these teams are better than people originally thought they were going to be. I'm giving this one to Carolina based totally on the fact that they're at home.
Atlanta @ Jacksonville
Since I'm sticking to my new theory of never, ever betting on Joey Harrington - especially on the road - you can pretty much guess which way I'm going on this one. I'm actually not sure which team needs this win more after both lost in Week 1. Jacksonville probably needs it more to prove they made the right decision by dumping starting quarterback Byron Leftwich a week before the season. Home losses to Tennessee and Atlanta to start the year might be enough to cost Jags head coach Jack Del Rio his job - even if he does look sharp in those new suits (he's the one on the left).
Indianapolis @ Tennessee
This might be the best of the early games this week, as it's not a very strong slate. But I'm genuinely interested to watch this game. I want to see if Indy's defence is actually for real and can contain Vince Young. I'm also interested to see if Vince can throw for more than 75 yards this week - them's Nealon Greene numbers. Tennessee has always played Indy tough but I just can't see Indy going down in this one - too many weapons.
San Francisco @ St. Louis
I really feel sorry for anyone who took Steven Jackson 2nd overall in Fantasy drafts. His stock is plummeting faster than my Bre-X stock did. The Rams have lost two starting offensive linemen for the year, Todd Steussie and Orlando pace, and they cannot be effectively replaced. This is going to hinder the Rams offence for the rest of the year. San Fran looked pretty terrible offensively last week but linebacker Patrick Willis looked like a destroyer of men - and appears to be a lock for Defensive Rookie of the Year. That hit he put on Matt Leinart last week was one of the hardest I've seen in a long, long time - there doesn't seem to be a You Tube clip of it but rest assured it was hard.
Winner: San Francisco
Green Bay @ NY Giants
I really, really, really hope Giants quarterback Eli Manning can't play this week because of his shoulder injury. Not because I wish any ill upon him - I just want to see Giants' backup QB Jared Lorenzen play. Take a look at this guy - I can't wait. The Giants have been just decimated by injuries on offence and defence - that's probably the only thing that's going to save head coach Tom Coughlin's job if they start 0-2 or 0-3. As long as Brett Favre reigns himself in a little bit Green Bay could be a decent team this year. Their underrated defence is probably what wins them this game.
Winner: Green Bay
Seattle @ Arizona
The battle of my two fantasy quarterbacks. The Arizona offence looked pretty anemic last week - who knows if that was due to San Francisco's defence or if the Cards are just shaky again. The Arizona defence did look strong at times last week, of course they were playing the 49er offence. Hopefully we get some questions answered this week. In any case, I suspect that Seattle is too much for Arizona, on both sides of the ball.
Minnesota @ Detroit
If Detroit can make a stop or two on defence and score a couple of times on offence they should be able to win this game. They were able to beat a pretty decent team in Oakland last weekend. However, Minnesota's defence is a step up from Oakland's. But Minnesota's defence is built to stop the run and Detroit beats people through the air - so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I'm looking forward to Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson continuing on his way to the Offensive Rookie of the Year - I want to get at least one of the Rookies of the Year right.
Winner: Detroit (although I wouldn't bet on it)
Dallas @ Miami
As a proud new Marion Barber owner I'm hoping to see him run wild over Miami this weekend. Actually as long as he scores two touchdowns I don't care how many yards he runs for. Dallas' defence did look worse than Britney's dancing on Sunday but Miami doesn't have the offensive weapons that the Giants do. I don't know if there's any part of Miami's team that I like. Their running backs and wide receivers are suspect. Their quarterback is about to be concussed right out of the league. And their defence is getting older than jokes about Britney Spears' performance (actually that's not true because I will never get tired of jokes about Britney).
NY Jets @ Baltimore
I wouldn't have picked the Jets to win this game even if they did have their #1 quarterback in the game...but they don't, so I'm definitely not picking them now. Although Baltimore's offence appears to be in shambles as well. Baltimore quarterback Steve McNair probably won't play in this game and that might actually be a good thing...well, on second thought their backup is Kyle Boller. We'll see how Jets fans feel about backup QB Kellen Clemens after he makes his first NFL start against the Ravens - especially since they cheered when starter Chad Pennington got hurt last weekend. Careful what you wish for...
Oakland @ Denver
Even though I'm writing waaaaay less than last week, why doesn't it seem like I am?
Kansas City @ Chicago
I think it's a bad sign when a Kansas City fan (me) starts asking people who know college football what quarterback the Chiefs should take with the #1 overall pick in next year's draft. I like Colt McKoy in Hawaii but he may just be the next Timmy Chang, who played at the same school - this has since been confirmed as a likely possibility. So now I'm rooting for John David Booty of USC. The last I checked the spread was 11.5 in this game - meaning that Chicago will only have to score 12 points to cover (a potential 12-0 final score).
San Diego @ New England
This is the game of the week, hands down. And a potential AFC Championship preview. I would have given San Diego a chance in this game if Ladanian Tomlinson hadn't opened his mouth and talked about New England cheating. Bad move.
Winner: New England
Washington @ Philadelphia
Another prime time NFC East game - this one might not live up to the Giants/Cowboys game last week. This one will probably go the other way and end up something like 13-7.
You might have noticed that I've done away with the Sport Select addition to each game - it was just too much work for what people were getting out of it - go to http://www.wclc.com/ instead.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Well last week was not what I would call a successful week as far as my college football picks went. To review, I was 3 – 4 overall and against the spread. Now I know how Chris Shultz feels on a week to week basis. Hopefully I can get back on the wagon this week and make some quality picks….after all, I do like winning money.
#22 Tennessee (1 – 1) @ #5 Florida (2 – 0): The Vols go into The Swamp as 8 point underdogs against the reigning National Champs. The Vols and Gators have kept things close the past couple of meetings and I expect more of the same on Saturday. Sophomore QB Tim Tebow for the Gators will be out-matched by the experience of the Vols QB Erik Ainge. However, the crowd will be a huge factor in this game which will give the Gators the edge. Florida to win, but its close. Florida 13, Tennessee 10.
Notre Dame (0-2) @ Michigan (0-2): On one side you have an inexperienced Notre Dame team with 3 Freshman QB’s - so their 0 – 2 start against 2 quality teams is somewhat excusable. However, Michigan who started the year as a National Champion favorite have been absolutely embarrassed, at home none the less, in back to back weeks. Both Appalachian State and Oregon moved the ball against the Michigan defense with seemingly little to no resistance. However, with Notre Dame’s inexperience under center I do not see them moving the ball with such ease (They have yet to score an offensive TD). In what will be a pillow-fight war of attrition, I see Michigan taking an early lead and holding on for a close victory. Michigan 10, Notre Dame 7.
#16 Arkansas (1 – 0) @ Alabama (2 – 0): Another SEC rivalry game, this one too will be a low scoring, defensive battle. I really like the advantage Arkansas’s Heisman candidate back Darren McFadden brings to this game. However, the noise of 90,000 strong Bama fans in Bryant-Denny will confuse and stall the young Razorback offence. Bama is favored by -3.5 and I do not see them covering the spread. Bama wins on a late field goal. Roll Tide Roll! Alabama 17 – Arkansas 16.
#1 USC (1 – 0) @ #14 Nebraska (1 – 0): Fan loyalty aside, I do not see the Huskers winning this game, let alone beating the spread of – 10.5. USC is and offensive and defensive juggernaut. John David Booty of USC will matriculate the USC offense up and down the field all night. “24 Toss Power Trap” all night long. Take USC and the points, even in Lincoln - as sad as I am to say it. USC 38 Nebraska 24.
“Lock of the Week”
#10 Ohio St (2 – 0) @ Washington (2 – 0): Last week I had TCU upsetting Texas for my lock of the week. Not a good decision in retrospect. This week I hope to rebound and give “Lock of the Week” some street cred. Ohio St comes into this game with 2 sluggish home wins against Youngstown St and the Zips of Akron. Washington on the other hand had an easy win against Syracuse and a hard fought win last weekend against Boise St, who up until then had the nations longest winning streak. Ohio St is favoured to win this game by 5, however I honestly believe that Washington will come out and crush the Buckeyes. Washington 27 – Ohio St 13.
And now the lesser games this week that I find no need to analyze.
Vanderbilt 35 Ole Miss 21
#9 Louisville 52 Kentucky 49
#15 Georgia Tech 31 #21 Boston College 28
BYU 27 Tulsa 17
Florida St 28 Colorado 3
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
In case you missed Trebor's comment yesterday, here it is:
"How come no mention of your fantasy team???? In our league their I was lucky to get a win after sittin Romo..who knew NYG would decide not to cover Witten.
What a bad week for most fantasy owners... heres some players that I think would be started in 100% of leagues, are tops at their postion and could have lost the week for a fantasy owner. Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson, Maurice jones drew, Willie parker, rudi johnson, reggie bush, mcallister, could go further down into the #2 backs. Really bad week for Running backs... Drew brees (clements from NYJ got as many points), Favre, Young, Leinart. Fitzgerald, Colston, deion branch (maybe not top but for a #1 wr to get no catches), even disppointment with TE's such as Cooley, Heap, gonzo and veron davis.
Point is if your in a fantasy league you likely had 1 of these players in my case the team which the editor helped draft I had 5.... not a good week. But these guys will bounce back, you can't be giving up on the season this early, the rediculous trade offers will come in from (In one deal i was offered derek anderson for brees... then almost equal rb's and wr's in there as well). Suggestion is don't blow up the team just yet, but maybe socut out the waiver wire, as there were some suprising performances this week."
My response is that I want to have an NFL Review on Tuesday and the Fantasy discussion on Wednesday. So here we go...
I hate Fantasy Football.
Well maybe it's not as bad as that. But after this past week I remember why I swear off Fantasy Football every year. It's not just that my team sucks - which it does - it's that Fantasy makes you root against yourself, sometimes in more than one way. To wit - I had Donald Driver of Green Bay and Reggie Brown of Philadelphia on my team last week and they just happened to be playing each other. In addition to that I had also placed a wager on Philly to cover the spread on the road. So there I am, sitting on my couch, clutching my betting tickets like some sort of wino at a dog track - and I don't even really know what I'm rooting for. I guess I wanted Philly to win by 6 but by a final of like 48-42, with Brown and Driver catching two TD's each. As it happened neither caught a TD - Brown only caught one ball - and Green Bay won outright. So I was screwed all around.
If you want a hilarious description of why a person shouldn't play fantasy football, listen to Bill Simmons' podcast from this past week with Adam Carolla (click on the Sports Guy's World link on the left and then find the BS Report). Carolla's story is basically that he doesn't play Fantasy Football because he's seen first hand what it does to his friends. The same way he's never been in to alcohol after seeing what it did to his parents. It's fantastic - a must listen. I also love him referring to Fantasy Football as Fairy Tale Football.
I also feel I should respond to Trebor's comment, as I feel it is at least in part a veiled criticism of how I've run my Fantasy team so far. So here's my story.... Because our Fantasy league was an automated draft you have little or no real control over who you pick - in the end it's basically random. I ended up with a team of what could best be described as, "random dudes." Now I have no desire to manage or cheer for a group of guys that I didn't select and didn't want - I'm talking to you Reggie Brown and Chris Chambers.
What I've decided to do is to make up a team of guys I actually like and are available through trade, free agency and the waiver wire. Since I basically had no star players that I could build around, I had to blow the whole thing up and start again.
This is not me throwing in the towel by any means - although most people seem to think that. This is me trying to make something of my own creation that I can cheer for. I want to get together a group of guys who haven't been given a chance yet. I'm going to give them their big break. Calling my team an All-Sleeper team is a little pretentious but I'd like to do something along those lines. I think the "No-Name All Stars" would be better - although they're not really all no-names.
As I think I said last week, the team I was handed was probably just good enough to miss the playoffs. Why would I want a team like that, that I didn't even pick, when I could create something of my own that just might surprise some people? At least its going to keep me interested. Instead of losing every week because I don't have a top-flight QB or even RB for that matter, why wouldn't I at least want to lose on my own terms?
After all that, this is the line-up I'm going to go with:
QB - Matt Hasselbeck
RB - Marion Barber
RB - Chris Brown
WR - Wes Welker
WR - Jacoby Jones
WR - Donald Driver
TE - Alge Crumpler (I'll probably move him somewhere down the road)
K - Steven Gostkowski
D/ST - Seattle
The last thing I have to say is that I will never, under any circumstances, join a league with people I don't know again - unless those people I don't know are vouched for by people that I know and trust.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
We interrupt your morning for some unscheduled blogging. Something has come to my attention and needs to be addressed.
Have you seen the Leader-Post sports section today? Get yourself a paper copy if you haven't. Not only is there nothing about the NFL...again - not really a big surprise. But take a look at Pages C2 and C3.
C2 is a full page, quite literally, of MLB stats. That's the second page of the sports section, which usually contains the second most important sports stories - but apparently we get a full page of stats.
C3 is a full page advertisement, again quite literally, for a car dealership. Just beyond mind-blowing to me.
This paper never ceases to amaze me. Do no subscribers have an interest in anything outside of their own backyard?
Don't worry, page C1 had 3 stories about Matt Dominguez's knee - just in case you were worried.
I can't believe this is what we have to settle for.
I think I should just start to publish my own paper.
...First of all, I'm not sure who was more heavily medicated on Sunday - Emmitt Smith or Britney Spears (If you watched NFL Countdown and the MTV Somethingorother Awards you know what I'm talking about. I don't know if people realize what a cultural watershed moment Britney's performance was. There's a pretty good chance I'm going to have to devote a whole column to it. But in the meantime take a look at a fresh new blog that breaks down her performance - Music, Movies and TV).
...Staying with NFL Countdown, the chemistry on that show is totally shot. Gone are Michael Irvin and Steve Young (who I hate as a person but like as a studio analyst). Replacing them are Keyshawn Johnson and Emmitt Smith. Keyshawn is not interested in his job at all and is clearly just waiting for an NFL team to bring him out of retirement. To wit - when asked to pick a winner in the Washington/Miami game, Keyshawn replied, "It doesn't matter." For some reason Keyshawn seems really intent on picking a fight with Mike Ditka too. Good old Emmitt on the other hand smiles and giggles so much I think he has a blast of laughing gas during each commercial break.
...You know your studio show is in trouble when viewers are texting each other this exchange:
-"How long before Ditka punches Keyshawn in the mouth?"
...To say Phil Simms is a terrible broadcaster is a slap in the face to terrible people everywhere. His man-love for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots is bordering on troubling.
...I was very concerned with the lack of offensive touchdowns in the early games. Minnesota, Green Bay, Buffalo all scored their opening touchdowns on defence or special teams. In Green Bay's case it was the only touchdown they scored all game. New England scored on special teams as well but they had quite a few offensive touchdowns to go with it.
...Clearly I need to start making notes in my notebook during the games. The Sunday games were two days ago - I'm struggling to remember what happened.
...Is anyone else concerned about the alarming number of injuries that happened this week? The Kevin Everett injury aside - which was just a freak and tragic accident. But here's the list of just big-name guys to get injured and probably miss time: Steve McNair(?), Jonathan Ogden, Eddie Kennison, Terry Glenn, Eli Manning, Osi Umenyiora, Brandon Jacobs, D.J Hackett, Cadillac Williams. And here's the guys who got injured on the weekend and are out for the year: Mike Brown (no big surprise there), Orlando Pace, Jason Ferguson and Jon Jansen (no big surprise there either).
...I was having a discussion about these injuries yesterday and we jokingly said that they're due to the league's crackdown on HGH. But the further the conversation progressed, the less joking it became. This could actually become a story.
...As much as I love Tony Kornheiser I'm still not convinced he works in the Monday Night Football booth. His chemistry with Ron Jaworski is much better than it was with Joe Theismann though. I'm giving it a full season before I decide. Jaws needs to cut out the "blacksmith running game" line though, or at least use it less than 125 times a game - I think Cooper was almost catatonic about this.
...But speaking of 3-man booths, I was pleasantly surprised with the 3 Mikes (Greenberg, Golic and Ditka) doing the late MNF game last night. I've never listened to the Mike & Mike in the Morning radio show so I wasn't familiar with their work but I enjoyed them. And I thought that a certain coach Ditka was better as a booth guy than he is in the studio. I look forward to hearing them again.
...I think Baltimore is in big trouble this year. They looked absolutely awful at times last night on offence against a bad Cincinnati defence.
...Chicago could be in big trouble too. Of course, they were playing in San Diego but Cedric Benson looked terrible. And Rex Grossman was...well, Rex Grossman. The Bears might not live to regret giving up Thomas Jones.
...Barring some catastrophic injury, New England is going to win the Super Bowl. I don't think there's any doubt about it. I can't watch them win it again, I just can't.
...Here's some advice for you - never ever, under any circumstances, bet on Joey Harrington (yes, he's back to Joey - no more "Mean" Joe) - especially on the road against a quality defence. I would have gotten more enjoyment out of just flushing my money down the toilet. At this point I wouldn't bet on Joey to beat Mary Kate Olsen in a cage match, especially if they were fighting for a sandwich...or a vial of coke.
...I will take some solace in the fact that I went 10-6 on my Sports As Life picks. Stick with me kid, I'll take you places. Of course my picks don't really help from a wagering standpoint unless you're in a Pick 'Em league. Perhaps I'll have to start incorporating the point spread into my picks.
...Oh, and I'm not actually predicting a riot. I just have the Kaiser Chiefs song stuck in my head and I thought writing it out would help. It hasn't. Not that I'm complaining though, it's a quality song.
...That is all.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Hey - how about that Canada-Russia series? Now that was some excitement. In case you didn't know (and who could blame you if you didn't) the best junior hockey players from Canada and Russia just finished an 8 game "Super Series" to "commemorate" the 35 anniversary of the original Summit Series. Less interested in this, I could not have been. I think this series was competitive for the first period of the first game and that was it. Canada took the series 7-0-1 (yes, that's a tie) and outscored the Russians 39-13. Super. If organizers really wanted to spark some rivalry they should have sent Bobby Clarke to break Alex Cherepanov's ankle. Phil Esposito could have challenged Ilya Kablukov to a fight. And Harry Sinden could have stood on the Canadian bench throwing F-bombs at the Russian fans after every Canadian victory. Now that would have been Super.
Do you know how many stories in today's Leader-Post sports section pertained to the NFL - the most popular sport in North America? You guessed it...zero. Not one. And it might not be a big deal because any NFL stories would just have been from the wire services anyway. Clearly if a sporting event doesn't happen within a 300km radius of this city, it's not worth anybody at the LP's time. Although I guess I should clarify - there was a 4 line blurb about Jon Ryan being the holder on Green Bay's winning field goal. Riveting. But if the LP did pay attention to anything outside of this province I might be out of a job - so keep up the good work guys.
In an effort to spare the people of southwestern Regina from having to suffer through the Roughrider game on Sunday, SaskPower decided to shut down the power to that part of the city for an extended period of time. Obviously SaskPower did not do this on purpose - but I'm sure they had a lot of phone calls from a lot of irate Rider fans. Luckily I was unaffected by the power outage and could have watched the Rider game if I had wanted but I was taking in NFL refugees from across the southwest. Even if the San Diego/Chicago game was a little slow - we still made a good decision.
How 'bout them Riders? Now I don't want to say I'm glad they lost but I think this will help keep everything in perspective a little bit - both for the team and for fans. A fan I was talking to yesterday said, "They played like they were reading their press clippings all the way to Winnipeg."
Friday, September 7, 2007
We'll just forget that yesterday's pick ever happened and move on with our lives. Although how great was it to hear John Madden say "Saskatchewan"? Never thought I'd see the day.
Denver @ Buffalo
Despite what you might think at first glance, this could actually be a pretty reasonable game to watch. There are going to be lots of players on the field with lots to prove: Marshawn Lynch, J.P Losman, Jay Cutler, Simeon Rice and Travis Henry. Buffalo wide receiver Lee Evans is always great to watch, as he's a constant threat to catch a 60-yard go route. Denver receiver Javon Walker could be poised for a monster season. Motivation is not going to be a problem for him, as friend and teammate Darrent Williams died in his arms after a drive-by shooting last New Year's Eve. Remember the Monday Night game Brett Favre had after his father passed away? I'm thinking something along those lines - only for a whole season.
Denver's defence will probably prove to be too much for the reasonably young Buffalo offence. Denver cornerbacks Dre' Bly and Champ Bailey are going to beat Buffalo QB J.P Losman like a gong.
Sport Select: Denver 1.80......Tie 3.40......Buffalo 3.05......Over/Under 37.5
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland
How many Charlie Frye interceptions will it take in this game before Browns' fans start calling for Brady Quinn? I'd say two. As a proud "Fast" Willie Parker fantasy owner I'm hoping for something along the lines of 28 carries, 157 yards, 2 touchdowns. And maybe even a couple receptions thrown in there for good measure.
I think this is the "You Can Take it to the Bank" game of the week. There is just no way that Cleveland can win this game - I just don't see it. Pittsburgh just has too much offence and too much defence. Cleveland doesn't really have much of either. And as long as Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Brady Quinn are all on the Browns I wish them nothing but ill things.
Sport Select: Pittsburgh 1.60......Tie 3.80......Cleveland 3.45......Over/Under 36.5
Carolina @ St. Louis
Yikes, I really hope I don't get this game on any of my channels on Sunday. Or I hope I have other games to choose from at the very least. I suppose if I owned St. Louis running back Stephen Jackson in a fantasy league I might want to watch. But wow, I don't see a lot of redeeming qualities in either of these teams.
I suspect that Carolina will be able to run the ball all over St. Louis. And St. Louis will be able to throw the ball all over Carolina. This game will probably come down to one or two killer mistakes from Jake Delhomme. Might we have our first David Carr sighting of the season?
Winner: St. Louis
Sport Select: Carolina 2.45......Tie 3.00......St. Louis 2.30......Over/Under 42.5
Atlanta @ Minnesota
Of course this is going to be one of the most discussed games of the weekend - simply because of the Mike Vick situation and how Atlanta is going to respond. But there are actually some football related story lines surrounding this game as well:
A) This could be when we finally find out if "Mean" Joe Harrington can actually quarterback. He finally has a good coach and a half-decent offence.
B) Is Tavaris Jackson really as bad as we all think he is? If playing against him in Madden 08 is any indication - the answer is yes.
C) Can Adrian Peterson be the battering ram we all want him to be? I say yes - of course I'm totally basing this on his one run against the Jets in the preseason.
The Vikings can probably muster just enough offence to beat the Falcons. Minnesota has the run defence to put the game all on "Mean" Joe Harrington's shoulders - and we all know how that has turned out in the past.
Sport Select: Atlanta 3.05......Tie 3.40......Minnesota 1.80......Over/Under 36.5
New England @ NY Jets
This game might actually be closer than I had first anticipated. New England is now missing two of their defensive stars - Rodney Harrison is suspended for 4 games for taking horse tranquilizers...oh, I mean HGH - and why didn't anyone tell me that Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour is on the Physically Unable to Perform List (sounds like a Viagra commercial waiting to happen) and will miss the first 6 games of the year? New England always seem to find a way to overcome situations like this though.
I am excited to see Tom Brady play with his new toys - wide receivers Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker - even if Brady's shoulder is bothering him. And I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying that you can probably pencil in 2-3 interceptions for Jets QB Chad Pennington right now.
Winner: New England
Sport Select: New England 1.55......Tie 3.90......NY Jets 3.60......Over/Under 41.5
Miami @ Washington
The early favorite for "Worst Game of the Week." Actually, I just looked down the schedule and Kansas City/Houston or Detroit/Oakland might be worse games. It's definitely in the bottom 3 anyway and that's never a good sign. Both of these teams have some potential but it remains to be seen if they can put it all together. If Washington's defence can be at all productive, they could be one of the surprise teams this year. And Miami should provide an easy start for the Washington D.
Sport Select: Miami 2.75......Tie 3.20......Washington 2.00......Over/Under 35.5
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
It might not be fair to say that Vince Young is a one-man team but he's as close as you're going to come these days. But the scary thing is that Young might just have the skills and physical ability to win games on his own. It is going to be great to watch him try to fend off the Jacksonville defence for 4 quarters. Never thought I'd say, "I hope I get to watch that Tennessee/Jacksonville game this weekend," but there you have it.
Unfortunately for Young and Tennessee, Jacksonville has a very, very good defence. Young might be able to make a play here and there but he'll need help if the Titans are going to beat the Jags. The unfortunate thing for Young is that he has no help.
Sport Select: Tennessee 3.60......Tie 3.90......Jacksonville 1.55......Over/Under 38.5
Kansas City @ Houston
It's not a good sign when your favorite team is going into Houston and you're not 100% confident in a win. Welcome to the 2007 Kansas City Chiefs season - I know I can't wait. Larry Johnson should be broken down by about Week 10, Herm Edwards' clock management should cost the Chiefs as least 3 close games and the choices at quarterback are Damon Huard or Brodie Croyle, which is sort of like a choice between the rack or the iron maiden. On the flip side, Houston actually has a decent little team brewing down there. Now all they need is an offensive line.
While I was doing the season previews, this was a game that I had Kansas City winning. I'm less confident in that now though. But since I'm sticking with my pre-season picks, I'll have to stay with Kansas City. However, if the Chiefs don't win this game, there's a good chance they start 0-7.
Winner: Kansas City
Sport Select: Kansas City 2.75......Tie 3.20......Houston 2.00......Over/Under 38.5
Philadelphia @ Green Bay
Now this is football - the Philadelphia Eagles playing in Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers on a crisp autumn morning - I can almost smell the grass from here in my environmentally controlled office. I have a feeling this will be Fox's nationally televised early game and I'm already excited to watch it, even if I will have to listen to Joe Buck and the obligatory 175 story lines about Donovan McNabb's knees and Brett Favre's age for 3 hours.
Green Bay could have an underrated team this year - if Brett Favre doesn't totally kill them that is. But I think Philly has too many offensive weapons and a little too much defence for Green Bay to handle. Hopefully Donovan F. McNabb can make it through this game without getting injured.
Sport Select: Philadelphia 1.80......Tie 3.40......Green Bay 3.05.....Over/Under 42.5
Detroit @ Oakland
This could be a better game than I thought it was going to be - thus giving Kansas City @ Houston the title of "Worst Game of the Week." Hooray, it's great to be a Chiefs fan. Detroit could be an exciting team, at least through the air. And Oakland has the potential to be better than people think. Although I can't believe that one of the McCown brothers is going to be a starting QB in the league again. Oakland's defence is going to sneak up on some people. Yesterday, Bill Simmons called the Oakland D "frisky" and I think that's a pretty good descriptor for them.
For some reason I originally picked Detroit to win this game - even though they're playing on the road against a better team. Clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Winner: Detroit (only because I have to)
Sport Select: Detroit 2.55......Tie 3.10......Oakland 2.15......Over/Under 39.5
Chicago @ San Diego
I really, really hope this ends up being the best game of the week - which translates to, "I really, really hope Rex Grossman doesn't end up killing the Bears." I'm genuinely starting to feel bad for the guy, he just can't seem to do anything right anymore. Of course I also have Grossman in my fantasy league, so I'm hoping he does well so I can get some trade value out of him. Possible Super Bowl preview anyone?
The unfortunate reality is that Grossman probably does end up throwing 1 or 2 killer picks and we all find out the hard way that Cedric Benson is not a #1 running back. Maybe not a Super Bowl preview after all.
Winner: San Diego
Sport Select: Chicago 3.45......Tie 3.80......San Diego 1.60......Over/Under 43.5
Tampa Bay @ Seattle
Tampa head coach Jon Gruden seems to be the early season favorite to be the first NFL coach to lose his job - even though I picked NY Giant coach Tom Coughlin. This game should start Gruden's long descent from overrated to unemployed. Tampa's defence is old and was overrated 2 years before they got old. Seattle on the other hand has a little new blood on their team and seem like they're ready to do some good things this year.
Tampa has no chance in this game, repeat - no chance. They are going to get somewhere between embarrassed and eviscerated.
Sport Select: Tampa Bay 3.60......Tie 3.90......Seattle 1.55......Over/Under 41.5
NY Giants @ Dallas
This Sunday night NFC East game already has John Madden drooling as if he were standing over a 12 pound rib roast - I'm sure of it. I always give Madden a pass on the bad announcer list for some reason - probably just because he's a legend, and clearly old and crazy. But that NBC studio might be in line for a big shake up. I like Chris Collingsworth and always have but Tiki Barber has got to go and I'm not a big fan of Bob Costas. And that "Worst Person in the NFL" thing with Keith Olberman was just strange last night.
Oh, the game - that's right. I've got Dallas going to the Super Bowl. But I also have New Orleans going to the NFC Championship. Hopefully, Dallas looks a little better on Sunday night than the Saints did last night.
Sport Select: NY Giants 3.45......Tie 3.80......Dallas 1.60......Over/Under 44.0
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
I'm very excited for the Monday Night Football booth this year. Returning are Mike Tirico, who I think is very good and Tony Kornheiser, who had a rocky year last season - but you would too if you had to work with Joe Theismann. This year Kornheiser gets to work alongside Ron "Jaws" Jaworski and they have always had a good rappore on TV, so hopefully that translates to the MNF booth. I'm just glad I no longer have to hear Theismann try and explain how it's actually easier to throw a football when it's wet. I'll never forget that.
Oh, the game - clearly I'm wavering here, I wrote term papers that were shorter than this thing. I'm going to have to start writing next week's as soon as I'm done typing this up. If Baltimore can get even a sniff of offence they have the defence to win this game. But apparently I don't think they will, as I gave this game to Cincinnati in the season preview.
Sports Select: Baltimore 2.75......Tie 3.20......Cincinnati 2.00......Over/Under 40.5
Arizona @ San Francisco
Hooray! The last game of the week. Let's just say that I hope Matt Leinart throws 3 touchdown passes. But I'm still picking San Fran to win - Frank Gore has the potential to rush for 200 yards in this game.
Winner: San Francisco
Sport Select: Arizona 2.75......Tie 3.20......San Francisco 2.00......Over/Under 45.5