Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sports As Life Closed

Hello to everyone that's been waiting patiently for something new to be posted. Just thought I should let you know that due to a death in the Sports As Life family we are going be closed this week. It actually might not be all week, just until I can get myself back into the swing of things.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Embarrassment in Edmonton

I decided to write this after getting home from watching the Roughrider "win" tonight. In the future when I need an example of why I think the CFL is an inferior game - I will have to look no further than the holding call on Mike Maurer on the game winning field goal tonight.

It was one of the worst penalty calls in CFL history - and that's saying something. And quite honestly the CFL and all its fans should be embarrassed. The fact that Andre Proulx might have an important role to play in a meaningful game - like, say a playoff game - is just terrifying.

You can hate me and threaten me all you want but no self-respecting member of the "Rider Nation" can take pride in that "win". It was a garbage call made by someone who is clearly so inept at his job he should be collecting unemployment. But I don't fault the Roughriders in all of this, they were simply the beneficiaries of total ineptitude.

Did Proulx feel like he owed the Roughriders a call after botching the B.C and Hamilton games so badly? Did he have money on the game? There doesn't seem to be any other explanation.

Sean Fleming kicked a game-winning field goal tonight and you will never convince be otherwise (nevermind that it was his last game in Edmonton after 16 years). The fact that Mike Maurer is strong enough to block Tad Kornegay with one hand is not a penalty. I would suggest to Mr. Proulx that he get out of Edmonton immediately and never go back.

The fact that Glen Suitor said after the game that Mike Maurer would be wearing 'goat-horns' is just a spineless cop-out. I think Jock Climie was upset about the call but I couldn't hear what he was saying.

As a fan of football I'm not going to even try and express tonight how upset it makes me to see a referee decide a game like Proulx did tonight. So I'm just going to bed.

You Bet Your Life

Ok, I won’t lie to you. I am getting sick of writing this column and being proven wrong almost every weekend. Seeing as how mediocrity reigns this year in College Football, I will start making mediocre picks based almost entirely on the mascot match up. Try and bear with me on this.

#9 USC (6-1) @ #5 Oregon (6-1): One of the biggest games so far in the College Football season has a Trojan facing off against a Duck. A somewhat lopsided match up when you see it on paper I agree, you know... with a Trojan being trained in warfare and wielding razor sharp weapons and all and a duck just being a duck. However, this game is in the Pacific Northwest and I hear it gets damp there this time of year. I am giving the edge to Oregon in this one based solely of the fact that ducks repel water. Oregon wins this game outright and covers the –2.5 point spread.
Oregon 38 – USC 30

#20 Georgia (5-2) @ #9 Florida (5-2): Uga the Bulldog vs Albert and Alberta Gator in the “Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” . Yet again a pretty lopsided match up on paper. In the animal kingdom 2 gators up against 1 dog always ends up in a severe mauling. Actually I am pretty sure it just ends up with an eaten dog. The Gators feast on some pooch and devour the spread of –8.5.
Florida 35 – Georgia 17

Clemson (5-2) @ Maryland (4-3): Here we have “The Clemson Tiger” up against “Testudo the Turtle” of Maryland. So as I see it - The Clemson Tiger has the speed and size advantage, and people say speed kills. Testudo on the other hand has that rock hard shell, and I wonder, can a tiger penetrate that rock hard shell with it’s razor sharp teeth? If someone can provide me an official answer on this it would be much appreciated. Also I remember hearing a story when I was a kid about a slow assed turtle beating up on a rabbit in a race. Based on this theory I am picking the Testudo beat up on the Tigers in a slow, low scoring game. Maryland not only gets the points but win outright.
Maryland 17 – Clemson 14

#15 South Carolina (6-2) @ Tennessee (4-3): “Cocky” the Gamecock against a Volunteer, a species you most often see wasting their time rummaging at a food bank. This is a hard pick to nail down. The Steve Spurrier factor weighs huge in this game. While at Florida Spurrier destroyed Tennessee. I have go with the Gamecocks in this one. Not only because of the hilarious name which has led to women’s t-shirts bearing the slogan “I love the Cocks” but also because of the Spurrier factor. The Cocks “click-clack” all over the Vols.
South Carolina 24 – Tennessee 20

#11 South Florida (6-1) @ Uconn (6-1): Yet another matchup here where a dog ends up getting mauled to death. The USF Bulls up against the Huskies of Uconn. The laws of nature dictates (at least in my mind) that the Bull defeats the Husky each and every time. The Huskies keep this fight close, and USF doesn’t cover the –4.5 point spread.
South Florida 21 - Uconn 17

And now for my infamous Lock of the Week. This week's version I have the new #1 team, The Ohio State Buckeyes up against Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Two teams have already dropped from the #1 spot this year (USC & LSU) and I look for Ohio St to make it three teams by the end of Saturday.

#1 Ohio State (8-0) @ #25 Penn State (6-2): The Buckeyes roll into Happy Valley not having lost a regular season game since 2005, which just happened to be to Penn St, in Happy Valley. Here we have a Buckeye, some sort of acorn up against the mythical Nittany Lion. Naturally I have to go with the Nittany Lion in this one. What does an Acorn have to offer? Nothing - that's what.
Penn St 24 – Ohio St 23

I Predict A Riot - Week 8 in the NFL

For those scoring at home, it was 7-7 last week. Clearly I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. In fact - you should probably just stop reading now. Also, this is the unprecedented 41st post of the month - and it's only October 26th. At this pace I'm going to have to start mainlining Red Bull.

Detroit @ Chicago
Both of these teams screwed me last week. Apparently Detroit can play some defence now and Chicago goes on 90 yard game-winning drives. I have no idea anymore. I'm going to take Chicago based only on the fact that they're at home. If Chicago wins this game they'll only be percentage points behind Detroit for second in the NFC North - after their first few weeks, who thought that Chicago would suddenly be back in the NFC playoff picture?
Winner: Chicago

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Even though this is a Division game and should probably be close - I have a feeling this could be one of the all-time beatdowns - like a New England-style beatdown. Pittsburgh will be very, very upset about losing in Denver on Sunday night and who better to take it out on than Cincinnati. I know everybody loves the Bengals' offensive weapons but ask any Chad Johnson Fantasy owner if they're happy with the way things have gone so far. Pittsburgh has the players to shut down Cincinnati's weapons anyway. All Pittsburgh has to do is not turn the ball over and they should roll over the Bengals.
Winner: Pittsburgh

Oakland @ Tennessee
Hey - you know who's actually not a bad team... Tennessee. I mean I think anyway - they seem to have a pretty solid run defence. But the fact they made Sage Rosenfels look like Dan Marino last week leads me to question their pass defence. Also, the teams they've beat are: Jacksonville (in Week 1 when Jacksonville was terrible), Atlanta, New Orleans and Houston. And quite honestly I don't know if Vince Young coming back this week helps or hurts them. Oh - but I think Oakland is quite bad or at least not as good as Tennessee.
Winner: Tennessee

Cleveland @ St. Louis
My favorite debate this year is not about whether Indianapolis or New England is better. My favorite is whether St. Louis or Miami is worse. Even with Steven Jackson coming back this week I still think it's St. Louis. That team is just in shambles. And now their best defensive player, resident drunk and probably the only person on the Rams to have actually killed somebody - Leonard Little - is out with an injury. Cleveland doesn't play a lot of defence but they probably won't have to in this game, as I suspect they'll be able to score at will.
Winner: Cleveland

NY Giants @ Miami (in London, England)
As if it wasn't bad enough for Miami - they haven't won and their star running back is out for the year - now this sham of a game in London is going to count as a home game for them. When it rains it pours. This game will solve an interesting sociological question for us though - which American sport is less popular in England, football or hockey?
Winner: NY Giants

Philadelphia @ Minnesota
I have absolutely nothing to say about this game - so I'm not going to. Instead I want to say that I just don't get the ridiculous xenophobia being displayed by "CFL people" toward the "NFL invasion" into Canada - as one person put it this morning (right at the bottom of today's post). I suppose it's just that Canadian insecurity (at least in comparison to the U.S) that has been perpetuated in this country for years. But here's what I don't get - everybody, deep down or even not all that deep down, believes that Canada is superior to the U.S and is constantly looking down their nose at everyone south of the 49th. But then as soon as anything that even smells a little bit American sneaks into Canada there is much hand-wringing and it's the end of the world. If we truly believe that what we do is superior to the American product - why do we care if they come to Canada? I could honestly write about this for 48 straight hours, so I'm going to stop now.
Winner: Minnesota (Tarvaris Jackson won't be anywhere near the offensive huddle)

Indianapolis @ Carolina
Here's the weird stat of the week: Carolina is 0-2 at home and 4-0 on the road. It looks like David Carr and his white gloves will be starting for Carolina this week. Is it just me or does anyone else think than the Panthers are better off starting Old Man Testaverde over Carr. I don't think it's going to matter anyway - Indy looks pretty darn good right now. (Note: I just read on ESPN.com that Testaverde will be starting instead of Carr this week - I thought I should leave it in just so I look smart. Doesn't say much about David Carr does it?)
Winner: Indianapolis

Buffalo @ NY Jets
Chad Pennington is much better off playing on the road right now - that's all there is to it. The first mistake he makes in this game the Jets fans will be all over him like hyenas. I'm excited to see whether the Jets will still allow Pennington to throw those outs across the field that get returned for touchdowns with regularity now. Plus the Jets are going to be without Jonathan Vilma in this game. Marshawn Lynch looked like he was able to run the ball over the Baltimore defence last week - it should be even easier for him this week.
Winner: Buffalo

Houston @ San Diego
It looks like this game is going to be in San Diego now - with the wildfires under control. In the last couple weeks it looked like San Diego had finally come together. And while some might say the fires could be a distraction for them, I think it's going to be just the opposite. Just like the Saints came together after Hurricane Katrina, the fires in San Diego could be the rallying point for the Chargers. They might get back to being a scary team now.
Winner: San Diego

Jacksonville @ Tampa Bay
In the words of the immortal Sonny Liston - "Never ever bet on Quinn Gray, especially on the road." Alright, Liston never said that but he probably would have if he were still with us today. Yes - I'm reaching at this point.
Winner: Tampa Bay

New Orleans @ San Francisco
For purely selfish reasons - ie, Fantasy purposes - I hope that New Orleans wins this game big. But as a fan of the game I hope that the 49ers win this game because New England owns San Francisco's first round pick in the draft this year. And the way it's looking now the Patriots could potentially get a top 10 pick or better out of that. Shoot me now.
Winner: New Orleans

Washington @ New England
I have a feeling this could be a close game - potentially the first time the Patriots don't cover the spread all year. I also have a feeling New England might put the offence away a little bit this week and beat up on Washington with their defence. That might be something they'd do just to prove they could do it.
Winner: New England

Green Bay @ Denver
I'd be more excited about this game if it were taking place in the late 90's - when you had Favre in his prime versus Elway. And also in the category of things I would have rather seen in the late 90's - this. I'd rate my interest in both things now right around Morbid Curiosity.
Winner: Green Bay

NHL Headshot of the Week

"For the sake of the game, they oughta throw him in San Quentin.
He is a criminal element! The worst goon in hockey today.
Oh, yeah. Real cement-head." - player/coach Reg Dunlop

It's probably a bad sign I'm disappointed there were no cheapshots to the head this week isn't it?

That's actually not true - there just wasn't the blatant and ridiculous ones we've seen in past weeks. If this continues to be the case I'll just start running old Steve Durbano clips.

This week's Headshot of the Week belongs to Edmonton's Raffi Torres for his blindside shoulder to the head of Calgary's David Moss. It doesn't even look that bad but Torres got fined $2500 and Moss is out with a concussion. See for yourself.

Typical Edmonton dirty tricks.

Artist of the Week

No Links this week... mostly because I don't have any. We do have an Artist of the Week though.

And that Artist is Rilo Kiley. Like The National last week, Rilo Kiley is pretty big certain circles but I don't think they're really "mainstream" yet. Although as I don't listen to the radio or watch the MTV, I could be wrong about them not being "mainstream".

They have a new album out called Under the Blacklight - which I think is pretty phenomenal. But I think I'm about the only one. On previous albums Rilo Kiley had been about acoustic/folk/rock and had stayed true to that formula. But on the new album there are some seriously new sounds for them - I'm talking about funk, disco and even some 80's Latin synth beats for good measure.

Rilo Kiley has always been about Jenny Lewis (you might know her voice from the Postal Service or her own solo album) and her ever so seductive and sultry voice. She doesn't disappoint.

This seems to have turned into an album review - so you can just check out their music for yourself: www.myspace.com/rilokiley

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sports As Life on Myspace

The new Sports As Life Myspace page is now up and running - at least technically. There's not a whole lot on the page yet - it's only in its early stages.

While it's not going to be the most exciting Myspace page out there - I'm hoping that it will help grow the Sports As Life brand a little bit anyway. It may allow me to be a little more interactive with people anyway. I'm going to put up a song from the Artist of the Week every week as much as I can. And there will probably be some original content on the Myspace blog from time to time. It will also give me the ability to post some sports-related pictures if I ever decide I need to do that.

The address is: www.myspace.com/sportsaslife

There is also a now a link on the right-hand side of the page.

The other news of the day is the possibility of Sports As Life merchandise seeing the light of day. Nothing is definite on that yet but get your T-Shirt orders in now. I will keep everybody posted as that moves along.

A Column on the CFL - You May Now Send in Your Abusive Comments

Before we get down to it today - I should point out that the Calgary Flames beat Minnesota last night (coming back from a 3 goal deficit no less), handing the Wild their first regulation loss of the season. I should also point out that the Flames were the first team to beat Anaheim in regulation last season. So you know what that means - another 8th place finish and an ignominious exit from the playoffs for the Flames.

Also Jacksonville's back-up quarterback is Quinn Gray - not David or Quentin Grey as reported yesterday. And speaking of Fantasy Football - how did I not know that Rams running back Steven Jackson writes a weekly Fantasy column for ESPN.com? I'm upset with myself for not knowing that sooner.

And little wonder Colorado got crushed by Boston last night - the Rockies had a 13-year old starting pitcher on the mound last night.

But enough of all that...

I finally want to deal with the CFL, the Hamilton Tigercats and the NFL coming to Canada - I'm going to do it all together because I think they're all related to one another. It's taken me awhile because I'm slightly hesitant to write about the CFL now, as every time I do I get accused of being something between a traitor and a heretic. But let me lay it out for you in simple Chapter and Verse:

Do I hate the CFL? No.

Do I hope to see the league collapse? No.

Do I enjoy writing by asking myself questions? No.

Do I prefer the NFL? Yes, absolutely - I always have and I always will. Somehow my preference of the NFL gets taken as a hatred for the CFL. I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive - I can prefer the NFL and not hate the CFL.

And I'm writing because I'm worried for the CFL's future.

I'd heard that the NFL Board of Governors approved the Buffalo Bills plan to play a regular season game in Toronto next year or the year after. I actually can't confirm that story anywhere but what I heard was that Buffalo will play one regular season game in Toronto every year - and a preseason game in Toronto every other year.

Suffice it to say that the NFL is coming to Canada whether anyone outside of Toronto wants it or not.

As an NFL guy you would probably expect me to be overjoyed by this - but I'm not, really. It's still going to be closer and cheaper for me to see an NFL game in Seattle, Minnesota or even Green Bay or Chicago. So I don't really have any personal interest in the NFL coming to Toronto. It was going to happen sooner or later though.

I think the CFL has lucked out and the NFL migration into Canada appears like it is going to be gradual, at least at first. And I say lucked out because the CFL needs to have a plan in place to deal with how the league is going to co-exist with the NFL, at least in the Toronto market. As it stands now, it looks like there will be an NFL team in Toronto full-time within the next few years - and as I see it, the CFL needs to be a part of the group, whoever it is, that brings a team to Toronto.

On the surface it would seem like this is akin to knowingly letting the Greeks into your impenetrably walled city. However, the NFL is coming whether the CFL wants it or not. So the CFL better make sure that it is active in that process - so that a team is moved into Toronto on the CFL's terms, not the NFL's. Which is why I think its a smart move by the owners of the Argos to try and play a role in all of this. I think if the CFL tries to stonewall the NFL or bury its head in the sand, Canadian Football will be far worse off than if it was partners with the NFL in bringing a team to Toronto.

Now what does this have to do with Hamilton you might ask? Well with an NFL presence in Canada - the CFL better make sure that every Canadian Football team is as strong and well-run as it possibly can be. In Western Canada this is not going to be an issue - and never will be. Fans in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are fiercely loyal to their teams and will support the CFL regardless of what the NFL is doing. I didn't include B.C on that list because I've heard fans of the Lions could be considered 'suspect' in terms of level of support - that's not a partisan comment, simply word of mouth. I don't think the NFL would affect Vancouver a great deal anyway (unless a team was to go there somehow) because Seattle is not all that far from Vancouver - and those who want to see the NFL probably go to Seattle anyway.

The problems, perhaps obviously, would lie in Eastern Canada. Montreal would probably be unscathed by all of this as their fanbase seems to be pretty loyal - unless of course Jim Popp continues to be the coach there. I honestly can't believe some of the things that have reportedly come out of his mouth - now that's throwing your team under the bus.

I don't think anyone knows what will happen in Toronto - how or if the two leagues could co-exist. So we'll leave that for another day.

So that leaves Hamilton - and maybe I'm overstating this (I don't think I am) but Hamilton needs to start fielding a competitive team... and soon. And not only if the NFL comes to Canada but just for the good of the CFL in general. With only 8 teams in the league I think it's necessary for all 8 to be competitive.

Now as I said on Monday, I realize that Hamilton has been hit hard by injuries this year (Jesse Lumsden especially) and that Casey Printers hasn't been there a full season yet - so at least there is hope for them. Hamilton also seems to have a pretty solid run defence (at least statistically) and it's always fun to watch Zeke Moreno fly around and smack people in the mouth. But their pass defence is at or near the bottom of every statistical category. Saskatchewan has lit them up like the 1st of July over the past two weeks.

Hamilton's win totals for the last six seasons are: 2 (so far this year), 4, 5, 9, 1, 7. That seems like a culture of losing to me. If I live in Hamilton and have the choice of watching a morbid Tigercats team or driving an hour or so into Toronto to see an NFL game, I'm probably not going to watch the team that has won a grand total of 28 games in 6 years. Of course I am biased in that regard and would want to watch a NFL game anyway but I do think there is a valid argument in there somewhere.

I fully admit that I do not have an intimate knowledge of the Hamilton organization but it does seem like there are some management/coaching issues there. Corey Holmes, at the time he was traded there was one of the most dynamic players in the league - only to disappear for two seasons. And now that he's back in Saskatchewan he almost looks like that same player again - at least at times. Take D.J Flick as well - suddenly out of Hamilton, Flick has become a serious threat on offence.

Obviously Saskatchewan has more talent on offence and that helps Holmes and Flick look good - but the situation in Saskatchewan should give the people of Hamilton hope. Because it's amazing what can happen when you put passionate, knowledgeable people in charge of a franchise - instead of recycling people that have been around the block 100's of times. As Kent Austin has proven, sometimes a person just needs to be given a chance (like how about Brian Towriss of the U of S Huskies).

I probably have no idea what I'm talking about, discussing a team that is 1000's of kilometers away from me. But these are the things I've been thinking about while watching Hamilton get eviscerated 2 weeks in a row - and admittedly, these are the only 2 Hamilton games I've seen this season.

Hamilton and NFL expansion might not seem connected, even after all this, but I think its all interrelated. NFL or no NFL, all 8 CFL teams need to be competitive every week. And I think that if NFL expansion is handled in an intelligent manner I don't see why the CFL and NFL can't find a way to coexist in Canada.

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than me writing a full-length CFL column today, was finding out that James Lipton used to be a French pimp.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby

Well that was an interesting weekend, which involved a lot of screaming and berating of players... mostly New England - when Brady came back into the game to throw a pass to Wes Welker. And also when Marion Barber got a rushing TD, or when Peyton Manning does the qb sneak.

It was those plays that made me think that I had lost my match-up with the Editor-in-Chief (Ha! Not likely - I'm on an unstoppable roll). I saw his receivers: Welker vs the Dolphins, Patrick Crayton vs Minny, Bobby Engram vs. Seattle. I would put all three as potential 100 yrd, 1 TD performance. Luckily that did not happen (big surprise). Why Crayton never caught a ball vs. Minny? (Oh trust me he did - he caught one for 14 yards and then promptly fumbled it, which left him with a -1 Fantasy score for the day) Why Hasselbeck stinks so much... maybe he has been hanging around with Shaun Alexander too much. As a side note... wow, 47 yrds rushing yards against the Rams...wow. I wanted to put him on my sit list but because it was the Rams I couldn’t do it.

Anyway, as I drove home listening to the Dallas game on my favorite radio station (ESPN 710 out of Bismark [We're big fans of free advertising here at Sports As Life]), I thought it was done. When I got home I turned on the Seattle game, and right then Hall just recorded his 4th sack of the game.... I had hope. Someone had recently dropped the Seattle defense (yo) and I took that opportunity to start them rather than Minny, even though Minny would get 10-15 points. Well as it turns out Seattle was the top DST, outscoring every other DST by more that 11 points (NYG 25 – Seat 36) (I might add that that was 34 points better than they did last week when I started them and the scored a whopping 2). The score in our game 105-94... too close for comfort but now I can go back to rooting for the Editors' team to win. (The bandwagon for 'Now With 15% Less Dogfighting' continues to grow!)

This weekend I also got caught with my pants down... and no i’m not talking about what happened at my party Saturday night. I’m talking about Sunday night/Monday morning. I think it was about Week 3 when I talked about RB injuries and that a Fantasy owner should be looking at the back-ups of the studs... the guys who get the ball almost every down. Well I didn’t follow that advice and do what is known as ‘hand-cuff’ of my top RB. Ronnie Brown went down for the count... he’s gone, and because my team has been winning I’m way down the list on the waiver wire. So Jesse Chatman was gone and my chances of winning possibly with them. (But me being the soul-sucking opportunist that I am, picked up Chatman and offered him back to Trebor - at a drastic mark-up of course)

Part of the problem is our shallow bench. Realistically it’s impossible to handcuff all of your backs - maybe 1. So in my case Gore, Brown, Parker... there’s no way to get Davenport, Chatman, and Robinson... but maybe one. Should have gotten one because all three are ‘the man’. No third down running backs, they are going to get 20-25 touches a game.

So who did I pick up this week... Ricky ‘Smokin’ Williams. I have no clue if he will be allowed to play or touch a ball this year. However, as noted above I’m not at the top of the waiver wire - so next week when Miami says he’ll be joining the team again there will be a rush to get him and I won't end up with him.

The other backs I’d have no problem reaching for right now, knowing they may not see any action or limited....Michael Tuner (a Keeper League must), Priest Holmes, Adrian Peterson (Benson's back-up), Robinson (Gore's back-up), Morris (Alexander's back-up), Marshawn Lynch’s back-up (whoever it is [The A-Train, Anthony Thomas I believe]). These guys are probably all available unless you're in a deep league. All are one play away from being put into a very favorable place. Each team listed, strength is in running not throwing. Again if you're first to pick at waivers it doens't really matter, but if you're near the end these guys won't be available.

Alright, so 6 teams on bye again... booo. Luckily the talent pool with these teams is shallower than Week 6. Dallas, KC, Seattle, Arizona, Baltimore, Atlanta. So really just a handful of players, maybe Defense pick-ups will be key. However, there are also 2 other teams playing across the Pond (stupid saying), and who knows how reliable the Miami or NYG players will be.

Rivers vs. Houston... Did anyone see what Kerry Collins did, yeah you read it - Kerry Collins, also he’s got a new receiver to play with.
Big Ben vs Cincy... He put up some big numbers against a strong secondary, now he gets a weak one, though the rivalry will make this game closer.
Greise vs Lions... They played when Grossman just got benched and Greise didn’t play that well but it was his first game, now he’s got into a good rhythm.

Cleo Lemon vs Giants... You may be asking - Cleo Lemon??? Why would I even consider starting him. So to you I say go check out his numbers the last 2 weeks chances are he outscored your QB (unless it Brady). He likes to run the ball himself rather than handoff so that helps. This week however with Brown and playing in London... sit’em.
Pennington vs Bills... He’s got the home crowd to work against, he’s under a lot of pressure and he can't go deep... will the Bills repeat their week 5 performance... maybe.
Campbell vs New England... Teams have put up numbers against NE mostly because they are playing from behind, however their offense has hit a massive speed-brickwall-bump.
Favre vs Denver... Hopefully you traded Favre high sometime around Week 5, if not... there’s still hope. He has a difficult schedule ahead of him, he almost went on Start’em list but the gut says the bench.

Jackson vs Browns... He’s been sitting for like 5 weeks, should be well rested, he’s playing the browns and they only way for Rams to be successful is through him.
Lynch vs JETS... Basically I’m thinking if Kenny Watson can put up big numbers so can Lynch
Lewis/Wright vs Rams... Right now I’m unsure who will start but whoever does will put up numbers.

Westbrook vs Minny... Last week I said put all Eagles on the bench and I think that turned out pretty good for those that listened. This week is the same though McNabb may have some success, not much.
Watson vs Pitts ... Kenny has been hot - he got like 40 points last week. This week however he’s against one of the best running defenses, so put him on bench... better yet try and trade him should be able to get a decent #2 WR for him. Do this before Rudi comes back.
Maroney vs Wash... So you drafted Maroney in the 2nd round, then he gets hurt, so you keep him on your bench. Then last week he’s back against the Dolphins - big things right... wrong. I think 7 carries for the game total. This year is about Brady throwing.
MJD/Fragile Fred vs TB... Tampa has a good defense, plus I’m assuming Garrard is out so David Grey is playing and yeah - Tampa will put another guy in the box. (I think his name is actually Quentin Grey or something, I'm not looking it up)

D/ST (rather than receivers who I keep saying I give up on) As proven this week, Defenses can win or lose the week for you. The list is defenses likely all on the waivers, and shouldn’t be started every week.

Browns vs the Rams... Not too often will you be able to start them but against Bulger... may be worth a shot.
Lions vs Bears... I’ve looked at the Lions from time to time they seem to get INT’s and when they score lots it forces it to be an air game... could be one of those days.
Tampa Bay vs Jags... I came so close to taking them against the Lions for the sacks, this week it’s because they will be facing David Grey ??? and should rack up some points.
Eagles vs Minny... It’s an easy recipe against the Vikings... shut down Peterson. Though Tarvaris might be hurt, in which case I would stay away because Holcomb or whoever comes in will probably be able to throw the ball better.

I really wanted to talk about quarterbacks this year, as the starters keep getting worse. Then as I was writing this I thought of another topic, maybe for next week. The home stretch which players have favorable match-ups coming up.

Oh yeah almost forgot, there was one player in our league whose entire team was outscored by Tom Brady (50-47)....The guy who hasn’t made a roster move since the draft scored more... (and almost beat TH) I wont name names though cause it’s embarrassing.

A Sports As Life Halloween

I was supposed to be working on something today about the Hamilton Tigercats and their inability to field a competitive football team. But I haven't been able to work myself up into the required fevered pitch yet. So this will have to do.

With Halloween coming up soon I got to thinking about sports-related costumes a person could put together. It's my favorite holiday, cut me some slack. All of these costumes are non-gender specific and could be used by males or females, regardless of what sex the person is that the costume is based on.

The first one I came up with is a few years old but that's sure to mean that you'll be the only person dressed up in it. And originality is key in selecting a Halloween costume. Anybody can go
as a Catholic school girl or a slutty maid. But it takes a special kind of person to dress up as former Chicago resident Steve Bartman, especially in 2007. For those who don't remember, Bartman is the Chicago Cubs fan who, in the 2003 NLCS, interfered with a pop fly and ended up costing the Cubs the game. This little clip sums up everything pretty nicely - watch the part with him being escorted out of the Wrigley. I actually feel bad for him. Other fans were reacting to him like he was a genocidal monster - this is what happens when you take sports too seriously. Anyway... how great would this costume be? A pair of 4 dollar headphones, a Cubs hat and a green turtleneck - you're all set. It would be worth it for the laughs you would get from the 3 people who would actually understand what you were wearing. Maybe this is a little too inside.

If the Steve Bartman doesn't work for you, how about Mike Gundy? The Mike Gundy incident happened recently, so it would be fresh in people's minds. There's less chance for people coming up to you all night saying, "What are you supposed to be?" Of course I don't know how far the
Mike Gundy saga penetrated into everyday society, so as Cooper said while we were having this discussion, "It's a good costume but if people don't know who you are, you're just some crazy person walking around all night screaming, I'm a Man! - I'm 40!" Good point. However, this would be a pretty easy costume to put together as well - you wouldn't even need the Oklahoma State gear. All you'd need is an orange shirt and a black visor. And then you can walk around all night screaming out, "That's garbage!" It might be worth it for that alone.

And how about this one - America's favorite racist, neo-Nazi, baseball owner Marge Schott. This costume would be especially appropriate if you owned a St. Bernard - you could allow it to just randomly defecate wherever it wanted, just like Schott did. Of the three so far, the Schott costume would definitely be the toughest to pull off. You'd need a grey, 3/4 mullet wig and the reading glasses from 1978. Serious bonus points if you can find the Cincinnati Reds sweater from the mid-80's though. And if you own a Reds sweater from the mid-80's you are legally obligated to dress up as Marge Schott. I guarantee nobody will get this costume. I'm sure most people, wherever you are, will think you're dressed up as either Bea Arthur or possibly Barbara Bush. Although a Bea Arthur costume would be pretty funny as well.

Ok, this last one is probably the least accessible for both genders. And it is also the most inside Halloween costume I could possibly think of. Unless you were going to a sports-themed Halloween party this one might have to be shelved. But if you were going to a sports-only Halloween party I guarantee you'd have the best costume there. Take a look at the picture on the left - don't recognize him? It's Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Alabama. If anyone in professional sports needs to have elbow, knee or shoulder surgery - they go to see Dr. James Andrews. If you are a pro athlete and you have a damaged joint, you go to see Dr. Andrews. And while this idea is probably only funny to me - it's really funny to me, so I thought I should include it here. The costume itself would be very, very easy to put together - just some O.R scrubs ("Oh are they?") and some Dollar Store wire glasses. It couldn't be simpler. Of course you'd have to be explaining to people all night who you were dressed up as. But that is an excellent way to break the ice at Halloween parties.

If there are any ideas you think should be passed on to everyone out there be sure to leave them in the comments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just So You Know I'm Not Crazy

Actually, I think it's more so that I can prove to myself I'm not crazy.

I guess I'm not the only one who thought Tony Kornheiser mentioned Tom Brady every 35 seconds on the Monday Night Football telecast last night. Here's an article from the latest edition of The Brushback:


At least it's not just me.

Upon Further Review - Week 6 in the NFL

... New England is just unstoppable - and I hate them. I've tried every reverse-jinx I can think of, praising how good they are in every Friday column I write. But nothing seems to be working. So I might have to pull out the ultimate reverse-jinx... I might have to start cheering for them (see the comments section from yesterday's Headlines). As one of the unluckiest people around, my support might actually lead to the Patriots' downfall.

... One more New England tidbit and then I'm not mentioning them again until Friday. I, unlike Tony Kornheiser, can actually stop talking about the Patriots for 30 seconds (if you watched Monday Night Football last night you know what I'm talking about). Keep this in mind when you're thinking about how dominant the Pats are: they have beat one team - one - with a winning record this year (Dallas) and the combined record of teams they've played this year is 17-28.

... St. Louis has a very realistic shot at 0-16, more so than Miami I think - even though Miami has lost their starting QB and RB this season. Even when the Rams get Steven Jackson back I don't think it's going to make much of a difference - they are just totally in disarray. I'm sure glad I didn't have the 2nd overall pick in my Fantasy Draft because I would have taken Jackson for sure. If that had happened I may have not won a game yet... oh wait.

... Lots of last second wins this week - Rob Bironas' 172 field goals put Tennessee over Houston (ok it was only 8 field goals, still a record - but one was a game-winner too), Jason Elam's winning field goal over Pittsburgh (Denver should be 0-6 but instead they're going to be in the playoffs), Chicago got a last-minute touchdown to beat Philly (there are going to be riots in Philly pretty quick). Arizona almost had a last-second game-winning field goal but Niel Rackers sailed it just wide (how did Washington let the Cards even hang around?).

... And speaking of the Houston/Tennessee game, did anyone see what I saw? Instead of showing Houston's go-ahead touchdown and Tennessee's come-back field goal - CBS showed their studio team watching the game and reacting to what was happening, and then the audience got to see the plays a second later. Did anyone hear why that was? I missed it the explanation - I'm hoping it was due to technical difficulties because that was a very strange way to watch the last minute of a very exciting game. I'm pretty sure I would have been just as well off without Boomer Esiason putting in his two cents every 10 seconds. Next time just show the game please.

... Shaun Alexander is done - stick a fork in him. I've never seen someone run so timidly in my life. The Seattle fans have had enough with him and are booing him with regularity now. I made a trade push for him early in our Fantasy season but it didn't work out - I'm sure glad it didn't or I might be winless right now... oh wait.

... Of all the bad quarterbacks in the League - and there are plenty - at the top of my list is Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson. He is straight up bad. He's got one of the best running backs in the league at his disposal, Adrian Peterson, and his line against Dallas was 6 of 19 for 72 yards. If Minny had even a functional human body at quarterback they could be a pretty scary team. Jackson's broken finger might be the best thing to happen to the Vikings - not a good sign when Kelly Holcomb is an upgrade for you at quarterback.

... Why oh why do the New York Jets still allow Chad Pennington to throw those long out patterns across the field? He had another one picked off and returned for a touchdown on Sunday... the Jets lost by 7. Pennington seems like a really nice guy and I wish he didn't have a rag for an arm... but he does. He actually played pretty well in that Cincy game (270 yards and 3 touchdowns) but that interception for a touchdown (I will never call it a 'pick six' by the way, that's the stupidest expression I have ever heard - I'm looking at you Rich Eisen) was just a killer.

... Baltimore coach Brian Billick obviously isn't as smart as he thinks he is. The Ravens, attempting to come back against Buffalo, had a 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 from the Buffalo 49. Willis McGahee had already run for 114 yards in the game but Billick elected to throw the ball, twice. To no one's surprised, except apparently Billick's, Baltimore couldn't convert either time (we're talking about Kyle Boller here people) and the game was over.

... Well I was wrong about how many times Byron Leftwich would get sacked. I was thinking somewhere in the range of 17 to 20 times. But it was only three. However, throwing a lead-footed quarterback behind a terrible offensive line proved to be a bad idea anyway as Leftwich was hurt while getting hit by a defender. While I never cheer for a guy to get hurt, this is poetic justice in a way because Joey Harrington should never had been benched for Leftwich anyway. It was not Harrington's fault that Atlanta's receivers are just awful and can't hold on to the ball.

... It's pretty clear to me now that the CRTC needs to be abolished - that way I can just pay for ESPN and avoid these absurd Canadian broadcasting middlemen hacks. Don't know what I'm talking about? If you tried to watch NFL Sunday Countdown on TSN you know exactly what I'm talking about. Instead of broadcasting Countdown TSN decided to show a pre-race Formula One program. Now I realize that this was the last race of the F1 season and the championship was on the line but C'mon! It's not like it was even the race that preempted Countdown it was the pre-race show.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Headlines

In all seriousness - doesn't it hurt the CFL to have 1 of its 8 teams be as bad as the Hamilton Tigercats are? I didn't watch all of the Saskatchewan/Hamilton game yesterday - between the NFL and struggling with my new DVD recorder - but from what I saw, Hamilton is playing at about a university level. I suspect that a game between Hamilton and a top ten ranked Canadian university team would be a very, very close game. And this does nothing for the CFL as a whole. Which leads me to my next question... how is it possible for Hamilton to be so bad? I realize that Casey Printers has only been with the team for a couple of months. Losing Jesse Lumsden for the year was catastrophic for them too - he was the only reason they have won 2 games. But that team is not even close to being professionally competitive from what I saw. I might have to noodle with this a bit more today and expand it into a full column. With only 8 teams in the league it seems to me that you can't have 1 being a total doormat year after year.

Weir finally got to hold another giant novelty cheque yesterday - an achievement reserved for winners on the PGA Tour. It's been over 3 years since Weir last got to hold up a big cheque and it's nice to see him playing well again. Over the last year or so there had been whispers and rumblings that he might have been 'done' as a pro golfer. Luckily, it looks like those of us thought that were wrong.

The Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics. All 3 are favorites to win - or at least be close to winning the championships in the three major sports - the MLB, the NFL and the NBA. I don't think we can consider the NHL a major sport anymore can we? Anyway... if 2 or more of these teams win titles Boston will possibly be the most insufferable sports town of all time. The Red Sox are no longer lovable losers but are now worse than the Yankees at spending whatever it takes to win a championship. The Patriots are coached by the most unlikeable man in the history of organized sport and are running amok with no respect for the game or anyone else. And the Celtics benefited from a trade mandated by the NBA Commissioner's office to get the heat off the referee betting scandal. So go Rockies, go NFC and go Raptors. This might be the situation that turns me off sports forever.

I just happened to catch Don Cherry at the end of the Toronto/Chicago game on Saturday night. For many, many years I was a Cherry apologist but now I really think he's doing more to harm the game than he is to help it. As usual he was lamenting the lack of fighting in hockey or maybe it was about the plots to take fighting out of the game. In any case he was pointing out all the fans on their feet cheering the fights and how much the fans love fighting. Now I have no desire to see fighting taken out of hockey but to me if the fights are the only thing fans are coming to see then there are much bigger problems with the game than anyone is willing to admit. Instead of talking about more fighting because fans stand and cheer for fighting - we should be talking about why fans are only standing and cheering for fighting.

Since the NHL Headshot of the Week is sweeping the nation like wildfire I need your help in keeping it going. As hard as I try to watch every highlight around, I just can't. So if you see something in an NHL game that you think should be the NHL Headshot of the Week please let me know.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Predict A Riot - Week 7 in The NFL

Well I was 9-4 last week. Thank you very much Seattle, Cincinnati, Chicago and Arizona. Try to do better this week...

Baltimore @ Buffalo
One week Baltimore looks just ok against San Francisco and their back-up QB and the next week they look like the 2000 Ravens against St. Louis and their back-up. And might I add costing me a Fantasy victory along the way. It's not that I'm mad - it's just that I'm disappointed in them.
Winner: Baltimore

Minnesota @ Dallas
I think this game, more than last week's against New England, might be the most important game of the season for Dallas so far. Everyone except maybe some of the Cowboys (and probably not all of them) knew that New England was going to roll last week. But how the Cowboys come out against a tough Minnesota team might determine what Dallas is actually made of. Purely from a Fantasy standpoint I hope the Cowboys come out with a Vengeance and lay the boots to the Vikings. I think the Cowboys will win but it'll probably be closer than I'd like.
Winner: Dallas

New England @ Miami
New England might get 70 in this game - and that's really all I have to say about the game itself. But the scenario I'm really hoping for is this: It's Week 16 and Miami still hasn't won a game and New England still hasn't lost. Could the Dolphins go into Foxboro and somehow summon enough collective talent to stop the Patriots from getting the unbeaten season that the Miami franchise celebrates so much. If that happens, Larry Csonka might come down from Alaska and actually strap on the pads again. He almost looks like he could.
Winner: New England

Atlanta @ New Orleans
The quarterback formerly known as Byron Leftwich is going to get the start for the Falcons in this game - and apparently for the rest of the year from what I hear. I guess it was Joey Harrington's fault that the Atlanta receivers can't catch the ball. I wonder what the over/under on the number of time's Leftwich will be sacked in this game is? 17? 18? I guess it was Harrington's fault too that his offensive line is terrible. New Orleans showed some signs of life last week and they just have to not turn the ball over to win this game.
Winner: New Orleans

San Francisco @ NY Giants
I dislike the Giants - I freely admit it. And the fact that they are starting to look good makes me dislike them all the more. As long as Patrick Willis smacks a few people in the mouth in this game I'll be happy.
Winner: NY Giants

Arizona @ Washington
I'm almost thinking I should say Bet the House on this game, simply for the irony of Arizona being involved in my Bet the House game last week - but on the other side. Now it's personal. And seriously... Tim Rattay? C'mon!
Winner: Washington

Tennessee @ Houston
I've never seen so many wildly overthrown footballs that didn't involve last year's version of Kerry Joseph as I did from Vince Young in last weekend's Tennessee game. And now it seems like if Vince Young does play he won't be able to run very effectively because of a quad injury. That means more throwing for Young and that could mean big problems for Tennessee.
Winner: Houston

Tampa Bay @ Detroit
It looks like Jeff Garcia is playing for the '98 Calgary Stampeders again. Well, without the gaudy numbers anyway. He hasn't thrown an interception yet this year and is almost single-handedly responsible for Tampa Bay being 4-2. As for Detroit... who knows about this team. One week they look like an offensive juggernaut and the next they look like the '76 Buccaneers. For some reason I feel like Tampa's resurgent defence can handle Detroit's streaky offence.
Winner: Tampa Bay

Kansas City @ Oakland
Yikes... someone has to win this game I guess. Kansas City looked pretty good against Cincinnati last week, which is fine until you remember that the Bengals are terrible. And despite the best efforts of Daunte Culpepper the Raiders tried to hang close to San Diego last week. I think that Oakland is a little underrated and can probably take this game at home... and I just threw up in my own mouth.
Winner: Oakland

NY Jets @ Cincinnati
Wow... another game that by rule someone has to win. I guess this is the Obligation Game for the week. I'll tell you this much, neither of these teams deserve to win this game. Maybe it'll just end up as a scoreless tie and justice will be served.
Winner: Cincinnati

Chicago @ Philadelphia
I don't know... do you? Chicago, with it's "good defence" gave up close to 10,000 rushing yards last week to a rookie. And Philadelphia with all it's "offensive weapons" could barely beat the Jets. THE JETS! I think that if Philly can stop Devin Hester from scoring one touchdown, they win.
Winner: Philadelphia

St. Louis @ Seattle
I gotta say - I can't put a lot of faith in a coach that writes notes for himself such as, "Just Call It" and "Run It!" - as Seattle coach Mike Holmgren had written on his playsheet last week. See for yourself. Especially when that coach calls a fullback draw on 4th and 3 and goes for a touchdown on 4th down, when a field goal would have been equally as effective. All that being said - the Seahawks are playing St. Louis this week. And apparently Marc Bulger with broken ribs is still better than Gus Ferotte and his 5 picks. I guess when all else fails you have to pick the team with the quarterback that can breathe without being in agony.
Winner: Seattle

Pittsburgh @ Denver
Quietly Pittsburgh is the 2nd best team in the AFC, while Denver is one of the worst teams in the league - they should be 0-5. The Broncos are thanking their lucky stars that the Rockies made it to the World Series. Otherwise people in Denver would be ready to riot.
Winner: Pittsburgh

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
This is the upset special of the week. I know that Indy is coming off a bye and will be getting Joesph Addai and Marvin Harrison back. But Jacksonville is playing some pretty good football right now and they always play Indy tough anyway. Maurice Jones-Drew might have a career day against the Colts run defence.
Winner: Jacksonville

NHL Headshot of the Week

"For the sake of the game, they oughta throw him in San Quentin.
He is a criminal element!The worst goon in hockey today.
Oh, yeah. Real cement-head." - player/coach Reg Dunlop

That quote describes nobody in the NHL better than Nashville's Jordin Tootoo - who is nothing more than a criminal element. He seems to possess no actual hockey skills other than the ability to take 12-step runs at other players. Need proof? Here's a clip from a game last week against Phoenix:

It's because of talentless nobodies like Tootoo that players get clotheslined - like Craig Weller did to Tootoo in the clip. And while I feel like it's a double standard for me to be praising Weller for clocking Tootoo - I am doing just that. Anybody else find it hilarious that Tootoo runs around trying to kill guys but as soon as he gets hit he's lying on the ice like someone shot him. For the sake of the game they oughta throw him in San Quentin.

This hit even made CBC's Kelly Hrudey stand up and say Tootoo is a "disgrace" and "should be out of the game." Try to find the actual quotes of what Hrudey said - I dare you. You know the NHL is in bad shape when you can't even find controversial quotes about it on the Internet.

The Links

... Funny, I always thought it was going to be George Lucas that would ruin Star Wars for me. Apparently I was wrong. I'm not kidding when I say that this sounds like something dying a slow, painful death. There's just no way I can explain to you how bad this is without you seeing it.

... So if you haven't heard Jimmy Kimmel has been banned from Monday Night Football for making disparaging remarks (sound familiar Rider fans?) toward Joe Theismann - a former MNF booth man. Here's what Kimmel said if you haven't heard it - it's at about 45 seconds of this clip - there were apparently some others earlier as well, you can probably find them on You Tube if you so desire. This is really too bad because Kimmel is one of the funniest guys around right now and MNF is better off with him than without him. Theismann was a hack anyway.

... Speaking of booth men - here's a clip of Joe Buck, Fox's baseball and football play by play man, on the Conan O'Brien show this week. I don't always love Buck but he was actually quite funny I must say. He is apparently getting his own late night talk show on Fox and I want to say right now that Tim McCarver needs to be his sidekick. If that happens I will watch the show ever night that it is broadcast.

... And the winner of the blatant marketing ploy of the week of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who this week said the League might consider someday holding the Super Bowl in London. I think the timing of this will interesting considering the NFL is actually holding a game in London in 2 weeks - funny that. As Trevor said on Monday, this would be like holding the British Open outside Boston. Or it would be like holding the NHL Entry Draft in a half-empty arena in Columbus, Ohio... oh... wait. The Super Bowl in London will Never Happen.

Artist of the Week

This week's Artist of the Week is The National. Now I'd never heard of them before about last Wednesday but I think they're actually pretty big news in certain circles. So if this doesn't qualify as a band you've never heard of I apologize. I actually heard a song of their's on NBC's Chuck and it was the only good thing I ever got out of that show.

The National is a monster combination of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, The Strokes and The Killers. You should definitely check them out.

Their official website is: http://www.americanmary.com/ There is a link to them performing on Letterman as well as a National Public Radio show.

You can also check out their Myspace site at: http://www.myspace.com/thenational

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The CFL, putting the League in Bush League since 1958

How many thousands of dollars do you think I'll get fined for that?

I really don't have much of anything to say today but I've just been awakened from a delightful afternoon nap by what sounds like a vacuum cleaner but is probably an industrial leaf blower tearing up and down the hallway of my building. So I figured I'd jump on the CFL, since this Roughrider situation really has to be one of the most ridiculous things in the history of organized sport.

And I have one question, what does the executive of the CFL do? And are they really necessary at all? I mean besides making the schedule and occasionally having to broker a T.V contract, it doesn't seem like the CFL really has any need of an executive.

Has anyone ever seen CFL commissioner Mark Cohon? Can anyone actually confirm his existence? Or is he just a fantastic creation of the imaginations of Wally Buono and Hugh Campbell? Apparently he is going to be speaking at the Plaza of Honour dinner here in Regina but I remain skeptical. I wouldn't be surprised if his appearance was cancelled at the last minute due to a "scheduling conflict."

Sure NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might have the business sense of an English Wolfhound and the loyalty of rabid Persian rat... but at least we know he exists. Bettman does occasionally leave the artificially-darkened confines of his luxurious 47th floor Mid-Town Manhattan office to hold his sensory whiskers in the wind to feel what people are saying about his little league that could.

Cohon on the other hand remains locked in semi-seclusion in a high-rise on Younge Street - issuing fines and edicts about anyone having the gall to even slightly question the League in any way. Anyone mentioning the Shreveport Pirates will be shot on sight.

I haven't seen 10 grand demanded so frivolously since Kevin Federline's child support claim.

It's becoming very, very clear that the CFL, both on the field with officiating and off the field in the executive, has no real idea what it is doing. And anybody who even asks for answers to simple questions will be fined until they shut up. I guess the good thing is that it took until the season was almost over for this ugly truth to actually come to light.

And you wonder why the League needs a gag order to prevent players and coaches from speaking out.

As far as I can tell Eric Tillman and Kent Austin simply asked for an explanation from the league as to why three of their players were ejected from the game in Hamilton. That's it. Neither called out the league or said anything 'disparaging' against the league. It was a simple question as to why the events were handled the way they were.

Of course the CFL reacted like an insecure teenager suddenly thrust into the management role at Taco Del Mar. They are so unsure of what they're doing that anybody speaking out of turn must be crushed immediately lest others find out that the people in charge have no idea what they're doing.

But this situation reeks of such gross incompetence that everybody knows what the story is now. No amount of fines, threats and warnings can take the place of actual, competent management. And until the CFL realizes this we're in for an interesting time - and we all know it...

"Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died" - Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Fantasy Baby

Sorry for the delay today - I've been out sick today, then the fire alarm in my building was going off and then Blogger had an outage that prevented me from publishing this post. I bet Ian Hamilton doesn't have to put up with this kind of garbage.

Before we get to the Fantasy Football, I feel as though I should point out that Atlanta Thrashers head coach Bob Hartley was fired by the team today. I should also point out that Hartley was first on my list of head coaches who would lose their job. See for yourself. Just don't scroll down to where I pick Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier to be the rookie of the year - Bernier was sent back to Junior last week.

Anyway on to the Fantasy Football, where my only fantasy is to not be 0-6. I'm going for the record... 0-14. I'm getting into George Costanza territory here - every instinct I have is wrong, so that must make the opposite right. Adjust your rosters accordingly.

Thankfully though we do have someone here at Sports As Life who knows what he's talking about - here's Senior Fantasy Football Writer Trebor's breakdown for Week7:

So Week 6 finally saw some top performances from LT, LJ and MJD, but Alexander has fallen off now (hope you listened about LJ and Alex). This week there’s only 4 teams on a bye. Carolina, San Diego, Green Bay and Cleveland. All but the Panthers had startable QB’s and there’s also some WR/TE’s that will be sitting so hopefully your rosters can be filled properly or you have waiver wire luck/skill (CH).

So with some news coming through the wire. I thought I’d take a look at these trades/signing and give you some things to look for. Just so you know I haven’t read any analysis on the following trades, as work is damn busy - I called it quits at 9pm last night (start at 7 am)…so hopefully when I get a chance later in the week the experts will think the same but…

Michael Bennett gets traded to Tampa Bay:
For the last couple of years this one guy in my league keeps picking Michael Bennett, 2 yrs ago in the 6th round, every time he gets laughed at. Not just a heckle but basically leading up to the draft and then for weeks after the selection is mocked and for good reason, he’s been a back-up for a couple of years now, waiting for LJ to get hurt, before that he was part of a three back system in Minny. If he drafted him this year then he’ll be laughing now. Tampa has no running back, Earnest Graham can be a decent option but Bennett will compete for the starting job maybe not this week but week after I see him out there a lot more than Earnest. One of the reasons being is that Bennett can catch. This used to be Pittman's role until he got hurt. With Garcia playing top notch, Bennett can not only see 10-15 carries per game but also get checked down to 5-7 times/game. So expect 75+ yards from him after week 7.

What to do…If you have Earnest I would suggest picking up Bennett, or if you think you may need some help at RB. He’s not going to put up big numbers in that offense but can help a team out down the stretch with a couple of match-ups against the Saints, Carolina, the ATL. Wow I think Tampa will win their division…who said that Gruden was going to be the first coach fired ???? same person who said Coughlin would also be gone right away ?? (well... at least I can pick which hockey coaches are going to get fired) My picks of John Fox and Lovie Smith are still in play.

Also with the trade LJ’s back-up is now Kolby Smith…you might be saying “who??” and I’m not going to bother looking him up. Important thing is the trade may mean Priest Holmes is going to be playing again. See if/how he does in practice before making a move though

Chris Chambers trade to San Deigo:
This caught me by surprise. The Tampa trade you knew was coming they had to get someone in at running back. So the Chargers went and got a number 1 wr. Or well at least a former top receiver. I don’t see Chambers getting back to his production of 2005, or even what he did at the beginning of the season. Vincent Jackson the soon to be #2 WR, is tall, athletic, fast, knows the system and is a tier 2 wr at best. The reason being ??? I’m not sure Rivers, coaching schemes…. no wide receiver is going to do well in this offense. The reason why Rivers can be a good QB is because of the screen pass to LT and no one can cover Gates. Throwing in 1 more receiver will only diminish balls thrown to Jackson and to Gates. However, teams now have another guy to cover, which means more room for LT.

Miami is in rebuilding mode, Chambers probably was a high paid player if he was a free agent this or the next year wouldn’t surprise me. So the winless Dolphins traded their top wr… I’m not sure but management could be in trouble here, they passed up Brady Quinn thinking Trent Green was the answer and stretched with the pick of Teddy Ginn, but from a fantasy side who cares. Perhaps Teddy showed them something, but I have seen nothing from him except for a 100 yard run that lost XX yards and knocked out their QB.

What to do… With San Diego on bye Chambers will have time to get into the system. I don’t see his production going up so don’t try and reach for him unless you need help. I would value him more than Jackson right now who just might slip to a #3-4 WR, since he may get lost behind the big names.

As far as Miami this could mean the Ronnie will see more men in the box, especially until Cleo Lemon shows he can pass. They also play New England this week so it’s not a good match-up for any Dolphin - though if you have anyone beside Ronnie, well I cant help you. See how Booker and Ginn step up in the offense. After their week 9 bye, they have some easier match-ups and either could be worth a flier when your top WR has a bad match-up.

As for picks... the big one I got wrong was to sit Adrian Peterson... wow did I ever get that wrong. Wasn’t there a time when you went into Chicago knowing that if you got 75 yds on the ground it would be a good day.

Eli Manning vs SF... Who needs leaderships skills Tiki when your a Manning, they’ve got the running backs in place, receivers who can catch, Def playing strong... which is good news for Eli, bad news for Eli he is going to get jacked up by Willis which will be fun to watch.
Campbell vs Arizona... He didn’t do much last week against a tough Green Bay team. He’s up against the Cards this week, still tough but I figure their Def will pick off Rattay or whoever ??? a couple of times and give him a short field to work with.
Garcia vs Detroit... Who would have thought Garcia could still play at this level, I’m fairly sure he hasn’t thrown a int yet and going against the Lions could mean he could rack up some td’s.

McNabb vs Da Bears... I’m putting all Philly players on the bench this week, I think after the embarrassment of last week they’ll be all kinds of fired up for their visit to the City of Brotherly Love. Mcnab probably gets put on here anyway cause he’s not playing good against anyone.
Cutler vs Pittsburgh... Come off a bye to play one of the top Def coupled with their running back situation ??? not a good situation for an average QB.

Brandon Jacobs vs SF... Can’t wait to see Willis go after Jacobs, I realize this is the 2nd time I’ve mentioned Patrick Willis, maybe too close to man crush but hey he’s that good.
Thomas Jones vs Cincy... Jones is starting find his stride with J-E-T-S, I think he went over 100 last game and this week he gets the Bungles.
LJ vs Oaktown... After being on the sit list for the first 5 weeks (which was the right call) he is now permanently on the start list, and facing Oakland will only help him get back in stride.

Westbrook vs Da Bears... See my McNabb argument, the Bears aren’t going to let someone else run all over them. Yes he will probably get 50 yrds on the ground and 50 in the air, but in standard leagues that’s 4 points... not that good.
Travis Henry vs Pittsburgh... His role is going to start being less and less unless it’s true that it was 2nd hand smoke that caused him to fail the 2nd drug test. Didn’t say anything about the 1st test so.... also I think Pitts hasn’t allowed a RB to gain more than 70yds this season.
Barber/Jones vs Minny.... This tandem is one of the better ones in the league, but going against Minny, Romo will be chucking the ball way too much. If you want to start one Barber, he is more active in the passing game and also should get goaline work.

Start 'em
Crayton vs Minny... They have the worst pass defense, so expect numbers from both all three (Owens, Crayton and Witten).
Engram vs Rams... I’m putting him here as he seem to be the go-to guy, but for some reason my gut says Nasty Nate (Burleson) is the better of the 2.
Cotchery vs Cincy... Even though Chad’s arm can't get him the deep ball, Jericho will run the short routes and pile on the YAC.

Bench 'em
Colston vs Atla... This could be a fun game to watch... kind of like the stooges. None of the Atlanta players can catch and Colston seems to be taking notes from his former mentor (Joe Horn) and will fit right in with Atlanta. He had 1 catch last week and 3 drops that I saw, 1 he was standing there with ball delivered right to his chest and... well... I just laughed.
Boldin/Fitz vs Washington... I have the misfortune of having both WR’s so I’ll have to start one of them. Boldin will likely play this week but with Rattay throwing the ball??? Also Washington's secondary had really stepped up by shutting out Kitna and Favre.

Also I hope the editor wins one game this year - just not this one, though I am worried because of his receivers and their favorable match-ups. (If you haven't guessed Trebor and I are playing each other in our Fantasy League this week - stay tuned next week for the results)

Tim McCarver Strikes Again

I'm starting to feel like I could make a career out of just re-telling Tim McCarver stories. I had another fantastic one all lined up for you today - but Bill Simmons beat me to it with his running diary of the Red Sox/Indians game last night. You can read the diary here - the story in question is covered in the entry from 10:05.

Somehow McCarver was baffled by the "startling fact" that lead-off homeruns lead to more multi-run innings than lead-off walks. This one wasn't quite as good as the pitch/thumb discussion from Monday night - but it was close.

The Fantasy Football stuff will be up later in the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Upon Further Review - Week 6 in the NFL

Before we get to the NFL I should say congrats to the Colorado Rockies for getting to the World Series. As much as I was wishing there was a team with a little more history than Colorado and Arizona in the NLCS, the run that the Rockies are on is pretty impressive. The week off they're going to have might end up hurting them though.

But the real story is the ALCS - and not the baseball but rather a certain Tim McCarver - the colour man for Fox's baseball broadcast team. Now if you're not familiar with McCarver's work, he is probably the most loathed baseball broadcaster working today (scroll down to the 'Criticism' section of his Wikipedia page for more on that). I however, love Tim McCarver. He is one of the funniest people working in comedy today - because there is no way that half of what comes out of his mouth is meant as serious commentary.

During last night's Red Sox/Indians game McCarver was regaling us with the tale of how Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has to use his thumb to call pitches because Dice-K Matsuzaka throws so many different pitches. And to prove he could count to 5, McCarver said the number of pitches Dice-K throws is more than 4. But the really great thing about this whole exchange was that play-by-play man Joe Buck apparently can't count to 5 and was confused by what McCarver had said. Buck thought that Dice-K would have to throw more than 5 pitches for the thumb to become a factor. Luckily, after much explanation and calculation, both were able to figure out that 5 is the correct number of digits a human should have on one hand.

This story has become long and probably doesn't mean anything to you unless you were watching the game last night. But if you were watching - you know exactly what I'm talking about. I've never laughed so hard during a baseball game in my life - it was like a young Martin and Lewis. Suffice it to say that it was one of the most sublime comedy bits I've ever heard. I'm very much looking forward to tonight's game.

Now on to the football...

... Did you realize that Dallas and New England were playing each other this week? And that they were both 5-0? I had no idea. I swear that of the 40 minutes of the 2 hour NFL Sunday Countdown show that is not commercials, 30 minutes was devoted to the Dallas/New England game. That hardly left them any time at all to talk about Brett Favre. And hey, I understand this - you gotta promote the marquee games, especially in a week where there were a lot of terrible games. But I think there was some slight overkill involved.

... And surprisingly enough that Dallas/New England game almost lived up to the hype - at least for the first 3 quarters. And now one of my favorite sportswriters, Bill Simmons, has started defending the Patriots sudden compulsion to run-up the score every week by saying it's justified because the Patriots were exposed as cheaters and everyone piled on. I guess that point of view is understandable because Simmons is a Boston guy and a Patriots fan - although I see absolutely no logic in that. They cheated, they were caught and now they run up the score every week to prove a point? That doesn't really make sense to me. I have a feeling history is going to judge this Patriots team very harshly. Or maybe it's just me.

... Wasn't Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis supposed to be a defensive genius? Wasn't he the defensive co-ordinator for Baltimore when they won the Super Bowl? The Bengals are just straight bad on defence. Of course offensively, they were 1-11 on third down against Kansas City. That probably doesn't help either. I wonder how long it will take before Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J Houshmandzadeh and Rudi Johnson get fed up and say, "That's it - we're leaving and starting our own team."

... A colleague of mine brought this up. Why is Tony Gonzalez allowed to dunk the football on the goalposts? Isn't that using the football and goalposts as props, which you're not allowed to do anymore. Maybe he's been doing it for so long that he got grandfathered into the new system.

... If Tom Brady wasn't playing with a serious chip on his shoulder this year, I think Devin Hester could potentially be the MVP of the league. He returned another kick for a touchdown on Sunday - bringing his punt/kick return total to 3 for the year. You can watch his latest against Minnesota here. The thing I love about this one is that he almost stops running and stands still right at the beginning of the return. This guy makes Dante Hall look like T.J Duckett. Oh, Hester also caught an 81-yard touchdown pass in that game as well.

... And how could I talk about the Chicago/Minnesota game without talking about Vikings rookie Adrian Petersen. He had 224 yards on just 20 carries, with 3 touchdowns. Petersen also had 4 kickoff returns for 128 yards, including a 53-yarder to set up the game-winning field goal. I was discussing him with Cooper yesterday and he think Petersen looks like the reincarnation of Bo Jackson. Petersen is built solid and runs low and mean.

... I demand to know why Seattle thought it was a good idea to run a fullback draw on 4th and 3 in the 4th quarter against New Orleans on Sunday night. Of course it didn't work. The play call was terrible to begin with - I'm looking at you Mike Holmgren - but that doesn't really say much about Shaun Alexander does it? Alexander averaged 2.5 yards per carry and was booed basically every time he touched the ball by the home crowd.

... And speaking of Mike Holmgren and bad play calling, why were the Seahawks going for it on 4th down late in the 4th down by 11 and in field goal range. They would have needed a touchdown, a 2-point conversion and a field goal to tie anyway, so why not get at least the field goal. Instead they didn't convert 4th down and got nothing.

... The Jets are just terrible (everybody: S-U-C-K-S-S-S) and I can't believe they are publicly giving a vote of confidence to Chad Pennington. He was 11/21 for 128 yards and an interception against a suspect Eagles secondary. I understand loyalty and its very important - but winning games is even more important. And sometimes loyalty to players can stand in the way of winning - as everyone in Saskatchewan familiar with the Danny Barrett era can attest to.

... Brett Favre is now apparently the best and the worst quarterback in NFL history, as he set the career interception mark on Sunday - a week after he set the career touchdown pass mark. This is a Lenny Wilkins situation. Wilkins is the winningest and losingest coach in NBA history.

... I didn't see the Giants/Falcons Monday Night game yesterday, as I was hooked up with some Velvet Revolver tickets (and it was actually a pretty decent show - I can't really name one Velvet Revolver song but it was very interesting to see most of the original Guns n' Roses lineup - especially when they did Patience) But I heard that I didn't really miss anything as far as the game went. One thing I did think was interesting looking at the game stats was that Atlanta only ran the ball 14 times - the entire game, between two running backs. I don't know why that was but you're probably not going to win many games when Joey Harrington has to throw the ball 40 times, especially when he only completes 18 of those passes.

... I feel as though I should apologize for telling people to bet the house on the Arizona Cardinals. But it wasn't my fault, I swear. Who knew that Kurt Warner's elbow ligaments would give out early in the game and the Cardinals would have to rely on Tim Rattay. When Tim Rattay's your best option, you're in trouble.

... Since over half the league would now be on the Do Not Bet On Until Further Notice I'm abandoning the whole experiment. I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea what's going anymore.

Monday, October 15, 2007

ESPN.com's 'Ray of Hope'

I don't really have anything else to say today but I was just reading this story on ESPN.com and thought I should share it.

With all the ridiculousness that goes on in the World of Sport sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what is actually important in life. Ugly new NHL jerseys, incompetent officiating and the inability to win a single Fantasy Football game do not account for much in the Grand Scheme. They are great diversions but they don't truly matter. I wouldn't still be writing Sports As Life if I didn't think it had a purpose to serve. But reading the story of former University of North Carolina mascot Jason Ray sort of puts everything into perspective.

You can find the story here. (click on 'Life, Death, Rebirth' to continue the story)

Monday Headlines

Even though the game might have been closer for awhile than some would have liked, it was nice to see the Roughriders put the boots to an inferior team. On a related note, since the actual game will be covered with the usual saturation, if the CFL doesn't suspend Jermese Jones and Mike Abou-Mechrek what's the chance that Kent Austin does? (Note: I have not read the Leader-Post or Rod Pedersen's blog yet - so if this is being discussed or has already happened I apologize). In the end losing two offensive linemen didn't really matter against Hamilton but if that had actually been a good team it could have been a different story. Coach Austin was pretty livid - I could see him taking some action.

The Regina Rams smoked the Alberta Golden Bears 35-16 on Saturday to move up to the number 8 ranking in the country - and number 2 in the Canada West division. This sets up a monster game this coming Saturday in Winnipeg against the University of Manitoba. Even if the Rams can't pull that one out they have another big game the week after in Saskatoon against the U of S - I'm already thinking about making the trek up for the game. And riddle me this - how can the University of Saskatchewan be ranked number 5 in the country with 2 losses but the Rams are number 8 with 1 loss? Maybe the rankings haven't been updated since the weekend.

Game 3 of the National League Championship Series was actually broadcast on Sportsnet last night - so if you watched you saw the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks... again. Colorado seems to be unbeatable - they've won 20 of their last 21 games and now have a 3-0 series lead over Arizona. Barring a Yankees-esqe collapse this series will be over shortly. While I think it's nice to see new blood in the MLB playoffs the lack of a team that's more than a decade old is really hurting this series.

...that the only unbeaten team left in the NHL is the Minnesota Wild? I'm telling you right now that if Minnesota wins the Stanley Cup this year I'm through with hockey for good. Say what you will about all the offence in the game right now but it's still ridiculous trapping teams like Minnesota that win championships. There is nothing in the world that could compel me to watch a Minnesota Wild game. And apparently Derek Boogaard concussed Todd Bertuzzi with a shoulder to the head - could that be this weeks' NHL Headshot of the Week? You'll have to wait and see. Having said all that, good for Regina's own Josh Harding for shutting out the Stanley Cup champs last night.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cooper's You Bet Your Life

After last weekend nothing makes sense anymore. USC, a 41 point favorite losing at home to Stanford. Are you s***ting me? Well I am actually coming off of a winning weekend. 5 –1 outright and 3 – 3 against the spread and hey, the Lock of the Week was actually a lock, both outright and against the spread. Not too many big name games this weekend. A ho-hum weekend if you will. Again some of you are asking for some kind of a “gimmick”. You want a gimmick go see a damn prop comic.

Oklahoma St (3-3) @ Nebraska (4–2): The Huskers at home are a –4.5 point favorites to beat Mike Gundy and his Cowboys. Nebraska had their asses handed to them last Saturday and I look for them to come out in front of a pissed of home crowd and play some football. I see the Huskers winning, however the fact that Mike Gundy is a man and he’s 40 gives the Cowboys the push to make this a close game. On the mascot side of things this is basically a Cowboy vs a Farmer. No advantage either way. And with Mike Gundy, accept no imitations.
Nebraska 38 – Oklahoma St 35

#7 South Carolina (5–1) @ North Carolina (2-4): The Ol’ ball coach Steve Spurrier has South Cackilacky on a roll - “click clack”. Led by that smelly Gamecock QB Chris Smelly. The Gamecocks are favored on the road by –7.5 against a Tar Heel team that is coming off a big upset win over “The U”. North Carolina will still be suffering the dreaded “Big win hangover” and will get crushed by the shear genius of Steve Spurrier…”click clack”. As far as mascots go I have no idea what a “Gamecock” is, nor a “Tar Heel”.
South Carolina 24 – North Carolina 6

#4 Boston College (6 – 0) @ Notre Dame (1 – 5): Hey what do you know, the Irish won a game. May I say congratulations on what will be your only win of the season. The poor Irish defense will be up against Boston College’s QB Matt Ryan, who right now is the outright favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Look for him to be a 1st round pick in this years draft. Say hello to Minnesota Matt. BC is favored by –13.5 and I see them covering the spread. It’s a Eagle vs a Drunk. Easy pickens if you are going the mascot route.
Boston College 42 – Notre Dame 17

#1 LSU (6-0) @ #17 Kentucky (5-1): With USC choking last week LSU is now the outright favorite to win the national championship. The only thing that can stop them now is themselves. LSU got a scare last weekend against Florida, however they managed to pull out the win on a late TD drive. LSU gets back Early Doucet, one of the most dangerous wide outs in football so that will open up the passing lanes for the other receivers that were there while he was out. Kentucky is a good team as well with Heisman candidate QB Andre Woodson. The mascot matchup puts a Tiger against a Wildcat, gotta give the upper hand to the Tiger every time. LSU is favored by –9.5, they have failed to cover the spread in their last 2 games, which were at home so I can’t see them cover this big of a spread on the road in a hostile environment.
LSU 27 – Kentucky 20

#22 Auburn (4-2) @ Arkansas (3-2): I will give in and pick this game solely on the match up between the mascots. The Auburn Tigers “Aubie the Tiger” (go figure) is up against the tag team duo of the Arkansas Razorbacks “Big Red” and “Sue E” (Gold Jerry, Gold!). Aubie has more mascot national championships than any other mascot in the NCAA, and he is a tiger so he has an edge in that regard. Big Red and Sue E are a ferocious duo and they're pigs so they got that going for them. The Hogs are favored by –2.5, however the stealth and cunning that got Aubie where he is today will come through in the end. I see Aubie doing a sneak end around on Sue E and going straight for the jugular. Then it’s just Aubie and Big Red 1 on 1. Nature dictates that the Tiger wins this rare match-up every time.
Aubie 28 Arkansas – 24

And now for the dreaded “Lock of the Week”.

#19 Wisconsin (5 – 1) @ Penn St (4 – 2): Penn St is favored to win by –6.5 at home against a Badgers team that is coming of an upset loss to Illinois. Penn St is 1 – 2 in conference with their only win coming against a weak Iowa team, and back to back losses against Michigan and Illinois. Their 3 other wins have come against some poor opponents (Notre Dame, Buffalo FIU). As well Penn St has to deal with the distraction of having Joe Paterno apparently going nuts with road rage on some bad woman driver. And on the basis of mascots a Badger vs a Nittany Lion? A badger vs a fictional character. Go with the Badger. Wisconsin walks in to Happy Valley and will come out with a win.
Wisconsin 24 – Penn St 21

I Predict A Riot - Week 6 in the NFL

Well it looks like I was 10-4 last week. So by my calculations that puts me at 52-26 for the year - and while it's pretty good to have twice as many wins as losses, I'm starting to feel like it was a little disingenuous for me to not be picking games taking the point spread into account. If I were picking point spreads I'd probably be 1-77. Oh well, picking the spreads will be on the agenda for next year.

To Week 6:

Minnesota @ Chicago
This game is what I'm now calling an "obligation game" - as in, I want nothing to do with this game and have no desire to pick a winner (mostly because I have no idea). However, I have a duty to the readers so I feel obligated to write about the game. Minnesota is coming off a bye but they also had a locker room fight yesterday - so that's never a good thing. Chicago should have been stomped like a cockroach last week but they forced a couple turnovers and hung around - but that was mostly due to Green Bay's total inability to run the ball. I'll pick Chicago based on the fact that they're at home.
Winner: Chicago

Miami @ Cleveland
Wouldn't it be funny if Miami had the only 16-0 team and 0-16 team in NFL history? I think that would be fitting somehow. And yes I know that the '72 Dolphins actually were 17-0 and the '76 Buccaneers were 0-14 but give me a break, it's not easy to come up with something clever to say all the time. If Miami is going to win a game this year it might have to be this one. Although I will say that Cleveland hung around with the Patriots last week. Oh, and did I mention that I guy named Cleo Lemon is the starting quarterback for Miami this weekend?
Winner: Cleveland

Washington @ Green Bay
I'm very worried about the Packers. I think their season had been a house of cards up until last Sunday and I think with that loss to the Bears it might have come tumbling down - at least somewhat. For some reason I can see the Packers unravelling over the next couple weeks. However, I'm going to stick with them at home against Washington. But beware teams that can't run the ball.
Winner: Green Bay

Cincinnati @ Kansas City
In my significant other's Pick 'Em league I took Kansas City to win this game - and then had a Ron Burgundy moment, "I immediately regret this decision!" Kansas City has a pretty good defence I think and they are playing at home in Arrowhead. But yikes, the Chiefs just have no offence. And Cincinnati seems to be the mirror image of Kansas City - all offence and no defence. I'm taking a fresh Cincy team coming off the bye in this game.
Winner: Cincinnati

Philadelphia @ NY Jets
Yikes, this game could either be 43-40 or 3-0, I have no idea which. Philly is coming off the bye week and the Jets quarterback is Chad Pennington. You do the math. If New York is down early the Jets fans will be howling for Pennington's head. Not a good environment.
Winner: Philadelphia

Tennessee @ Tampa Bay
Listen to me when I tell you this - Tennessee barely, just barely, beat the Atlanta Falcons at home last week. It took a 4-down, goaline stand for them to win that game against the two-headed quarterbacking monstrosity that is Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich. Tampa Bay is actually a pretty good team with a pretty good defence playing at home.
Winner: Tampa Bay

Houston @ Jacksonville
It took 5 field goals by Houston kicker Kris Brown (including 3 over 50 yards, with the winner being 57 yards) to beat the Miami Dolphins last week. Now to me Jacksonville is a better team than Miami and Houston will now be playing on the road. So simple logic dictates that there is no way Houston can win this game. On a related note - how is that Matt Schaub trade looking now? I wonder if Atlanta would like to have him back instead of relying on Joeron Harringwich.
Winner: Jacksonville

St. Louis @ Baltimore
"And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!" - Gus Ferotte
Winner: Baltimore

Carolina @ Arizona
This is the bet the house game. Bet the kids, bet the cats, bet it all. I would have probably said this anyway but now it appears that Vinny Testaverde is probably going to start for Carolina. That means this game could feature a quarterback duel between Vinny Testaverde and Kurt Warner. It could be one for the ages... or at least aged. Sorry.
Winner: Arizona

Oakland @ San Diego
Which San Diego team do you think is going to show up? The one that got trounced by Kansas City at home or the one that rolled over Denver on the road. Quite honestly I have no idea about this game.
Winner: San Diego

New England @ Dallas
Is there anyway this game can live up to the hype? I kind of doubt it but I'm still hopeful. With a week of bad games I've got a lot of eggs in this basket. This is one of the two games that New England might lose this year - the other being November 4th in Indianapolis. As much as I'd love to say that I think Dallas can win this game, I'd be lying if I said that. On one sideline you have Wade Phillips - on the other you have Bill Belichick. Which one would you bet on?
Winner: New England (jinx jinx jinx)

New Orleans @ Seattle
Seattle is great at home and terrible on the road. New Orleans is just terrible all around.
Winner: Seattle

NY Giants @ Atlanta
I can't think of one compelling reason why I would want to watch this game. For starters, these are two of my least favorite teams in the NFL. But even if you didn't have any strong feelings about these teams one way or the other, why on Earth would you want to watch this? I'd rather watch Rules of Engagement on Monday night - which by the way is one of the worst TV shows on right now. It might go down as one of the worst ever. Just totally unwatchable. For a review of some other new TV shows check out the Music, Movies and TV blog.
Winner: NY Giants

And here's one bonus pick for you this week:

Saskatchewan @ Hamilton
Saskatchewan better stomp on Hamilton's throats this week with jackboots made of iron. There is no way that Hamilton should even be close this week. I don't think anything less than something in the neighbourhood of 45 or 52 to 13 is acceptable. I'm really looking forward to seeing some killer instinct this week after the Roughriders were not able to bury Calgary last week.
Winner: Saskatchewan

A couple of other quick notes - it looks like the NHL has suspended Jesse Boulerice for 25 games, which I guess is an appropriate amount. It's the same number that Chris Simon got last year for trying to chop Ryan Hollweg's head off. At some point someone is going to have to be suspended for an entire season, although I'm not sure what it's going to take to get to that point. Maybe if an NHL player started an illegal dogfighting ring.

It also looks like the Jim Balsille/Nashville Predator three ring circus is going to continue. See for yourself.

The college football picks will be up a little later.