Saturday, September 27, 2008

NFL Week Four Picks—I'm back in the game! (updated with results)

After a dismal week three, I opted for mainly home cookin' last week, and I upped my percentage (now up yours) to .638--take that, experts! This looks like a boring week in the NFL, with the first round of byes, good teams gone bad and boring matchups abounding. Hope the NFL's not as upset-happy as the NCAA was this week; Mizzou better be grateful they had a bye, because most of the rest of the top 10 got beat. On with the picks!

Cleveland at Cincinnati
Even Ohio's tuning this game out. Since they both stink on ice, I'm going with the home team, who at least tried to win on the road against the Giants last week. But that doesn't mean I care.
Bengals 21, Browns 13 [CLE 20 CIN 12]

Minnesota at Tennessee
Yeah, I'm definitely not feeling the Gus Frerotte magic against the NFL's best head coach.
Titans 20, Vikings 7 [TEN 30 MIN 17]

Denver at Kansas City
If the NFL had a mercy rule, this one would be over at halftime.
Broncos 44, Chiefs 20 [KC 33 DEN 19]

San Francisco at New Orleans
Sure, New Orleans has no defense, but Frisco's gonna have to show me a road win in a tough venue before I'm volunteering to drink this Kool-Aid. Plus, Mike Martz never wins in the Big Easy.
Saints 27, 49ers 24 [NO 31 SF 17]

Arizona at New York Jets
Flip a coin. Yes, the Jets stink, but I hate Arizona on the road, despite my Warner for MVP campaign. Like the Niners, the Gridbirds gotta show me the money before I show them the love.
Jets 26, Cardinals 19 [NYJ 56 ARZ 35]

Green Bay at Tampa Bay
Well, it looks like Tampa is my pick kryptonite this year, so since I like the Packers, I'm picking the Bucs.
Bucs 31, Packers 27 [TB 30 GB 21]

Atlanta at Carolina
I'm thinking the Matt Ryan rookie year pattern is win, lose, win, this week, he's due for a loss.
Panthers 37, Falcons 23 [CAR 24 ATL 9]

Houston at Jacksonville
Jags got a huge lift with a big win at hopelessly diminished Indy last week. No way they're gonna roll over for the Moo Cows.
Jags 24, Texans 10 [JAX 30 HOU 27]

San Diego at Oakland
If Lane Kiffin is looking for a temp job after this week, there ought to be an opening in St. Louis. It couldn't possibly be worse than working for Al Davis.
Chargers 35, Raiders 17 [SD 28 OAK 18]

Buffalo at St. Louis
If St. Louis had gotten an expansion team instead of Jacksonville, they would have called them the Stallions. If the Rams were the Stallions, I could say, "They shoot horses, don't they?" At least in this case, they should.
Bills 41, Lambs 10 [BUF 31 STL 14]

Washington at Dallas
With all due respect to my loyal Steelers readers...Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Superbowl Champions: The Dallas Cowboys!
Cowboys 39, Skins 27 [WAS 26 DAL 24]

Philadelphia at Chicago
I don't like the Bears bumbling offense against the nastiest defense in the league, even at home.
Eagles 24, Bears 13 [CHI 24 PHI 20]

Baltimore at Pittsburgh
I don't care who's hurt and how bad, there's no way Pittsburgh is going to lose a division game at home on Monday night.
Steelers 17, Ravens 13 [PIT 23 BAL 20]

This week: 9-4
Last week: 12-4
Season: 39-21 (.650)

Friday, September 19, 2008

NFL Week Three Picks (updated)

I got killed last week thanks to a bunch of stupid late-game comebacks. Looks like lots of home team winners this week. Well, let's roll the dice.

Kansas City at Atlanta
So, which is the worst franchise in Missouri?
Falcons 27, Chiefs 6 [ATL 38 KC 14]

Oakland at Buffalo
The Bills resurgence continues. How long until we see Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas up in the press box with Marv Levy. Let's party like it's 1995, baby!
Bills 35, Raiders 17 [BUF 24 OAK 23]

Tampa Bay at Chicago
Brian Griese has shown that he can't win in Chicago. Look for Lovie to be more aggressive with the offense in the second half to avoid another late loss.
Bears 23, Bucs 20 [TB 27 CHI 24]

Houston at Tennessee
The Titans are on a roll now with Kerry Collins providing stable leadership, while the Texans, like the Astros (now in free-fall), are a team without a city.
Titans 30, Texans 13 [TEN 31 HOU 12]

Carolina at Minnesota
Gus Frerotte at QB? Adrian Peterson injured? Panthers on a roll? Everything points to a sure-fire Carolina win, which is why they will lose. Remember, the Panthers are this year's pick kryptonite (win when they should lose, lose when they should win).
Vikings 24, Panthers 21 [MIN 20 CAR 10]

Miami at New England
The Matt Cassell era continues! In retrospect, Bill Parcells will be sorry for turning down Arthur Blank and the Falcons. The football gods will punish him and the Fish this year for his two-timing ways.
Patriots 31, Dolphins 10 [MIA 38 NE 13]

Cincinnati at New York Giants
Another big win for the defending champs, still playing like champs. Meanwhile, Marvin Lewis is still cashing paychecks.
Giants 38, Bengals 7 [NYG 26 CIN 23]

Arizona at Washington
Kurt Warner, MVP. This year. I mean it.
Cardinals 28, Skins 24 [WAS 24 ARZ 17]

New Orleans at Denver
Mike Shanahan, coach of the year.
Broncos 33, Saints 23 [DEN 34 NO 32]

Detroit at San Francisco
I think Mike Martz will unleash every trick in his arsenal to crush the team that was so inept they couldn't run his genius offense. Why does Matt Millen still work in the NFL? He's so incompetant, he should be part of Pres. Bush's economic team.
49ers 41, Lions 27 [SF 31 DET 13]

St. Louis at Seattle
The end of Scott Linehan (not his fault) and hopefully, GM Jay Zygmunt (all his fault).
Seahawks 31, Rams 20 [SEA 37 STL 13]

Cleveland at Baltimore
I think a well-rested Ravens team will handle the tired and already beaten-up Browns in a typical AFC North snoozefest.
Ravens 17, Browns 13 [BAL 28 CLE 10]

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
When one team only scores 10 against a team that gave up 28 to the team that gave up 38 to the team they're playing this week, and that team has an injured QB...I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
Eagles 34, Steelers 27 [PHI 15 PIT 6]

Jacksonville at Indianapolis
They should call last week's fourth quarter at Minnesota "How Peyton Got His Groove Back." Besides that, Indy simply OWNS the Jags, even last year when the Jags were good. Everyone on TV talks about how "physical" the Jags are, and how they "punched" Indy in the mouth. Uhh, guys, whydontcha check those final scores, eh?
Colts 29, Jags 16 [JAX 23 IND 21]

Dallas at Green Bay
Okay, here's the deal. Green Bay just barely squeaked by Minnesota at home, and the Vikings have no freaking offense whatsoever (yes, Peterson is great, but no one can run against 11 in the box, for Pete's sake). Meanwhile, Dallas just hung 41 on the great Philly defense. Aaron Rodgers, welcome to's called your first loss as a starter.
Cowboys 35, Packers 27 [DAL 27 GB 16]

New York Jets at San Diego
Stay unlucky, San Diego. They need to stop whining about last week and go take care of business. Mangini, in the meantime, seems to have forgotten that this Favre guy can kind of throw the ball a little bit.
Chargers 34, Jets 20 [SD 48 NYJ 29]

This week: 12-4
Last week: 8-7
Season: 30-17 (.638)

Friday, September 12, 2008

NFL Week Two Picks (updated with comments)

I was feeling really good about myself last week around 3:30 p.m. Then San Diego blew up at the end, Indy choked against Chicago, TJ threw that late interception and Oakland reminded us why they've been so bad for so many years. Ten and six isn't terrible for Week One, but I have higher standards than that. Let's see if last week's performances are actually indicative of this week's results. On with the picks!

Tennessee at Cincinnati
I honestly think that the Bengals team has completely checked out on Marvin Lewis. This is a team that, like St. Louis, needs a clean sweep from the president's office to the janitor's closet. In the meantime, the AFC's meanest defense should pick up where Baltimore left off last week. Kerry Collins is more than capable as Vince Young's stand-in; he could end up just being his replacement.
Titans 24, Bengals 7 [TEN 24 CIN 7]
Perfect! As I expected, Collins has been named QB from here on out.

New Orleans at Washington
The Saints are once again finding their rhythm on offense, while Jason Campbell struggles to learn another system. Someone needs to tell Dan Snyder that turning over a pro staff every two or three years is a sure-fire recipe for the kind of mediocre football we expect from D.C., where mediocre means you get to serve as leader of the free world.
Saints 30, Skins 20 [WAS 29 NO 24]
Saints have no defense, and Jason Campbell looked much better this week.

Chicago at Carolina
I don't think the Sunday night game was a fluke. I've always though Orton was a better choice at QB than Grossman. Factor in Forte as the featured running back and a healthy Brian Urlacher--my choice right now for defense player of this century--and the Bears are lurking as a potential NFC power again. I don't believe in Carolina, despite what they did in San Diego, because it's clear San Diego was a one-year wonder. That's Norv Turner for you.
Bears 27, Panthers 23 [CAR 20 CHI 17]
How in the world does the Bears defense blow a 17-3 lead. Guh!

Buffalo at Jacksonville
The Bills are a team with no expectations on the rise; the Jaguars are a team with high expectations but not enough talent to fulfill them. Everyone thought bringing Marv Levy back to the front office was a huge mistake, but he's been the architect of successful football in Buffalo before. Besides, I hate Jacksonville. They're my anti-Vikings; I always pick against them.
Bills 21, Jags 17 [BUF 20 JAX 16]
I hate being right all the time, but I said Buffalo would be up and Jax would be down this year.

Green Bay at Detroit
Okay, so Aaron Rodgers played well. Did anyone think he wouldn't? He's been studying under Brett Farve for three years, he was a highly skilled and successful D1 college QB, and the Packers staff gave him a game plan that George W. Bush couldn't screw up. Expect more of the same this week against one of the five worst organizations in the NFL.
Packers 38, Lions 10 [GB 48 DET 25]
Anyone can rock Detroit; let's see how they look next week against Dallas.

Oakland at Kansas City
I'm so old, I remember when this game used to matter.
Chiefs 24, Raiders 7 [OAK 23 KC 8]
Why is Lane Kiffin about to be fired while Herm Edwards is secure?

New York Giants at St. Louis
If the G-Men throw a shutout, can we expect Linehan's resignation next week? No, that would make too much sense. Like Cincinnati, every executive and coach on this team needs to be fired. I'm beginning to wonder if the Rams are doing to St. Louis what they did to Anaheim--suck on purpose to the point where what's left of the fan base doesn't care when they leave. I'm just about there with this perpetually inept regime. This team is just embarrassing.
Giants 41, Rams 0 [NYG 41 STL 13]
A big loss at Seattle will be the end of this inept team. Let's hope so.

Indianapolis at Minnesota
This is like two of my kids coming to me and asking which one I love the best. "Gosh, Minny, I've loved you for almost 30 years, but you've disappointed me so many times. Even so, I've never given up hope for you. And Indy, you've only been with me for a decade, but you've made me so proud with your success. But it seems like you're getting older, and you don't have the same drive to succeed you once did. Aw shucks, it doesn't matter that neither of you will win it all this year. I still love you both. It's just that this week, I love Minny a little bit more."
Vikings 28, Colts 17 [IND 18 MIN 15]
This just in: Gus Frerotte replaces Tarvaris Jackson at QB for rest of season. Hey Vikes: give Daunte Culpepper a call, wouldja?

San Francisco at Seattle
Seahawks 17, 49ers 7 [SF 33 SEA 30]
Guess Mike Martz still has some genius in him, eh?

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Tampa's another misfire on my preseason radar. I forgot to read the carbon-14 dating tests on prehistoric QB Jeff Garcia. Now the Bucs' season is in the hands of Brian Griese, a QB so inept that the Chicago Bears released him. That's right--he's not good enough to play QB for Chicago. This game's all about the running backs, so I'm going with the guy who gained an eighth of a mile last week.
Falcons 31, Bucs 19 [TB 24 ATL 9]
I'm so stupid; rookie QBs never have two good games in a row. Dur!

New England at New York Jets
Hey, remember that scene in the classic Prince movie "Purple Rain" where Prince's dad shoots himself in the head, then the next night in the club, Morris Day walks up to Prince and says, "How's the family"? Think Mangini walks up to Belichick and asks, "How's your QB?" ROTFLMFAO!!!
Jets 27, Patriots 13 [NE 19 NYJ 10]
Oh, that Bill Belichick. Sorry, my bad.

Miami at Arizona
I'm feeling it's Kurt Warner's year, y'all. I'm feelin' it big time.
Cardinals 34, Dolphins 16 [ARI 31 MIA 10]
Kurt Warner, MVP 2008; is he legit Hall of Fame candidate if that happens?

San Diego at Denver
Okay, okay, Cutler's the real deal. Even the Eastcoast Sports Promotion Network gets one right every once in awhile. I think Norv Turner loses his job if the Chargers miss the playoffs this year. I also think Mike Shanahan is the most overlooked coach in the league. Did you know he's been in Denver for 14 years? Amazing! That's like 50 years for a normal job.
Broncos 38, Chargers 20 [DEN 39 SD 38]
Stay whiny, San Diego. If you could play "D" the ref wouldn't be an issue.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 Superbowl Champions!
Steelers 41, Browns 16 [PIT 10 CLE 6]
What a boring game this was. I fell asleep...literally.

Baltimore at Houston
Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons wants to nickname Joe Flacco "The Chef." I'm good with that. "The Chef is really cookin' tonight in Houston!"
Ravens 24, Texans 14 [game postponed]

Philadelphia at Dallas
Something very strange has happened to me--I like the Dallas Cowboys. No, seriously, I like watching this team. I like Romo, I like T.O. (loved the sprint start celebration), I really like Marion "the Barbarian" Barber, I like Wade Phillips, I even like Jerry Jones and his freaky E.T. facelift. I like Donovan McNabb too, but I don't like Philadelphia. With a fan base that surly and miserable, it's just hard to be on their side. They're like Chicago Cubs fans--you just want to keep them miserable because they'd never really enjoy success; they'd just compare it to their previous lifetime of misery. And yes, I know from experience, Vikings fans are the same way. So, in case you missed it, I've fastened my seat belt on the Dallas bandwagon this year.
Cowboys 31, Eagles 27 [DAL 41 PHI 37]
Best Monday night game I've seen in years. This is why the NFL is the greatest sport on earth.

This week: 8-7
Last week: 10-6
Season: 18-13 (.580)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

NFL Picks, Week One (updated 9/9/08)

Remember, you can join "The Sandlot" group at's "Pigskin Pick'em" game—it's free and fun, so click on the link to the left to get started. On with the picks for Sunday; I already took the Giants over the Redskins, so I'm 1-0 to start.
Updated Tuesday with scores and comments! Week One is always the toughest because preseason doesn't give you a real sense of what the teams will look like. I got off to a good start and then ate a bucket of worms Sunday and Monday nights. I'll get back in stride next week. In the meantime, let's review...

Detroit at Atlanta
The car wreck meets the 18-car interstate pile-up.
Lions 24, Falcons 6 [ATL 34 DET 21]
Who knew about Matt Ryan and Michael Turner? There's life in Atlanta, and Detroit is horrible again.

Seattle at Buffalo
The Bills are my kryptonite; if I pick them to win they lose, if I pick them to lose they win. It's infuriating. Having said that, I don't like Seattle at all this year, and I think Buffalo will be tough at home.
Bills 20, Seahawks 17 [BUF 34 SEA 10]
Not a big surprise, really. Buffalo could be the team to make the move in the AFC East now that Brady's gone.

Jacksonville at Tennessee
The so-called experts are falling all over themselves to anoint Jacksonville as the next big thing. They did that with Carolina a couple of years ago, too, and see how that turned out. Tennessee's defense is downright vicious in Nashville. Watch this game if you liked the movie "Gladiator."
Titans 27, Jaguars 24 [TEN 17 JAX 10]
What's going on with Vince Young? This could be Kerry Collins' team in just a week or two. And does Jeff Fisher have room for Daunte Culpepper on the roster if Vince is gone for the year?

New York Jets at Miami
More stupidity from the so-called experts, taking Chad Pennington and the dismal Miami team over the Brett Favre version of the Jets. What? Have they seen Pennington play before? Or Favre?
Jets 31, Dolphins 10 [NYJ 20 MIA 14]
The Jets made this one too close.

Kansas City at New England
Remember Rocky's first bout against Clubber Lang in "Rocky 3"? Something like that.
Patriots 45, Chiefs 7 [NE 17 KC 10]
I doubt that Matt Cassell is the second coming of Kurt Warner.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans
I think Tampa is going to win the division, but I also think the Saints will give the hometown fans a lift after another rough hurricane experience.
Saints 31, Bucs 27 [NO 24 TB 20]
I wish I could have watched this one instead of the beatdown in Philly.

St. Louis at Philadelphia
I just don't like the Rams, and I think Philly will beat them up at home.
Eagles 37, Rams 17 [PHI 38 STL 3]
If the Rams did move away from St. Louis, would anyone care? They may have sunk to the position of worst franchise in the league. If Linehan lasts until Halloween, I'll be shocked.

Houston at Pittsburgh
Houston is another team the s.c.e. like as a "sleeper." Well, I think they "suck."
Steelers 35, Texans 14 [PIT 38 HOU 17]
Ladies and Gentlemen, your Superbowl champs for 2008: the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cincinnati at Baltimore
Ocho Cinco trumps rookie QB from Delaware.
Bengals 28, Ravens 13 [BAL 17 CIN 10]
At least the Rams have competition for the cot in the basement. Who will go first, Marvin Lewis or Scott Linehan?

Carolina at San Diego
The Chargers just might go all the way this year. Carolina, as usual, will fall far short.
Chargers 30, Panthers 16 [CAR 26 SD 24]
Carolina, my Buffalo in the NFC. Mark the Chargers down for "done" with NE and Indy.

Arizona at San Francisco
Hey, I'm a Kurt Warner guy. The Rams never should have let him go.
Cardinals 27, 49ers 20 [ARZ 23 SF 13]
QB rating of 94, 200 yards and a TD—how much do the Rams miss Kurt Warner? The Cardinals are going to win the NFC West by default.

Dallas at Cleveland
Tony Romo will be this season's MVP.
Cowboys 41, Browns 24 [DAL 28 CLE 10]
Ladies and Gentlemen, your NFC Champions: the Dallas Cowboys.

Chicago at Indianapolis
Yeah, keep telling yourself Peyton's not 100 percent. Marvin, too. Go ahead.
Colts 38, Bears 9 [CHI 29 IND 13]
Seen Meg Ryan lately. Yeah, that old and that bad. That's the Colts. Didn't see it coming. Sorry.

Minnesota at Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers, meet the NFL's best defense.
Vikings 24, Packers 17 [GB 24 MIN 19]
Vikes were just two plays—botched punt coverage and the TJ pick late—from winning this game. TJ's going to be all right at QB, and the Vikes will bounce back from this. It was a hopeful loss.

Denver at Oakland
Oakland will be much improved this year; don't hate Lane Kiffin because he's young—he's got a strong football pedigree.
Raiders 20, Broncos 17 [DEN 41 OAK 14]
Can I have a mulligan on Oakland? Can we force Al Davis into retirement for the good of the league?

This week: 10-6
Season: 10-6
Average: .667

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Play "Pigskin Pick'em" with The Sandlot, now with season picks!

NFL season starts tonight! Get your picks in! Start here to create your entry:

After you create the entry, join the group "The Sandlot"; you should see my entry, Bluff City Bombers.

NFL preview:

No one is ever right about these things, so I'll spare you the deep analysis and just name teams.

NFC: East—Dallas; North—Minnesota; South—Tampa Bay; West—Arizona; Wild Cards—NY Giants and Philadelphia

AFC: East—New England; North—Pittsburgh; South—Indianapolis; West—San Diego; Wild Cards—Jacksonville and NY Jets

NFC Championship: Dallas over Tampa Bay
AFC Championship: Pittsburgh over New England
Superbowl: Pittsburgh over Dallas

You're welcome.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Eye of the Tiger? Uhh...not quite yet.

I wasn't able to post at my promised weekend time because I was:
a) on vacation out of town
b) practicing with my band
c) watching movies with my kids
d) locked in the bathroom, head still in the toilet, in the aftermath of MU's Saturday night's "win" over Illinois.

It's a trick question. I did all those things this weekend. Those who have chosen to drink the MU Kool-Aid about winning the Big 12 and competing for a national championship only have to look at the teams ahead of us in the national polls. USC, Ohio State and Oklahoma all destroyed their competition in the opening week. Missouri? A gut-wrenching, nail-biting, cover-your-eyes almost awful collapse against obviously inferior competition.

Sure, the Mizzou offense put up 52 points. Guess what? It should have been at least 72 points. They had more three-and-outs in the second half than a quarter of St. Louis Rams possessions. The play calling was stupid and unimaginative. My nine-year-old son could have called better plays than that. They ran when they should have passed, passed when they should have run, and were totally predictable when it came to converting big third down plays.

I don't even want to write about the defense at the risk of making myself sick again. Where in the world was the secondary? Didn't someone remind Pinkel to recruit cornerbacks? The guy playing left corner looked like ME! That is, 40 years old, 255 pounds, creaky knees and SLOW! The Illinois receiver who caught all those second half TDs and gained about six miles in receiving yardage was a converted defensive back who had never caught a pass in a game until Mizzou's defense turned him into the second coming of Jerry Rice.

Good teams win, but great teams in college put their feet on the throat of their opponent and press down until all signs of life are gone. Missouri was up by 25 points late in the third quarter, but they let their feet up and acted like the game was already over. They didn't drop in most polls, but they didn't move up, either.

They have their home opener this weekend against tiny little Southeast Missouri State. Anything other than 77 to nothing isn't going to impress me at all. Maybe Mizzou still remembers what it was like to be on the losing end of a beatdown, but in the Darwinist world of college football, the winners are the merciless predators, not the cute and fuzzy stuffed animals.