Sunday, September 27, 2009

NFL Picks Week Three: Still woozy from last week's beating (early game update)

My boys are playing youth football, so yesterday was their first round of games. I've also been under the weather this week, so it's quick picks today. I'll add more comments after the games. I need to do much better than last week, where my picks looked like something you'd see from the "experts" at ESPN.

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Roethisburger and company will bounce back big, and they own the Bengals.
Bengals 23, Steelers 20Troy or not, there's no excuse for choking this game up.

Detroit over Washington
Washington barely beat the Rams at home, so I see Detroit playing big at home and winning today.
Lions 19, Skins 14Jim Zorn's job is officially in danger as of today.

St. Louis over Green Bay
Same goes for the Rams; they played well enough to win last week, and I think the Packers will take them too lightly.
Packers 36, Rams 17another hard-fought effort on the part of the Rams, but their secondary got torched for too many long plays, and their offense just doesn't have enough play makers. Patience is a virtue, Rams fans; we're building for 2011.

Minnesota over San Francisco
Favre and Peterson will be geeked up for the Vikes' home opener.
Vikings 27, 49ers 24This is exactly why we needed Brett Favre; there's no way that T-Jack or Sage-Ro takes them on that last drive or makes that last pass. Niners are for real, folks, and they're going to win the NFC West.

New England over Atlanta
If the Pats lose at home to a dome team, you can scratch them off this season. I'm picking them because Brady and Belichick have always won when their backs are against the wall.
Patriots 26, Falcons 10Reports of the Patriots' death have been greatly exaggerated.

NY Jets over Tennessee
Rex Ryan has given this team a whole new (and nasty) attitude.
Jets 24, Titans 17What the heck is wrong with Tennessee? I would say QB, but their defense isn't getting it Albert Haynesworth, perhaps?

Philadelphia over Kansas City
No McNabb? Vick's role unknown? Defensive questions? Doesn't matter when playing the woeful Chefs.
Eagles 34, Chefs 14no, that's not a typo. Until they win, they are a ragtag band of former sous-chefs led by perky, plucky Rachel Ray.

NY Giants over Tampa Bay
Tampa's probably regretting firing Jon Gruden right now, dontcha think?
Giants 24, Bucs 0Again, will someone explain to me why Superbowl winning coach Jon Gruden was fired so they could hire someone almost eight years younger than Brett Favre to coach this woeful bunch? Can the Chefs or the Lambs get this bunch on their schedule?

Baltimore over Cleveland
The Ravens look better and better each week.
Ravens 34, Browns 3especially when they play a team as bad as the Browns.

Houston over Jacksonville
Matt Schaub just looked cosmic last week.
Jags 31, Texans 24Wait a minute...Jax coughs up a hairball at home last week, while Houston outscores Tennessee in Nashville, then this? Sometime the NFL just doesn't make sense.

Chicago over Seattle
Without Matt Hasslebeck, Seattle's not much better than St. Louis.
Bears 25, Seahawks 19

New Orleans over Buffalo
The Saints are scoring like a tween geek playing Madden NFL.
Saints 27, Bills 7

Denver over Oakland
Don't know how they're doing it, but the Broncos are winning somehow.
Broncos 23, Raiders 3

San Diego over Miami
This is purely about home field.
Chargers 23, Dolphins 13

Indianapolis over Arizona
Don't pick against my man crush.
Colts 31, Cardinals 10

Dallas over Carolina
Anyone looking for a defensive coordinator? John Fox should be available by the end of the season.
Cowboys 21, Panthers 7

This week: 13-3
Last week: 8-8
This season: 34-14 (.708)

Friday, September 18, 2009

NFL Picks: Week Two

Week one was pretty good, although I felt like the fluke ending of Denver-Cincy and Arizona's receivers baffling inability to catch wide-open screen passes kept me from the 15-1 start I deserved. Week two is always tricky—we never know if week one was what to expect this season, overplaying (Kansas City) or slow start (Arizona). I feel confident about these picks, so it's probably feast or famine.

Update: Uhh, how can I describe my picks this Sunday? It was like when Andy Dufresne first met the "sisters" in the laundry at Shawshank State Penitentiary.

Carolina at Atlanta
These are two teams going in different directions. Atlanta has a great young quarterback, and up-and-coming coach and all kinds of good buzz. Carolina has a washed-up quarterback, a coach probably on the firing line and nothing but bad vibes.
Falcons 24, Panthers 13 (ATL 28, CAR 20)
Delhomme had a better week, but Atlanta is the top of that division now.

Minnesota at Detroit
Here’s the difference Brett Favre makes for Vikings fans—last year, we wondered if our quarterback was the reason we would lose the game. Now we know that Favre could, if needed, win a close game. With Peterson, Taylor and Harvin running the ball, the Vikes offense could be as effective as their defense.
Vikings 31, Lions 17 (MIN 27, DET 13)
Brett Favre had a QB rating of 115 this week. Suck it, monkeys!

Cincinnati at Green Bay
The Bengals need a hug after coughing up that game to Denver last week. You don’t need to travel to Lambeau Field after that kind of a loss.
Packers 35, Bengals 9 (CIN 31, GB 24)
Wait, I thought Aaron Rodgers was the football Jesus!

Houston at Tennessee
I would like it if someone could explain why Houston got an expansion franchise after the good team moved to Tennessee.
Titans 23, Texans 10 (HOU 34, TEN 31)
Would someone like to explain the mysterious disappearance of the Tennessee defense? Give credit to Houston QB Matt Schaub for a great game.

Oakland at Kansas City
Both of these teams played much better than anyone expected, but Baltimore is really good, and San Diego is overrated, so I’m going with the Chefs at home.
Chiefs 17, Raiders 14 (OAK 13, KC 10)
Note to self: Don't pick KC again.

New England at NY Jets
Why oh why do teams taunt the Patriots and make bold claims about imminent victory? You don’t poke a hungry bear with a stick…duh!
Patriots 38, Jets 20 (NYJ 16, NE 9)
Tom Brady is not 100% after knee surgery, just as Tiger Woods wasn't. It takes two years for the knee to be completely healthy. I'll call it now--Pats don't make the playoffs this year.

New Orleans at Philadelphia
With a healthy McNabb, this is a shootout. With Kevin Kolb making his first pro start and 83-year-old Jeff Garcia backing him up, I’m going with the New Orleans scoring machine.
Saints 30, Eagles 21 (NO 48, PHI 22)
No one in the league wants to try to defend against this Saints offense. Just terrifying.

St. Louis at Washington
I remember when the Rams were really, really good. That was awesome. This is not.
Skins 27, Rams 6 (WAS 9, STL 7)
Rams played hard again, but they just don't have enough playmakers. And Donnie Avery must coat his hands and arms with Crisco.

Arizona at Jacksonville
Kurt Warner wasn’t great last week, but he wasn’t helped by receivers who couldn’t catch water with a bucket. I don’t see them faring much better traveling to the East Coast to play a defensively tough Jags squad.
Jaguars 21, Cardinals 14 (ARZ 31, JAX 17)
Yeah, Kurt Warner's a hall of famer, and the Jags are D-O-N-E.

Seattle at San Francisco
After the beating they put on the Rams, I’m going to stick with Seattle until San Fran shows me something more consistent.
Seahawks 26, 49ers 19 (SF 23, SEA 10)
Okay, they showed me. The Vikings are in for a tough home opener next week. Hasslebeck's hurt again, so goodbye, Seattle.

Tampa Bay at Buffalo
Just for the sake of karma, Buffalo deserves this one.
Bills 24, Bucs 17 (BUF 33, TB 20)
Karma says, "Okay."

Pittsburgh at Chicago
No Polamalu is still better than no Urlacher.
Steelers 33, Bears 17 (CHI 17, PIT 14)
Jeff Reed misses two field goals? Am I cursed this week?

Cleveland at Denver
I think Cleveland’s better than Denver, but I also think Mile High is a huge home field advantage.
Broncos 16, Browns 12 (DEN 27, CLE 6)
Maybe Denver's better than we thought. Let's see them against a top team first.

Baltimore at San Diego
Folks, the Baltimore Ravens are for real this year. I currently have them ranked fourth in the AFC after Pittsburgh, Indy and New England. All the idiots drinking the “Chargers in the Superbowl” Kool-Aid need to remember three things: 1) LaDanian Tomlinson is over the hill; 2) Norv Turner is an idiot; 3) Phillip Rivers is a douche.
Ravens 38, Chargers 17 (BAL 31, SD 26)
Home field was good for an extra score for SD.

NY Giants at Dallas
I don’t usually do this, but SportsCenter tonight pointed out that the Giants are injured, Eli’s never won in Dallas, and Tony Romo is 4-0 over New York at home. I’ll give this one a shot, just once.
Cowboys 27, Giants 20 (NYG 33, DAL 31)
Eli Manning is one cool customer, and this is the last time I listen to ESPN.

Indianapolis at Miami
Hate the Anthony Gonzalez injury, but hey, it’s Indy. I don’t pick against my man crush.
Colts 20, Dolphins 13 (IND 27, MIA 23)
I think the defense is still taking IV fluids, though

This week: 8-8
Last week: 13-3
Season: 21-11 (.656)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On the first day of Christmas...(updated)

...the Vikings gave to me: Brett Favre as starting QB. It's week one of the NFL, and as usual, here are my game picks. These are the same picks I entered in's Pigskin Pick'em by the way, so I'm not being wishy-washy with my choices. Also, it's been a busy weekend, so my commentary will be brief. Check back later for results and recaps, and as always, I welcome your comments.

Pittsburgh (13) over Tennessee (10)
Yes, I got my pick in on time Thursday, so this counts.
...but it was a lot closer than I thought it would be.

Atlanta (19) over Miami (7)
Close game, but I'm giving Atlanta the home field edge.
...but give Miami's defense credit for keeping it close.

Cincinnati (7) over Denver (12)
Denver's on the road with no QB and Carson Palmer is healthy again.
...fluke plays like this game-ender are why I never gamble real money on sports.

Minnesota (34) over Cleveland (20)
I think AP may break 150 yards rushing today.
...Brett Favre will be the first one to tell you that this is Adrian Peterson's team. BTW, he had 180 yards and 3 TDs. You should have drafted him for your fantasy team, chump.

Indianapolis (14) over Jacksonville (12)
Watch Peyton light up the Jags defense with his corps of young receivers.
...or not. Whatever, we'll take the win ugly, too.

New Orleans (45) over Detroit (28)
The Saints might be my sleeper pick for this season.
...the Saints' offense is just scary this year.

Dallas (34) over Tampa Bay (21)
The Cowboys stink, but Tampa's in utter chaos.
...but can Tony Romo play this well every week?

Philadelphia (38) over Carolina (10)
Superbowl or bust for this Eagles team.
...just a reminder—I have Minnesota and Philly in my NFC Championship.

Baltimore (38) over Kansas City (24)
The Ravens are contenders, while KC is still in rebuilding mode.
...but give KC credit—they played a hard-fought, close game.

NY Jets (24) over Houston (7)
I still don't understand why so many people pick the Texans to have a good year.
...still don't understand.

NY Giants (23) over Washington (17)
It's hard to beat the Giants at home in the Meadowlands.
...the NFC East is just crazy tough—the best division in the NFL.

Arizona (16) over San Francisco (20)
Warner throws more than 300 yards and 3 TDs.
...uhhh, yeah, not quite. Guh.

Seattle (28) over St. Louis (0)
The Rams might win this game, but Seattle has a considerable home field advantage.
...if the Rams ever move, St. Louis shouldn't worry—they already don't have a professional football team.

Chicago over Green Bay
I like Chicago's defense better than the Packers', and Cutler gives the Bears enough offense to win.

New England over Buffalo
Tom Brady re-establishes his command of the football universe.

San Diego over Oakland
Al Davis could use an intervention.

Season record [as of Sunday afternoon]: 11-2 (.846)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This won't come as a big surprise...

Okay, here are my NFL picks! Guess who I'm picking to win it all this year?

AFC East
New England Patriots—Brady returns with a grudge.
Buffalo Bills—Terrell Owens plays nicely with others.
Miami Dolphins—tougher schedule brings 'phins back to reality.
New York Jets—Mark Sanchez is no Joe least, not yet.

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers—the champs repeat.
Baltimore Ravens—still punishing opponents on defense.
Cincinnati Bengals—at least their offense will be entertaining.
Cleveland Browns—basically a tire fire.

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts—Manning throws for more than 30 TDs.
Tennessee Titans—Kerry Collins is old; Vince Young is bad.
Jacksonville Jaguars—tough defense, boring offense.
Houston Texans—go ahead, pick them as your sleeper.

AFC West
San Diego Chargers—win by default because this division is putrid.
Denver Broncos—Bowlen will regret turning his staff over last year.
Oakland Raiders—still a grease fire.
Kansas City Chiefs—in year nine of their "rebuilding" plan.

AFC Wild Cards
Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans

NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles—offense is full of playmakers; defense playing for memory of Jim Jackson.
New York Giants—Eli still needs better receivers.
Washington Redskins—don't like any of their QBs, especially since they cut Chase Daniel.
Dallas Cowboys—would you want Wade Phillips coaching your team?

NFC North
Minnesota Vikings—Brett Favre. Adrian Peterson. Vicious defense. The time is now.
Chicago Bears—Cutler plays well; defense is always tough.
Green Bay Packers—Rodgers plays well; defense stinks.
Detroit Lions—a floating oil fire.

NFC South
New Orleans Saints—an offensive dynamo.
Atlanta Falcons—taking a step back this year.
Carolina Panthers—happy trails, John Fox.
Tampa Bay Bucanneers—can you name anyone on their roster?

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals—Warner to Fitzgerald and Boldin.
San Francisco 49ers—Singletary needs a quarterback.
Seattle Seahawks—new coach, old QB, not much talent.
St. Louis Rams—better than last year, but still a long way to go, and I hate Marc Bulger.

NFC Wild Cards
New York Giants, Chicago Bears

AFC Championship
Pittsburgh over New England

NFC Championship
Minnesota over Philadelphia

Minnesota 27, Pittsburgh 24

That was probably the least surprising pick of all time, right?