Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Week 16 Picks

Merry Christmas to my fellow Cyclists (working nickname for my loyal followers, anyone who has a better one should shoot it to me). Since everyone watching ABC/ESPN's NBA quintuple-header has seen a lot of Mariah Carey, and her Christmas song is one of the best, she is our Babe of the Week. I know I haven't been writing as of late, just to let you know, I'm not becoming another Bill Simmons; it's that this week is too stressful in retail and I lose the time to write. Here's a guarantee for next week; I will have my review of the 2000's and fearless predictions for the '10's, along with Week 17 picks. For now, let's have Week 16 picks and once again, a chance for me to turn around a picking slump I'm enduring. Home team in CAPS.

TENNESSEE (-2) over San Diego- The Titans will be the best team to miss the playoffs, but as long as they think they're still in it, they'll keep winning, plus the Chargers are about set as the two seed. (Update: I really hate football when I get picks wrong)
GREEN BAY (-14) over Seattle- So the Packers have a chance to clinch a playoff spot and they have to beat a Seahawks team who just lost to the Bucs at home in Lambeau Field. I think that's possible.
CLEVELAND (-3) over Oakland- It looks like Charlie Frye emotional return to Cleveland will commence as he was cleared to play. Don't expect the Raiders to show up.
Kansas City (+13.5) over CINCINNATI- Bengals should win this game, but they're not good enough to blowout their opponent, home or away.
ATLANTA (-9) over Buffalo- With Matt Ryan back and the Falcons showing they aren't just playing out the string, they should handle the Bills at home.
MIAMI (-3) over Houston- Elimination game in the AFC playoff race; the thing to remember, the Texans are playing a big game and they don't show up for big games.
Carolina (+7) over GIANTS- The Giants had an easy time with the Redskins; the Panthers will be much tougher, especially without Turnover Delhomme playing at QB.
NEW ORLEANS (-14) over Tampa Bay- If the Saints were still unbeaten, I'd go the other way. Add a Bucs win last week and I think the Saints romp as they clinch home-field in the NFC.
Jacksonville (+8) over NEW ENGLAND- Another week which the Pats struggle against a good team in the Jags. They should win to clinch the AFC East, though.
Baltimore (+3) over PITTSBURGH- The Steelers needed a miracle to beat the Packers last week, while the Ravens confidence is riding high the past two weeks. Yes, the Bears and Lions suck, but the Ravens end the Steelers season like they did last year.
St. Louis (+14) over ARIZONA- The Cards prepare for the playoffs by taking the next two weeks off. Plus, we have to see the Rams play well under Spags by now, right?
Detroit (+13) over SAN FRANCISCO- Not sure how the Niners approach this game now that they were eliminated, while the Lions finally last week showed they can play in a tight game.
Jets (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS- I'm done giving points with unbeatens. I don't know if the Colts play 60 minutes, while I know the Jets can play enough defense to stay close, plus a playoff berth is on the line.
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over Denver- In an actual emotional return, I still think the Eagles knock off Brian Dawkins and the Broncos. I can't see the Broncos suck it up this week, and hope they can win against the Chiefs next week.
WASHINGTON (+7) over Dallas- The lone home dog this week deserves it after the pathetic display against the Giants Monday night. So naturally, they should play a tough one with the Cowboys.
Minnesota (-7) over CHICAGO- Once again, it's time to take advantage of Jay Cutler, only a couple weeks to do so. The Vikings have to win this game because the Eagles are right on their heels and to cool off doubts on further Favre/Childress unrest.

NFL Record: 111-110-3

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Babe of the Week and Week 15 Picks

With college football finished and the fact I'm not picking or particularly following the bowl games, I decided to have as my Babe of the Week October Gonzalez, the wife of Tony Gonzalez. Also, here's a link to a PETA ad featuring the both of them.

Before I start making picks, I wanted to write about Peyton Manning, who made the Colts 14-0 Thursday night and I do mean made as once again, Manning makes the big play when the Colts needed it with his touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. This season has just been typical Peyton and that's the amazing thing. Manning's career has been as consistent as Albert Pujols, except no one looks at football stats as closely. If Indianapolis can finished with an unbeaten season, you have to seriously consider Manning as the greatest QB of all-time, but I'll argue that in another time. Now here's my picks, which won't have a description like most weeks, since I'm short on time. Home team in CAPS.

NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Dallas
BUFFALO (-7) over New England
Arizona (-12.5) over DETROIT
San Francisco (+7.5) over PHILADELPHIA
KANSAS CITY (-2) over Cleveland
JETS (-6) over Atlanta
ST. LOUIS (+12.5) over Houston
TENNESSEE (-4) over Miami
Cincinnati (+7) over SAN DIEGO
DENVER (-14) over Oakland
BALTIMORE (-11) over Chicago
SEATTLE (-6.5) over Tampa Bay
Green Bay (+2) over PITTSBURGH
Minnesota (-9) over CAROLINA
Giants (-3) over WASHINGTON

NFL Record: 106-101-2

Thursday, December 17, 2009

RIP Chris Henry

Chris Henry died today after suffering serious injuries in a car accident. To be honest, I was working yesterday when Henry was rushed to the hospital. Apparently, he fell out of a truck after fighting with his fiancee, leading to his death. It really caps off a year where celebrity deaths were almost too frequent, whether it was Michael Jackson, Steve McNair or Farrah Fawcett. Henry was just the latest, and among the most tragic of those to pass on. Hopefully, we can see the Bengals use this to head to a championship, which unlike when Sean Taylor died, Henry was already out of the lineup due to injury so it's just a personal loss, not combined with a talent loss.

Since I'm babbling, I'll write my Thursday night pick. It's really if you think the Colts play for real tonight or just like preseason. I think they do (meaning Manning plays a lot) and the Colts win.

Indianapolis (-3) over JACKSONVILLE

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Babe of the Week and Week 14 Picks

I know I'm not the biggest fan of the Florida Gators, but since they lost last week, I figured I throw them a bone a make Erin Andrews as the Babe of the Week. Of course, I don't have to have a reason to make her as the Babe, it's pretty obvious. Anyway, here are my Week 14 (and thankfully no college) picks. Home team in CAPS.

INDIANAPOLIS (-7) over Denver- Someone will end the Colts unbeaten streak, mainly because they won't play for it. However, it won't be the Broncos as the Colts win home-field advantage.
Cincinnati (+6.5) over MINNESOTA- The Bengals have yet to lose as an underdog this year outright. I certainly believe they can keep it close with the Vikings as well.
TAMPA BAY (+3) over Jets- I need to be proven wrong that these aren't the same old Jets and this game is one the old Jets would lose. Yes, I know I'm backing Josh Freeman, but he can't be that bad, can he?
KANSAS CITY (+1) over Buffalo- I have nothing to add here, both teams are bad, worst game of the week.
Green Bay (-4) over CHICAGO- I'd be more worried about the Bears if I had any confidence that Jay Cutler could win this game. Or the Bears defense.
New Orleans (-10) over ATLANTA- Did you see the Falcons last week? I don't care if they will play more motivated against the Saints, Chris Redman isn't beating them.
Detroit (+13.5) over BALTIMORE- The Ravens should win, but Joe Flacco is struggling and the Lions will hang around in this one.
Miami (+3) over JACKSONVILLE- I still don't think the Jaguars are any good, aside from Maurice Jones-Drew. The Dolphins should take advantage of the lack of home-field and win.
Carolina (+13) over NEW ENGLAND- If it snows during this game, it automatically switches to the Pats, because they won't lose. I just think Matt Moore won't kill the Panthers here and the Pats aren't that good.
HOUSTON (-6.5) over Seattle- I never like picking the Seahawks away from home, even if they're playing the Dead Team Walking Texans. If Houston doesn't win tomorrow, they won't win again in 2009.
TENNESSEE (-13) over St. Louis- Small bump last week for the Titans; I don't see them lose to the Rams as Chris Johnson closes in on 2,000 yards.
Washington (-1) over OAKLAND- Another bad game, which after the big win for the Raiders last week, probably don't show up this week against a game Redskins team.
San Diego (+3) over DALLAS- The December swoon continues as the Cowboys won't beat the team who the Colts fear the most. Then, the Wade Phillips Watch begins.
Philadelphia (+1) over GIANTS- The G-Men need to win this one before I'm officially sucked back in on this team, plus the Eagles matchup well with them.
SAN FRANCISCO (+3.5) over Arizona- Yes, the Cardinals are a very good team, but wouldn't it be just like them to lose this game, not clinch and throw everyone off their scent.

NFL Record: 95-96-2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Randomness While The Curse Of Walton Strikes Again

(Photo courtesy of

-It continues for the Blazers as Greg Oden injured his knee Saturday night against the Rockets. Oden was a high draft pick, just like Bill Walton and Sam Bowie, and like them, continue to suffer through injuries. I don't have any record of saying that Kevin Durant was the better player, so you have to take my word. Oden was the safe pick that has been anything but safe, while Durant continues to improve in Oklahoma City. I feel bad for Portland fans, who are great and shouldn't be suffering like they do.

-I have to admit, Philly was the perfect place to end for Iverson. He gets to be welcomed with a conquering hero's return home and the Sixers have no dreams of being involved in free agency until 2012, so the team needs a reason to get people to show up, and that's AI.

-Some more NBA notes; congratulations Nets on you're first win and two of three now. Of course, their hurting their chances at John Wall with this new found winning ability. The Nuggets and Mavs seem to be the biggest challengers to the Lakers out West (I don't believe in the Suns staying power). The East has seen the Cavs float to the top, while the Hawks continue to remain among the contenders. Now only imagine if the Hawks had drafted Chris Paul and I should mention this every time I mention the Atlanta Hawks.

-I tweeted it before, now I link it here: Dan Wetzel's annual "Here's how you can do a College Playoff" is a tour de force. It touches on why the BCS sucks, who's involved with the sucking and how to replace it. Honestly, you can't say with fact that TCU and Cincinnati would be better than Texas and that Boise State is the worst of these unbeatens. Still, I was disgusted with the way Texas won that game, given the short field on a kickoff by Nebraska's second kicker, then almost the dumbest play in football history (yes, even dumber than Dan Orlovsky running out-of-bounds in his end zone) when Colt McCoy almost ran the clock out throwing the ball away before getting a reprieve (rightly) and winning the game on a field goal. Thus, the Longhorns get to go to Pasadena for the BCS title game. Let's hope this costs McCoy the Heisman.

-Speaking of the Heisman, the finalists are: Mark Ingram, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Toby Gerhart and Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska's defensive tackle who had 4.5 sacks on Saturday. The fact Tebow is even going to New York says that too many voters did so before he spit the bit in Florida's loss to Alabama. I think McCoy should be written off because of the poor performance against Nebraska. My ballot would be 1. Suh 2. Ingram 3. Gerhart but I have a feeling McCoy will win because as I wrote at the start of the season, it's McCoy's turn to win, no matter who was better.

-Best thing about the weekend: Tim Tebow crying. Joins Sasha Vujacic and Adam Morrison as the greatest criers for all to mock. Now, I'm sure Tebow will be drafted, as a second round pick of the Lakers.

-I just can't quit you, Giants. Once again, I was ready to bury the 2009 N.Y. Giants, only they win a game that I don't expect them to and I'm reeled back in. If they beat the Eagles on Sunday, the Giants all of a sudden are in the drivers seat for the division as they get to finish with the Redskins, Panthers and the Vikings who likely will rest starters. Meanwhile, if you haven't read a calendar in a while, you know this is the month where Cowboys begin to fall apart. The NFC East will only win a playoff game if two teams play each other in the first round, since all three teams aren't as good as New Orleans, Minnesota, Arizona and Green Bay, even though the media always treats the division like it is. Once more thing, can people (ESPN and SNY) stop talking about Andy Reid as a great coach. A great coach wins big games. A great coach inspires confidence in not only your team, but you're fans. People like to think Philly fans are irrational, but they know Andy Reid does funny things as a coach. Why does only Bill Simmons and Michael Lombardi ever call him out on them?

-Final thoughts from Week 13: Saints with their miraculous win against the Redskins and the Vikings loss (nice to see the Brett Favre I know play Sunday) are in the drivers seat for home-field advantage and thus no longer need to be unbeaten to avoid a game in the Metrodome. The Colts got closer to their unbeaten season, derailing the Young-Johnson Express. The Bengals and Chargers continue to close in on a collision course for that second AFC seed, which should be decided in Week 15 when they play each other. The Pats and Steelers continue to struggle, who's chances of making the playoffs continue to drop.

Now I once again try to right the ship with my picks, as my NFL season has turned into my college season (so glad that's over). It starts tonight with the Steelers and the Browns in another dull NFL Network game. Let's hope this game is decided by halftime so we can all watch "Jersey Shore", but I don't think it will be. Still, the Browns stink and the Steelers always beat them. I know the Raiders beat the Steelers, but that should knock some sense into Pittsburgh, who don't have the easiest of schedules to close it out.

Pittsburgh (-9.5) over CLEVELAND

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Babe of the Week and Week 13 Picks

(Thanks for The Big Lead and Stare Magazine for this photo)

Huge weekend of football as the biggest college football game of the season is later today. Thus, for Babe of the Week, it's time to pull out a big name and that name is Jenn Brown, a Florida alum who is destined to become the next Erin Andrews but still does only one piece every week on ESPN College Gameday. Since ESPN won't show you full love, you'll have to settle for the prestige of the Babe of the Week title and you can see more pictures here. This is also a big weekend for the NFL, where the playoff picture could start getting more clear.

Time to end the stripper part of this post and tease you, you want picks and here they are. Home team in CAPS.

KANSAS CITY (+5.5) over Denver- There is real history of the Broncos playing poor in Arrowhead in December. Also, I'm not sure if the Broncos win over the Giants is a good one.
PITTSBURGH (-14.5) over Oakland- I'm not sure whether Ben Roethlisberger or Dennis Dixon will start at QB. It won't matter either way; the Raiders are a cure to the Steelers injuries.
JACKSONVILLE (PK) over Houston- The two teams that frustrate me more than anyone, you really can go either way, thus the pick'em is warranted. I'm guessing the Jags best guy (MJD) outplays the Texans best (A. Johnson)
Tennessee (+6.5) over INDIANAPOLIS- We have colliding "Don't bet against" guys in Chris Johnson and Peyton Manning. Because Vince Young is close to that status, I like the Titans to end the Colts unbeaten dream.
Philadelphia (-5.5) over ATLANTA- I'm not taking Chris Redman against the Eagles, even though I know Philly isn't that good. It's a shame they are going to the playoffs.
CINCINNATI (-13) over Detroit- The Bengals need to send a message after a couple of weak efforts against the Raiders and Browns. Start Chad Ochocinco this week.
WASHINGTON (+9.5) over New Orleans- The Saints might win, but I don't think they dominate the Redskins, who've become an underdog cover in the past few weeks.
CAROLINA (-5.5) over Tampa Bay- For once, I'm not backing Jake Delhomme. Matt Moore will start after John Fox broke Jake's finger for an excuse to bench him after his fourth INT last week.
CHICAGO (-9.5) over St. Louis- I know, I know, you can't trust Jay Cutler. But the Bears if anything are a bully team and the Rams are the fat kid a bully loves to humiliate.
New England (-4.5) over MIAMI- This was my toughest pick since I was leaning on the Dolphins, but I can't give the Pats that small a spread. They bounce back.
San Diego (-13.5) over CLEVELAND- The Chargers should be appreciated for being a team that never plays down to their opponent. Bad teams they crush and I expect the same this week.
San Francisco (-1) over SEATTLE- Not a very good game, but the Niners have to win this, hope the Cards lose and next Monday they can play for the NFC West. It's still possible.
Dallas (-2.5) over GIANTS- I'd probably pick the Giants if they were the more desperate team, but the Cowboys need to prove they can win in December, especially Tony Romo.
Minnesota (-3) over ARIZONA- Not sure about Warner and an average home team make this a game the Vikings should win. Remember, the Cards turned Delhomme into an INT machine, so Favre better watch out.
GREEN BAY (-3) over Baltimore- The Packers have Lambeau Field, Monday night, an 11-day break from Thanksgiving and a playoff spot sitting in front of them. I think they win.

NFL Record: 90-85-2

Cincinnati (-2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Houston (-3) over EAST CAROLINA
Fresno State (+3) over ILLINOIS
Arizona (+7) over USC
Texas (-14) over Nebraska
Georgia Tech (PK) over Clemson
Alabama (+5.5) over Florida- Expect another classic like last year; remember that Florida isn't as good as they were with Percy Harvin in that offense.

College Record: 50-70-2

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Night Pick

Sorry about the lack of story or picture today, but I'm on lunch at work and barely have the time to make a pick for tonight's Jets-Bills game in Toronto. Let's break it down: The Jets won because Jake Delhomme was the opposition who can make even Kerry Rhodes look good. Meanwhile, the Bills have started to get the ball to Terrell Owens, making him look somewhat valuable. Even though Darrelle Revis will shut TO down, the Bills go to Lee Evans and win tonight.

Buffalo (+3) over Jets

NFL Record: 91-83-1

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sad Way to Go Out

There was big boxing news last night as Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported that the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao match is almost set. However, there was a fight that nobody in America I have to believe knew occured in Australia as Roy Jones Jr. fought Danny Green. Jones ended up losing in a first round TKO, which if you watch the video shouldn't have lasted as long as it did. There was talk that he would fight Bernard Hopkins for a second time but after this display, it's time for Jones to retire.

To be fair, Jones has never recovered from his move to heavyweight. Hard to remember that Roy Jones Jr. was the dominant fighter in the late 90s, early 00s. What hurts his career is that the light heavyweight division was never strong while he dominated; just like when Larry Holmes dominated the heavyweights. His early fights with Hopkins and James Toney were most notable names, but not fighting Hopkins when he became the top middleweight of his generation also will remain a strike against him. He made the move to heavyweight at the right time when Lennox Lewis was retired and the likes of John Ruiz were sucking the life out of the division and had he been able to pull it off, the heavyweight division would have been more interesting. Unfortunately, he couldn't and his career was never the same after losing three fights in a row to Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson and Tarver again (in a related story, Tarver also ruined his career by going heavyweight and fighting Rocky Balboa). Jones has somehow hung around the past five years and prior to last night, only lost to Joe Calzaghe, but losing to Danny Green in the first round tells me that it's over.

Jones looked like Ali in the Bahamas against Trevor Berbick, Leonard against Hector Camacho, and Tyson against Danny Williams in his loss last night. In other sports, I do think athletes can control when they retire or not. I have three exceptions. One, is Brett Favre, especially when he's doing his will he or won't he act; can't stand it. Two, is players who have suffered a lot of concessions in football, hockey or sometimes baseball. The last is boxers who if they just go to the ring to take a beating, they shouldn't be fighting and we shouldn't allow them to or they could die. Watch the "30 for 30" about the Ali-Holmes fight and you see a man in Muhammad Ali who shouldn't be anywhere near a ring, much less fighting Larry Holmes. I don't want that from Roy Jones Jr., though I know Bernard Hopkins can't destroy him like Holmes did.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time To Lay Off On Tiger

Mostly because the story broke on a workday, I didn't express any opinions on the Tiger Woods story. It was pretty smart because this story has played out in many different ways since his accident Thanksgiving. The facts we know are that Tiger had a one car accident hitting a fire hydrant and a tree. The Florida Highway Patrol gave him a citation in a press conference that doubled as an SNL-skit in trying to look serious. Now, Tiger has released a statement basically admitting to affairs that have been reported.

Everyone considers this a big story because of the rumored affairs and whatever Tiger's wife did after finding out, but once we knew that the accident didn't involve others and that Tiger wasn't leaving his home, this story ended. Now, anything else you hear is all the typical celebrity chatter that shouldn't be public. If Tiger Woods committed a crime, then yes, let's delve as much as possible into his life. Since he didn't, I think he should get the same courtesy that you and I get.

I know what you're thinking "he's a celebrity, a public figure and we need to know this". My friend Dan of Dan's Take Sports wrote how we can't think of Tiger Woods like we did before. What did we think of Tiger Woods? Unlike what his father thought, Tiger has never been more than a great golfer. That's what I think of when I think of Tiger Woods. This won't change that, unless he let's these issues affect his play.

We all want our greatest athletes to live up to our expectations on how they should live, but 95% of the time, they don't. The athletes of yesterday lived the same lives as the athletes of today, but no one reported it and there wasn't a TMZ or Deadspin who were more than willing to air dirty laundry for all to see. So forgive me if I'm not coming up with a moral argument for Tiger or caring about his mistresses and his wife, but it's not important.