Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quick Sunday Picks

I feel like I took part in Down Goes Brown's drinking game last night, thus all my plans to have a real post isn't going to happen. Here's my picks for today. I think Dallas beats the Vikings, 24-13 and the Chargers beat the Jets, 20-6.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Randomness While Hoping Jay Leno Doesn't Take My Blog Away

Before I start the post, I'd like to take the time to show my support to the people of Haiti and those Americans of Haitian descent who are dealing with the devastation after the earthquake there, particularly one of my best friends.

-NBC this week has really proven to be the dumbest of networks. Following an embarrassment of an announce team they put together for the Jets-Bengals, now this Leno-Conan issue has completely blown up in their face. They too quickly wanted to keep Conan from leaving to another network, so they rushed him into the Tonight Show slot. When Leno didn't want to leave, they gave him the 10pm slot, screwing Conan and their affiliates in the process. Now, NBC wants to get everything back to how it was, with Leno late, followed by Conan and Jimmy Fallon. It's such a mess, you'd think Jim Dolan was in charge of NBC.

-Harrison Ford's film legacy should be as the best at finding roles which he can utter famous lines in serious movies. His latest one was so received, it has it's own YouTube clip before the movie comes out. Not even Jack Nicholson is as good with finding these roles, despite two famous lines. Not when you consider Indiana Jones, The Fugitive and Air Force One.

-Now to sports, let's start by saying I completely agree with Kevin Iole in his column about the failed Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It's everyone's fault. Yes, I include you Floyd, you're the bully, with Pacquiao's career and reputation damaged by this. Meanwhile, Bob Arum and everyone else are just vindictive fools who'd rather have a pissing match then make money. An agreement should of been made, it wasn't because just like in Kindergarten, everyone involved couldn't get along with others.

-I'm going to make this a two-part Randomness, with Babe of the Week tomorrow. First things first, I've starting contributing at Gonzo Ball, the official SBN site for Seton Hall men's basketball, though I would probably post other sports should someone at SHU do something noteworthy. I started with covering last Thursday's loss to Georgetown and should write more posts as the season goes along. So be sure to follow me there, as well as the outstanding founder of Gonzo Ball and the soon-to-be official cast of writers.

-Time for my picks for Saturday's Divisional Playoff games. Let's start with the soon to be high-scoring fest in New Orleans, as the Saints take on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will score on the Saints unless Kurt Warner has a stinkbomb of a game (which is very possible, though in playoff time, not as likely). However, when will the Cards stop Drew Brees and the Saints offense, at home no less. I think this plays like the 1999 game between Warner's Rams and the Vikings with Cris Carter and Randy Moss. The Rams won that one 49-37 because their offense was a little better than the Vikings that year (since Jeff George was the Vikes QB). I think the same thing happens today, except against Warner here. Saints (-7.5) over Cards; final score: 41-31.

-In the nightcap, Baltimore goes to Indianapolis (gee, where did we hear that one before) with the Ravens coming off a dominating performance against a clearly inferior Patriots team. The Colts, on the other hand, staggered into the playoffs after losing their last two games, ending a 14-0 start. The manner in which they lost seemed to infuriate everyone, since the Colts sat their starters, giving the Jets a win which put them into the playoffs. People always look at the Ravens defense and figure they will play a close game, and give Manning trouble. However, historically, Peyton Manning has gone 7-2 against Baltimore, the two losses in the only two years the Colts missed the playoffs in the Manning Era (yes, it includes one in Jim Mora's final season, the week after the "PLAYOFFS" rant). Also, Manning has thrown 17 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions with a 65 percent completion and a 103.8 QB rating. These stats tell me that Manning has the Ravens number and add the fact that the Colts are the best at primetime (which this game is being played), I have to think the Colts take care of business. Especially once the Colts know that they just need to make Joe Flacco beat you. Colts (-6.5) over Ravens; final score, 27-10.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Babe of the Week and Today's Picks.

Today's Babe of the Week is Lizz Robbins, former King model and avid sports fan in the DC-area. You can check out her profile here and she also writes a little bit for Bleacher Report, becoming the only person on the website to not be a plagiarist. The fact that she loves hockey, along with being beautiful, makes her an instant favorite to The Cycle.

Before I pick the games coming up, here's a couple of random thoughts:

- Once again, the Dallas defense held the Eagles, aside from the one big play by Macklin from Michael Vick. The dirty secret of Philly was that their defense was inferior, which you had to expect after losing Brian Dawkins to Denver and Jim Johnson last summer. As for the Cowboys, they certainly look good, which is bad news for the entire sports world. Hopefully, they can lose soon, but next week it's either them or Favre who'll win. A scary prospect.

- I missed much of the Jets-Bengals because I was working, but seeing Mark Sanchez go 12-15 for 182 yards and a touchdown makes it clear why the Jets won. That and the fact that Carson Palmer looked like Dave Brown out there. The days of him being considered an elite QB are over and he can thank Kimo von Oelhoffen for that.

- Finally, I'm still waiting for a press conference before I believe Pete Carroll is going to be coach and president of the Seahawks. Why would Seattle throw their entire franchise to a guy who was a washout in the pros?

Now my picks, we need a surprise winner today, because both the Jets and Cowboys aren't that surprising. I think we're all on the Packers bandwagon this week, but if Kurt Warner is really considering retirement, I have to think that the Cards will be the upset winner today at home. Except with no Anquan Boldin, the Packers will have an easier time against them and they win 31-24. As for the Pats, I think this is it for them, the Ravens defense and running game will control the game and Joe Flacco will play well against the Pats secondary. Baltimore upsets New England, 20-17.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Quick Wild Card Picks

No Babe again, but I'll give one tomorrow with Sunday's picks, and a little review of tonight's games and other NFL-related stories. As for today's games, here are my picks. I think too many people have jumped on the Jets bandwagon and even though the Bengals aren't that good, they force Sanchez to throw and the Jets will lose in that scenario by default. Bengals win 24-10. As for the nightcap, this is a tough one because Andy Reid is a good first-round coach and Wade Phillips is still looking for his first one. But, I'm more impressed with the Cowboys defense than the Eagles and no one can convince me of that otherwise. As long as Dallas controls the clock, they win. I go with the Cowboys in the close variety, winning 31-28. As for the bettors, this obviously tells you to take the Bengals and the Eagles. Enjoy the football.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Cycle's Hall of Fame Ballot

I turned on MLB Network's Baseball Hall of Fame announcement show and just decided that I should list my thoughts on all those on the ballot, and whether they should be in or out. Let's get started.

Roberto Alomar- Yes; he clearly was the best second baseman during the 1990's and if he doesn't get in, then the writers have spit on his nomination like he did to John Hirschbeck's face.
Kevin Appier- No; one great season in 1993, and lucked out that his Angels came back in both his World Series starts. Not even close.
Harold Baines- No; good hitter for a long time, nothing at all from his career really stands out to overcome his lack of milestone and playing as a DH.
Bert Blyleven- Yes; I still can't ignore 3,701 strikeouts and 60 shutouts, which trumps not reaching 300 wins. Plus, he won two championships, so he could pitch big games.
Ellis Burks- No; be lucky if Coors Field might get a vote or two Ellis, he wouldn't get one if the Rockies never existed.
Andre Dawson- Yes; I have to say, I was leaning against putting him in, but Dawson was a better player than Jim Rice (particularly on defense) and I'll ignore the .323 on base this time.
Andres Galarraga- No; read everything I wrote about Ellis Burks and it applies to Galarraga.
Pat Hentgen- No; and he still shouldn't have won the 1996 Cy Young over Andy Pettitte.
Mike Jackson- No; not when the Indians thought Jose Mesa was a better closer option than Jackson in the 1997 World Series.
Eric Karros- No; and he also isn't making the broadcasters wing of the Hall of Fame anytime soon.
Ray Lankford- No; I guess anyone who hung around gets their name on the ballot.
Barry Larkin- No; I need more time to figure out if Larkin should be in, very much on the borderline.
Edgar Martinez- No; he needs more than just close numbers because of the DH. He falls short because of earlier injuries.
Don Mattingly- No; not because of his talent, but because of his durability. If the Yankees were winning championships at the same time, then I can overlook the shortened career.
Fred McGriff- No; he's another guy who I'll need more time to look over, but he's closer than I thought and must seriously consider him.
Mark McGwire- Yes; the book of baseball includes Mark McGwire and he must be put in, even if it's the start of the basement steroid wing at Cooperstown.
Jack Morris- Yes; I always put him in there for Game 7 of the 1991 World Series alone, but he was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s.
Dale Murphy- No; I hear the supporters say they are outraged that he never gets enough support, but he would of been better off retiring when Jim Rice did.
Dave Parker- No; and he only has himself to blame because he should be in Cooperstown. It's harsh to call him the David Thompson of baseball, but the comparison isn't completely wrong.
Tim Raines- Yes; I have been on his side for years because he was only a slight notch below Rickey Henderson and continues to be overlooked. His prime had him among the best in on base and slugging.
Shane Reynolds and David Segui- No; and if anyone votes for these two (especially Segui for PED's), they should be banned from voting again. Voting for no one is better.
Lee Smith- No; I'm very picking with closer, like with NFL kickers. Bruce Sutter shouldn't be in, though I'm fine with Gossage.
Alan Trammell- No; he's in the same boat as Barry Larkin and I'm not voting one and not the other, so I take neither.
Robin Ventura- No; but as a consolation, I move we nickname him as Mr. Grand Slam. We'll always remember the Grand Slam Single.
Todd Zeile- No; though he'll always be in the Mike Morgan All-Stars for the extremely well-travelled player (bonus points for being in a trade for Morgan).

Update since I started; the Hall vote announced Andre Dawson as the lone Hall of Famer. Wrong of them to not put Alomar in, but he and Blyleven will make it in 2011, unless voters change their minds about steroids and put in Rafael Palmeiro.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quick Week 17 Thoughts and Picks

No Babe of the Week this week as these picks are coming very late, but it's Sunday Morning, so here's my picks for this last week of the season. Before I do, here are some things I find interesting about the 357 different scenarios for the playoffs:

-The Jets and Ravens are the only ones who control their own destiny's. The question for the Ravens is do they fall into the Black Hole trap the Raiders have been providing good teams this year. As for the Jets, we all know the rug will be pulled out from under Jets fans sooner or later, as any Jet fan will tell you. The question: Do they lose this week, next week, or the week after.

-The Broncos are the only team who can make the playoffs by losing. And with reports on the latest schism between Brandon Marshall and Josh McDaniels (leading to Marshall's benching this week), I'm guessing that's the path they have decided to shoot for.

-The Texans quietly have put themselves into playoff position. I say quietly because if they made noise in the way, they'd probably lose. Fortunately for them, they are fourth in the pecking order for AFC playoff teams, plus old Tom Brady-nemesis Bernard Pollard is now a Texan, so the Pats better watch out.

-For once, the team who will get the second bye in the NFC will have to play a 60 minute game today in order to earn it. I expect the Eagles, Vikings and Cards to play hard and whomever has the bye will be more in sync for the second round, unlike obviously the Colts and Saints and possibly the Chargers.

-Finally, a scenario exists which each wild card game can end up being a rematch of a game this week. How? The Jets beat the Bengals, the Texans beat the Pats, both the Ravens and Texans lose, the Cowboys beat the Eagles, the Vikings win and the Cards beat the Packers (if the Pack win, all four being rematches is also very likely). The last time we had a rematch in the playoffs; 2001 when the Bucs and Eagles played a meaningless game in Tampa and the Jets hit a FG in Oakland to set up a trip back there and subsequent loss.

Now let's do the picks as I try to end the regular season on a high note. As always, home team in CAPS.

Indianapolis (+8) over BUFFALO- I hate how the Colts handle the end of the season, never would the Bills be favored here; now I'm nervous I'm taking the points.
New Orleans (+7) over CAROLINA- Ditto here, I do think the Saints have to play a bit to regain some momentum and we have a close one here.
CLEVELAND (-3) over Jacksonville- The most unlikely push to save a coaches job continues for Eric Mangini and the Browns. Too bad Mike Holmgren will still fire him after the season.
Chicago (-3) over DETROIT- Possibly the last game of the Lovie Smith era, against one of the many bad teams they beat this year. Lions hope the Rams win so they can get the top pick.
San Francisco (-7) over ST. LOUIS- Unfortunately Lions fans, the Rams finish up 1-15 and will be able to draft Ndamukong Suh with the first pick in April.
New England (+7) over HOUSTON- I just remember back in 2006 when the Titans played the Pats who didn't need the game for the playoffs and lose handily. And I expect Brady to torch Pollard a couple times for his vengeance.
MIAMI (-3) over Pittsburgh- An up-and-down year for the defending champs ends as they get Wildcat'd. Dolphins get the win, then wait for everyone to lose.
MINNESOTA (-8) over Giants- Best cure for the Vikings as they come home and play a Giants team that can't stop anyone. I'm still sick from their utter no-show last week.
Atlanta (+1) over TAMPA BAY- The Falcons finally achieve back-to-back winning seasons as the Raheem Morris Era comes to it's expected conclusion, especially when Bill Cowher comes calling.
Tennessee (-4.5) over SEATTLE- The Seahawks die this year quiet as Chris Johnson narrowly misses Eric Dickerson's all-time rushing record; he still gets 2,000 yards.
SAN DIEGO (-5.5) over Washington- The Redskins have stopped fighting for lame-duck Jim Zorn and don't show up in a game the Chargers won't care if they win.
Green Bay (+3) over ARIZONA- After the Vikings win, the Cards decide to take the game against the Packers next week and we see good amounts of Matt Leinhart in this one.
DALLAS (-3) over Philadelphia- It feels like everyone's assuming the Eagles will beat the Cowboys, but I think Dallas wins at home and then plays at home against Philly again.
Kansas City (+13) over DENVER- This issue with Marshall and McDaniels now threatens to ruin the season. The Chiefs keep this close, but the Broncos squeak by.
OAKLAND (+10) over Baltimore- Here's the upset of the day as the Raiders continue to frustrate the good teams of the NFL, this time, knocking out the Ravens from the playoffs.
Cincinnati (+9) over JETS- The Jets won't win this big, but the Jets do win this week to make the playoffs and a rematch with Cincy, while Broncos-Pats is the other game.

NFL Record: 117-119-4