Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekly Picks

Add 3 more points to the total and something of a revival 10 points in the past 3 weeks. Still a horrible season but I am trying to turn it around.

new england -6.5 NEW YORK JETS
The Jets stink.

NEW ORLEANS +1 1/2 san francisco
I don't have confidence that Colin Kaepernick can do that again. Especially not if he has to match passes with Drew Brees.

green bay +3 NEW YORK GIANTS
If the Packers were getting one additional half point they would be my best bet. At a certain point the Giants horrible play recently becomes a trend and not a blip. That said, they will lose this game and then probably not again on the way to winning their second straight Super Bowl. This is the first time I can ever remember picking against the Giants.

st. louis +2 ARIZONA
Ryan Lindley is getting his first career start for the Cardinals in this game.

pittsburgh -2 CLEVELAND

I actually have some confidence in Charlie Batch to put a few scores up in this game. I know the Browns have been frisky lately but I think the Steelers will pull it out.

Last Week: 2-3 (3 points)
Season: 24-31 (19 points)
Best Bets: 0-0 (3-8)
Home Favorites: 0-1 (5-16)
Home Underdogs: 1-0 (6-2)
Road Favorites: 1-0 (8-8)
Road Underdogs: 0-2 (5-5)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The NFL is Poop - Thanksgiving Edition

That Rule Needs to Change
A big controversy marred the Texans 34-31 over the Lions. Houston running back Justin Forsett was tackled, popped right back up and ran down the field for an 81-yard touchdown. No whistle blew, but Forsett was clearly down. No problem, it will just be overturned on review, because all scoring plays are automatically reviewed. But Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw his red challenge flag. He got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. And the play became unreviewable. I agree with the first part, you don't want coaches throwing the flag all the time, delaying the game, and getting a free chance to lobby the officials. But to make the play not reviewable? That is too harsh. I could actually see a circumstance where a coach could throw his flag on a scoring play or turnover that benefits his team in order to make it not reviewable. Unless there is some other clause prohibiting that. This rule will be changed in the offseason.

The Jets Are in Total Disarray
That game was a complete and total embarrassment for the Jets. And it wasn't all Mark Sanchez's fault. Yes, his first interception was terrible. And he is going to be the "butt" of jokes for running into his lineman's ass and fumbling.

But he had nothing to do with the fumble on the kickoff return. Or the 83-yard screen pass the defense allowed. The Jets entire team stinks. They went for broke a couple years ago stratifying their salary structure with a few high-priced players and filling the rosters with low-paid scrubs. Now those players are no longer producing and the whole thing has gone to shit.
I think Mark Sanchez is an average quarterback if he's on a good team like he was in his first two years. But when the team is bad and he has to pass too much, he becomes horrible. Tim Tebow is obviously not the answer. But I would at least like to see them give him a chance if he's healthy. Nothing could be worse than what happened to the Jets on Thanksgiving.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for Robert Griffin III. In the past two weeks he has thrown 8 touchdowns and only 9 incomplete passes. I was initially unsure of his accuracy on deep balls but his throw to Aldrick Robinson was perfect (even though it didn't need to be because he was so wide open.
I'm also glad the Shanahans have gotten a little more aggressive in their play-calling. They started off running on nearly every first and second down play, forcing RGIII into 3rd down situations. They opened it up with the long bomb to Robinson which opened the floodgates.
Also, on that late drive which led to the clinching field goal, the Redskins threw a pass on 3rd and 8 from the 30. Had the field goal missed, they would have been killed on two counts: for not getting extra yards and for not killing an extra 30 seconds. But three previous times on that drive the Redskins threw, and completed passes to keep the drive going. Had they just tried to run every down to kill the clock they probably would have been stopped short of the field goal, and with much more time on the clock.
I know the game got close at the end but I really am not holding that against the defense. They played great last week, great again until they fell into the prevent defense.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Song of the Week

"When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees
This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for Gamble & Huff and the entire Philadelphia Soul era, of which this song was one of the biggest hits. And also for precious moments with the ones I love.
Love any song that starts with "aaaaaah-aaaaaaah, oooooh-ooooooh" or any similar such lyrics(?).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The NFL is Poop - Week 11

Gronk's Broken Arm
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his right arm while blocking on the extra point that made the final score Patriots 59 Colts 24. First of all, Belichick does run up the score. He did it to a reasonable degree in this game. But playing Gronkowski on an extra point is not an example of that. He's a part of the regular extra point team so he plays on extra points. That's how it goes.

Bad Quarterbacking
Matt Ryan threw 5 interceptions and zero touchdowns in the Falcons 23-19 win over the Cardinals. The last 95 quarterbacks to do that, lost that game. But those 95 weren't playing against John Skelton and Ryan Lindley. They were 11 for 27 for only 41 yards, 1.5 yards per pass attempt. But even that wasn't enough. The Falcons also needed a bogus fumble call, returned for a touchdown, to dispatch the Cardinals. Does anyone else remember when the Cardinals were 4-0? They are now 4-6.

Strangest Play I've Seen in a While
Long after most people had given up on the Bears-49ers game occurred on of the most unusual plays in recent memory. On 3rd and 28 from their own 8, Jason Campbell was pressured in the end zone, he fumbled right before he got taken down. Offensive lineman Chilo Rachal was about to fall on the ball, but decided to throw the ball out of the end zone instead. It was initially ruled as illegal batting. The referee said "he threw it actually forward, which is an incomplete pass." The officials conferred and the referee changed his call "because it was a forward pass, we're going to go with intentional grounding." But then Jim Harbaugh challenged, and on review it was found that Rachal was actually down by contact in the end zone before that occurred, resulting in a safety. I hope my explanation was better than the one in the official play-by-play.

Game of the Week I
Houston Texans 43 Jacksonville Jaguars 37

Maybe the reason this game was so close is because Blaine Gabbert got knocked out of it. I am not saying Chad Henne is a good NFL quarterback, but I doubt Gabbert would have been able to hang in with Schaub the way Henne did. He came up with enough big plays like the 67-yarder to Cecil Shorts III (get that jersey) and 81-yard touchdown to Justin Blackmon to keep the game interesting, but eventually Schaub took over. Down 14 in the 4th quarter he led an 80-yard TD drive, then an 90-yard TD drive (with a Jacksonville 3 and out in between) and late in overtime hit Andre Johnson on a short pass than Johnson took to the endzone fo r the game-winning score. Matt Schaub threw for 527 yards in the game, tied for 2nd most all-time. But that should definitely have an asterisk. Not only did he have overtime aiding him (115 of those yards), he had an extended overtime. And Andre Johnson’s 273-yard game (9th all-time) should be similarly marked with a scarlet letter.

Game of the Week II
Dallas Cowboys 23 Cleveland Browns 20

The two Texas teams played the two worst teams in the NFL at home, and needed overtime to pull off the victories. Somehow the Cowboys fell behind 13-0, mostly because Romo had a horrible first half because he kept getting sacked and pressured. Neither team really wanted to win. After the Cowboys took a 17-13 lead with 5:45 left the Browns had the ball and a chance to take the lead. They fumbled. Giving the Cowboys a chance to put the game away. They fumbled. The Browns drove to the 1. And got stopped. Dallas really should have put it away this time. But they went 3 and out and used only 32 seconds. Thanks to a long Josh Cribbs return and a wrong horse-collar penalty (he actually pulled Cribbs's hair) the Browns took over at the 17, and threw a TD pass on first down. Giving the Cowboys too much time. They kicked a field goal to tie, and another on their second possession of overtime to win. But not something the Texas teams should be celebrating.

Game of the Week III
Green Bay Packers 24 Detroit Lions 20

This game came down to one big decision by Jim Schwartz. 4th down and goal at the 9 with 4:30 left. Detroit up 17-14. Schwartz played it safe and kicked the field goal. But he gave the ball back to Aaron Rodgers who drove down field and beat them. I don't necessarily disagree with the move, but I would have tried to gain some yards on 2nd and 3rd downs to set up a shorter 4th down conversion if needed.

Game of the Week IV
Tampa Bay ExpensiveCornPrices 27 Carolina Panthers 21

The best comeback of the day as the ECPs scored 17 points in a span of about 9 minutes covering regulation and overtime. The ECPs had 3 drives, 24 plays for 178 yards leading to a field goal, a touchdown, a 2-point conversion and a walk-off touchdown. The Panthers got only one drives, 7 plays for 36 yards over that span. Josh Freeman does have a knack for making plays in the fourth quarter and the ECPs now have a 4-game winning streak.

Game of Next Week
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions

I'm not just picking it because it's the traditional Thursday afternoon Thanksgiving game. I like the explosive offenses in this one. Should be a fun game for a national audience that may not yet be on the Texans bandwagon.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
The best game the Redskins have played in a long time. Certainly the best game RGIII has played, maybe the best, statistically, he will ever play. It will be very hard to top 14 out of 15 with 4 touchdown passes and another 84 on the ground. I have two concerns about him being a long-term winning quarterback in this lead. Can he stay healthy, and can he throw the deep ball. Both will take years to answer, but he provided a lot of evidence that he can make deep passes. Let's not go crazy, Aldrick Robinson was wide open, and Santana Moss made an incredible catch. But he got the ball there (after a huge windup on the throw to Moss) and got the job done.

Picture of the Week
Calvin Johnson slam dunks the ball after scoring a touchdown.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Houston Texans 17 San Francisco 49ers 14

I can't in good conscience give this slot to the Falcons with the way they've been playing lately. If Matt Ryan plays that way and the 49ers defense plays the way they did against the Bears, that game would be 99-0.