Saturday, January 05, 2013

Weekly Picks

A horrible regular season is over so now I can begin a horrible postseason.

cincinnati +4 ½ HOUSTON
I never believed in the Texans though they seem to have all the weapons. I don’t much believe in momentum but there’s definitely something to teams that either improve or get worse as the season goes along. I actually think the Bengals have a decent chance to win this game so I will gladly take the points.

GREEN BAY -7 ½ minnesota
Same exact spread as last week when the Vikings covered. I normally love when teams play twice in a row or in short proximity, just pick the first winner to win again, probably because they’re better. But in this case I think the Packers are better. They got totally run over twice in a row by Adrian Peterson. I think they’ll be able to do more to stop him this time and Aaron Rodgers will put up enough points to cover this spread.

seattle -2 ½ WASHINGTON
There was no chance I was going to pick the Redskins in this game, no matter the opposition, no matter the spread. But I do think the Seahawks are going to win this game. Their defense is great, ours is adequate. Both teams have great running games and dynamic, young quarterbacks. Both teams are better than their records indicate because they’re both on long winning streaks. Maybe because I’ve watched every Redskins game I’m more familiar with their warts, but the Redskins need to force turnovers to win. If Wilson protects the ball, the Seahawks will prevail. Assuming their secondary is all hopped up on Adderal and Viagra as they normally are.

indianapolis +6 ½ BALTIMORE

I actually think the Colts are going to win this game. The Ravens time has come. I love Ray Lewis and will miss him dearly but his impact on this game will be minimal, and the impact of his retirement announcement as a motivator for the rest of the defense.

Last Week: 3-2 (2 points)
Season: 36-49 (27 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (4-13)
Home Favorites: 3-1 (12-22)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (6-4)
Road Favorites: 0-1 (10-15)
Road Underdogs: 0-0 (8-8)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

NFL Playoff Predictions

AFC Playoffs
Houston over Cincinnati
Indianapolis over Baltimore

Denver over Indianapolis
New England over Houston

Denver over New England

NFC Playoffs
Green Bay over Minnesota
Seattle over Washington

San Francisco over Green Bay
Seattle over Atlanta

San Francisco over Seattle

Super Bowl
Denver 31 San Francisco 23

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Song of the Week

"New York Minute" - Don Henley
One of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I've heard.
"In a New York minute, everything can change."

Extreme Makeover: Paulo Edition

Due to a bout of indifference stemming from my job-borne frustration, I grew my normal winter beard, but instead of keeping it neat and trim as I normally do, I let it grow wild and unruly until I looked Hasidic. But because I am starting a new job, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression (I'm going to do my George W. Bush), I had to cut my hair, shave my beard and trim the goatee portion of my facial hair. This massive transformation took place over the course of about 15 minutes in my kitchen and bathroom.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year, New Job

A few months ago my friend and supervisor left my place of employment to take a better job at a competitor. Someone else was elevated to his role, it was widely assumed, especially by me, that I would be elevated to that vacancy. For reasons too complicated and aggravating to explain here, that did not happen.
I was shocked, saddened, angry, confused and hopeless. But as always, the Universe takes care of me. The reason I didn't get that job is so the Universe could reward me with a better one instead. The aforementioned friend and supervisor has recruited me to join him at his new place of employment.
I will be making more money, getting a key promotion I have been seeking for 5 years, and working much closer to home. Because I no longer have to commute, in addition to the increase salary I will be saving thousands on parking, gas and tolls.
And the biggest perk of all, I get free dinner every night. Which leads me to the worst part of this new job. By the way, isn't that always the case, the best part is the result of the worst part.
My new hours will be 11a to 8p. I won't have to wake up early, or even set an alarm, I won't get dressed in the dark, which may seem better to some. But to me I will miss my afternoons off. I will be devastated when summer rolls around and I don't get to come home at 3p and take the boys to the park. And I won't eat dinner with my family every night.
But that is a small sacrifice to make in the face of all I am going to gain from this new job. And Mrs. Poop who is making the biggest sacrifice of all, facing these monsters alone everyday, is also reaping the rewards, beginning with a brand new iPhone5.
And that is how life goes, you always have to let go of what you have to open your hand to get something better. It is fitting I start this job on the beginning of a new years, because it represents new challenges, new rewards and stuff we're going to buy with all that new money.

Note: please use discretion when commenting about my past or current employers.

Note: my e-mail account and blackberry had to be surrendered when I left. So you can't e-mail me at that address or text or call me on that phone number. Stand by for new information and if you need to reach me most of you know my personal address or can contact me through social media.

Black Monday

7 NFL head coaches were fired on Monday, the day after the NFL season ended.
12 coaches made the playoffs. 5 coaches just completed their first year (hired after their predecessors were fired on last Black Monday.
The leaves just 8 coaches who missed the playoffs and kept jobs they've had for more than a year (Ron Rivera, Jason Garrett, Jim Schwartz, Sean Payton, Tom Coughlin, Mike Tomlin, Mike Munchak and Rex Ryan).
I can understand most of those, except Rex Ryan.
The Jets did fire GM Mike Tannenbaum who certainly was a large part of the problem. When the Jets were contending for AFC titles Tannenbaum pursued a very polarized salary structure (a few high-priced players, mostly low priced roster-filler) and it backfired due to injury and underperformance. He also made a huge bad gamble on by giving Mark Sanchez more money. I don't blame him for the Tebow deal, because it was low risk and never given a chance to pay off.
And that's where Ryan comes in. He continued to insist his strategies were working when everyone else knew they failed. His stubbornness in refusing to replace Sanchez, was a major failing. And it's not as if the Jets have real hopes to turn this around next season, with such weak quarterback prospects. What's the point of giving Ryan one more year when he's likely to fail anyway. Better to completely clean house, bottom out and start to rebuild.

If there's any fired coach I would have given another chance to, it would have been Lovie Smith. The Bears finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs, particularly hard to swallow given their 7-1 start. Smith has been unable to get the best consistently out of Jay Cutler. I'm starting to believe that no one will ever be able to do that. But Smith continued to field a strong defense intent on forcing turnovers and keeping the team in games. The Bears are getting older on defense, but I think Smith could have been given another season or two to try to make this work.

Unlike Andy Reid who had long since overstayed his welcome. 14 years is a long time, and despite his early success, there comes a time when change is necessary for change sake. Like Smith and Cutler, Reid wasn't able to reform Michael Vick into a quarterback who could play without turning the ball over. Unlike Smith, he's an offensive coach who should have had more success than that.

Norv Turner also was there too long. Turner is a terrible a coach. His teams always underachieve and though it's hard to pinpoint his exact problem I think it's clear at this point that he should never be an NFL head coach ever again. I think there is a good chance Andy Reid gets this job and tries to make something out of Philip Rivers.

Ken Whisenhunt is another coach who had success early on (almost won a Super Bowl) but has since faded horribly. Remember when the Cardinals won their first 4 games this season, including a win over the Patriots? Well, they lost 11 of the next 12, and that was the end of Whisenhunt. But I'm not sure any coach can win with that array of quarterbacks.

Pat Shurmur in Cleveland was also dealt a difficult hand. He got only two years and shitty quarterbacks. The team and Brandon Weeden showed promise towards the end of the season. I would have given Shurmur more time but I understand a new owner wants to come in and pick his own guys.

Chan Gailey coached the Bills for 3 seasons. They lost at least 10 games and finished last all three years. This season the team sank a ton of money into its defense, which stunk. Gailey deserved to be fired, but good luck to the next guy.

And lastly, Romeo Crennel. He took over with 3 games left in last season and was given the full-time job. Then the Chiefs went 2-14. Crennel is a nice man but not a very good head coach. But like most coaches on this list, he was the victim of poor quarterback play. His season as head coach of the Chiefs will always be remembered for Jovan Belcher committing suicide as Crennel watched and tried to convince him not to. "You're taking the easy way out," Crennel yelled, to no avail.

The NFL is Poop - Week 17

Yo, Adrian
An amazing season by Adrian Peterson comes to an end 9 yards short of breaking the NFL's single-season rushing record. The passing record fell in 2011, the receiving record in 2012, maybe next year is Peterson's year. Regardless of a record Peterson was absolutely incredible this year, especially in this game. He didn't even seem to know how few yards he fell short by when Pam Oliver referenced it in the postgame interview. And even more amazing because he tore his ACL a year ago. Amazing player, amazing season, the lack of a record doesn't diminish it at all.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
A beautiful game following the formula the Redskins have followed all season. Run the ball down the opponents throat, give up tons of yards on defense and then force the key interception. The Redskins picked off Tony Romo 3 times, the first one thwarted the Cowboys when they were poised to take an early lead. The last one pretty much sealed the game and snuffed out any hopes of an heroic Romo comeback. RGIII was clearly not himself, he rushed for 63 yards (but you could see he was holding back) and completed only 9 passes for 100 yards. But that's because the Redskins didn't need more.

The Forgotten Rookie
This year's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award is going to go to Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III with an outside chance of Russell Wilson.
Note: Perhaps I'll analyze this rookie of the year race at a later date.
And though Alfred Morris is probably going to finish 4th, his season is no less remarkable just because it happened to occur in conjunction with three exceptional rookie QB seasons. Morris's 1613 yards is the best 3rd best rookie total ever. In the past 20 years, 11 running backs have won the rookie of the year (Faulk, Martin, Bettis) and Morrs's numbers compare favorably with all of them. I'm not saying Alf deserves to win. I'm just pointing out that for a guy who was a 6th round pick out of Florida International, he had a hell of a rookie season. And the 6th round pick the Redskins used to take him, that was acquired from Minnesota in the Donovan McNabb trade.

Why the Super Bowl Isn't Played in October
For much of the season the two teams competing in my mythical Today Super Bowl were the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. Now neither team is seen as a favorite to get there. The Falcons played well enough to clinch home-field last week so they can't be faulted for losing the to the ExpensiveCornPrices and falling to 13-3. But what was the Texans' excuse? They completely shit the bed against a Colts team with little to play for and now they don't even get a first round bye. Last year the Texans, with TJ Yates starting at quarterback for the injured Matt Schaub, beat the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. This year they draw the Bengals again but I'm not so sure the result will be the same this time.

Game of the Week
Minnesota Vikings 37 Green Bay Packers 34

This game was not just great because of all the great things Adrian Peterson did. Both quarterbacks played awesome. Rodgers's 73 yard pass to Jordy Nelson that set up the touchdown that got Green Bay back to within 3 late in the 3rd, was surpassed in beauty and accuracy only by the 65-yarder from Christian Ponder to Jarius Wright that got Minnesota back on top 34-27. After that Green Bay tied it up setting up Peterson's dramatic final game-winning drive.

Game of Next Week
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Who doesn't want to see a rematch of that one. Division rivals, Peterson vs. Rodgers. Let's see who can adjust better to stop what the other team did the previous week.

Picture of the Week
San Diego Chargers lineman Antonio Garay shows off his unique haircut. This year NFL Films Presents, one of my favorite shows, did an interesting piece on Garay.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Denver Broncos 31 Seattle Seahawks 13

Denver is one of very few things I got right this year. After Week 5 they were 2-3 but had played a very strong schedule. Their remaining games were considerably weaker, and I thought they would win most of them, but I explicitly said not all. They did win them all and thanks to the collapse by the Texans they have home-field throughout the playoffs. Seattle is still hot, but didn't play great against the Rams.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Most Obvious Hanukkah Present Ever

Two very obvious things happened on Hanukah:
1) I got a Robert Griffin III jersey
2) RG3 got hurt the next day

I can't say this enough times, and I probably mention every week in my brief rant about the Redskins, I love RGIII. He is a great player, and a great role model for my children.
Over the summer, Chase had to create an alphabet book using a picture of an item or two starting with each letter. Normally, Q is difficult one, but not for us. We printed a picture of RGIII from the internet and said "that's our quarterback."
With his superior play, his leadership, his grace, his smile and his panache this is a player Chase and Julian will grow up watching and loving.
And by the time RGIII retires (hopefully after 15 years with the Redskins), they may fit into this jersey.