Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekly Picks

My hot streak continues, 14-6 in the last 4 weeks, unfortunately missed the last two best bets. Some interesting games here, as I am always suspicious of the team that needs the win vs. the team that has nothing to play for. Desire doesn't always translate.

carolina -6 1/2 ATLANTA
The Panthers should be motivated to try here and even if they don't they should still beat the Falcons by a TD.

jacksonville +11 1/2 INDIANAPOLIS
Colts can potentially improve their playoff position with a win here, but the Jags have been frisky and I think this spread should be pretty easy to cover.

NEW ORLEANS -12 1/2 tampa bay
The Saints lost last week in a tough one to the Panthers and now they are coming home. Also they need to win to keep the Cardinals out of the playoffs and I just know that is going to happen.

kansas city +9 1/2 SAN DIEGO
The Chiefs are the only team that is locked into its seed right now. They have nothing to play for and the Chargers do have an outside shot. But the Chiefs don't want to limp in the playoffs after two straight blowouts and Andy Reid is just stupid enough to play his best players for a good portion of the game.

TENNESSEE -6 houston

Not sure why I am doing this except that I actually think the most predictable games are the ones with two teams that have nothing to play for. I figure it should be also easy to predict how Houston will play since they've been horrible even when they have been trying.

Last Week: 4-1 (3 points)
Season: 41-39 (32 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (5-11)
Home Favorites: 1-0 (18-17)
Home Underdogs: 1-0 (2-1)
Road Favorites: 1-1 (11-10)
Road Underdogs: 1-0 (10-11)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

WestJet Airlines decided to do something really nice for some of their passengers this holiday season. They set up a booth in the Toronto and Hamilton airports, and when their passengers checked in, they told Santa what they wanted for Christmas.
While the flights were in the air, WestJet employees went shopping and bought the presents that were requested, and when the passengers arrived in Calgary their gifts were on the conveyor belt.

Believe it or not some people are actually complaining about this video saying that this was all a publicity stunt by the airline, or that this just feeds into the naked consumerism that has overtaken the holiday.
If this video brought either one of those thoughts to your head, before it brought a smile to your face or a tear to your eye, then you are way more cynical, and much more in need of holiday spirit than the people at WestJet.

Merry Christmas To All

Except the Jews, who should just enjoy the Chinese food and stay away from "Grudge Match" it looks horrible.

I doubt this is authentic, but it's a funny joke either way.

Song of the Week

"Jesus" - Kem featuring Patti LaBelle and Ron Isley
Three of my favorite singers singing about one of my favorite guys.
Occasionally I struggle with gospel music because I don't know whether the song is about a cute boy, or about Jesus. I think this one is pretty clear.

The NFL is Poop - Week 16

Peyton Manning broke one of the most important single-season records for a quarterback by hitting Julius Thomas for his 51st touchdown of the year. This week he can, if he plays enough, pass Drew Brees for the single-season yardage record as well, he only needs 267 yards.
I know Manning is a product of his system, they let him throw, a lot. But he isn't David Klingler at the University of Houston. Manning is leading a great NFL team, a leading Super Bowl contender, winning games first, and putting up gaudy passing numbers while doing it. The fact that he is 37, after a major injury and a team change, makes what he is doing even more remarkable. I've often criticized him for his frequent failures in the playoffs, but no matter what happens this year we all have to be in awe of how great a quarterback he is this year, and for all the seasons before.

He'll Break Your Heart
Matthew Stafford is one of those quarterbacks (Jay Cutler and Tony Romo also come to mind) who has great talent and often uses it to make great plays and win games. But seemingly just as often, his mistakes lead to his team's ruin. This time Detroit led the lowly Giants 20-13 with 5 minutes left. A win would have given the Lions a chance to play the Vikings with a win giving them the division title (though they didn't know that at the time). In need of a first down Stafford threw a bad pass (maybe the decision wasn't as bad as the execution) and it was returned for a touchdown to tie the game.
The Giants won on a field goal in overtime to eliminate the Lions.
The Lions lost 5 of their last six games despite holding fourth quarter leads in all of them. Surely the blame can be spread around (even the great Calvin Johnson dropped passes), but I'm not really sure Matthew Stafford will ever be able to lead a team deep into the playoffs.

What a Difference a Year Makes
Last year the Arizona Cardinals went into Seattle and suffered the worst shutout defeat in NFL history, 58-0. They turned the ball over 8 times and allowed two 100-yard rushers. Russell Wilson completed only 7 passes for 148 yards, and barely played. This year, in a full game, Wilson got even fewer yards, 108, as the Cardinals beat the seemingly invincible-at-home Seahawks 17-10, despite 4 interceptions by Carson Palmer. Seattle got nothing done against the Cardinals defense and certainly cast doubt on their ability to run through the NFC playoffs, simply by dominating on their home field.
But someone else will likely have to be the ones to follow the Cardinals blueprint for success in Seattle, because the Cards need to beat San Francisco at home, and have the Saints lose to the ExpensiveCornPrices, in New Orleans.
Not likely, so it is a shame such a good team will likely miss the playoffs while the dreck in the other two NFC divisions will make it in.

Game of the Week
Pittsburgh Steelers 38 Green Bay Packers 31

This game featured one of the weirdest plays I've ever seen. A blocked field goal, touched by about four Steelers before being knocked out of bounds was given back to the Packers at the 2 yard line setting up a touchdown. I think Ryan Clark did actually possess the ball, so it was a bad call, but he was an idiot for trying to lateral in that situation.

But the fun didn't end there, not by a long shot.
The Steelers did not let that play hurt them though, Roethlisberger drove right down the field for a TD, and the Packers next play from scrimmage was a Matt Flynn pick-6. Steelers up 31-21 entering the 4th quarter.
After the Packers tied the game on their next two possessions and had the ball again, but Matt Flynn fumbled, setting up a short field goal attempt by the Steelers. But the Packers were offside, giving the Steelers the chance to score a touchdown, and kill more time.
No way the Packers could come back from this, right? But they almost did, thanks to a 70-yard kick return. But this time it was on offside penalty (on the 1!!!!!) that cost them 5 yards, and 10 seconds. For some reason Matt Flynn did not get the play off fast enough (he blames the official, wasting 7 seconds, and giving them only one chance from the 6, which they didn't convert.
The win kept the Steelers playoff hopes alive (though they need a lot of help), and it didn't hurt the Packers who just need to win to get in.

Game of Next Week
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

I know both teams are pretty bad/inconsistent but one of them is going to host a playoff game. No Tony Romo, but I wouldn't write off the Cowboys just yet. Though, if the Eagles can capture any of what they had against the Bears, they will run through Dallas like a hot knife through butter, and could be a scary team in the playoffs.

Picture of the Week
Houston Texans Cheerleaders dressed up for Christmas. I suppose you would call this look "Naughty Santa." What can I say, I'm a sucker for cheerleaders in costume.

A Brief Rant About the Redskins
2 starts for Kirk Cousins, 2 1-point losses. It's not his fault the defense absolutely sucks and can't contain Tony Romo or cover the Dallas receivers, once Romo starts to scramble. There's no excuse for allowing two long 4th down conversions on that final drive.
But there's also no excuse for the pitiful 4 plays the Redskins ran when they had a chance, and a little bit of time, to kick a field goal for the win, but those 4 plays were as bad as I've seen. And Kyle Shanahan deserves the blame, and he will get it, as he will surely be fired on December 30th.

If the Super Bowl Were Played Today
Denver Broncos 37 Arizona Cardinals 13

If the Cardinals can go into Seattle and win they can beat any NFC team, anywhere, right now. But they likely won't get the chance to show what they can do.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

If You Had the Bears and 42 Points...YOU LOST!

2013 was a great year in the life of The Poop especially as it regards all the awesome sporting events I went to. There was the Rangers game in the amazing seats, the Jon Jones title fight, the Home Run Derby, the field passes at CitiField, Chase's first Knicks game, the last appearance by Syracuse in the Big East Tournament, and of course the Final Four in Atlanta, which I went to with my best friend Billy. A fitting way to end the year was enjoying a game in style. Since Billy is a bigwig at a company with a suite he asked for the tickets to the Bears game.
He donned his Walter Payton jersey, and I wore a Bears shirt to support my buddy and we entered into enemy territory.

It's a good picture, but a little too much light behind us darkened our faces.

Note: While Eagles fans get a bad rep, and they may have been tailgating all day, we didn't get hassled at all for wearing Bears gear. Obviously no one in the corporate suite is going to do that, and we didn't go to the concourse or hang out in the parking lot, but we saw a lot of other Bears fans in full regalia and Eagles fans said nothing. Not to say it never happens, but the idea that I heard from many people that if I wear a Bears shirt, I'm going to get attacked by an angry mob, is totally untrue.

The suite was really nice, you walk in and there's hot food on the right and snacks and stuff on the right and seats in front. 2 rows of 6 seats and then some high tables that you can also sit at and watch the game.

Had it been cold, the suite would have provided a little respite from the weather but not too much. But it was a very comfortable 50-something degree night. I didn't even wear a jacket.

Note: we felt very VIP with our laminated tickets.

Let's start with the food, I started with a cheesesteak (the meat, onions and cheese are in separate compartments and you cobble together your own sandwich) because when in Rome...

Then I had the paella.

The fridge was fully stocked. And they actually brought the champagne around towards the end of the game.

There were soft pretzels.

And popcorn. I took the bucket, but don't worry I left those cups for other people.

And for dessert there were gingerbread men and a yule log. Pretty cool.

At the end of the game there was still an entire tray of gingerbread men still left so I took a couple home. The suite attendant offered to give us any other leftover food because otherwise she'd have to throw it away. She was literally thinking "what am I going to do with all this paella?"

The food was great, but then the game started. From the 30-yard line, we had a great view of one of the worst ass-kickings I've ever seen. The Bears couldn't move the ball, and every time the Eagles had the ball, they scored. There seemed a moment where the game could have turned, down 24-3 the Bears forced a Lesean McCoy fumble and recovered near midfield. A touchdown there would have at least made it a game, but it was overturned on replay.

When Jay Cutler got picked off and it was returned for a touchdown to make it 47-11 with 8 minutes left we decided to bail out. As soon as we left the stadium we heard a roar, the Eagles had scored again to make it 54-11. I hate to leave early but it was late and I had a long drive ahead of me.

On that drive home I heard an old DMX song, with a line I had never quite understood. It refers to a very popular line of Reeboks, which I later learned had been commonly referred to by the price they cost, after tax. The shoes sold for 49.99, when you added New York's old 8.25% tax rate ($4.12) you got...54-11.