NFL Picks Week 7

I’m tired and busy, so no commentary this week, just picks:

Seahawks at Browns: Browns
Falcons at Lions: Lions
Texans at Titans: Titans
Broncos at Dolphins: Broncos
Chargers at Jets: Jets
Bears at Buccaneers: Buccaneers
Redskins at Panthers: Redskins
Chiefs at Raiders: Raiders
Steelers at Cardinals: Steelers
Rams at Cowboys: Cowboys
Packers at Vikings: Packers
Colts at Saints: Saints
Ravens at Jaguars: Ravens

Last Week: 11-2

Total 64-26

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NFL Week 6 Picks

No time for much commentary this week. Last week I was 9-4. Not my best week, but not an embarrassment. This Sunday is a day I have no confidence in my picks. I’m going to take the Eagles over the Redskins because the Eagles have too much talent to keep losing. If they do lose this week, I’m not sure I’ll pick them again. As much as I am a believer in the Bills, I’m taking the Giants over them. Because the Giants motto seems to be “fuck predictability” and after losing to the Seahawks I don’t think many are taking them over the Bills. I’m also taking the 49ers over the Lions. The Lions are going to lose eventually, and the 49ers have been really good so far.

Panthers at Falcons: Falcons
Colts at Bengals: Colts
49ers at Lions: 49ers
Rams at Packers: Packers
Bills at Giants: Giants
Jaguars at Steelers: Steelers
Eagles at Redskins: Eagles
Browns at Raiders: Raiders
Texans at Ravens: Ravens
Cowboys at Patriots: Patriots
Saints at Buccaneers: Saints
Vikings at Bears: Bears
Dolphins at Jets: Jets

Last Week: 9-4

Season: 53-24

NFL Week 5 Picks

I guess I was right about last week being an easy week to pick. I went 13-3. I missed the KC/Min game, but that one was a complete toss-up. I expected the Eagles to rebound after a couple of tough losses, but they blew it. And while I expected Buffalo to falter sooner or later, I didn’t think the Bengals had enough bite to beat them. Other than those three I was on the money.

Fantasy Football took a turn for the better last week as well. I won in 2 of my leagues and tied in the other. Which was the first FF tie I’ve ever seen; it occurred mostly because that leagues scoring system it straight up stupid. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

This week coming up looks like one to give me fits. Lots of good teams playing good teams and bad teams playing bad teams. Some games that look interesting to me are Oakland at Houston, Kansas City as Indianapolis and the Monday Night game Chicago at Detroit. The Raider and Texans both have pretensions of being playoff teams. The Raiders especially need this game, and with Andre Johnson out I think they win it. Did the Chiefs turn a corner last week or did they beat a woeful Vikings team? The Colts have given two good teams a run the last couple week, I think they take the Chiefs at home. Even without Manning they can’t lose them all. Chicago really needs to beat Detroit to keep from falling into a big hole. Detroit has tried to give the last two games away. I don’t think Detroit has another comeback in them this week, but I’m not sure they’ll need it.

Philadelphia at Buffalo: Philadelphia
Kansas City at Indianapolis: Indianapolis
Arizona at Minnesota: Minnesota
Seattle at New York G: New York G
Tennessee at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh
New Orleans at Carolina: New Orleans
Cincinnati at Jacksonville: Jacksonville
Oakland at Houston: Oakland
Tampa Bay at San Francisco: San Francisco
San Diego at Denver: San Diego
New York J at New England: New England
Green Bay at Atlanta: Green Bay
Chicago at Detroit: Detroit

Last Week: 13-3

Season 44-20

NFL Predictions Week 4

I am very angry with myself. Just before I posted last week’s NFL predictions, I changed my pick in the Pats/Bills game. Sure, I can’t prove it, but my first instinct was that the Bills would win. Then I remembered that the Bills never beat the Patriots, got cold feet and changed it. Also, I changed my pick in the Panthers/Jaguars game at the same time for good measure. That will teach me not to trust my gut. I would have had a great week instead a kinda good one.

Fantasy Football continues to be a disaster for me this year. Fortunately, Fantasy Football is a stupid game played only by morons so I don’t care. Also, I don’t want any grapes anyway, they look sour.

There aren’t quite as many tough games to pick this week. (Which probably means I’ll miss more) We might find out if Pitt or Houston is actually any good, or the same for Cleveland and Tennessee. Will a Missouri team win a game this week? Will Vick play? There are plenty of questions, as always, but I am more confident this week. Likely not a good sign, that.

Bears over Panthers 34-27.
Bills over Bengals 27-17.
Titans over Browns. 23-14.
Lions over Cowboys 30-22.
Vikings over Chiefs 24-13.
Redskins over Rams. 24-14.
Eagles over 49ers. 31-20.
Saints over Jaguars 30-24.
Houston over Steelers 27-20.
Giants over Cardinals. 28-23.
Falcons over Seahawks. 24-10.
Packers over Broncos. 27-17.
Patriots over Raiders 35-24
Chargers over Dolphins 21-20
Ravens over Jets. 20-17
Buccaneers over Colts 20-14

 

Last week: 11-5

Season: 31-17

My NFL Picks Week 3

After the debacle of week 1, I recovered pretty well in week 2. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. In other good football news, I won my games in two of the three fantasy leagues I’m in. Unfortunately, my loss in the other league was downright embarrassing.

Some of the picks for this week are a little harder than they appear, as many of the favored teams are on the road. It would be easy to pick the Lions over the Vikings if they weren’t playing in Minnesota. I still am going to make that pick, but it gives me some pause now. How about Atlanta at Tampa Bay? That is an easier pick in Atlanta. Or the Patriots at the Bills. The Bills have been good enough so far to get some consideration against the Patriots at home. Still, I’m not sure I want to pull the trigger on that upset.

Then there are the teams with QB issues. Will Vick play? Would I pick the Giants if he didn’t? Tough call. Assuming he plays, how effective will Romo be with a broken rib? Then there is Blaine Gabbert getting his first start against the Panthers. Will he be as effective as Newton and Dalton have been so far? All in all, there are plenty of deceptively hard picks this week.

  • Patriots at Bills. Patriots 34-31
  • 49ers at Bengals. 49ers 20-16
  • Dolphins at Browns. Browns 21-17
  • Broncos at Titans. Titans 24-21
  • Lions at Vikings. Detroit 34-24
  • Texans at Saints. Saints 31-20
  • Giants at Eagles. Eagles 27-21
  • Jaguars at Panthers. Jaguars 28-24
  • Jets at Raiders. Jets 17-10
  • Ravens at Rams. Ravens 27-17
  • Chiefs at Chargers. Chargers 31-10
  • Packers at Bears. Packers 30-24
  • Cardinals at Seahawks. Cardinals 27-14
  • Falcons at Buccaneers. Buccaneers 31-28
  • Steelers at Colts. Steelers 34-17
  • Redskins at Cowboys. Cowboys 27-21

Last Week: 12-4
Season: 20-12

My NFL Predictions Week 2

Ouch! So not only did I go only 8-8 on my week one picks, but the day after I predicted the Colts would play a home Super Bowl with Peyton missing a month or less, Peyton has neck surgery that is guaranteed to keep him off the field for at least half of the season. I believe I am well within my made up predicting rights to change my Super Bowl pick, but that is the path of pansies. I’m sticking with the Colts and a second half Peyton miracle. Why not? (Also, I’m changing my AFC Super Bowl pick to the Jets, in complete reversal of my previous thoughts.)

On to this week, in which I should see an improvement in my percentage. The first week is always a toss up; no one really knows who has it in any given year. Who saw the Chiefs playing that badly against the Bills? Or the Steelers terrible performance against the Ravens? Week 1 was weird, but it should give us some idea of what will happen in week 2. Here are my predictions:

  • Raiders v Bills:  Bills 27-20
  • Chiefs v Lions: Lions 31-21
  • Ravens v Titans: Ravens 31-13
  • Browns v Colts:  Colts 17-13
  • Buccaneers v Vikings: Vikings 24-21
  • Bears v Saints: Saints 34-31
  • Jaguars v Jets: Jets 24-7
  • Seahawks v Steelers: Steelers 28-14
  • Cardinals v Redskins: Cardinals 31-28
  • Packers v Panthers: Packers 35-13
  • Cowboys v 49ers: Cowboys 24-20
  • Bengals v Broncos: Broncos 23-17
  • Texans v Dolphins: Texans 34-27
  • Chargers v Patriots: Patriots 31-24
  • Eagles v Falcons: Falcons 28-24
  • Rams v Giants: Giants 28-24
Last week: 8-8.
Total 8-8

NFL Preview

So here comes the NFL season tomorrow. The lockout threatened to derail it, but neither side was stupid enough to let that happen. (I wouldn’t put anything past the owner’s greed.) Thanks to the lockout, though, all the dropping and signing and injuring that usually goes on over the summer was condensed into one month before the season began. That, combined with my wholly rational aversion to stupid worthless preseason games, has left me not quite able to absorb all the roster changes and junk that alters the NFL landscape from season to season. For example, I found out yesterday that Bob Sanders is a Charger (and in the time, it took me to type that he got hurt).

But just like all the analysts on TV, I’m not going to let a lack of knowledge keep me from commenting. Or making predictions. So every week — possible as part of a return of my weekly wrap up rambley bits — I will pick the winners of every game, as well as keep an embarrassing tally of how I am doing. Today, aside from picking this weekend’s games, I am going to make general predictions on how each division will end up.

AFC

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots. 12-4
  2. New York Jets. 10-6
  3. Miami Dolphins. 7-9
  4. Buffalo Bills. 5-11

I hate to pick the Pats, but I don’t think the Jets are actually getting better — prove me wrong, Mark Sanchez — and neither the Bills or the Dolphins look good. I expect neither team to be terrible, but they don’t have QBs or defenses good enough to get them to the playoff.

AFC South.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers. 12-4
  2. Baltimore Ravens. 11-5
  3. Cleveland Browns. 6-10
  4. Cincinnati Bengals. 3-13

The Bengals blew up this off-season and are going to look like it. I expect the Browns to improve, but not enough to challenge the top 2 teams. It will come down to the Ravens and Steelers again and I expect the Steelers to continue to be slightly better, despite being last year’s Super Bowl loser.

AFC North.

  1. Indianapolis Colts. 10-6
  2. Houston Texans. 9-7
  3. Tennessee Titans. 6-10
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars. 5-11

Even if Peyton misses the first quarter of the season, the Colts win this weakened division. The Titans are significantly overhauled, but I don’t think they are better. Although if Hasselbeck stays healthy who knows. The Texans will under perform; it’s what they do. And the Jags have no idea what to do with quarterbacks and decided to implode the whole season. Enjoy the Blaine Gabbert era until Del Rio feels the heat again and axes him. Look, Jags management, he is willing to take radical, destructive steps to appear to improve the team and keep his job.

AFC West.

  1. Oakland Raiders. 10-6
  2. San Diego Chargers. 8-8
  3. Kansas City Chiefs. 7-9
  4. Denver Broncos. 4-12

Denver has little, and will do little, but they are rebuilding. The Chiefs feasted on an easy schedule last year, but didn’t get better in the off-season. So unless they find a 2nd receiver they’ll come up short. Who does less with more than Norv Turner does? No one. Chargers are a talented but sinking ship. The Raiders should have won the division last year, and now have a good head coach. I’ll roll the dice with them

NFC

NFC East.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles. 11-5
  2. Dallas Cowboys. 9-7
  3. New York Giants. 9-7
  4. Washington Redskins. 4-12

The Eagles won’t be quite as good as people are expecting, but they will be good. The Giants and Cowboys will be kind of good, but probably not great. Either could get that last playoff spot, though. The Redskins will continue to be in disarray. They are starting Rex Grossman, for crying out loud!

NFC South.

  1. New Orleans Saints. 11-5
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 10-6
  3. Atlanta Falcons. 10-6
  4. Carolina Panthers. 3-13

The Panthers are going with Newton and will be crushed, though their running game will win them a few. The Bucs are rising and might make the playoffs. The Falcons feel like they have Super Bowl talent, and maybe they do. Or maybe I just want to see Tony Gonzalez get a ring. If Drew Brees stays healthy, the Saints are still the team to beat.

NFC North.

  1. Green Bay Packers. 13-3
  2. Minnesota Vikings. 10-6
  3. Detroit Lions. 8-8
  4. Chicago Bears. 7-9

This is a tough division to handy cap. The Packers will still be great. The Lions actually appear to be improving. The Bears will falter slightly. I’m putting the Vikings at number 2 because I have faith in Donovan McNabb. They still have Peterson, if they field a good defense, McNabb should be enough to get them into the playoffs.

NFC West.

  1. Arizona Cardinals. 10-6
  2. St. Louis Rams. 7-9
  3. Seattle Seahawks. 5-11
  4. San Francisco 49ers. 5-11

Kolb is enough of an improvement for the Cardinals to win the division. Bradford suffers a bit of a sophomore slump. The 49ers have Frank Gore and little else and the Seahawks traded Matt Hasselbeck for Tavaris Jackson at QB, that’s a major downgrade. The whole division is still kind of terrible.

Wild Cards:
AFC: Ravens, Jets.
NFC: Vikings, Falcons

Championship Games:

AFC: Colts over Steelers. (Known as picking with my heart, not my head)
NFC: Falcons over Eagles.

Super Bowl:

Colts over Falcons.

This week:

  • Packers over Saints, 27-20
  • Ravens over Steelers, 17-13
  • Bears over Falcons, 23-20
  • Browns over Bengals, 27-14
  • Colts over Texans, 24-21 (Crazy like a fox)
  • Titans over Jaguars, 17-14
  • Chiefs over Bills, 27-17
  • Eagles over Rams, 31-24
  • Bucs over Lions, 21-17
  • Cardinals over Panthers, 31-10
  • Vikings over Chargers, 31-28
  • Seahawks over 49ers, 23-21
  • Giants over Redskins, 31-28
  • Jets over Cowboys, 20-10
  • Pats over Dolphins, 31-17
  • Raiders over Broncos, 24-10

The Best to Never

Anyone remember when I wrote last year that the Heat would not win the championship this year. I’m breathing a sigh of relief that my taking the field turned out to be right. While I started the playoffs rooting for the Celtics, and I would still like to see them get another ring, I am glad the Mavericks won it. Not just because it wasn’t the Heat, whom I don’t actually hate, or the Lakers, who I absolutely hate, but also because it is great to see outstanding players like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd get a ring. Now they won’t end up on the list of greats without rings.

That is a terrible list to be on, no matter the sport. John Stockton and Karl Malone got close several times in Utah but they never won it, neither did Charles Barkley. Dan Marino probably leads the list in the NFL, along with the Jazz-like Bills greats of the early nineties. Or the greatest running back of all time Barry Sanders (yeah, I take Barry over Brown. And I’m right). In MLB, there’s Ken Griffey Jr., Ty Cobb and Ted Williams. It is sad that some of the best players of all time never got to win it all. Being on the greatest to never list is often a reason for commentators to claim that they weren’t actually that good to begin with. And that is pure bullshit.

Basketball, Football, Baseball. These are all team sports. Measuring individual accomplishments primarily by team success is asinine. A great player is a great player even if he never wins a championship. Dan Marino may be the best quarterback of all time, and the fact that he never won it all shouldn’t make a difference. Same for Ted Williams and Ty Cobb. John Stockton is the best point guard of all-time, he doesn’t lose that because the number 2 (Jason Kidd) won a ring.

That is not to say that team success has no bearing at all. If a player spends his whole career playing for bad teams then it should affect his legacy. If Archie Manning had played for the Steelers, maybe his name would come up more. But he didn’t. He played for the cellar dwelling Saints. He was still a very good player, but he is only remembered today because his sons are successful.

Anyway, congrats Dirk and Jason and Jason and the rest of the Mavs. They deserve it. Dirk was absolutely unstoppable in crunch time. And the naysaying about LeBron will reach a ridiculous crescendo, but I have no doubt he will win a championship sooner rather than later.

Post Draft Thoughts

The Panthers have their man, and they deserve him. I do not expect much out of Cam Newton. Supposedly, the people running the Panthers know more than me, but we’ll see. As far as other first round quarterbacks go, the three pick from 8 to 12 in the first round were interesting. The Titans picked Jake Locker a little too high, but he might be the best QB in the draft. I would say he and Gabbert are close, but my personal bias leads me to give the edge to Gabbert. Locker would have been a top five pick had he come out last year, and I still think he could be a very successful Pro. I like him a lot. Washington was not a very good team while he was there, but he made them better. A year behind Kerry Collins and Locker should be ready to go.

I think the Jaguars picked Gabbert at about the right spot. He should have went somewhere between 10and 15. The importance of the position and the fact that he is likely the best at the position in the class had people projecting him too high, and to a team that flat-out said it did not intend to pick a QB in Arizona. People thought the Bills or Cards would take him, but I think the Bills made the right decision because Ryan Fitzpatrick was actually pretty good last year. Even if he is not the long-term answer, he is serviceable enough that they could use the draft to fix more glaring flaws, like their run defense. And the Cardinals have already proved they do not know jack crap about QBs. I know the luster had worn off Leinart, but was Derek Anderson really a better option last year. Anderson, outside of his fluke Pro-Bowl year, was a proven failure. Matt Leinart barely got a chance to fail. I think the Jaguars taking Gabbert is a good choice. They are going nowhere with Garrard at the helm. They made a mistake cutting Leftwich a few years ago. Now they can try to stay near .500 again on the strength of Jones-Drew’s running and hopefully find a competent receiver for Gabbert next year in the draft.

Then the Vikings reached out of their minds for Ponder at pick 12. I’m not a fan of Ponder. I think he was probably the 6th or 7th best QB in the draft, and would have been picked too high as the 12th pick of the 2nd round. The Vikings need a QB, but I do not think that Ponder was the right choice.

All four first round QBs have one thing going for them: the teams that picked them have good to great running games. The Panthers was terrible last year, but so were the Panthers in general. But the Vikings, Jaguars and Titans have maybe the three best running backs in the League.

As far as my team, the Colts had a solid draft, but it is very hard to get excited about Offensive Linemen. I say this as a former O-lineman. There is no duller position in any sport. But it should provide an immediate impact for the Colts offense. They’ve been good the last few (12) years, but the running game has disappeared. With a better O-line the stretch run might come back.

I also liked the 49ers and the Bengals. Again, with the Mizzou bias, I think Aldon Smith will be a star. He is big, athletic, and fast. He should be great. And Colin Kaepernick is interesting if anything but a sure thing. With Palmer and Chad Johnson on the way out in Cincy, it seems like they effectively replaced both. Andy Dalton is not exciting, but he seems dependable. And A.J. Green is exciting. While I’m sure the Bengals still want to keep Carson Palmer, I’m not sure if he can ever be as good as he was before his knee surgery. He was close last year though, and he looked much better without Ochocinco and Owens in the line-up.

Of course, it will all be for naught if the lockout doesn’t end. I hope that the Owner’s appeal fails and the lockout is lifted. Goodell’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece shows just how scattered the Owner’s stance is. NFL players already have the worst deal among the Major sports, why should their position get weaker. It is blind, corrupt greed on the part of the league. I hope the players win.

Pre-Draft Thoughts

The NFL Draft starts tomorrow and I have important (only to me) thoughts to get out.  Cam Newton as the No. 1 draft pick is a ludicrous notion. It is almost stupid. If the Panther’s pick him, I predict a monumental bust. His ceiling as a QB is a bit north of Vince Young, who was also picked too high a few years ago. And the claims of racism in the pre-draft process are stupid. Tim Tebow has a similar skill set to Newton and he heard nothing except how he didn’t fit as a QB at the next level. He had no chance of being drafted as high as Newton will, and the Broncos reached on him as it is. In my expert opinion (I watched almost 4 Auburn games last year) Newton has no better chance of NFL success than Tebow does. In fact, I predict Tim Tebow will have a better pro career than Cam Newton will. Also, Newton has 1 year as a starter in college. That is usually not a good indicator.

Just because I am really down on Newton as a serious NFL prospect does not mean I think the Panthers should take the better QB No. 1. Blaine Gabbert is absolutely a better future QB than Newton, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Mizzou fan. I do love Gabbert, and I believe he will and hope he does have a long, successful NFL career, but the Panthers drafted a QB pretty high last year, they should use the pick on another position. My love for Gabbert does not make me believe he is a sure success. He may say and do all the right things, but that does not always translate into success. Joey Harrington seemed to do and say all the right things and he still failed (though to be fair, the Lions). While Jimmy Clausen is not necessarily the answer at QB, I do not think he has had enough of an opportunity to prove himself yet. Go get him some help, draft the best player available and if he fails, pick a QB next year. There is sure to be an option that is as sure a bet as any QB in this draft.

Normally I’m much more excited about the NFL Draft, but with the lockout (currently in limbo), it is hard to get too excited. It could be more than a year before any of these players actually play. I wish the NFL owners would get their greedy heads out of their greedy asses and let us have football.

Also, while as a Mizzou fan I do wish Gabbert had returned for his senior year, because with him we are a dark horse National Title contender, I do not begrudge him jumping to the NFL. He’s most likely going to be a top 5 pick; I say strike while the iron is hot.