Saturday, December 16, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different...

"Lord knows I can't change..."

Ok, so I was thinking to myself, "what could I do to be a staple for the blog?" And then the most unoriginal idea hit me:

"Why not do a picks page?"

So yes, I'm going to start previewing and predicting some foozball action. So far this year, I would say I've been decent, then again, if you've been decent in the NFL this year, that translates into amazing. Dogs are 30 games over .500...30! That's out of control. However, I guess this is something for the NFL to pat themselves on the back for. Why is it that the NFL doesn't want a dynasty? Doesn't it make for a classic moment when the underdog takes the legs out from under the team no one can seemingly compete with. Think about it, when the Pats were on their 21 game win streak, even I was compelled by the Steelers and Big Ben's confidence. Oh well...yay parody...

By the way, bit of a side note here: I'm watching the Pitt-Wisconsin game, 28 seconds have elapsed, Wisconsin's up 2-0, and people are chanting "overrated" at Pitt. Is it me, or perhaps there was some free E-Dub dispersal at the gate. I don't know. I like conspiracy theories though, I do know that.

One last item before the picks, has there ever been a signing that everyone hated more than J.D. Drew? The only people who seem to be enjoying this are Dodger fans for him leaving, and Yankee fans, who are starting to realize that there will be a role-reversal of sides in the epic "Evil Empire" struggle in the next five years. I mean no one has anything good to say about him, except Theo, but you can almost detect that he knows what a big mistake this was. It's just painfully obvious he felt he had a Manny deal within his grasp, and he went after anything that looked like protection from Papi walking 500 times next year. You just have to hope Drew has a breakout year, then, in a moment of clarity, the Sox will dump him for three prospects, a la Gary Sheffield. Seriously, just because he opted out of an $11 million a year contract, it doesn't necessarily mean that he deserves more than $11 million. Now, the recent moves by the Sox actually show they have some intelligence. Getting Brandon Donnelly for a guy who came off Tommy John surgery two years ago, and picking up J.C. Romero to be a lefty specialist, which is key when you're playing the Yankees 18 times. Also, I would be remissed if I didn't mention the signing of Dice-K. If this guy comes through with half of his potential, this is a great move. Considering Gil Meche got $55 million from the Royals, Ted Lily got $40 million from the Cubs, and Jason Schmidt got $47 million fron the Dodgers, if this guy gets you 13 wins, it's considered to be a steal right now. Speaking of which, where did the Cubbies get all this money from? They are just flaunting it like they play in the AL East or something. Wild card or bust baby! As far as the $51 million posting fee, think of it as a loan of sorts. Seibu will get the money, rebuild their stadium, maybe re-up some contracts for players they're probably going to post in the future...ok maybe a couple geisha house visits. Come on! This is like hitting powerball kid! It's a lump sum payment. You can't possibly expect they're gonna throw it all in the bank now do you? Can you even comprehend the party that went on as soon as they found out the Sox has signed him? It must have been like New Year's Eve times a thousand. Another round of saki over here!

And now...the picks...I'm going to use spreads, but I will provide a final score, which shows how I see it straight up, because that's the only thing that matters. I mean no one I know gambles right?...


And we start with the future Super Bowl Champs (already planning the parade in this brain...):

Patriots (-11) over the Texans. This will be like the appocalyptic crossroads for the Pats. When the offense is off the field, they should look at the Texans offense, and then realize that they are starting to mimic them. Brady honestly looked like David Carr, or some other awkward QB of your liking, last week against the 'Fins. It's funny, because I would find myself literally screaming at the TV to run the ball. Then, they would start running, and then I would say "ok, thanks for doing that for me, but you can pass any time now." But no, they kept running in incredibly easy-to-predict situations. Then, if they even attempted a five-step drop, the pass would have to be off by step five or else Jason Taylor was most likely going to get within about an inch of landing Brady on IR. Do you really want the Vinny and the Pats era to begin? I know Jason Taylor is a great player, but is Matt Light that bad? I wonder. I always have wondered this. Ever since they gave Light an extension into 2010, I have wondered if he is a premiere left tackle like they, and his contract, are making him out to be. Whatever the case, they definitely need some depth for the O-Line. Anyway, I could just go on and on about the Pats, but I respectfully will save you from this, and instead revert to a future column to rant and rave. Patriots in a laugher...correction, if the Pats don't win this game in a laugher, I will officially give up on the Pats making the Super Bowl.

Patriots 31, Texans 7

Atlanta (+3.5) over Dallas. Call it a hunch, but road favorites have been deplorable this year. I think the shine that was Tony Romo's Mop N' Glo for the offense is about to rust. Let's face it, Romo is not going to be a good NFL QB. This guy brought an incredible amount of energy to the table, and the 'Boys responded by reeling off a bunch of big victories, but after watching them get trounced by the Saints, I'm thinking that Dallas is reeling right now. Meanwhile, across the field, Atlanta's coach doesn't know if he wants to be there or not. Mora came out and said he was joking, but there's always some truth behind every joke. But this is Atlanta...when has coaching mattered in the Vick era? Never. There is no coach that could possibly know the depths to which he could utilize a player like Michael Vick. His talents will never be fully realized. Everyone attempts to put him in a system. Here's a thought, when you let the guy play and do what he wants, he wins. Obviously that will not happen. They do pay coaches millions to do something. What it is I'm not exactly sure. Wouldn't you agree that, with the exception of Brian Billick, basically games are won and lost, from a coaching standpoint, by the coordinators? Maybe it's just me. Last time I checked, Bill still hasn't won big games without Charlie and Romeo. Therefore, I kind of like that Mora made implications that he wanted out. I like the Falcons on the fast track in Atlanta.

Falcons 31, Cowboys 17

Minnesota (-3) over the Jets. For some reason, a lot of people are going with the Jets on this one. I don't get it. I mean, does anyone realize how good this front seven is? I mean they are beyond good, they're, dare I say, dy-no-mite! On pace to have the fewest rushing yards allowed since the merger, the Vikings, using Williams and Co., have forced teams to become one-dimensional. Pennington has looked good at times this year, but I think the Vikes will be too physical for the Jets to recover from. Also, Chester Taylor will most likely be returning to the lineup, and watch out for the four-headed running back they may start to imploy, with Taylor, Mewelde Moore, Ciatrick Fason, and America's newest sweetheart, Artose Pinner. Artose Pinner people! Dap.

Vikings 27, Jets 14

Baltimore (-11.5) over Cleveland. Honestly, if Cleveland scores, I will be shocked. I'll be stunned. The Ravens? At home? You're so not scoring on that. I love Boomer's explanation for the Ravens D in his little Swami prediction nonsense. "The Raiders played them early in the year, and haven't been the same sense." So while watching Andrew Walter get the bejeezus knocked out of him, I kind of had to wonder exactly how high were those Raider expectations to begin with? Yeah, I'm sure the Ravens ended what could have been a playoff push...right...anyway, the Brownies got a point guard at quarterback, and from what I can gather, they still have Kellen Winslow, who is now just begging for people to call him out so that he can live up to his feminist style of play. Soldier!

Ravens 31, Browns 3 (ok I'm giving them 3, but that's 'cause I like Phil Dawson, I think he's "big-time underrated." And by the way, that's definitely my line. You like it? Don't steal it.

Buffalo (-2.5) over Miami. I'm loving how right now this spread is under three. This is almost begging you to throw a lot down on the Bills, and of course, I'll get suckered in, then watch Sammy Morris do his best Ricky Williams the year he won the rushing title impression, go off for like 150 and two scores, and Harrington will be made to look like the second-coming of Jay Fiedler (hey he was a winner...and from Dartmouth...ok...). Anyway, I Willis McGahee. Could Drew Rosenhaus have been right? This guy is a legitament top-10 back when healthy, and that's a big "when." The linebackers are a great unit...London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes...look out. They are playing at the Ralph, so look for an advantage. I don't know how well the 'Fins play in Buffalo in December, but I'm pretty sure they would rather be playing in sunny Miami. I have also been assured that Miami has not purchased any audio of J.P. Losman'a audibles, because they probably are gonna kick the crap out of him anyway. Still, I like McGahee and the A-Train carrying the load for the Bills.

Bills 20, Dolphins 13

Pittsburgh (-3) over Carolina. Chris Weinke. A name that strikes fear in the hearts of all Panther fans. Horrendousness. I had to make up a word to describe how bad Weinke is. What's he like 40? Led all the NFL in passing yards last week. Well, you know, that usually happens when you throw the ball 63 TIMES!!! Are you serious? The Panthers were out of the game real quick...real quick. Now they're playing a team that basically parallels the Giants in the Steelers, a team with a QB who's better off handing off the ball, an outstanding runner, a #1 receiver that has no support around him, a banged up D-Line, solid linebackers, and a secondary with a big play guy. Troy Polamalu may not play on Sunday, which would be huge for Pittsburgh, and would almost compell me to change my pick. As of right now, I'm liking how Big Ben is not passing the ball and giving it to Willie Parker a lot. With ten days to rest, Parker will most likely be at full strength going into this one.

Steelers 17, Panthers 10

New Orleans (-10) over Washington. This one is going to get ugly real quick. The 'Skins are going to need even more from Ladell Betts, and he led the league in rushing last week. Simply put, the 'Skins are driving in reverse, and, now that they've been eliminated from postseason play, have been relegated to the spoiler role. They play the second best team in the NFL (my opinion) in the Saints, who absolutely destroyed the Cowboys at Texas Stadium last Sunday night. Expect Colston to have one of his usual days, as he will be playing his second game after being sidelined with a high ankle injury. Most interesting stat of the year, and if this is true, thank you Cris Carter: No QB who has led the league in passing has won a championship since Johnny Unitas in 1958. That, to me, is amazing. Then again, think about the big-time passers of all time: Marino, Manning, Tarkenton, Favre (only won one),...even Bledsoe (hey he's in the top only started going real bad for him like two years ago). Anyway, the offense will have a field day on the 'Skins, who definitely showed a weakness to the big play last week against the Eagles.

Saints 45, Redskins 17

Tennessee (+3.5) over Jacksonville. Ok, I realize I may be riding the Vince Young momentum train one week too far here, but I can't see a reason, other than that, to pick against him. When has he ever let you down? All the guy does is win. Did you see that OT run? Is this guy really a rookie. Speaking of rookie, the Rookie of the Year award will be decided in this game. If Jones-Drew puts together another phenomenal performance, he might edge out Young. Jones-Drew has been huge for the Jags, keeping Fred Taylor healthy for the most part (knock on wood). Although Taylor left last week when his hamstring was acting up, he said he could have played, but the Jags had a bit of a margin over Indy, so decided to not chance it. The Titans are going to have to force Garrard to put the ball in the air, where he has shown that he is far from invincible, and get their secondary involved, which is actually pretty good with Pac Man and Chris Hope, one of the best tacklers coming from the secondary in the league. Young will be looking to hand the ball off to Travis Henry, and if they are able to penetrate that stiffling Jag run D, it will open up the field for Young, who could prove to be a real headache for the Jags. Also, Jacksonville has been bad on the road (2-4). You know, just putting fuel on the fire.

Tennessee 27, Jacksonville 24

Chicago (-13.5) over Tampa Bay. Really I could have put minus anything, and I'd probably still go with da Bears. Simply put, if the return man, who basically only does return and is a dime-back on defense, is being talked about for Rookie of the Year in some circles (by the way, Kornheiser was talking about him up for MVP...easy buddy...easy...he'll be lucky to finish in the top 3 for ROY, let's stay with that), you're doing good things. This could end up being a trap game (remember that other team from Florida that played at Soldier Field this year...yeah, they did ok for themselves), but I just don't have the vision to put any confidence behind that.

Bears 31, Bucs 10

New York Giants (-5.5) over Philadelphia. I fully realize that I said numerous times before that the Giants were all done. But here's the thing, they will have just enough to beat the Eagles. The Eagles do not have the run defense to stop Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs. The G-Men showed last week that they still have some potential. It was Chris Weinke, I'm fully aware of this. However, I was impressed by the play of Gabril Wilson and Will Demps. This duo has gone largely unnoticed, but they could rank in the top 5 as far as safety combinations in the league. In fact, here's the top 5 safety combinations, haha:

1. Brian Dawkins/Michael Lewis (Eagles)
2. Adam Archuleta/Sean Taylor (Redskins)
3. Gabril Wilson/Will Demps (Giants)
4. Roy Williams/Anthony Henry (Cowboys)
5. Dwight Smith/Darren Sharper (Vikings)

(4 out of 5 come out of the NFC East...coincidence? Yeah right.)
Anyway, Jeff Garcia has been one of the surprises of the season. His play of late has been just what the Eagles needed. No INT's in five games. The Eagles also have shown a resurgence in their secondary with the return of Lito (wa-oh-oh-oh!) Sheppard. However, I have to believe that their hot streak will come to an end here in the Meadowlands.

Giants 28, Eagles 21

Green Bay (-5.5) over Detroit. I like this one, check that, I love this game. This is almost the easiest one on the board right now. Brett Favre looked good against the Niners last week, and there is no reason to believe that he won't be able to duplicate his performance this week. Donald Driver should have a big game in this one. Look for the Packers to really limit the Lions' offense, especially with Kevin Jones now being out for the year. There aren't a whole lot of corners you would rather have on Roy Williams than Charles Woodson. The Pack are going to have to find a way to stop Mike Furrey. He's having a pretty good year considering he's a number two option in Detroit.

Packers 28, Lions 17

Arizona (+3) over Denver. Ok, so maybe I was wrong about Jay Cutler's impact on the Broncos. He simply has not lived up to the hype, which I did see happening, but I did not expect the Broncos to fold up the way they have, losing four straight. The Cardinals looked good against the Seahawks last week. They seem to play very well at home. The only real blowout loss was during the Tony Romo blitzkrieg. Other than that, they've lost their other three home games by a combined six points. Leinart will have some trouble throwing, but eventually, the Broncos will not be able to contain the Cards' dynamic receiving duo.

Cardinals 28, Broncos 24

St. Louis (+3) over Oakland. For some reason, I'm thinking the Oakland D will relent in this game. Oakland has tried to revamp their offense by bringing back Aaron Brooks, but let's face it, they're still the Raiders, it's still Art Shell, so I have absolutely no confidence to be picking the Raiders. Give them credit though, it's week 15, and they are favorites in a game. Good for 'dem, a good for 'dem!

Rams 17, Raiders 6

San Diego (-8.5) over Kansas City. The Chargers are on way too good of a hot streak right now. In fact, they have the potential to run the tables and win the whole damn thing. With LT and Gates on offense, they are probably going to continue to put up 30-40 points a game. Then, when you factor in an improved defense, this team is the best team in the NFL right now. Tomlinson broke the TD mark with three games to go! Are you serious? 28 TD's in 13 games. Wow. Great linebackers, and with the return of Luis Castillo, this D is at full strength. I also said the Chiefs would be the most dangerous team if they made the playoffs. Unfortunately, I don't see them getting there anymore.

Super Chargers 45, Chiefs 21

Indianapolis (-3.5) over Cincinnati. Yeah, so if they were making lines on this game two weeks ago, Indy might be a double-digit favorite. After their debacle in Jacksonville last week, the confidence in the Colts has vanished. The Colts need Bob Sanders back in the worst way. Sanders has played in only four games, but has made an impact in all four contests, especially the Pats game (again, thanks for coming back for that one...bastard). Cincy has a very potent offense, and they have been rolling right along the last few weeks, winning four straight. However, they have not played well against the Colts, losing four in a row, with three of those games coming at the RCA Dome. The Colts and Bengals played in one of the best games of the year in their last encounter in Cincy, combining for 82 points. Expect something to that affect this time around in the dome, but the Colts will win this with surprising ease.

Colts 45, Bengals 28

That's all for now. Enjoy your weekend. Get ready for the college football bowl preview, where I will preview and predict all 32 bowl games. This sounds like a large task, but rest assured, this is something I'm going to enjoy putting together, and hopefully I get lucky on a couple to make me look, ya know, somewhat like I know what I'm talking about. Peace.



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