Saturday, December 23, 2006

There's Something In The Air

“’Bout your love, that Will and Grace…”

Alright, NFL predictions. And not to toot my own horn too much, but last week went fairly well. So my hunch about Atlanta wasn’t too hot. I’m such a moron for not factoring in the fact that Dunn and Norwood were both inactive for that game. However, if you started Justin Griffith in your fantasy lineup, turns out you did ok, as he didn’t really do much on the ground, but made up for it with his two receptions, both of which went for touchdowns. So that was a mistake. Other than that, I was pleased at how things went. Here’s the rundown:

Week 15:
Straight Up: 10-5
ATS: 8-7

So I have to work on how I work with the spreads. You do have to give me credit for Tennessee. Hey, I’ll take wins however I can get ‘em. “And he could, eat, all, the, dots!” Go Pacman go. Alright, so on to this week. I’m expecting a pretty good week, but I won’t lie, there are some tough games out there. First, random observations:

Troy beat Rice…handily. This is a good thing. We’re now 3-0 in the bowl season. So, with 29 to go, I know that we have a ways to go…but I got a feelin’. I got a feelin’ baby! A lot of football tomorrow. I’ve said it once, I’m gonna say it even if they lose: Put the house on South Florida. I’m telling you, the day I trust Skip Holtz is the day Massachusetts gets a black…I mean a female…nevermind. Just trust me on this.

Tank Johnson needs court permission in order to leave the state of Illinois. And you thought homefield advantage was only for the fans. Chicago hasn’t had this big of a scandal since Jake and Elwood played the Country Pit and ticked off the Good Ol’ Boys. Again, my advice to you, is to start drinking…I mean, do not associate yourself with Tank Johnson, or any of his posse, hommies, or however the kids are calling associates of someone.

All quiet on the closer front. Hey, here’s a thought. You think they looked at the stats from last year, and perhaps said to themselves, “boy you know that guy we had last year was decent, why don’t we use him again?” I’m thinking there’s a real good chance. Also, does anyone realize that Papelbon is coming up on his arbitration year next year? In terms of money, guess who’s gonna get more money from an arbitrator if you have a starter and a reliever? I’m thinking probably a starter. Now, hopefully it doesn’t come to that, and they get a long, long-term deal done (I mean I’m thinking like six years, but you need to lock this guy up now and make sure he doesn’t hit free agency until he’s 30). Obviously the trade talks between the Sox and the Pirates for Mike Gonzalez have broken down, so where else can they turn? Expect an announcement in the coming weeks about this. Plus, look at the rotation right now sans Pap. Beck, Schill, Wake, Dice, Lester, and if Lester can’t go, I think you can plug Julian Tavarez in for the time being while Jon recuperates. By the way, Red Sox Nation is still together praying for Jon to make it to full recovery. Knock that cancer on its ass kid! Anyway, here is my ideal lineup for next year:

1. Lugo, SS
2. Youkilis, 1B
3. Ortiz, DH
4. Ramirez, LF
5. Varitek, C
6. Nixon, RF
7. Lowell, 3B
8. Pedroia, 2B
9. Crisp, CF

That’s right, no J.D. Drew…hey, it’s ideal baby! That’s how everyone wants it!

I was watching the Suns/Wizards game, and I gotta tell you, the Wiz have the ugliest uniforms I’ve seen in my lifetime. In fact, here comes a list: The top 10 ugliest pro uniforms in the last 25 years:

10. Nuggets uniform with the rainbow and city-scape. I mean I’m a big Alex English guy, but even I won’t buy that throwback…yikes. I mean I might do it for ‘Melo, but…you know you could have seen that coming.
9. Brewer uniform, the white one, just said “Brewers” on the front.
8. White Sox uni’s, both home and away, that just said “Sox” on the front
7. The Nets uniform that said Nets with the basketball, the white one, I actually kind of liked the blue one.
6. The Islanders orange jersey
5. Current Seahawk uniforms…teal and green? Get real.
4. Wizards alternate jerseys…yeah, that bad.
3. The Mighty Ducks and their purple and teal monstrosity.
2. Padres brown uniform
1. Buffalo Sabres new uniforms…look it up.

Now to be fair, since I have to say I’m kind of an expert in this field, here are my top 10 prettiest uniforms, and yes, you already know what’s #1:

10. Edmonton Oilers blue uniform from the Gretzky/Messier/Grant Fuhr days
9. Royals powder blue uniform
8. Old Sabres uniforms, with the crest of the buffalo and the sabers. Hey, it kind of makes sense when you break it down.
7. Quebec Nordiques blue uniform
6. Chicago Bears orange uniform, especially when it snows
5. 49er white uniforms from the Montana to Rice/Bill Walsh era, by the way, how is Bill Walsh? I know he had cancer, but is he ok? Someone please…inform.
4. Bullets red, white, and blue uniform
3. Oakland A’s yellow jersey
2. Hartford Whalers green jersey with the white W
1. San Diego Super Chargers powder blue uniform

One last thought. If you are playing fantasy basketball, you were most likely affected by events that have taken place in the last week. First, Chris Bosh gets a knee bruise and is out indefinitely, then there was the brawl, and then, Marcus Camby is out for two weeks. Paul Pierce is out for up to a month, and last, but certainly not least, Rashard Lewis, who was either #1 or #2 in most fantasy formats, is going to be sidelined for at least eight weeks. Unreal. Well, if you are keeping up with your team, make sure to always have your eye on the waiver wire. If someone happens to drop Lewis, pick him up like he’s still healthy. The impact he will provide when he returns will outweigh any other kind of stats that your worst player will put up in his absence.

Now, on to the picks:

Saturday: Oakland (+6.5) over Kansas City. So I’m thinking that the only way to survive in picking the NFL is backwards logic. The offense of the Raiders is absolutely pathetic, and the Chiefs feature a stud running back, my fantasy team’s own, Larry Johnson. Plus, they are giving six and a half on the road, meaning they are around a 10 point favorite at a neutral site, which is why I’m picking the Raiders. This is not a neutral site, and believe me, Raider fans have had this one circled on the calendar from the get-go. This is one of the most underrated rivalry, not only in the NFL, but in all of sports. I mean these teams hate each other. In their last contest at Arrowhead, the Raiders made a game of it in Trent Green’s return to the team, losing 17-13. I’m telling you, even though Art Shell coaches this team, they still have been in most of their games. The last three have been rough on them however, including last week, when they were blanked at home against the Rams. Still, this is a different game, and in their last home game, I see the Raiders pulling a shocker.

Raiders 21, Chiefs 17


1:00 Games: New England (+3) over Jacksonville. So I’m really turned off by this game. I have been thinking for two weeks about this one. Yes, I completely overlooked the Texans, and for excellent reason, because I’m not out there wearing pads. The Jags have a great run tandem, but could be a man down if they sideline Fred Taylor, who is listed as questionable with his hamstring injury he suffered last week against Tennessee. The Pats have an outside shot of getting Laurence Maroney back, who they have been missing dearly for the last few weeks (especially against Miami). I suspect that the Jags will come out and bring the house on the first drive, with the Jags crowd going ape for their team. However, this is Tom Brady. You can take away all his receivers, and conceivably Ben Watson for this week, but guess what, #12 is still under center, and until the day comes, God forbid, that he isn’t, I will never, ever pick against the Pats. Never! I don’t care if my head tells me I shouldn’t, my heart will always be true. Go Pats…go Pats go.

Patriots 20, Jags 14

Tennessee (+4.5) over Buffalo. Here’s the first instance where I will be picking different straight up and ATS. I feel Buffalo will pull it off, but watch for this game to be one of the ones that CBS will turn to if your game is over or it really sucks. I think the Bills will either have a four point lead with Vince Young attempting to drive them to a winning TD, or the game will be tied, and the Bills pull out the game on a last-second field goal. In any case, I see Buffalo pulling this one out by the skin of their teeth, making me choose the Titans ATS.

Bills 30, Titans 27

NY Giants (-3) over New Orleans. Can you believe I’m picking the Giants again? Here’s my logic…there’s got to be some kind of law of averages thing involved that will get the G-Men a win right? Anyway, Strahan is reportedly coming back this week, and that is huge for this team. He is their leader, and they’ve needed his pass rushing desperately. The Saints are coming off a tough loss to Washington at the Superdome. The Saints, other than that one little glitch, have been good against the NFC East, beating Philly at home by a field goal when they were huge underdogs, then, they dismantled Dallas on the road. All that being said…the Giants have to win one game. Come on! Win one for the Gipper!

Giants 38, Saints 28

Atlanta (-6.5) over Carolina. Ok, not only do I like it, I like it a lot. You know why? Jake Delhomme: doubtful. Oh baby. There go the flashing lights again. No need for any further breakdown, but in case you need more, Dunn and Norwood are both probable. Falcons already won their first matchup at Carolina. In my mind, it’s all over but the crying. Let the Carolina elimination party commence!

Falcons 27, Panthers 7

St. Louis (-2) over Washington. Ok, so I was wrong about the ‘Skins last week. They put it on the Saints early, and their defense was able to step it up against a prolific Saints offense. Here’s my feeling: There is no way that Washington can pull off beating an amazing offense on turf two weeks in a row on the road. Steven Jackson is like a combination of Deuce and Reggie Bush. This guy is dangerous, and is on pace for over 100 receptions. I previously had him ranked #3 overall as far as fantasy value goes, ahead of Shaun Alexander (by the way, if you have Alexander, and you are still alive in your fantasy playoffs, you get the gold star award for sure). Also, Marcus Washington is listed as questionable with a knee injury, so keep that on your radar, as he as been integral in replacing Lavar Arrington in the linebacking core.

Rams 28, Redskins 21

Indianapolis (-9) over Houston. I know these games are sometimes close, but I just don’t see it this year. Houston is in absolute disarray and they looked miserable against the Pats last week, and our offense isn’t all that great. Now they have to go up against Peyton Manning and the rest of that offense? I’m not seeing it. Houston is 1-4 ATS at home this year. Love the Colts here.

Colts 42, Texans 17

Pittsburgh (-3) over Baltimore. This was one of the toughest games I had to predict all season long. The old boss vs. the new boss. Playing at Heinz Field gives the Steelers a distinct advantage, as, like it or not, they have some rabid fans in the steel city. This game will hinge on the health of Raven LT Jonathan Ogden, who had to leave last week’s game against the Browns with a toe injury. He is listed as questionable, but there have been no reports saying whether or not he will play. This is a huge game-changer, literally and figuratively. Ogden has been consistently one of the best left tackles in the league, ranking right up there with Walter Jones and Orlando Pace. With Ogden out of the lineup, J-Lew will have a real tough time moving the ball on Pittsburgh’s front seven. Also, if Polamalu can return, the Ravens offense will have little hope of getting anything going, considering Derrick Mason is also listed as questionable. Just a lot of questions. But here’s a good stat to know. Steelers are 5-2 at home ATS, while the Ravens are 3-4 ATS on the road.

Steelers 24, Ravens 17

Cleveland (-3) over Tampa Bay. Ok, I’ll believe this when I see it, but if Tampa can go up north in back to back weeks and play as well as they played against the Bears last week, they will be an impressive three-win team. The Browns have literally half their roster listed as questionable. To me, I think Romeo is pulling a Bill move by listing all these guys as questionable in hopes that the Bucs will not gameplan for those players. The one known factor is that Charlie Frye is out, Derek Anderson is in. I was impressed by the way he played against the Ravens on the road last week. He showed tremendous poise in the pocket against the fast and furious Baltimore blitz. I like Anderson so long as he doesn’t pass in Ronde Barber’s direction.

Browns 17, Bucs 7

Chicago (-4.5) over Detroit. So the reason that the Bears are giving such few points in this game is because everything for them is already locked up. Division, home field throughout, it’s all done. The Lions are a terrible team, just awful, but here’s the reason I love the Bears in this game. The Lions own fans are going in Bears colors and paraphernalia, rooting for the Bears as part of their “Millen Man March” in hopes that the Detroit front office comes to gripes with the fact that the guy they hired to be their GM sucks. When I say he sucks, that is giving Matt Millen like a slap on the wrist. There are plenty of other words to throw in there, but to make it a PG article, “sucks” is pretty good to describe Millen. Three receivers in the first round three straight years? Alrighty.

Bears 48, Lions 10

4:00 Games: San Francisco (-4) over Arizona. I’m going to continue to ride this Frank Gore wave as far as it will take me. Also, the return of Vernon Davis spells instant offense for the Niners. Here’s what’s weird about this game. These are the two worst teams, statistically, as far as defense goes, in the NFL, which means that it will either be very low scoring or very high scoring. For some reason, I’m thinking a little on the low side in this game. Even with Arizona having their dynamic WR duo, I still believe there will not be a lot of points put up.

49ers 20, Cardinals 10

Denver (-3) over Cincinnati. Without even getting into the whole Mile High environment, let’s talk turkey. Carson Palmer is going to be at around 75% health I would guess. Then, you factor in Denver’s defense, which again is going unnoticed because of the Jake Plummer/Jay Cutler fiasco, and this team has a real good shot at shutting down this offense. One of the great matchups that will take place this year will be the one pitting Chad Johnson against Champ Bailey. I mean it doesn’t get much better than that. Of course my man-crush with Champ is going to show here, but the guy is the best corner in the NFL, period. It’s not even a discussion anymore. And to discuss amongst yourselves, I will submit the top 10 corners in the league. These are not just shut-down corners, they can be coverage guys as well:

1. Champ Bailey, Broncos
2. Mike McKenzie, Saints
3. Antoine Winfield, Vikings
4. Deangelo Hall, Falcons
5. Chris Gamble, Panthers
6. Rasheen Mathis, Jaguars
7. Charles Woodson, Packers
8. Asante Samuel, Patriots
9. Quentin Jammer, Chargers
10. Chris McAlister, Ravens

Anyway, Denver seemed to have a good offensive rhythm last week against the Cardinals. Cutler seemed to be more composed than he was in his previous two games. I think that the line should hold up enough not only for Cutler, but also for the Bell brothers, who will help get first downs and create a large disparity in time of possession.

Broncos 27, Bengals 20

San Diego (-4) over Seattle. This is another game that I wrestled with, and knowing that there is a distinct chance the Seahawks will come with a vengeance after a 10-day layoff, I still have to go with the Chargers. As long as that #21 they have is in the backfield, I don't see any way you can pick against them. This one will depend on weather big time, so I am submitting two scores here. Hey, I figure this is fair. I have the Chargers winning both by the same margin, so who cares? By the way, just like I said about the Bears game last week, this one has "trap game" written all over it, but the Chargers have just been incredible this year. Again, I will not be shocked if this one goes against me. One last note, Seattle is 5-8 ATS this year.

Nice (sunny/partly cloudy): Chargers 35, Seahawks 28
Not so nice (rain/snow/other not so nice variables): Chargers 17, Seahawks 10


Dallas (-7) over Philadelphia. Oh I'm picking against them again. I know, almost suicidal right now, but this is the biggest momentum collision course of the year right here. Romo and Big D going up against Jeff Garcia and the resurgent Eagles. You think when NBC heard that McNabb went down, "oh s***" was audibly noted? Now, NBC again backs their way into another good game. Honestly, can you remember any prime time network, be it ABC, NBC, or ESPN getting so many good games in one year. If you get a chance, review the games that have been played on NBC this year. It's quite a list. Anyway, here's why I'm sticking with the 'Boys in this one: Dallas run game vs. Philly's run D. Philly has been questionable at best when it comes to stopping the run this year, giving up an average of 138.6 yards per game on the ground, good for 28th in the league. Dallas features a pretty good combination at running back with Julius Jones and Marion Barber III. If Philly is somehow able to contain these two, then they have a real shot, but odds are, they won't be able to get it done. Then, you go to the outside with the receivers. As much as I like Lito, he is no match for T.O. Then, Sheldon Brown (you know where he's from) battling Terry Glenn is another mismatch. As much as I love Sheldon, Glenn's speed makes this a big mismatch for the Eagles. Their two safeties, Dawkins and Lewis, which is by far the best safety duo in the league, will be called upon non-stop to try and help the corners. This is why I think Jason Witten is going to have an outstanding game. Witten will be matched up a majority of the time with a linebacker, whether it be Dhani Jones or Omar Gaither, and this will create yet another problem for the defense. I just think that the Eagles, as of right now, do not have the defense capable of slowing down Romo and company. Garcia will also have to face DeMarcus Ware. Bare in mind that, besides Julius Peppers, this guy has not faced a premiere pass-rusher so far this year. Expect Ware to be all over Garcia, as he will clearly be able to get around the most overrated tackle in the game, Jon Runyan.

Cowboys 35, Eagles 17

Miami (-2.5) over NY Jets. Yes, I'm fully aware of the recent history between these two teams. The Jets have dominated this series for what seems like a hundred years. I think the last time I actually remember the Dolphins winning was the "fake spike" game at the Meadowlands many years ago. Here's my thing: the Dolphins love playing at home, and they hate playing on the road. 5-3 at home, 2-5 on the road. Also, this is the reverse deal from what it used to be. Apparently, the scheduling committee thought it would be nice to shake up when these two teams play down in Miami, from September to December. Believe me, that's not always a good thing. The Pats started doing this a couple of years ago. Two years ago, they beat us using the distracting orange uniforms in our second 14-2 Super Bowl season (by the way, all three commemorative Super Bowl DVD's are available at again that's all three Super Bowl DVD's, highlighting the greatest dynasty of this century, and I believe you get a discount if you buy in bulk). Then they beat us 21-0 this year. Also, the 'Fins beat the Jets in a December game at home last year 24-20. I just have a feeling the trend will continue. I want to go to Miami in September damn it!

Dolphins 23, Jets 16

Alright people, that's all for this week in the NFL. Next week is the last week of the regular season, then it's playoff (Tom Brady) time. So I'm hoping I could be of some assistance for you. Until the next time, good night and good luck. Peace.


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