Saturday, January 23, 2010


It's kind of funny. Last weekend, I posted my picks, but I was somewhat undecided as to the Sunday games. I knew both home teams were not going to win. I knew I was going to pick a road team. But which one? I initially wrote that I felt the Jets and Vikings would win, just because I had a hunch. But then, I reversed myself and went with Dallas and San Diego. San Diego was the team. I had figured they would cruise to the Super Bowl. And Minnesota? I had no faith in them whatsoever. They were one of those lucky teams. Bunch of breaks and a soft schedule.

Of course, I was wrong on both counts. Had I gone with my gut, I would have been 4-0 last weekend.

Take nothing away from the Jets, though they certainly reaped the benefits of playing a Chargers team that was tight and off their game. But this appears to be what the Jets do: They keep their opponents off their game, at least as much as they can, until they can make some plays and swing the game in their favor. It's gone that way just about every time they've won, and somehow, it's managed to get them to the AFC Championship, in similar fashion to what the Giants did 2 years ago. They got a solid road win in the Wildcard round, and then a major road upset in the Divisional round. And so now they go back to Indianapolis.

Sunday, 3:00pm
New York Jets (11-7) at Indianapolis Colts (15-2)
Indianapolis, where this run basically started for the Jets, when Indy benched their entire A team and allowed the Jets to win the game, which spurred them on to this point. Indi, who seems to start 9-0 every season, and sometimes even better than that. Indy, with the best QB in the league, and a slew of fast WRs and a great TE and solid running game, and a defense that runs around and wreaks havoc. How can the Jets compete? The Jets spin machine, as I mentioned last week, is persuasive, but the X's and O's analysis can easily be discredited because Indy, much like San Diego, is simply a better team. It's not the numbers that will work for the Jets. It's the Jets ability to relax and play their game. This has happened each of the last two weekends: The Jets have played their game, run the ball, let their defense make a few plays and let Sanchez only do the minimum necessary to succeed. They keep the game within shooting distance and then, when they need to make that play, they strike. It happened in Cincinnati when Sanchez hit Keller for a long TD. It happened last week in San Diego when Jim Leonhard made a pick, which led to a TD, and then followed it up with a haymaker from Shonn Greene (not my favorite Landsman, Shawn Green). Meanwhile, the defense controlled the tempo and never let their opponent adequately respond. Yes, San Diego scored a late TD, simply because the Jets stupidly squib kicked after Greene's run, but look a little closer. The Jets let San Diego move down the field, but at no point did San Diego's receivers catch the ball and get out of bounds to stop the clock. As the moved down the field, they also lost time and by time they scored, barely 2 minutes remained, and the Jets were able to run out the clock. This is Jets football. Right now, the Jets are playing smart and heady football, the kind of play that has been decidedly un-Jet like. They play the kind of game that could get Indy off their rhythm, much like it got San Diego off of theirs. Going into the playoffs, I figured the Jets could beat Indy, but I gave them no shot against San Diego. Well, they beat San Diego. Now, it's Indy. They've got the players. They've got the Mojo. There's always one of these teams that does this, every year. I doubted them last week, and I was wrong. I'm not doubting them anymore. They got this far, and I think they absolutely can win this game. I believe in the Jets. YOU HEAR ME!? I BELIEVE IN THE JETS! I BELIEVE! I BELIEVE!
My pick: Jets 20, Colts 16

Sunday, 6:30pm
Minnesota Vikings (13-4) at New Orleans Saints (14-3)
Two years ago, I wrote this when writing about the impending Giants/Packers NFC Championship:
Then, there's this: If the Packers win, and go on to face the Patriots, the Media will very likely have a giant, collective, simultaneous orgasm. We will be bombarded, simply bombarded with stupid puff pieces about Brett Favre. True, if the Giants win, we'll hear the same stupid stuff about Eli Manning and Peyton, but you know that if Favre is involved, it's going to go to new heights of insanity. We'll hear from his chiropractor. We'll hear from the doctor that prescribed the painkillers he got addicted to. We'll hear from the guy who dug his father's grave. We'll probably get to see a live interview with the Bog that Favre grew up in in Mississippi. It's going to be absolutely and totally insane. I don't even want to think about the ridiculous questions that he'll be asked at Media day.

Needless to say, I've had enough of Brett Favre. I'm sick of him and his retirements and his crying and his fist pumping and everything else. The Joie de Vivre that he projects can only take him so far in life. Now, he's just annoying. Now, he takes on the Saints, and a QB who projects a similar Joie de Vivre in Drew Brees, the emotional leader of a Saints team that the entire city of New Orleans has rallied around ever since the city was leveled by Hurricane Katrina. But unlike Favre, there's an eminent likability to Brees, who is usually not seen causing a media circus, but instead standing in the center of his teammates screaming like a maniac to get everyone fired up to play. And most of the time, it's been Brees firing darts all over the field and leading the Saints to victory. On the other side, there's Favre, who also has been firing darts, but I just can't put any faith in the Vikings. I already said that I believe they beefed up on a soft schedule (Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit twice, Chicago twice, the Giants after they gave up), and a lot of breaks. They also played lousy on the road and great at home. I know that the game is in a dome, but this isn't the Metrodome. This is a Superdome that is going to be louder than you can fathom tomorrow night, and I think that, while both QBs will be throwing with reckless abandon and plenty of points will be scored, that it's the Saints time to shine.
My pick: Saints 44, Vikings 34

Which gives us a very interesting BIG GAME, and a very interesting couple of weeks here in New York, particularly if you listen to WFAN as habitually as I do.

(Promise, I'll start writing about Baseball again soon. At least now there have been some things worth talking about...)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Quick Picks Revisited

As is my wont, I have again waited until an hour before the weekend's games are about to start before getting my picks in the can. Last weekend, my well-informed picks proved to be not well-informed at all as I went 1-3, the Jets victory over Cincinnati being the only game I managed to pick correctly. Hopefully, I'll get my mojo back this weekend, but I highly doubt it.

Saturday, 4:30pm
Arizona Cardinals (11-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3)
Arizona proved last weekend that they can put up a lot of points, but if you have a quick moving, dynamic offense, their defense can't stop you. New Orleans has such an offense. Yes, they haven't played in 2 weeks and yes, they lost their last 3 games, but they've had the hot hand most of the season and I don't realistically see Arizona winning this game.
My pick: Saints 36, Cardinals 27

Saturday, 8:00pm
Baltimore Ravens (10-7) at Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
It's a sticky game for the Colts, who rested their players and took it on the chin to make sure everyone was healthy and ready for this game. If they don't win, they are once again left holding their cocks while Ray Lewis dances away with the prize. They have been in this position multiple times in the past and managed to shit the bed each time. On the other hand, Baltimore pasted New England with their power running attack and basically hid Joe Flacco because they were afforded the ability to do so. I don't think they can beat the Colts if Flacco doesn't throw the ball. Then again, I didn't think they'd be able to keep up with New England either. Nonetheless, I have to go with the Colts. It would be pretty funny if they lost, but I don't really see Baltimore being able to muster up enough to knock them off.
My pick: Colts 31, Ravens 21

Sunday 1:00pm
Dallas Cowboys (12-5) at Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
Matchup of two of my absolute least favorite teams. The Vikings annoyed me even before they had Brett Favre, going back to the day in 1988 when Anthony Carter basically wrecked what had been a happy childhood for me. They had a 15-1 season and spit it up. They had a playoff berth slip out of their hands when their coach stupidly played a prevent defense and gave up a last second TD in another season. Then, they brought in Favre. Favre Favre Favre. Brett Favre and the MinneFavrea Favrekings. Favre Favre and more Favre. Do you know about Brett Favre? Well, Joe Buck will tell you all about Brett Favre. And if that wasn't enough, on the other side, there's Prince Romo and the Cowboys waiting for them! What's strange is that I really don't know who to pick here. Going back to about week 4, when the Vikings looked like they were ready to run away and hide with the NFC North, I pegged them as reeking like a team that was going to get picked off at home in this game. I was really looking forward to picking against them. But I can't pick against them if it means picking the Cowboys, can I? Can I???
My pick: Cowboys 30, Vikings 27
Yes I can.

Sunday, 4:40pm
New York Jets (10-7) at San Diego Chargers (13-3)
This is probably the game that I spent the most time hemming and hawing over before finally making a pick. The Jets basically have nothing to lose, and had nothing to lose last week when they walked into Cincinnati and smacked the Bengals in the mouth. They are clearly a team that cannot be taken lightly and if they are able to get a lead and a little momentum, it can snowball. On the other side San Diego just hasn't shown any weaknesses, pretty much all season. Their running game is kind of sparse, but they are led by Philip Rivers, who is probably the best QB in the league right now not named Manning. Rivers, if you haven't paid any attention, is cocky, daring and loves to throw the ball all over the field, even if part of the field is going to be turned into Revis Island. As I said last week, I don't trust the Jets being able to win on the arm of Mark Sanchez, at least not yet. He showed a lot last week and I know he won't back down from any challenge presented this week either. I've heard a lot of talk and a lot of bold predictions, mostly from Jets fans this week. In reality, San Diego is a much better team and the Jets were fairly inconsistent. I don't think the game will be a blowout, but the Jets spin machine can be very persuasive. This will be the best game of the weekend.
My pick: Chargers 16, Jets 13 (OT)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moron Team Strikes Again

Everything else has already been said, but I have several questions for the Mets.

1) Why do you need to have a Press Conference every time something happens within the organization?

2) Why do you need to pick a fight with the best player on your team?

3) What is the certification of your "medical staff"?

4) Why aren't you as concerned about fielding a winning team as you are about spin?

5) Why, as fans, should we have anything positive to feel about going into the upcoming season?

I'm beginning to think that the story about the Mets this upcoming season is going to have very little to do with what goes on on the field. It's going to be mere scenery up against these clowns in the front office.

Nobody really wants to see Fred or Jeff or Omar or John Ricco or whoever. They need to realize that nobody is particularly interested in anything they have to say. I'm going to channel the words of the man who coaches my favorite team in another sport, because it's the bottom line, and nothing else matters.


It's a shame the front office doesn't share this sentiment.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cue The Dramatic Music

It's Playoff time once again in the NFL, which means a lot of hooting and hollering from everybody on all the networks, and loud music and everything else that goes along with it, while I just want the damn game to start.

As per usual, I'm offering up a full slate of Football picks. Last season, I did not fare so well, getting killed by an 0-4 Divisonal round. As per usual, I've waited until the last possible minute to post this, not because of indecision, but because of pure laziness.

Once again, and for the 7th season in a row, my team has found themselves out of the mix, however respectable their performances may have been. But for the first time in several years, I can feel somewhat confident in my belief that next year may mark a return to the Playoffs for the 49ers. The base is in place and the talent is there. Right now, they need a few more pieces, and that string of victories that will put them over the top.

This season, we've got some of the old and a bit of the new in the playoffs, and it kicks off today at or around 4:30pm, or whenever Tiki Barber stops laughing at his own jokes. Whichever comes first.

Saturday, 4:30pm
New York Jets (9-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
The Jets made it into the playoffs by sheer dumb luck, but sometimes that's all it takes. Everything is gravy for them from here on out. The Bengals got off to a flying start, but really just managed to hang on down the stretch. Both of them had some pretty bad losses late in the year. In the Jets case, they recovered mainly because the Colts lay down for them in Week 16 combined with a perfect alignment of their stars involving Miami, Houston, Pittsburgh and Denver all losing games, leading to them pummeling Cincinnati last weekend. This put them in the playoffs so that they could go back to Cincinnati today and play the Bengals again. I think it's safe to say that the Jets won't be winning this game 37-0, if only because the Bengals know that the Jets will be relying on their running game over the talented, but skittish Mark Sanchez, and they'll also have their full complement of offensive weapons available to them. Marvin Lewis isn't dumb, he knew that the Jets would go all out last weekend, and if they won, they'd be playing them again today. Why show the Jets anything? I still think the Jets are going to be able to win this game, if only because their defense can keep the game close. But the Bengals defense is vastly underrated. It's a pick-em game that won't be decided until the 4th quarter. But if you're the Jets, you'd better hope you have a lead and you'd better hope that your defense can come up with a stop when it needs to. Because if they're behind and Mark Sanchez has to make a play to win the game, they're pretty much screwed.
My pick: Jets 19, Bengals 14

Sunday, 8:00pm
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
I'm a little tired of hearing about Tony Romo, who seems to get the kind of treatment reserved for people like Derek Jeter despite the fact that the only thing he's been successful at is bagging Jessica Simpson. The Eagles, on the other hand, have Donovan McNabb, who it appears has been on his way out of Philadelphia for 6 straight seasons. Basically, there's no shortage of turmoil on either side of the ball. This is another game where these two teams played each other last week, and it seemed as though Philly was the team that laid down and let Dallas run all over the place. Once again, I don't see the same scenario repeating itself. Everybody seems to be in love with Dallas these days, and I just don't buy it. I didn't think they were that good at 7-3, and I still don't think they're that good. They boast a running game of 3 scatbacks and a Quarterback that can be pressured into mistakes. Philly may not be better overall, but they have experience and will probably unveil a few wrinkles in the form of Michael Vick to swing the game in their favor.
My pick: Eagles 28, Cowboys 20

Sunday, 1:30pm
Baltimore Ravens (9-7) at New England Patriots (10-6)
This, oddly, is the only game of the weekend that doesn't feature two teams that played each other last weekend. It features, instead, two teams that slogged through some woefully middling seasons. For the Ravens, it was the realization that their once-great defense had grown some holes. For New England, this seemed like 3 different seasons in one. First, there was getting Tom Brady back in his letter-perfect form following missing the entire 2008 season. Then, there was the middle of the season, where they were putting it all together, and finally, at the end, some damaging road losses and some crippling injuries, most notably to Wes Welker, lost with a knee injury, and some nagging injuries to Brady and Randy Moss. But one of the Patriots strengths during their continued run of success has been their ability to rise to the occasions and play their best when the games mean the most. Most of the time, they have come out on top. It may not be enough to carry them to THE BIG GAME, but it will be enough to get them past Baltimore.
My pick: Patriots 27, Ravens 17

Sunday, 4:40pm
Green Bay Packers (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
I would have picked the Packers to win regardless, however my hatred for the Cardinals has begun to bubble to a level normally reserved for teams like the Phillies or the Rams. Their run to THE BIG GAME last season was cute and charming, and got us some nice moments of Kurt Warner praising Jesus, but I'm sick of them. The Niners twice showed how to expose them on offense, pressuring Warner into throwing sooner than he would have liked, and also exposing weaknesses in their receivers' ability to hold on to the ball. Green Bay has run up some staggering numbers on offense, Arizona's defense is full of holes, and this game is going to feature a lot of offenses moving up and down the field, some big interceptions (and I mean interceptions, not turnovers) and in the end, we won't be hearing anything about Jesus.
My pick: Packers 44, Cardinals 31

Enjoy the games, but before you do that, enjoy this video, not to be missed if you're a fan of anything, really: