If Gambling Were Legal: NFL Week 17

So here we are, Week 17, the final weekend of the 2011 NFL regular season. And while most of us are avoiding the internet as much as possible right now, it wouldn’t be fair to deprive you, the cyber audience, with at least one more NFL picks column. I’m sure we’ll be posting something insightful and irreverent on the playoffs but until then, enjoy one final trip around the NFL.

NFL Week 17

PHILADELPHIA (-8.5) over Washington – Nice to hear that it only took Nnamdi Asomugha, and the rest of the Eagles defense, only 15 weeks before buying into the schemes of new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. I’m sure Castillo will be appreciative next season when he is back coaching the Eagles offensive line.

ATLANTA (-11.5) over Tampa Bay – The Falcons are playing to avoid the Saints in round 1 of the NFC playoffs while the Bucs are just looking to escape the Georgia Dome without being crapped on by a flock of feral pigeons.

San Francisco (-10.5) over ST. LOUIS – With a win, the Niners can wrap up a #2 seed and 1st round bye while a Rams loss positions STL for a chance at the #1 pick and Andrew Luck. Could see this one getting ugly early.

MINNESOTA (-1) over Chicago – I’d rather watch Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves take on Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls than sit through 5 minutes of Joe Webb vs Josh McCown.

Detroit (-3.5) over GREEN BAY – To avoid injury, the Packers should make Aaron Rodgers watch this game from the lounge of the Titletown Brewing Company.

Carolina (+8) over NEW ORLEANS – Congrats to Cam Newton! You know you’ve made it when Dwyane Wade mocks you after sinking the game winning basket against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Tennessee (-3) over HOUSTON – Congrats to Titans head coach Mike Munchak on being the latest in what will be a long line of coaches to reject any and all overtures to return to Happy Valley.

CINCINNATI (+2.5) over Baltimore – The Ravens are too inconsistent on the road and the playoffs can always use more red headed quarterbacks like Andy Dalton.

Pittsburgh (-7) over CLEVELAND – If I’m Mike Tomlin I don’t even let Ben Roethlisberger on the team bus. A #2 or #5 seed shouldn’t matter to the battle tested Steelers anyway.

Indianapolis (+3.5) over JACKSONVILLE – I supposes it’s easy to be inspired by the notion that the Colts veterans are playing so hard down the stretch out of love and respect for Peyton Manning. Meanwhile in Jacksonville, MJD, there is more than one way to provide for your family.

MIAMI (-2.5) over NY Jets – Let the Rex Ryan to NFL Countdown rumors begin

NEW ENGLAND (-11) over Buffalo – Congrats to the Patriots on becoming the most vulnerable #1 seed in AFC history.

OAKLAND (-3) over San Diego – The Raiders are playing for everything while the Chargers are poised to sever ties with their head coach and GM. So basically what I’m saying is that there’s a good chance San Diego wins by double digits.

DENVER (-3.5) over Kansas City  – This Broncos team is going to have a legitimate shot at unseating either the Ravens/Steelers in the 1st round of the playoffs, even though they will be 7 point underdogs at home.

ARIZONA (-3) over Seattle – It’s truly unbelievable to think that one of these teams will finish the season at 8-8.

NY GIANTS (-3) over Dallas – What better way to nurse your New Year’s hangover than with a shot of NFC East drama. Literally everything is on the line in this game including the future of the head coaches, quarterbacks, and Dez Bryant’s savings account.

Last Week 8-8 (Overall 124-114)

view from the Holiday Bowl courtesy of @graysuitup

College Bowl Swag: The Things They Carried

I, like many sports fans, have a difficult time keeping up with all these CFB bowl games. For instance, until last night, who knew that there was such a thing as the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl? Or, for the matter, that there was such a thing called Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, which, by the way, looks like a really nice place to enjoy some Nachos ‘O’ Brady or perhaps some Cheesy Bacon Pub Chips.

Now, with these early bowl games, what interests me the most has very little to do with the who’s playing or the final score. No, the types of things that I care about regarding things like the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or the Belk Bowl is 1) how empty is the stadium and 2) what kind of “swag” do players receive for their participation.

Tonight, for example, is the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl between TCU and Louisiana Tech. And for their efforts, each player in the Poinsettia Bowl will receive a Best Buy gift card, Tourneau watch, hooded sweatshirt, and FlexFit cap. Let’s start with the gift card. My absolute favorite part about this gift is that all players must use the card during the scheduled team visit to the electronics superstore. Because lines at Best Buy weren’t long enough to begin with now I have to wait behind a group of 300 lbs linemen all wearing oversized track suits and smelling like a strange combination of Tex-Mex and Axe. I wonder what the most sought after item at Best Buy is for these players. I say either a PSP or pair of Beats headphones.

Next the Tourneau watch. By comparison, this is probably a much nicer watch than most of these players are used to wearing. Then again, since they are always on their smart phones to begin with, how many of these guys actually still uses a watch? I’m guessing that this is the most “regifted” item on the Poinsettia Bowl registry.

Don’t have all that much to say about either the sweatshirt or the FlexFit cap. Chances are, both of these items probably get more love/use from the players than either the watch or the Gossip Girl: Season 2 box set from Best Buy.

If you’d like to see the complete list of bowl games with the accompanying swag, look here. Otherwise, do what I’m doing and enjoy yourself a little preseason NBA hoops before the real deal begins on Christmas Day.

view from Qualcomm Stadium courtesy of @threalcatherine

Quick Snaps: NFL Week 15

Quick Snaps: NFL Week 15

Dolphins 30 Bills 23 – By the time this game got interesting, the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium had already cleared out and Reggie Bush was closing in on over 200 rushing yards. Even though Bush has had a solid season, I bet his old team the Saints are quite pleased to have 3rd down specialist Darren Sproles instead.

Saints 42 Vikings 20 – Speaking of New Orleans, QB Drew Brees is now only 304 passing yards away from breaking Dan Marino’s single season record of 5,084 set back in 1984. His performance against the Vikings, 412 yards and 5 TD’s, probably pulls hims just about even with Aaron Rodgers in the race for the NFL MVP.

Chiefs 19 Packers 14 – And while we’re on the subject of Rodgers, good for Romeo Crennel and the Kansas City Chiefs for ending Green Bay’s bid at a perfect season. And judging by the Chiefs reaction following the final whistle, it feels good to be free from the petulant gaze of recently fired head coach Todd Haley.

Seahawks 38 Bears 14 – Remember during last years NFC Championship game when we all thought Caleb Hanie could be the long term solution for the Bears and an injured Jay Cutler? Yeah, about that. Might be time to start reexamining the entire quarterback depth chart in Chicago. Maybe even think about giving Donovan McNabb a call, he’s got some free time.

Colts 27 Titans 13 – I called it! Well, sort of. I mean, I figured it was going to at least be close. But thanks to two former UConn Huskies, Dan Orlovsky and Donald Brown, Indianapolis gets off the schneid and can now begin focusing on trading Peyton Manning to the, gulp, Cowboys!?!

Bengals 20 Rams 13 – St. Louis has a ton of problems but I do not see how giving up on QB Sam Bradford is part of the solution. Unless of course you use a top pick on Robert Griffin III and unleash The Greatest Show on Turf version 2.0.

Redskins 23 Giants 10 – Pardon the Gmen for treating MetLife Stadium today like their own personal lavatory. That’s the kind of stench that lingers.

Panthers 28 Texans 13 – I love a good fumblerooski. That’s the kind of stuff we use to pull during recess. And for Houston, I guess Wade Phillips is really that important to the defense.

Lions 28 Raiders 27 – Megatron both won the game for Detroit and preserved, potentially, my fantasy football season. You’d have thought the Raiders would have put a man or two on him late in the 4th quarter.

Patriots 41 Broncos 23 – While we all rest our #teboners for a second, it’s quite possible that the two best tight ends in the NFL play on the same team. The pairing of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski needs a nickname. How about “Smash and Dash” or “Snake and Chopper”?

Eagles 45 Jets 19 – I can’t believe this Philadelphia team still has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. Andy Reid is like an old pair of underwear that just keeps turning up in your dresser.

Cardinals 20 Browns 17 – Would the Arizona front office look stupid if they cut ties with Kevin Kolb this offseason? The way I see it, things are going just fine with John Skelton leading the show in Glendale.

view from Qualcomm Stadium courtesy of @AnimalFarmMag

 

If Gambling Were Legal: NFL Week 10

NFL Week 10 Picks

SAN DIEGO (-7) over Oakland – I had no idea that the aircraft carrier which is hosting this weekend’s UNC/Michigan St. basketball game was also the same vessel that transported, and then disposed of, Osama Bin Laden’s dead body. I certainly hope the same fate doesn’t await the losing coach of this NCAA season opener.

Pittsburgh (-3) over CINCINNATI – It would be a great story if the Bengals were somehow able to pull off the mild upset. At 6-2, there is an outside chance, even with a loss this weekend, that Cincinnati could overtake one of the AFC East teams for a Wild Card spot, much to Jim Nantz’s dismay.

KANSAS CITY (-3) over Denver – Why wouldn’t the spread option work in the NFL? If Tim Tebow was successful operating this style of offense in the SEC, where the best college football athletes preside, shouldn’t it stand to reason that he could do the same thing as the QB of the Broncos? Also, until he ended up on my fantasy team, I thought Jackie Battle was the starting point guard for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA.

INDIANAPOLIS (+3) over Jacksonville – If not now when?

DALLAS (-5.5) over Buffalo – Chalk me down as one of the many people seriously disappointed by the Buffalo Bills last weekend against the Jets. If that team doesn’t have 8-8 written all over than I don’t know who does.

Houston (-3) over TAMPA BAY – Houston is quietly emerging as one of those AFC teams that has a legitimate shot at making a postseason run to the Super Bowl. One Texan who won’t be going all the way is Governor Rick Perry. Oooof, what a disaster!!!

Tennessee (+3.5) over CAROLINA – Not sure why a 2-6 team is giving points against a .500 club. Also, at the beginning of the season who would have thought that by Week 10, Andy Dalton is the favorite to win NFL Rookie of the Year and not Cam Newton?

MIAMI (-4) over Washington – I’ll say this about the Dolphins, they sure do seem to care a heck of a lot more than most 1-7 teams. And by the way, have you seen these new Miami Marlins uniforms? Doc Brown and Marty McFly would be so disappointed.

ATLANTA (PK) over New Orleans – I like the Falcons and Julio Jones at home plus the Saints haven’t be the same since head coach Sean Payton lost all of his knee ligaments.

CHICAGO (-3) over Detroit – After Monday night’s victory in Philadelphia I’m officially on the Bears bandwagon. Jay Cutler is one more quality win away from ending all exercise bike jokes.

St. Louis (+2.5) over CLEVELAND – Is Peyton Hillis really missing games because of strep throat and various other maladies or because his agent has told him this is the best wat to pursue a new contract? Either way, the Madden Curse continues.

PHILADELPHIA (-13.5) over Arizona – Doesn’t it seem like Andy Reid has worn the same black Eagles winter parka and hat since he started ambling on the Philly sidelines over a decade ago? He kinda looks like Costanza in the gore-tex jacket.

SEATTLE (+6.5) over Baltimore – This just feels like the sort of game where Joe Flacco and the Ravens play not to lose only to end up winning on a last second field goal.

SAN FRANCISCO (-3.5) over NY Giants – I will never buy a Hyundai from Brad Benson.

NY JETS (-1.5) over New England – Ever since the Dallas Cowboys unlocked the secret of defending against the Patriots offense, teams have been loading up on the interior pass rush and bringing their safeties down in the box to defend against the Wes Welker hitch. Good strategy, especially considering that Randy Moss is about to be busy watching his daughter play basketball for the Florida Gators.

MINNESOTA (+13.5) over Green Bay – In Ponder we trust…to cover the spread.

Last Week: 5-9 (Season: 66-64) 

view from Qualcomm Stadium courtesy of @chargers

 

 

 

 

View My Picks: NFL Week 15

Sorry I’m a bit late with my weekly NFL picks.  I went curling (insert joke here) for the first time last night and the experience did not disappoint.  I now understand why the “sport” is the official obsession of Canadians, Scandinavians, and upstate New Yorkers.  I have a friend who went to a high school in upstate New York where curling was a gym class requirement. My fondest memories of gym class include winning the 9th grade badminton tournament and “trust falls” on the outdoor adventure course. Ahhhh, the silly things we remember

And now, on to the Week 15 picks.

SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over San Francisco: You’ll have to believe me when I tell you that I made this pick well before Vincent Jackson ate the entire 49er secondary for dinner.

Kansas City (PK) over ST. LOUIS: This pick rests totally on the health of Matt Cassel.  If Brodie Croyle is the quarterback for the Chiefs on Sunday then I will graciously accept defeat.

Houston (+1.5) over TENNESSEE: I too subscribe to the whole “Titans have quit on Jeff Fisher” theory.

Jacksonville (+5) over Indianapolis:  This just has the feel of a 3 point game to me.

CAROLINA (-2.5) over Arizona: Remember when these two teams faced one another in the 2008 NFC Divisional Playoffs.  That was a loooooooong time ago.

Cleveland (+1.5) over CINCINNATI: People incorrectly assume that because I love sports that I will watch anything pertaining to sports on TV.  So, for the last time, no I do not watch the T.Ocho Show on Versus.

BUFFALO (+5.5) over Miami: I was kinda thinking Chad Henne was going to be a better NFL quarterback.  Dolphins fans were probably hoping for the same thing.

Philadelphia (+2.5) over NY GIANTS: Eli Manning seems like a really nice guy but boy, does he know how to give a really boring interview.

DALLAS (-6) over Washington: And now comes word that Donovan McNabb will not be starting for the Redskins this weekend.  Don’t expect the team to rally around Rex Grossman.

TAMPA BAY (-5.5) over Detroit: Bold prediction. The Lions will win the NFC North in 2011.

New Orleans (+1.5) over BALTIMORE: Is it still possible that the Super Bowl champs remain under the radar? A win against the Ravens ought to change that.

SEATTLE (+6) over Atlanta: Why do I continue to over value the Seahawks at home?

NY Jets (+6) over PITTSBURGH: No Polamalu for the Steelers. No Sal Alosi for the Jets.  I call it an even wash.

Denver (+7) over OAKLAND: Let’s take an informal poll. Best uniforms in the NFL? 1) Raiders 2) Colts 3) Bears 32) Jaguars

NEW ENGLAND (-12) over Green Bay: This would have been a 6.5 point spread if Aaron Rodgers were not concussed.

Chicago (-7) over MINNESOTA: Like the fact that this game is being played outdoors at the University of Minnesota.  Love the fact that because the game is being played on a college campus they can’t serve booze. Total points 33.

Last week: 8-8

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