Monday, November 30, 2009

Week 12 Review

Week 12 is in the books and the playoff picture is shaping up.  Yeah yeah... it's the same thing every year.  Two or three really good teams in each conference, two on the bubble, and a couple teams that are going to come out of nowhere to challenge for the #6 spot.  But what do we learn other than 16 teams have one more win than they did the week before, and 16 teams have one more loss than they did the week before.  Let's look at how week 12 went.

Thanksgiving:  Two craptastic games followed by a solid Broncos/Giants game.  I was wrong about the Lions... always wrong about the Lions.  Never pick bad teams because you think they have "momentum" from the week before. I mean, Matthew Stafford did throw the game winning touchdown pass with a separated shoulder (non-throwing shoulder... get over it), but it was against the Browns.  When a team that should be subjected to relegation defeats another in the same lowly category, momentum does not carry over when they play a real team in a real playoff race, like the Packers.  My Broncos proved me wrong by stomping the Giants.  I wasn't as surprised to see the offense sizzle like it did, but I was surprised to see the Brian Dawkins led defense returned to man-eating form.  Any team that was once good during that same season can return to its formerly dominant form for a game.  The test will be whether or not they can sustain it.  But Kansas is on the schedule next week, hooray!

Sunday: The Dolphins really let me down.  Maybe I was wrong to make a Titanic analogy (but it was supposed to be a movie rewatchibility reference, not a sinking ship reference).  But I underestimated the power of the Buffalo, as in the beautiful throwbacks the Bills wear, see here.  Throwback jerseys are all over the place this season with all the AFL Legacy shenanigans, but the Bills unis will always have the power to inspire a victory.  I predicted that the Colts would hold on against the Texans to remain undefeated.  What I'm most happy about is the fact that I slept till noon on Sunday, and didn't check the scores till about 1pm.  By that time, it was no longer apparent that the Texans jumped out to a 17-0 lead.  I avoided all that tension of mis-picking one of the best games of the weekend by getting a great night sleep; totally awesome.  One of the more satisfying games I had the privilege to watch was Brett Favre's spanking of the baby known as Jay Cutler.  I used to wish Favre would just go away, but I no longer feel that way.  He's playing like a champion, and I finally feel like he's playing to his legendary status everyone is so accustomed to giving him.   Had I known Big Ben would miss the Steelers/Ravens game, I may have picked it differently.  But watching Dennis Dixon at the helm reminded me why the Pac-10 is my second favorite college football conference.  He was a catalyst to Michigan's current downfall, as he led the Ducks to a 39-7 victory AT Michigan in 2007.  While watching the game I was generally happy to pick the Steelers, but it was a game the Ravens just had to have, and they did.

Monday:  WOW!  Did anybody see this coming?  An absolute choke slam by the Saints in this heavyweight battle.  The Patriots had a valiant 4th quarter comeback led by... uh... who's #8?... oh, Brian Hoyer of course!  This is all part of Obama's stimulus package.  Make the poor cities have really really good teams so the city goes nuts for the team and buys lots of stuff.  There's no saving Detroit or Cleveland, though; not until the 3rd buyout is approved.

9-6 picking games this week.  I can do better.  I'm bringing in an expert.  Podcast, it's coming soon.  Get stoked.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NFL Week 12 Picks

In honor of Thanksgiving and America, I'm doing NFL picks. Week 12 here we go. HOME TEAMS ARE IN CAPS.

Thanksgiving games:

LIONS over Packers. Where were you on Thanksgiving day 2003? Probably getting your fat on. If you were in Detroit, you witnessed the Lions' most recent Thanksgiving day victory, over the Packers. I look for the Calving Johnson to torch the Pack's secondary minus Al Harris, and for the team to be inspired by Matthew Stafford's late game heroics from last week. Aaron Rodgers' good fantasy day will be countered by 6 sacks. 20-14.

COWBOYS over Raiders. Did the Raiders really beat the Bengals last week? The Cowboys will round back into their typical November form and trounce the Jamarcus Russell/Bruce Gradkowski/whatever led Raiders 38-7.

Giants over BRONCOS. A rough stretch for the Broncos will get worse. The plus side for the Broncos is that the Giants D is vulnerable. But so is the Broncos D right now. I don't believe in moral victories, but the headlines will read that the Denver team played better in a losing effort, 27-21.

Sunday:

FALCONS over Bucs. The Falcons will bounce back over an under-talented Tampa team 28-10.

Dolphins over BILLS. Every football fan is generally happy when the current Dolphins team plays well. The wildcat is a work of art that keeps getting better. Just like any good movie you re-watch and expect something different to happen. The Titanic is sinking?! NOOOO! That’s Miami for you. A team that puts you on the edge of your seat even thought you know what’s coming. Oh yeah, they’re playing a Bills team that fired their coach midseason. 17-7.

BENGALS over Browns. Does anyone like Eric Mangini. Eric Mangini doesn't even like Eric Mangini. Ochocinco Chad's it up as the Bengals win 31-10.

Seahawks vs. Rams. Can the NFL relegate these teams. Tie game 0-0.

Panthers over JETS. I'm happy that everyone realized that the Jets are a bad team. Carolina is better than it's 4-6 record would indicate since they realized Steve Smith was on their team. Panthers put Rex Ryan in tears 26-13.

EAGLES over Redskins. This game is going to be closer than it should be. Eagles fall flat on offense, but score two defensive touchdowns. 17-9.

Colts over TEXANS. Houston always plays Indy well, and it's a home game for them. But Peyton Manning's jedi powers are growing strong. He even convinced Sith Lord Belichick to give him the ball at his 29 yard-line to win the game. In an odd turn of events, the Texans fail to make a field goal or extra point because the ball explodes upon impact (i.e. Manning=jedi). Colts move to 11-0. 28-27.

CHARGERS over Chiefs. Fresh out of the oven for the Chargers to feast on: the Chiefs. KC made their season with a win over the Steelers last week. The rest of their season is paycheck time. 38-21.

49ERS over Jaguars. I relatively upsetting game for the Jags. SF kills it with defense, and field goals. 12-7.

VIKINGS over Bears. Brett Favre shows Jay Cutler what heart is. Cutler takes a classic late season off week. 31-10.

Cardinals over TITANS. The Titans are on a roll, but they'll forget to show up. The Cards play well in random road games. Sorry Vince. 23-16.

Steelers over RAVENS. Their records don't reflect how good these teams actually are. This is the kind of game that ends careers (the over/under for this is 2.5). Big Ben should play in this game, and will get his head straight by the 4th quarter to win the game. 23-20.

Monday night:

SAINTS over Patriots. Oh baby! The MNF crew overreact, calling this the greatest game in history. Not exactly. People watching this game might say Brees is better than Brady. Not exactly. A back and forth game that will take 4 hours because of a lot of crazy reviews. Bill Simmons better get ready to write another Belichick blunder column after he goes for it on 4th down in front of a delirious New Orleans crowd. 33-31

Monday, November 9, 2009

Power Rankings

CHAMPIONS OF MY HEART DIVISION
1.) ROCKIES: My team. They represent the state of Colorado with class and dignity. No one can help but to cheer for this team. Headlined by homegrown players that grow on us as fans, just as they grow up themselves. Coors Field is one of the best stadiums in the league, and it highlights the Lodo area well. The players have hearts of champions and never go quietly into the night.

TEAMS I FEEL HAPPY CHEERING FOR DIVISION
2.) RAYS: My AL team. I would say 98% of my positive baseball passion goes into the Rockies, so the Rays are a distant second. I like how this team is built with the young guys. I enjoy watching Evan Longoria play; he's tremendous... and a Dirtbag.

3.) INDIANS: My first t-ball team. The bright red-faced Indian logo is both classless and classy. It grows on you. Jacobs Field (er... Progressive Park, whatever) is a similar build to Coors, and I like that. "Juuuuust a bit outside."

4.) ANGELS: My liking for the Angels is mostly based on Angels in the Outfield. I can't root against the two kids: Roger and the little black dude that says "Hey, it can happen."

5.) BREWERS: Thank you, Brewers. Thank you Tony Gwynn Jr. Thank you for giving us the chance at the 2007 playoffs. Without you Brewers, there is no Rocktober.

6.) ATHLETICS: Crappy stadium, but some pretty uniforms. But Billy Beane's Moneyball saga is a tremendous book, and has given me a lot of respect for this team.

7.) MARLINS: A weird team, but I still like the fellow '93 expansion team. Once they get a stadium, they may be considered a real franchise.

SOMEWHAT INDIFFERENT, BUT STILL SOMETHING THERE DIVISION

8.) CARDINALS: Watching MLB Network has brought me into the Pujols realm. Down by 3... 8th inning... bases loaded... Pujols batting. WALK THE MAN. Nope. Grand Slam. Flips the score, Cards win. I like that.

9.) RANGERS: I'm a fan of their stadium, their announcer, and Nelson Cruz. You can't stop Nelson Cruz, you can only hope to contain him.

10.) ROYALS: Just cause I like their stadium and they're geographically the closest team to Denver.

11.) ASTROS: Their lame stadium is countered by "Los Caballeros". Hunter Pence is a goofy man.

12.) NATINALS: "Zimmerman! Give me a sign you can hear me!" Then Ryan Zimmerman grabs his crotch. Take that heckler!

13.) ORIOLES: I hardly know anything about this team, but any stadium with a warehouse in home run territory it legit.

14.) MARINERS: A good team that hides in the upper-left corner of the country. People forget about them, and I feel sorry for them.

I GENERALLY ROOT AGAINST, BUT SEE RAYS OF LIGHT DIVISION
15.) TWINS: Smaller market team that I can feel for, but I can't cheer for those stupid tarps in the Metrodome. Yes, they're opening a new stadium, and yes I'll reconsider.

16.) PADRES: My birthplace: San Diego. I can't completely hate an intra division team that uses a building as a left field foul pole.

17.) PIRATES: Ahoy matees! The worst franchise in baseball has a good looking stadium and a cool name. That's it.

DON'T BOTHER ME DIVISION
18.) BRAVES: This team is lame. They make a late 'run' at the Rockies for the wild card, then fall flat on their faces in front of zero home crowd. Go away.

19.) WHITE SOX: Uhh... Where's the white socks?

20.) TIGERS: Grrr. This team has no bite. Red Wings suck! I can't support any team that owns the prefix of 'Detroit'.

21.) D-BACKS: I regard them as the pair with the Rockies. Both relatively new. Both with young players. I always root against NL West rivals, including the D-Bags.

22.) PHILLIES: The relentless heart breakers. My hatred comes directly from respect. Their fans have passion, and they've grown some admirable stars, but they beat the Rockies too often for me to support them. Kudos though for helping out my fantasy baseball team, Chase Utley.

23.) YANKEES: As many people as there are that hate the Yankees, but I can't pull myself to that extreme. You're on the Mark Teixeira shares my birthday and is a fantasy all-star. My general dislike comes from the east-coast bias I see, and the fact that no news is news in for the Yanks.

24.) BLUE JAYS: This team might as well be relegated to Mexican leagues. Then I might notice them.

25.) GIANTS: I rooted against them all season, I can't stop now. Their saving grace is their stadium. Definitely one of the views I want to see most.

26.) REDS: Are they relevant? Stupid stadium; (both great and American, huh?) and what the hell is a Red?

I THINK I JUST THREW UP IN MY MOUTH DIVISION
27.) CUBS: I hope they never win the world series. Just like Brett Favre is addicted to football, their franchise is addicted to losing. Their fans pay no attention to the games, just beers. Please keep to yourself in your ancient stadium. Tulo's cycle against the Cubs this year was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

28.) METS: It makes me happy to see this team lose. They replaced a mausoleum with a government subsidized stadium built for dimensions of a team composed of only Mark McGwire.

29.) DODGERS: The most hated team by Rockies fans, and I'm with them. They embrace a man who tested positive for a female fertility drug, enough said.

30.) RED SOX: Composed of a bunch of dipping Neanderthals. The fan base is composed of a fake nation of bandwagon fans who claim to be fans for life. Having an uncle from New England does not grant you lifetime fanhood.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rockies Hangover is Over

After witnessing two heart wrenching losses to the Phillies, I feel like I am over my hangover. I know this because I am enjoying this World Series between the Yankee$ and the Phillie$. While walking back to the car after game 4 of the NLDS, I swore never to watch a Phillies game the rest of the post season, but, as a baseball fan, I couldn't bring myself to commit to that. Instead I simply boycotted the NLCS, watched a good portion of the ALCS, and now I'm thoroughly enjoying the World Series. It actually feels like the Rockies finished their season ages ago. And with all the football I've been watching, it certainly does not feel like baseball should still be on. Well, it is November, so my reasoning is valid. Anywho, watching the Yanks and Phils is like watching the AL/NL all-stars. Each team is stacked. I also feel impartial to both teams. They're both east-coast, and they're both places I'm not familiar with. The outcome has no bearing on how I feel about next season. But the Rocks could be there. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of both World Series teams. Each has hit-and-miss starting pitching outside of their aces, and each bullpen is relatively weak (except for Sandman). No team is perfect, which is why baseball is such a great sport to watch at it's highest level.