Saturday, January 10, 2009

NFL Picks Rd. 2 of Playoffs (Saturday)

So I went 2-2 last week in picks, losing both Saturday games. I don't really have time to do full write ups for the games this weekend so here are some snipits.

In the afternoon game I like the Ravens over the Titans for a few reasons. Mainly Ed Reed and the Ravens defense going against...Kerry Collins. Yes that Kerry Collins. The Ravens absolutely dominated Miami last weekend, especially on defense. Chad Pennington looked lost at Quarterback, and threw 4 interceptions. The Ravens are clicking on all cylinders on defense, and frankly I just don't see the Titans matching up well against that with Collins and crew.

I really think this game comes down to the final few minutes of the 4th quarter, and most likely will be decided by a field goal or two. I'd be incredibly surprised if this game was a blow out and/or high scoring.

Final: Ravens 13-10

In the night game I like Carolina. Their dual back rushing attack will eat up Arizona's soft defense, even though they played well enough to win last week. This threat of the run will also set up Jake Delhomme to use Steve Smith as the weapon he is. Add all that to the fact that Carolina plays adequate defense, I just don't see how Arizona can compete in this contest, although I said that last week and we all know what happened.

Final: Panthers 27-10

Sunday, January 4, 2009

NFL Picks Rd. 1 of Playoffs (Sunday)

Well, I missed on both picks yesterday. As expected the Chargers/Colts game was a tough one to call and the Chargers ended up winning it in overtime. LT did not play all that much, but Sproals really picked up his game in his absence. I was close on the score though, as I expected it to be a close, solid game.

Color me impressed with the play of the Cardinals in the early game yesterday as well. Yes the Falcons turned the ball over a few times, but the Cardinals ran the ball effectively and their defense played relatively well. I don't see them winning next week, but yesterday was a huge day for their franchise.

Now for today's games.

Baltimore vs. Miami - 1pm
I can't say enough of the job Coach Sporano and Bill Parcells did this season to bring Miami back from being the perennial joke of the AFC East, which hit its appex at 1-15 last year, to winning it this year in the tiebreaker with the Patriots. Jets cast off (how'd that one work out for you NY?) Chad Pennington easily had his best season as a pro in my eyes, and the Wildcat offense that caught the Patriots off guard in week 3 was effective all throughout the year. Ted Ginn Jr. made strides towards becoming the player the Dolphins hoped he'd be when they drafted him, while Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams ran the ball effectively, and rookie 1st rounder Jake Long helped give stability to the offensive line. Their defense is nothing stellar, but gets the job done.

The Ravens on the other hand still sport their stellar defense behind Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed who has a knack for interceptions. Their defense has played like it does every year. However, rookie quarterback Joe Flacco has been everything and more than the Ravens could have asked for. He's provided stability and offensive ability that Kyle Boller just couldn't provide. This has made the Ravens a much different team, and frankly not I team I would want to play in the playoffs.

This should be a good game but in the end, the Ravens defense proves to be the difference maker.

Final: Ravens 21 - 13

Philadelphia vs. Minnesota - 430pm
So all the cards Philadelphia needed to fall their way on the last day of the season did, and are now in the playoffs. They made their statement by absolutely demolishing Dallas to secure their berth. Donovan McNabb has played extremely well since he was benched against the Ravens. Brian Westbrook has been his usual solid self, and their defensive has been playing pretty well as of late.

Minnesota on the other hand has seen it's share of injuries as of late to Pat Williams and Gus Ferotte. Tavaris Jackson has played well since Ferotte was injured, but he's still Tavaris Jackson. Adrian Peterson has been putting this team on his back offensively, and relying on the defense as a whole. I do like how Minnesota matches up against Philly against the run, but I just think the Eagles all around game will provide to much for Minnesota to handle.

Philly pulls away late, and wins on the road.

Final: Philadelphia 24-14

Saturday, January 3, 2009

NFL Picks Rd. 1 of Playoffs (Saturday)

I intended to have these picks thrown in the middle of a huge long post about the Patriots season, the NFL playoff system, and an offseason preview, however I got lazy and haven't written it yet, so for the sake of them being up here they are.

Atlanta vs. Arizona - 4:30pm
I've been a closet Atlanta fan all season because of Matt Ryan. While I figured they would show improvement over last year and the whole Mike Vick debacle, I did not envision them going 11-5 and missing out stealing the division title on the last day of the season. Regardless, the playoffs are the playoffs no matter what seed you are. Which leads me to my next point about the Arizona Cardinals. They finished 9-7 in the worst division in football, and are hosting a home playoff game. Is it fair? No, but that doesn't matter. Does anyone honestly think Arizona even has a shot in this game? Didn't think so.

Say what you want about their passing game, because it is everything it's cracked up to be. Getting Anquan Boldin back this week will be huge for the Cardinals as well. However, the Cardinals are just to one dimensional to win in the playoffs. Their defense is mediocre, and they have absolutely no running game to speak of. The Falcons on the other hand have a very balanced football team behind Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Their defense is decent, but it doesn't bring much pressure, which will help Kurt Warner obviously. I just don't think Arizona matches up well with Atlanta.

Final: Atlanta 27-14

Indianapolis vs. San Diego - 8:00pm
Talk about a match up of two teams I strongly dislike. Both obviously because of the Patriots connection, and I'm sick of Peyton Manning's face every three commercials while watching football. However, I absolutely detest San Diego. They always preach "class" and how LT is this class act, etc. I distinctly remember LT calling out the Patriots after a loss for not winning with class and all that junk. Talk about hypocricy at it's finest. Philip Rivers, while he is a good quarterback, is an absolute piece of shit personality wise. He talks so much shit to other teams during games, in the media, all that junk. Trash talking is one thing, and is part of the game, but I cannot stand athletes like Rivers who seems to take it to the next level.

Now that that's out of the way, San Diego was 4-8 entering December, and managed to benefit from the Broncos absolutely failing to close out the division and actually playing good football for a month. They won the AFC West by beating Denver in the Sunday Night game last week and finished 8-8. If there was ever a case for the NFL to change its playoff system (more on my ideas for that in another post) this is it. Regardless, they are in.

This is also most likely Tony Dungy's last seasonI like what Indy has done since they started the season out slowly, ripping off 9 straight wins and just playing solid football over the passed few months, led by Peyton and his 3rd MVP award. of coaching, and you know the players won't want to let him down like that. Getting Bob Sanders back doesn't hurt either.

San Diego has also been hot over the final month of the season, and while Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are good receivers, the injuries to Gates and LT (detached tendon in groin) are going to be huge. LT will try to tough it out and play, but I don't see how he could be effective with that kind of injury at any position, but especially as a running back. San Diego will need its defense to step up in this game, and all throughout the playoffs to compensate for the injuries to Gates and Tomlinson.

This will most likely end up being the best game of the weekend, and could go either way, but in the end I just think the innjury to LT and the fact that Indy is the better team in my mind will be the difference. Indy pulls away in the 2nd half.

Final: Indianapolis 28 - 24

Tomorrow's picks will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rant Time

I'm going to rant.

This post was supposed to be about how much I like Mark Teixeira, and how having him on the Red Sox makes perfect sense. He is as close to the perfect player for the philosophy of the Red Sox as they come.

In typical Scott Boras fashion, the negotiations between all teams submitting bids, has dragged out entirely way to long, and has completely held up the entire offseason outside of the signing of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett to the Yankees, which was a given, and some minor signings around the league.

When I woke up this morning there were multiple reports that Mark Teixeira was due to make a decision today on where he wants to play for the next 8 years of his career. Considering the Angels had withdrew their bid, and the only other serious offers on the table were from the Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals, I liked our chances.

However, reports are out that Mark Teixeira is not only not signing with the Red Sox, but with the goddamn fucking Yankees, who apparently put in a last minute bid in order to steal him away.

It's no secret that I have a strong disdain for the Yankees, not because I am a Red Sox fan (though that certainly helps), but mainly because I am sick and tired of their whole act. "Well you should come play for us because we're the Yankees, and well everyone who matters plays for us". George Steinbrenner was the first owner to really just spend an incredible amount of money on free agents in order to buy a championship. It happened in the 70's with Reggie Jackson, throughout the 80's, and again since the turn of the century. I can't hate on the Yankees teams of the 90's that were winning championships with all the homegrown core players they had.

Regardless, this has gone entirely way to far already this offseason. The MFY's now have $118 million commited to 5 players on their roster now. FIVE.

$30M for ARod

$25M for Teix
$23M for CC
$22M for Jeter
$18M for Burnett

They've also now spent roughly $425 million on 3 contracts this offseason. I'm sorry but that's ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, the Red Sox by no means are some small market team that spends no money. They are always in the top 5 in terms of payroll, but the gap from New York to everyone else is absolutly astounding.

Call me bitter, I don't care that's your opinion, but this is starting to get out of hand. I really hope this offseason comes back to bite them in the ass, especially with this economy we have going right now, and the fact that they haven't been able to sell an luxury seats in the new stadium.

Speaking of the new stadium, I really hope New York City tells the Yankees to go fuck themselves when it comes to financing their new stadium now. If you go and spend $425 million in an offseason, you have no right to ask for help building something like that.

Maybe on second thought I am bitter, but this has just gotten to the point of ridiculousness.

Baseball really needs a salary cap (wont happen), because honestly the luxury tax is a joke.

That all being said, if the offer truly is 8 years/$170 million, and the Sox didn't match that, then goddamn did they ever drop the ball on this one. Obviously it's completely up to the player to determine where they want to play, but considering the Yankees didnt even have an offer until a few hours ago, I highly doubt Teixeira had his heart set on playing for the Yankees.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Updated Playoff Scenarios, and Other Ramblings

Well, today was a crazy day in football. The Patriots trounced the Cardinals 47-7. Kansas City almost gave us a miracle, but eventually lost to the Dolphins 38-31. The Jets did what I expected them to do, and lost to Seattle, thus giving the Patriots a shot at the division if the Jets beat Miami next week coupled with a Pats win.

Updated Playoff Scenarios:

Pats win+Jets win=#3 seed

Pats win+Dolphins win+Jags win=#6 seed

Pats win+Dolphins win+Ravens win=OUT

Pats loss=OUT

In other new, I got absolutely killed on my picks this week, lots of upsets this week.

Stay tuned later this week for some Sox stuff.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Patriots, NFL Picks, Celtics, and Bruins Update

I know I'm terrible, and I haven't posted in a while. I've been extremely busy finishing up school this semester so I can graduate. Regardless, that hasn't detered me from my passion of sports in the least.

I'll start off with the Patriots today.

I fully expect the Patriots to win pretty easily today. The Cardinals passing offense is obviously well documented, and our secondary sucks, but Boldin is out, and the weather is shitty. The Cardinals have no running game, and this just isn't the type of weather for them to be effective in. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Cardinals make a game of it, but I'm not counting on it, there's just too many factors working against them.

I would also not be surprised if this was a game that Cardinals headcoach Ken Wisenhunt tries to rally his troops in an attempt to make a statement game to the rest of the NFL, but don't count on it. The Cardinals have nothing to play for since they have already won their division, and getting players back isn't their main priority right now. Until they find a running game however, they won't be going anywhere in the playoffs.

On the Patriots side of the ball, this is where Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan and Kevin Faulk step up and have huge, grind em' out, smash mouth football games, along with Wes Welker as usual.

Final score prediction: Patriots 31 - 17

The Patriots need to win this week and next week to even have a shot at making the playoffs. Right now, they are still out of the playoffs, and Baltimore's win last night at Dallas (who played like shit in a game they needed to win), really hurts the Patriots chances. Here is a look at the updated playoff scenarios for the Patriots:

Wild Card (6th seed):
Patriots get the final wild card berth if they win out, and Baltimore loses or ties next week.

AFC East (3rd seed):
Patriots win the AFC East if they win out, and the Jets and Miami both lose or tie a game.

If the Patriots lose a game, they are out of the playoff race.

Onto my week 16 NFL picks. The bolded team was my pick, home team is on the right.

Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville

Baltimore vs. Dallas

Cincinnati vs. Cleveland
San Francisco vs. St. Louis
New Orleans vs. Detroit
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee
Miami vs. Kansas City
Arizona vs. New England
San Diego vs. Tampa Bay
Houston vs. Oakland
Buffalo vs. Denver
New York Jets vs. Seattle
Atlanta vs. Minnesota
Philadelphia vs. Washington
Carolina vs. New York Giants

Green Bay vs. Chicago

Now onto the Celtics.

Is it a fair to say that so far the loss of James Posey hasn't hurt the Celtics one bit, though I do have a feeling that come playoff time is where that experience from the bench will be missed. Regardless, the Celtics are off to their best start ever. Let's pause and think about that again. The Boston Celtics are off to their best star EVER. They are 25-2 and have won 17 in a row with number 18 most likely coming tonight against the joke of a franchise that is the Knicks, although D'Antoni has made them competative.

The Celtics are better than last year's version in my eyes. Tony Allen has surpassed any expectations I had of him this season, and Eddie House, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Leon Powe have all also been pretty solid off the bench. The biggest reason the Celtics are a more complete team this year however has been the play of third year point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo has improved by leaps and bounds over last year. Why teams continue to leave him open is beyond me. The fact he's behind in the all-star voting with people like Luke Ridnour is terrible. Speaking of the All-Star game, Vince Carter is currently ahead of Ray Allen as well, which is hilarious, and also brings me to my next point. Ray Allen has been a much different player this season. Chalk it up to being comfortable in the system he's in now, or that he's fully healthy, but there were plenty of times last year where Ray Ray would get the ball and I'd cringe. his shot selection was bad, and he wasn't the player we all knew from Seattle. However, this year he's come back and he's nailing those deadly 3's we grew accustomed to seeing in Seattle and Milwaukee. Combined all that with the usual solid play of KG and Kendrick Perkins, who is quietly having a very nice season so far, and you can now see why the Celtics are just flat out better than everyone else. Yes the Cavaliers are good, as are the Lakers, but barring major injuries, I would still pick the Celtics in a 7-game series any day.

The thing that I really admire about the Celtics however is Paul Pierce. I've said it before but, Paul Pierce is by far one of the best players in the league, and last year proved it. He brings a warriors attitude to this team, and he really does leave it out on the court. he might not wear his heart on his sleeve like Garnett does, but you always know Paul is going to show up to play. Say what you want about his numbers, but when he needs to turn it on he does. He's become a more rounded player with the additions of KG and Allen, and it's really showed.

I think the Celtics most solid win of the season came the other night in Atlanta. This was a game that a lot of people expected the Celtics to lose. The Hawks were treating this game as if it was the world championship, even going as far as posting highlights of the Hawks series with the Celtics in the playoffs last year. They Hawks were desperately trying to turn this into a rivalry (it's not in any way, shape, or form by the way), so you knew they would come out with intensity on their home court.

What happened? The Hawks couldn't close the game. They allowed the Celtics to take the lead late in the 4th quarter, when they had been leading since the 1st quarter. The Celtics take the lead, and on the ensuing posession Joe Johnson is fouled and misses the game tying free throw.

I now missed free throws happen, but if that weer the Celtics in that situation, would you really expect Ray Allen, or Paul Pierce to miss that free throw? No you wouldn't. Before he even shot I had a feeling he would miss the second one.

I know it's weird to use that as an example of a good team, but the truth is, you make free throws if you are a good team. The Hawks are good, but they simply cannot compete on the same level as the Celtics this year. I know the Celtics have only beat them by a total of 4 points in two games this year, but they were outplayed in both games and still won, because the Hawks cannot close.

Should we start comparing the Celtics to the '95-96 Bulls, and wondering if the Celtics will break their record for most wins in a season? While I certainly think it's possible, and would not be surprised if they did manage to tie or break the record, the comparisons need to stop. It's too early in the season to start discussing that. That's like wondering if an NFL team will go undefeated when they are 6-0.

Finally onto the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins continue to play solid, winning hockey. They have won 13 in a row at home, and have only failed to get at least one point twice in their passed 20 games (17-2-1). They have gotten contributions from all 4 lines, and even though their defense has gotten hit with the injury bug, the kids they've called up from the AHL have stepped in nicely and played well. Everybody has been praising the San Jose Sharks about their record setting start, and rightfully so. But what these people have failed to realize is that the Bruins are right behind them in terms of points. If the Bruins win tonight, they will have 52 points to the Sharks 55, with an equal amount of games played.

The biggest reason the Bruins have turned the corner this season has been the solid all around play of the team, but a few individuals in particular stand out to me. Phil Kessel for one has really put it together this season. He's on a 17-game scoring streak and has scored 21 goals, and added 14 assists to boot. He's on pace for a 50-60 goal season and 90-100 points. Not only has he found his scoring touch, but he's matured and is playing a two-way game finally. Coach Claude Julien benched him for three games in the first round of the playoffs last year, and it seems he got his point across.

Next up is David Krejci. After a pretty good rookie season last year, Krejci has really found his scoring touch on the second line with Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler. He's been the biggest surprise so far on the season for the Bruins, and is on pace for 85-90 points. If you said you expected that from him this season, you'd be lying.

The goal tending has been the single biggest reason the Bruins are where they are right now however. Tim Thomas and a rejuvinated Manny Fernandez have played outstanding hockey, and there isn't another goalie tandem in the league on their level. You feel confident about your chances of winning the game no matter who starts in net for that game.

It's a shame Bergeron got hurt again. Although his numbers this season weren't anything stellar or near what they used to be, he was still playing solid hockey and the fact that Patrice Bergeron was your 3rd line center really shows the depth of this team, and organization as a whole. Hopefully it's not another concussion, because that could quickly derail his career.

Speaking of injuries, if Bergeron manages to return this year, the Bruins will be in a very nice position come the trading deadline. The Bruins currently have Andrew Ferrance, Aaron Ward, Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron all out of the lineup. If those players can return, that's a better move for the Bruins to make than any trade this season in my eyes.

I fully expect the Bruins to continue this stretch of good play throughout the season and into the playoffs. They are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference at the moment, and I would not be surprised if they won the Stanley Cup this year. One can only hope, as it is the last part of the sports domination Boston need this decade.

I'll write about the Red Sox, and Mark Teixeria later on in the week, regardless if we've signed him already or not.

Until then, take care and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Time For A Bruins Post


The Boston Bruins. The red-headed stepchild of Boston sports. The team that no one publicly displays their affection for, even though secretly they enjoy them. Well ladies and gentlemen, it's time to embrace this team for who they are, and that's the best team in the Eastern Conference, and easily the best team in the NHL throughout the month of November (11-1-1). To add to that, the Bruins, they are just absolutely destroying other teams at the Garden, going 8-0-0 at home in November and outscoring their opponents 41-14. That my friends, is incredible.

Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez right now are the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Yes paying your "backup" goalie in Fernandez, 5 million dollars isn't great, but honestly it's paying dividends right now. You cannot win in this league without a solid backup.

It's nice to see Patrice Bergeron playing again, and playing relatively well after the devestating injury he suffered at the beginning of last season. The biggest surprise of the young season however has been the play of rookie Blake Wheeler. Coming into this season I didn't even think he'd make the team, and through 2 months of the season, he's second on the team in goals. Phil Kessel, Marc Savard, and David Krejci are also playing extremely well.

It's time to come back fans, it really is. In the age of the salary cap, you can't blame Jacobs for not wanting to spend money to win, you just can't. That excuse is old, tired, and frankly the sign of an ignorant fan. Come back and represent this team, because frankly they've earned it.