Thursday, October 28, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 8 Picks

Denver Broncos (+1) vs San Francisco 49ers
The Broncos should be able to beat a team which has Troy Smith as its QB.
Outright Win: Broncos
v/s the Spread: Broncos (+1)

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) at Dallas Cowboys
The Jaguars might have caught a break with no Tony Romo this week. Still, will it be enough to pull off a win with a weak pass defense?
Outright Win: Cowboys
v/s the Spread: Jaguars (+6.5)

Washington Redskins (+2.5) at Detroit Lions
The Redskins might win ugly, but they find a way to win. The Lions might end up losing close, but they lose more than they win.
Outright Win: Redskins
v/s the Spread: Redskins (+2.5)

Carolina Panthers (+3) at St Louis Rams
The Panthers had a win last week. I don't see them winning 2 in a row. And the Rams are good at home.
Outright Win: Rams
v/s the Spread: Rams (-3)

Miami Dolphins (+1.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals' biggest problem is their QB. The Dolphins will take advantage all the offensive bungles by the Bengals. and the Dolphins are good on the road.
Outright Win: Dolphins
v/s the Spread: Dolphins (+1.5)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 7 Picks

Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons will want to rebound after getting plastered by the Eagles last week. But the Bengals will keep it close and also watch out for Carson Palmer to take his chances down field.
Outright Win: Falcons
v/s the Spread: Bengals (+3.5)

Washington Redskins (+3) at Chicago Bears
The Bears will want to take advantage of the weak Redskins defense, but the question is if the Bears O line give enough protection for Jay Cutler?
Outright Win: Bears
v/s the Spread: Redskins (+3)

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Tennessee Titans
The Eagles have Kolb starting at QB, while the Titans will most likely start Kerry Collins. If the Eagles can handle Chris Johnson, they are golden. But can they really do that?
Outright Win: Titans
v/s the Spread: Titans (-3)

Jacksonville Jaguars (+5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Jaguars have no offense unless MJD runs amok. And I do not see that happen the Chiefs stout defense. And Matt Casel might just complete enough passes against that weak Jaguars pass defense to cover the spread
Outright Win: Chiefs
v/s the Spread: Chiefs (-5.5)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 6 Picks

Seattle Seahawks (+6.5) at Chicago Bears
Expect the Seahawks to be meek on the road. Cutler is back to start for the Bears. And they should have enough to cover a TD.
Outright Win:  Bears
v/s the Spread: Bears (-6.5)

Detroit Lions (+10) at New York Giants
The Lions have their first win of the season under their belt. People expect the Giants to dominate the Lions D by throwing the ball a lot. But that may not work against the improving Detroit secondary. The Giants will have to win this game running the ball efficiently.
Outright Win: Giants
v/s the Spread: Lions (+10)

Atlanta Falcons (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Falcons might just be the best team in the NFC. But Matt Ryan seems to struggle on the road. So expect this game to stay close, even though the Falcons are going against a not so formidable Eagles Defense.
Outright Win: Falcons 
v/s the Spread: Falcons (+3)

Cleveland Browns (+13.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Tale of two teams: The Browns are going to start rookie Colt McCoy at QB. On the other side, the Steelers get back their star QB after his suspension.
Outright Win: Steelers
v/s the Spread: Steelers (-13.5)

San Diego Chargers (-8.5) at St. Louis Rams
The Chargers should easily cover this if they do not give up points to careless turnovers and special teams mishap.
Outright Win: Chargers
v/s the Spread: Chargers (-8.5)

New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Its no secret that the Saints are struggling on offense. And the Buccaneers are scrappy enough that they have just one loss, behind a solid defense and an effective young QB. I expect this game to go down to the wire, but the Saints should be able to pull this off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Giant Celebration!

The SF Giants might have only won the NLDS. Still miles to go if they were to achieve the ultimate goal in baseball. Yet, for this team of farm grown young guns, veteran cast-aways and the playoff deprived Giants fans, it means a lot just to be in the NLCS.

One reason this team, unlike the 2003 team that got here (and went on to the World Series), is very likable to everyone. The cool heads of veterans that have been there before: Burrell, Renteria, Rowand and Uribe. The excited veterans having their first playoff run: Freddy Sanchez, Huff and Ross. The exciting rookie crop: Mad Bumgarner and Buster Posey. The utility guys: Ishikawa, Scheiroltz, the Panda (his off-year has made him just a utility guy), Torres. And the awesome pitching staff: Timmy, Matt, Jonathan Sanchez, the Beardman Wilson and the bullpen.

These diverse types of persona in the club house have gelled together very well indeed. The chemistry in the club house is real loose and self-less. The guys are just happy to pick each other up. And that is the big reason why they can never be counted out against anyone. And of course, that awesome pitching has something to do with it. It's fun to watch these guys celebrate here after their NLDS win over the Atlanta Braves:

And the Giants fans have been unbelievable. Here's a video by a fan that has gone viral of late. It is a must watch and...... “Don’t Stop Believin'!!!!!!"

Game on Phillies!! ....its time you "Fear the Beard!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 5 Picks

Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5) at Buffalo Bills
This could be that let down game for the Jaguars after beating the Colts last week. But hey, it's the Bills! MJD and Gerrard should be able to get it done.
Outright Win: Jaguars
v/s the Spread: Jaguars (-1.5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Coming of the bye week, the Bucs will be prepared to take on the Bengals. Carson Palmer will try to throw a bunch of times to TO and Ochocinco, to try exploit the weak TB corners.
Outright Win:  Bengals
v/s the Spread:  Buccaneers (+6.5)

Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Falcons might just underestimate the Browns here. If they do, they are in for a surprise. The Browns are a tough out this year.
Outright Win: Falcons
v/s the Spread: Browns (+3.5)

St Louis Rams (+3.5) at Detroit Lions
The Lions had another close game against the Packers last week. If they keep this one close, they just might get their first win of the year. The Rams will take away some valuable experience for their young players from this game.
Outright Win: Lions
v/s the Spread: Rams (+3.5)

Kansas City Chiefs (+8.5) at Indianapolis Colts
I am not going to bet against the Colts in a game after a loss to their divisional rivals. They do have to take care of their run defense, especially after losing Bullit this week.
Outright Win: Colts
v/s the Spread: Colts (-8.5)

Chicago Bears (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers
Cutler is out this week because of the concussion from Sunday night. Matt Forte will have to carry the Bears on his back to give them a chance. The Panthers under Jimmy Clausen are not going to run away with the game. So Todd Collins will have a chance to win a close one at the end.
Outright Win: Bears
v/s the Spread: Bears (-2.5)

Denver Broncos (+7.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have had a tough few weeks to open the season. They cannot afford to take a breather here, with Orton, on pace for 5600+ yds throwing this season, coming to town. Ray Lewis will have the defense ready.
Outright Win: Ravens
v/s the Spread: Ravens (+7.5)

New York Giants (+3.5) at Houston Texans
The Giants Defense is coming off a high after dismantling the Bears last week. Houston will not make it as easy as they had it last week, although the Texans are without their starting Left Tackle. I expect the Texans to run a lot early in the game to counter the Giants' pass rush.

Monday, October 4, 2010

NFL Power Rankings

Here are my ranking of NFL teams after one quarter of the season.
  1. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): Their only loss was against the Bengals. But that was a Sunday game after a short week following a Monday Night win vs the Jets in New Jersey. On top of that, them beating the Steelers (albeit a Big Ben less Steeler team) on the road was as impressive as it gets.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1): The Steelers get Big Ben back. Even if he is not up to form, it will be a definite upgrade over the trio of QBs they tried the first 4 week. Scary eh?
  3. NY Jets (3-1): The Jets' only loss: The Ravens on opening week by 1 point. And the re-emergence of the old LT.
  4. New Orleans (3-1): The Saints have looked shaky on offense. But they should get back to rythm when all their injured players start coming back.
  5. Houston Texans (3-1): Their only loss was to the desperate Cowboys, after two inspired performances (beating the Colts and then beating the Redskins in OT)
  6. New England Patriots (3-1): Their secondary on defense is real suspect. But they just have so many weapons on offense that they can hang with anyone on offense. Their only loss: at Jets.
  7. Green Bay Packers (3-1): The Packers have had their moments. But, an undisciplined MNF performance brought them their only loss. There are questions about how their defense can fare against an above average offense. Also a shaky special teams unit does not help their cause.
  8. Atlanta Falcons (3-1): Their only loss was to the Steelers in OT. But on the flip side, they are a missed FG (by Saints) and a bone-head fumble (by Nate Clemens of the 49ers) away from being 1-3

The Miracle in Baton Rouge

The LSU-Tennessee game this weekend had a crazy ending. Likes of which we haven't seen for a while. Watch how LSU pulls this one off:

Friday, October 1, 2010

NFL 2010: Week 4 Picks

Monday Night Disaster

The Packers - Bears Monday nighter lived up to it's hype only in terms of how close the game was. It was a horrible display of professional football; more so by the Packers than the Bears. The Packers committed a franchise record 18 penalties, apart from other missed chances, special teams blunders and coaching gaffes.

Mike McCarthy has taken a lot of heat for some of those mistakes, and to be honest, deservedly so. First off, five years at the helm, and he still does not have a serviceable special teams unit? He is too red-flag friendly, to the team's detriment, especially in close games like on Monday. Although he is an offense guy, being the head coach, he has to take some blame for the Packers ineptitude on defense.

Monday Night also brought to light an interesting coaches situational dilemma. With 1:44 minutes left on the clock and the Bears having first-and-goal inside the Packers five yard line, should he have let the Bears score? Football purists are generally opposed to that strategy. Their reasoning being, by intentionally letting your opponent score, you are eliminating the possibilities of forcing a turnover and/or forcing a FG mis-hap (blocked FG or missed FG).

On the contrary, the odds of those happening within the 5 yard line would be like wishing for a fluky stroke of luck. With the new age, saber-metric guys around, statistical data has more validity than ever before to drive coaches decisions, or at least back them up. Statistically (based on reported simulations), the odds of Packers getting the ball back and taking the game to OT by not letting the opponent score was estimated at about 3%. Letting the Bears score a TD to save time for another game tying drive, increased those odds to only about 10%. Still, as a coach, isn't it a no-brainer to give your team the best chance to win? But, of course, it would have woken ghosts of Mike Holmgren's decision to let the Broncos score at the end of the Super Bowl XXXIII, which the Packers went on to lose.

But after giving it a few days to marinate in my head, I have come to the conclusion that the biggest reason for such a poor showing by the Packers was the Defense and Special Teams units. A good number of those 18 penalties was by the defense. And we all know how big of a game-changer are those pass interference penalties. Not to mention those dropped INTs and inability to create turnovers even though opportunities popped up right in front of them time after time. The Bears on the other hand, were killing the Packers on special teams, including a punt return TD by Hester. That was the biggest offensive threat posed by the Bears all night long. Yeah, we could blame the incidents of the last two plus minutes of the game.But, in my opinion, the Packers squandered chances to put away the game the previous 58 minutes. The defense and special teams units should take a big chink of the blame for this.