Friday, September 29, 2006

No-No


The Yankees almost got no-hit last night. It took a ninth inning single by Robinson Cano with one out to break up the bid for immortality by Daniel Cabrera. Yesterday I said this about the Yankees new Murderer's Row:

" The Yankees trotted out their Murderer's Row II lineup last night and scored 16 runs on their way to an easy victory. Playoff baseball is different though. The lineup will be facing better pitching and it is not reasonable to expect that they will put up double digit runs against the best pitching staffs in the AL. As the saying goes, good pitching will beat good hitting."

And there you have it. An example of good (unexpected) pitching beating good hitting. It's true that Arod and Jeter were not in the lineup last night, but I'm not sure that would have made any difference. It was just a reminder that on any given day, the Yankees, even with the greatest lineup known to mankind, can be beat. And I do know something about baseball. Although I clearly know absolutely nothing about football. But that's another story.

Labels:

Shabbat Shalom, MotherF@#$er!


I hope you all appreciate the quote from the Hebrew Hammer. It's just a little something for all my Jewish friends out there. And you know who you are. Anyway, it's Friday and I'm back to make the picks for this weekend. I know I said that someone else was going to do this, but alas, you are stuck with me for now. This week I've decided to do my picks and the SM side by side. This way we'll be able to see just how much better the SM is than me. I have yet to beat the SM in any week and I'm fairly confident that I won't do it this week either. I know Bruce isn't reading this, but I wanted to say happy atoning to all my friends who are members of the tribe. Good luck with that fasting thing. On to the picks!

Home team in Bold

San Diego - 2.5 Baltimore
A battle of unbeatens in Baltimore. San Diego is coming off a bye week and look to be in good shape. Baltimore had an usually tough time with Cleveland last week. What does all this mean? I have no freaking idea. This is a field goal game. The question is which way will it go. The SM says take Baltimore. I'm going to be contrary and say take San Diego and give the points. By the way, a little know fact is that the Germans named San Diego, which of course means "a whale's vagina".

Carolina -7 New Orleans
Apparently the strong start by the saints has left Las Vegas unimpressed. Despite a 3-0 record they enter the game a touchdown underdog to the struggling Panthers. I'm not sure why the spread is so big, but this looks like a mistake to me. The SM says take New Orleans. I'll have to agree on this one and take the points as well.

Miami -3.5 Houston
Miami has looked pretty bad through the first three weeks of the season. They managed a win last week, but it was a struggle. The Texans have yet to win this year but at least they have shown the ability to score some points. Dante Culpepper is still performing like the artist formely known as Dante Culpepper, so I'm thinking that this is as good a spot for Houston's first win as any. The SM takes Houston. I'll agree and take the points.

Indianapolis -9 Jets
The Jets are an enigma. They have no offense at all last week and yet they went into Buffalo and came out with a win. The Colts played a tough game against the Jags last week, but are still undefeated. I expect that Peyton Manning will torch the suspect secondary of the Jets for a few touchdowns. The question is, will that be enough to cover the 9 points? The SM says take the Jets. The SM especially likes home underdogs by more than a touchdown. I'll take the Colts and give the points in this one.

Dallas -9.5 Tennessee
Tennessee is sticking with Kerry Collins for at least another week, but I expect that Vince Young will be at the ready on the bench. The Titans offense is still pretty much a mess and I don't expect that they'll turn that around this week. The Cowboys have problems of their own. Terry Glen is slightly banged up and TO, well lets just say that a trip to the hospital for a drug overdose or whatever the hell that was is not exactly the best way to prepare for an upcoming game. TO still has a broken bone in his hand and I have no idea how effective he can be. Bledsoe will be starting this week, but I think that he too is on a short leash. Tony Romo is keeping his arm warm. The SM says the Titans will cover at home. I have to agree on this one. I just don't think that this is a 10 point game.


Atlanta -7.5 Arizona
Arizona has burned me every week this year. I'm sure they will manage to trip me up again this week. It's like they have a personal grudge against me or something. The Falcons got beat pretty bad on Monday in New Orleans, so they should be plenty angry and ready to put a hurtin' on somebody. That somebody is going to be Kurt Warner. I think we may see Matt Leinart before the end of this game. The SM says take Arizona. I'm going with Atlanta to win by two touchdowns.

Buffalo -1 Minnesota
This is basically a pick 'em game. Both teams are coming off touch losses at home. The Vikings lost late in the game to Chicago and the Bills mixed a great offensive output with turnovers to somehow lose to the Jets. I think the Vikings are the better team at this point. Buffalo does have a strong home field advantage, but it didn't do them much good against the Jets. The SM takes the Vikings and I'm going along for the ride on this one.

Kansas City -7 San Francisco
San Francisco has played better than expected to this point. They did get the snot beat out them last week by the Eagles, but that was to be expected. The Chiefs have Larry Johnson, which always makes them dangerous, but they are starting Damon Huard at QB. Who the hell is Damon Huard you ask? Exactly is all I have to say to that. The SM takes San Fran and so am I.

St. Louis -6 Detroit
The Rams are six point favorite over the winless Lions. These are not exactly high powered offenses. The Rams are a long way from the "greatest show on turf" days. And Detroit hasn't been the same since Barry Sanders left. Hell, they weren't that great when he was there. The Lions drafted a WR as their number one pick for three years in a row. Roy Willams is the only one who has turned out to be a smart pick. The SM says take Detroit. I'm picking the Rams because they are at home and because honestly, I'm midly retarded.

Cleveland -3 Oakland
How bad do you have to be to be a field goal underdog at home to a winless team? Oakland Raiders bad. The Browns come in after a near win versus the Ravens. That is enough to make them favorites in this game. The Raiders are absolutely lost at this point. Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave. What's that you say? He's not dead. His team sure as hell is. They have one the NFL's best weapons in Randy Moss but they can't get the ball to him. Their QB sucks and overall they have the worst offense in the league. Cleveland's offense isn't much better, but they have at least shown the ability to get the ball to their offensive stars. The SM says take the Raiders. I don't think this the week they get their first win. I'll give the points and take the Browns.

Jacksonville -3 Washington
Washington managed to beat Houston last week, and in the process Mark Brunell set a record for consecutive completions. The Jacksonville defense will present a little more a challenge for Mr. Brunell this weekend. Jacksonville lost a tough game to the Colts last week, but their defense has proven to be teams strongest weapon. The SM takes the Redskins but I'll take the Jags.

Cincinnati -6 New England
I'm sure it's been a while since the Patriots have given this many points to a team. They are a team in decline at this point. The Bengals are a team on the rise and may be the best team in the AFC. As long as Carson Palmer continues to throw the ball well, I think that the Bengals will be just fine. The SM takes the Patriots, I'm going with the Bengals.

Chicago -3.5 Seattle
Shaun Alexander is not going play in this game. He hasn't been effective this season anyway, so I'm not sure how much of a loss that is going to be. Despite his claim that the Lord has healed him, the coaching staff thought better of playing him this week. The Lord does work in mysterious ways, but healing a RB's broken bone? I don't think so. The Chicago defense has been it's usual stingy self and they have shown more offensive firepower than I believed they possessed. I'm starting to get on the Bears bandwagon. This is a statement game for them. This could be a real passing of the torch for best team in the NFC. Or not. The SM takes Seattle. I'm taking Da Bearse! Da Bearse!

That's it for now. Tune in on Monday when we reaffirm, once again that the Spiegler Method is indeed the greatest thing since sliced bread. By the way, I've always had a question about that. Why is Sliced bread so great? And if bread came in a unsliced loaf, how hard would it be to slice it? I don't know maybe it's just me, but I just don't get that one. Have a good weekend everybody. Oh before I go, I have to say congratulations to my friend Claire Campbell, who called me up this morning to tell me that she was engaged. Great job, Brian. And remember if you end up hurting her, I will hunt you down and force you to watch every episode of Mama's Family, which is a fate worse than death. Just kidding. Or maybe not. No, just kidding. MAYBE.

Labels:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Counting Chickens


Baseball is too unpredictable a game to ever feel confident heading into a playoff series. At this point, the Yankees first round opponent is yet to be decided. It's either going to be the Tigers or the Twins. The Yankees handled the Tigers pretty well during the season, going 5-2. They probably should have swept them, but the two losses were 9th inning collapses by the bullpen when Mariano Rivera was unavailable. Against the Twins they were 3-3 and lost twice to a rookie named Scott Baker who has an era over 7 against the rest of the league and probably won't be starting a post season game.

So should the Yankees feel confident heading into their first round match up? They should feel good that they don't have to play the Angels. For some reason, they just can't seem to beat that team. The Twins pose a problem because of Johann Santana. He is clearly the best pitcher in baseball this year and is absolutely unbeatable in Minnesota. The good thing is that he probably wouldn't get to pitch there in the first round. He would start game one at the stadium and god forbid, he would also start game 5 at the stadium. He could be brought back for game 4 on short rest if necessary, which would take place at the metrodome, but hopefully the Yankees only have to face him once. The Tigers don't have a dominating starter like Santana, but they do have a very balanced staff. Verlander and Bonderman are both very good and can shut down an opponent on any given day. Kenny Rogers has the most playoff experience, but a lot of that has been pretty bad. However, he has been very consistent this year.

The Yankees trotted out their Murderer's Row II lineup last night and scored 16 runs on their way to an easy victory. Playoff baseball is different though. The lineup will be facing better pitching and it is not reasonable to expect that they will put up double digit runs against the best pitching staffs in the AL. As the saying goes, good pitching will beat good hitting. The Tigers have a staff that is capable of shutting down the Yankees lineup and the Twins have a pitcher who is capable of doing the same. A first round win for the Yankees is certainly not guaranteed. As I have said before, they will certainly enter the playoffs as the betting favorite, but they have entered the playoffs almost every year as the betting favorite. That does not mean that they will win the World Series or even get there.

In order to have the most potent lineup, Joe Torre is going to be sacrificing defense for offense. That means a Giambi/Sheffield platoon between 1B and DH. Sheffield has played first for less than a week and Giambi is no Don Mattingly in the field. Matsui has reclaimed the LF position and has relegated Melky Cabrera to the bench. Matsui is an adequate outfielder, but he is not the defensive equal of Cabrera. Both Cabrera (LF) and Andy Phillips(1B) will probably be used as late inning defensive replacements. However, playoff baseball games can turn on a single play, hit or error. Putting less than your best defensive team in the game, can result in the mistake that can turn a series around. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope that is not the case. Joe has been more than willing in the past to change his lineups during the playoffs if something isn't working, so he will definitely be keeping a close eye on the defensive developments. I'm sure that Matsui will be in the DH mix along with Sheffield and Giambi. It would not surprise me at all if Cabrera is given a couple of starts during the first round of the playoffs.

I'm not going to look past the potential first round opponents at this point, because it's a waste of time until it actually materializes. It's not that I don't want to jinx the team, but the last time I actually looked to the next round, the Yankees gave up a 3-0 lead against the Red Sox. So I think it's best to just take it one round at a time.

Labels:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Slip Sliding Away


The St. Louis Cardinals are in the midst of the biggest collapse since the stock market crash of '29. A week ago the Cardinal had a lead of 8-1/2 games on the Astros and a magic number of five. Today, they have a 1-1/2 game lead on the Astros and a magic number of five. They have lost seven games in a row. They are the first team in the history of baseball to have two seven game losing streaks in the same season without falling out of first place. The Cardinal have a worse record than all of the remaining teams vying for the wild card. In fact, the Cardinals would be 2-1/2 games behind if they were in the wild card hunt. And in two days, they may very well be in the wild card hunt.

The '64 Phillies probably have the dubious distinction of being the holders of the most famous September collapse in history. They led the NL by 6-1/2 games with 12 games to play. Not only did they not win the division, they didn't even come in second. They went on to lose 10 games in a row and ended the season in 3rd place. The '69 Cubs failure wasn't quite on the scale of the '64 Phillies but is well remembered because they ended up losing to the miracle Mets. They had a 5 game lead with 25 games to go and ended up losing 5 games in a row to lose that lead. The '95 Angels led the Mariners by 6 games with 17 games remaining on the schedule but somehow managed to lose that lead as well. That run by the Mariners is looked at by many as the reason that the Mariners got a new ballpark and stayed in Seattle. Of course that '95 Seattle team ended up beating the Yankees (in Don Mattingly's only playoff appearance) in the playoffs and breaking my heart, so I'm not too thrilled about that one.

The Cardinals found themselves in the exact same situation as the Phillies found themselves in that long ago pennant race. They were up by 6-1/2 with 12 games to go. They haven't quite lost 10 in a row yet, but they seem to be well on their way. They sent their ace to the mound last night and even he could not stop the bleeding. Their closer is gone for the season and their bullpen is leaking like the Titanic. They still have Albert Pujols, who is the best hitter in the game, but he can't get on the mound and pitch.

They have been the victims of a lot of late comebacks. In fact, their downfall of late is almost totally due to the lack of performance from their bullpen. In the first loss of the current streak, they went into the bottom of the 9th tied at zero, and lost the game when a reliever gave up walk off home run. That was just the start of what has become a week long nightmare for the Cardinals, their pitchers and their fans. On Thursday night, they entered the 8th inning with a lead, but LaRussa was afraid to go to the bullpen, so he left the starter, Chris Carpenter, on the mound and he gave up a two run homer and the lead. On Friday they went into the 8th inning with a 3 run lead. The bullpen gave up two runs in the 8th and two runs in the 9th to turn a win into a loss. On Saturday they went into the bottom of the 9th with the score tied and the bullpen gave up a three run homer for another loss. On Sunday they entered the bottom of the seventh with the score tied and the bullpen imploded again and gave up four runs for another loss and a almost unimaginable sweep at the hands of the Astros. Just last night they led 5-2 going into the 7th inning, only to have Carpenter give up four runs, the lead and eventually the game. In every game of the losing streak the Cardinals have either led or been tied heading into the seventh inning and they have lost every time. The odds say that they should have won at least a couple of those games, but the games, unfortunately for the Cardinals, are determined on the field.

Can the Cardinals turn it around in time to salvage their season? It's hard to say. Considering that only once in the past 40 years has a team blown a lead this big in such a short time, I'd say that history is on their side. However, losing, like winning can become contagious. There isn't a pitcher in the bullpen who has been effective during their recent slide. They have either led or been tied late in every game of their seven game losing streak only to see the bullpen or lack of faith in the bullpen result in a loss each time. Tony LaRussa is supposed to be a baseball genius (just ask him). He always wants everyone to know that he graduated from law school (Big freaking deal. I graduated from law school, you don't see me managing a major league team. Although I ought to be.), like being a lawyer makes him somehow more qualified to run a team. He led the Oakland A's of the late eighties. They were the best team in baseball for 3 years and they won exactly one World Series. His powerhouse Oakland teams that ran roughshod through the AL for three years, lost to the undermanned Dodgers and Kirk Gibson and then lost to the underwhelming Reds and Barry Larkin. His goal in St. Louis has been to win a World Series. He's gotten them there once in ten years and got swept. I'm not quite as convinced of his baseball genius as he is. Let's see if he can pull the team together over the next five days. It might just be his greatest hour, but if they fail to make the playoffs, I think the finger should be pointed squarely in his direction.

Labels:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday, Monday


It's weekend wrap up time. For once I don't have to hang my head in shame. I can't say that my u/o picks were stellar, but if you only looked at this weeks picks, you'd think I actually know what I'm talking about.
Home team in Bold

Washington -4 Houston
Ok, seriously, if Washington can't cover a 4 point spread against the Texans then they deserve to wallow in politically incorrect mascot hell with the Cleveland Indians (have you ever taken a good look at the indians logo? It's hideous. I'm not a card carrying member of the PI police, but come on folks. If that's not the definition of offensive, I don't know what is. Perhaps its naming your team after the supposed skin color of a race of people. I've never actually seen a red person, but what do I know. I hear the Yankees are going to change their name to the NY Darkies. They defend the change by saying that they are just doing it to honor the mulit cultural make up of NY city. The Braves are also planning on bringing back Chief noc a homa. They claim that losing his pre-game fire dance is the reason they didn't win the division this year. The fans can't wait to have his teepee back in Centerfield). Sorry for the diatribe. I'll take Washington and the under (37.5).
Washington managed to maintain a shred of dignity by beating the hapless Texans. I'm sure the fans are still wishing that they had drafted Reggie Bush. I think that was the most cowardly move I've ever seen in the draft. The colts drafted John Elway even though he told them that he didn't want to play for them. Ditto for Eli Manning and the Chargers. I don't care if you think that you'll have problems signing a player, if he is the only potential difference maker in the draft, you have to sign him. I'm sure the ownership in Houston will be regretting that decision for a while. Good luck Mario Willams, you're not necessarily going to need it, given the size of that contract, but the fans are never going to let you forget that you should have been Reggie Bush. Oh yeah, the Redskins covered the spread. 1-0, 0-1 u/o.


Buffalo - 5.5 Jets
This looks like the right spread. I'm thinking that the Bills will win by a touchdown. They do have a distinct home field advantage, although it's not really cold up there yet and the Jets have a history of playing poorly at Rich Stadium. Take the Bills and the over (34.5)
The Jets looked much better in week three than they did in week two. Here's one team I just can't seem to get right. Of course I get so much wrong that one more really shouldn't make much of a difference. The Jets won on a day when they couldn't run, and really couldn't throw (Pennington passed for less than 200 yards), but they capitalized on the Bills mistakes and came away with the win. I was absolutely, completely and totally wrong on this one. Ok, I've admitted my mistake, now please stop throwing garbage at me. I don't mind the cursing and name calling, but we have to draw the line somewhere. 1-1. 1-1 u/o.

Indianapolis -7 Jacksonville
Jacksonville is coming off a big monday night win and the Colts have started the season strong as usual. Peyton looks to be in midseason form, but I just have a feeling that the Jags are going to keep this one close. Seven seems like too many points to me. I'll take the points and the under (42.5).
This one is the proverbial kissing of the sister. Jacksonville did manage to play the Colts strong and keep the game close, but unfortunately they lost by a touchdown. You can't really blame me for this one, although I know you will. I hear the chants of "Short Bus" starting up again. 1-1. 2-1 u/o.

Detroit -6.5 Green Bay
Who would have ever thought that we would see the day when Detroit would be a touchdown favorite over Green Bay. How far the mighty have fallen. Brett Favre should be home enjoying his retirement, but instead he has to show up every weekend to get his ass kicked by big black men. Congratulations you real man of genius. Still, a touchdown seems like a lot and I think just for old time sake, the game should be somewhat entertaining. I'll take the points and under (39).
Brett Favre turned back the clock for one game. Throwing 3 touchdown passes, including number 400, as the Packers won one for the Gipper. The game was certainly entertaining and featured almost 700 yards in passing. It's good to see that teams that suck can still put on an entertaining game. 2-1. 2-2 u/o.

Pittsburgh -2 Cincinnati
Big Ben played with a fever somewhere north of 100 on Monday night. He also played just 10 days after having major surgery. Looks like he's trying to get into the tough guy hall of fame. The only problem was that he stunk up the joint. If you are going to drag yourself out of your sick bed to play, then you have to lead your team to victory, otherwise you just look like an idiot who should have stayed in bed. At this point I think Cincy is the class of the AFC. They are getting 2 points and I think they'll win by a touchdown. Take the points and the under (43).
The Bengals still look like the best team in the AFC and Carson Palmer will only get better as time goes on. He threw for 4 TD's and the Bengals won by 8. It's almost like I'm psychic. Of course you could also believe that I'm blind if you saw last weeks picks. I'm on a roll. 3-1. 2-3 u/o.

Miami - 10.5 Tennessee
Let's see, Tennessee sucks. Their QB situation is terrible. They have no running game to speak of and I think their coach is about to perform Hari Kiri. All that being said, Miami has been none too impressive themselves with an 0-2 start. Culpepper has yet to resemble the QB who threw 38 TD passes just two season ago. His knee is still bothering him to a significant degree. The Titans were dismantled by Sand Diego a week ago, but I don't think that Miami has the weapons to run them off the field. The Dolphins were a sexy pre-season pick to make some noise in the AFC this year but they haven't shown anything on the field to this point. Take the points and the over (35.5).
The Dolphins managed to win, but I think this was more a case of Tennessee being unable to score more than 10 points, than Miami being the better team. Tennessee is now looking for Vince Young to actually start in the coming weeks. I mean, really, it can't get much worse. Why not Vince. He was Superman in college, so given their current situation, it's time to get him in with the big boys and see what he can do. As far as Miami is concerned, they have to really worried about Dante Culpepper. He looks like someone who is pretending to be Dante Culpepper. They might be in for a long season if his knee doesn't improve. 4-1. 2-4 u/o.

Chicago - 3.5 Minnesota
Hey, newsflash, Chicago has an offense. After struggling much of last year to score more points per game than the Cubs, they have scored 60 in their first two games this year. Rex Grossman has looked fantastic and the defense picked up right where they left off last year. Minnesota is a surprising 2-0 and they have home field advantage. This should be a good old fashioned black and blue division game. The should wake up the echoes of the monsters of the midway and the purple people eaters. I'm not sure how much fun this game will be, but there will a lot of painkillers to pass out after it's over. I like the points and the under (35).
Once again, I'm a prophet. A good old fashioned defensive struggle. The Bears look like the real deal, but so do the Vikings. They are playing a lot better than I thought they would and losing a tough one at home shouldn't derail them. It looks like it's going to be a battle between these two for the Norse division title. I also got this one right and pushed on the u/o. 5-1. 2-4 u/o.

Carolina -3 Tampa Bay
Let's start out with my favorite topic, Chris Simms sucks! Have I said that before because it amazes me that people who should know something about this game continue to start him at QB. From Texas to Tampa Bay he has never been the best QB on the team. I don't even know who the backup in Tampa is, but I know he's better than Simms. So back to the game. Carolina should have Steve Smith back this week and that will make their entire offense better. Take Carolina and the over (34).
Having Steve Smith back made all the difference in the world for the Panthers as they managed to score more than one touchdown. Chris Simms lost a Spleen along with another game. Apparently he played much of the second half with internal bleeding. Clearly he knew that if he came off the field, he might never get out there again. Major Applewhite anyone? Seriously Chris, get well. And start looking for another job. 5-2. 3-4 u/o.

Baltimore -6.5 Cleveland
The Browns aren't good. That's basically it. They don't have any offensive weapons except a tight end who won't keep his mouth shut. The Baltimore defense should have a field day with this team. The Ravens are heading back to their former home, so don't look for too many welcome back signs for Art Modell. While the city of Cleveland may hold a grudge against the Ravens, I don't think that storyline means too much to the players on this years team. This one could get ugly. Give the points and take the under (33.5).
Who knew the Browns were going to play like they actually cared. Certainly not me. The Baltimore defense did it's job, but the offense played a fairly indifferent game. If not for a 4th quarter comeback, the Ravens would have inexplicably lost this game. I guess Cleveland still does hold a grudge against Art Modell. Who knew?
5-3. 4-4 u/o.


Seattle -3.5 Giants
Seattle has to show up and play like the team that got the Superbowl last year, right? Well this is the week they do. The Giants come off a big comeback win against the Eagles and it looks like Eli is starting to hit his stride. I'm not sure why I feel that the Seahawks are going to win. Perhaps it's the fact that my brain is oxygen deprived, or maybe it's the booze talking but I've got Seattle giving the points and the over (43).
It's like I had a crystal ball with this one. Seattle played the first half like they invented the game of football. The score at the end of the third quarter was 42-3. That is a major ass kicking the Giants scored 27 inconsequential points in the 4th quarter to make the score respectable, but the game was over by halftime. By the way, I'm starting to feel sorry for those people who make Alexander their number one pick in fantasy football. He averaged under 3 yards a carry on Sunday and it certainly looks like there's something just not right with him. Anyway, I digress. It was another absolutely spot on prediction by yours truly. I think I'm starting to get a big head. And no, it's not the steroids. Stop spreading dirty rumors about me. I've never even been anywhere near Balco. AND IF YOU DON'T STOP TALKING ABOUT ME I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR HEAD OFF AND SHIT DOWN YOUR NECK. Oh, sorry, I just get a little angry sometimes. NO, IT'S NOT ROID RAGE. SCREW YOU, ASSWIPE! 6-3. 5-4 u/o.

Philadelphia -6.5 San Francisco
San Francisco has played remarkably well, considering how much they stunk up the bay area last year. 1-1 is certainly more than I would have expected at this point. Alex Smith has basically had the two best games of his pro career back to back. I expect that to come to an end this week. Philly is pissed about giving away a win last week and the players are going to take it out on the 49ers. Give the points and take the under (41.5).
Philadelphia certainly brought out their "A" game against the 49er's. The Eagles destroyed the 49er's and tried to wash out the lingering taste of their overtime loss to the Giants. That taste is going to linger however, until they get a chance to redeem themselves at Giants Stadium. It's like eating a dip at a party that you think is made of red peppers and then finding out it's eggplant, and you hate eggplant. In fact eggplant makes you want to throw up. It must be something like that. 7-3. 5-5 u/o.

Arizona -4.5 St. Louis
Arizona screwed me last week and I should probably pick against them out of spite. However, I'm a bigger man than that. I still think that egde is going to get it going one of these weeks, so why not this week at home. St. Louis hasn't shown much of anything this year, so I expect Arizona by a touchdown and the over (45).
Arizona screwed me again. Why on earth would I think that I should have any faith in this team. Kurt Warner threw three interceptions and is singlehandedly trying to initiate the Matt Leinart era in Arizona. I hate this team. I'm sure I'll f#$K up the next pick with them as well. I never liked you Warner. The only Superbowl I attended was when New England beat you in New Orleans. I was rooting against you then. I was glad that you lost. Go back to the arena league. Go back to stocking groceries. I don't care where you go, just go somewhere else. You suck! 7-4. 5-6 u/o.

New England -7 Denver
Denver is struggling. New England hasn't looked like world beaters either. Jake the Snake better show something this week or he'll be examining the clipboard on the sidelines while Jay Cutler takes his job. Jake is good at scrambling and he usually can perform when backed into a corner. Seven just seems like too many points to me. I expect NE to win but by a field goal. Take the points and the under (38.5).
The Broncos and the Patriots put on a snooze fest on Sunday night. Jake Plummer managed to minimize the mistakes and Tom Brady spent the entire night complaining about his receivers. Ok, he never actually complained, but he was thinking it. He misses his boyfriend Deion Branch. Boo hoo, Tom. Boo freaking hoo. Jake gets to keep his job for at least one more week. 8-4. 6-6 u/o.

Well, it looks like I was close to evening up my season record. My current picks leave me at 20-22 against the spread and 12-12 for the u/o. Wow, who knew that mediocrity could feel so good. After last weeks debacle I was sure that I was a train bound for permanent enrollment at stupid school. This can only be a sign of more middling picking to come. By the way, the SM(trademark pending) went 9-3 last week for an overall record of 25-17 for the season. If you eliminate the horrendous week 2, the SM has a record of 20-7. I guess Bruce was on to something there. As I said last week, I'm supposed to relieved of prognostication duties next week, so this may have been my last foray into the world of football picks. I'm glad that I was able to go out a winner and to all my fan(s)(Thanks, Mom) out there, thanks for tuning in and making this such a worthwhile endeavor. See you all on the flip side.

Labels:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Time to Make the Doughnuts


That's right kids, it's time to make my now legendary NFL picks for the week. My fool proof methods have garnered a 12-18 record against the spread and a 6-6 record in the under/over. Pretty good (if you're a 6 year old girl). Anyway, I've been promised by one of my contributors that this task will be taken off my hands next week, so this may be my last week of prognostication (please don't everyone cry at once). Anyway, if it is to be my last week (and just between you and me, I really don't think it will be), I want to go out in a blaze of glory. Or just ablaze. It's all semantics really. On to the picks!

Home team in Bold

Washington -4 Houston
Ok, seriously, if Washington can't cover a 4 point spread against the Texans then they deserve to wallow in politically incorrect mascot hell with the Cleveland Indians (have you ever taken a good look at the indians logo? It's hideous. I'm not a card carrying member of the PI police, but come on folks. If that's not the definition of offensive, I don't know what is. Perhaps its naming your team after the supposed skin color of a race of people. I've never actually seen a red person, but what do I know. I hear the Yankees are going to change their name to the NY Darkies. They defend the change by saying that they are just doing it to honor the mulit cultural make up of NY city. The Braves are also planning on bringing back Chief noc a homa. They claim that losing his pre-game fire dance is the reason they didn't win the division this year. The fans can't wait to have his teepee back in Centerfield). Sorry for the diatribe. I'll take Washington and the under (37.5).

Buffalo - 5.5 Jets
This looks like the right spread. I'm thinking that the Bills will win by a touchdown. They do have a distinct home field advantage, although it's not really cold up there yet and the Jets have a history of playing poorly at Rich Stadium. Take the Bills and the over (34.5)

Indianapolis -7 Jacksonville
Jacksonville is coming off a big monday night win and the Colts have started the season strong as usual. Peyton looks to be in midseason form, but I just have a feeling that the Jags are going to keep this one close. Seven seems like too many points to me. I'll take the points and the under (42.5).

Detroit -6.5 Green Bay
Who would have ever thought that we would see the day when Detroit would be a touchdown favorite over Green Bay. How far the mighty have fallen. Brett Favre should be home enjoying his retirement, but instead he has to show up every weekend to get his ass kicked by big black men. Congratulations you real man of genius. Still, a touchdown seems like a lot and I think just for old time sake, the game should be somewhat entertaining. I'll take the points and under (39).

Pittsburgh -2 Cincinnati
Big Ben played with a fever somewhere north of 100 on Monday night. He also played just 10 days after having major surgery. Looks like he's trying to get into the tough guy hall of fame. The only problem was that he stunk up the joint. If you are going to drag yourself out of your sick bed to play, then you have to lead your team to victory, otherwise you just look like an idiot who should have stayed in bed. At this point I think Cincy is the class of the AFC. They are getting 2 points and I think they'll win by a touchdown. Take the points and the under (43).

Miami -10.5 Tennessee
Let's see, Tennessee sucks. Their QB situation is terrible. They have no running game to speak of and I think their coach is about to perform Hari Kiri. All that being said, Miami has been none too impressive themselves with an 0-2 start. Culpepper has yet to resemble the QB who threw 38 TD passes just two season ago. His knee is still bothering him to a significant degree. The Titans were dismantled by Sand Diego a week ago, but I don't think that Miami has the weapons to run them off the field. The Dolphins were a sexy pre-season pick to make some noise in the AFC this year but they haven't shown anything on the field to this point. Take the points and the over (35.5).

Chicago - 3.5 Minnesota
Hey, newsflash, Chicago has an offense. After struggling much of last year to score more points per game than the Cubs, they have scored 60 in their first two games this year. Rex Grossman has looked fantastic and the defense picked up right where they left off last year. Minnesota is a surprising 2-0 and they have home field advantage. This should be a good old fashioned black and blue division game. The should wake up the echoes of the monsters of the midway and the purple people eaters. I'm not sure how much fun this game will be, but there will a lot of painkillers to pass out after it's over. I like the points and the under (35).

Carolina -3 Tampa Bay
Let's start out with my favorite topic, Chris Simms sucks! Have I said that before because it amazes me that people who should know something about this game continue to start him at QB. From Texas to Tampa Bay he has never been the best QB on the team. I don't even know who the backup in Tampa is, but I know he's better than Simms. So back to the game. Carolina should have Steve Smith back this week and that will make their entire offense better. Take Carolina and the over (34).

Baltimore -6.5 Cleveland
The Browns aren't good. That's basically it. They don't have any offensive weapons except a tight end who won't keep his mouth shut. The Baltimore defense should have a field day with this team. The Ravens are heading back to their former home, so don't look for too many welcome back signs for Art Modell. While the city of Cleveland may hold a grudge against the Ravens, I don't think that storyline means too much to the players on this years team. This one could get ugly. Give the points and take the under (33.5).

Seattle -3.5 Giants
Seattle has to show up and play like the team that got the Superbowl last year, right? Well this is the week they do. The Giants come off a big comeback win against the Eagles and it looks like Eli is starting to hit his stride. I'm not sure why I feel that the Seahawks are going to win. Perhaps it's the fact that my brain is oxygen deprived, or maybe it's the booze talking but I've got Seattle giving the points and the over (43).


Philadelphia -6.5 San Francisco
San Francisco has played remarkably well, considering how much they stunk up the bay area last year. 1-1 is certainly more than I would have expected at this point. Alex Smith has basically had the two best games of his pro career back to back. I expect that to come to an end this week. Philly is pissed about giving away a win last week and the players are going to take it out on the 49ers. Give the points and take the under (41.5).

Arizona -4.5 St. Louis
Arizona screwed me last week and I should probably pick against them out of spite. However, I'm a bigger man than that. I still think that egde is going to get it going one of these weeks, so why not this week at home. St. Louis hasn't shown much of anything this year, so I expect Arizona by a touchdown and the over (45).

New England -7 Denver
Denver is struggling. New England hasn't looked like world beaters either. Jake the Snake better show something this week or he'll be examining the clipboard on the sidelines while Jay Cutler takes his job. Jake is good at scrambling and he usually can perform when backed into a corner. Seven just seems like too many points to me. I expect NE to win but by a field goal. Take the points and the under (38.5).

Well that's it for Sunday. I'm going to hold off picking the Monday game until, well, Monday. That way I'll be able to see how badly I've done on these picks and might just forego the added embarrassment of losing again. Anyway, I'll see you all the flip side. Have a good weekend.

Labels:

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bubble, bubble...


The Yankees won their 9th AL east title in a row last night. They won by virtue of a Red Sox loss to Minnesota. They had a loud and wet celebration in the locker room after watching the final out of the Red Sox game. It's fantastic to have the Yankees win the division with a week and a half to go in the season. It should allow them to set up their rotation and give their starters some rest. But, of course, it wouldn't be the Yankees unless there was some controversy to go along with the celebration. The big story along with the championship was the Arod article in Sports Illustrated. I'm not going to turn this article into another one supporting Arod. Just suffice it to say that the team and Arod probably could have done without this one. Arod was criticized by some anonymous teammates as being out of touch and "not really part of the team". The timing of the article is bad but hopefully it will not linger because the story of the season is about more than just Arod.

The Yankees came into the season as the favorites to win the east again, but there were many in the press who were picking the Red Sox and some even the Blue Jays to end the Yankee run of titles. The early injuries to Sheffield and Matsui certainly didn't help matters and the 6 week absence of Robinson Cano was also a big blow. The Yankees managed to fight through those injuries however, as they should have considering the wealth of talent they have on the team. The injuries and the subsequent moves to combat them have given the team a sort of fighters mentality. They feel that they've overcome a lot to get to this point and it has certainly bolstered their confidence as they head into the playoffs.

So what looms ahead for this team? They still have to deal with the fact that Giambi hasn't hit at all since mid August because of his wrist injury. They certainly have enough talent to overcome the loss of Giambi, but they have to figure out his status in the next week and a half. Wang has blister problems at this point. Hopefully they don't become more of an issue, because it looks like he is going to open the playoffs on the mound at Yankee stadium. Mike Mussina still has a groin muscle issue that has the possibility of flaring up at any point. The health of Matsui and Sheffield is questionable. And and always there are the looming Arod issues. So while they enter the playoffs as prohibitive favorites in the AL, there are a number of problems which could once again cause and early exit, to say nothing of the opposing teams.

The Yankees have today off, which is probably a good thing considering the huge bottle of Jack Daniels that Giambi was sporting around the clubhouse last night. I'm sure that there are more than a few hangovers to deal with today. The Yankees are still in a dogfight for home field advantage, so let's hope that they get refocused on the goal at hand pretty quickly. They now head into Tampa Bay, where they have not had as much trouble as they did last year, but the Devil Rays always seem to put up a good fight. After the four game set in Tampa, they head home to finish off the season against Baltimore and Toronto. Baltimore has proved to be a tougher opponent than expected, given their record and Toronto is trying to overtake the Red Sox for second place, so no one will be rolling just because they are playing the Yankees. The magic number to clinch home field advantage is 9. The Yankees have 10 games remaining, so they have to play very well in order to get to that number. I hope they got all the celebrating out of their system last night, because they still have a pretty steep mountain to climb in order to assure that game 5 of the ALDS or game 7 of the ALCS is played at Yankee stadium.

Congratulations guys! Now get back to work.

Labels:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

100%


The Yankees have a magic number of one and are now at 100% for both winning the division and making the playoffs. That means in one million simulations of the season, the Yankees win every time. I was not one to jump the gun and start talking about the playoffs, but at this point, I guess it's okay.

The Yankees have activated Gary Sheffield and he is taking 1st baseman lessons from Don Mattingly. It appears that if he is healthy for the playoffs, he will most likely be playing that position. On the down side, Giambi's wrist is still acting up. Giambi hasn't hit a home run in over a month and his average has slipped to the low .250's. The Yankees have the luxury of resting Giambi for a few days to see if his wrist responds. Hopefully he will be back at full strength by the time the playoffs roll around. His role will be limited to DH with Sheffield taking over at 1st base, which is probably a good thing. Matsui appears to be back in midseason form. He hit a home run last night and is hitting well over .300 since his return.

If Sheffield, Giambi and Matsui are healthy for the playoffs, that means that Melky Cabrera's role will be limited to late inning defensive replacement and pinch running. Bernie Williams will basically be a pinch hitter. While both players have played a significant role since the injuries to Sheff and Matsui, it's clear that will have to accept diminished roles in the playoffs. The projected playoff lineup will look something like this:
Damon - CF
Jeter - SS
Abreu - RF
Arod - 3B
Giambi - DH
Sheffield - 1B
Matsui - LF
Posada - C
Cano - 2B
Besides having a legitimate all-star at every position, this lineup would be a nightmare for bullpen matchup purposes. It would mean that an opposing manager couldn't have a lefty match up specialist come out of the bullpen and face more than one lefty in a row. In fact, with everyone at full strength, the Yankee lineup is potentially the most potent in the history of the game and that includes the famed Murderer's Row of the mid 20's and the Gehirg, Joe D teams of the 30's. There in fact is no weak spot in the lineup and it would cause fits for any opposing pitcher.

On the pitching front, Mariano Rivera is apparently over his muscle strain and is ready to start pitching again. As I've stated before, he is the most indispensable player on the team. Without him, the Yankees have no chance of winning a playoff series, much less the World series. If you've watched the bullpen struggles over the past few days, you realize just how much he means to the team. The front three starters, Wang, Johnson and Mussina all seem to be in good shape for the playoffs. A fourth starter will not be really necessary in the playoffs, but Jaret Wright seems to have nailed down that spot if it is needed. All in all they Yankees should head into the playoffs with the rotation in as good a condition as it has been all season. The bullpen has been overworked, but the time off for Rivera will hopefully mean that he will be able to shoulder some extra workload.

The defense has been very solid of late. Arod seems to have worked out his problems at 3rd base, which was the biggest issue during the season. Replacing Cabera with Matsui will mean a downgrade in LF defense. Cabrera does lead AL LF'ers in assists and Matsui certainly does not have the arm or the legs to match him. The difference in offense will hopefully be enough to offset the change. 1B is going to be the Sheffield experiment. He did come up as a third baseman, so hopefully he still has enough of those skills left to handle first base. He may make some errors in positioning however, but hopefully he'll get a lot of practice at the position over the last 10 games.

Joe Torre has done some good things this year. He utilized a lot of players to fill holes and kept the team moving in the right direction through a few major injuries. His handling of the bullpen has been suspect at times and I still think that he overworks a couple of the guys out there (namely Scott Procter). All that being said, he is still the best man for the job. He keeps all the egos in line and has a general calming effect on the team. I don't think that he's going to be out managed in any post season series.

So there you have it. I think it's safe to say that if everyone is healthy, the Yankees enter the post season as the favorites. The World Series isn't always won by the best team however (I'm not sure, but I think '98 was the last time that the World Series was won by the team with the best regular season record). The playoffs magnify every mistake and in a short series, it's sometimes the team that gets the breaks that ends up winning. The Red Sox and the White Sox have also shown over the past couple of years that a team that gets hot at the right time can plow their way through the playoffs. It's been 6 years since the Yankees last won a World Series. They've lost in the 9th inning of the 7th game and they blew a 3-0 lead in the ALCS since then. Gone are the days of Yankee invincibility. They have to grind out wins and hope that luck is on their side. Anyway, I'm still sticking with my preseason prediction of the Yankees vs. the Mets in the World Series. I really wouldn't appreciate playing the Mets, since their is no upside for the Yankees in that series, but I can only hope that the Yankees would find a way to prevail.

Labels:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hollywoodland


The Dodgers pulled off a miracle last night. It was something that you would call unbelievable if you saw it in a movie. Down by 4 in the bottom of the ninth, and by 1 in the bottom of the tenth, the Dodgers used the long ball (in case you haven't heard, chicks dig the long ball) to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Padres and Dodgers sent out their best pitchers in the finale of a four game set between the two rivals. Jake Peavy and Brad Penny started the game with the promise of a tight pitchers duel in Chavez Ravine. The notion was shattered immediately as the Padres put up 4 runs in the top of the 1st inning. Down 4-0, the Dodgers rallied to tie the score by the end of the 3rd inning.

The anticipated pitchers duel began in earnest in the 4th inning as the pitchers held the offenses scoreless until the eight inning. That's when the fun began. The Padres scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead. The Dodgers responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to one. To put this game in context, the Padres had a 1/2 game lead on the Dodgers coming into this game. This would be the last meeting between these two teams in the regular season, barring a tie breaking one game playoff. Los Angeles held a slim one game lead in the wild card race, with the Phillies breathing down the necks of both teams. Neither team was in the position to lose this game. The Dodgers would fall 1-1/2 games out of the division lead with a loss and possibly into a tie for the wild card lead and the Padres would fall out of the division lead and possibly drop to only a 1/2 game lead on the Phillies for the wild card.

It is with all this hanging over this game that the teams entered the ninth inning. 6-5 Padres and the season of both teams possibly hanging in the balance. The Dodgers brought in their closer for the purpose of keeping the game within one run so that they could mount a comeback in their half of the inning. As with the best laid plans of mice and men, the plan backfires on the Dodgers. Saito, who is their closer only because of a season ending injury to Eric Gagne, promptly implodes and gives up 4 runs. The score is now 9-5. The famed "Dodger faithful" start heading to the exits. Their team is down four runs and the Padres have Trevor Hoffman in their bullpen. Hoffman is about to become the all time leader in saves and hasn't blown a save since July. The mood in LA is gloomy. Losing 3 of 4 to the Padres at home is not exactly what they had in mind. LA is notorious for their less than enthusiastic crowds. Sporting events have become a place to be seen, and not necessarily a place to cheer for the home team. The fans turned out for this 4 game series to the tune of almost a quarter million. It was the highest attended 4 game series in Dodger history and it was all about end with a crushing defeat.

The manager of the Padres inexplicably decides to start off the ninth inning with a set up man instead of Hoffman. It is not a save situation because of the 4 run lead, but with the huge implications of the game, it would seem to make sense to send your closer out to end the game. Alas he does not. The Dodgers first hitter of the inning is future hall of famer Jeff Kent(I'm guessing at this one, but he is the all time leader in home runs for second baseman. I know he's a jerk, but in all likelyhood, he will be inducted into cooperstown one day. But I digress). Jeff Kent works the count in his favor, gets a fastball and deposits it over the centerfield fence. The score is now 9-6. It is a save situation at this point and Hoffman is getting warm in the bullpen. The first pitch to the next batter is promptly deposited in the right field stands. The fans who had left the game after the top of the 9th and were just about to drive away, now turn their cars around and head back to the stadium. The score is 9-7 and the Padres manager finally decides to call on Trevor Hoffman.

Hoffman is three saves away from the all time record. He will be the first pitcher to 500 saves and cooperstown is already preparing his plaque. Hoffman is a rare breed as a closer. He doesn't rely on an overpowering fastball to get people out. In fact, his fastball hasn't seen 90 since the days of the George Sr. administration. Hoffman relies on a devastating change up to get batters out. His first pitch to Russell Martin is a fastball right down the middle and Martin hits it into the left field stands for a home run. The score is now 9-8. There is still no one out and the Dodgers have crept to within one run. Of course Hoffman has protected a lot of one run leads in his career. His first pitch to the next batter is again over the heart of plate and this time it is hit into the right field stands. That is 3 home runs on 3 straight pitches and the score is tied at 9. There is bedlam at Dodger stadium. For only the fourth time in Major League baseball history, a team has hit 4 home runs in a row and certainly it has never been done at such a key moment. Hoffman settles down after that and retires the next three batters but the damage has been done.

The Padres managed to pull themselves off the canvas and score a run in the bottom of the 10th. They actually missed a chance to do more damage as they left the bases loaded. The score is now 10-9 heading into the bottom of the 10th. The Padres replace Hoffman with Rudy Seanez. We would later learn the Hoffman has been battling some soreness in his shoulder, but the Dodgers must surely be heartened by the fact that he is not on the mound. Seanez promptly walks the first batter bringing Nomar Garciaparra to the plate. Nomar has had an up and down season for the Dodgers. He started the season on the DL, came back and saw his average hit a high of .360 on July 1. He went on the DL again in the middle of season and his average has dipped to just above .300 at this point. Nomar would later say that he thought about taking himself out of the game because he is nursing a sore quadricep. Nomar hit the first pitch he saw into the LA night to set off a celebration the likes of which Dodger stadium hadn't seen since the night Kirk Gibson came off the bench in the World Series and launched himself along with a fastball from Dennis Eckersley into baseball lore. The fans who had been so quick to abandon the Dodgers in the 9th now didn't want to leave. They stayed around celebrating for the next hour before being ushered out of the stadium.

The Dodgers, who have hit the fewest home runs of any team in the national league, hit 5 home runs in two innings to overcome two deficits and reclaim the lead in the division. They hit two of the home runs against arguably one of the top 3 closers of all time. It was a fairytale in Chavez Ravine. The kind of night that only Hollywood could produce. I'm not sure I would believe it unless I saw it with my own eyes. Roy Hobbs couldn't have done it any better.

Ain't baseball grand!

Labels:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tuesday Morning Leaf


Since I've been so bad at picking these games, I've decided to name the recap after one of the worst QB picks of all time. So here's to you Ryan Leaf, wherever you may be. This is the first test of the Speigler method (SM) which went 11-4 in week one.
On with the show!
Home Team in Bold

Miami -6.5 Buffalo
Dante Culpepper certainly didn't impress anyone last week in his return to action. He was playing against the defending SuperBowl champs, but he's not quite at 100% yet. Buffalo put up a great fight and almost beat NE in Foxboro (or wherever the hell the play now). Buffalo usually plays better at home. I'm going with the points on this one. The U/O is 37. I'd take the under in this game.
Buffalo dominated this game. They sacked Culpepper 7 times and held Miami to 6 points. If you were to look at this pick, you would almost think that I knew what I was doing. Of course the builders of the Titanic thought they knew what they were doing as well. Is that an Iceberg up ahead? 1-0, 1-0 u/o.

Carolina -1.5 Minnesota
Carolina showed what a weak offense they are without Steve smith last week. Minnesota played a smart, conservative game and came away with a road win against Washington. I am tempted to believe that Carolina will come up with a better game plan this week considering that smith is likely to be out again. However, I'm not going against the SM. I'll take the points and the under (37)
Wow, the Speigler method comes through, this is clearly the high point of the weekend. I would warn you that it's only going to get bloody after this. So if you have a weak stomach, you should exit right now with the warm fuzzy feeling provided by my first two picks. 2-0, 2-0 u/o.

Cincinnati -10.5 Cleveland
Cleveland is pretty damn bad. I don't how many games they are going to win this year but the under/over has to be at about 4. Cincinnati looked very good last week and while Palmer didn't have a great game, he didn't make any mistakes either. As I learned last week, 10.5 is a lot of points. I'm really tempted to go the other way, but I'm sticking with the plan. Take the points.
Cleveland is really bad. I knew that and yet, I stuck with the SM. I guess I'll know better going forward. I somehow forgot to pick the u/o in this game. I'm not sure why, but perhaps I knew that my fortunes were about to turn. 2-1, 2-0 u/o.

Atlanta -5.5 Tampa Bay
It's amazing how one bad week turns everything around. Tampa Bay, who some predicted would end up in the superbowl are now underdogs to Atlanta. Michael Vick played under control last week and the Falcons won in convincing fashion. Their first home game should get the blood pumping a little faster for Mr. Vick. We might see him pull off something amazing this weekend. And I still think Chris Simms sucks. All that being said, I'm taking the points. I'll go with the over (36) in this one.
Another very impressive performance by Michael Vick. He's actually looking like a NFL QB these days. The Atlanta running game continues to chew up the opponents and Chris Simms really does suck. I think it's only a matter of time before the Major Applewhite chants start up in Tampa Bay. I'm sure he'd be more than willing to leave his job as an insurance salesman to beat out Simms again. 2-2. 2-1 u/o.

Baltimore -12.5 Oakland
It's a testament to how poorly Oakland played last week that they are an almost two touchdown underdog to a team that has historically had problems scoring points. Is Oakland as bad as they looked last week? They can't be, can they? Steve McNair is still healthy after a week one win, so all the elements are in place for a blowout. However 12.5 is a huge spread, so I'm sticking with the plan and taking the points. I'll take the under (34)
Oakland is horrendous! I think they may be worse than Cleveland. I'm not sure that they'll score a touchdown this year. Aaron Brooks should start looking for work. Steve McNair is making a real difference in Baltimore. It's amazing what a QB who can actually throw will do for an offense. Baltimore is rolling until McNair gets hurt, and he will get hurt. 2-3. 2-1 u/o (there was a push in this game).

Philadelphia -3 NY Giants
Philadelphia looked great last week. McNabb is definitely fully recovered from last seasons injuries. The Giants were solid against the Colts, but could not come away with the victory. This is the first divisional match-up for both teams and I expect it will be a very tight game. I'm thinking that Manning will come out with a pretty strong. I suspect that he was a little nervous last week playing his brother, but he still managed to outperform him. I'll take the points and the over (43).
Eli Manning makes me look like a genius on this one. McNabb is definitely all the way back, but Eli pulled this one out with 17 4th quarter points and a touchdown pass in OT. It's starting to look like this week isn't going to a total disaster after all. Wait a minute, of course it's going to be a total disaster. Sorry, my dementia got the better of me for a minute. 3-3. 3-1 u/o.


New Orleans -2 Green Bay
Green Bay looked terrible last week. New Orleans looked ok. It's another home game for Brett Favre and crew and they have to be able to bounce back from the disaster that was last week. I don't know why I think that they can, but I just think that they are going to be much more focused and Favre definitely has something to prove. I'll take the points and the over (38).
Brett Favre and crew did bounce back from their terrible opening week display against the Bears, but alas it was not enough. Brett put up 350 yards and 3 TD's but they couldn't overcome the suddenly potent Saints. So while my predication of a bounce back came true for the offense, apparently the defense is still on summer vacation. Reggie Bush hasn't exactly set the world on fire to this point, but he hasn't had to. I'm still thinking the folks in Houston would have rather had him.
Oh well, another pick down the drain. 3-4. 4-1 u/o.




Indianapolis -13.5 Houston
Wow, this is a huge spread. Houston didn't show much against the Eagles and the Colts looked less than dominating against the Giants even though they managed to get the win. The Houston O-line continues to be swiss cheese and without their starting RB for the remainder of the season, David Carr is going to running for his life. Anyway, I still think that you could get a college team to cover 2 touchdowns. Take the points and the under (47).
I know I said that Houston and Oakland sucked, but guess what? So do the Texans. And seriously, who came up with that name? The Texans? What the F$#k? How much money did it cost them to come up with that winner? Let's see, we're from Houston, the Oilers used to play here, so there's oil, there's cattle, there' cowboys. Damn it, the Cowboys are taken. Shit, well I guess we're out of ideas. I've got it! The Texans! I'm so surprised that no has ever used their home state before. I mean how cool would the San Franciso Californians be? Better yet, the New York New Yorkers. Wow, I'm glad we thought of this first. They really have to stop the in breeding in Texas. 3-5. 4-2 u/o.

Seattle -7 Arizona
Was last week just a blip on the radar screen for the Seahawks? We're about to find out as a rejuvinated Kurt Warner and his aerial attack come to Seattle for a visit. Arizona looks like they can definitely put up some points and Seattle is going to have score more than the 9(?) they managed against Detroit last week. Anyway, take the points and the over (47).
So much for the high powered Arizona offense. The Seattle defense which managed to hold down the high powered Detroit offense last week (that's sarcasm by the way), proved that they could also hold down a team with actual offensive weapons. I guess looking back I should have at least realized that they wouldn't break 40 points between them. Once again, I'm not smart and I'm considered awkward in social situations. Then there's the bad breath, but I digress. 3-6. 4-3 u/o.

St. Louis -3 San Francisco
St. Louis pulled off the upset of Denver at home last week and San Francisco played better than expected in their loss. I still don't think San Francisco is very good. I'm deviating from the SM for this game. Take St. Louis and the under (43.5).
Well, I shouldn't have deviated from the SM for this game. I'm really beginning to think that I have the worse luck in the world. There have been 6 game so far that the SM didn't work for, but did I pick against the method in any of those games? Nooooo. I had to chose this one. I can't even blame this one on stupidity. I just have to blame bad luck. How do I turn a 50/50 proposition into this debacle? Do you know what 50/50 means to me? 100% wrong. Ok maybe not 100% wrong, but close enough.
Dont' cry for me though, I'll pull through. 3-7. 5-3 u/o.


Denver -11 Kansas City
Denver has the best home field advantage in all of professional sports. Kansas City lost it's starting QB last week and has a history of getting blown in Denver. They have never won at the new stadium there and without a Green they stand little chance. Larry Johnson is going to have to have a huge day if KC is to stay in this game. Jake Plummer has his own problems, from a subpar performance last week, to a rookie who's just waiting to take his place. The fans will be all over him if he doesn't get off to a good start. Take the points and the under (40.5).
This game turned into a defensive struggle. Larry Johnson had a big rushing game(good for my fantasy team), but didn't get into the endzone(bad for my fantasy team). Since neither team could score, I get to look like I actually know what I'm talking about again. Don't worry, it won't last long. 4-7. 6-3 u/o.



NE -6 NY Jets
The Jets looked very impressive in their opening game and now get to play their first home game. NE struggled against Buffalo in their home opener. The Patriots have a pretty good running attack, but they have lost their best receiver. As long as Pennington stays on the field the Jets will have a chance. Take the points and the under (37).
And just like that, the winning streak comes to an end at one. Can we have a moment of silence please. Ok, that's long enough. The Jets lost by seven and the teams combined to score 41. The short bus is backing up. I almost convinced them that I wasn't mentally challenged, but this performance isn't doing me any good. At least I'm wearing a cup this week. I learned from all the people who volunteered to kick me in the sack last week. Who knew that would be such a popular hobby. 4-8. 6-4 u/o.


San Diego -11.5 Tennessee
Jesus! what's with all the double digit spreads this week. Clearly the odds makers think that there are some horrible teams in the NFL. I happen to agree but these are big numbers to cover. San Diego is now a running team. They are keeping Phillip Rivers on a short leash for now. Tennessee is still a mess. Kerry Collins got the start last week, but even Vince Young got in for a series. I'm not sure what happens, but I'm hoping that the SM works again. Take the points and the under (37.5).
Another total wipeout and another team to join the ranks of absolutely terrible. Tennessee is another team that may not win a game this year. Vince Young actually led a touchdown drive this week. They may be in a position to win when they take on the pee wee league team in week 17. Perhaps they can schedule them during their bye week. I'm sure it would do wonders for morale. San Deigo is still winning with their ground game. As long as the games aren't close, they never have to find out if Rivers can actually lead the team to victory. I guess I shoudn't be so quick to dismiss double digit spreads, since 4 out of 5 covered this week. Oh well, back to the drawing board. 4-9. 6-5 u/o.


Dallas -6 Washington
Two teams coming off very unimpressive performances. Another game like last week and Bledsoe is going to find himself holding a clipboard. Washington should have Portis back for the whole game this week and, as is the norm in games between these two, it should go down to the wire and be decided by a field goal. Hopefully Vanderjagt is up to the task. Apparently Bill Parcells doesn't have any faith in him. Take the points and the over (37).
Drew Bledsoe saved his job for another week. The Tony Romo bandwagon is going to have to wait for at least 2 more weeks since the Cowboys have a bye next week. T.O. broke his finger and is out for 3-5 weeks. I have a hangnail and I'm going to be out for a 3-5 minutes. What happened to the real men who used to play this game. Where's Ronnie Lott when you need him. Lott actually had the tip of his finger cut off during the half time of a game so that he could go in and play the second half. T.O. breaks a finger and can't play for a month??? what the hell? I guess he can go back to riding the stationary bike. Anyway, another loss for the SM. 4-10. 6-5 u/o (another push on the points).

Pittsburgh -1.5 Jacksonville
Big Ben may be back for Pittsburgh for this Monday night game. I can't say for sure and 1.5 means that this is basically a pick 'em game. Jacksonville looked good vs. the Cowboys and they are at home, plus I'm a big fan of Byron Leftwich. I'm going to stick with the SM and take the Jags and the over (36.5).
I'm not even going to wait for the outcome of this one. I'm sure Pittsburgh will win and score about 40 points. The SM last week would have been 11-4, this week, it looks like 4-11. So much for that. Tune in next week when I come up with another method that completely sucks.
Update: The Jags win a defensive struggle. Amazing. Of course I went with the over in this one which pretty much nulifies the pick. final record 5-10. 6-6 u/o. All in all I'd say that is pathetic, much like my life. Anyway, next week promises more of the same.

Here are my BEST BETS OF THE WEEK.
Buffalo +6.5
St. Louis -3
Jets +6
Arizona +7
Best best record 1-3. Is there a way for me to do any worse? I really think that if I were actually trying to get every game wrong that I would be better. Perhaps that's my method for next week. I'm going to pick every game opposite to how I actually think it will go. All I have to do is come up with a name for this new and exciting method by Friday. I'm sure that will have you all on pins and needles. Until then faithful readers. And remember folks, be good to your parents, they've been good to you.

Labels:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pick of the litter


It's NFL pick time again. I know I'm a day early, but I'm going away for the weekend tomorrow and I didn't want all those gamblers who come by to miss out on my words of wisdom for the weekend. Anyway, as I said on Tuesday, the Spiegler method would have gotten me an 11-4 record last week, so I'm going to use a modified version of that this week. That basically means I'll be picking the underdog, unless I've decided in my ultimate wisdom that the favorite is going to cover the spread. I will, of course, end up picking the wrong games to go against the SM(Spiegler method(trademark pending)). I'll probably have a hard time beating last weeks mark of 7-8. I'll also add my "Best Bets of the week"(trademark pending)selections at the end of the column. That's just another chance for me to be wrong. I'll add the same warning that I did last week; These picks are for entertainment purposes only. And given my record, they are pretty damn entertaining. Here Goes nothing:

Home Team in Bold

Miami -6.5 Buffalo
Dante Culpepper certainly didn't impress anyone last week in his return to action. He was playing against the defending SuperBowl champs, but he's not quite at 100% yet. Buffalo put up a great fight and almost beat NE in Foxboro (or wherever the hell the play now). Buffalo usually plays better at home. I'm going with the points on this one. The U/O is 37. I'd take the under in this game.

Carolina -1.5 Minnesota
Carolina showed what a weak offense they are without Steve smith last week. Minnesota played a smart, conservative game and came away with a road win against Washington. I am tempted to believe that Carolina will come up with a better game plan this week considering that smith is likely to be out again. However, I'm not going against the SM. I'll take the points and the under (37)

Cincinnati -10.5 Cleveland
Cleveland is pretty damn bad. I don't how many games they are going to win this year but the under/over has to be at about 4. Cincinnati looked very good last week and while Palmer didn't have a great game, he didn't make any mistakes either. As I learned last week, 10.5 is a lot of points. I'm really tempted to go the other way, but I'm sticking with the plan. Take the points.

Atlanta -5.5 Tampa Bay
It's amazing how one bad week turns everything around. Tampa Bay, who some predicted would end up in the superbowl are now underdogs to Atlanta. Michael Vick played under control last week and the Falcons won in convincing fashion. Their first home game should get the blood pumping a little faster for Mr. Vick. We might see him pull off something amazing this weekend. And I still think Chris Simms sucks. All that being said, I'm taking the points. I'll go with the over (36) in this one.

Baltimore -12.5 Oakland
It's a testament to how poorly Oakland played last week that they are an almost two touchdown underdog to a team that has historically had problems scoring points. Is Oakland as bad as they looked last week? They can't be, can they? Steve McNair is still healthy after a week one win, so all the elements are in place for a blowout. However 12.5 is a huge spread, so I'm sticking with the plan and taking the points. I'll take the under (34)

Philadelphia -3 NY Giants
Philadelphia looked great last week. McNabb is definitely fully recovered from last seasons injuries. The Giants were solid against the Colts, but could not come away with the victory. This is the first divisional match-up for both teams and I expect it will be a very tight game. I'm thinking that Manning will come out with a pretty strong. I suspect that he was a little nervous last week playing his brother, but he still managed to outperform him. I'll take the points and the over (43).

New Orleans -2 Green Bay
Green Bay looked terrible last week. New Orleans looked ok. It's another home game for Brett Favre and crew and they have to be able to bounce back from the disaster that was last week. I don't know why I think that they can, but I just think that they are going to be much more focused and Favre definitely has something to prove. I'll take the points and the over (38).

Indianapolis -13.5 Houston
Wow, this is a huge spread. Houston didn't show much against the Eagles and the Colts looked less than dominating against the Giants even though they managed to get the win. The Houston O-line continues to be swiss cheese and without their starting RB for the remainder of the season, David Carr is going to running for his life. Anyway, I still think that you could get a college team to cover 2 touchdowns. Take the points and the under (47).

Seattle -7 Arizona
Was last week just a blip on the radar screen for the Seahawks? We're about to find out as a rejuvinated Kurt Warner and his aerial attack come to Seattle for a visit. Arizona looks like they can definitely put up some points and Seattle is going to have score more than the 9(?) they managed against Detroit last week. Anyway, take the points and the over (47).

St. Louis -3 San Francisco
St. Louis pulled off the upset of Denver at home last week and San Francisco played better than expected in their loss. I still don't think San Francisco is very good. I'm deviating from the SM for this game. Take St. Louis and the under (43.5).

Denver -11 Kansas City
Denver has the best home field advantage in all of professional sports. Kansas City lost it's starting QB last week and has a history of getting blown in Denver. They have never won at the new stadium there and without a Green they stand little chance. Larry Johnson is going to have to have a huge day if KC is to stay in this game. Jake Plummer has his own problems, from a subpar performance last week, to a rookie who's just waiting to take his place. The fans will be all over him if he doesn't get off to a good start. Take the points and the under (40.5).

NE -6 NY Jets
The Jets looked very impressive in their opening game and now get to play their first home game. NE struggled against Buffalo in their home opener. The Patriots have a pretty good running attack, but they have lost their best receiver. As long as Pennington stays on the field the Jets will have a chance. Take the points and the under (37).

San Diego -11.5 Tennessee
Jesus! what's with all the double digit spreads this week. Clearly the odds makers think that there are some horrible teams in the NFL. I happen to agree but these are big numbers to cover. San Diego is now a running team. They are keeping Phillip Rivers on a short leash for now. Tennessee is still a mess. Kerry Collins got the start last week, but even Vince Young got in for a series. I'm not sure what happens, but I'm hoping that the SM works again. Take the points and the under (37.5).

Dallas -6 Washington
Two teams coming off very unimpressive performances. Another game like last week and Bledsoe is going to find himself holding a clipboard. Washington should have Portis back for the whole game this week and, as is the norm in games between these two, it should go down to the wire and be decided by a field goal. Hopefully Vanderjagt is up to the task. Apparently Bill Parcells doesn't have any faith in him. Take the points and the over (37).


Pittsburgh -1.5 Jacksonville
Big Ben may be back for Pittsburgh for this Monday night game. I can't say for sure and 1.5 means that this is basically a pick 'em game. Jacksonville looked good vs. the Cowboys and they are at home, plus I'm a big fan of Byron Leftwich. I'm going to stick with the SM and take the Jags and the over (36.5).

Here are my BEST BETS OF THE WEEK.
Buffalo +6.5
St. Louis -3
Jets +6
Arizona +7

Enjoy everyone and I'll be back on Tuesday to share the bad news.

P.S.
I'd like to thank the folks at The Big Lead and Can't Stop the Bleeding for their mentions and links. I certainly do appreciate it.

Labels:

Good Night & Good Luck


Jim Kaat is going to broadcasting his last game for the Yankees tonight. It's a rainy day here in NY, so I'm not even sure that the game is going to be played. I certainly hope that they get it in and that the YES network is able to give Jim the send off he deserves. He has served as a baseball analyst on Yankees telecast since 1995. In fact he arrived just as the Yankees were about to go on their amazing run of playoff and World Series appearances. I can't think of anyone I would rather have had take me through the last 11 years than Jim Kaat.

He was an all-star pitcher for the Twins and White sox during the sixties and seventies. He even had a short stint as a reliever for the Yankees in the early eighties. He won 283 games and a still record 16 gold gloves. He belongs in the baseball hall of fame and hopefully, one day, the veterans committee will fix that oversight of the baseball writers. I know that they induct announcers into the hall of fame as well and he should be there as a broadcaster as well. No one broke down the game as well as Jim Kaat did. He brought his amazing knowledge of pitching and game management to the broadcast booth and was able to convey that knowledge without talking down to his audience. He always made it seem as if he were nothing but a journeyman pitcher when the record clearly states something else. I've commented about Tim McCarver before and how he talks as if he were actually a hall of famer, when the only thing McCarver knows about hitting is that it's hard to do. Kaat talks about pitching and approaching hitters in such a way that it makes you feel more knowledgeable about the game from just having listened to him explain it.

With Jim Kaat in the booth, it always felt like you were having a conversation about baseball, instead of listening to a baseball analyst. His take on pitching strategy was always consistent. He was one of the few people on the YES network who would challenge the Yankees decisions. He would speak up about trades or management decisions. He defended Mel Stottlemyre against the wrath of George Steinbrenner during his contentious last two years with the team (always to deafening silence from the ultimate corporate man Michael Kay).

You always felt like you had a friend in the booth when Jim Kaat was behind the mike. Ken Singleton has much the same style and it always made for a more pleasant evening when they were together in the booth. I wish Jim well in his retirement. I'm sorry to see him go, but I'm happy that he will now get to spend the summer months with his wife enjoying his well earned time off. So as he signs off for the last time I would just like to say good night and good luck. And I can't thank him enough for making the game that I love much more enjoyable over the past 12 years. Thanks, Jim.

Labels:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday Morning Quarterback


As promised, here's the recap of my picks from week 1 in the NFL. I didn't exactly make anyone forget Jimmy the Greek, but it could have been worse.
Here's the breakdown:
Denver -4 St. Louis
Denver doesn't play nearly as well away from home. Take the points. I like Denver by a field goal.
St. Louis actually won this game. 1-0 and feeling really good at this point

Tennessee -2.5 Jets
Tennessee is at home, but they have a mess at QB right now. The Jets don't have a running back and have Pennington coming off his 200th injury. I'll take Tennessee to cover, but I don't have much confidence in the pick.
Jets won this game. I guess I didn't have enough faith in Pennington. It looks like he's all the way back. 1-1, oh well, it was nice to have a perfect record.

New England -9.5 Buffalo
Buffalo doesn't have a NFL QB or great receivers, that means their entire offensive load has to be carried by McGahee. 9.5 is a lot of points, but NE at home should have enough to win this game by a couple of touchdowns.
NE inexplicably fumbled and bumbled their way to a ten point first half deficit. I really can't take the blame for this one. Buffalo shouldn't have been within 10 points of them. 1-2, it's starting to look pretty bad.

Tampa Bay -3 Baltimore
Even though I've been hearing a lot about how improved Chris Simms is, I have absolutely no faith in him. Baltimore brings in the always battered and bruised Steve McNair at QB. It may be the only start this year where he is actually healthy. This game really comes down to the running game. Is Jamal Lewis back to his 2,000 yard form of a couple of seasons ago? Probably not. I'm going with Carnell Williams and the Bucs to win by a touchdown.
I knew Chris Simms sucked, but I guess I was counting on the running game to make up for that. I should have gone with McNair in his only healthy game of the season. My fault completely on this one. Chris Simms couldn't beat out Major Applewhite at Texas even though they tried to give him the job repeatedly. Why did I think that he was going to be good enough to win this game? I don't know. I'm an idiot. 1-3, Okay, I'm starting to think that I should stick to baseball.

Kansas City -2.5 Cincinnati
Is Carson Palmer fully healed from his off season surgery? He certainly looked good in the pre-season. Larry Johnson will run for 150 yards, but the KC defense has been very generous in giving up yards themselves. I think that Palmer will lead the Bengals to an upset victory in this one.
The Bengals completely dominated KC in this game. Larry Johnson rushed for under a 100 yards for the first time in ten games (bad for my fantasy team) and trent Green literally got knocked out of the game. 2-3, hey the suns shines on a dogs ass sometimes.

Seattle -6 Detroit
Let's face it, Detroit hasn't been any good for a while. They have finally given up on Joey Harrington and brought in Jon Kitna, which is definitely an upgrade. Roy Williams is due to have a breakout season, but even with home field advantage, I don't see them holding up against the defending NFC champions. This one might be ugly. Seattle in a blowout.
Let me see. What exactly happened here? 9-6 final? What the f? Seattle apparently thought that they could just show up and the Lions would run in fear. Well I guess there's egg on my face on this one. I thought this would be the biggest spread of any game of the weekend. 2-4, I think I should start looking into those special education classes. Short bus anyone?

Carolina -5.5 Atlanta
Carolina is a trendy Superbowl pick this year. However, their best player (Steve Smith) is nursing a couple of sore hamstrings at this point and his status for the game is up in the air. Atlanta is always a mystery. Their success in any game starts and ends with Michael Vick. He's promised to run more this year and with Carolina's d-line and linebackers, he's going to have to. Even without Smith, I see Carolina winning by a touchdown.
I didn't realize how much Steve Smith meant to the Panthers offense. Without him, they were completely lost. Vick played under control and Dunn had a huge day. 2-5, Sometimes you just get them wrong, like the time I tried to make a mountain out of a mole hill. What a colossal waste of time.

Philadelphia -5 Houston
Donovan McNabb is going to be out to prove that last year is just a memory. He will come out strong and if the D-line can pressure David Carr, this game will be an easy win for Philly.
Wow, this almost sounds like I know what I'm talking about. I'm going to have to check on this one, but I'm sure someone else wrote this. 3-5.

Cleveland -3.5 New Orleans
Week 1 of the Reggie Bush show. New Orleans has a new QB, A new RB and a new coach. Not exactly a recipe for success. Good thing for them that they are playing Cleveland. I'll take the points in this one.
I'm glad some things never change. Cleveland still sucks. 4-5. Almost respectable. Almost.

Jacksonville -2 Dallas
Can T.O. make a big difference in Dallas? We are about to find out. This one should be close, but I'm going to take the Cowboys by field goal.
I picked this one with my heart instead of my head. Stupid heart. T.O. was fine, but Bledsoe apparently forgot what team he was playing for and decided to throw to the Jacksonville defense three times. 4-6, and just when I thought I was getting out of the special ed classes, Dallas pulls me back in.

Chicago -3.5 Green Bay
This may be Brett Favre last home opener. And based on his performance last year, it certainly should be. Chicago's defense was the best in the league last year. Unfortunately their offense isn't very good. They won a lot of low scoring games last year because of their defense. Look for more of the same. Chicago will win and cover on a late turnover by Favre.
The Packers looked pathetic at home and were dominated by the Bears. The Bears who last year struggled to score 10 points a game if you spotted them 9, found their offense in Green Bay. This could be a long year for Favre. He might end up wishing that he had retired this past offseason. I should probably retire from making these picks, but just like the plucky Brett Favre, I'm in it for the long haul. 5-6, that's almost respectable.

Arizona -8 San Francisco
This is a big spread, but San Francisco was truly awful last year and they didn't make any moves in the offseason that would lead you to believe that they have gotten any better. Arizona has a couple of good receivers and they've added Edgerrin James to bolster the running attack. This should be a cake walk for the birds. The should win by 2 touchdowns.
This game is just another example of organized crime in sports today. SF kicks a field goal with 36 seconds left to cover the spread by a point. This is a travesty. I have a mind to go to window, open it up and scream, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore". But then I remembered that the windows in this office building don't open. People already think I'm stupid, I don't want them to think I'm crazy too. 5-7, and just when I was thinking that I would break even.

Indianapolis -3.5 NY Giants
The Manning bowl is on. The Colts come in to Giants stadium with their usual passing attack, but they have lost Edgerrin James. The biggest question mark for the Giants is whether or not Eli Manning is ready to the next step in his development. I say that for one night he steps up his game in front of his big brother. I'll take the points in this one.
Another last minute field goal to cover the spread. What the hell is going on here? I don't think God loves me. Maybe he just has a sick sense of humor. Anyway, a bad call and a worse throw by Eli Manning, doomed me here. 5-8, so much for breaking even. I only have the Monday night games to bring our nation's long nightmare to an end.

Washington -4.5 Minnesota
I think both teams will problems scoring in this one. The Washington attack will be grounded by the absence of Clinton Portis. Minnesota? I don't know who's starting at RB or WR. They are a mess offensively as well. This game should be decided either way by a field goal. I'll take the points.
Hey, check this out. The game went exactly according to my plan. Even a surprise appearance by Clinton Portis couldn't ruin this pick as Minnesota won by a late field goal. It's only fair that if the Cowboys lose then Washington should lose as well. 6-8. I can't finish above .500 for the week, and I'm not really very handsome or smart either. All I need is for someone to come over here and kick me in the nuts and my life will be complete.

San Diego -3 Oakland
Bitter rivals get together in game one. Is Phillip Rivers ready to be an NFL QB? We'll find out in this game. Fortunately he's got the best TE and the best all purpose back to lean on. It should make his transition easier. He may not complete many long passes, but given his weapons, it should be enough to win by a touchdown. Look for Aaron Brooks to throw at least a couple of ill-advised passes in key moments.
I didn't realize just how much the Raiders suck. Rivers didn't throw very much, but he did have a TD pass to Gates late in the game. The Chargers ran early and often and LT carried the load for them. The Raiders showed up to play, but apparently they weren't sure exactly what sport they would be playing. The fact that the baseball diamond is still on the field must have confused them. 7-8.

That's it for this week. One game under .500. I should have gone with my friend Bruce Spiegler's strategy of just picking all the underdogs. I would have gone 11-4 with that strategy. So what have I learned from week 1? The Browns still suck, the Raiders may not win a game, Brett Favre should have retired and never bet on a spread of more than 7 points. Oh well, see you all next week. Same bat time, same bat channel. I have to run, the short bus is beeping it's horn.

Labels:

Monday, September 11, 2006

Throw me the Idol


MVP talk is swirling at this point. David Ortiz had a mini-explosion yesterday complaining that the writers are going to screw him out of the MVP again. I've already written a post about why David Ortiz isn't the MVP, so I won't go over that ground again. The remaining candidates at this point are Morneau, Mauer, Santana, Dye, Thome and Jeter. One of those guys is going to win the award. If Ortiz can somehow lead the Red Sox back into the race for either the division or the wild card, then he will reappear on the list.

The Minnesota crew is at a distinct disadvantage because there are three viable candidates on the same team. This will invariably lead to split votes among the writers. Unless a clear cut candidate establishes himself in the next week or so, they are all going to be out of luck. Thome and Dye also play on the same team, but Dye is clearly the one that people have anointed as the clear MVP candidate. Both Minnesota and Chicago are in races for the division/wild card and that can only help a candidate if they perform some late game heroics. As silly as it may seem, highlights on SportsCenter are one of the best ways to get your candidacy across to the voters.

Derek Jeter is probably the front runner right now. In order to win the award, he almost has to win the batting title. He is currenty 5 points behind Mauer for the major league lead. If he wins the batting title, he probably wins the award. If he goes into a slump over the remainder of the season and doesn't win the batting title, then the award will be back in play. He will obviously still get some votes, but he may get more third place votes than first.

Frank Thomas has put himself in the running with a spectacular start to September. He has hit home runs in five straight games and is on track for a 40 home run/120 RBI season. Those are great numbers from someone who has spent the majority of the last two seasons on the DL. Thomas almost certainly assured his Hall of Fame status with his performance this year. While he has put himself into the discussion for the award, his numbers not going to measure up to Morneau, Dye or Ortiz. Because he is a DH, his offensive numbers would have to dwarf what the other players had done, and they simply don't. It has been a great season for Thomas and he has practically carried the Oakland offense at times, but he will not be adding a third award to his mantelpiece this season.

The most interesting candidate is Santana. He's the only pitcher in the debate and his second half numbers are outstanding. As he has done in the second half for the last two years, he is putting up Cy Young worthy numbers. He leads the American League in wins, strikeouts and ERA. The pitchers triple crown has lead to the MVP for pitchers in the past and given his importance to the Twins efforts, he will be given serious consideration this time. The problem with his candidacy is that pitchers seldom win the award unless there are no worthy hitters to contest it. Roger Clemens won the award in '86, beating out Don Mattingly. Clemens led the Red Sox to the World Series, while Mattingly's Yankees finished in second place. That obviously played a part in the mind's of the voters. Santana could lead the Twins to the playoffs, but he not only has to compete against the other outstanding hitters in the league, but also against two outstanding hitters on his own team. He is, in all likelyhood going to win the triple crown this year, but I don't think that it will be enough to put him over the top in the minds of the voters.

So who wins the award? It's hard to predict a winner with three weeks and a couple of playoff positions to be decided. It's probably Jeter's to lose at this point, but the Yankees are well ahead in the standings and he will not be involved in many important games for the remainder of the regular season. If one the Twins or one of the White Sox players can go on a tear for the last couple of weeks, he may very well walk away with the award. Of course the MVP doesn't necessarily go to the best player in each league. This year, Derek Jeter has probably been the best player in the American League. Either he or Travis Hafner. Hafner is out for the rest of the season, however and the Indians never contended, so he did not stand a chance of winning the MVP in such a crowded field. Jeter is currently tied with Manny Ramirez for the win shares lead in the AL, with Mauer, Ortiz, Morneau, Thome and Dye close behind. It's going to be a close race down the stretch, but if I was a betting man (and I've already said many times that I'm not), I would put my money on the captain of the NY Yankees.

Labels: