Friday, November 16, 2007

An Inquiry

First, two big losers from the Oregon-Arizona game (other than, you know, Oregon fans):

1. Dennis Dixon. It sucks to see your championship hopes disappear in the hands of Brady Leaf after an injury where nobody hit you. Especially when your suspect defense actually showed some backbone in the second half and kept you in the game. But hey, at least you might still win the Heisman, and if that's not a recipe for future happiness, NFL success, and good character, I don't know what is. Except for that Chris Weinke guy. What an asshat.*

2. The father of Ryan and Brady Leaf. Good lord, you sire not one but two scholarship D-I quarterbacks, and the lasting memories of both will be ineptitude and failure. Odds this guy is going to send a package bomb to Archie Manning are hovering around 3:1.

Second, the inquiry. Say Oregon won this game despite losing Dixon and won at UCLA and in the Civil War, and say Dixon's injury is one that knocks him out for the season. Further assume that Kansas doesn't go undefeated and LSU wins out, leaving the BCS standings, in theory, largely the same.

Would you still put Oregon into the National Championship game? On the one hand, it's kind of shitty to punish the entire team for an injury to one player, especially if they continued to win despite that loss (though beating Oregon State and Karl Dorrell isn't all that much to write home about). On the other, does anyone really think Oregon would have a snowball's chance in hell of beating LSU in New Orleans without Dixon?

Ed. Note: Mostly sarcasm. Although anytime your grandkids attend the Heisman ceremony, you really should feel like an asshat on your own.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Week 10: NFL Lines

Well, it has been a while. We are hoping we can make this a weekly Friday feature for the rest of the season. A small caveat: I have never made money betting on football. In fact, I often lose money. With that said, here we go:

Jackosnville (+4) at Tennessee

This is a tough one. Tennessee wins games even though the team appears to be composed exclusively of players who are not good at football. Very puzzling. Alas, Jacksonville is not good either. Also, Jack del Rio is a moron and refuses (to the dismay of Jags fans and fantasy owners alike) to use his best weapon -- Maurice Jones-Drew -- on a consistent basis. The game is at Tennessee which means nothing to me. So let's see...I'll take Jacksonville. Based on the assumption that Garrard will be back, which seems to be better than 50/50 right now. If Gray starts I'll take Tennessee. Either way, I don't like this game. Stay away from it. (Confidence: None).

Denver at KC (-3)

Denver is really bad. They no longer have a good running game. When did this happen? Couldn't someone have told me this before I wasted a first round pick on Travis Henry. Maybe there chop blocking O- line is getting old? Who knows. I think they miss McCaffrey. I mean, who doesn't? Ramsey actually looked better than Cutler last week. It is never good when Patrick Ramsey looks better than your starting quarterback. They are facing the Chiefs who would have an equally pathetic offense except that they have one good player -- Tony Gonzales. The Chiefs actually have a decent defense now under Herm Edwards. To top it all off, the game is at Arrowhead. Making the obvious pick the Chiefs. (Confidence: Some).

Buffalo (-3) at Miami

Really? Buffalo is only three point favorites. Really? The Bills have a good defense, great special teams, and a decent offense with Losman back to his late 2006 form. With Lynch and Lee Evans coming on strong the last few weeks this team can now be considered semi-dangerous. On the flip side, the Dolphins are pathetic in every possible respect. They actually bear an uncanny resemblance to Grant's fantasy football team. The Bills will win by a lot more than three. (Confidence: A Lot).

Cleveland (+10) at Pittsburgh

I'm surprised this line isn't higher based on the way the Steelers just dismantled the Ravens Monday night. That was ugly. Luckily, Cleveland's offense is approximately 100000x better than the Ravens offense. If you haven't gotten on the Derek "HorseBalls" Anderson bandwagon yet, then let me tell you brother, it is time to join. Spots are filling up quickly. Kellen Winslow is the best tight end in the game and Braylon Edwards is a top-5 receiver. I remember Pittsburgh being not that good early on in the season. Thus, the pick is Cleveland. (Confidence: Very Little). I like this to be a high scoring game so I am going with the over (47.5). (Confidence: More than in the Browns).

St. Louis at New Orleans (-12)

Jesus. Twelve points is a lot. I know St Louis is bad, but twelve points. Jesus. Steven Jackson is back, but word is he won't get a full workload. I don't like that. That means we will be seeing some Brian Leanord. There are no white starting running backs in the NFL for a reason and that reason is not reverse racism. New Orleans offense has been clicking and St. Louis's D will offer no resistance. Also, the Rams O-Line is terrible and New Orleans has some good pass rushers (see Grant, Charles). I doubt Bulger survives the whole game. The pick is the Saints at home. (Confidence: Not that much). I like the over here as well (46.5). (Confidence: High if Bulger finishes the game). On a somewhat unrelated note, is Jim Haslett still the defensive coordinator in St. Louis? I bet as he is watching Brees and Colston lite up his secondary, he will really be wishing the Saints hadn't fired his ass. And also hating Katrina. Bitch.

Atlanta at Carolina (-4)

Holy crap. What a terrible game. I mean, seriously, I pity anyone who is getting the game on Fox and doesn't have Sunday Ticket. Brutal. Which offense is worse? I'm going to say Atlanta. Testaverde>Harrington, Steve Smith>Roddy White, Foster/Williams>Dunn (Norwoood appears unlikely to play). Also, the game is at Carolina and the Panthers have Peppers, who should get to Harrington a couple times. The pick is Carolina (Confidence: Some).

Philadelphia at Washington(-3)

Are there any good teams in the NFL. Another awful game. Despite their record, Washington is not good. Don't be fooled. On the other side, this is Philadelphia's worst team since the mid 90s. I don't understand all the McNabb haters. I mean look what this guy has to work with: Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. Are you kidding me? Yeah, Westbrook is good, but give the guy a decent WR before you run him out of town. I'll take McNabb on the Bucs anyday. I suspect Clinton Portis will have a good game and Jason Campbell will throw his first TD to a WR. Why? The Eagles defense is bad. Which is very odd. Jim Johnson usually fields a reasonable squad. The pick is Washington at RFK (Confidence: In the Redskins? You must be kidding).

Minnesota at Green Bay (-6)

Man this is difficult. Now I understand why it is so tough to make money gambling and why the Sports Guy can never go over .500 with his picks. Well you know a reason other than the whole him being a colossal douche bag. I'm scared to pick against the Vikings and Purple Jesus after that performance against a respectable Chargers D. But Green Bay is, and I can't believe I'm saying this, actually good at football. I know they don't have a running game , but that is okay because it cancels out Minne's great running D. Farve will throw for three and Brooks Bollinger (why are there so many awful Wisconsin QBs in the NFL) will get sacked by Kampman at least 2 times. And its at Lambeau, I'll take the Packers (Confidence: Pretty Decent). The Vikings must have some bad karma after that whole Troy Williamson fiasco. What a classless organization. Fuck you Zygi Wolf or Wilf or whatever your stupid ass name is. Also, Childress looks like a used car salesman.

Cincinnati at Baltimore (-4)

Cincinnati is really bad. The gain of Chris Henry from suspension is offset by the possible loss of Chad Johnson (neck injury). Does anyone remember when Rudi Johnson was good at football? Me neither. Oh wait, it was just last year when I took him fifth overall in fantasy. As for the Ravens, their offense is spectacularly bad. I am on the "it's time to start Troy Smith bandwagon." However, the Cinci defense works wonders for bad offenses. I know the Ravens D looked bad on Monday, but they have a lot of pride and I expect them to bounce back against Cinci. This pick is Baltimore (Confidence: Not too much).

Chicago (-3.5) at Oakland

I know Chicago is down from last year. But we are talking about Oakland and Josh McCown here. This is an absolutely horrendous football team. Fargas is a huge upgrade over Lamont Jordan , but it won't be enough. Plus, Lane Kiffin has already said he is going to kick to Devin Hester (not a good idea). Ill take Da Bears. (Confidence: Mediocre)

Dallas (-2.5) at New York

Marion Barber may be my new favorite player. You have to love the way he runs. Its impossible not to like Romo and somehow Wade Phillips and crew have kept TO in line. This is a good Dallas team. I know New York has won six in a row, but I just can't see them beating Dallas. In fact, thinking about their roster I am shocked they are 6-2. Burress is good and Jacobs is a better pure runner than Barber was, but I just can't get to the point of declaring Eli good. I think Eli loses a close game with a stupid mistake. Nick Folk will make the clutch kicks. The pick is the Cowboys (Confidence: Decent)

Detroit (pick em) at Arizona

Really? Pick em? I don't understand this line. Marinelli has the Lions defense playing really well. Yes, they still give up a lot of yards sometimes but they are extremely opportunistic. They remind me a lot of Jim Johnson's old Philly defenses which never looked that good stat-wise, but always managed to get a timely turnover. Martz has really turned this bunch around on offense. They have the best WR core in the NFL (yes that includes the Pats) and with Kevin Jones healthy they have a nice dual threat at RB. I watch a lot of Lions games because I live in the midwest and they are always on TV, so I speak with some knowledge here. Kitna was bad last year -- so bad in fact I was quoted as saying that Lions would be 12-4 in 2006 if Brady Quinn were their quarterback. I know Kitna's numbers weren't that bad, but he ALWAYS made a stupid play that cost the team the game. Always, always, always. This year he still has the same confidence, but has decided to stop making that one stupid pass that gets taken back for a pick 6. It really is amazing what Martz has done with him in one year. On the other side, Warner is awful. Just god awful. Look for Shaun Rodgers to get at least a sack. I would take the lions even if this were a 10 point spread. The pick, of course, is the Lions. (Confidence: Possum Avenger Guarantee of the Week).

Indianapolis (-4) at San Diego

Is this team about to quit on Norv Turner. It would seem that way. Why doesn't he run Ladanian and Michael Turner more? I am pretty shocked at the regression of Rivers under Turner considering how well Turner coached up Alex Smith last season. On the other hand, Indy is really good. I mean they almost beat the Pats without there left (or is it right) tackle and Marvin Harrison. They should have no problem with the sinking ship that is the Chargers. I like Indy (Confidence: Good)

San Francisco (+10) at Seattle

Seattle isn't good enough to be 10 point favorites over anyone. Even if it is the lowly 49ers. I'm genuinely surprised at how bad this 49ers team is. Mike Nolan's job security is fading fast. I think they step up on the Monday Night stage and make a game of it. (Confidence: Low).

In review, it seems I took a lot of the favorites. That's what they say "lay" people do. And trust me, I am no expert.

So here is the parlay of the week: Detroit to win and Buffalo and Indy to cover. It pays 6:1 at Bodog.