Friday, September 19, 2014

WEEK THREE: CRIMINAL CHARGE FREE?

Well, judging by success picking games in week two, I am getting none the wiser as this NFL season progresses. Put in a solid 5-11 record, which is not at all good, and even worse than last week. To be fair, I don't think a lot of folks saw the Bears or Chargers upending the NFC West superpowers, the Cowboys looking like an actual NFL team, or the Browns making Drew Brees look like Drew Barrymore throwing the ball out there, right? Granted that doesn't count for the rest of my stupidity, but it is a start. While I may lose, I like to think I do it with flair and if you disagree, please keep it to yourself, alright?

Chargers (+2.5) at Bills- Oh boy. This is one where you have to decide what to believe thus far in 2014. The Bills are 2-0, but it is it legit? The Chargers beat the "unbeatable" Seahawks on Sunday, is that something that will carry over? Tough to say if I believe in either thing, but what I do know, is I have many a friend who is a Bills fan and now that we are out of the K-Gun early 90s, I have no ill will towards them. But knowing a lot of Bills fans, I know that the Bills are big on building up modicums of hope, before ripping the metaphoric rug out from under their loyal fans. The Bills are kind of like Lucy from Peanuts, holding the ball for poor, sad sack, Charlie Brown who will represents the Bills fandom. They always seem to have that glimpse of hope, that this time the ball will stay held for them to kick, only to have it snatched away from them at the last second, leaving them flat on their backs.


I don't know that I trust E.J. Manuel, yet and I think the Bills may be halfway decent, but the Chargers have won two of three at the Ralph, so I think it's an "AAUGH!" game for the Billsies. Chargers 24-21

Cowboys (-1) at Rams- While it is possible I overstated how bad the Cowboys are this season, I like to think that's not true. That being said the Rams have scored the fewest points in the NFL even after torching the Buccaneers for a whopping 19 points, last Sunday. Apropos of nothing, this is the Rams first game against a team with a .500 or better record, this season. In fact it is their first game against a team that already has a victory this season. The Rams one win is against the Buccaneers which frankly doesn't strike me as overly impressive, at this point in the season. Austin Davis fared okay, last week and, not that I am saying the Cowboys defense is good (cause it's not) or anything, but I think he stumbles a bit this week. Cowboys 23-17

Redskins (+6.5) at Eagles- The Kirk Cousins era has begun in Washington! Well, maybe not, but Cousins sure looked good after the 'Skins lost RG III (what are the odds?) in the first quarter against Jacksonville. Yes, yes, I realize, it was Jacksonville that he lit up, but nevertheless. Well, the thing is, the Eagles also played the Jaguars and one, but by less, so, utilizing my notes from Statistics 101,by transitive property, the Redskins are slightly better than the Eagles, right? Math doesn't lie, right? Well, maybe not quite, but I think this is a shootout where the home team takes it! Eagles 38-34

Texans (-2) at Giants- Look, I am not sure yet, just how good the Texans really are, but I am pretty sure how bad the Giants are and, well, they are pretty bad. On the plus side, we are getting all sorts of new Eli faces, shrugs, flails, etc!



Not to be too hard on Eli though, his supporting cast is hardly helping out. I can't imagine the Eli faces are reduced any against JJ Watt and the Texans this week. Texans 24-9

Vikings (+10) at Saints- At some point the Saints will be really, really, ridiculously good looking,  on the football field, right?




Perhaps, and while I think they will win this one home teams favored by six or more points this season are 2-7. Not good odds, but the Saints should come marching in with a big ol' sense of urgency this week. Saints 28-21

Titans (+7) at Bengals- So, remember that stat about the home teams cover spreads of six or more this season? 2-7, thus far. But, the Bengals more than covered that five and a half point spread last week against the Falcons. I kind of like the Titans as a sleeper team this season and they looked like the were sleeping last week as Demarco Murray ripped on through them. With Bernard and Jeremy Hill pounding the ball in week three, even the possible absence of A.J. Green shouldn't stop the Bengals from getting the victory. Bengals 27-17

Ravens (-1.5) at Browns- The Browns don't quit and they are making things real exciting for Browns fans, in 2014. The Browns are likable and are not embarrassing themselves out there, so that's something, for sure. Brian Hoyer is becoming a good game manager, I think? I am entirely sure how to tell, alright, but he has been leading the Brownies fairly well. I wouldn't really call this my upset special since the spread is so minuscule, but I like the Brownies to over take the Ravens in this one. Browns 28-27

Lions (-2.5) vs. Packers- The Packers are definitely going to be winning high scoring games. Packers, your defense is suspect.



Yeah, you! The Packers are not tough on the run. I mean, at all. It's only two weeks in, I understand, but they are giving up an average of 176.5 rushing yards per game, for crying out loud! That, however, is good news for Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Both teams have decent offenses, but the Lions kind of have a better defense, which gives them the slight edge, in this battle. Lions 27-21

Colts (-7) at Jaguars- There was such promise in Jacksonville....for like 30 minutes of game time. The Jaguars were up 14-0 after eight minutes and ten seconds of their season, and carried a 17-0 lead into halftime of their opener at Philly. Life was good, the Jaguars were no longer looking like the laughing stock of the NFL, and then, well, then it all fell apart. 17-0 through 30 minutes of their regular season followed by being outscored 75-10 over the next 90 minutes of football. That's a bit more like it, I guess? I did think the Jags would actually show some signs of life this season and they very well still could do that again. That being said, I think the Colts take this battle of winless teams, with "Luck Face" sightings being few and far between. Colts 31-21

Patriots (-14) vs Raiders- Ya know what the Patriots did last week in Minnesota? Yea, it'll be sort of like that. Patriots 31-7

49ers (-3) at Arizona- I thought the Niners would handle their business pretty well on Sunday night against the Bears, but guess what? That didn't happen. Colin Kaepernick was turning the ball over all the live long day and the Bears came away with the victory. As much as I would love to see that happen again, I don't think it will. I like the Cardinals, but I think the Niners will be able to fluster Drew Stanton a bit more than the Giants could. 49ers 27-20

Seahawks (-5) vs. Denver- Well, we get ourselves a rare rematch of the previous year's Super Bowl. This is only the fifth time such an event has occurred, so we're all part of history. The last time it happened was in 1997 when the Packers played the Patriots the year after beating them in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl loser is 2-3 in these regular season matchups and the home teams are 3-2, so nothing really to take away from that, but the only team to have a rematch after a drubbing similar to the one the Broncos were subjected to last winter, was the Buffalo Bills. The following season the Bills marched into Dallas in week two and beat the Cowboys 13-10. I think there is little or no takeaways from this information and I just don't think the Broncos match up well enough against the 'Hawks in Seattle. Seahawks 28-21

Dolphins (-4) vs. Chiefs- The Chiefs were just plain unimpressive in the opener against the Titans, but then hung in there against the Broncos..in Denver. The Chiefs were even knocking on the door and close to tying that game, late. The Chiefs had trouble finishing drives in Denver and you can't leave points on the field, especially against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I actually think this one is somewhat evenly matched, but I think I just need the Chiefs to prove something to me, before I go picking them. Dolphins 21-14

Panthers (-3.5) vs. Steelers- The Steelers are kind of reeling. I mean they kind of their own little Jaguars syndrome going on, right now. After one half of play, against the Browns, the Steelers had a 27-3 lead. 27-3! Over the next 90 minutes of football? Well, they've been, outscored 50-9. That is not a typo, kids. Well, that's just, well, awful may be an understatement. Do you think the cure for that is going on the road to face a Panthers defense that is number five in total defense in this young season? Yeah, me neither. Panthers 28-9

Jets (-3) vs. Bears- Poor ol' Matt Forte steps in against another tough rush defense. I think you know my opinion on Jay Cutler and if you don't, well my opinion, is I don't trust him. But I think he will be able to have a big night in the Meadowlands on Monday, as long as Marshall and Jeffery are ready to go. I may, may, be picking this one with my gut and not my head, but hey, my gut is right about 63% of the time, unofficially.

Alight, you get outta here, now, ya crazy kids, you!























Thursday, September 18, 2014

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Are you ready for some football? A large portion of my undisciplined friends have returned for Thursday Night!



I know I, for one, am excited for Atlanta and Tampa Bay clash! Okay, sorry, so I am just not super pumped for this matchup, but at least it is another division battle, right? That's something, right? maybe? Is there at least a possibility this will be close? Sure, but that possibility existed before the first two games as well.

I was hoping the Packers would make a game of it in the opening Thursday night clash, but that wasn't to be as the Pack ended up losing by 20 points, not even close to covering the spread on the road. The second game featured the Ravens and the Steelers two teams who share no love loss. They had only played two games in the previous six seasons that were decided by more than a touchdown and the previous five contests heading into this one were decided by a field goal or less. The spread was two and a half points, so surely we were in for a dandy of a Thursday nighter, right? Well, ya know, that or the Steelers get beaten 26-6, another loss by 20 in a Thursday night game. Yuck.

These things cannot so much be predicted, and the matchup. or its fantasy relevance, will still be what will really draw people in. Falcons-Buccaneers is not a sexy matchup, to most run of the mill NFL fans. The rivalry is not as fierce as, say, Saints-Falcons, but like I said, it is at least a divisional matchup. So that's something. I would like a Thursday nighter that is actually at least a close game, but is there some special Thursday night mojo for the home teams? It's quite possible.

The home team again comes in to the Thursday night skirmish as the favorite. Well, in 2013, the home team only covered on Thursday night three times. Three! That's out of fifteen, folks. That's not good, especially when you realize the home team won only once when favored all of last season on Thursday night. That's almost enough to start making the road teams someone's lock of the week.


How is that relevant? Well, it isn't, really. Not at all. It's not relevant since the home teams are 2-0 as favorites, at home, on Thursday night, against the spread this year. That's already twice as many as last season! So odds, right now, if you were to bet, not on the actual skill level of the teams or how they matchup, but rather on the recent results, are in favor of the Falcons. Sample size, not quite enough to make them your shoe in of the week, but sort of interesting.



Well, I think the Falcons take this one handily, but not because of the recent odds history, but because of Matty Ice.

Matt Ryan is highly decent in the Georgia Dome. As bad as the Falcons were last year, Ryan was steady at home, flashing a 13-3 TD-INT ratio, as opposed to 13-14, on the road. Ryan's home rating was just over 25 points higher than his road rating in 2013, and in his first game at home this season he threw for 448 yards and three touchdown. Oh, and the Falcons have also won five of the last six against the Bucs in the Georgia Dome. I think it's another solid night for Matty Ice and another less than close Thursday night game. Falcons 24-12

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE COLTS RUINED MY WEEK AND OTHER FANTASY FOOTBALL THOUGHTS

It's a rare treat when a fantasy football matchup comes down to the Monday Night Football game. It gives you a rooting interest in the game, and more importantly a nice reason to sputter profanities at your television set, regardless of whether you have any allegiance to either team or not.


Even rarer is when said matchup comes down to, not only the Monday night game, but to one of the defenses in the Monday night game..and that is all. Well such a thing is what happened to me, this very Monday.

Entering Monday I was clinging to a slim three point lead in my work league, with my opponent having only the Eagles defense left to play. Now, I will admit, and I am sure I am not alone, that I rarely look at the scoring settings for defense/special teams. If the defense/special teams unit scores touchdowns and or gives up few points, they are probably good, but rarely do I delve too deep into the actual settings surrounding defensive scoring. In fact, I usually end up using several different defenses throughout the season. Without checking the actual settings, I was aware of the fact that, whatever those actual settings may be, the Eagles were projected to get four points and if they did I would lose and fall to 1-1. Now, for a frame of reference, I am in five fantasy leagues and this was the only league where the Monday Night game would play any role in the outcome. As in I was 1-3 in my other four leagues, barring a minor miracle (like T.Y. Hilton outscoring Ahmad Bradshaw by 55 points) regardless of what happened in this game. I needed this win. In my mind, I deserved this win. Another factor at play was the fact I was playing the commissioner of the league and he sits diagonally across from me, so this matchup was for bragging rights and trash talk for at least the next week or so. Like I said, I needed this. In come the Colts.

The Colts were well on there way to keeping the Eagles from getting four points, right into the fourth quarter. I was down by, I believe, .7 or something, while he Colts were up 27-20, fairly deep in Eagles territory, with under six minutes to go. At this point, margin for error was slim, for both myself and the Colts. The Colts were in field goal territory! I feverishly scrolled through the league settings on my phone and found that just one, yes one, more Colts point or about 25 more Colts yards would get me the "W". The Colts tried playing mostly a ball control, clock eating offense all game, so when third down happened, with the Colts well within Adam Vinatieri's range (Vinatieri is roughly 857-858 from that range, indoors, I think) I was starting to get confident that I had this sewn up. Victory would be mine. I would be first in my work league at 2-0. All the Colts really needed to do, was not turn the ball over! Then, well, then it happened.

Jon Gruden, up in the booth, said, something along the lines of it's smart to run the ball, here, but if you pass, you have to make good decisions. Yep, I was screwed. On third down, the Colts choose a pass play (oh boy, increased chance at a turnover) and Luck spots T.Y. Hilton, throws it his way, and Hilton, of course, seemingly falls down and the ball falls right into the arm of an Eagles defender. All they needed to do was NOT turn the ball over! Upon seeing replays it was clear that Hilton was held, interfered with, dragged to the ground. whatever you want to call it, but without any call from the referees. But, hey, that was what it was, I was still down. The good news was there was still plenty of time left for the Colts to get the ball back after the Eagles possession. I now just needed a Colts score of any kind and about 50 yards or so from their offense. Piece of cake right? Wrong.

The Colts have Andrew Luck who seemingly thrives under pressure, in the waning minutes of close games (although I think the fourth quarter comeback/ clutchiness "statistic" is overrated and needs to be qualified a bit more, but that's for another day) so of course they would give him the ball and let him create. It would be a magical drive, getting me the needed yards and score for the victory, right? Wrong. The Colts run back-to-back conservative run plays from their 20, that get little yardage, setting up 3rd and long-ish with just under three minutes left to be played The Colts were not playing to win, in my mind, they were playing not to lose. The Colts punted. The Colts would not get the ball back, would be awarded no points and could only hope that God would have mercy on their souls. On my living room couch, staring at Andrew Luck on my TV screen, might as well have been me staring into a mirror.


Yep, the "Luck Face" (now almost as popular as the "Eli Aww Shucks Face") said it all. A heartbreaking week two lost for both of our squads, but at least he still got paid for the losing effort.

The Colts seemingly snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. Sure, the interception should have been a penalty, but it wasn't. The play itself was not necessarily a bad call, per se. It was borderline gutsy, but not really. What baffles me, is how the Colts leaned a bit more to the unconservative side, in that situation and then, in a tie game, late, with Mr. late Game Hero on their side, went towards the ultra conservative side? It's mind bottling.

Anyways, for those of you not at all interested in my fantasy woes ( I am sure you are few and far between) or the plight of the Eagles defense in the fantasy sense, here's some other fantasy foofarah:


  • I still think Justin Hunter will have a breakout week some day and I think that someday is Sunday against the Bengals, who are giving up decent fantasy points to receivers.
  • Dan Carpenter has more fantasy points than Chad Henne and almost as many as EJ Manuel.
  • Well, as a Ledarius Green owner, I can't say Antonio Gates' demise being grossly exaggerated, pleased me much. At some point Green is a factor...maybe even in 2014. Gates, by the way was 54.5% owned in week two.
  • Get on the Brain Quick bandwagon, well, quickly, especially in PPR. Even with the Rams QB situation he has 14 receptions, seven in each game and the Rams play Dallas' not so big "D" this week.
  • The Texans D gets the Giants this week....might be a tough week for owners of Giants "skill" players, just sayin'.

  • Well, maybe not Larry Donnell. Donnell has 12 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown this season. At this point he is the only one consistently getting balls from Eli. Yes, I am aware of my wording.
  • Remember when everyone jumped to get Allen Hurns? Two catches, 13 yards in week two.
  • Go Paul-in! Cousins to Paul could be a big, big combo this week!
  • Justin Forsett still lying around on a good many waiver wires and the Browns have allowed the 7th most rushing yards in the NFL through two weeks. I like Forsett to outshine Bernard Pierce.
  • Anyone who drafted Steve Smith, Sr. is a lucky duck.
  • Dennis Pitta owners have a bounty on Owen Daniels' head yet?
  • Not sure who is actually thinking it, but if you are thinking about starting Bishop Sankey this week, don't. If a big breakout happens, it won't be at Cincy....wait for Indy.
  •  Kendall Wright on the other hand, should get back on track. The Bengals have given up 33 receptions for 348 yards and two TDs in two games this season. 
  • RG III you are my fantasy kryptonite.
  • If you're trying to replace RG III and Kirk Cousins is gone, Josh McCown could have a decent Thursday night in Atlanta. McCown is averaging more fantasy points than Kaepernick, Flacco, Dalton and that no name in New England, Tom Brady.
  • Speaking of Brady, he did this last season with the slow fantasy start. Don't panic, it'll come soon..ish. Probably.

  • If Desean Jackson doesn't suit up on Sunday in Philly, I like Andre Roberts for a big play. Decent deep play, anyways against the Iggles.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick? Really? Ah, who am I kidding? I'd follow that gorgeous beard to the ends of the Earth!


  • I don't see Ahmad Bradshaw slowing down any in Jacksonville; the Jags have allowed 289 yards and four TDs on the ground this season.
  • Mark my words, Shane Vereen will have a big fantasy week in week three. 
  • Same goes for Joique Bell!
Well those are my fantasy thoughts for now; a scary look into the mind of someone who was 1-4 in fantasy football last week. Does what I think even matter? I was 1-4 last week, people!


Friday, September 12, 2014

WEEK TWO: GAME OF GROANS

Week one is in the books and what a week it was! Punters getting all Daniel LaRusso'd (get 'em a body bag!) and, ya know, other stuff. Among the many things we know to be true after week one is that Tom Brady and the Pats are not making the playoffs, the Panthers defense is basically the Seahawks of the east coast, the Dolphins have the AFC East locked up, the Saints are in shambles, while Matt Ryan and the Falcons are back and ready to soar, and, of course Stafford to Johnson is the new Kitna to Furrey. Umm, it's week one, in the words of  Ygritte, "you know nothing." You may, however, know more than me, since my week one picks were not stellar. I did manage to salvage a 7-8 record, but am already 0-1 in week two, making my season record 7-9. That's probably not gonna get me into the playoffs, huh? Well I am sure to turn it around this week, loyal reader(s)! Well, after the loss to start the week that is...if you want to get all technical and whatnot. Turning it around starting right.....now!

Lions (+3) at Panthers: The Panthers are really favored, here? I mean I realize that the game is in Carolina and all, but still, really? Did the spreadmakers (not a great name) see the Monday night game? Now granted, the Giants are fairly bad, and Carolina is likely to possibly cover Calvin Johnson ...


but still! The Panthers defense looked great against the Bucs and Shaun Hill, sorry if, in the words of Shania, "that don't impress me much". Cam Newton should return this week, but I still like the Lions for the "upset". Lions 24-20

Dolphins(-1) at Bills: The Dolphins defensed stymied Tom Brady and the Patriots last week (in the second half anyways) which is somewhat impressive, right? Regardless of your feelings on the Patriots, you have to admit their offense should be somewhat decent, right? It's week two, so the question really is, is the Patriots offense really that bad or is the Dolphins defense really that good? I don't have the answer, per se, but I am not completely sold on the 'Phins based on that one game, but on the other hand, are they circling the wagons in Buffalo, yet?



Probably not and Bills fans certainly know better than to get their hopes up after beating Jay Cutlet, albeit on the road. Bills have won three of the last four in this rivalry, including the last two in Buffalo. Bills 23-17

Jaguars (+6) at Redskins: The 'Skins offense probably offended 'Skins fans and fantasy stake holders more in week one, than the team name and logo. Well, there's no JJ Watt this time around and despite a fast start the Jags, showed what they were made of in the second half of week one. Still, as I said, the Jags are at least more entertaining than last year, so look for another highly entertaining loss, this time around. Redskins 24-17

Cowboys (+3.5) at Titans: The Cowboys are just plain bad. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it, folks. Calling their defense a civ, may actually be a compliment. The surprise story this year could be Jake Locker. Did you fantasy players know that Locker's per game fantasy numbers were better than Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick and Matt Ryan in 2013? Now, sure all those guys are currently on my overrated list (well, maybe not Ryan) but they are still names that get more hype than Locker. I think Jake will have one of the better stat lines for a QB on Sunday, mark my words. Titans 26-17

Cardinals (-2.5) at Giants: Just because it is really too easy to pick on the G-men, doesn't mean I won't do it. Look, the Giants did not seem to have it together last Monday night in the Motor City or all preseason for that matter. Make this interesting for yourself and drink every time you see the Eli "Aww shucks" face or arm flail.


Should be worth it. Cardinals 21-10

Patriots (-3) at Vikings: Remember how revamped and stingy that Patriots defense was supposed to be? Well, I guess no one told Knowshon Moreno that, huh? Well, at least the move to get rid of Logan Mankins looks like a stellar move so far. The Pats offensive line didn't look like it could have blocked Pee-Wee Herman, out there if they tried, on Sunday.



Or, you know some better analogy containing another easily blocked person or thing? While I think Patterson and Peterson give the Pats trouble, Geenie tells me that the Pats hold off the Vikes in this one. Patriots 24-17



Saints (-6.5) at Browns: The Browns almost victory on Sunday against the Steelers,seems even less impressive after the Steelers' showing on Thursday Night. Both of these teams played games decided by a field goal in week on; neither will do that in week two. Saints 35-20

Falcons (+5) at Bengals: This one intrigues me, I will say that. I like both teams in a "hey, it'd be nice for their franchises to win a Super Bowl, someday" kinda way, but neither of them is a team I put full trust in. Matt Ryan does not play well in outdoor road games. At least I think I read that somewhere, once? Don't worry, you know what to expect from "Bitterness", I will in no way back this proclamation up with any sort of sources or real, hard data. Bengals 21-17

Rams (+6) at Buccaneers: If I am either defense I am forcing the opposing offense to try and throw the ball. This could be the Shaun Hill (day-to-day)- Josh McCown shootout we've all been waiting for, said no one ever. I don't anticipate a ton of offense int his one, but like the Bucs at home. Buccaneers 20-13

Seahawks (-6) at Chargers: Hmmm, the Chargers only scored, what, 17 points against the Cardinals? What does that translate to against the Seahawks? Answer: a long afternoon for Phil Rivers. Seahawks 31-14

Texans (-3) at Raiders: One week is hardly a large enough sample size to gauge exactly how good the Texnas defense is, but we know JJ Watt to be beast like, soooo....Texans 24-9

Jets (+8.5) at Packers: The Packers are a bit battered, but Aaron Rodgers will have had 10 days or so to let that week one performance in Seattle, fester. I don't envy the Jets, which actually usually goes without saying. Packers 21-12

Chiefs (+12) at Broncos: Peyton Manning is good. There, I said it. Last season the Chiefs were able to hang with the Broncos in both games, but if I am factoring in how the Chiefs started this season, as opposed to last season, well...great googly moogly.





Broncos 34-13

Bears (+7) at 49ers: Not a strong finish in week one for Cutlet and the Bears. I foresee that week one finish carrying over into week two, where Cutlet has a, well, less than nice day. 49ers 28-10

Eagles (+3) at Colts: This one has all the makings of a high scoring game and I love it. Defense has it's time and place, sure. After all, that's what wins championships, but come Monday night I am all for kicking back and watching some points put on the board. Quite frankly, both of these teams, overall, are a bit of a mystery to me. Both could be really good, but I just don't know yet. I think the difference in this one, is the home field (I guess?). At least that's what I'm going with! Colts 31-27

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

One week of NFL football is officially in the books, my friends and what a week it was! Especially that thing that happened with that guy on the team in the game! Amazing, am I right? Phew, gotta take a breath after just thinking about that! We can reminisce later, but onto Thursday night we go. Huzzah!

Thursday features a good old-fashioned NFC North drop down, drag 'em out, rivalry for the ages. The epic matchup everyone wants to see...Steelers- Ravens. Not gonna say I really have a like for either of these squads, but this could be a close game. Notice I was very careful in my wording and did not say "good" game. Good and close are not always necessarily the same, see?

Look, the Steelers almost lost on Sunday. At home. After leading 27-3. AGAINST THE BROWNS!  Now the Steelers did manage to not lose that game, avoiding scathing embarrassment for all the land to see. Well, there was also this:



Sure, it did give many people that first "OOOOOOHHHHH!" moment of the season and yes, I did watch this GIF about 37 times on Monday morning, but it in the end it is kind of sad. I mean, really? Really, Antonio Brown?! What was the thought process here? Brown leapt from like five yards away! Did he think he could hurdle Spencer Lanning from that distance or was it just about time that a prima donna NFL punter (non Pro-Bowl edition) finally got his comeuppance? "Now you know how the ball feels, SPENCER!" Well, either way it did lead to this being made, so in a way, everyone wins. Plus, Ray Rice's video and ensuing dismissal, pretty much overshadowed this anyway, so looks like everything's coming up Antonio!

On the other side of the coin, the off field embarrassment, borderline disgrace or however you want to label it, surrounding the Ravens organization, thanks to the whole Ray Rice saga (don't worry I'm sure you'll hear little about the story before, during or after the game on Thursday), does distract people from the Ravens on field embarrassment. Embarrassment too harsh? I mean they lost by seven, but they made some decent blunders to get there. Harsh or not, they lost, deal with it, alright?



I don't think either of these squads is all that good, but they may not be atrocious. That's as rave a review as I will give 'em. I mean, generally I think both teams tend to be overrated based on past successes, but that is history, folks. Like I said this may be a close, close game and I stand by that. In fact, the last five contests between these two squads have been decided by three points or less. Not only that, but 11 of the last 13 matchups between these two teams have been decided by a touchdown or less. Other than that, there is not much that stands out as far as historical data. I mean the Ravens have won four of the last six, but at M&T Stadium, they are only 8-8 all-time against the Steelers and if you count there games at Memorial Stadium that home record moves to 9-9 against Pittsburgh. So, really no sort of home field advantage here. I think Big Ben and the Steelers come out of this slobberknocker with the victory, Steelers 20-17.

Godspeed!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

WEEK ONE PICKS: GONE KITNA GONE

As I stared at the The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story lingering on my DVR, waiting to be selected for my viewing pleasure, I started getting nostalgic for the good old days. Simpler times, bitterer times. But also, I started thinking about the casting for these made for TV movies with the BTS looks into old shows or whatever. Here is a picture of the cast for the STB movie, next to the original cast.




I guess a fare job, but I feel like that I could do a much better job. In fact, my calling may be to cast these types of movies. I'll have my assistant send some resumes out west immediately! For now, though, I will stick to some nonsensical babbling. The thing I notice most from this above picture, is the kid portraying MPG may be Zac Efron's brother, am I right? Regardless, that kid's agent should really look into getting someone to pen a BTS for High School Musical. Don't pretend like you weren't already secretly hoping that would happen. Anyways, I digress. Back to the nostalgia thing.

I started thinking back to when Bitterness is a Fish You Can Catch got its start, during the blogging revolution of the early 21st century. I was unaware of blogging, and barely used the internet. Yeah, you read that correctly. In fact, when "Bitterness" launched, changing the face of blogging forever, some might say, I did not even own my own personal computer. One post a week, usually written at my local library was all my readers could hope for. There were ups, downs and of course, what have yous. I started to remember how much fun I had regurgitating my stream of consciousness into this space, for tens (almost) of people to read. But there were lulls in posting. Could have been due to laziness, but let's see it was due to a much busier personal and professional life. I'll wait for your laughter to die down. Finished? No? Okay, I'll give you a few more seconds to wrap it up.

 Good? Okay, great. Where was I? Oh yeah, the lulls or hiatuses to make it sound classy. Currently we were facing the biggest hiatus in "Bitterness" history and today, somehow thanks to a Lifetime BTS movie on Saved by the Bell, that hiatus has come to an end.

I make no guarantees, but I am going to try my hardest to get my weekly picks out every week (which will normally include the Thursday game...whoops) starting now. Well, starting momentarily. First, I want to make it known that I did very little research this offseason and most of my knowledge came from the last week or two, whilst cramming for draft fantasy football teams, so this may not be the sharp analysis you'll find on your big name blogs or sports outlets. To be fair, I am not doing any extra research or fact checking for this post, now, either. So enjoy!

WEEK ONE
SAINTS (-3) at FALCONS: A classic NFC South, formerly NFC West, rivalry, here. People forget about the Falcons very easily and their performance last year could be the cause of that. Remember, though, the Dirty Birds were the class of the NFC (sort of) what seems like just a couple of years ago. I have nothing against the Falcons, but the Saints are better. How's that for analysis, huh? Boom. Nailed it! Yeah, I just feel like the Saints are better than the Falcons at every facet of the game right now and Drew Brees, since I know you read this, a TD pass to Brandin Cooks this week, would really help me out. I think the Saints get at least to the NFC Championship game and at least to 28 points in this one. Saints 37-21

VIKINGS (+3) at RAMS: The Rams defense is a trendy fantasy pick this year, ya know, if you take time to draft a fantasy defense that is. Nevertheless they will have to deal with AP in week one which is a monster task. The good news for the Rams is Matt Cassel is the starting QB for the Vikings. Honestly I don't expect much from either team this season, and I think special teams is the difference in this one. A Cordarrelle Patterson TD return for the "W". Vikings 23-17

BROWNS (+6.5) at STEELERS: Come Sunday I will be sporting my John Jurcovic Browns jersey. There is no real point to this, other than the fact I would rather not pile on the Browns at this juncture. Heck, this is a Browns fan's favorite time of year, 0-0, tied for first, a gleam of "anything can happen" in their eyes. Deep down they all know how this season ends for their beloved Brownies and their factory of sadness, but they can shut that part of their brain out with alcohol, I know I will. Steelers 24-10

JAGUARS (+10.5) at EAGLES: You know that scene in the movie Major League (if you already don't think you are going to know it, you have probably not seen Major League at all or enough, and you need to stop reading immediately and go watch Major League) where the Indians start to win here and there, leading to some quick cuts of fans (and Asian groundskeepers) who, earlier in the motion picture, were not at all impressed with the Indians players, surmise that "hey, they're actually not so bad?" (I am paraphrasing, to keep it clean)? That's kind of what the Jaguars are wishing for this season and I think they'll get that wish. Not quite as successfully as the Indians in Major League, but I think they will be much more watchable in '14. Eagles 24-10

RAIDERS (+5.5) at JETS: I think the Jets will win the Super Bowl. Hahahahahahaha! Oh, sorry, I am in a silly mood, today. Of course I don't think that, what am I Rex Ryan? This probably wins the week one "Game I could not care less about" award, brought to you by Boku. The only reason I might watch this is because I have the Jets defense on one of my five fantasy football teams, but that's a long shot. I mean, does anyone watch a game (barring it being the only game on), because the one player they have going in it, is there frickin' defense? I mean, maybe if you have what you believe to be a good defense that is fun to watch, but even then, we're grasping at straws. Jets 15-7

BENGALS (+1.5) at RAVENS: Here is where some research may have paid off, since I have no idea how the Ravens look this year or what to expect from them. I always think they are overrated, regardless, so there is that, I suppose. I am big on Giovanni Bernard this year and Andy Dalton is just as, if not more, serviceable as Joe Flacco, in my mind. Bengals 27-17

BILLS (+7) at BEARS: I like to make fun of Jay Cutler plenty, but for the first time in, well, ever, I am kind of high on the Bears QB. Second year under Marc Trestman, with some good weapons at his disposal (watch out for Martellus Bennett this year, world)? I know, I know, it is hard to trust or believe in Jay Cutler, but I am not saying the Bears head to the Super Bowl or anything, but I think they will be in the playoff hunt and Cutler may not be all that terrible. I think Jay "cutlers" up that Bills defense, Sunday. Bears 31-17

REDSKINS (+3) at HOUSTON: I went pretty big on RG3 in my fantasy leagues, which is probably the death of his season. Sorry, 'Skins fans. But, in all honesty, I think the Redskins offense will be fun to watch this year. I don't know that they will explode for big points against the Texans, though. This one is a tough one, because I don't know exactly what t make of either team coming into the season. I think I take the Redskins in this one. Redskins 17-13

TITANS (+3) at CHIEFS: Outside of Jamaal Charles the Chiefs don't have much in the way of offensive flash. The defense should still be decent though and Alex Smith is steady at QB. I do like the youth on offense in Tennessee and think they could surprise some people this season. I don't, however, think it will click in week one at Arowhead. Chiefs 24-13

PATRIOTS (-4) at DOLPHINS: I grew up in Massachusetts and have been following the Pats all my life and one think I think I know to be true, is the Patriots never seem to dominate the Dolphins down in Florida. We all know the Patriots are going to find ways to win, yada, yada, yada, but I expect this one to be ugly. Look for a big play from Mike Wallace in this one, but also look for something quirky to happen for the Pats to edge out the "W". Patriots 28-27

PANTHERS (+2.5) at BUCCANEERS: I wouldn't say Cam Newton will have a down year numbers wise, per se, but I think the QB and the Panthers take a step back in 2014. Josh McCown will pick apart that Carolina secondary and get Vincent Jackson two TDs, probably. Buccaneers 34-20

49ERS (-4.5) at COWBOYS: I don't expect the Cowboys to be good at all this year. Look for a lot of bicep kissing in this one. Some of it from Colin Kaepernick, even. 49ers 35-14

COLTS (+7.5) at BRONCOS: If Peyton Manning does anything close to last year's opener, the Colts don't stand a chance. While I think it is partly silly to think Peyton duplicates last year's performance, you still have to expect him to put some points on the board in that mile high air on Sunday night, right? Colts 38-27

LIONS (-6) at GIANTS: The only thing giant in the Meadowlands this season, will be the level of disappointment. To describe the Giants offense in the preseason I will divert to dodgeball legend Patches O'Houlian, "You look like a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob!" Now, obviously, preseason can always lead people astray, but I sort of think what you saw is what you'll get. Lions 27-10

CHARGERS (+3) at ARIZONA: I will say this is actually a second Monday night game I'd like to watch. I probably won't, cause it'll be past my bedtime, but still. A lot of people or high on the Cardinals and I can see why. The defense was darned decent last year, the Larry Fitzgerald torch can be passed along to Floyd and blah, blah, blah, but this just in from "Bitterness" correspondent Sergeant Obvious, "Losing Andre Ellington for at least a month is not good." Thanks sarge, that is exactly right. I like the Cardinals, but I feel like everyone being so high on them is a bad omen...just ask Andre Ellington. Chargers 24-21

Well, there you have it, the week one picks are in the books. Welcome back to "Bitterness" folks, enjoy the ride!    

Monday, January 06, 2014

HOW I STOPPED WORRYING AND LEARNED TO HATE COLIN KAEPERNICK

Not long after the Niners defeated the Packers, Sunday on the frozen (grayish looking?) tundra I received a post on my Facebook wall from my cousin, who has been a 49ers fan basically since he was old enough to follow football.

The post simply read, "Sorry but the better team prevailed today." Oh yeah and it was over this picture:


Now to fully understand this, I need to give a tad bit of back story. What really warranted this is that Packers, for quite some time, have been one of my favorite teams. My favorite NFC team, for what it's worth. I don't root against the Packers, I cheer for them almost as if I was from Sheboygan or somewhere like that. Anyways, last year I texted him, prior to the 49ers-Packers game, with a selfie in which I was donning my cheesehead. Yes, I own a cheesehead. So, naturally I set myself up for things like this to be hung upon my Facebook wall. Obviously it doesn't please me, but part of me expected the 49ers to win. They have owned the Packers of late and I have matured (somewhat) into a fan who can accept most of the realities of sports.

So, I can't say I was not expecting something like this to be sent my way and I would tend to concur that the better team did prevail, although I would say they did not play like the better team for the whole 60 minutes of game time. But what really irked me was the picture. Colin Kaepernick and is stupid bicep smooch. I absolutely loathe this celebratory gesture of his. Quite frankly, it makes me pine for Tebowing. If I need to go into detail as to why I hate this celebration, then you should probably be reading someone else's blog. But before I elaborate a tad more on my dislike for Kaepernick, let's take a look at another Facebook post of a friend of mine from the Bay Area:

49ers should have won that game by a bigger score than they did, but a win is a win. And... oh yeah... to all you Kaepernick haters? He now has more road playoff wins than Hall of Fame QB's Joe Montana and Steve Young COMBINED

I do tend to agree with the first part. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe the better team did prevail, but I don't believe they necessarily played like the better team for the entirety of the game. But I do take issue with the second part here, as I am a Kaepernick hater. Through and through, even. I don't hate him because I don't think he is a good player. He most certainly is very, very good. I don't think he's great. Kaepernick arguably won Sunday's game with his feet and a little help from Jarrett Bush misplaying his containment. Kaepernick can run. Once he is out in the open he can gain big chunks of yards, quickly and that will help him. Overall, at this time, I think he is a tad bit overrated. Kaepernick was 7th in Total Quarterback Rating was 7th this year, so I may be wrong. Although his completion percentage was in the bottom half of the league, he doesn't throw interceptions. Of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, only Alex Smith threw fewer picks. But the fact is, I don't really hate because of that. Well, I do. I hate that when you look like you have him, he runs free for big games. I hate him because he is unlikely to throw a pick. When I am generally rooting against his team, this is annoying. If it weren't for that giving his bicep a hickey after a touchdown (yes I do love Aaron Rodgers and if I didn't cheer for him, I might hate him for his discount double check celebration dance, but not as much as Kaepernicking), I might at least have more respect for him. But let's get to the last part of that post. "He now has more road playoff wins than Hall of Fame QB's Joe Montana and Steve Young COMBINED".

How is this at all relevant? I mean, I know the QB is important, but the whole team plays the game, right? So, let's look into this statistic, shall we?

For Montana, he lost his first road playoff game in 1983 to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship. The 'Skins were 14-2 and had won ten straight including a 51-7 dismantling of the Rams in the Divisional Round the week prior. Now the 49ers were hardly slouches that year, going 10-6, but the 'Skins dominated the NFC in '83 and the Niners only lost that game by three.

In 1986 the 49ers lost to the Giants in the Meadowlands 17-3 in the Wild Card Round. The Giants had a good defense and both teams were 10-6, so maybe the Giants just outplayed the Niners.

In the 1993-94 season, Montana as a member of the Chiefs, won the Divisional Round game at Houston before losing at Buffalo. You may remember those Buffalo teams of the early 90s were, well, pretty good.

For Steve Young, his first road playoff game was in Dallas against the defending Super Bowl Champion Cowboys. They would lose to the Cowboys, who would go on to win the Super Bowl that year as well.

Young's second road loss is, well an iffy one. It was in 1997 at Lambeau in the Divisional Round and Young left the game due to injury after throwing just five passes. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl.

Young, at age 37, played his last road playoff game of his career. In fact, it was his last playoff game ever. In this game he did throw three picks as they lost to the 14-2 Falcons, who would go on to the Super Bowl.

So really, Young and Montana were 1-5 and as Niners they were 0-4 in road playoff games. Of those four losses, three of them were against the conference favorites and eventual conference champs. Plus the non-Niners road playoff loss was against the AFC Champion Bills, who were amid winning four straight conference championships. Now let's look at Colin Kaepernick.

 Okay, I will give you last year's win against the Falcons was impressive as the Falcons were the conference favorites, and although he ran well Sunday, his passing game was not superstar quality. It was cold, I get it. But the 49ers were favored to win. On the road! They were 12-4, whereas the Packers were 8-7-1. Albeit without Aaron Rodgers for a good amount of time. Sure, Rodgers was back and played fairly well, but he can't play defense too and the Packers defense did not show up when they needed to.

I guess you have to hand it to Kaepernick a little, but to me that is one of those statements that tries to thrust Kaepernick into the same strata as Montana and Young. If/when the Niners win in Carolina, I will still not be impressed if they win in Carolina next week because once again the Niners are favored to win. So if you want to say Colin Kaerpernick has as many road playoff wins where his team was not expected to win as Joe Montana and Steve Young combined, then go ahead. It's a bit wordy. The quarterback is a team sport and Montana and Young came up against better teams when they went on the road in the playoffs. Kaepernick and the Niners have not done that yet in 2014. So for now, for me, I am going to sit back and keep thinking the Kaepernick is somewhat overrated. Oh yeah, and continue to hate on him and his bicep snogging ways.