Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 9 NFL Predictions

Some hastily assembled picks this week. Because I'm busy. And tired. Thankfully there are only 13 games this week.

Panthers 30, Saints 20 -- Thanks for being my upset special last week, New Orleans. But, playing on the road you might as well be the Raiders.

Bengals 28, Jaguars 21 -- Jacksonville: Repeat last sentence from previous thumbnail.

Browns 42, Buccaneers 31 --  Johnny Manziel launches another embarrassing tantrum when he's informed he can't trade himself to Tampa Bay.

Cardinals 21, Cowboys 10 -- Tony Romo, having an MVP-caliber season, throws out his back against Redskins, makes a Willis Reed-Curt Schilling-type comeback back into the game, just in time to blow it in OT. Nice job.

Eagles 34, Texans 24 -- Hi, we're the Houston Texans. We love to beat up on bad teams but we can't beat anybody good.

Chiefs 27, Jets 7 -- Screw you, Rex Ryan. I believed that you guys weren't that bad and picked you against the Bills, and you get smoked. Never again.

Dolphins 24, Chargers 14 -- That sound you hear is me jumping off the San Diego bandwagon.

Vikings 44, Redskins 38 -- RGIII back? Redskins wouldn't be the dysfunctional bunch they are if he won in his return.

49ers 21, Rams 20 -- Speaking of dysfunctional bunches, I present to you the St. Louis Rams.

Broncos 30, Patriots 26 -- My heart says New England. But I just can't. Not quite yet.

Seahawks 33, Raiders 3 -- When was the last time the defending Super Bowl champions were playing a 4:00 game and would be seen by about 1% of the national offense?

Ravens 23, Steelers 20 -- Ben Roethlisberger has had a Jekyll & Hyde season. Last week he threw 6 TD passes. You do the math.

Colts 27, Giants 19 -- At least when Eli Manning loses to the Colts now, he's not losing to his big bro anymore.



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 8 NFL Predictions

Just call me the Cardiac Kid.

There were several games that went down to the final seconds last weekend -- Detroit-New Orleans, Washington-Tennessee, Buffalo-Minnesota, Kansas City-San Diego. And I picked the winning team in each of them.


Or, I'm just really f'ing lucky.

Still, I went 12-3 in Week 7, my fifth consecutive week batting .600 or better in my picks. On that note, here are some hastily assembled Week 8 picks:

Broncos 33, Chargers 17 -- I couldn't stand to watch Peyton Manning break the all-time TD pass record, so I went out and watched my friend in a roller derby tournament instead. Thursday, I will submit myself to root canal rather than watch Peyton Manning break some other obnoxious record.

Lions 27, Falcons 21 -- The good news for Mike Smith is, if Falcons owner Arthur Blank fires him, he could probably get Smith a job as a stocker at Home Depot.

Seahawks 23, Panthers 17 -- Not saying the post-Super-Bowl-champion Seahawks are frauds just yet. But I did get an email from Pete Carroll informing me that I'm the heir to a Nigerian prince's fortune.

Ravens 26, Bengals 20 -- Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Bengals were the league's only remaining unbeaten team?

Dolphins 24, Jaguars 10 -- If nothing else, Dolphins prove they are the best team in Florida. (Buccaneers already forfeited this award with two embarrassing blowout losses.)

Chiefs 28, Rams 20 -- If nothing else, Chiefs prove they are the best team in Missouri. (Buccaneers already forfeited this award by not being in Missouri.)

Patriots 33, Bears 30 -- I was going to call this game as 33-7 until the Patriots last Thursday night made Geno Smith look like Jay Cutler. Imagine what Patriots defense will make Jay Cutler look like.

Jets 27, Bills 11 -- Meanwhile, Bills will make Geno Smith look like Kyle Orton.

Buccaneers 27, Vikings 24 -- If you're a Fox color commentator and you get assigned this game, it's time to look for another line of work.

Texans 28, Titans 22 -- Every time the Titans lose, Charlie Whitehurst has that look on his face like he left his ID at home and just got carded for cigarettes.

Eagles 21, Cardinals 7 -- When trying to pick a game between two 5-1 teams with bird nicknames, always ask, "In real life, Who would win in a fight between these two birds?"

Browns 38, Raiders 17 -- Browns were off to a good start; however, of they lose to the only remaining winless teams in back-to-back weeks, they will be banished to Canadian Football League.

Colts 17, Steelers 16 -- Steelers played about 75 seconds of good football against Houston last week and won. Come to think of it, Steelers have played about 75 seconds of good football just about every week this season.

Saints 32, Packers 27 -- New Orleans looks pretty bad this year but, after seeing those Aaron Rodgers Discount Double-Check commercials with Hans and Franz, I have to pick against the Packers on principle.

Cowboys 35, Redskins 20 -- I can't believe the Cowboys are one crappy opponent away from starting 7-1.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NFL Week 7 Predictions

Here's my question: how do I score myself on last week's tie between the Bengals and Panthers?

I did not pick the game to end in a tie (ironically, also in last weeks blog I wrote about how I feel like the Falcons-Bears game should end in a tie), so in that sense I was wrong in making my pick.

Then again, I picked Cincinnati to win. And, Carolina did not win. So in that sense I was right.

I'm going to go ahead and, for the purposes of scoring my picks, call that game a tie.

Screw you, NFL, for allowing tie games.

Anyway, this week's picks:

Patriots 20, Jets 13 -- Jets coach Rex Ryan said it makes him "sick" to see Darrelle Revis in a Patriots uniform. Also making Rex Ryan sick: seeing Geno Smith in a Jets uniform.

Ravens 20, Falcons 17 -- Atlanta head coach Mike Smith got the "vote of confidence" this week from management, which means he'll be fired within the month.

Bills 31, Vikings 27 -- Teddy Bridgewater looked pretty good against the Falcons. Fine. But shouldn't his first start have been against an NFL defense?

Dolphins 46, Bears 13 -- Seriously, I just flipped a coin on this one.

Lions 27, Saints 10 -- Lions are making some nice progress this finding a field goal kicker.

Packers 32, Panthers 29 -- I sense we're on the verge of a long streak of amazing Aaron Rodgers last-second heroics and terrible Aaron Rodgers State Farm Discount Double-Check commercials.

Colts 31, Bengals 10 -- If the Bengals stretch their winless streak to three games we'll be dangerously close to "It's-OK-to-talk-smack-about-Andy-Dalton" territory again.

Browns 23, Jaguars 17 -- This Brian Hoyer-Johnny Manziel feud has all the makings of a new reality TV show, doesn't it?

Seahawks 17, Rams 9 -- The awkward part about Kurt Warner being in that commemoration of the 1999 Super Bowl last Monday night? Warner's QB rating that night was higher than Austin Davis' in the second half.

Redskins 28, Titans 14 -- NFL threw a curveball at me last weekend by moving the Patriots-Bills game (an AFC matchup that normally would be televised by CBS) to Fox. What the NFL really should do is move this game from CBS to cable-access TV.

Chiefs 42, Chargers 41 -- San Diego nearly losing to the Raiders last weekend caused me to lose confidence in them for this game, though I will probably regret this pick in a year when Tony Romo and Philip Rivers (two QBs who are mirror images of each other on the chokability scale) are both leading their teams to amazing starts.

Giants 41, Cowboys 35 -- See above Chargers-Chiefs commentary, replace first phrase with "Dallas upsetting the Seahawks last weekend caused me to...."

Cardinals 22, Raiders 9 -- Bad news for the Raiders' attempts to avoid an 0-16 season: Jaguars are not on their schedule this year.

Broncos 24, 49ers 16 -- Is Peyton Manning close to some record or something?

Steelers 17, Texans 10 -- Sounds like they're really calling for Mike Tomlin's head down in Pittsburgh, which is too bad -- he's the most reliable guy on their kickoff coverage team.

LAST WEEK: 9-5-1


Thursday, October 9, 2014

NFL Week 6 Predictions

OK, one moment of gloating. Not only did I go 14-1 in last week's picks, I also picked the exact score of Monday night's Seahawks-Redskins game.

Suck it, Bill Cowher.

Not only that, but the Detroit Lions were so pissed that they were the only team I picked incorrectly to win -- largely because kicker Alex Henery missed three field goals -- that they cut Henery on Monday.

Here's the bad news: it's all downhill from here. I can't possibly go 14-1 every week, or (most likely) ever again. But hey, you can't blame me for trying:

Colts 38, Texans 20 -- At some point this season, there has to be a Thursday night game that won't have a margin of victory of 20 points or more. This is the week. Indy wins by a razor-thin 18.

Patriots 14, Bills 3 -- This is one of those games that could go either way and last week everything broke right for me on those games. The new, Angry Patriots vs. the new, Kyle Orton Bills. My heart says go with the Pats. DISCLAIMER: my heart was wrong about my high school and college crushes.

Bengals 17, Panthers 14 -- The Bengals can't be subjected to two ass-whoopings in a row, right? "Sure they can," says a team that lost to two AFC North opponents by a combined 75-29 in back-to-back weeks.
Steelers 51, Browns 35 -- No doubt Browns are an improved team, and Pittsburgh has sleepwalked through its last two games against inferior opponents. But....I just can't quite pull the trigger on calling the upset in this matchup yet. Plus, Johnny Manziel's way overdue to slip something in Brian Hoyer's Gatorade.

Packers 23, Dolphins 20 -- Green Bay gets the edge because, if they go to a spelling bee to break the tie, Aaron Rodgers has it wrapped up.

Lions 24, Vikings 20 -- Giving the Lions 24 points is a gutsy call. It means that, in all likelihood, somewhere along the line they get a field goal.

Broncos 24, Jets 20 -- Rex Ryan may be slowly fading into the twilight of his New York Jets coaching career, but he's not going to go down without a fight. Unless he lost a lot of muscle with all the fat.

Ravens 25, Buccaneers 0 -- Tampa Bay was hoping to upset another AFC contender. Unfortunately, Lovie Smith used up all his lifelines already.

Jaguars 30, Titans 3 -- Recurring segments on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown: C'mon Man!; Teams at 20; The Jake Locker Injury Report.

Chargers 28, Raiders 14 -- This is the kind of game the Chargers of the past were spoiling to blow. Based on early returns, I believe San Diego has turned the corner and is a legit contender. So of course, the Chargers will blow this one.

Cardinals 38, Redskins 14 -- If Subway's meals are so healthy, why do they have a spokesman (RGIII) who's always hurt?

Falcons 22, Bears 20 -- Two potent but turnover-prone offenses, two bad defenses. I've never seen these two teams at the same time. This is the kind of game that deserves to end in a tie.

Seahawks 27, Cowboys 0 -- Well, this suddenly looks like a good game now, doesn't it? And Dallas' newfound commitment to the running game is just the sort of thing that could cause problems for Seattle. Still....Tony Romo. I....just....can't.

Giants 24, Eagles 13 -- Giants' offense: streaking. Eagles' offense: sputtering. So of course I go with the current trends and will probably get burned.

49ers 27, Rams 10 -- Imagine if the Rams weren't stuck playing in a division with three legit contenders? Yeah, you're right, they'd still suck.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Telling the Landlord I'm Moving -- Reality TV Style

I've lived in Northborough for the past year. It's been mostly enjoyable. Northborough is a nice town. The place I live in is quiet.

Nevertheless, there have been some nagging annoyances in my time here:

1) The driveway slopes uphill, which made for a tough 2013-14 winter that put me at odds with my landlord after one snowstorm in particular.

2) When I first moved in, my landlord insisted on being paid rent in cash. I tolerated this for awhile, up until the point when he became erratic about when he'd swing by to pick up the rent, leaving me with a giant wad of cash in my wallet that I wasn't comfortable carrying around or finding a secure place to stash. Also, in addition to my full-time job I also have a super-secret part-time job, as well as an active social life. When you tell me, "Hey I'll swing by on Friday," and then you don't show up on Friday, you'll most likely be chasing me around for days.

I finally drew the line and sent him a text:

"I'm happy to attach a check to my bedroom door. But if you insist on being paid in cash then you work around my schedule, not the other way around."

3) As part of my super-secret part-time job I accumulate a lot of boxes, many of which end up going to the town transfer station. This never sat well with my landlord, because it left him with extra trash to take with him to the dump (though I discussed it with him prior to moving in and somehow it wasn't a problem then). He told me to take the empty boxes somewhere else. In return, I asked him to explain to me where else he expected me to take them.

I never got a response from him.

4) A couple of weeks back my landlord approached one of my roommates about dropping our rent $20 a month, but then making us pay for heat and plowing in the winter. I'm not stupid. This means he's actually raising the rent.

Anyway, you can see where this is headed.

I felt compelled to start looking around. I saw at a couple of places that were cozy, but for one reason or another (rent, neighborhood) not a good fit. Then I saw a third place that fit most of the criteria I was seeking. So I put down a security deposit. I'll be leaving Northborough at the end of the month.

This past Friday my landlord swung by to collect rent. As is now my custom, I left a check attached to my bedroom door. But I figured I'd be there to have this conversation with him.

He must've walked out on the porch first and seen the boxes, because I heard "What the FUCK," followed by him flinging the front door open and screaming at me.


Which led to me firing right back at him. A lot of profanity and yelling was ensued. One of my roommates uncomfortably followed us around the house as the exchange continued, apparently worried this would escalate. After a minute or two I realized what I really needed to say.

"I wouldn't obsess about those boxes too much if I were you, because I'm moving at the end of the month anyway," I said.

Part of me is mad at myself that I stooped to his level with the yelling and the profanity. That said, he went out of his way to be confrontational with me. I don't deserve to be spoken to like that and I'm not going to tolerate it.

I've moved a lot of times in my life, and they "Hey, I'm moving out," conversation with the landlord has never been as spectacularly melodramatic as this one. But it's over and done with now and at least it's off my chest.

The ironic part about it is, my landlord stormed out of the house without grabbing my rent check.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday Night Death Shift: Law & Order Edition

I don't normally work nights but every once in awhile my night cashier has some time off coming to him and he's currently on vacation. So lately I'm working more nights than usual.

Enter the Thursday Night Death Shift.

There's something about Thursdays. Not sure if people gets antsy on Thursdays waiting for the weekend, or if there are more full moons on Thursdays. But Thursdays are weirder than other days of the week.

Tonight's episode of the TNDS actually takes place after closing. I've just locked up the store for the night. Usually on the way out I carry a trash bag from inside, toss it into the dumpster and then head over to my car to leave, and this night is no exception. Tonight I've parked on the opposite side of the parking lot from the dumpster, so I'm walking across the length of the property.

As I do this, I notice, idling in the convenience store across the street, a state police cruiser. It suddenly shuts it's lights off and pulls out of that lot. For some reason, I don't really think much of this.

As I'm about to pull out and head home, however, this same cruiser comes careening into our lot and literally blocks me from exiting.

"What are you doing?" he asks.

"Umm, heading home." I say.

"What are you doing here?"

"I work here."

I have business cards in the store that I could give him that would prove I work here, but that would mean I have to unlock the doors, which would set off the alarm system for an early open alarm, which would be counterproductive and bring more police to the scene. Also, I'm in my work clothes. I feel like my attire should be a dead giveaway that I work here. Also, I've been doing things (locking doors, taking out trash, heading to my car which has been parked here for hours), that I feel should be dead giveaways that I work here.

"You just closing up the store?"


"OK, just making sure." He drives off.

I realize he's just doing his job, and there have certainly been times in history when a lack of hypervigilance on the part of law enforcement has proven costly.

But man, I somehow don't think I could have acted like I belonged here any more. I walked across the parking lot, in uniform, with a purpose that strongly indicates I belong here, walked back across the parking lot like, "Hey everybody! Look at me! It's almost midnight and I'm strolling around casually. Nothing to hide here!"

I guess acting like you belong somewhere that you truly belong at that moment in time makes people suspect the criminal element in you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NFL Week 5 Predictions

Week 5 was was my second consecutive winning week. I was actually a pretty gaudy 8-3 until the Saints and Patriots royally sucked in their respective Sunday and Monday night games. Oh well.

Here are this week's picks:

Packers 37, Vikings 24 -- Packers insist former Green Bay wideout Greg Jennings looks like "the Greg Jennings of three years ago." Continuing the theme, Pack and Vikings trot out Brett Favre and Fran Tarkenton as starting quarterbacks for this game.

Panthers 23, Bears 6 -- Because Jay Cutler's meltdowns are more spectacular than Cam Newton's.

Cowboys 34, Texans 6 -- Barring a tie, one of these teams will be 4-1 after this game. The last time they met in the regular season, it was Wade Phillips' last win before the Cowboys fired him. For that completely irrelevant reason (and because all the Tony Romo jokes are on hold until his next bad game), I'll give Dallas the edge.

Lions 22, Bills 13 -- EJ Manuel gets benched for Kyle Orton, the guy who got benched for Tim Tebow. Actually, Orton is one of those classic good/bad QBs, which means Buffalo could rattle off 8 straight -- wins or losses.

Colts 22, Ravens 20 -- After beating Carolina, Ravens WR Steve Smith tells his former team to "mow his lawn." This week he tells Colts to "take out the garbage, do the dishes and shovel his car out of the snow."

Steelers 26, Jaguars 21 -- The bad Florida teams are lining up trap games for Pittsburgh: next week Steelers play Florida International University.

Saints 20, Buccaneers 17 -- We're secretly switching Saints' normal defense with Folgers' crystals; nobody notices the difference.

Giants 34, Falcons 20 -- At work tonight, ran into a young woman who's a Giants fan. Told her I hate the Giants. But she was cute. I don't hate the Falcons in any way, but did not run into any cute Falcons fans tonight. So, Giants is the pick.

Eagles 34, Rams 3 -- One more loss and the Rams will be relegated to the Canadian Football League.

Browns 31, Titans 10 -- Imagine if you told Johnny Manziel on Draft Night that it'd be Week 5 and he's still not the Browns' starting QB.....

Broncos 37, Cardinals 20 -- Arizona: one of two remaining unbeaten teams (did you ever think you'd see that sentence written?). Would love to see Cardinals pull this off, but some things in life are too good to be true.

Chargers 25, Jets 10 -- That awkward moment when Jets fans kinda-sorta wish Mark Sanchez was still the starting QB.

49ers 26, Chiefs 13 -- San Francisco dominated Philly last week, but gave up three non-offensive TDs and had to come from behind late to win. If they fall behind again, Jim Harbaugh may set Levi's Stadium on fire.

Patriots 27, Bengals 21 -- There's no earthly reason for me to pick New England to win, other than the fact that there's no earthly reason for Cincinnati and Arizona to be the only remaining unbeaten teams.

Seahawks 27, Redskins 17 -- If Kirk Cousins struggles again, maybe next week Rex Grossman will be Redskins' starting QB.