Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 NFL Week 4 Predictions: Running Up the Score Edition

True to last year's form, I rebounded big-time in Week 3 -- 12-4. I don't know what it is with the first two weeks of the NFL season, but I can never get the picks right. Maybe I should pretend Week 1 is really Week 3.

This week's picks:

Ravens 17, Steelers 14 -- Let's see, do I pick the team that whines about getting skunked by covering Patriots' receivers playing ineligible positions, or the team that whines about their headsets getting the Patriots' radio feed in the rain?

Jets 21, Dolphins 17 -- Really? I have to set my alarm for 9am on a Sunday to watch this game?

Atlanta 26, Houston 16 -- Falcons: 3-0, and they won't play a team currently posting a winning record until Thanksgiving weekend. I'm just not sold on Atlanta yet, but I'm also not sold on a team that keeps throwing ex-Tom Brady backup QBs against the wall until one of them sticks, either. Ugh. Life is full of dilemmas.

Buffalo 17, N.Y. Giants 14 -- In the middle of a press conference about the Giants and QB Eli Manning, Rex Ryan abruptly changes the subject to rant about how "the Patriots tried to embarrass us" two weeks ago. It's official: Rex Ryan is the Patriots' obsessed ex-girlfriend.

Chicago 24, Oakland 10 -- With a win, the Raiders would be 3-1. Raiders? 3-1? What kind of bizarro world am I living in?

Cincinnati 21, Kansas City 17 -- On Monday night, Chiefs got first TD reception from a wide receiver since 2013 season. Still lost. Maybe Kansas City should go to the 1930s single-wing formation.

Indianapolis 43, Jacksonville 14 -- Jaguars, down 37-10 against New England, ran a fake punt on 4th-and-8 from their own 20-yard line. It didn't work, Patriots scored a TD a few plays later to go up 44-10, and now the entire league has seen the only trick play in Jacksonville's play book.

Carolina 20, Tampa Bay 7 -- Friend, to me: "WTF? Didn't Tampa Bay and Carolina just play a couple of weeks ago?" Me: "No, that was Carolina and Jacksonville." After awhile, all the shitty Florida NFL teams just sort of blend together.

Philadelphia 17, Washington 12 -- Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly wants final say over personnel decisions. Fine. But is Benjamin Franklin really the Eagles' answer at quarterback?

San Diego 30, Cleveland 24 -- At press conference, Browns coach Mike Pettine said "there's no rift in the Browns' locker room." Translation: "There's a rift in the Browns' locker room."

Arizona 37, St. Louis 13 -- Rams coach Jeff Fisher really should shave his mustache. It makes him look like he's 115 years old.

Denver 23, Minnesota 20 -- I'm pissed at the Chiefs for extending Peyton Manning's career.

Green Bay 27, San Francisco 10 -- Old Conventional Wisdom: Green bay defense can't contain Colin Kaepernick. New CW: Colin Kaepernick can't contain Colin Kaepernick from throwing multiple interceptions per game.

New Orleans 38, Dallas 17 -- 2014 on Sunday Night Football: Cowboys 38, Saints 17. 2013 on Sunday Night Football: Saints 49, Cowboys 17. You'd think NBC would take the hint and give up on matching up these two teams on Sunday Night Football.

Seattle 28, Detroit 16 -- "Hi, I'm Matthew Stafford, and I have DirecTV." "And I'm Underachieving, Horrible-In-The-Clutch Matthew Stafford, and I have cable."




Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015 NFL Week 3 Predictions: Scandal-Free Edition

I think I've noticed a pattern.

After the first two games last year I was 13-19. The first couple of weeks of the season, you tend to rely on the previous season's results, and so you're like, "There's no way the [insert team name here] can start 0-2/2-0."

Thus, after the first two weeks this season, I'm also 13-19.

Last year I buckled down after week 2 and ended up something like 100 games over .500 for the year. Let's hope the same happens here.

The picks:

N.Y. Giants 24, Washington 17 -- I keep picking the Giants to win, and every week bad clock management costs them the game in the final minute. At some point they have to realize that games are 60 minutes long instead of 58 minutes, right?

Baltimore 23, Cincinnati 9 -- The three teams New England beat in the playoffs last year (Baltimore, Indianapolis, Seattle) are a combined 0-6. This is what happens when you spend more time whining than game-planning.

Carolina 35, New Orleans 27 -- LAST YEAR: Carolina, started 2-0, went 1-8-1 in the next 10 games, finished 4-0. I could see that happening again except I've lost all confidence in the Saints.

Cleveland 26, Oakland 24 -- Johnny Manziel "disappointed" at not starting this week, also disappointed that the Browns don't have a happy hour before home games.

Atlanta 37, Dallas 35 -- Cowboys are 2-0, but could easily be 0-2 if their opponents managed the clock better or simply attempted to play offense.

Houston 37, Tampa Bay 9 -- Maybe the Texans should start J.J. Watt at QB.

San Diego 33, Minnesota 31 -- FUN FACT: Chargers are 6-5 all-time against Vikings; neither team has won consecutive games in the series. San Diego won the last matchup in 2011. Clearly I have way too much confidence in Philip Rivers.

New England 28, Jacksonville 25 -- Jaguars made no disparaging comment about the Patriots this week. Thus, this game scares me to death.

N.Y Jets 35, Philadelphia 30 -- story says Eagles are "unsure" if DeMarco Murray will play. A similar article quotes Eagles as being "unsure" if they will score another touchdown the rest of the season.

Pittsburgh 24, St. Louis 14 -- If the Steelers were a reality TV show, Josh Scobee would be the first contestant voted off the island.

Indianapolis 24, Tennessee 10 -- Colts claim goal-line fumble by Frank Gore on Monday night happened because Patriots snuck one of their deflated balls into the game.

Arizona 23, San Francisco 14 -- Cardinals with Carson Palmer at QB: among the NFL's elite teams. Cardinals without Carson Palmer at QB: everybody's homecoming opponent.

Buffalo 17, Miami 7 -- He didn't know Dion Lewis' name; now Rex Ryan gets himself in more hot water by admitting he doesn't know Miami's team name.

Seattle 25, Chicago 19 -- This game is gift-wrapped for the wounded Seahawks: an 0-2 team, without it's starting quarterback. If Seattle can't win this game, they deserve to be eliminated.

Denver 20, Detroit 16 -- If this was the NHL, Peyton Manning would be the early-season favorite for the Selke Award.

Green Bay 17, Kansas City 3 -- I don't want to say the Broncos game was a tough loss for the Chiefs, but when they seek out clock management advice from Tom Coughlin it's not good.




Thursday, September 17, 2015

2014 Week 2 NFL Predictions: Radiogate Edition

Last year I struggled out of the gate (13-19 in the first two weeks), and this season my Week 1 was mediocre (8-8, and a little frustrating since I went 6-2 in the Thursday night/early games before limping home after 4pm Sunday).

I'm hoping that I'm a little Belichikian, using the first few weeks of the season as a fact-finding mission before kicking it into high gear as the season progresses. We'll see.

This week's picks:

Denver 24, Kansas City 17 -- If Peyton Manning doesn't play better the rest of the season, he may be pressed for his job by High-Pitched Voice Peyton Manning.

Buffalo 16, New England 9 -- Belichick's done it again: he jams the Buffalo stadium feed so Rex Ryan hears "All About That Bass" on his heasdset.

Houston 34, Carolina 21 -- Texans bench ex-Patriot Brian Hoyer at QB in favor of ex-Patriot Ryan Mallett. If Mallett doesn't work out, Drew Bledsoe is waiting in the wings. 

Arizona 16, Chicago 13 -- A homecoming of sorts for the Cardinals, who back in the NFL's early days used to play in Chicago. Coincidentally, the Bears also used to be a pro football team in Chicago.

Cincinnati 27, San Diego 14 -- Two teams that always show flashes but always leave you wanting more. I'm tempted to pick a tie but I won't.

Tennessee 26, Cleveland 9 -- Marcus Mariota finished his first game as an NFL quarterback with a perfect QB rating, which means his career can only go downhill.

Detroit 27, Minnesota 13 -- Preseason scouting report on the Vikings: Adrian Peterson! Teddy Bridgewater! Explosive offense! Week 2 scouting report on the Vikings: Oversold?

New Orleans 16, Tampa Bay 14 -- If the Buccaneers were a Republican primary presidential candidate, they'd be Lindsay Graham. Who? you ask. My point exactly.

N.Y. Giants 16, Atlanta 13 -- Another embarrassing moment for Eli Manning when he admits that until the end of the Dallas game Sunday night, he thought field goals were worth 5 points.

Pittsburgh 27, San Francisco 17 -- Other highlights Mike Tomlin's post-game press conference last Thursday: "We were unaware that the tight end is an eligible receiver."

St. Louis 31, Washington 28 -- Rams ownership angling to move back to Los Angeles, where they can have six times as many people not care about the team.

Miami 28, Jacksonville 21 -- After Carolina loss, Jaguars' QB Blake Bortles said fans don't know enough to question play calls, and then added, "....but they do know enough to question our status as a major league sports franchise."

Baltimore 28, Oakland 6 -- Terrell Suggs' season-ending ACL injury means there are currently no active NFL players from Ball So Hard U.

Philadelphia 41, Dallas 37 -- Chip Kelly out-thinks everyone again, signing the league's leading rusher and then giving him 8 carries on Opening Night against a porous defense.

Green Bay 14, Seattle 12 -- After throwing an interception on the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl, and getting stuffed on 4th-and-1 last week, Seahawks will be in position to score the game-winning touchdown Sunday night and decide to take a knee.

Indianapolis 21, N.Y. Jets 7 -- Memo to the Colts: if you go through a six-quarter stretch where you're outscored 62-7, maybe the pressure level of the balls isn't the issue.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 Week 1 NFL Predictions: Deflategate Edition

Well that was an interesting offseason....

Football is back, which means it's time for me to put my absurdist spin on the coming week's games. Last year, after a dreadful first couple of weeks (13-19), I finished the season at a .693 clip.

Probably can't improve upon or even duplicate that feat, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun trying. Here we go:

New England 30, Pittsburgh 14 -- BREAKING NEWS: ESPN story blows the lid open on newest scandal, quotes unnamed league sources as saying Patriots responsible for Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown right before he kicks it.

Indianapolis 31, Buffalo 14 -- ....that awkward moment when Colts file a complaint with the NFL accusing new Bills coach Rex Ryan of having his ego "deliberately overinflated to gain an illegal competitive advantage."

Green Bay 38, Chicago 24 -- You know that classic '60s footage of Vince Lombardi breaking down a football play? Little-known fact: Lombardi got all that information by spying on Chicago Bears' practices.

Houston 20, Kansas City 3 -- Given a level playing field, who would win in a sumo wrestling match between Andy Reid and Vince Wilfork?

Carolina 24, Jacksonville 23 -- Now that this new ESPN Spygate report is out, looks like every team has a built-in excuse for losing to the Patriots in a big playoff game.

N.Y. Jets 31, Cleveland 21 -- It's too bad Geno Smith and Johnny Manziel won't be playing, because no QBs had a worse offseason than those two.

St. Louis 28, Seattle 0 -- After his tragic Super Bowl ending, Russell Wilson turns over a new leaf by throwing interceptions in the other 99 yards of the field.

Miami 35, Washington 17 -- If Ndamukong Suh deflated opposing players' heads instead of stomping on them, they guy might have been suspended for his entire pro career.

New Orleans 28, Arizona 17 -- This is the NFL, where the Saints can put bounties on opposing players and nobody cares, but if you deflate a football by 1 psi you deserve lifetime banishment.

San Diego 28, Detroit 23 -- San Diego sports talk radio host says Patriots cheating robbed Chargers of two Super Bowl titles. Actually, Marty Schottenheimer and LaDainian Tomlinson robbed Chargers of two Super Bowl titles.

Denver 49, Baltimore 27 -- In the playoffs last year, the Patriots punk'd Baltimore by lining up running backs and tight ends as offensive lineman. On Opening Day, Broncos will punk Ravens by lining up Peyton Manning at long-snapper.

Oakland 20, Cincinnati 10 -- In response to ESPN story claiming Roger Goodell's prosecution of Deflategate was a "makeup call," Oakland Raiders ask for a makeup call for the past 13 years of bad personnel and coaching decisions.

Tampa Bay 20, Tennessee 0 -- After this weekend's matchup between top two draft picks/rookie QBs Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, nobody will care about either of these teams.

N.Y. Giants 45, Dallas 35 -- Jerry Jones: signs Greg Hardy, supports Roger Goodell's 4-game suspension of Tom Brady, which if upheld would've equaled the Hardy suspension for some potentially life-threatening acts. Classy move, Jerry.

Philadelphia 14, Atlanta 10 -- Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly fancies himself as somewhat of a mad genius. Fine. But in my opinion, petitioning the NFL to change the team nickname to the eagle's Latin, scientific name is over the top.

Minnesota 28, San Francisco 21 -- I'll give the NFL this, at least Adrian Peterson got a suspension worthy of the offense.

 LAST YEAR: 185-82, .693 (175-81 regular season, 10-1 playoffs)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 NFL Predictions

Every year all the pundits make their bold, sexy predictions for the upcoming NFL season. I am no exception.

In response to 2013's amazingly bad predictions, last year I did some upside-down predictions, in which I picked the teams I really thought would finish last to end up first. And something cool happened. This meant I picked my New England Patriots to finish last (since they didn't seem to have much competition in their division last year) and they not only won the division, but won the Super Bowl too.

When it comes to sports, I'm nothing if not superstitious. So I have to find a way to replicate that.

This year I'm predicting teams' 2015 finish according to how much I hate them -- most hated teams finish first, etc.

Here we go (playoff teams denoted with an *). Let the insults begin.

*1) N.Y. Jets
*2) Miami
3) Buffalo
4) New England

*1) Baltimore
*2) Pittsburgh
3) Cleveland
4) Cincinnati

*1) Indianapolis
2) Tennessee
3) Jacksonville
4) Houston

*1) Denver
2) San Diego
3) Oakland
4) Kansas City

*1) N.Y. Giants
2) Washington
3) Dallas
4) Philadelphia

*1) Green Bay
*2) Chicago
3) Detroit
4) Minnesota

*1) Carolina
2) Tampa Bay
3) New Orleans
4) Atlanta

*1) Seattle
*2) St. Louis
3) San Francisco
4) Arizona

Colts over Ravens

Giants over Packers

Colts over Giants