Sunday, January 24, 2016

NFL Conference Championship Game Picks -- Leaving the Balls at the Hotel Edition

We're down to the final four. Unfortunately the Seahawks didn't come through for me last week, so I've missed 2 games in the playoffs this year with three to play (last year I only missed 1 game the entire playoffs, because Green Bay choked). Still, 6-2 is nothing to be ashamed about.

It's going to be more challenging this time because I think all four teams are pretty evenly matched. There's four possible Super Bowl matchups (New England-Carolina, New England-Arizona, Denver-Carolina, Denver-Arizona), and I can legitimately see any of the four coming to fruition.

This week's picks:

New England 26, Denver 16 -- No idea what to make of this game. Does Peyton Manning have one last Super Bowl ring in him? Are the healthy Patriots back? Which defense will play better? I'm simply going to go with my heart on this one.

Arizona 20, Carolina 10 -- No idea what to make of this game either, but I've been picking against Carolina all year. Why stop now?




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What We Talk About When We Talk About Lace

I have this unhealthy habit of watching The Bachelor. I say unhealthy because I recognize that there's a lot to dislike about the show and its premise. Sure, there are 25 beautiful women and the eye candy factor is a strong appeal to me. But they try to win the affection of someone they barely know, by allowing themselves to be put in awkward situations that no self-respecting person would allow themselves to be placed, to start a very fake relationship with someone that rarely lasts longer than a couple of months beyond the final episode.

So here's a personal confession: I have very conflicted feelings about relationships. One side, the hopeless romantic in me, believes in true love and that there's a soulmate out there for everyone. Then there's the fatalist in me, who is convinced that, given enough time and exposure to each partners' dark side, all relationships are eventually doomed to failure. I guess The Bachelor appeals to each side of my own inner conflict.

The show's producers excel at editing in all the crazy from all the contestants. Most of them are probably very normal, but that wouldn't make good TV so normal interactions hit the cutting room floor. Every season there are a few "stars" who steal the show, who come across as, say, less than normal.

This year one of the early stars was Lace. Lace got a lot of attention by pulling Bachelor Ben aside what seemed like a couple hundred times and complaining that he wasn't paying attention to him, one time even after she had received a rose from him. This led to Lace being the subject of relentless livetweeting, and at one point I tweeted about it as well.

But on Monday night's episode, a funny thing happened on the way to the rose ceremony. Lace pulled Ben aside and told him she was leaving. She said "you can't love someone else until you love yourself."

That hit home with me. There have been times in my life when I didn't love myself and I think that often got in the way in all facets of my life. Learning to love myself is still a work in progress. I think I have much more self-appreciation that I used to, and that's helped me immensely in recent years. But there's a fine line between blind self-love (obliviousness, cockiness, arrogance, or however you want to phrase it) and wanting to improve as a human being, telling yourself, "You know I'm a pretty cool person but I'd be more satisfied with life if I [insert random self-improvement tool here]." I still have things I need to improve in myself, but I'm much happier and healthier than I was a couple of years ago.

Usually The Bachelor is just mind-numbing TV. Last night I felt like I learned something about myself. And it was all because a young lady named Lace changed the course of the conversation, even if only for a couple of  minutes.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

NFL Divisional Playoff Picks -- Synthetic Marijuana Edition

Last week I went 3-1 in the wild-card round, probably should've gone 4-0 but I was convinced all four road teams couldn't win and gave way too much credit to the Houston Texans. Oh well.

This week's picks:

New England 28, Kansas City 21 -- Not sure what to make of this game, between Chandler Jones' marijuana incident last weekend, injuries to Gronk and Edelman and Vollmer, not to mention Jeremy Maclin on the Chiefs' side. Strictly a pick from my heart -- I can see this gam going either way.

Arizona 33, Green Bay 13 -- Can't see the Packers beating a team that beat them by 30 thre weeks ago. But I guess that's why they play the games.

Seattle 31, Carolina 17 -- I picked against Carolina a lot this year considering they were 15-1 team. And usually one home team blows it on Divisional Playoff week. So why not?

Denver 24, Pittsburgh 17 -- Steelers are depleted without Antonio Brown or DeAngelo Williams. I can see Pittsburgh rising up and overcoming but this seems too much like a game Denver is destined to win.




Saturday, January 9, 2016

NFL Week 18 Picks -- Wild-Card Edition

Last year I went 10-1 in the postseason, and I would've been a perfect 11-0 had Green Bay not choked in the NFC Championship Game. Still, that's a lofty goal -- not sure I can go undefeated.

The picks:

Houston 19, Kansas City 13 -- Kansas City HAS to lose sometime.

Pittsburgh 35, Cincinnati 23 -- Just can't pick the Bengals over Pittsburgh with A.J. McCarron.

Seattle 34, Minnesota 10 -- Maybe this time when Cordarelle Patterson runs back a kick for a TD against Seattle and does a crazy end zone celebration dance, Vikings won't be trailing 35-0.

Green Bay 21, Washington 16 -- Green Bay just doesn't seem to have the offensive firepower this year, but I can't see them losing to the Redskins.



2015 TO DATE: 157-99


2014 AFTER WEEK 16: 175-81

Sunday, January 3, 2016

NFL 2015 Week 17 Picks -- Playoff Tiebreaker Edition

Week 17 is my favorite week of the season – no Thursday night games, and doubleheaders on CBS and Fox.


This week’s picks:


New Orleans 45, Atlanta 16 – Falcons had their highlight last week beating Carolina. This could be a “mail it in” game.


N.Y Jets 28, Buffalo 9 – Ugh. Thinking the Bills might be ripe to pull off the upset. Also thinking it’s sad when I’m kinda puuling for the Jets.


Detroit 26, Chicago 24 – The only downside to Week 17 – a lot of “nobody cares” games.


Baltimore 20, Cincinnati 10 – A late lump in the coal in the stocking for Fox, which gets to flex this game in.


Pittsburgh 20, Cleveland 7 – Pittsburgh: needs help to make playoffs, and by “needs help” I mean “needs to be realigned to the NFC East.”


Washington 44, Dallas 17 – Maybe Tony Romo will stay healthy next year.


Houston 23, Jacksonville 17 – Pittsburgh Steelers: good chance to miss the playoffs, would’ve clinched the AFC South six weeks ago.


Indianapolis 27, Tennessee 10 – Colts make playoffs with a win coupled with loses by the Texans, Saints, Browns, Patriots, Bengals, Jets, Chargers and Chiefs – but only if psi of all footballs in each game is above 14.5


New England 28, Miami 0 – THEN: “Boy Dan Campbell really lit a fire under those Dolphins.” NOW: “Boy Dan Campbell really has those Dolphins playing for a Top 5 draft pick.”


N.Y Giants 34, Philadelphia 26 – Man this blog is gonna miss Chip Kelly.


Seattle 23, Arizona 20 – If Carolina gets off to a big lead on Tampa Bay, Cardinals will start mailing this one in.


Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 23 – Of course the one week I give up on picking the Panthers to lose and Falcons to win, Atlanta turns around and upsets Carolina.


Denver 33, San Diego 28 – Peyton Manning on the sidelines today. This could end badly.


Kansas City 31, Oakland 10 – Can’t wait for this moving to Los Angeles dram to unfold this offseason for the Raiders, Rams and Chargers.


St. Louis 34, San Francisco 27 – 49ers reportedly considering firing Jim Tomsula and hiring Chip Kelly. Man this blog is gonna love Chip Kelly.


Green Bay 37, Minnesota 34 – Somebody called me “a good game manager” the other day. Now I know how Teddy Bridgewater feels.






2015 TO DATE: 147-93


2014 AFTER WEEK 16: 161-79