Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Off to a wedding in Ecuador, enjoy the New Year and the Bowl Season, Go Jets / Wolverines.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Have you ever had the desire to watch a college team play in the NBA, well if that has ever been a part of your wishes, tune into the Celtics over the course of the next few days. Why? Well according to Boston.com Paul Pierce will be out for 2 weeks. Combine this with the fact that Wally Szczerbiak will be out for a few more games and the Celtics will be suiting up the closest thing to a college basketball team in NBA history. Hell even Scalabrine and Ratliff are out as well, and Olowokandi hasn't played in awhile due to an oblique strain.
Current Roster Minus Pierce and Szczerbiak
Ryan Gomes, 24
Sebastian Telfair, 21
Al Jefferson, 21
Tony Allen, 24
Rajon Rondo, 20
Allan Ray, 22
Delonte West, 23
Leon Powe, 22
Gerald Green, 20
That's the list of players who in addition to Pierce received game time last night against the Warriors. So to put it bluntly without Pierce playing the Celtics will suit up zero players above the age of 25. Meaning only two players who are older then myself, god I feel old now.
If any team loses to the Celtics without Pierce they should immediately hand in their NBA Franchise cards and disband the entire organization. Keep in mind that going into last night the Celtics were in fact leading the Atlantic division but with this little problem could quickly sink to the bottom which would establish a 4 week trend having them Leading the Atlantic 3 weeks ago, to last 2 weeks ago, to first this week, to perhaps last again next week. Gotta Love the NBA.
Well it's David Lee of course, who made the first basket on a inbounds with .1 seconds on the clock that I have ever seen in my life.
Not particularly a thursday night thriller, but the great thing about this holiday season is that instead of conversing with my family on christmas and christmas eve, instead I will be immersed in football and will be able to avoid any of those boring conversations such as how is work going, or the blanket whats new question. Hooray Football.
5. Indianapolis Colts (- 9 1/2) at Houston Texans
The Colts appeared to have regained their momentum after their impressive monday night showing while the Texans seemingly get worse every single week. David Carr has lost his confidence and is continually making poor decisions. I expect the the Colts to pound the Texans in similar fashion as did the Pats last week.
4. Atlanta Falcons (-6 1/2) vs. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are a dead carcuss while the Falcons control their destiny. Coming off the beatdown at home that the Panthers had last week the might as well not show up for any of the remainder of the games this season. The Falcons play much better at home than they do on the road, and I expect Vick to have back to back solid weeks.
3. Chicago Bears (-4 1/2) at Detroit Lions
Yes I do know that the Bears have locked everything up and that this game is pretty much meaningless to them, but fact it is very meaningful to the Lions. Lose and you're one game away from Brady Quinn. Yes that's right, you hold the tie-breaker over the Raiders because of the fact you play in a worse division and have a worse opponents winning %. Keep on losin in the Motor City.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (+6 1/2) at Dallas Cowboys
I see no reason to doubt the Eagles, they keep on winning and they even have proven themselves on the road within the division with Jeff Garcia. I'm not saying that I fully expect them to win this game, just think it will be a hard fought down to the wire type game and that 6 1/2 is way too many points to give to the Romoboys.
1. Baltimore Ravens (+3 1/2) at Pittsburgh Steelers
McNair has returned to the practice field and thus should suit up for this weekends matchup. Right now the Steelers would like nothing more than to knock off their divisional opponents in the final weeks of the season but the Ravens have too much to play for this weekend, and will come focused and force Three Day Old Cheeseburger to make the mistakes which have put the Steelers at 7-7 this season.
Minnesota (+3 1/2) at Green Bay ... Two Words: Tarvaris Jackson
Kansas City (-6 1/2) at Oakland ... It's the Raiders nuff said
Washington (+2 1/2) at St. Louis ... Ladell Betts es en fuego
Jacksonville (-2 1/2) vs. New England ... Beat good teams lose to bad ones, continues
New York Giants (-3 1/2) vs. New Orleans ... G-Men finally come up big
Cleveland (-3 1/2) vs. Tampa Bay ... Rattay one week wonder
Buffalo (-4 1/2) vs. Tennessee ... Hot Home Team vs. Hot Road Team
Arizona (+3 1/2) at San Francisco ... Bounce back for Leinart
San Diego (-4 1/2) at Seattle ... LT vs. Seattle Run D, Advantage Whale's Vagina
Cincinnati (+2 1/2) at Denver ... Sucker for Cincy
New York Jets (+2 1/2) at Miami ... Homer Pick
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
2 Weeks left and in typical NFL fashion all the Wild Card Spots are up for grabs and has tons of fans looking up the NFL Tie-Breaker Rules. Well here's a little breakdown of what can or has to drop in your teams favor in order to get that bye or last Wild Card.
Cruisin Towards a Bye
San Diego Chargers
Clinched: AFC West Title
Likely Spot: #1 seed
How to Bye It: Win Out, 1 Win 1 Loss from Colts or Ravens, Three Way Tie with Colts Ravens where Strength of Victory remains ahead.
The Chargers are in a great spot to position themselves for a bye, first off they are ahead of both the Colts and Ravens by a game. But additionally they no longer have conference games remaining on their schedule and have a phenomenal 10-2 Conference record. As long as the Chargers win one game and do not get blown out in the other they will get a bye.
Remaining Schedule: @SEA, ARI
Fighting for a Bye
Clinched: AFC North Champs
Likely Spot: #3 seed
How to Bye It: Win Out or maintain tie with Colts
The Colts and Ravens have an equal conference record and do not have enough common games to qualify for that particular tie breaker, therefore the next tie breaker is the BCS like Strength of Victory and the Ravens are currently much further ahead on point differential than the Colts. I just have a feeling that the Ravens will slip up in one of these next two games, especially if Senor Kyle is forced to QB.
Remaining Schedule: @PIT, BUF
Clinched: AFC South Champs
Likely Spot: #2 seed
How to Bye It: Win Out + 1 Bal loss or Make Up Margin of Victory Ground or Dual Losses from San Diego
The Colts will wipe the floor with the Texans next week and I expect them to do the same with the Dolphins at home in the last week. Playing the Texans certainly could help the Colts make up grounds on the Strength of Victory difference but in the end I expect the Ravens to stumble in one game.
Remaining Schedule:@HOU, MIA
New England Patriots
Likely Spot: AFC East Champs #4 seed
How to Clinch East: 1 Win or 1 Jets Loss
How to Bye It: 2 Wins + Dual Losses by Colts and Ravens
10-4 yet have not clinched the division. 2 losses combined with 2 Jets wins could not only keep the Pats out of a home playoff matchup but out of the playoffs completely. In that particular scenerio the Pats would be bounce in 3 way ties involving the Jaguars and either the Bengals or Broncos, due to their conference record. The Pats are 4-0 against the NFC North, and thus have poor tiebreaker abilities, and even though they beat the Bengals, in a 3 way tie situation the conference record would override that. Simply put the Pats need to win a game.
Remaining Schedule: @JAX, @TEN
Control Your Destiny
Likely Spot: Wild Card or Wondering why they switched QBs
How to WildCard: Win Out
The Broncos have the best chance of any of the teams at 8-6 to make the Wildcard. First they control their destiny similarly, to the Jaguars and Bengals. They play the Bengals at home which gives them an edge in that game, and they have a better conference record at this point than any of the 8-6 hopefuls.
Remaining Schedule: CIN, SF
Likely Spot: Wild Card #6
How to WildCard: Win Out
Simple, win out you're in finish 9-7 and find a disasterous amount of tiebreakers to deal with. The Bengals will definately need to beat the Broncos to have a good chance of getting their as a loss in that game plus the tie-breaker advantage which it would give the Broncos would put the Bengals between a rock and a hard place.
Remaining Schedule: @DEN, PITT
Likely Spot: Continuing to enjoy the Florida Sunshine in January.
How to WildCard: Win Out
The most inconsistant team in the NFL. So what do you think the odds are that the Jaguars come out on fire and beat the Pats, but go out and lose to the dead carcuss that will be the Kansas City Chiefs come the final week of the season.
Remaining Schedule: NE, @KC
Need Some Help
New York Jets
Likely Spot: Out looking in at 9-7
How to Get a Home Game: Win Out, Pats Lose Out
How to WildCard: Win Out + Jax loss or Loss by Winner of Denver Cincy
Win out and the Jets are in good shape and at worst will simply need one of three teams to lose in the final week of the season to gain a playoff spot. The intriguing part of this is that they are currently not out of the AFC East Title run and with the Pats playing Jacksonville this week and a hot Titans team in the final week the title remains a possibility.
Remaining Schedule: @MIA, OAK
Collapse at Arrowhead
Kansas City Chiefs
Likely Spot: Bumbling About the Offseason
The Chiefs looked like a playoff team three weeks ago. Now? They have almost no hope, with a 7-7 record they need to win out and hope the 8-6 teams struggle down the stretch, just like the rest of the 7-7 teams. Now throw in the fact that they would have the worst conference record of any 9-7 team, well then they are going to need a miracle.
Remaining Schedule: @OAK, JAX
Too Little Too Late
Not only do these 7-7 teams need to hope that the 8-6 teams above them don't win out but in most cases each 7-7 team will lose tiebreakers due to poor conference records.
Likely Spot: Flying out of the Buffalo Snow ASAP.
Keys to Their Chances: Jets loss to Miami
The Bills have had a terrific stretch run and I wouldn't be surprised if they do in fact go 9-7. Problem they really need the Jets to lose to Miami, if the Jets defeat Miami they would win any tiebreaker with the Bills. In addition the Broncos would win any tiebreaker with the Bills due to superior conference record and the Bengals would most likely surpass the Bills via the Strength of victory tie-breaker.
Remaining Schedule: TEN, @BAL
Likely Spot: Enjoying the Start of the Vince Young Era.
Unfortunately for the Titans they have a 4-6 conference record and lost to the Jets so part of their hope relies on a Raiders victory on New Years Eve.
Remaining Schedule: @BUF, NE
Likely Spot: Looking at Their Shiny Old Superbowl Ring.
4-6 Conference record, will lose any tiebreaker with the Denver, Jacksonville, Cincinatti, Buffalo, etc... They'll be the first team eliminated this weekend.
Remaining Schedule: BAL, @CIN
The Sixers yesterday finally pulled the trigger on AI and sent him to a desperate Nuggets team searching for the 'Answer' to their needs. Here's a Quick Recap of the trade on both sides and how to evaluate whether it was a success or failure for each franchise.
Two draft picks sound nice, but when you realize that they are the Nuggets and Mavericks draft picks and are destined to be the 22nd and 29th picks in the draft you have to wonder whether it was worth it. They will only clear half of AI's cap space after this season, with Andre Miller being on the roster for half AI's price for 2 more seasons, and they do not receive a player of Livingston or Foye's caliber even JR Smith would have made sense. In addition picking up Joe Smith and Andre Miller at this point of the season should help the Sixers win some games, and thus hurt their chances of landing Greg Oden or Kevin Durant in the draft. The Sixers should have waited until they got a solid NBA young guy now, and not relied on hoping the Nuggets tank the second half of the season giving them a lottery or teens pick. Waiting would also, firmly established the best chances of getting Greg Oden. I think the move could work out in the favor of the Sixers but really I think they could have done better, considering they did give up one of the best players of his generation.
How this Trade Becomes a Winner: Nuggets still suck even with AI and fail to make the playoffs, giving the Sixers two lottery picks.
How this Trade Fails: Nuggets play well down the stretch and the Sixers receive a low 20s pick, while the Sixers play well enough where they decrease their lottery percentages and end up without Oden or Durant.
The Nuggets pulled off a panic move. With Carmelo and JR out for extended periods of time the Nuggets need scoring, badly, to keep their playoff hopes alive. AI will certainly be able to fill that void for the time being. But could you imagine a backcourt of Earl Boykins and AI, would they be able to guard any team in the NBA. Eventually when Carmelo comes back will Iverson, JR, and Melo be able the mesh? All are really score first players and provide littely benefits outside of their scoring abilities. Also, with the trade of Andre Miller, who plays point guard for this team, Iverson, Boykins? Like I said previously, how could you seriously have Iverson and Boykins on the floor at the same time and remotely think you are going to stop someone on defense. It was certainly a panic move on the Nuggets behalf, I think it will help them salvage some victories in Carmelo's absense and most likely a playoff spot. But will it amass to a deep playoff run in any of the next 3 seasons, I just don't see it.
How this Trade Becomes a Winner: Make the Playoffs this season, thus not losing a top draft pick. Mesh in the offseason and advance deep in the postseason in either the 08 or 09 playoffs.
How this Trade Fails: Miss playoffs this season thus forfeit a top pick. Ball Fueding in the next two seasons between Melo and AI as the phrase "There's only one ball to go around" is uttered by every color commentator doing a Nugget game.
The Last Word
In the end I don't really like the trade for either of these teams. I think the Sixers pulled the trigger too early and settled for the hope of a lottery pick, and failed to clear up all of AI's contract. This trade for the Nuggets does not make them an elite team in the Western Conference, it only fills the hole on their roster during the Carmelo, JR suspension. After that I just don't foresee it working and see either Iverson or Melo being frustrated that they aren't the go to guy at the end of games.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
There are officially way too many bowl games to pick so these are basically all quick picks as I do not have the time nor the desire to breakdown Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati. So from tonights Poinsettia Bowl to the National Championship game here are all my selections. And well why just pick a bowl game when you can rate whether or not you care to watch the game as well. So in addition I give each Bowl game a grade as to how watchable I personally believe the game is.
Poinsettia Bowl - TCU vs. Northern Illinois, C+, The Poinsetta Bowl gives us a last look at Garrett Wolfe, and he faces off against one of the toughest run defenses in the land. He gets stuffed and the Horned Frogs take it home. Pick: Horned Frogs
Las Vegas Bowl - BYU vs. Oregon, B-, BYU has gone under the radar for much of the season and ended up finishing the regular season in the top 25. The Ducks went in the opposite direction starting out high and plummeting during the Pac 10 season. I do like watching their QB though and think he will carry them to the victory. Pick: Oregon
New Orleans Bowl - Troy vs. Rice, F, Ya got no interest in this game, Rice is usually the worst team in the country, how did they make a bowl, I'll have better things to do on Friday night. Pick: Troy
Papajohns.com Bowl - South Florida vs. East Carolina, C-, The Big East really needs to win as many bowls as possible so they can give a "Look what we did last year" when another one of their teams will appear to be on the brink of a title bid. South Florida showed some good games during the season and I think they will take this one home for the Big East. Pick: South Florida
New Mexico Bowl - New Mexico vs. San Jose St., F, Why do so many schools play in Bowls that they host, I find this incredibly lame, I'm picking San Jose St. for spite. Pick: San Jose St.
Armed Forces Bowl - Utah vs. Tulsa, C, So the theme of these early games appears to be Mountain West / WAC teams that I don't care much about, give me Urban Meyer and Alex Smith and I'll tune in. I'll go with Utah anyway because they should have some leftovers from the Meyer years. Pick: Utah
Hawaii Bowl - Hawaii vs. Arizona St., B+, Any game involving Hawaii is entertaining, they play little defense and always score a bunch of points, too bad this is going up against a big NFL day. Arizona St. fired its coach, they'll have nothing in this game. Pick: Hawaii
Motor City Bowl - Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee St., F, Ya um don't care about any directional Michigan team, sorry I just don't. Pick: Central Michigan
Emerald Bowl - Florida St. vs. UCLA, C, Honestly of all the perennial superpowers the most unwatchable in recent years has been Florida St. with their meager offense. Throw in the fact that they stink this year and have a departing Offensive Coordinator and I expect a low scoring dullfest. Pick: UCLA
Independence Bowl - Alabama vs. Oklahoma St., C-, Why not just call this one of the man 6-6 bowls, like 6-6a. Both teams don't deserve a bowl trip. Despite the firing of Shula I'll pick Alabama simply because the SEC is much better than the Big 12. Pick: Alabama
Holiday Bowl - California vs. Texas A&M, B+, This could be the last team we see both Jackson and Lynch in a Golden Bear uniform. Both are incredible playmakers and should transition well into the NFL. Despite that, I think the tough running game up front behind Jorvorskie puts A&M over the top. Pick: Texas A&M
Texas Bowl - Rutgers vs. Kansas St., C-, I have no interest in watching K St. play, basically its a shame that Rutgers got saddled with such a lame Bowl game after their great season. One dropped pass in the end zone and they went from the Orange Bowl to some stupid game on the NFL Network. Pick: Rutgers
Music City Bowl - Clemson vs. Kentucky, C+, I have minimal interest in watching an ACC vs. SEC matchup considering how badly the ACC got whooped up on during their rivalry week. If Clemson can't beat Kentucky, then the ACC might as well roll out the white flag in the remainder of their bowl games. Pick: Clemson
Sun Bowl - Oregon St. vs. Missouri, C+, The Beavers came on down the stretch of the season, while Missouri went in the opposite direction. The Pac 10 gets one favorable matchup versus a Big 12 opponent. Pick: Beavers
Liberty Bowl - Houston vs. South Carolina, B-, I like the cock and shoot, and apparently the Houston coach is willing to vote his team into the top 20 so they must be good right? I feel as if Spurrier wants a nice feather in his cap and will get this one done. Pick: GameCocks
Insight Bowl - Texas Tech vs. Minnesota, C, Finally the first lame Big 10 team gets into a Bowl matchup. The Golden Gophers won a few games down the stretch to get in yippy. Hopefully Leach will bring his A shootout game to make this one entertaining. Pick: Texas Tech
Champs Sports Bowl - Purdue vs. Maryland, C+, Question: Why is Purdue 8-5? Answer: Because they didn't play Michigan or Ohio St. Aka the shadiest 8-5 record in all the land. Pick: Maryland
Meineke Car Care Bowl - Navy vs. Boston College, B-, The Eagles have one of the best bowl records in the land in recent years, but their coach is bailing on them to go to an inferior team in their own conference, should be interesting to see how they respond. Personally, I feel they still outclass Navy. Pick: Boston College
Alamo Bowl - Texas vs. Iowa, B+, The almighty overrated Kirk Ferentz brings his "National Champion Hopeful" utter losers into Texas to face off against the Longhorns, it will be interesting to see if he gets beat down so badly by Mack Brown that within the media he goes from being the best young coaching prospect, to completely overrated. Pick: Texas
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Georgia vs. Virginia Tech, A-, More ACC vs. SEC showdown games where the ACC is much more highly thought of this season around the country. Personally I like the way Tech played defensively down the stretch run of the season and have a hard time believing they won't shut down Georgia's shaky offense. However, if Kentucky wipes out Clemson my opinion will quickly change. Pick: VaTech
MPC Computers Bowl - Miami vs. Nevada, B, Why is this watchable? For the hilarity factor of course. How shamed must the U be to travel up to the smurf turf in Boise Idaho to play a meaningless bowl versus a WAC team. Lets see if Big Ears goes out with a W. Pick: Miami
Outback Bowl - Tennessee vs. Penn St., B, Why did Tennessee lose games this season, well a finger could certainly be pointed in the direction of Erik Ainge's injury. Without him Tennessee struggled offensively. Now with much time to heal he should be able to score on Penn St. defense enough to defeat the worthless Penn St. Offense. Penn St. lost to everyteam better than them, Tennessee fits that mold. Pick: Tennessee
Cotton Bowl - Auburn vs. Nebraska, A-, The Big 12 gets a nice fortitude matchup vs. the preseason SEC favorite. This will be a nice way to spend your breakfast on New Years with a bagel and watching two old school teams pound each other. Pick: Auburn
Gator Bowl - West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech, B+, The electric White and Slaton vs. Calvin the Giant. West Virginia should end up scoring a ton of points assuming White will be recovered by January 1st. Reggie Ball will still be unable to make passes on target, but atleast you will get a last look at Calvin in those pretty gold jerseys. Pick: West Virginia
Capital One Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Arkansas, A, This really is the watermark game to see whether or not Florida or Michigan should truly have been in the National Championship game. The #3 team in the Big 10 vs. the #3 team in the SEC, both are possess strong running games, but very different in their dominance. Other than the Rose and the title game, this game interests me most. Pick: Wisconsin
Rose Bowl - Michigan vs. USC, A+, The granddaddy of them all, with a classic Big 10 Pac 10 showdon, between two teams that are bitter that they lost out on a chance for the national title game. This game arguably will pit as many if not more NFL caliber players against each other than does the title game. With Lloyd's Rose Bowl track record, I think the Wolverines will be fired up enough to take this trophy home and hopefully build up enough momentum to go into the 2007 with immense confidence and motivation.
Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma vs. Boise St., B, The Smurf Turf Warriors off the turf against Adrian Peterson = Trouble? I don't really know what to expect from either of these teams. Could the Sooners experienced a little Ewing Theory? Could Boise St. truly be a National Power. This game will give us some solid answers. Pick: Oklahoma
Orange Bowl - Wake Forest vs. Louisville, B-, Wake Forest is a great story, but a tremendously boring team to watch. The ACC championship game was absolutely painful to watch. I just don't see their offense matching up to Brohm's Cardinal offense. Pick: Louisville
Sugar Bowl - Notre Dame vs. LSU, B-, Question: Why are the Fighting Irish terrible in bowl games? Answer: They always play in bowl games where they are less deserving of their appearance than their opponent. This is easily the case for this years Sugar bowl, this game will be very entertaining if it stays competetive, I just have a feeling that it won't. Pick: LSU
International Bowl - Cincinnati vs. Western Michigan, F, Why are there bowl games in between BCS games, ugh, like I'm going to have any interest in this game. Pick: Cincinnati
GMAC Bowl - Ohio vs. Southern Miss, F, See above comments. Pick: Southern Miss
National Championship - Florida vs. Ohio St., A+, Why does everyone seem to be counting out the Gators? 50 Days off, I repeat 50 days off. Do you expect OSU to come out with all cylinders blaring, when they've amounted 50 days of rust. I expect this game to be a struggle to the wire, with Troy Smith pulling a game winning drive down the stretch, because he's one of the best big game QBs in College History.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Week 15 Awards
Wow You Guys Suck: David Garrard, Talk about killing your teams chances to win, not only were you responsible for the three touchdowns by the Titans, but your defense completely dominated the game and without your miserable turnovers the Jaguars win that game comfortably. Can we stop annointing Garrard as definitively better than Leftwich now, what exactly has he done that's so great? Runners Up: Houston was game over by about the 5th minute, Oakland's been outscored by about 50 points by LT alone.
Cough Cough Cough: Seattle Seahawks, What are you guys doing? Back to Back losses to the 49ers and Cardinals. Are you serious? Now you actually have a remote chance of losing the division, and with the Chargers coming into Qwest this week be prepared for some extra stress come the final weekend of the season. So much for the Hasselbeck Alexander returns making this a good squad again. Runners Up: G-Men coughed the ball up too many times to eliminate the chance of taking advantage of a great situation, Herm nighty night on your playoff chances.
This Scarecrow Needs a Brain: Al Davis & Matt Millen, Three First round quarterbacks have all had decent seasons thus far while going through growing pains, but you idiots who desperately need a quarterback decided to ignore Cutler and Leinart, and guess what one of you isn't going to get Brady Quinn either, and I bet that team shies away from Troy Smith because of his height. Runner Up: Texans David Carr is not the answer, Every team with an injured starter who decided not to pursue Jeff Garcia.
The Shocker: Washington Redskins, I picked the Redskins to cover and I wasn't surprised that the game was close down the stretch, but I was very surprised that the Saints did not pull it out in the end and more so that their offense sputtered so much against a middle of the pack defense. Runners Up: Carolina looks like a team fighting for Brady Quinn not for a playoff spot, Jacksonville might have been surprising to some but I picked Tennessee to win just seems to be the way the Jaguars do it beat teams people think they will lose to and then lose to the Titans and Texans.
The Pimp: Brian Dawkins, He might be the first defensive guy I selected this whole season but Dawkins was the reason the Eagles defeated the Giants this weekend and the reason why the Eagles actually control their Divisional Title Destiny. Dawkins finished the day with 12 tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles and an Interception, thats pretty pimp. Runners Up: Chad Pennington picked apart the Vikings terrible secondary, LT taking up his weekly pimp spot with only 199 yards rushing and 2 tds weak.
You Got JAKKED UP: Cedric Houston, The Jets running back on a simple run up the gut received a double closeline from Pat Williams, and if you aren't familiar with Pat Williams imagine getting hit by two brontosaurus legs.
My Fantasy MVP: Mike Vick, With Drew Brees having an off week and the importance of getting points out of your quarterback Vick along with Frank Gore helped me gain a 50-0 edge going into the sunday games, needless to say I'm headed to the finals baby.
New York Jets MVP: Laveranues Coles, I was tempted to put Pennington because he bounced back so well from the poor Bills game, but the real Jets hero was Coles who pulled down everything thrown in his direction and truly is amazing fighting for yards after the catch. Coles was relentless this weekend, and his season thus far is making me forget about the monster year Santana Moss had last year, when that trade looked like rubbish.
My Picks: 10-6
Preseason Picks: 7-9
Picks Vs. Spread: 11-5
Actually a good week, probably because my buddy Steve said he didn't like my picks, although the only one he really named was the Patriots, and I got that well wrong.
Week 15 Extra Quick Notes
~Ladell Betts = Best Late Season Free Agent Fantasy Pick Up
~Just when you continue to rip the Bears QB, their defense gives up 31 points to a Buc team that never scores points, and Grossman bails them out, go figure.
~Speaking of the miserable Bucs, maybe they should have been starting Rattay the whole season.
~What if Jeff Garcia runs the table wins the division and takes the Eagles to a minimum of the NFC championship game, does McNabb automatically regain his starting role, will the Eagles fans start booing him once he does something bad?
~Cutler had his coming out, that Bengal Bronco game on xmas eve is pretty diesel.
~I had to root for the Colts last night, and for the Jets to control their own destiny I need a Patriot win next week against the Jags, this is sending sharp pains throughout my body.
Now that all the fines and suspensions have been levied I figured I would throw out my opinion as to whether or not in my opinion these suspensions were justified.
Carmelo Anthony, 15 games - Slightly Harsh - A) He was not the one fouled, B) The Scrum had for the most part been died down when he threw a haymaker, C) Said Haymaker landed on the chin, immediately making it worse, D) Superstar Carmelo Scarred the NBA Image more than any other player in the rumble. You can't have a superstar in the NBA doing that, and he deserved a huge suspension. 15 games might be a bit much, especially with Robinson getting 10, but he deserved to get embarrassed for his actions, the Knicks did nothing to start a fight with Carmelo, and he took a cheap shot after it settled down.
JR Smith, 10 Games - Too Harsh - JR Smith say what you will, but Smith was destroyed at the rim and had a right to be ticked off with that transition foul. He didn't throw the first punch he simply confronted Collins, which was proceeded by a shove from Nate Robinson and then a punch thrown in the direction of his face, that's when JR lost his cool and honestly who wouldn't. JR didn't instigate anything, sure he made it worse but to ask someone to keep their cool immediately following a double closeline, a shove, and a punch seems a bit ridiculous.
Nate Robinson, 10 Games - Too Weak - I say Nate Robinson is the biggest culprit in this whole thing, sure the foul was hard, but JR got up and probably just got in Mardy's face and called him a bitch. Robinson incinuated the remainder of the brawl by shoving JR and then throwing a punch in his direction. Only difference between him and Carmelo is that Carmelo's came later and Carmelo landed it. If you're giving Carmelo 15 Nate has to get the same.
Mardy Collins, 6 Games - For a Hard Foul? Weak - Sure the foul was hard, but I've hit my buddies almost as hard in pick up games. In the ensuing fight, he did not throw a punch, a shove, or anything else. Not like it matters that the Knicks are going to lose Mardy, a guy who never plays, for six games, but I can't blame him for the start of the fight.
Jared Jeffries, 4 Games - Stupid - Jeffries was spending the first half of the brawl trying to be a peacemaker, than while holding Collins back watched a punch land on Collins chin, and proceeded to go after Anthony. Basically he did nothing wrong other than chase Anthony after a cheap shot.
Nene & Jerome James, 1 Game - Standing Up - Left the bench got the 1 game suspension, not a big deal.
Isiah Thomas, 0 Games - Ridiculous - He obviously threatened Carmelo with a hard foul, his comments afterwwards were ridiculous. How does he possibly get through this unscathed, shouldn't he be heald responsible for his comments, his teams attitude and behavior.
Knicks & Nuggets, 1/2 Million Each - Odd - So you're going to hold the organizations responsible and fine them a 1/2 million, I have no problem with that, but if that's the case how in the world does Isiah not garner any responsibility? Basically the Nuggets are set to lose much more than a 1/2 million, they're most likely not going to make the playoffs.
In the end it just makes no sense how Isiah gets off scot free. He made ludicrous comments after the game, made a semi threatening comment during the game, and lost control of his whole team. In addition the equal suspension of Nate and JR seem like very poor judgement by the league's offices. Simply put, the Knicks got a favorable spin than the Nuggets from David Stern for a fight they instigated and prolonged.
2 Weeks left and in typical NFL fashion all the Wild Card Spots are up for grabs and has tons of fans looking up the NFL Tie-Breaker Rules. Well here's a little breakdown of what can or has to drop in your teams favor in order to get that bye or last Wild Card.
Clinched: NFC North Champs #1 seed
The Bears now can relax during their final two weeks as they have clinched the #1 seed in the NFC. It will be interesting to see what Lovie decides to do with his starters, who he decides to rest and how he decides to attack on offense. One would have to think that with Rex coming off one of the best games in his career Coach Smith might be best served to attempt to keep Rex in a good flow entering the playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: @Det, GB
Fighting for a Bye
New Orleans Saints
Clinched: NFC South Division Title
Likely Spot: #2 or #3 Seed
How to Clinch Bye: Win Out or Finish in a Tie for #2 Seed
This weekends loss to Washington was very detrimental to the Saints locking down that 1st round bye and makes this weeks matchup vs. the Giants that much bigger. The Saints do have an advantage over the remaining contenders for the bye though as they have beaten the Eagles and Cowboys and have a much better conference record than the Seahawks. Neither of their remaining games are easy though.
Remaining Schedule: @NYG, CAR
Clinched: Playoff Spot
Likely Spot: NFC East Champs #2 or #3 seed
How to Win Division: Defeat Eagles this weekend or Defeat Lions Combined with Eagles Loss to Atlanta Week 17.
How to Clinch Bye: Win out Combined with a Saints Loss.
The Cowboys increased their division championship hopes with a win in Atlanta but are still not out of the woods yet. A loss this weekend to the Eagles puts them in scoreboard watch mode on the final sunday. It's as simple as this win the game sunday at home against Philly and you have your division title, and you can go and start rooting for the Saints to get knocked off.
Remaining Schedule: PHI, DET
How to Get In: One Win or One 49er loss Clinches West Title
Likely Spot: NFC West Champs #3 or #4 seed
The Seahawks decided that it was in their best interest to lose games to the 49ers and Cardinals and now have a very limited chance of gaining that 1st round bye. In order to do that the Seahawks would have to run the table, and that includes defeating the Chargers next week, and with the way they have defended the run in recent weeks, I find that highly unlikely.
Remaining Schedule: SD, @TB
Right At the Finish Line
Likely Spot: Wild Card #5 Seed
How to Clinch Division: Win Out or Finish in Tie for Division Lead
How to Clinch Wild Card: Win A Single Game
How to Bye It: Win Out Combined with Saints Dual Losses
The Eagles have positioned themselves in a very good spot to make the playoffs. They can win the division by winning out or win a wild card spot by defeating either the Falcons or the Cowboys, only a two game losing streak would keep the Eagles out of the playoffs. They even have a chance for a bye.
Remaining Schedule: @DAL, ATL
Control Their Destiny
Likely Spot: Jim Mora Fired
How to Get In: Win Out In anything else makes it almost impossible
Due to the very weird tie-breaker system the Falcons despite their loss to the Giants control their own destiny. If the Falcons win out and finish in a three way tie with the Giants and Eagles at 9-7 the Falcons in fact get the #5 seed. The first tie-breaker in a 3-way tie is to eliminate the lower division seed, which would in this case be the Giants, this would get the Falcons the 5 seed due to their victory over the Eagles. With that being said I just don't see the Falcons winning their last two games due to their inconsistencies.
Remaining Schedule: CAR, @PHI
Win Out and Things Will Work Themselves Out
New York Giants
Likely Spot: Wildcard #6 Seed
How to Wildcard: Win Out Combined with a Falcons Loss or Two Eagles Losses or Finish in a Sole Tie with the Falcons for final spot
The Giants have a solid conference record and two winnable games remaining on their schedule, but due not contrary to popular belief control their own destiny. If you're Tom Coughlin simply get your team to win both games and things will fall into place. A tie at 8-8 for the last spot will most likely get the Giants in, the only teams that would hold an 8-8 edge on the Giants are the Vikings and possibly the Eagles depending on which game the Giants won.
Remaining Schedule: NO, @WAS
The 6-8 LongShots
Likely Spot: On the Fringe, but just out of the postseason
How to Wildcard: Finish 8-8 in a tie for the Final WildCard Spot
The Vikings killer this season, swept by the AFC East. If the Vikings could get to 8-8 and sit with a tie with either the Falcons, Giants or Eagles they will get in due to what would be an 8-4 conference record. Despite their poor play against the Jets they have the best chance of any 6-8 team to make the playoffs.
Remaining Schedule: @GB, @STL
Green Bay Packers
Likely Spot: More Brett Favre Retirement Drama
How to WildCard: Finish in 8-8 tie for Final Spot with Anyone But Giants or Eagles
The Packers need a lot to happen, namely the Giants losing every remaining game and the Eagles finishing as either the 5th seed or NFC East Division Champ as they would have to make up 100 point margin of victory deficit to the Eagles in the final weeks to win that tiebreaker.
Remaining Schedule: MIN, @CHI
San Francisco 49ers
Likely Spot: Overachieved in 06, but not to the playoffs
How to Win Division: Win Out combined with Seattle Losing Out
The 49ers had a much better than expected season and its nice to see a little development in Alex Smith and the emergence of Frank Gore. If they somehow were able to sneak out the division title that would be thrilling.
Remaining Schedule: ARI, @DEN
Likely Spot: A Lost Season
How to WildCard: Finish at 8-8 Alone or Just with the Rams
So much for the Superbowl right ESPN, the Panthers would need to win out, not going to happen, and have massive amounts of help in order to get in. See you next season, possibly with a freshly drafted/signed Quarterback for a little controversy.
Remaining Schedule: @ATL, @NO
St. Louis Rams
Likely Spot: 6-10
How to WildCard: Finish Alone in 8-8
The only way the Rams get in is if they sit alone at 8-8 due to their poor conference record, poor division record, and loss to Carolina. So despite their win against the feeble Raiders the Rams are all but done in the NFC Hunt.
Remaining Schedule: WAS, @MIN
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Whammy and THE NBA Dumps the YouTube Video, how weak.
Friday, December 15, 2006
So a few weeks following his father's mumblings about how Mike Vick is a coach killer now Jim Mora the younger comes out and says he would leave the Falcon's during a playoff run to go coach his alma mater, the University of Washington. What in the world is he thinking, does he want his job, why exactly in midseason is he doing radio shows with his buddies in Seattle anyway. If there's one thing this proves its that the classic verbal blowup is definately in Jimmie's genes.
While Mora is coming out and saying that he was joking about all of the statements, and if you hear the commentary it's pretty ludicrous, but as I always say joking is just an excuse for things you say. Anything the you say in a 'joking' manner has something behind it, and while I doubt he would leave the Falcons during the middle of the season, I would be willing to wager large amounts of cash that if that Washington job does open up at some point, he will slip his name into the hat. On top of that, who uses the words "I'm dead serious" while joking about something, come on Jim how stupid do you think we are. Maybe the Moras should look into a muzzle, and while their at it get one for T.O. please.
Basically I just don't feel like writing a big thing about any of these topics but feel like giving a little opinion about all of them.
Dice-K Per Perras's Request
Personally I felt as if there was no chance that a deal wouldn't be worked out. First off what benefit would Daisuke have of going back to Japan, first off his organization wouldn't want him, he'd be making less money, and he's still have to wait two years to become a free agent. The only reason it took so long was Boras trying to get every ounce he could out of the Red Sox into that contract. I don't believe for a second Seibu would have put Matsuzaka in the minors though, makes no sense for the organization business wise or PR wise, it was all threat, they wanted their 51 mill.
For the Red Sox I think it was a very good move. The 100+ million they spent is luxury tax friendly, they didn't drop a bunch of money on a mediocre pitcher, they got the best pitcher on the market for not illogical money and now have their foot in an unchartered market.
So I'm on the treadmill last night flipping threw the channels and I stop at the NCAA Division 1 Semifinal Women's Volleyball matchup pitting UCLA vs. Nebraska, and you know what it was pretty darn entertaining. First off I suck at volleyball, mostly because I'm short, but these gals are 10 times better than I could ever imagine being. Really what strikes me almost immediately is how friggin tall every one of those girls are, and how long their socks are, ludicrous. One girl on Nebraska in particular, Sarah Pavan, as the picture shows looks like she could get 10 feet above the net, and she hits laser beams. She pummeled one into a girl on UCLA's chest, quite humurous, the announcers comment was that had to hurt. So if you like 6-5 killers that hit laser-rocket balls, Nebraska is your squad.
If you haven't seen this article about the Parents of Arkansas Freshmen it's a must read. To some it up Mitch Mustain, superstar recruit, and two of his high school wideouts went to Arkansas expecting to play a Spread Pass Offense, but that hasn't happened and now they feel like bitching about it. Shut the Hell Up you whining babies. Your Parents, not the players let your kids make a decision on whether or not to transfer. And of course you're not going to run a spread pass offense when you have 2nd place Heisman in the backfield and you're having your most succesful season in years. What losers these parents come off as.
Don Juan Ecuador
I'm dubbing Marcus Vick as Don Juan Ecuador to his brother Michael's Ron Mexico. Marcus simply following the Vick way is being sued for sleeping with an underage girl for the tune of 6+ million. Hilarious, the Vick's parents must be so proud of how much class they were able to instill in their children.
More Random Thoughts
~Brandon Jacobs is the Juggernaut. Dubbed by Max Kellerman on his radio show, it's the perfect nickname.
~Frank Gore is officially a stud now, he even has stopped fumbling and dropped 18 points for me to get the ball rolling in my semifinal matchup.
~Speaking of last night, what the hell happenned to the Seahawks offense, where were the points?
~I'm sick of the AI trade thing already and of course it's going to drag out forever even though everyone on ESPN said it would be done by tuesday.
So Good Even My Mom Appreciated It
Gracias para Lanza por un link.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Devern Hansack? Huh? Peter Gammons stated on the Dan Patrick Radio Show that if the Red Sox were to enter spring training today, that Devern Hansack a 28 year old Nicaraguan would be the teams closer. You remember Devern, he started two games in september when the Red Sox were long out of it, and no hit the Orioles through 5 in the last game of the season, no you weren't watching the Red Sox on October 1st?
So you want more on Devern Hansack, this is all I got according to the stats provided at sportsline as well as the link above, he appears to have taken a two year hiatus from American baseball during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and has yet to throw a single pitch in Triple A. If I was a Red Sox fan I certainly would hope that Peter Gammons was just name dropping there, and that they have a better current option.
With that being said let's do a bit more focus on the Closer Situation in Boston.
On the Roster Options
Mike Timlin - Dude's about 800, I think he's been pitching since the stone age. Alright so he's only 40, and only has been in the Majors since 1991, but still his ERA jumped up 2 runs last season and with his age and mileage it would be difficult to foresee him having a successful season at closer.
Hideki Okajima - Hey did you know they signed another Japanese pitcher this week, this time a 30 year old left handed reliever. But don't expect anything from Okajima in the closer role, he only closed during one of his 12 seasons in Japan. Okajima is more likely to fill their Mike Myers like lefty specialist role.
Craig Hansen - The Red Sox first round selection out of Saint John's in 2005 has thrown 41 innings in the major leagues, but has had very limited success, as shown by his career 6.59 era. One would think that if he has a lights out spring training he will be handed the role, and given the opportunity. But with his small track record, it would be difficult to predict such great success coming in the Spring.
Jonathan Papelbon - Thrust him in the starting rotation or keep him as the closer where he dominated while healthy last season. With all gears in the Red Sox organization set in motion to put Paps in the rotation, as an outsider it's easy to question this decision. In most cases sure, I would rather have a dominant starter than a closer, but in the case of Boston's where they just dropped big time loot on what they believe is an ace, and already have Schilling, Wakefield, and Beckett in the rotation with Lester and Clement possibly waiting in the looms, it would seem that Papelbon would be more valuable filling what is a clear weakness. I'm sure there are other forces at work, such as Paps probably wants to be a front line starter, but when you have a proven player at a needs position, is it smart to tinker with it. We'll see.
Keith Foulke's Full Circle Journey
Keith Foulke's blowup is complete. From 2004 World Series hero to fleeing from Boston and declining his offer of salary arbitration. It's honestly amazing how quickly everything went downhill for Foulke in Boston. For those of you who didn't have vivid nightmares of Foulke in the latter half of October, here's a recap he pitched a total of 14 innings and gave up a single run, and that was in the uncompetetive World Series. In 2005 he tried to pitch through apparent injury to the tune of a 5.91 ERA, and last year he didn't record a single save.
The Final Word
With all that money the Red Sox have been shipping out this offseason one would have thought they would have attempted to address their clear hole at the Closer spot. Maybe moneyball is prevailing and they believe they will be able to plug in anybody into that role, but would anyone truly believe that the Sox will be able to catch lightning in a bottle two consecutive seasons?
My guess is at some point either during the spring or in the early months of the season the Red Sox go out and trade for a proven commodity.
Big Division showdown tonight which makes me want to get the NFL Network, pause, Not. This week feels like a very good week for the underdogs, that could be in direct correspondence to the fact that somehow, someway, the Raiders are favored to win their game.
5. St. Louis Rams (+ 1 1/2) at Oakland Raiders
We'll start right there in Oakland. Sure I watched the Rams last week, and yes I know their special teams stunk up the joint, but that was against an 11-2 team not a 2-11 team. The Raiders will be without Jordan and Moss, not like that actually matters much, but still their offense is putrid, atleast the Rams still have Bulger, Jackson and Holt. Call me crazy but unless the Raiders are getting close to double digit points I'm going against them every week, and if their favored, ya saddle me up.
4. Atlanta Falcons (+3 1/2) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Both really need this game but I think the Falcons show up ready to play knowing this is their playoff livelihood. Vick is due for another scintillating game and with the game on the turf in ATL, Vick will get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet. Honestly, I couldn't find a 5th game I was super confident in, and settled on this one.
3. San Francisco 49ers (+9 1/2) at Seattle Seahawks
I absolutely love Qwest Field's advantage for the Seahawks and I expect them to win this game, but so quickly we forget the fact that the 49ers beat the Seahawks earlier in the season, and Seattle just lost to the Cardinals. The Seahawks run defense stinks, and Frank Gore rushed for a franchise record 212 yards against Seattle the last time they met. I don't foresee Seattle running away with it tonight.
2. Denver Broncos (-2 1/2) at Arizona Cardinals
With a spread low enough to pretty much settle for a win, I'll take the Broncos who desperately need a victory to have any shot of making the playoffs of the lowly, but playing well, Arizona Cardinals. Matt Leinart and Vince Young have both seemingly hit their strides, so maybe this week Jay Cutler will come out and have his breakout game, if not, expect a lot of Tatum Bell.
1. Green Bay Packers (-4 1/2) vs. Detroit Lions
Brett Favre ate the Lions defense alive in Detroit, and granted the Packers have been a much better road team this season than they have been at home, but I expect Favre to put up similar numbers and expect the Packers to win by a touchdown or more. The Lions do in fact need to keep pace with the Raiders in the race for Brady Quinn.
New York Jets (+3 1/2) at Minnesota ... Been down on Minny all Year
Tennessee (+3 1/2) vs. Jacksonville ... Riding the Vince train
Chicago (-13 1/2) vs. Tampa Bay ... Tampa will score 0 points, thats the over under
Washington (+9 1/2) at New Orleans ... Taking the big spread
Pittsburgh (-2 1/2) at Carolina ... Anti-Weinke
Cleveland (+11 1/2) at Baltimore ... Again with the points
Houston (+11 1/2) at New England ... Once again with the points
Buffalo (-1 1/2) vs. Miami ... Liked what I saw of Buffalo last week
Philadelphia (+5 1/2) at New York Giants ... Coin Flip game w/Garcia playing well
Kansas City (+8 1/2) at San Diego ... Taking big point spreads theme of the week
Cincinatti (+3 1/2) at Indianapolis ... Show me rush defense before you get respect
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Who isn't a fan of watching 8 year olds run each other over like a freight train.
I'm far from a Notre Dame apologist but all of the Notre Dame bashers out there killing Brady Quinn have begun to annoy me to high heavens and those folks who think the Raiders or Lions should pass on him if available are insane.
Phenomenal Numbers and Accomplishments
There's no arguing with his numbers, complain about Notre Dame's schedule as much as you want but if you do so give equal note to the fact that Troy Smith only played in two big games this season as well. Brady Quinn finished the regular season with 35-5 the best TD to INT ratio in major college history (disregarding anyone from BYUish Hawaiiish esque schools). Twice top 5 in the Heisman voting, Sammy Baugh 05 winner, Maxwell Award 06, Unitas Golden Arm 06.
I am one of the first person's to come out and say that it is stupid that given players are often overrated or under rated strictly on physical ability rather than production. But I as a Jet fan experience what life is like with a quarterback who can not and simply refuses to throw the deep ball, its often painful. Quinn has shown the ability to throw accurate short passes, with zip in addition to having the ability to throw the deep ball. I won't make a big deal about his height like those other analysts or NFL scouts, but it has to be said that his ability to make plays combined with his production make him a very viable #1 selection.
He's shown the leadership abilities and calm in the late moments of games to bring his team back from the jaws of defeat. So what you may about Notre Dame shouldn't have been losing in most of those comebacks and I'll easily point you to the scoreboard of those games which all ended up in the high 30s or low 40s. Unless you expect Brady Quinn to play linebacker or dback for the Fighting Irish or the NFL teams that draft, I'm going to have to say that it's irrelevant that they shouldn't have been behind.
This can hardly be measured from the outside very well, as we do not see his conversations in the locker room or hear the thoughts of his teammates but Charlie Weis, a man with three superbowl rings, said that he couldn't imagine a player being more valuable to his team in all of college football. Obviously he is biased, but the man did coach up Tom Brady to a legendary QB, so I'll trust his judgement.
Notion That He Doesn't Show Up in Big Games
One of the biggest anti-Quinn sentiments is that Quinn doesn't show up in any of the big games Notre Dame plays in. The fact is that couldn't be further from the truth, sure Notre Dame loses all those games but it is far from his fault. The Michigan game for instance would be a major target for Quinn bashers, at home how you could throw 3 ints. Well just in case you forgot one of those ints was thrown directly into the hands of his tight end, which the TE proceeded to flub into the air and turned into an int. A Second int came on a diving out of nowhere catch by Leon Hall, who just happens to be one of the best Dbacks in the country. Sure he didn't play exceedingly great in that game but he was far from horrendous. The only other game that should be mentioned on Quinn's resume for not coming up huge was the GaTech game to start the season, but they won that game so no one cares. Notre Dame lost games this season and last season, never because of Brady Quinn but because their defense couldn't stop any semblance of a vertical passing attack. If you want to say Troy Smith is a better big game quarterback, I won't argue, who has been better than Smith in the clutch in college football history, but that doesn't mean that you should bash Quinn.
USC 06 - 22-45 274 yards, 3 tds, 0 ints, 74 yards rushing
USC 05 - 19-35 264 yards, 1 td, 1 int, 1 rushing td
Michigan 06 - 24-48 234 yards, 3 tds, 3 ints
Michigan 05 - 19 - 30 140 yards, 2 tds, 0 ints
Tennessee 05 - 20-33 295 yards, 3 tds, 0 ints
Ohio St. Fiesta Bowl - 29-45 286 yards, 0 tds, 0 ints
Quinn had a phenomenal career at Notre Dame and to blame him or bash him for Notre Dame losses during his career is unjust. Quinn was handicapped with a bad coach his first two seasons and a terrible defense his final two seasons. Quinn has the pedigree, the physical skills and leadership qualities to be a top pick in this years NFL draft and if either the Lions or Raiders who have terrible quarterback situations pass on him with their first pick in the draft it would be one of the terrible moves in draft history. But then again the Lions and Raiders came into this season both needing a quarterback and decided that last years prototype succesful QB, Matt Leinart, and deamed him not draft worthy, so anything is possible.
Yesterday on the drive home Mike and the Mad Dog interviewed Jim Dolan, New York Knick Owner, for a lengthy period and here are a few of the things they went over.
1) Dolan still is harping on how he will make a decision on Isiah only at the end of the season and he will not define what "progress" means. He wouldn't admit to a certain record, or how far player development needs to improve. He believes Ike deserves the whole season, and for some reason believes that he actually improve the team.
2) Apparently Dolan has an agreement with David Stern to not answer basically any questions on the Larry Brown details. He sidestepped every question, regarding why he said it was a big mistake in the papers, who wanted to get the services of Steve Francis, whether or not there was any chance Larry could have come back this season. The question by Mike Francesa was great, he put it like why wouldn't you keep a coach with a proven track record instead of a GM who has run everything into the ground. The tone was obvious enough though that he feels as if Larry sabotaged the season.
3) Dolan really has no incredible desire to get under the cap. He doesn't want to have hideous seasons, like this or last year, and wants to have people in the seats. He made it a point that Ike won't be bringing on huge contracts this season, but made it seem like no one should expect the Knicks to be under the cap anytime soon.
4) If Isiah shows "progress" don't expect him to only have 1 year remaining on his contract, he is either getting fired or getting an extension, even though as Francesa put it "I would give him a one year deal because no one out there is going to hire him."
5) Apparently the sexual harassment lawsuit against Ike is also somehow against Dolan, though he failed to specify exactly why.
6) Dolan wanted to hype the Rangers up so bad and obviously Mike and the Mad Dog really could care less about them, it's hockey.
7) Dolan has an overstated hold over his announcers. Basically if he hears, "unwatchable", "don't come", "don't be a knick fan" your jobs gonna be in jeopardy. This obviously makes sense.
8) It's obvious that Dolan is loyal to a fault. He talked nicely of Glen Sather who basically ran the Rangers franchise into the ground until he was fired before the strike, and he gave him praise for making deals the final year of his tenure.
9) Apparently unlike Peter Angelos complaining about the Nationals move to DC, Dolan voted in favor of the Nets moving to Brooklyn, an honorable decision from my perspective.
10) In case you didn't know Dolan is not only the owner of the Knicks and Rangers but MSG and Cablevision the major cable company in the NYC area. A big deal in NYC has been the fact that cable companies won't give the NFL Network and thus those 8 thursday night games won't be on. But he brought up a very valid counterpoint, why should he buy a product, the NFL Network, which isn't terribly important to his subscribers when the same company won't let him buy what so many customers would desire, NFL Ticket.
Basically I feel from this talk that Isiah is going to get the benefit of the doubt and if they win somewhere in the mid 30s and Eddy Curry develops into an all star caliber player Knick fans could enjoy atleast a few more Ike flavored seasons.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
With the apparent official retirement of Jeff Bagwell on the way I decided to take a look at his stats and assess whether I personally believe he is deserving of the Hall of Fame.
It will be very interesting to see if Jeff Bagwell's name gets thrown under the bus in the land of suspicion. He has some of the symptoms: massive power years which transitioned into complete body failure during the time of testing. Prior to Ken Caminiti's passing he did come out and admit he used steroids and further hinted to the usage of Bagwell while they were teammates with the Astros. I think eventually the suspicion, which has zero proof attached will hurt Bagwell's chances, how significantly will be seen.
For someone that was so great and so consistent every season, he was equally consistent in the opposite end of the spectrum in the postseason. In 9 career series he batted a career .226 and even though he was technically on the World Series roster in 05, in the only series he truly contributed the Astros compiled a 1-5 series record.
I think unfortunately, and too often, overall numbers are taken into account to heavily in the Hall of Fame debate. Jeff Bagwell narrowly missed both a career average of .300 and 500 home runs. Either of those stats would give him a much better chance of getting in. Rather his superb numbers lie at runs and rbis both over 1500, once again unfortunately those will be looked at much less importantly than the average or home run numbers would have been.
Best First Baseman in the National League in 90s
One of the key components in my thought process when justifying whether a player should enter the Hall of Fame is when he was in his prime was he the best player at his position. This has always been my argument against Rafael Palmeiro, sure he put up consistently good numbers but he was never significantly involved in the MVP discussion and he was never the best first baseman in baseball. Bagwell to me has this working in his favor. In the mid 90s he was the best first baseman in baseball. His numbers in the strike shortened 1994 season were immaculate. He ranked 2nd in NL in batting average and home runs and 1st in RBIs, Runs, and Slugging % and won the MVP award. Those are unreal numbers, he was the best player in all of baseball that season. Furthermore in the 90s and early 00s he was in the top 10 in the league every year in BBs, OPS, HRs, RBIs, Runs (Including 3 times leading the league), and MVP voting all but once. He even had very good stolen base numbers for a first baseman during the 90s putting up two 30 steal seasons. Jeff Bagwell was a great, great player.
I'm beginning to start feeling like Buster Olney, where I do not want to associate steroid guilt and that instead if they were the greatest players in their era they should be in the Hall of Fame. My personal opinion says that Jeff Bagwell was no worse than a top 5 hitter in the National League for the span of almost a full decade, and for that reason if I had a vote I would check him off first ballot. In the end I think he struggles to get in due to the negatives of not hitting the benchmark numbers, the postseason numbers and the steroid controversy.
Week 14 Awards
Wow You Guys Suck: Indianapolis Run Defense, Three Hundred and Seventy Five Yards, I repeat 375 yards. Including a stretch where the Jaguars had 4 consecutive runs of 17 yards or more. We knew the Colts run defense was bad, and the Jaguars have a solid one two backfield punch, but three hundred and seventy five, I don't care who you have at quarterback, you give up that many rushing yards and you have absolutely no chance to win a football game. Runners Up: Carolina's season is over nighty night, Speaking of Run Defense if Willie Parker stayed in the game the 4th quarter he would have rushed for 300 against the Browns.
Cough Cough Cough: New York Jets, With a great opportunity in front of them to make a playoff push the Jets lost an essential conference game. Now they will need to run the table and even when that happens they still will need help from the Bengals and Jaguars. Basically the Jets once again could not stop Willis McGahee nor the big play and could not create Big Plays for themselves. Runners Up: Dallas Cowboys had a perfect opportunity to set up a bye slot and instead you get completely torched on defense, So much for the Arrowhead Advantage as Kansas City goes down in flames.
This Scarecrow Needs a Brain: Mike Shanahan, Mike you really didn't want to make the playoffs this year did you. I know Plummer wasn't going to win a Superbowl for you, but if he continued to QB I'm willing to bet they would have beaten the Seahawks last week and would still be in position for a postseason run, right now I just don't see it happening. Runner Up: Charlie Casserly is probably glad he is no longer the Texans GM after Young beat them in OT by himself and Bush looks like a stud, Scott Linehan don't kick the ball to Hester.
The Shocker: Arizona Cardinals, Here I am thinking to myself wow if the Seahawks could get that bye they could be incredibly dangerous, that stadium is such an advantage and then I look up at the scoreboard throughout the Jets game and there they are losing to the lowly Cardinals. Unless the Seahawks somehow get that bye I find it very hard to foresee them making the Superbowl. Runners Up: Miami Dolphins shutting out the Patriots, Eagles winning streak without McNabb.
The Pimp: Devin Hester, just to mix it up a bit I'll give it to Devin Hester who took all the wind out of the Rams sails with two electrifiing kick returns. 246 total return yards is pretty nice. Runners Up: Drew Brees only had 5 touchdowns to destroy the Cowboys, LaDainian is only here every single week.
You Got JAKKED UP: Steve McNair, I forgot who he hit, but Steve McNair dehelmeted a D-back, quite humurous.
My Fantasy MVP: Drew Brees, I'm willing to gamble that if you had Drew Brees on your fantasy team this week with his near 400 yards and 5 touchdowns that you managed to win. Well Brees combined with some other good games had me winning 170 - 71, that's domination.
New York Jets MVP: Chad Pennington, throwing an absolute team deflating interception for a touchdown near the close of the 2nd quarter. While the Bills had simply capatalized on two big plays to gain a 14-10 lead, Pennington fed the fire and within the blink of an eye the Bills went from down 10-7 to a 77 yard td pass and a int to the house and their up for good.
My Picks: 9-7
Preseason Picks: 6-10
Picks Vs. Spread: 9-7
Captain Mediocre Picker, ugh.
Week 14 Extra Quick Notes
~The Jets do not make big plays and do not have the ability to come from behind. I hope they somehow win their final three games, but I doubt it.
~Jets Vikings this week is an elimination game, loser has no shot at the playoffs.
~Atlanta vs. Dallas is the best possible game for both the Eagles and Giants, it's a no lose situation. The winner of the Giants Eagles game either will sit on top of the NFC East or have a complete stranglehold on the first wild card spot.
~The Bengals and Jaguars have very tough schedules going down the stretch but both appear to be playing so well that it wouldn't be surprising if they win out. However, you still never know what you are going to get from Jacksonville, they have in fact lost twice to Houston.
~Oakland and Detroit keeping pace for the Brady Quinn race.
~Terrible run defense must be the theme of this week as Seattle once again gave up a 100+ yard runner, their defense has been much worse than I expected.
~Romo had his bad game, thankfully.
~Poor Tampa most likely won't get the #1 pick in the draft with the Lions and Raiders being so bad, but they are the worst team in the NFL this year.
~Eli and Rex have solid games and atleast for a week fans will get off their backs.
~Jeff Garcia good again, huh?
Monday, December 11, 2006
As a Celtic fan I sit nervously waiting the trade of Allen Iverson from the 76ers and am adamantly hoping that Danny does not pull the trigger. Rumored throughout the summer I was worried that the Celtics would have to part with Big Al or Gerald Green and I was not happy. Now the Celtics sit at 6-14 and they are mulling over making this bad choice again. Here are the reasons why Danny Should Not Do It.
I don't want the GM of the team to avoid deals simply because of past incidents but it has to be said how the Celtics so quickly gave up on developing their own players in the past regime. Imagine a Celtics roster where Chauncey Billups was running the point, Joe Johnson was slotted in as the 2 guard and Paul Pierce at the 3 followed by some fillers at the 4 and 5. My guess is that team would be a perennial contender, instead the Celtics of the past gave up on their top rated draft picks well before they had a chance to develop into the stars they are now. While getting Iverson will certainly be a much bigger deal than the Johnson for Delk and Rodney Rodgers deal, I still feel like they will be abandoning the talent they have drafted which could easily come back to haunt them.
Celtics Noticeable Problems
The Celtics have some noticeable problems and trading for Iverson does not address any of them. First off the Celtics play no defense. They give up a ton of points every game because they are poor at guarding the perimeter. Will Iverson significantly improve their on ball defending on the perimeter? I doubt he would. If anything AI would only shrink the Celtics already small roster and would force Wally or Pierce to guard a big, which would not be good news.
Secondly, the Celtics get at best inconsistent inside scoring from the 4 and the 5. Right now Al Jefferson appears to be the only player on the roster with the potential to turn into a consistent post scorer. As shown on saturday night if they actually pass the ball to Jefferson he has the ability to put the ball in the hole. If they trade Big Al they will get almost no paint production for the remainder of the season.
They lack rebounding, the first week of the season Paul Pierce was pulling down 18 a game simply because no one downlow consistently pulls down boards. If there's something that AI certainly does not address its rebounding. Against the New Jersey Nets, who have limited size and a relatively weak on the glass as well, the Cs were abused on the offensive glass. Trading away Perkins or Jefferson would only decrease their rebounding.
Cap Room Tie-Up
Iverson is set to make a boatload of money the next two seasons and thus would financially strap the Celtics with an Answer Truth combo with nothing surrounding them. By agreeing to this deal and parting with some young talent, what they may end up doing is putting themselves in a position where they won't be able to afford signing any of their young guys.
Goal of a Championship
If the Goal is to win a championship, which I hope it is, I do not see how this gets the Celtics to the upper echelon of NBA teams. Sure it would pit two superstars together with the chance to score on every possession but name me a significant dual superstar scoring backcourt right now that is thriving. My guess is the Iverson Pierce combo would have a very difficult time gelling and would only turn the Celtics offense into a more stagnant less flowing offense. Think Celtics circa 2000 when if Pierce or Walker didn't take a shot on a possession, no one did.
This year obtaining Iverson most likely gets the Celtics into the playoffs, perhaps the division title, but would they be better than the Heat, Cavs, Pistons or a handful of Western Conference teams? I would say no, and if they aren't good enough this year, than why would they mold in the remaining two years of Iverson's massive contract.
What the Celtics need is a solid veteran 4 or 5 who can score. They do not need a small point guard sized shooting guard who needs the ball as much as Pierce. It just won't work.
On Saturday afternoon my buddy gave me a buzz and said that he couldn't go to the Jets game yesterday and wondered if I wanted the tickets I was obviously up for it I haven't been to a Jet game in forever and now that the Jets were in the playoff run how could I turn it down. In the past year I've been to a three games including yesterday, so my field of reference isn't terribly large but from what I saw yesterday it didn't have to be to know that we, as a group of Jet fans have nothing on some other teams in the NFL.
First of all I get in the building and am absolutely giddy to see thousands of Jet jerseys from Al Toon to Nick Mangold and everywhere in between. Then I get to my seats and instead of being surrounded by these glorious green and white jerseys, instead I'm surrounded by Bills fans, basically fully encircled, lame.
The atmosphere in Giant stadium yesterday was far from electric and that was what disappointed me the most. When looking around the stadium there were always a ton of empty seats, whether a bunch of people didn't show up or that many people constantly needed to piss or get food, there was never a moment where I didn't see a ton of Red seats across the stadium. This obviously contributed to the fact that the stadium was not very loud, not loud at all actually. Last year I went to a game at Qwest Field in Seattle and there is no comparison, zero, Qwest Field's noise created while the other team had the ball was incalculably louder than Giants stadium yesterday. In addition there were limited well constructed Defense chants, and even the J E T S Jets Jets Jets chant was sparsely used. Instead fans seemed more interested in making paper airplanes with their play books, which is symbolically cool, being that it is the Jets and all, but 4 quarters of paper airplane creation/throwing is entirely less beneficial or enjoyable than rabid chanting.
Instead the Jet fans moans and groans were hard louder than ever. As a fan I find myself more glass half empty and pessimistic than the typical person, but I don't hold a candle to the negativity of some of the Jet fans I was sitting near. People were yelling punt now on third down, or kick a field goal on third down so Chad doesn't throw an interception, it was as if they didn't even like the team. Basically I was sitting around Bills fans celebrating all their big plays while the Jet fans that were around me were non-stop negativity.
Also, there was absolutely no taunting of any Bills fans, I didn't see one bit of it. Last year at the Giants Saints game, right after Katrina, the Giants fans were ruthless to the Saints fans, basically classless, but atleast passionate. I saw/heard no belittling of Bills fans, maybe cause there were so many in our area, maybe cause the Bills ended up winning rather comfortably, whatever the reason it certainly felt that no fan of another team should fear going to Giants Stadium and wearing the team gear for a Jet game. Than at the end of the game you could see Bills fans running up and down aisles across the stadium taunting Jet fans. Superb.
Then in the 4th quarter where everything continued to spiral downward I was entertained not by the football game but one hell of a loser Jet fan. Earlier in the game we noticed that the guy had somehow been able to sneak a bottle of Jager into the building. Well come 4th quarter this fat slob was toasted, tripping down the steps while be escorted by security. Somehow he didn't get kicked out, and he was still getting served, amazing. So he sits down with his beer and bag of chips and I don't think he consumed a single chip instead he chewed the chips and proceeded to spit them on every single person surrounding him, mostly into a girls hair and hood. Classy. Later in the 4th the Bills fan next to me pointed down and this fat guy was just dipping his hand in the Nacho Cheese and licking his fingers, until he eventually gave up on that and decided to guzzle the nacho cheese down his throat by squeezing it out of the cup into his mouth. Then when he was done he threw the nacho cheese off the upper deck, probably onto someones head. Once again class personified.
And don't get me started on the death trap that is Meadowlands parking, the Manhattan stadium would have been the greatest thing ever I would take the train...
Friday, December 08, 2006
If someone walks up to you and says, man I knew these Jets were going to be good this season you are allowed to either laugh in their face, smack them in their face or spray fart in their dinner. Depending on how bitter of a person you are, if you're a Jet fan you're probably aiming for the latter. Even as an optimistic Jet fan I figured they would rattle off 6 wins this season, but now they stand at 7-5 with a legitamte possibility of making the playoffs and these are the reasons why.
Emergence of a Few Unexpected Studs
Everyone has stepped up on the Jets roster but in particular their are two players that I had absolutely positively zero expectations for at the start of the season and have turned out to be key components of the team. The first is Jerricho Cotchery, who was never anything more than a 3rd wideout during the Herm years. Now every week he seems to establish himself more and more in the lineup. He has the one thing that is seemingly undervalued the most by these NFL scouts, he catches the friggin ball. I read a stat on Sportsline yesterday which said that Cotchery has caught 60 of the 88 balls the highest percentage of thrown to/caught for a Jet in over 10 years. The guy makes tough catches in traffic he makes the easy catch and fights through tackles, he's been fun to watch and seeing him in a Jet uniform this season it is easily evident as to why he holds so many NC State records.
The second player is Bryan Thomas a former first round selection by Terry Bradway and company who for the most part rotted on the bench behind Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, and during the perennial Abraham injury did nothing to validate his high draft selection. This year however, Thomas has blossomed into an ideal DE/OLB for the Jets psuedo 3-4 defense. He's matched his career total in sacks, not career high, career total, aka his first 4 seasons. He has 63 tackles for an outside position and he is versatile enough this season to both rush the passer and drop back and cover the Tight End in traffic. His improvement in 2006 has been incredibly important to the Jets success. How could I pass up a picture of Thomas sacking Pretty Boy Tom.
Obviously the biggest questionmark of the season was whether or not Chad Pennington could throw the ball farther than a 9 year old girl or whether Jets fans would be watching a quarterback with the exact opposite traits, gun arm bad decisions in Patrick Ramsey. Well going into week 13 Chad Pennington has had his share of really bad games (Browns, Bears) but for the most part has put the Jets in position to win with his decision making and play calling at the line of scrimmage. He still does not possess ideal arm strength, not even close to it, and the Jets rarely throw the ball deep, but he has a knack for keeping the chains moving which is exactly what you want an offense to do. While Pennington certainly isn't a pro bowl caliber quarterback right now talent wise, he's still a winner and a hell of a competitor and he has helped fight to get this team to 7-5.
Eric Mangini and the Coaching Staff
The best trait about Mangini and he harps on this all the time, calls it his 5 Second Rule, is he plays everything week by week. Just look at their running back situation, every week they use a different guy. Kevan Barlow plowed over the Patriots in the mud in New England, this past week not on the active roster and instead Cedric Houston, unactive for much of the start of the season, has a big game. He came in and evaluated the players with no predisposed opinions of players, he started Jerricho Cotchery instead of 2 year starter Justin McCarreins and come week 10 McCarreins volunteers himself to play on special teams. The players love this guy, he gets them to focus on the upcoming games, he has them watching classic boxing matches for motivation, right now he's pushing all the right buttons.
In addition Mangini surrounded himself with two guys dying for coordinator jobs. Brian Schottenheimer comes up with completely different schemes every week, utilizes different personal sets, and keeps the opposing defenses off balance. Bob Sutton on the other hand has turned the Jets defense around following their bye week. The Jets the first half of the season were struggling with the 3-4 scheme and getting gashed by the run. Since the Patriots game the Jets have played very good defense keeping the team in every game.
Intelligent Offseason Moves
One of the biggest problems with the past regume was they never produced pro bowlers. Jonathon Vilma last season was the only pro bowler who was drafted by Terry Bradway. Bradway gave a massive contract to Pennington who had yet to start a full season and made several other bonehead decisions. So when he finally stepped down, I was pretty happy.
Mike Tannenbaum then took over the position and the first thing he did was hire an old acquaintence, Eric Mangini, which has certainly worked out for the best but that was only the start of the intelligent moves from Tannenbaum. Both products of the Bill Parcells tree they highly valued the draft. Therefore instead of trying to perge salary in order to sign the incredibly talented oft injured John Abraham they traded him to the Falcons for a first round pick. At the time I thought this was a good move, always been bitter with Abraham for never seeming to fight back from injury especially in 04, but looking back now its a fantastic deal. With that pick combined with their #4 pick they drafted D'Brickashaw and Mangold who have turned what was one of the worst Offensive Lines in the league to a unit excelling down the stretch. By trading away Abraham, they got rid of a guy who is always injured, he's only played 4 games this season, and opened up a spot in the lineup for the afermentioned Bryan Thomas. The rest of the draft turned out to be a similar success and they refused to shell out big bucks to any name free agent.
Coming into the season I looked at the schedule and said wow they play almost every bad team in the league. The face the NFC North, the worst NFC division, the AFC South the worst AFC division, and then get to play both the Raiders and the Browns. Basically I looked at their schedule and thought, man it sucks that they aren't going to be any good this year, this would be a perfect schedule to make a run at the division and a bye week, its part of the reason I thought the Pats would have the #1 seed in the AFC. My exact words were the Jets were going to be "bad, but not bad enough for Adrian Peterson". Well I was wrong the Jets aren't bad and they might stumble into the exact opposite because of their schedule, a wild card spot.
I don't know what to expect from the Jets down the stretch or in their possible playoff run but as a Jet fan I can say that this is the most enjoyably surprising season I have ever experienced. With that being said if Willis McGahee runs for his typical 150+ against the Jets in a victory on sunday I'll probably throw my foot threw the tv screen.