Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Week 9 NFL Picks

My picks the last two weeks have obviously not been the best, but that’s no reason to give up. So here I go again with another week of NFL picks. Enjoy! (with the spreads from’s Pigskin Pick ’em):

(5-2) Atlanta Falcons -8.5
I think this one stays close only because they are division rivals. Atlanta is the much more talented team and they need to show that in this game. I believe the Falcons will walk away with the win.

(4-3) Chicago Bears at
(0-7) Buffalo Bills** +2.5
The Bills have been keeping games close against some good teams like the Ravens and Chiefs. This can finally be the week they win one.

(2-5) Cleveland Browns +4.5
Eric Mangini has beaten Belichick before, but those teams were much more talented than his Browns are.

(5-2) New York Jets** at
(2-5) Detroit Lions +4.5
You can read my last article for my explanation of this one.

(3-4) Arizona Cardinals** at
The Vikings as 8.5-point favorites? As bad as the Cardinals have looked, the Vikings have looked much worse and are without Randy Moss now.

(5-3) New Orleans Saints** at
The Saints are coming off a big win over Pittsburgh. They need to keep their momentum going and the Panthers are not the team to stop it.

(4-3) Miami Dolphins at
(5-2) Baltimore Ravens** -5.5
Normally this would have been an easy call for me, but Miami is still undefeated on the road. I am a little hesitant to pick the Ravens, but they are a much better team (and not to mention, healthier) than any other Miami has played as the away team.

(3-5) San Diego Chargers** at
(4-3) Houston Texans +1.5
This is going to be one of the better matchups of the week. Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance and signs of struggle. I think Philip Rivers is the better quarterback and will lead his team to a late score to win the game.

(5-2) New York Giants** at
(4-3) Seattle Seahawks +5.5
Normally I would have picked the Seahawks because they are very tough to beat at home, but the Giants were playing great football before their bye and Matt Hasselbeck will be sitting this one out with a concussion.

(5-2) Kansas City Chiefs** at
(4-4) Oakland Raiders -2.5
As brilliant as the Raiders offense has been lately, the Chiefs are a fine team and can really put Oakland to the test. Oakland is weak against the run, while the Chiefs have the top ranked ground game in the NFL.

(4-3) Philadelphia Eagles** -2.5
The return of Michael Vick can mean great things for the Eagles. Even at home though, I’m shocked to see them as favorite, but they definitely have the ability to pull this one off.

(1-6) Dallas Cowboys at
(5-3) Green Bay Packers** -7.5
The Cowboys just flat out stink right now and the Packers’ defense just came off a big confidence booster. Unless something goes horribly wrong, this shouldn’t even be close.

Cincinnati’s lack of a solid ground game makes it easier for Pittsburgh to stop their impressive passing game. One can never doubt a home team’s ability to win an important primetime game though. It should be close.

Detroit Rock City: JETS at Lions

This Sunday, the Jets head to Detroit for their week 9 matchup with the Lions. The Jets are the favorites in this game, but by no means is that an excuse to take this one easy. The Lions may only be 2-5, but they are 6th in the NFL in scoring and finally got starting quarterback Matthew Stafford back last week from injury. Fortunately, the Lions are 26th in the NFL in points against, while the Jets are 2nd. This would normally be great news, but after the poor offensive showing by the Jets last week against the Packers, who knows which offense we will see?

Mark Sanchez is ready to stop taking steps back and continue forward in his progression. Hopefully, against Detroit’s 27th ranked rush defense, he will not have to. This is the third straight game that the Jets went up against failing rush defenses, and the ground game has failed to reach its potential in both of the last two. Detroit should expect us to try to run the ball a large amount in Sunday’s matchup, so they will probably bring more men in the box to try and stop the run. This is why Mark Sanchez will need to be safe, yet, effective in Sunday’s game. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene should be able to get the Jets down the field and into the endzone on Sunday, but Sanchez will need to throw some good passes on play action and third downs. I would like to see Sanchez throwing to Braylon Edwards more this week than the last few. Edwards has been holding onto the ball and creating big plays this season, and I’m sure coming home to Detroit, where he will have family and plenty of University of Michigan fans in attendance, will fire him up even more. Hopefully the hatred for Ohio State alumni, Santonio Holmes, will get him going as well. Jerricho Cotchery will also be looking to rebound from last week’s disastrous game.

It’s time for LT to get back on track this week. The Jets are fully capable of rushing for more than 200 yards against the Lions, like they did week 4 in Buffalo. This would mean Shonn Greene would have to eat up his fair share of yards as well, and he definitely deserves a few more carries this week. I also expect Brad Smith to have 5 or 6 looks from the wildcat as well. Tomlinson and Greene will have the chance to break a few big runs in this game, but this all depends on the ability of the offensive line to block Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden-Bosch. The Jets have one of the strongest and most experienced offensive lines in the NFL and one that is highly capable of accomplishing this task, especially if other lines have been able to do it. One interesting matchup will be Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore against Suh. Suh has already proven to be a dominant defensive tackle only 7 games into his rookie season. His ability to take away blocks and break through the line has significantly helped the Lions pass rush, making them 7th in the NFL in sacks. Mangold and/or Moore versus Suh will be one of the more crucial matchups in this game. If he can be stopped, or at least limited, then everything else can fall into place.

Another big matchup to look for is Darrelle Revis covering Calvin Johnson. Revis had an outstanding, or “Revis-like,” game last week against the Packers. Rex Ryan announced that Revis will be shadowing Johnson in this game like he used to do to other #1 wide receivers last season. He will no longer be sticking to one side of the field. I feel that this is one of the bigger tests Revis has had in his career, and definitely the best all-around receiver he has had to cover this season. After seeing the way Revis played last week, I am confident that Calvin Johnson will be taking a nice relaxing vacation on Revis Island this Sunday afternoon.

The Lion’s running game has not been anything spectacular this season, but Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith are great receivers out of the backfield and are very dangerous when thrown to. The Jets will need to blitz often, like they usually do, to force the Lions to keep their running backs in the backfield to pick up the blitzes. This will eliminate a large part of the Lions’ passing game. They will also need to hit their backs before they can reach the line and keep them from getting free. This, and Revis’ coverage on Calvin Johnson, will set the tone for the Lions’ passing game on Sunday and could force Stafford into making some bad decisions that could cost his team plenty of points.

It would be great to see the Jets bounce back from last week’s disaster with a big win this week. Like Braylon Edwards, linebackers David Harris, Bart Scott, and Calvin Pace all call Detroit home and will be looking to have big games in front of their family and friends. The lead up to this game is very similar to the lead up to the game in Buffalo in week 4. Many football “experts” called it a trap game, but the Jets were able to score early and often. The Jets should come out big from the beginning and establish a nice-sized lead early in the game. The best teams need to win the games that they should win. Avoiding big upsets is what will keep this team confident and winning. They’ll be out to prove a point this weekend and I think they come out firing from the get go and put up some big points.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The World Series is Over Already?

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning the 2010 World Series. I am not writing this to tell the world (or at least my small number of readers) how great the Giants were this season. I am writing this as a concerned sports fan. Baseball’s television ratings have been on the decline for about 15 years now, and this year’s World Series continued this streak. The 2010 World Series received the lowest television ratings in World Series history. Game 4 received lower ratings than Sunday Night Football on NBC, and game 5, the clinching game for the Giants, was also overshadowed by Monday Night Football on ESPN. I have to admit that as big of a baseball fan that I am, I too was watching football over the World Series, but I caught pieces of it here and there. I have not lost interest in the sport, but I find it hard to watch two teams I care nothing about play a baseball game than two teams I care nothing about play a football game.

I would not doubt that part of the blame for the lower interest in baseball has to do with steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. The game has changed significantly since the downfall of the steroid era. This season was most definitely the year of the pitcher. Lower scoring games were more common than blowouts, and pitcher ERA’s were some of the lowest we have seen in years. There were four no-hitters thrown this season, two of which were perfect games, and one game that was one umpire mistake away from a perfect game as well. Depending on the type of fan, these games may be more interesting, or they may be less. With people’s attention spans getting shorter and shorter, low scoring games are going to make lesser fans want to change the channel quickly. Bigger baseball fans understand the excitement of a 1-0 game going into the 8th inning. I would be just as excited watching a pitcher’s dual as I would be watching a shootout. Fans who are only interested in one team, or who just are not that interested in the sport altogether, do not have the patience to watch a game without any scoring.

During the summer, I can watch any baseball game and be fully interested in it no matter who is playing or what the score is. Baseball is the only sport going on in the summer heat, so what else are American sports fans going to watch? Now the fall, when Americans are fully invested in football season, and with the NHL and NBA seasons getting started, there are many more games going on for sports fans to pay attention to. Football is definitely America’s sport now. The NHL and NBA saw a rise in their ratings over the last couple of years as well. In Football, every game of the season matters. I would not say that a regular season football game is more important than a World Series game, but the action of each game and the possible fantasy football implications each game may have cause sports fans to choose the faster paced game over the most important baseball games of the year. Had the New York Yankees been in the World Series this year, there would have been nothing stopping me from watching each and every pitch. This year’s World Series just happened to involve two teams that only matter to me when they are playing against the Yankees. 

I will also blame my Yankee fanhood for some of my loss of interest in the MLB postseason. The Yankees have won 5 championships in my lifetime, which is much more than any of my other favorite teams. The Rangers have won 1…when I was 4 years old. The Knicks have only been in 1 championship in my lifetime and lost. The Jets…well we all know that story. Don’t get me wrong. Seeing the Yankees win a championship is still as amazing to me as it was in 1996, but seeing them win another is not on the top of my sports priority list. I was upset when they were knocked out of the playoffs, but I knew I had a great Jets team to look forward to watching the following Sunday afternoon, a rejuvenated and promising Knicks team to see a few nights a week, and a Rangers team that looks like it finally learned how to score goals. I feel that I am not the only one who is like this. Football is definitely the bigger sport right now, and basketball and hockey are on the rise again. Baseball just is not what it used to be. 

It’s upsetting to me that I cannot get myself to watch some of the most important baseball games of the entire year. It’s even more upsetting to know that the rest of the country is doing the same thing. A sport that will forever be known as America’s greatest pastime is slowly losing the interest of many of its fans. The Tampa Bay Rays could not sell out the games leading up to them clinching a playoff spot. The fact that this could start happening around the league is pitiful. I, for one, hope to change my attitude about baseball by next season and start watching it as much as possible again. I hope the rest of America does the same. Again, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants and their fans for their World Series victory.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My NFL Power Rankings: Week 9


It’s becoming close to impossible to beat these guys. An easy second half schedule makes them very tough to catch in the East.

They are beatable, but it does not mean it will happen often.

Pathetic game against Green Bay, but they’ll get it together and bounce back.

Without Clark, Collie, and Addai, this team is in control of the South. Peyton Manning is bringing his team back to the top.

Tampa Bay is coming to town next week. Should show how things really are in the NFC South.

They need to gain back some credibility after almost losing to the Bills. They’ll come out hot this week.

Taking a trip to Seattle where the Seahawks are tough to beat.

Was their defense that good or the Jets offense that bad? Either way they’re climbing in the rankings.

This week’s game against the Raiders is the most important matchup in the AFC West this season. Who thought we would be saying that?

The addition of Randy Moss keeps them from panicking without Kenny Britt. Young/Collins still have a deep threat.

Impressive win over the Steelers. Brees and the Saints are about to catch fire.

They are not playing like the superior team they appeared to be a few weeks ago.

Undrafted rookie LeGarrette Blount is starting to take over, and he’s looking good.

Michael Vick gets his turn again. If he can stay on the field, he’s going to win a lot of games.

They had plenty of problems they needed to fix during the bye week. Let’s see if they did.

10 field goals in the last 2 games are only impressive for Dan Carpenter. This team needs to get the offense going.

The Raiders might be good? They get a big test against the first place Chiefs this week.

The Raiders embarrassed them on Sunday, but they play much better at home, where they host the Giants next week.

Rookie Sam Bradford is playing like a veteran and has led this team to more wins this season than its total in the last two.

McNabb isn’t able to run a two-minute offense? They should hope they don’t have many close games for Rex Grossman to try to win.

In a tight division, this team has a chance to make a playoff push.

Showed a flash of their former selves on Sunday. Surprising since they went deep into their depth chart to find receivers for this game.

They really need to pick a quarterback and stick with him. I’d say let Max Hall have at it.

One of the most talented teams on paper, but not in the box score.

Randy Moss is gone. Percy Harvin is hurt. Sidney Rice is not ready to play yet. Favre is ailing. How will this team get back on track?

Eric Mangini gets another chance to beat his former mentor. He has done it before.

The offense is looking very good and can put up plenty of points. The defense struggles to keep them in games though.

Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton are a great surprise this season, but things still are not working for this team.

Dez Bryant is an amazing player. That’s pretty much all I have to say about these guys.

Could Troy Smith be the answer for the Niners?

There isn’t anything good going on for this squad. Running and passing games are not there this year.

They keep creeping closer to that first win, but keep finding ways to lose in the end.