Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NEWSFLASH: Tim Tebow, You are not a robot.

First of all, I'm not a "Tebow Hater." Do I think he's going to be a legit starting QB in the NFL? Absolutely not. But something about Tebow really bothers me, and it's nothing against his religion, passing ability or anything else that people tend to talk about.

Memo to Tim Tebow: You are a human being, when someone asks you a question, you have the right and the ability to answer that question. Being a devout Christian is one thing, but finding a way to give the Lord credit for absolutely everything that you do or your team does is a completely different thing. You are an NFL Quarterback; people want to know your opinion on football-related things. Give. an. actual. answer. for. once.

It doesn't matter what the question is, Tebow will give the same response. Imagine running into Tim Tebow at your local ice cream shop... Perhaps something like this would happen:

You - "Tim, what's your favorite ice cream?"

Tebow - "You know what? I'm just thankful the Lord put ice cream on this Earth. And he was gracious enough to give us so many flavors and varieties. God gave us sprinkles, God gave us waffle cones. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to eat what I love on a daily basis."

Tim, it's ice cream. And this is football. Answer. The. Question.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 10 Pick/Spread

@San Diego (-7) over Oakland [Incorrect: Thursday Night] 

New Orleans over @Atlanta (No Line)
- With a relatively poor secondary and an inconsistent pass rush, I think Atlanta's defense is in for a long day against Brees & Co. I'm still a big believer in the Saints, my preseason pick for the NFC Championship was Packers @ Saints, and I still think they're in a contender in the Conference despite having a disappointing blowout loss on their resume to the Rams. The Saints win this game behind a big day from the New Orleans passing attack. Saints 30, Falcons 27.

Pittsburgh (-3) over @Cincinnati
- If the Bungles can go the entire game without turning the ball over, it wouldn't shock me if they improved to 7-2 and widened their lead in the AFC North. However, I don't think Cincy is quite as good as their 6-2 record may indicate, and I think the Steelers are on the verge of a second half surge this season. I think this game will be close, and the winner will be whoever wins the turnover battle. I'll say Pitt-24, Cincy-20.

St. Louis over @Cleveland (-2.5)
(Straight up: St. Louis) - If I had the choice to watch either the Rams against the Browns or a re-run marathon of Jimmy Neutron, I'd probably choose the boy genius over this pitiful excuse of an NFL game. Obviously now that I said that, this will probably end up being the best game of the weekend... Cleveland will again start 3rd string RB Chris Ogbannaya, who fumbled on the team's first possession last week. The Browns are playing horrible on offense, and I think St. Louis is poised to have a successful finish to compensate for a disappointing start to 2011. Rams win a close one on the road.

Buffalo over @Dallas (-5.5)
(Straight up: Dallas) - Both of these teams could really use a win to get back on track. Being at home, I give a slight edge to Dallas. I'm not confident enough in them to cover the 5.5 point spread, but I think the Cowboys are going to put up a lot of points on that Bills defense. I think this becomes a high-scoring game, as both offenses are better than either defense. Ultimately, I think Tony Romo puts together one of his better games of this year and Dallas wins 31-27.

@Indianapolis over Jacksonville (-3)
(Straight up: Indianapolis) - The Colts have to win sometime this year, don't they? I don't think the Jags are a very good team, but their run game should be a problem for the Colts to handle. Since the Jags aren't a huge threat to light up the scoreboard, this could be Indy's best chance at a win all season. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Curtis Painter plays well (gulp) and puts up too many points for Jacksonville to match. Colts win 20-17.

Denver over @Kansas City (-3)
(Straight up: Denver) - Tebow for President. I'm probably going to pick the Broncos to win every game against a bad team as long as Tim Tebow is the QB. I'll be utterly shocked if he ever beats a legit Super Bowl contender, but KC certainly does not fall under that category. The Chiefs got beat at home last week by the previously winless Miami Dolphins; Tim Tebow is capable of winning an ugly game against a poor Chiefs team. Denver 24, KC 23.

Washington over @Miami (-3.5)
(Straight up: Washington) - The Dolphins are going to put together back-to-back wi... Nevermind. I just can't see it happening. Miami simply doesn't like to win games at home, and the Redskins are overdue for a win. Whoever Mike Shanahan chooses to deploy at running back this week should have a solid day, and if Washington goes back to Sexy Rexy, the passing offense should have a nice day as well. This game could go either way, and it'll likely be ugly. Washington wins 19-17.

@Philadelphia over Arizona (No Line)
- The Eagles are going to win in blowout fashion. There really isn't much to say here; the Cardinals have a horrible defense, and the Eagles are loaded with offensive weapons. If the team were better than 3-5, LeSean McCoy would be right in the middle of the MVP talk with Aaron Rodgers. Shady will have another big day in this one, and the Eagles will win by about 20.

@Tampa Bay over Houston (-3)
- I think the Texans are clearly a better team than the Bucs; however, Tampa can be a tough place to play and I think this could be the game where LeGarrette Blount gets back on track. Blount has been a huge disappointment in his second year after an impressive rookie season, but I like him too much as a player to think he's going to continue to get shut out. I'm excited to see how this game plays out because I think it could really go either way. I just have a gut feeling about Tampa this week, Bucs win 26-24.

Tennessee over @Carolina (-3)
(Straight up: Tennessee) - Cam Newton is putting together one hell of a rookie year, throwing for almost 2,400 yards and 11 TD compared to just 9 INT in only half a season. However, the only number that matters is 2. Despite several close losses, the Panthers are just 2-6. This looks like it will be another close game, but I think CJ2K puts together his best game of the year and the Titans win a close one. Tennesee 28, Carolina 27.

Baltimore (-6.5) over @Seattle
- The Seahawks always seem to play well at home, but the Ravens are so obviously a much better football team. I think Seattle may keep it close for a while, but eventually the superior team will prevail. Joe Flacco may be asked to make some plays in this one, as Seattle's run defense is far better than their pass defense. The Seahawks won't be able to keep Rice totally in check however, and the Ravens should win by more than a TD. Ravens 27, Seahawks 16.

@Chicago (-2.5) over Detroit
- I think the Lions are a better team than the Bears; I certainly think the Lions are a more dangerous team than Chicago as far as the NFC goes. However, this just looks like a game the Bears will win at home to me. Matt Forte is having a hell of a season, and that should continue this Sunday. Maybe slightly under the radar, Jay Cutler is making less mistakes and is playing a lot better overall. I'm leaning towards starting Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Dallas) in fantasy over Matt Stafford because the Bears' defense scares me a little bit. Bears 27, Lions 23.

@San Francisco (-3.5) over NY Giants
- Maybe I have a slight case of Harbaugh Fever, but I think the 49ers are about to win 13 games this year. While it's certainly not a guarantee, I think they are far and away the best team in the NFC West and thus, will win their five remaining divisional games. Assuming that's the case, San Fran will need to win one game out of their remaining three (vs. NYG, @ BAL, vs. PIT) to have a 13-win season. I think they do it. Eli is playing well and I still believe the Giants are headed to the Playoffs barring a total collapse, but the 49ers are playing great defense and still have yet to make the big mistake on offense (knock on wood for SF fans.) San Fran wins it at home, 26-20.

New England over @NY Jets (-1.5)
(Straight up: New England) - I keep thinking that Brady and that explosive offense will be too much for teams to overcome, but it hasn't been happening that way of late. In my mind, the Patriots are a much better team than the Jets. But then again, when you really look at their teams, that's all because of the two Quarterbacks. The Jets have a much better defense, but the Patriots have Tom Brady. Sanchez just doesn't do it for me. I'll say Brady gets the better of Rex's Jets this time. New England wins... Probably a Vintage Brady drive at the end, 24-23.

Monday Night (7-3) : 
Minnesota over Green Bay (-13.5)
(Straight up: Green Bay) - This is Jermichael Finley's night. I'm feeling another big game against the Vikes for J-Mike. The Packers should win this game, no doubt about it, but I think the Vikings have the capability to keep it close. Jared Allen and Antoine Winfield (back from injury) always seem to earn their paycheck against the Pack. On the opposite side of Allen, I'm sure Brian Robison will be on a mission to get closer to a sack than T.J. Lang's man region in the first go-round (see: Robison's closest thing to a "sack".) The MVP and his many weapons will ultimately be too much for those Viking DBs, and the Pack will win this game 34-24.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paterno & Sandusky: Penn State Scandal

Last night, Joe Paterno was officially fired as head coach of Penn State's football team. It's truly crazy when you think that Joe-Pa was the head coach of the Nittany Lions for 45 years. Forty-five years. In an era where it seems the majority of colleges coaches last for about 5-10 years at a time, Paterno was the face of Penn State Football for 45 years. Not only has he been Penn State's head man for my entire life, but Paterno was coaching PSU when my dad was a kid. Unreal.

The whole Sandusky situation is incredibly unfortunate. While some may have had a different opinion of Joe, Paterno's name had carried a certain level of professionalism and class throughout his tenure at Penn State.

When the admininstration's decision regarding Paterno became public at last night's press conference, Paterno's image had taken an insurmountable hit. What stood out to me at the presser was the number of misguided and uninformed questions given by student reporters. The questions focused not on the victimized children, not on what Paterno was truthfully told by McQueary, and not even about Sandusky, but rather on questioning the decision to relieve Paterno of his duties as head coach.

The students acted as if Paterno was the victim in this situation - not the nine victims (so far) of sex abuse. They act as if Paterno was wrongfully accused of murder, and thus, fired as head coach. The heinous and inhumane crimes committed by Sandusky all occurred on Paterno's watch. The shower incident witnessed by current WR's Coach Mike McQueary, in which Jerry Sandusky allegedly raped a young boy, occurred in 2002. Sandusky not only had been allowed back on campus as recent as last week, but he was seen back at a Penn State practice with another young boy in 2007. For Joe Paterno to allow that to happen is entirely inexcusable.

McQueary has deservedly taken a lot of heat himself for the manner in which he handled the situation after witnessing Sandusky in the shower with a small boy. At the time, McQueary was a 28 year-old Grad Assistant who had his sights on working his way up the coaching ranks. While not everyone would have the same reaction, something had to be done to remove the child from the situation. Something. Anything.

One person witnessing the act may turn into a state of rage and physically attack Sandusky and remove the child from the situation. Another witness may be shocked speechless momentarily before verbally lashing out and Sandusky. In McQueary's case, he decided to wash his hands clean of the situation as much as he possibly could by going to his dad and then proceeding to relay what he saw to Coach Paterno.

While I'm not about to portray myself as the knight in shining armor who saved the day, I know for a fact that I would have done something that resulted in the child being removed from the situation. Whether it was physical force or an emphatic "What the @#$% are you doing?!" - I, and I hope most people would do the same, would make sure that the child was removed from Sandusky. McQueary is in the same boat as Paterno in that neither did enough to bring closure to this situation.

For people to say Paterno was wrongfully fired is absolutely ridiculous. Sandusky is a pedophile; he had been so for quite some time. With Sandusky being his right hand man, Paterno knew exactly what Sandusky was all about as a person. Being the head coach at the University for 45 years, Paterno built his name up to be almost a dictator. He had complete control of what remained in-house and what the public knew about the happenings within the football program.

We don't know what Joe-Pa wanted to be kept secret, and we know what Joe-Pa wanted us to know. Most perceived "Happy Valley" to be exactly what it sounds like - a sheltered, almost utopian campus where Paterno sat on his thrown an oversaw everything in Lion Country. By building his own power up to the level that he did, Paterno became a casualty of his own creation.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 9 Picks/Spread

NY Jets over @Buffalo (-2)
(Straight up: NY Jets) - I'm tempted to pick Buffalo because I think Fred Jackson should have a solid day against New York's shaky run defense. My pick comes down to the fact that I'm still not sold on Buffalo's defense; they've been opportunistic thus far, but I think the Jets have will have a chance to put up some points in this one. Think this looks like a damn good game, but the Jets win a close one.

@Dallas (-11.5) over Seattle
- This one shouldn't be very close. Because of the huge point spread, Seattle could very well cover, but I'm not betting on it. The Cowboys are a few points away from being in control of the NFC East; despite getting crushed last week at Philadelphia, Dallas is still right in the thick of the discussion to win the division. I think Romo lights up Seattle's secondary; I see big games from both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Cowboys win this won in a blowout.

@Indianapolis over Atlanta (-7)
(Straight up: Atlanta) - Call me crazy but I wouldn't be shocked to see the Colts play well and win this one. I'm taking Atlanta to win straight up, but gimme Indy against the spread. I think Indianapolis will have a better game offensively than they've had as of late; I'm still not a believer in Atlanta's defense. I think this game goes back and forth, but Atlanta wins something like 24-20.

Miami over @Kansas City (-4)
(Straight up: Kansas City) - This was one of the toughest games to pick for me. I know KC has won 4 games in a row, but I honestly don't think they're that much better than the winless Miami Dolphins. I think Daniel Thomas should be able to wear down KC's defense if he's active on Sunday, and I also think Brandon Marshall at 6'5" is a big matchup problem for 5'9" Brandon Flowers. This could be a let-down game for the Chiefs after an unlikely home win against San Diego this past Monday, but because Miami seems to always find a way to lose, I'll say KC wins by 3.

@New Orleans (-8) over Tampa Bay
- Frankly, I think the Saints will come out and dominate the Bucs. Tampa won the first matchup at home between these two teams, but I don't see a repeat performance. Josh Freeman had what might have been his only good performance of the year in that first game vs. New Orleans, and I think he'll turn in a subpar performance the second time around. Brees carves up the Bucs, and the Saints win by 14.

San Francisco (-3.5) over @Washington
- Although I thought he would be the better QB for Washington, the Redskins' offense has looked awful with John Beck as their starter. The 49ers are a solid team; a capable offense to go along with one of the league's only several elite defenses. San Fran could quietly roll through their relatively easy schedule and put themselves in consideration for a first-round bye in the Playoffs. 49ers win this one by 7.

Cleveland over @Houston (-11)
(Straight up: Houston) - There is no way the Texans will lose this game, but I just don't agree with the 11 point spread. I think Houston wins this game by 10, but Cleveland's offense is long overdue for even a decent performance. Peyton Hillis is expected to miss another game due to a hamstring injury and with top backup Montario Hardesty out as well, Chris Ogbannaya will get the start at RB. Houston wins 30-20.

@Tennessee (-3) over Cincinnati
- The Bengals are going to come down to earth sooner or later. I've been impressed with their rookie duo Dalton and Green, but they've benefitted from a cupcake schedule thus far. Chris Johnson has done absolutely nothing for the Titans since he signed his new contract, but I think Hasselbeck & Co. will do enough to get the Win in this one. I think these a two pretty evenly matched teams, but I think being at home will prove to be the difference for the Titans. TEN wins 24-20.

@Oakland (-8) over Denver
- With Darren McFadden out, this game has the looks looks of a potential Tebow upset victory. However, I just can't do it. Tebow's too bad of a QB. For the record, I'm not a Tebow hater at all... If he does well and becomes a good, consistent NFL QB, then that's great for him. It's just not going to happen. On Rich Eisen's Podcast this week, guest Jim Brockmire summed Tebow up best, "(Tebow) combines the passion and energy of a Ray Lewis, with the throwing ability of Ray Lewis." Priceless. Oakland wins by 10. Michael Bush is a must-start this week for Fantasy, and I really have my eye on RB Taiwan Jones this week. I liked him a lot coming out of college, as he looked like a similar prospect to Chris Johnson coming out.

@New England (-9) over New York Giants
- I'm not a big believer in the Giants in the first place, but without their top WR Hakeem Nicks and their top RB Ahmad Bradshaw, I don't think there's any way they can upset the Pats in Foxboro. I think Brady gets the ball out quick enough to negate New York's pass rush. New England has too many weapons around Brady for the Giants to match up against. Think this may turn into a bit of a shootout,
but the Pats ultimately silence the recent doubters, and get a convincing win. Pats win 38-27.

St. Louis over @Arizona (-2)
(Straight up: St. Louis) - I think the Rams will go on to have a successful 2nd half to their season. They have a favorable schedule and I still think their roster is the 2nd best in the NFC Worst behind San Francisco. After beating the Saints last week, the Rams are certainly going to play with a higher level of confidence than they've played with all season. Arizona being without QB Kevin Kolb won't change much in my opinion, as he's been pretty poor all year. I like the Rams by 3.

Green Bay (-5.5) over @San Diego
- The Packers are a well-oiled machine, and as long as they don't turn the ball over, they should improve to a perfect 8-0. At first glance, it looks like a road game at San Diego could be a death trap, but since the Bolts will likely be without RB Ryan Mathews and #2 WR Malcom Floyd, I don't think they'll be able to match points with Green Bay. I'm stoked to watch the TE battle; this game features probably the two most electric Tight Ends in football in Finley and Gates, both former basketball players. In basketball, sometimes the worst thing for a hot shooter is halftime, as it cools him down. As long as the Packers don't suffer something of the same sort after their Bye, the Pack will be 8-0. Packers 30, Chargers 23.

Baltimore over @Pittsburgh (-3)
(Straight up: Baltimore) - I think the Ravens complete their sweep of the Steelers this week. Flacco has looked flat out horrible at times this year, but he played well in the first meeting between these two teams. Ray Rice has been one of the most consistent players in the league this year, so I expect a productive day from him despite Pittsburgh's always great defense. Ravens win a very evenly matched game, BAL 24, PIT 23.

Monday Night (7-2) :
Chicago over @Philadelphia (-7.5)
(Straight up: Philadelphia) - The Bears slowed down Mike Vick & the Eagles when they were playing at their best towards the end of last season. However, the Bears don't look as good this time around, and the Eagles are coming off a huge divisional win over Dallas. Philly is hoping that win will turn their season around for the better, while Chicago is looking to stay in the Wild Card hunt. Ultimately I think the Bears will slow the Eagles down just enough to keep it close, but LeSean, DeSean & Vick will be too much for Chicago to handle. Eagles by 7.