Monday, November 28, 2005

Week 12 Recap

Quick Thoughts while planning to name my first son “LaDanian”…

n A melancholy way to start today’s thoughts. Mr. Miyagi, Pat Morita, died last Friday. That’s just sad. Sorry, I hate to start out on a down note, but Mr. Miyagi, I think, has influenced us all in more ways than we could ever imagine. Or maybe I just say things like “Wax On, Wax Off” way too much. Anyway, onto the nonsense…

n Thank you, thank you, LaDanian Tomlinson. Not only did you single-handedly save the Chargers’ game yesterday, and possibly the entire Chargers’ season as well, but you covered the (-4) spread, AND scored enough points to defeat my closest fantasy football rival and guarantee that I couldn’t fall out of first place. I have a new favorite Non-Patriot to support. And no, I’m not telling you who the old one was – I think I’d be booed out of town.

n Tough loss for the Jets last night. That one can’t be pinned on the kicker – Brooks Bollinger’s fumble on the 2nd Down shotgun snap is what doomed them. Even if he catches that snap and just throws the ball away, they save 3 yards – the kick was short by maybe one…

n Now the Giants? They certainly can blame the kicker. Although it might have been nice if the offense could have gained some kind of yardage when they were “close” to field goal range. Can’t expect the guy to make a 53-yarder when his career long is like 48.

n I was impressed by:

o Jacksonville. I know, last week I used this space to rip them apart for allowing a garbage TD that cost me a cover (and a pretty good amount of money). But winning that game without your starting QB (also my starting fantasy QB, by the way. Ugh.) was pretty nice. They’ll be underdogs the rest of the way without Leftwich – I say they go 2-3 down the stretch.

o San Diego. Real nice comeback yesterday, capped off with LT running for the game winner, untouched. Tough loss for the Redskins, but not a game that anyone thought would be that close anyway…

o St. Louis. Now THAT’s a comeback. Geez. Houston must be looking for a hole to crawl into and die. I mean, a Harvard QB just passed for 300+ and 3TDs against the Texans’ defense. Meet this weeks’ Fantasy Waiver Wire Wonder – Ryan Fitzpatrick!

o Chicago. These guys are scary good on defense, and Kyle Orton is gaining more and more confidence every week. They are moving close to a first round bye in the NFC, and although I still think they’d lose to Seattle, New York, and maybe even Dallas, they’ll make some noise in the playoffs. If this isn’t the year for Chicago’s sports teams to dominate, then certainly next year, the Bears have to start the season as a favorite in the NFC.

o Atlanta. I know I forgot to mention them on Friday, but they looked pretty good in dismantling the sorry Lions on Thanksgiving. Move them back up the depth chart of NFC Contenders – right behind Seattle, New York, Chicago and Carolina.

n I was appalled by:

o The Texans. See above.

o The Cowboys. That’s a game you’ve got to win guys. Nice job resigning Billy Cundiff – great job buddy. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out…

o The Giants’ special teams. Same goes for Jay Feely. Although it wasn’t entirely his fault, two of those three kicks were well within his range, and he missed ‘em all. Twice now, the Giants special Teams has doomed them (see New York v. Minnesota. Thanks for the note, Dom).

o Tom Brady. Ducking the lightning bolts… Yes, I said it. I know I picked the Chiefs to win and cover, but that was a winnable game for New England. The Chiefs didn’t outplay them – the Pats killed themselves. And Brady didn’t look comfortable all day long. Of course, when you have two offensive starters left from the Opening Day lineup, some excuses can be made…

o Michael Irvin. Don’t you ever learn? You’re not above the law. And the whole “It belongs to a friend” defense? Not buying it. Either own up to it, or produce this “friend” and have him take the responsibility. Otherwise, kiss that sweet TV gig (and maybe even the Hall of Fame) goodbye.

n Did Notre Dame really almost lose to Stanford? Stanford? Wow, that’s just bad. And people wonder why 2-loss teams shouldn’t be in BCS games…

n Actually, lemme amend that. Ohio State deserves a BCS bid (and as a Michigan fan, it really pains me to say that). OSU has two losses all year – one to #2 Texas and one to #3 Penn state (and both were pretty close games). That’s a heck of a resume.

n Ho hum, another week, another week in first place for Big D and The Kids Table. Getting a little boring now, wouldn’t ya say? I’m just proud that my team has “spent more days in first place” than all the other teams in the league combined… (A little Boston humor there. If you don’t get it, it’s OK. It wasn’t that funny.)

n Sticking by my pick of Colts (-9). I’m 10-5 heading into tonight on the week (stupid Niners/Texans/Seahawks/Packers and Saints). But no matter the outcome tonight, I’m guaranteed my best week of the year to date. I always pick it up at the end of the year – I’ve finally got a clue about what’s going on.

n By the way, if it’s all the same to everyone else, I’d like a Colts win by between 9 and 14 points… please? Any chance of this happening?

Quote of the Week:

During the end of the Giants/Seahawks game, I was talking with my buddy Dom via AIM. We were both watching the game on FOX, typing in things like “Wow, nice catch” and “How in the hell does your team get 11 false starts? Are they all deaf dumb and blind? Just watch the football!”

But Dom had the line of the day, while discussing the Thanksgiving Day games, more specifically, Dallas/Denver:

“Yeah, it was nice to see Ron Dayne finally helping out the Giants. Only took him six years…”


Friday, November 25, 2005

Week 12 Picks – Continued...

Week 12 Picks – Continued...

A quick update on my post regarding the Red Sox & Marlins’ trade for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Hanley Ramirez. For starters, I am amazed at how much grief I got for taking an opposing stance to the popular “Wow! What a deal!” that has been coming from every corner of the local sports media.

Now, I hear that the deal was modified late yesterday to include Florida relieve Guillermo Mota for a fourth Boston prospect. This latest development is starting to sway my mindset a little. Mota was a dominant reliever only two years ago – I really like that pickup. Plus, he is very valuable insurance for Keith Foulke as a possible replacement at closer if Foulke implodes again.

That’s it. I’m impressed with the names being moved this off-season via trades (Beckett, Delgado, Thome, so far). Maybe I’ll touch on that sometime next week...

What an interesting Thanksgiving Day. Slept till almost noon, woke up and quickly wrote my picks for the Thursday games (2 for 2, I might add). Went to the family’s house for Thanksgiving dinner at 1PM (I know, awful early), then basically crashed until 7 or 8PM.

Finally made it home, played poker until 4AM, then I decided to go to Wal-Mart at 5AM for their “Black Friday” sale. When I got there at 4:30, there were already about 1000 people in line waiting for the doors to open. Amazing. I went solely to buy milk and a few pairs of socks. Not exactly breaking the bank on my holiday shopping...

I did look into buying a new laptop, or maybe a new TV, but since the people who get suckered in to working at Wal-Mart at 5AM on Black Friday have a combined IQ of about 12, I was given bad information and missed out on my shot. No great loss – I really can’t afford to spend that type of cash anyway.

I think what I’m trying to say, through all this babbling, is that I hope you had a nice holiday too.

OK, let’s get to the rest of the picks for Week 12...

CHIEFS (-3) over Patriots: Something tells me that in the meetings this week, the game plan for New England sounded something like this: “Don’t get hurt. Don’t get hurt. Don’t get hurt. Don’t get hurt...” They’ve all but got the AFC East locked up – why risk it. Just play out the string, get healthy, and win the 4 divisional games they have left. Not that the Patriots could ever sneak up on anybody anymore, but I’ve got to think that there’s at least one or two AFC playoff teams that might not take them seriously in January (Cincinnati, anybody?)

49ers (+9) over TITANS: I’ll feel better when I tease this up to +16...

VIKINGS (-4) over Browns: How weird is it to see Minnesota favored against anyone after the start they had? Even stranger, they’ve got a legit shot at finishing 9-7 or maybe even 10-6 and making the playoffs with their last five games @Det, STL, PIT, @Bal, and CHI... much like I predicted three weeks ago.

Bears (+3) over BUCS: Man, no one is giving the Bears any respect. In a battle of young, unproven QB’s, I’ll take the one with the dominating defense behind him. Even if he is on the road...

Chargers (-3) over REDSKINS: Looks like defenses have finally figured out how to slow down the Brunell to Moss combination... Defensive Coordinators are still working on a plan for LaDanian Tomlinson (although Philly provided a model.) Antonio Gates’ availability will be huge in this one...

TEXANS (+3.5) over Rams: Sorry, it’s Jamie Martin on the road. I don’t care how bad Houston is, they can stop Jamie Martin on the road. And the Texans’ offense might even show flashes of being competent against a sorry Rams’ defense. My guess? David Carr throws for 240, 2TD’s and an INT. Dominick Davis runs for about 90 and a TD, and the Texans win by 7 or more...

Panthers (-3.5) over BILLS: In a cold, defensive struggle, always take the team with the top-5 defense instead of the team that allows 85 rushing yards per game rather than the one that allows 150.

BENGALS (-9) over Ravens: The Bengals have yet to win a game against a tough, hard hitting, defensively superior team. I think this is the first. And only because A) Cincinnati is pissed about that Indy loss, and B) Baltimore’s offense really sucks.

Dolphins (+7) over RAIDERS: Pending the QB announcement. If it’s Gus Frerotte, this is a 3 point game. If it’s Sage Rosenfels, I’m pulling the line myself...

Jaguars (-3.5) over CARDINALS: Let’s just say that, this week, Warner and the Cardinals’ defense won’t prove too tough for the Jaguars...

SEAHAWKS (-4.5) over Giants: I think these are the two best teams in the NFC, hands down. I’m looking forward to watching this one, provided FOX Boston pulls their head out of their ass and doesn’t show me Texans/Rams instead... P.S. I’d be comfortable giving 3/2 right now that this is the NFC Title Game matchup too, and in Seattle...

Packers (+4.5) over EAGLES: Brett Favre always seems to respond big when he’s called into question. Well all week, the talk surrounding the Pack has been “Should Favre step down for the rest of the year and let the kid take some snaps”. Against this Philly team, don’t you think it’s possible he gets pissed and goes off for like 380 and 4TDs?

JETS (Pk) over Saints: Who the hell scheduled this game as a Sunday Nighter for ESPN? Did anyone think that either of these teams would be in the playoff picture by Week 12? Seriously? Can’t we sign a petition and get Seahawks/Giants moved into this time slot?

COLTS (-9) over Steelers: At least the schedule makers got this one right. The second best game of the week gets the best time slot to be showcased. By the way – I’m not picking against the 2005 Colts again until they either lose or they’ve clinched everything possible and decide to rest players.

RECAP: CHIEFS / 49ers / VIKINGS / Bears / Chargers / TEXANS / Panthers / BENGALS / Dolphins / Jaguars / SEAHAWKS / Packers / JETS / COLTS

Best lines to tease (+6):

49ers (+9 to +16)

Bears (+3 to +9)

TEXANS (+3.5 to +9.5)

Dolphins (+7 to +13)

Packers (+4.5 to +10.5)

JETS (Pk to +6)

COLTS (-9 to -3)


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Week 12 Picks -Thanksgiving Day Edition

Quick Picks – Thanksgiving Day ‘05

So, I completely forgot to spend yesterday researching the games and writing all of my picks before going to bed for 13 hours in preparation for my inevitable Trictophan coma later today. Sorry. Had kind of a rough Wednesday.

Anyway, just so you’re not lost for today’s games, here are my two picks. I’ll try and get the Sunday games up by midday Saturday, as well as a couple thoughts about the Marlins’ fire sale and Jim Thome’s return to the AL Central...

Falcons (-3) over LIONS: Listen, I Know the Lions have a pretty good history on Thanksgiving Day, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing them in their throwback uni’s from like forty years ago. But last year, Peyton Manning and the Colts embarrassed them (I remember thinking at one point that Manning might throw eight TD’s that day). Detroit’s defense hasn’t gotten any better, and Joey Harrington’s gotten worse. It’ll be a high-scoring game (O/U at 43.5 – take the over), but Atlanta wins it, and pretty easily.

Broncos (-2.5) over COWBOYS: I’m a little less confident about this pick. Although, to ease my fears, the line did open as low as Broncos (-1) and is now as high as Broncos (-3.5), so I feel a little better. As much as I like Dallas this year (really Tex, I do like Dallas. I think I’ve only picked against them three times before today), I just think Denver is one of the three best teams in football right now. With or without Tatum Bell, Denver wins. With him, they win big.

So that’s all for today. If I survive the 5AM store openings and the crush of people to go get all of my holiday shopping done tomorrow, I’ll post at night. Otherwise, Saturday.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Beckett & Lowell... Don't do it!

Quick update today. I don’t usually post unless something major happens, but the hot rumor floating is pretty major, so here’s my thoughts on Josh Beckett & Mike Lowell to Boston for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and another low-level prospect. It ain’t pretty, but here goes…

This is a terrible trade for Boston. Two top prospects for an young, unproven pitcher with an injury history worse than mine, who will be arbitration eligible next year, and an overpaid, under-producing third-baseman coming off of a career worst year (not coincidentally, the first year that steroids testing was implemented - remember, he came back from cancer to have a career best year a couple years back), plus the Sox are going to eat the entire $18M on that contract.

This is the kind of trade that haunts a team for decades. If Hanley Ramirez blossoms into an all-star, and Beckett does anything short of 18 wins and 200 K's with no DL trip, this trade sucks. Especially if Renteria is as bad as he was last season. Plus Kevin Youkilis now gets pushed back another two years unless he switches to first.

Remember, as Red Sox fans, all we've been hearing about for the past three years is "Hanley this and Hanley that...” that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on a kid like Beckett.

Think about it this way. You’re Josh Beckett (hopefully you won’t develop any blisters by scrolling along this webpage with your mouse). You were just acquired for a couple of prospects, including one regarded as the best prospect in the organization, and maybe in all of the minor leagues (or at least he was, according to Baseball America a year or two ago), and now you have to switch leagues from the easy one to the tough one and play in possibly the most demanding environment in all of baseball. Plus, you’ll be playing for a contract in a year, so don’t screw anything up. Don’t get hurt (code for “don’t push your limits, take it easy, etc.)

Beckett had one good postseason and is going to coast on that until he needs to play for a contract. Trust me on this one. Maybe he plays his ass off next year so he can skip arbitration and just get a contract from the Red Sox (Anyone who thinks he couldn’t command 5 years and $12M a year with one solid season in ’06 - considering the ’07 Free Agent pool, you’re kidding yourself). But I’m going on the record right now – this trade stinks.

And perhaps even more important than what this trade does to the farm system (Sanchez is a pretty highly valued prospect too), this essentially forces a Manny trade, because the extra $18M from Lowell's deal ($9M each year) means that the Red Sox are well over the self-imposed payroll limit. Let me ask you – unless Boston acquires Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko, do you feel comfortable with Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hitting behind David Ortiz? Remember Barry Bonds’ walks record – it could be obliterated in 2006.

Here’s something else - the Reds are openly shopping Adam Dunn, AND they are desperate for middle infield help. Hanley Ramirez for Dunn, or Ramirez and another prospect for Dunn wouldn’t look so bad, since he can play first or left if Manny gets moved.

But the single most significant part of this trade? It demonstrates just how much (or little) power any new GM of this team is going to have. If the Red Sox are intent on showing how Larry Lucchino won’t be pulling the strings from his luxury box as GM Puppeteer, then this trade needed to wait until either Jim Bowden or Jim Beattie (or whoever actually accepts the job) was hired. Very simple.

If this trade fails, the new GM is going to unfairly get blamed, even though he didn’t make the deal. In fifteen years, if Hanley Ramirez (or Anibal Sanchez, or whoever this other kid is) turns out to be an 10-time All-Star, this goes down as the polar opposite of Heathcliff Slocumb for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek – this time, the Red Sox are the team desperate to make headlines and make a trade just for the sake of making a trade.

And as always, if Beckett ends up winning the Cy Young and Lowell hits .320 with 30 and 110 while they lead Boston to another World Series title (still feels weird to say "another"), I'll be the first to admit I was wrong.

Back tomorrow with early Week 12 picks and an update on this if anything new happens.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Week 11 Recap

Quick Thoughts while wondering if the entire world is against me…

OK, before the quick thoughts, I need to update you guys on some of the worst luck in the history of mankind. Seriously – I can’t even explain what’s going on right now. And yes, most of this has to do with the game of poker, but not all, so if you don’t want to hear about it, just skip down a few lines…

Since the beginning of October, I’ve been playing some of the best poker of my life. I’ve been reading people, whether online or live, extremely well. I’ve been playing my cards, and yes, occasionally even getting lucky – although in the grand scheme of things, not really. I’m talking about things like hitting a straight when I’m open-ended off the flop, not things like losing with quads (which happened to me again last week).

Also since the beginning of October, I’ve suffered some of the worst beats imaginable. To run them down quickly:

n A-9 vs. 10-10. I hit 9-9-9 on the flop – big pot and a big win. Running 10’s on the turn and river to cost me the pot (and a hefty sum of money)

n Pocket queens – raise pre-flop, one call. Flop 7-8-4 with 3 hearts. I bet, he raises, I go all-in, and he calls with 9c-10h. Turn is a 9 (I’m now only a 60/40 favorite), river is a heart. Figures.

n Pocket Queens – raise pre-flop, two calls. Flop 8-4-Q rainbow. I bet it out, get raised. I go all-in, and get called immediately by A-Q. Running aces on the turn and river (this one actually caused some damage in my house, as I threw anything near me that was light enough to toss around at 5AM). This single pot was enough to pay the deductible for the damage to my car three times over.

n Saturday, I played in a local charity tournament against possibly the worst field I’ve ever seen. And the worst dealers I’ve ever seen (passing 4th grade math should be a prerequisite for dealing any type of poker tournament, charity event or not). We were averaging nine hands an hour. NINE. Even places that charge “time” rather than raking pots still get 20-25 hands an hour in… Anyway, third in chips at my table, (and in the small blind after a double-up with pocket kings) I hold 5-4 off-suit and have no intentions of calling a raise. Luckily, the action comes to me for only and additional 250 in chips, so I call. And the big blind goes all-in (only 300 more chips), so with four other callers, I call. The flop is 2-3-6, all spades. I flop the nut straight. Checks around. The turn is a five, and, confident no one has a flush already, I push all-in and get one caller – he has the Ace of spades. The river falls – 4 of hearts – and we end up with 2-3-4-5-6 on the board – my nut straight. I go from flopping the nuts to a four-way chop pot. Can’t get any worse, right? Oh no. Two hands later, I get A-Q suited on the button (the guy to my left had just been eliminated, so the button stayed on me) with two callers to me. I raise all-in, and get the same two callers. They had Q-8 off-suit (?!?!) and QK suited (slightly more respectable). Naturally, the flop hit with a King and an Eight, and I went home.

And then there was yesterday. You see my luck doesn’t just suck at the poker tables. There’s also the world of football betting to crush my spirit a little more every week.

That’s where the Jacksonville Jaguars come in to play. Leading 21-31 with less than a minute to go, and well within the (-4) cover, the Jaguars decided that a 3-point win is a win, nonetheless, and gave up the ultimate garbage-time touchdown – a pass into the end zone with 10-seconds left in the game to pull Tennessee within three points and blow my cover.

More importantly, it was the only game I missed in a five-way parlay, a 9-way teaser, a 10-way teaser, and a 7-way parlay. Total amount spent in those 4 bets: $75. Total amount lost when the Jaguars coughed it up: well over $5k.

And that is how my weekend went.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. Now, onto the real “Quick Thoughts” for today…

n I take no responsibility for my picks in the Miami/Cleveland and Seattle/San Francisco games. Both games featured late breaking QB changes that would have completely changed my picks. Sage Rosenfels? C’mon. More importantly, the Niners not having to rely on Cody Pickett meant actually having someone under center that had some idea of how the position is supposed to be played. The instant I realized Ken Dorsey was playing, I knew it would be close. Maybe not 2-points close, but close, nonetheless. For me, there were only 14 games this week, not 16. Those two are mulligans.

n Minutes before the Jaguars massive choke job, I was staring at my laptop cringing as David Akers had a 38-yard field goal to pull the Eagles within seven points against the Giants and kill the 7.5-point cover. 38 yards for David Akers is a chip shot. Luckily, Akers didn’t get that message, and yanked it, causing me to jump up from my seat and start celebrating – I had the Giants, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Jags parlayed together and I was positively giddy about my win; I mean, there’s no way that Jacksonville could cough up the cover in the last thirty seconds, right? Right?

n Man, the Bills looked bad.

n And the Panthers don’t look like much of a Super Bowl contender anymore, do they?

n Does this mean that SEATTLE is now the odds on NFC favorite? Yikes…

n I don’t care if it’s Indy, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Denver, Cincinnati, or even New England coming out of the AFC – there is NO TEAM that will compete with them in the Super Bowl.

n At one point in the New England / New Orleans pre-game show, the FOX color analyst casually called Joe Horn “Broadway Joe”. In related news, my buddy Vinny’s head exploded shortly thereafter.

n Think about this – at the end of the regular season, two of the following teams will not be in the playoffs: Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Kansas City, Denver and Cincinnati. Any one of those teams could breeze through the NFC playoffs…

n I was impressed by:

o Indianapolis. Alright, I’ll admit it. The Bengals pick on Friday was more heart than brains. But if the Colts really are this good, then they deserve to win ‘em all this year. Who else is looking forward with anticipation to the Colts/Seahawks game late in the year as the Super Bowl preview?

o New England. More specifically, Bill Belichick. His father died the night before the game, and he showed up, ready to work, and coached his team to a big victory to seize complete control of the division. Talk about mental toughness…

o Chicago. The Monsters of the Midway are back people, and they’re serving notice to anyone who will listen that they are not to be taken lightly.

o San Diego. If they’re not the best 4-loss team in football, I can’t imagine who is. Take away the blocked field goal vs. the Eagles and the games they coughed up in the last minute against Pittsburgh & Denver, and they’re 9-1 right now. At least they learned how to close out an opponent this week…

o Cleveland. Boy, when they actually get some offense to go with that defense, they’re going to be scary. Next season, when Braylon Edwards comes into his own, and Kellen Winslow (hopefully) returns from his “accident” (read: stupidity), with Charlie Frye under center and some decent run blocking, that team could make a serious wild card run.

n I was appalled by:

o The Rams. Let’s put it this way; the headline for’s recap of this game reads “Warner, Cardinals’ defense prove too tough for Rams”. That should tell you all you need to know about why I was appalled by this game…

o The Patriots’ Pass Defense. Gus Frerotte and Aaron Brooks have passed for 703 combined yards the last two games (360 for Frerotte, 343 for Brooks). Something ain’t right here…

o The Falcons. More specifically, Mike Vick and his questioning of the refs. Listen Mike – you coughed up the ball, you cost your team the game. Not the refs. His “well, we got more penalties than they did, so maybe the refs were against us” routine was just sad, and hopefully will cost him some serious cash.

o The Steelers. That’s a game you’ve got to win, whether or not you are relying on Tommy Maddox. If you don’t have faith in him, either put Big Ben back in or else give Antwann Randle-El the ball. Hell,’s users were more confident in Randle-El than Maddox in a Saturday poll – 67% - 33%. That’s just sad.

o The Redskins. The NFC East is now New York’s to lose…

o The Jets. Ugh… Boomer Esiason, in an interview with WEEI this morning, said that he’s hoping the Jets end up with the second pick in the draft, because he’s confident that they’d blow the #1 overall. Nice vote of confidence there for Gang Green. By the way – where can I get my day in the “When will Herm Edwards bolt for Kansas City” calendar pool?

n 7-8 so far this week (though, really, it’s 7-6. Remember, no responsibility…). Vikes (+4.5) over the Packers tonight doesn’t look so good anymore, but what the hell – I’ve only flip-flopped once on Monday Night this season, so why fix what’s obviously broken? I’m sticking with it.


Friday, November 18, 2005

NFL Picks - Week 11

Week 11 Picks

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 24+ years on Earth, 23.5 of them as a Red Sox fan, it’s that nothing ever gets done easily, and nothing ever gets done without a couple hundred thousand people on the radio, TV or in newspapers giving there opinion. Because of these two things, very rarely does anything ever get done right.

Once again, the Red Sox have found a way to take a perfectly simple problem – hire a new GM, and supremely mucked it up by running every possible move past the court of public opinion before anything gets done. So far, there have been about 20 names mentioned as possible replacements for Theo Epstein, including Theo himself. Of those 20, half of them were probably nothing more than pie-in-the-sky, pipe dream type of names, again including Theo himself.

A handful of those considered have withdrawn their names from consideration before ever really being considered. And a few other names that would be bold statements (not to mention pretty good GMs) haven’t even been brought up – most notably Dodgers Assistant GM Kim Ng. And so, as a Red Sox fan, I’m left with the possibility of my beloved team being run by one of two candidates. The first is Jim Beattie, who has most notably run the Expos into the ground before going to the Orioles and wildly overpaying for just about everyone he signed, with the possible exception of Miguel Tejada. And the second, Jim Bowden, is a local boy who doesn’t like much media interference (uh oh), and has previous experience killing the Reds organization before moving to the Nationals last year and actually doing a halfway decent job with what he was given.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that they stick with the “Gang of Four” as it’s come to be known around here – the four Assistant GM’s under Theo Epstein who represented the Red Sox at the GM meetings earlier this month. We all know how well Closer by Committee worked for this team in 2003 – I don’t think the “GM by Committee” is such a good experiment…

Of course, I’m available for an interview if needed… Hey, I can’t be any worse than Chuck Lamarr or Dan Duquette.

OK, on to the picks. 7-7 last week, moving me to 68-70-6 for the season. Gawd – am I going to be stuck in .500 Purgatory forever?

Lines accurate as of 8:15 this morning, and all from via’s Daily Line ( has too many lines pulled right not to be effective)…

RAMS (-9.5) over Cardinals: Even with that papier-mâché defense that the Rams run onto the field every week (wait a minute – did a Patriots fan just insult someone else’s defense? Wow…) the Cardinals offense is bad enough for me to feel comfortable with this line. I’d feel better about teasing it down to Rams (-3.5), but I’ll give the 10.

Saints (+9.5) over PATRIOTS: This is the classic example of New England sports fans devaluing their hometown teams. I know the Pats are winning this game. I know it shouldn’t be close (although Miami shouldn’t have been close either). Yet I still can’t bring myself to lay 10 points on them. And I can’t believe that I’d rather rely on Aaron Brooks to keep a game close than on Tom Brady to blow a team out. Just shoot me now.

GIANTS (-7) over Eagles: Two words – Mike McMahon. OK, maybe a couple more words. Mike McMahon, on the road, against a Giants team that got embarrassed last week. OK, that’s enough words.

REDSKINS (-6) over Raiders: If the Redskins can drop 35 on the Bucs on the road, what’s the limit on points they can put up this week? The Over Under for the game is 43 – I’d be surprised if there weren’t 55 points scored in this game.

Steelers (-3.5) over RAVENS: In the ugliest offensive game of the week, the Steelers win, 19-10, on a late TD return off of a Kyle Boller fumble. All points in the game are scored on defense or through long field goals – Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu both return interceptions for TDs, while the Steelers also get a safety when Jamal Lewis actually decides to run the wrong way to ensure that his yards per carry stay below 2.0.

FALCONS (-6) over Bucs: For the last three weeks, I’ve used the same line about the Falcons – “Michael Vick will find a way to keep the other team in the game”. Well, not this week. The Bucs defense got absolutely ripped by the Redskins last week – especially Clinton Portis. Vick might throw a bad pick or two, but he’ll also run for about a buck and a half and two TDs.

BEARS (+3) over Panthers: The Panthers are actually one of the worst teams after November 1st since 2001, or so the radio guys tell me this morning. Now put them on the road, against one of the top three defensive teams in football, and outdoors in weather that ain’t exactly like Carolina this time of year. Sure, Kyle Orton is prominently involved in this formula, but I think he can handle it. This game goes down one of two ways – Chicago by a little, or Carolina by a LOT.

Dolphins (+1) over BROWNS: I want to pick the Browns in this game, I really do. But at the end of the day, they just won’t be able to stop the Dolphins’ running game. Plus, Gus Frerotte just passed for 360 yards against the Patriots – he’s gotta be able to put up at least 290 against Cleveland, right?

COWBOYS (-9) over Lions: There was no reason for the Cowboys to win that game last Monday Night. Luckily, in this game they don’t have to deal with a blitz-happy defense (or any type of defense, for that matter), so Drew Bledsoe should be able to throw for 350 and a couple TDs.

Jaguars (-4) over TITANS: Finally, a nice blowout win for the Jaguars. And now they get to beat up on the, well, beat-up Titans. With or without Fred Taylor and his gimpy whatever-he-hurt this week (seriously, this is probably the only professional athlete that gets injured more than me. Maybe Allen Iverson.) the Jaguars should be able to win by seven or more.

Seahawks (-12.5) over 49ERS: Shaun Alexander’s final line after this game: 271 yards rushing, 5 TDs. Cody Pickett’s line after the game: 3-32, 38 yds, 4 INTs. Hey, they’ll both have career games!

BRONCOS (-12.5) over Jets: There’s a typo on my sheet here that says the line had dropped from Denver (-13) to Denver (-2.5). I’m assuming that it’s supposed to be (-12.5). Or maybe the Jets just resigned Joe Namath and (while drunk) he guaranteed a victory, so the line shifted accordingly.

BENGALS (+5.5) over Colts: And they’re going to win it outright. In the first actual test of the season for Indy, they’ll go down in flames. The teams that the Colts have played thus far in the 2005 season have a combined record of 26-55. And although the Bengals’ opponents haven’t been much better at 33-48, I have faith in them. Plus, Chad Johnson guaranteed that he would not be stopped this week – that’s gotta be good for something, right? Not to mention the 38-0 drubbing that Cincinnati gave the Colts in the Preseason…

CHARGERS (-10.5) over Bills: Hmm… the Bills can’t stop the run. The best running back in the game is playing a home game after a bye week… If Tomlinson doesn’t bust out for at least 170 and a few TDs, I’ll be stunned.

Chiefs (-6.5) over TEXANS: Do you think that the Texans are taking out an insurance policy on Matt Leinart and Vince Young right now, just to be safe?

Vikings (+4.5) over PACKERS: Disgusting as it may be, both of these teams have a chance to still win the NFC North. True, Green Bay is all but done at 2-7 and four games back right now, but Minnesota still has a pretty decent shot to catch the Bears. The Vikings are 4-5 and only two games back – a couple of divisional wins and they’re right back in the hunt. And we’ll be treated to an extra month of boat jokes…

RECAP: RAMS / Saints / GIANTS / REDSKINS / Steelers / FALCONS / BEARS / Dolphins / COWBOYS / Jaguars / Seahawks / BRONCOS / BENGALS / CHARGERS / Chiefs / Vikings

Best lines to tease by 6:

RAMS (-9.5 to –3.5)

PATRIOTS (-9.5 to –3.5)

Panthers (-3 to +3)

COWBOYS (-9 to –3)

49ERS (+12.5 to +16.5)

BRONCOS (-12.5 to –6.5)

BENGALS (+5.5 to +11.5) – just in case…

CHARGERS (-10.5 to –4.5)


Monday, November 14, 2005

Week 10 Recap

Quick Thoughts while kicking myself for dropping the Vikings’ defense

from my fantasy football team this week…

n Yes, you read that headline right. I decided to drop the Vikings’ defense this week because I didn’t like their match-up @NYG. I claimed the 49ers’ defense (which didn’t have a terrible day, by the way) and started them against Chicago over my bench defense, the Bills vs. Kansas City. Naturally, the Bills had three picks and a fumble recovery en route to holding the Chiefs to only three points. The Niners were good, but not great. And the Vikings… scored three defensive/special teams touchdowns along with four picks and a fumble recovery. Smooth D… real smooth…

n Couple of real good games to watch yesterday in the Boston area. CBS gave us Pats/Dolphins (obviously) that turned into something of a nail-biter at the end. FOX had both the Giants/Vikings and the Redskins/Bucs – two of the best NFC games all day long. I had been hoping for the Packers/Falcons, but after seeing the highlights of that one… I’m glad I got Redskins/Bucs.

n Nice effort by the Browns last night in the late game. Real good work. Down 13, 4th and Goal for the Steelers from the 12, they are just trying to run the clock out with two minutes to go, and the Browns whiff on a stop three yards in the backfield, then forget to seal the corner as Verron Haynes takes it up the sideline to the end zone. Great work. Naturally, Trent Dilfer drives the length of the field in garbage time for a TD that would have actually meant something had the defense held up on a weak little sweep to the outside on 4th and Goal from the 12…

n You know, this Shaun Alexander kid, he’s gonna be pretty darned good someday…

n Maybe the Steelers’ offense isn’t’ that anemic without Big Ben. I mean, I know Chaz Batch has had the pleasure of playing the Packers & the Browns, but Pittsburgh hung 33 on Cleveland last night. That’s pretty good, right?

n Uh oh… there go the Giants…

n Samkon Gado – your waiver wire wonder for week 11. Funniest part about his big day was that, after he had scored two rapid-fire TD’s in the first quarter, I checked to see who was doing all the damage. Well, apparently didn’t have a player profile for Gado, so the couldn’t list his name in the box score. All it said was “9yd run – TOUCHDOWN” and “3yd run – TOUCHDOWN” without telling you who was doing the scoring. Kinda sums up the Packers’ season, doesn’t it? Maybe you had to be there…

n Nice to see the jaguars finally playing up to the level that they’re capable… I’m not saying that Baltimore is the juggernaut they once were, but Jacksonville has the ability to dismantle a team, offensively and defensively, every week. Yet somehow, they allow teams like Houston to hang around all game, then eek out the win at the closing bell. That’s not the way to win games fellas…

n …unless you’re the New England Patriots. Way to give me a heart attack again. Score a go-ahead TD in 2 plays – GREAT! Allow the opponent to drive to your 6 yard line with about a minute to go for the tying TD? Let’s put it this way – I was so stunned by this, I had to walk away and go vacuum a rug. I couldn’t handle it.

n I was impressed with…

o Carolina. Big, big win. That is what you call a “statement game”, with all of the hitting and bodies flying. Don’t look no, but Carolina and Seattle look like they could do some serious damage against most of the AFC’s best…

o Seattle. See above.

o Indy. Ho hum. Another week, another win by two TD’s or more. At least it looks like Peyton is starting to realize that he is allowed to thrown the ball this year…

o Minnesota. Like I said a couple weeks ago – they could run the table and grab the NFC North from the Bears. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings are in the playoffs in January…

o Buffalo. The league’s worst rush defense stepped up big against the leagues’ best rush offense. Even more important, J. P. Losman actually learned how to throw a football!

n I was appalled by:

o The Falcons. How do you lose, at home, to a 1-7 football team with no defense and a starting running back named Samkon Gado? I mean, he’s no Bernie Parmalee, but as far as one-hit wonders go, that game might top the list. And Atlanta, you just got victimized by it. Nice work.

o The lack of defense between Tampa and Washington. OK, if you had told me that the O/U on the Redskins/Bucs game was anything over 41 before yesterday’s game, I’d have jumped on the under in a heartbeat. These were two of the better defensive teams coming into week 10 – what happened?

o Cody Pickett. 1-13, 28yds, 1INT. That’s not the line an NFL starting QB should have. And you’re telling me that Jeff George or Ryan Leaf wouldn’t come back and be better than that? In all fairness to Cody, he was a special teamer and “for emergency use only” QB just three weeks ago...

o New York City’s football clubs. 10 Turnovers between them – 8INTs and a couple fumbles. That’s just ugly. What’s worse is that the Giants’ defense only allowed 137 total yards, but their special teams just crushed them. At least the Jets have zero expectations for this season…

n Congratulations to the Allston Irvdawgs… er… Allston SPOILERS, for their first win of the AFL fantasy football season. It’s a proud day to be an Irvdawg, or spoiler, or whatever the hell they’re calling themselves these days. Half of the league has changed their name more times than the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim California – I just can’t keep up anymore.

n And finally – I promised some Halloween pictures, so here’s a few. By the way, let me just tell you right now – I’m not very creative, and I can’t wear masks or fake make-up, so the fact that I resemble David Wells lends itself nicely to a Halloween costume. As you can see, my buddy Frank not only won the “Wow, he really looks like that guy” for his portrayal of Ben Stiller in Dodgeball, but also the “most terrifying smile I’ve ever seen in a photograph” award for the night.

n I’m sticking with my pick for tonight, no matter what my buddy Tex – a huge Cowboys fan – might have to say. Eagles (-2). A win gives me another plus-.500 week- I’m 7-6 going into the Monday Nighter.

Guess I didn’t miss anything by not being able to play along this week.


Friday, November 11, 2005

NFL Picks - Week 10

NFL Picks – Week 10

This is it.

I can feel it coming.

The week when I go 11-3 or 12-2.

I have no doubt that I’ll be able to cruise through these picks, destroying handicappers worldwide along the way.

And do you know why I have no doubts about this?

Because I have no money. None. Zip. $3 cash on hand, $10 in the bank for a half tank of gas sometime next week. No way to cash in on my own abilities. So if you happen to use this site as a place to get your football gambling information, feel free to throw a little back my way when you’re living it up after Big D’s Week 10 picks…

As always, the lines are from’s Daily Line via And everything’s accurate as of 8:30AM today.

Patriots (-3) over Dolphins: Sure, the Dolphins have three wins against a couple of quality teams. Sure, they have a two-headed running back combo that should be able to shred the Seymour-less Patriots D-Line. But they still have Gus Frerotte at QB – he’s good for two picks and a fumble all by himself. This could be the game that right the Patriots’ ship for the second-half of the season.

GIANTS (-10) over Vikings: God I hate giving up 10 points. But Minnesota is that bad. Look for Tiki Barber to have a huge day - like, 145yds, 2TDs - and be overshadowed by Eli Manning’s 350-yard, 3TD performance. Although I’d still feel better if this line was teased to (-4).

Ravens (+6) over JAGUARS: Like I said last week, the Jags have this nasty little habit of playing to the level of their opposition. Scary thing is, the line has shifted two full points since Wednesday, from Jags (-8) to Jags (-6). Jacksonville should win the game, but it’ll be close.

Chiefs (+2) over BILLS: Wait a minute… Larry Johnson has the kind of game that he had last week, and suddenly handicappers are scared of the loss of Priest Holmes? Buffalo is in the bottom of the league in rushing defense – is there any chance that Johnson doesn’t ring up about a buck and a half?

49ers (+13) over BEARS: Again, only because I like the teaser (+19) in the line. San Fran’s got a relatively opportunistic defense, with 21 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 7 INT’s so far this year. Alright, so they’re not the Steel Curtain. But the 2005 Bears aren’t exactly the offensive equivalent of the 1999 Rams…

LIONS (-4) over Cardinals: Nightmare game for gamblers worldwide. Who do you trust less: Joey Harrington at home or Kurt Warner/Josh McCown on the road? The only line I’d feel safe with in this game would be Cards (+10), and I still wouldn’t put the rent money on it…

Texans (+18) over COLTS: Only becase Indy should pull their starters mid third quarter. And because I can tease Houston to (+24), which is an obscene number for a pro football game. Here’s a question – with their schedule, when does Indy lose a game? They’ve got 4 remaining games that look like they could be losses (@ Cincy, PIT, @Jax, SD). Otherwise, the schedule is filled with Houston, Arizona, Tennessee and Seattle… The champagne might stay on ice for the 1972 Dolphins for a few more weeks…

RAIDERS (+3) over Denver: I know, Denver is supposedly the second or third best team in football right now, and they have beaten some good teams (NE, SD, Phily, Washington, Jax, and KC). But Oakland was riding a hot streak before coughing one up in KC last week – if you don’t think they’ll be fired up for this game, in Oakland, against their arch-nemesis… then you obviously are looking at the wrong website. Maybe you’d do better going here for awhile…

PANTHERS (-9) over Jets: Assuming Brooks Bollinger doesn’t pull another John Elway in the fourth quarter, this game shouldn’t be any less than a 13 or 14 point Carolina win. Of course, the real action will be on the sidelines, as every cameraman in America focuses on the TopCats Cheerleaders, hoping to catch the Director’s Cut of the next scandal in progress…

SEAHAWKS (-6) over Rams: As much as I’m looking forward to the return of Marc Bulger to salvage my fantasy season (with Bulger & T.O. out, I was floundering in the sea of mediocrity), Seattle has been proving me wrong all season. The division is almost theirs already – this win would just about solidify them as the 2005 NFC West Champions.

Redskins (-1.5) over BUCS: (Line from Apparantely, every sportsbook has pulled this line off the board. OK. Well, Washington should win in a romp, so I’m comfortable with taking them at (-1.5), (-5) or (-15). Uh… maybe not (-15)…

Packers (+9) over FALCONS: Much like the Jets game a few weeks back, Michael Vick should find a way to keep his opponent close enough to drive fans and gamblers alike completely insane. I’ve got this as a 27-21 Falcons win, but only because Vick should toss a couple bad picks. If he’s having a good day, it’s a 10-point Atlanta win, minimum.

Browns (+8) over STEELERS: I’ve got no faith in Charlie Batch and his 65 passing yards per game. Nor do I have much faith in the Pittsburgh running game if they have to rely on Duce Staley for 35 carries. With Willie Parker hurt and Jerome Bettis questionable, I think Cleveland can keep this close, if not shock the Steelers completely.

EAGLES (-2) over Cowboys: OK, this is going to be a long one. Hold on…

n Five weeks ago, the Cowboys embarrassed the Eagles in Dallas. Won’t happen again.

n Jim Johnson is a master of disguising blitzes. Drew Bledsoe handles a good blitz about as well as I handle missing an all-you-can-eat-buffett by five minutes – we both curl up in a ball, fall to the ground, and shed a few tears.

n The Eagles need this game to have any chance of making the playoffs. If you don’t think that they’re going to throw every play in their book, both on offense and defense, at Dallas, you’re nuts.

n Without T.O., Phily is supposed to be a one-dimensional, passing-based team, only without a #1 receiver. Who else thinks they shake it up with the newly minted Brian Westbrook running the ball 25-30 times?

n After last week’s loss to the Redskins, the Eagles need to prove that they can win without T.O. And another divisional loss is not the statement they want to make.

n With the Giants looming on the horizon next week, the Eagles need to get emotionally fired up and mentally ready for that game. A big, big home win against longtime foe Dallas would accomplish exactly that.

n Bottom Line: Eagles. Big.

Recap: Patriots / GIANTS / Ravens / Chiefs / 49ers / LIONS / Texans / RAIDERS / PANTHERS / SEAHAWKS / Redskins / Packers / Browns / EAGLES

Best lines to tease +6 points:

Patriots (-3 to +3)

GIANTS (-10 to –4)

JAGUARS (-6 to Pick)

Chiefs (+2 to +8)

49ers (+13 to +19)

Texans (+18 to +24)

PANTHERS (-10 to –4)

Browns (+8 to +14)

I’m tellin’ ya, 12-2 this week. I can feel it.