Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conference Championship Picks

I've been racking my brain ever since the matchups of Sunday's NFL conference championship games were officially set on who I was going to pick and why. So what I'm going to do is stick with my Super Bowl picks way back in Week 1, way back before I even started this blog and it was Saints/Colts. Instead of saying why the Saints and Colts will win, I'm gonna tell you why the Vikings and Jets will lose.

Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints

Let's just get this out of the way and keep it real: the Vikings defensive line is the best in the league and will be gunning to disrupt Drew Brees and the offensive mega-machine that he controls on every single down with stunt/zone blitz packaging similar to the Cowboys in how they were able to shake them up. And they are WAY better than the Cowboys defense that held the Saints down for 3 and a half quarters before the Saints offensive line remembered how to block and almost had the Saints in a position to make one of the best comebacks in football history. But they crumbled right at the end at the very last play. Basically what I'm saying is: if the Cowboys can do this to the Saints who boast the best offense in the league, why can't the Vikings do it? Mind you I haven't mentioned Favre, Peterson, Taylor, Rice, and Harvin on the other side of the ball with an offensive line anchored by 62-time All Pro Guard Steve Hutchinson, ex-Seattle Seahawk...excuse me I still hurt over that. So again, why are the Vikings going to lose? I mean there's so many reasons I don't know where to begin honestly but it all begins and ends with one name: Brett Favre.

1. For starters, they're not going to run the ball like they should. We know this game is going to live or die in Brett Favre's hands for the sole reason to make him even more Football God-like than he already is...but its really so they can keep up with the Saints offense. So unless AP breaks out on every other down, running the ball really isn't going to help very much unfortunately. Which leads to...

2. Favre has that gunslinger mentality and he lives for moments to be able to show it off. Too bad he'll be showing it to the Saints defense which leads the LEAGUE in caused turnovers AND defensive touchdowns. Expect at least two INTs and a possible pick-6.

3. Favre may be brilliant, but on home field. He doesn't do well away and he won't here against this athletic defense and the New Orleans crowd that even had the Cardinals offense off base. Favre will get shaken just enough to look human and 40 years old. Want numbers to prove it? This year, Favre has been sacked 23 times in away games this season, only thrown 12 touchdowns out of 262 attempts, and 5 of 7 his league low INTs came in away games. "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't." Especially in football. You don't win a game if you lose the turnover battle and your QB is eating turf all game.

But this is Brett Favre were talking about and if we're speaking numbers his 4th quarter numbers are staggering with 15 TDs to 3 INTs. That's a 5:1 chance of him throwing a TD to an INT in the 4th, that's insane. Too bad Brad Childress is calling this game for the Vikes though so kiss those numbers goodbye. It'll be a close one though: Saints 31, Vikings 24. Sorry Brett, but we'll see you next year in the news I'm sure of it.

New York Jets vs Indianapolis Colts

Look...I know the Jets are the cause of my playoff record being a mediocre 5-3, 2 of the losses being from them. They are primarily led behind that all around amazing defense that has just simply shutdown some pretty damn good offenses in the Bengals and Chargers who are no pushovers by any means. Darrelle Revis has been sensational against some of the best WRs in the league and will square up against Reggie Wayne once more whom he held to 3 catches for 33 yards back in Week 16. Sure, the Colts starters were pulled sometime in the 3rd but at that time the game was very close and the Jets were only down by 6 before making a comeback for the win. Thomas Jones and Shonn Green are carrying the offensive load and helping rookie QB Mark Sanchez breathe easy in the pocket. The Jets are the only team to really play the Colts tough and are the hottest team right now out of the 4 left with a 7-1 record in the past 8 games. Yikes...so why are they going to lose? Well because I'll be damned if they win 3 times in a row and I picked against them 3 times in a row that's why! And for these reasons listed:

1. Mark Sanchez...guy, listen up: you're good. You're going to be amazing for years to come...according to my Madden 2010 franchise mode that has you as the second best QB w/ an overall 98 rating in 2021. But this is the big leagues. The AFC Conference Championship game. Against the Colts. In Indianapolis. Ex-Super Bowl Champs themselves. Against a vengeful defense looking to punish you for beating them and stopping them from reaching a possible 19-0 record. Can you stand up to that kind of pressure? This isn't the Rose Bowl, so don't think you can based off that. Only 23 and already you're playing for a chance in the Super Bowl. You know you're gonna piss your pants and have had nightmares of Dwight Freeney. Its cool, its understandable. Just relax...you're only gonna get sacked 8 times and throw 3 picks.

2. Darrelle Revis vs Reggie Wayne Part Deux. One thing that boggles my mind is even though Revis faced Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss twice he still shut them down. How does that happen? Usually the offense tinkers to make sure their star receiver doesn't lose twice to the same DB. But not so for Revis. This matchup is just as important as the Revis vs Vincent Jackson matchup last week. Who ever wins here, will win the game for their team. So Revis...don't slip up now. But.....

3. Peyton Manning vs Jets Defense. Even though the Jets played the Colts tough, they were still losing before the starters got pulled. A win is a win but it wasn't a true win while Manning and Co were on the field protecting their perfect record. Now you're going against an offense who can at will run up the scoreboard and are playing for a Super Bowl appearance. Much more important than a perfect record. You didn't have to deal with #12 in the 4th quarter like the previous teams did 13 games before that. You will here, and you will see why he's the best QB in the game come crunch time.

Now, the Jets do have the coaching edge of controversial coach Rex Ryan backing them up over the more mellow Jim Caldwell. So it'll probably be a great chessmatch of a game, once again being as close as it was in Week 16. But this time Caldwell will be using all of his starters for the whole game instead of substituting them in and out of the game every other play like he did. This is going to be a good one, a close one, maybe even a classic. But I have the Colts winning 27-17 with the game making it look closer than the score implies.

And those are my picks for this Sunday's Conference Championship games. Sadly I won't be watching because I have prior engagements where I was held against my will to attend to. If DVR didn't exist then well I'd be sitting at home, beer in one hand and some sort of wing in the other watching the games. I'll be tuning in possibly the day after to see. SO I'm turning my ESPN Alerts off now so I can be surprised to see the games as if I watched them live. Hope everyone enjoys the games!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Round 2

Arizona Cardinals vs New Orleans Saints

This is a typical matchup of quick scoring offenses lighting up the scoreboard...on paper. Personally I don't think its going to be the fireworks show everyone is predicting. Even though the Cards just dropped 51 points on the Packers 5 days ago, don't expect the same or anywhere close to that against the Saints with that short of a layoff before traveling to New Orleans. The Cards should be trying to establish a running game with the M.I.A. running back Beanie Wells to soften the Saints rusty defense who has given up at least over 100 yards on the ground the past 3 games. One of those was against the Bucs. At home. Not a good look. On the other side, the Saints still boast the top offense in the league, and are facing the same issues as the Cardinals in trying to find their running game and defense. To help there, Jeremy Shockey is back AND the re-signing of Deuce McAlister to get the chains moving. I'm a bit skeptical on the signing of Deuce, I don't think he'll play that big of a factor in this game unless its goal-line purposes. Since both teams play eerily similar I still give the edge to the Saints. With the home crowd behind them, ample rest, key players returning from injuries, and their defensive ability to cause turnovers and make them touchdowns (and they need to make at least one) the rusty Saints shake off the cobwebs and defeat the fatigued Cardinals to advance to the next round.

Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts

A little NFL trivia fact: The Indianapolis Colts, once the Baltimore Colts, facing the new Baltimore Ravens is the first time an old franchise plays the new franchise in the playoffs. Just wanted to throw that in there. As far as the matchup its your classic potent offense vs beastly defense, which will win? Well it all comes down to experience in which both teams already have on the field on both sides of the ball. Key players will make key plays and both teams have those so there's no need to go into that. Its gonna be all about the playcalling from the coaching staff of each team, and Jim Cadwell wins that battle since he DID lead the Colts to a 14-0 record before dropping the last two games. All the while, Jim Harbaugh and the Ravens squeaked in the playoffs and defeated a beat up Patriots team. I'm not convinced the underdog claims victory here. Not much to be said for this game to go any deeper than that. We're talking about Peyton Manning who is like a meat cutter and defenses are a tender slab of pork as he carves defenses to pieces. Joe Flacco came off one of the worst quarterbacking games I personally have ever seen. Yes, he was slightly injured but he played like ass. Ray Rice isn't gonna be enough to save them here. Colts over Ravens to move on. It'll be closer than the final score may indicate, but the Ravens offense won't be able to get it done and put up enough points.

Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings

Ok Cowboys, I did pick you last week despite hoping you'd lose. And here you are. Late in January and you're still...here. I'd LOVE to say the only reason you've been able to put on this surge is due to the one dimensional teams with subpar defenses that you've played as of late. But I can't ignore the talent you possess. And it looks like neither can you. Cause when the Cowboys are on, they are ON. Their defense swarm in like bees with stunt blitz packages that make quarterbacks cower in fear. The offense is in synch like never before anchored by Tony Romo who broke franchise records of completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns this year. Felix Jones has really come into his own and...ok that's enough. I can't praise them without wanting to vomit. At least they are going against a true running back in Adrian Peterson (save his affinity of fumbling the ball thuddy-lem times this season) he's a bruiser and has speed out of this world. BUT can it be done on a 3-4 defense that loves stacking the box and taking the running game away? The Vikings play a different brand of football than anyone the Cowboys have played. Their defensive line is tops in the league, if not the best, and will make Tony Romo work...hopefully cry. And they also got that one dude, Brett Favre. Aka the Jay Leno of football. It pains me to say this...but if I HAD to pick an upset it would be this one. But I can't. I refuse to. And I'm gonna be biased. I don't see the Cowboys beating the Vikings...but they will. And I'll be checking myself into the nearest mental institution for sticking my neck out for that pick.

New York Jets vs San Diego Chargers

All you need to know is this: Darrelle Revis vs Vincent Jackson. Matchup of the 2010 playoffs. This is basically what the whole game rides on, and why its my playoff game to watch this weekend. Forget the running tandems of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene vs LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. Forget Rex Ryan's bold statement of the Jets winning it all. Forget Norv Turner's shaky playcalling actually looking like he's a genius after all. Forget Phillip Rivers showing Mark Sanchez how its really done...until the Jets show why they boast one of the best defenses in the league. Forget all of that and focus on these two. Vincent Jackson is tall, 6'5" tall and physical. Unlike anything Revis has seen all season and he's seen a lot. Wayne, A. Johnson, C. Johnson (twice), Owens (twice) and Moss (twice). And shut them down. But none like the prowess of the underrated Vincent Jackson who's stature alone strikes fear into shorter cornerbacks. But if he can be shutdown, the Jets win. If they can't? The Chargers win. It really is that simple. Everyone else needs to play their role and let these two duke it out and make plays for their respective teams. If you think anyone else really matters in this game then you're fooling yourself. And if you think Revis is going to be able to stave off a monster like Vincent Jackson by himself then you're sadly mistaken. He'll need help. And the Jets better give it to him or they'll be sent home packing. And, I think they will. So sorry Jets fans, I may have picked against you last week and failed...and I'll do it again here too. But I will say this: if Revis can contain Jackson he's the best DB. To be able to accomplish what he has done this year and STILL not win Defensive Player of the Year is beyond me. Can he do it though? Meh...we'll see. I personally don't think so.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Krispy Kreme vs Dunkin Donuts

I honestly have no idea where this theory came from exactly or why it really makes sense. All I know is that every woman I've dated or been remotely interested in, I asked the question "Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts?" Whenever a woman said "Dunkin Donuts" it pretty much went down hill from there. Not immediately but I knew it was coming. At the time I didn't understand why this happened nor did I even recognize this ridiculous pattern. Once it came to light it all made sense to me. Women that chose Dunkin Donuts were simply different from women that chose Krispy Kreme, and there's only been one that chose Krispy Kreme and she was my first and only love. I know that sounds silly but its true. When I sat and went back through the women that chose Dunkin Donuts, I knew off hand it was a situation I shouldn't get myself into but I just couldn't help myself but be attracted to them and wanting to see them. I was doing things I normally wouldn't do and found myself in awkward situations then eventually we parted ways. Sometimes me running away from items being thrown. Ok that was only once. Just recently I finally figured out why these scenarios happened. What I'm about to do its quite possibly the most harebrained explanation ever done. I'm the King of Bullshit but you'll be surprised at how much sense this makes. Just bare with me, that is if you're still reading, and I'm going to explain in my own twisted way the difference between Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts...if they were women. And you tell me if I'm crazy:

‎​Dunkin Donuts is that girl next door you can't help but fall for. Entertaining w/ more than just donuts to serve so you never get bored and there's always something to keep you coming back. She's always there late in the night and even has a drive-thru service for a quickie, ready and willing to please. The building is always bright and eye-catching but sometimes its not so the same on the inside. You wonder what they are: a donut shop, coffee shop, or a slushie stand? The variety is cool in the beginning but with all the different items on the menu you tend to feel a disservice in other areas and sometimes cheated. When you're ready for some stability it may not come from a DD, but at least you had fun...right? Its not her fault, she just has a dynamic personality that many aren't able to step up to. Or maybe she just got bored with you. Or maybe she is as bit as crazy and superficial as you believed. Hard pill to swallow, but we live and learn.

‎​Krispy Kreme has the old school/vintage diner thing going on which gives a classy look and feel. Good old school customer service meaning they're always reliable and trusting. Their donuts are always fresh keeping you sucked in for more, and you can tell by actual signals (the red light) instead of guessing which ones aren't stale from earlier. KK's are up front and what you see is what you get with them. Plus, you can't really find too many KK's around these days which makes it more desirable and unique. Its just...well, once you get inside and really take a look around what else is there? Not too much pizazz lighting the joint up there just that dull green all over the place. There's a variety of donuts sure, but what else does a Krispy Kreme really offer? The comfort and stability is what keeps it going, unless you want to venture out elsewhere and have a taste for something new and bold. Not saying Krispy Kreme is a boring place, I'm just saying it could use a bit more spunk. It is a dying franchise, so maybe a few upgrades could do it some good.

Now, I don't think you can simply sum every woman up in these two categories. But I can't ignore my personal experiences that when a woman has chosen Dunkin Donuts they fit the description I just gave and it just so happens to be like a Dunkin Donuts location. Same with my single Krispy Kreme experience. I've even had one friend of mine, a woman, read these descriptions and she admitted that she was a Dunkin Donut kinda girl. She even went as far as asking three other women and said they fit the mold too. I'm not trying to say this theory should hold water, but it seems to spread out more than just from my personal experiences. Even though my most successful relationship was with a Krispy Kreme girl (4.5 years strong), 9 times out of 10 I'd still choose a Dunkin Donuts girl. I think I finally got it figured out myself. I mean, I don't even like either place because I don't have a sweet tooth but if I wanted a donut I'd go to Krispy Kreme. If I wanted a lil something else, Dunkin Donuts would be my choice. So it just boils down to me wanting a Starbucks woman. But...that explanation is for another time.

Try it out for yourself for fun. Men, think back on all of your dating experiences and current: which kind of women do you prefer, a Dunkin Donut or a Krispy Kreme? Same with women, see where you fit in as well as your female counterparts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Playoffs? Playoffs?!?

That's right, Coach Mora...the NFL Playoffs are the talk of the sports world right now, outside of Gitty-Up Gilbert Arenas living up to the name "Agent Zero" but that's another story I dare not go over. I'm here to talk about playoffs much to the dismay of Jim Mora Sr. This opening wild-card weekend offers three week 17 matchups where all of them were major blowouts. I'll be starting with the AFC matchups and give a brief, "amaturish" analysis and my picks:

(5) Baltimore Ravens vs (4) New England Patriots

The Patriots (10-6) come into their wildcard matchup after a loss to the Texans and also losing star receiver Wes Welker to torn ligaments in his knee and is out for the playoffs. Taking his spot will be rookie Julian Edleman who also filled in for Welker in weeks 2 and 3 when Welker was out. He has been scouted as playing a similar style to Welker and finished the Texans game with 10 catches for 103 yards. Not bad for the rookie. But he'll be going against the Ravens (9-7) mighty defense who look to really make him work. The Ravens played the Pats earlier in the year and lost so look for them to come into this game with a chip on their shoulder to avenge that. It was a very close game and I imagine the same here. Ray Rice, the Ravens starting Pro Bowl running back, has really come along late in the season so he'll take the pressure off second year QB Joe Flacco. There has been talks of Lawrence Marouney also being severely banged up so we'll see how well he plays. He as well as Edleman are my X-Factors for the Patriots. Now if the Ravens can take away Moss and the deep ball, the Ravens will be moving onto the next round. Depending on how well Flacco and his sketchy receiving corp play which is my X-Factor for the Ravens. If they are catching balls and moving the chains effectively then that spells a win for the Ravens. And I honestly expect them to show up. So I'm going against the odds (and the snow) and I see the Ravens upsetting the banged up Pats here. Sorry Pats fans.

(6) New York Jets vs (3) Cincinnati Bengals

This is one of the week 17 matchups where the New York Jets (9-7) shutout the Bengals 37-0 in a must-win game for the Jets. The same couldn't be said for the Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) who already clinched the 3rd seed earlier that day. The Jets were clicking in all three areas: offense, defense, and special teams to stomp the Bengals out. Carson Palmer was very ineffective against the Jets top ranked defense and the Bengals were also without WR Chad Johnson (that's right, Johnson) with him leaving early with a slight knee injury. Cedric Benson was also pulled early which played into the zero points scored. And with that said don't be fooled by that score. The Bengals didn't play their hardest let alone their best players in a meaningless game for them, especially knowing they would meet the Jets in the playoffs. On their turf in Cincy. Expect the opposite of their week 17 matchup and the Bengals winning by at least a touchdown or maybe even more to move onto the next round.

(6) Philadelphia Eagles vs (3) Dallas Cowboys

The second of three week 17 rematches, the Eagles (11-5) were shutout by the Cowboys (11-5) 24-0. Using a similar game plan they used to beat the Saints a few weeks back, the Cowboys took away the deep ball from the Eagles and moved the ball behind speedy Felix Jones and bruising running back Marion Barber and QB Tony Romo finished the two early scoring drives with touchdowns to make it an early 14-0 lead and the Cowboys defense handled the rest. The Eagles played very flat on both sides of the ball. McNabb was way off on some of his throws and WR DeSean Jackson gave up on plays. Only shining star in the offense was TE Brent Celek. On defense they blitzed very seldomly and Romo was able to pick them apart. Despite this, Romo was slightly off and almost threw several picks. The Eagles were only a half step behind on plays that could have blown the game wide open on their end. The Eagles need to regroup and figure out this Cowboys team quick, fast and in a hurry. They are talented enough to do so but is 6 days enough time to make the necessary adjustments? This is a hard game to call...so I'll go with "what have you done for me lately" and pick the Cowboys who are the hot team and seem to have the Eagles number right now and they move onto the next round. As much as it pains me to admit it because I can't stand the Cowboys. So I hope I'm wrong and the Eagles come through and make adjustments lol.

(5) Green Bay Packers vs (4) Arizona Cardinals

The last of the three Week 7 matchups where the 11-5 Packers beat the 9-7 Cardinals 33-7 in Arizona, where their playoff game will be played again. This game also played out to be just like the Bengals/Jets game where the Packers went full throttle and the Cards held back and just kept it basic. Which one of these tactics will work we'll come to find out this weekend. It seems Arizona's offense has been pretty stagnant as of lately and Kurt Warner is showing he's human. Haven't seen Beenie Wells in weeks so someone is going to have to step up. The Packers are one of the season's surprise teams turning it around from a 6-10 record last season to making the playoffs. This is QB Aaron Rodgers' coming out party and I look for him to have a big game. The Super Bowl runner-up Cards lose here in my other upset and the Packers will be set up to possibly play...*dun dun dunnnnnn* the Vikings next round in the game Everyone-Wants-To-See-But-Doesn't-Want-To-Admit-It-Out-Loud special of the playoffs.

So once again I have Ravens over Pats, Cowboys over Eagles, Bengals over Jets, and Packers over Cards all moving to the second round of the playoffs. Next week I'll make my picks for that round, until then thanks for reading and remember to comment and d
iscuss!