Saturday, December 29, 2007

I cannot remember a week 17 with so many playoff positions already locked up, making for an interesting week of picks.

NO at CHI: Note to Saints: If you can't get it done at home against a team with nothing to play for, you're not going to be able to get it done on the road either. CHI

CAR at TB: Carolina, I'm punishing you for not beating a shorthanded Dallas team last week. TB

BUF at PHI: It's a classic overachiever vs. underachiever matchup, but unfortunately those tendencies leave the teams evenly matched, so I'll just go with homefield. PHI

CIN at MIA: If last week was Miami's superbowl, then this would be their first week of the offseason. CIN

JAX at HOU: Houston would like to go out with a win, and I don't think the Jags have anything to play for. Upset special. HOU

DET at GB: There's only one word for how the Packers played last week: yucky. GB

SF at CLE: Cleveland, I'm sorry, but you blew your chance last week. Winning here isn't going to get it done. CLE

SEA at ATL: Ever wonder what the Patriots would look like if someone sucked half the talent out of each of their players? Just watch a Seattle game. SEA

DAL at WAS: I'm very much rooting for the Viking-killing Redskins in this one. Can anyone think of a less intimidating team to face in the playoffs than the Redskins? I used Todd Collins as a punchline earlier this year, assuming he had retired five years ago. WAS

PIT at BAL: I'm telling you, Baltimore will not recover from the NE game for years. PIT

KC at NYJ: Oh baby, Herm Edwards returning to New York! What a story! Almost as exciting as watching one of those early-December bowl games! NYJ

SD at OAK: San Diego runs away with the AFC West, disparagingly known as "The NFC West of the AFC". SD

MIN at DEN: Yet another embarrassing loss for the overrated "mastermind" everyone forgot about, Mike Shanahan. MIN

STL at AZ: I could see this GIDCAOTW a mile away.... AZ

TEN at IND: Exact same scenario as the DAL-WAS game, exact same result. TEN

Friday, December 28, 2007

I was meaning to get back to Chris's Mitchell Report Challenge a bit earlier, but was distracted by a Christmas bonanza of video game goodness. I've torn myself away from the joystick for a bit, so lets move on to some topics:

On whether it was right for Mitchell to lead the investigation: In a word, No. And it's not because I have even the faintest belief that any unscrupulous behavior is going on. It just seems like a very poor choice to pick a man who undoubtedly qualifies as an MLB "insider" as the lead investigator in a case that's as much about baseball being an impenetrable ol' boys' club as it is about the drugs themselves. The whole reason this report exists, as far as I can tell, is because no one else had any luck breaking through the stonewall put in place by the player's union. With the government behind them, the baseball community, of all sports, should have understood the value of picking a true arbitrator for this kind of matter. Instead, they provided every Roger Clemens fan a significant piece of ammo to use in whatever conspiracy theory they happen to be cooking up in their tinfoil hat.

On what to do about the records/statistics from convicted users: First of all, I tend to be of the opinion that once a player retires, most of his records, statistics, awards, etc, have no real meaning. His stats are just numbers in a book, completely incapable of influencing the present or predicting the future - they're just a log of what happened, why would anyone care to erase them? As for awards, if Raphael Palmeiro somehow made it into the Hall of Fame, I would probably be upset for about a minute, and then forget about it for the rest of my life. However, this is a game we're talking about, not accounting, and I'm willing to admit there may be a few numbers or achievements that have some kind of "sentimental" value, for lack of a better term. For me, there are really only two numbers, 61 and 755, that are important enough to care about and have been irrevocably linked with the whole steroid issue. And for those two numbers, the steroid "crackdown" came a year too late for the latter, and almost a decade too late for the former. So where does that leave me standing on this issue? Well, let me put it this way: A record can't be un-set once it's set, and baseball will just have to deal with Bonds' 73 and 762 as an embarassing part of its past.

The MLB recordbook is like a program's log file: its creator shouldn't be going back and editing it, even if it contains some nasty stuff...

Oh, and NE for tomorrow...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Chris's last post brought up the topic of having another point-counterpoint on the Mitchell report. It sounds like a good idea to me, so check back here in a few days and I should have a "formalized" argument started. But today, I'm just doing cleanup picks....

NYG at BUF: Given that this is the NFC vs. the AFC, and that the Giants are in the middle of their yearly late-season collapse, I'm not sure this even qualifies as a real upset. BUF.

GB at CHI: Over the last two years, a well-defined, larger-than-expected segment of the Bears fan base has been clamoring for Lovie Smith to give Kyle Orton a shot at QB (I am not making this up). He was the kind of guy the Bears offense needed: a good game manager, relatively smart, supposedly a good teammate. Last week they got their wish, and hopefully figured out what the rest of us already knew: that Orton, despite his positive traits, was missing one important quarterbacking ability - being able to throw a football. GB.

CLE at CIN: A few weeks ago I was convinced that Cincy would win some meaningless games at the end of the year, but they appear to be in even worse shape than I thought, and Cleveland is so close they can taste it. CLE.

KC at DET: Detroit was mathematically eliminated with the Vikings win last monday, so here's the meaningless victory that would have gone to the Bengals. DET.

HOU at IND: I'm surprised, it actually feels like Indy only played Houston twice this year. IND.

PHI at NO: New Orleans is mathematically alive, Philly isn't. Seems reasonable. NO.

OAK at JAX: I may be getting suckered in here, but the Jags are again approaching AFC 1st-tier status. 1.5-th tier at worst. JAX.

ATL at AZ: Poor, poor, pitiful Falcons. Actually, that's not true, they're mostly a bunch of punks and don't deserve much pity. I doubt "due process" was a term considered by Roddy White while coming up with his subversive T-shirt designs. AZ.

TB at SF: And the rich lower-middle class gets richer. TB.

NYJ at TEN: The Jets shockingly are still playing games. GIDCAOTW. TEN.

MIA at NE: Thanks, Miami, for ruining the fun of 0-14 vs 14-0. NE.

BAL at SEA: Ok, here's the deal: until Seattle beats a .500-or-better team, I will refuse to talk about anything else when picking their games. SEA.

WAS at MIN: If you watched any of last week's Monday night game, it should be painfully clear that the Vikings are overrated. However, the Skins are far too Bear-like to inspire any confidence. MIN.

DEN at SD: A late-season throttling of the Broncos would be the perfect cap on Shannahan's comeuppance year. SD.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PIT at STL: I saw the Rams last week, and they're certainly talented enough to be a .500 team if healthy, but the Steelers really need this game. PIT

DAL at CAR: Once again, I can't tell if this is a head or heart pick, but what the heck. Upset Special. CAR.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let's hurry up and get to the playoffs already....

BUF at CLE: I'm still trying to figure out how Buffalo is still in the hunt, what with them not having anyone good on their team and all...CLE

TEN at KC: Even at 4-9, on a 6 game losing streak, I'd say KC has overachieved this year. TEN

GB at STL: Favre has never played well in the TWA (or whatever it's called nowadays) dome, so I'm more nervous about this game than you might think. GB

BAL at MIA: Just like Chris, I've been forced into picking the dolphins every week until they win. MIA

NYJ at NE: Yay! what a wonderful opportunity for GIDCAOTW. NE

AZ at NO: Sorry kids, you're should both go home now. AZ

JAX at PIT: I proclaimed the Jags as a second-tier team last week, and this is a game that second-tier teams lose. PIT

ATL at TB: Well, this would have been a good GIDCAOTW too, but now that I've already used it, I'm forced to say something relevant. you think Earnest Graham was named after that Jim Varney character? I don't. TB

SEA at CAR: I've already made my thoughts on the Seahawks clear. Repeatedly. SEA

IND at OAK: Personally, I don't think the Frozen Tundra gives the Packers nearly the advantage most claim it does, but last week, the Raiders genuinely looked like a team that just wanted to find a heated area about five minutes after kickoff. IND

PHI at DAL: Upset special: Dallas is due. Actually they're one week past due, but the Lions managed to do what they do best. PHI

DET at SD: Like I was just saying. SD

WAS at NYG: NFC east games always have a strong "meh" element to them, no matter what the records or talent levels are. NYG

CHI at MIN: It would be nice to see the Bears damage the Vikings' playoff hopes here, but bad teams usually can't get it done in the metrodome. MIN

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We're now in the stretch of the season where the NFL starts evenly distributing their games across the week in an effort to inconvenience as many teams, fans, and pick-makers as possible, so from here on out I'll likely just be picking winnners for the odd days and giving full descriptions for the rest: HOU, CIN

Saturday, December 08, 2007

MIA at BUF: Gosh darn it, I just can't pick against Miami at this point, because I know it will guarantee a Dolphins victory. MIA

STL at CIN: Somebody named "Brock Berlin" will start for the Rams. There's no way that's his real name. CIN

DAL at DET: This would be a classic letdown game for the Cowboys, but don't count on it against the god-forsaken Lions. DAL

OAK at GB: You better win this, Packers.... GB

SD at TEN: Like I've said previously, the Chargers simply don't have the mental fortitude to win on the road against a tough defense. TEN

NYG at PHI: Did you really think Mr. Feely was the answer? PHI

CAR at JAX: Sorry Jags, you're officially second tier. JAX

TB at HOU: Tampa Bay is almost as bad as Seattle (believe me, that IS an insult), but Houston already has their annual five wins. TB

MIN at SF: I really would like to pick San Fran here, but if it's late in the game and you have the lead, you shouldn't start heaving the ball down field, if you know what I mean... MIN

AZ at SEA: Believe it or not, Seattle hasn't beaten anyone with a winning record this year. In fact, they haven't even beaten anyone with a .500 record. I'm calling upset special all over this. Oh and in case your wondering, the Seahawks schedule down the stretch: CAR, BAL, ATL. I'm going to throw up now. ARI

KC at DEN: Wasn't Jay Cutler supposed to "break out" this season? Unless he's come down with a nasty rash, I don't think it's happened. DEN

PIT at NE: Ok, the last two weeks I've come to the brink of picking against the Pats, and the last two weeks the Pats have come to the brink of losing. So, let's go with the Steelers here and see what happens. PIT

CLE at NYJ: Cleveland is inching up near the top of the list of teams I wouldn't want to face in the playoffs. CLE

IND at BAL: The Ravens just lost the kind of game it could take 5 years to recover from. IND

NO at ATL: Reggie Bush must regret having stayed healthy long enough for people to realize he's not a #1 back. NO

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CHI at WAS: Someone's going to come out of this with their playoff hopes officially ended....WAS.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lisa and I were luckily invited to a satellite-enabled household to watch the Packers, so I'm still recovering. I'm not angry or concerned as much as I am confused about how to feel. The Cowboys were the better team than the injury-ravaged Packers and deserved to win, but the game still could have gone to the Packers except for a bunch of very iffy calls all going the Cowboys' way. Because I'm still quite incoherent, I going with 4-word picks.

SF at CAR: San Fran can't tank. SF.

BUF at WAS: Dan Snyder's a jerk. WAS.

HOU at TEN: See ya, Mike Sherman. TEN.

ATL at STL: Race for pick 2. STL.

SEA at PHI: Seattle is NOT good. PHI.

DET at MIN: The Lions collapse continues. MIN.

JAX at IND: Gettin' over the hump. JAX.

SD at KC: Rivers complains too much. SD.

NYJ at MIA: This is the week. MIA.

DEN at OAK: Here's your upset special. OAK.

CLE at ARI: Cleveland is "for real". CLE.

TB at NO: The Bucs still suck. NO.

NYG at CHI: Bears have false hope. NYG.

CIN at PIT: No one's watching Pittsburgh. PIT.

NE at BAL: Almost called upset again. NE.