Saturday, November 7, 2009

Week 9 Picks

I liked the format of last week's picks, so I'll give them another shot. Let me have it in the comments if you prefer the more detailed analysis.

Upset Special
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks
Line: Seahawks by 10
What to Watch For:
Searching for a legitimate (spread over 3) Upset, I'm going back to my faithful Lions. They came through for me against Washington, and I think they might catch a struggling Seahawks team sleeping. Seattle can't run the ball, and the defense is banged up. Detroit's offense, with its key pieces back together, should scrap together enough points for a difficult road win.
Lions 17
Seahawks 14

Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Packers by 9 1/2
What to Watch For:
I've sucked at these lately, though they should be lay-ups. I think the Pack rebound powerfully after a tough loss to the Vikings and take advantage of a weak Bucs squad. Green Bay's attacking defense should be trouble for rookie QB Josh Freeman, and Tampa's D is just a mess. Aaron Rodgers and his stable of solid receivers should put together a very nice win here.
Packers 34
Bucs 14

Most Interesting Game
Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears
Line: Bears by 3
What to Watch For:
Arizona has bounced back from a rough start to look like the class of the NFC West again, while Chicago has fallen back to Earth after a few good performances and high hopes. I'm curious how Chicago's once-feared defense will square up against the Cards aerial assault. Plus, a couple of high-INT gunslingers like Cutler and Warner should put on a pretty good show. Plus, where's Matt Forte been this year? And can he break out against Arizona's suddenly dominant run defense? I don't think this is the week, dude.
Cardinals 27
Bears 21

Marquee Game
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Eagles by 3
What to Watch For:
I'm watching the Eagles' opportunistic, pressure-heavy defense against an unpredictable, mistake-prone Tony Romo. Dallas hasn't been as awesome on the ground this year, and will be forced to throw into the belly of that beast. McNabb has really come on strong lately, and the Eagles in general have been rolling since dropping a turd against the Raiders. I think they continue that dominance at home in prime time.
Eagles 34
Cowboys 21

Last Week: 3-1 Straight Up, 3-1 Against the Spread (stupid Blowout pick. What do I know?)
Overall: 23-8 Straight Up, 19-12 Against the Spread


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feature: If They Played in the NFL

After the 2008 Summer Olympics, there was a lot of talk on NFL websites and message boards about one guy, and whether or not he could (or actually would) play football professionally. Of course, you know that man to be:

Usain Bolt
Olympic Sprinter (Jamaica)
6'5" 207 lbs

Position: Wide Receiver

If you're an offensive coordinator and you have a guy who's six-five and runs a 40-yard dash in, like, 4 seconds flat, what do you do with him? Line him up wide, tell him to run past the defense, and put the ball just above him and let him jump for it. Typically, track guys don't do well in the NFL, as they usually don't run good routes, and occasionally have trouble catching the ball (especially in traffic).

However, there hasn't been someone as ridiculously fast as Usain Bolt, well, ever. "Bullet" Bob Hayes, of the Cowboys of the 70's, is about the closest that comes to mind. Hayes was an Olympic track star, and coincidentally, positively destructive as an NFL receiver. There was simply no one that could cover him. The biggest difference between Bolt and Hayes, though, is size. Can you imagine the uproar if, say, Plaxico Burress had run a 4.1 40yd dash at his combine? There would be riots if a guy both that big and that fast was on a football field.

I can't really vouch much for Bolt's route running, but I don't think it would matter. He would need to know, like, 2 routes, and he would be crazy productive. Right at the snap, send him on "Go" routes or deep posts, let him just run, and put the ball near him. Game over. His hands are a question mark. However, he has run relays competitively, and that requires good hand strength and dexterity for baton passing, so I think he'd be okay.

Think Randy Moss is a record-setter? Forget it. Bolt is 3 inches taller than Jerry Rice, and a good amount faster. Rice had the best hands and ran the best routes in history, but I think Bolt's physical tools would put him at a Pro Bowl level instantly. The Cowboys would love a guy like him, as Jerry Jones loves high profile, fast players, and Romo has a strong enough arm to deliver the ball downfield. Imagine Bolt on the Pats. I won't even finish that thought...too scary. Really, though, his best fit I think is on either the Bears or Vikings. Both teams could use a big receiver to stretch the field. Jay Cutler would wet his pants at the thought of a 6'5" target who's faster than Devin Hester. Brett Favre to Usain Bolt? Yes.

How 'bout it? Any other suggestions?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week 8 Picks

Week 8 already! Geez, this season is flying. So because I ran out of time this week (totally my bad), I'm gonna just shoot out my Week 8 picks rapid fire, with one deep thought on each game.

Upset Special
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
Line: Cardinals by 10
What to Watch For:
Look for DeAngelo Williams to get a lot of carries, as John Fox likes his teams to run the ball frequently and effectively. I don't know how Carolina will handle the Cards' receivers, but I just think it's time for the Panthers to put their foot down and right the ship. They're too good a team to keep sliding.
Panthers 27
Cardinals 21

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
Line: Titans by 3
What to Watch For:
Two words: Vince Young. Jeff Fisher is benching career slouch and alcoholic Kerry Collins for the third overall pick from 2006. Young is an exciting player, but just isn't an NFL passer. Maurice Jones-Drew is an awesome back, and the Jaguars will keep Young down all game.
Jaguars 24
Titans 9

Most Interesting Game
Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens
Line: Ravens by 3
What to Watch For:
It was either this or Falcons @ Saints, and frankly, I'm too mad at the Saints for dismantling the Giants to pick their game. So I'll pick the other watchable game with an unbeaten team. The Broncos have astounded everyone so far, while the Ravens have befuddled. I'm looking for Ray Lewis to have had enough of this sloppy play, whip that group into shape, and finally stop the surprising Denver juggernaut.
Ravens 21
Broncos 17

Marquee Game of the Week
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Line: Packers by 3
What to Watch For:
Duh. Brett Favre's return to Green Bay as an enemy combatant. Really, though, I don't think Green Bay's defense can handle Adrian Peterson and the Favre-led passing attack. The secondary is pretty good, but the whole unit has proved nothing this year. Aaron Rodgers is a good QB, and will put up points, just not enough.
Vikings 34
Packers 24

Last Week: 3-1 straight up, 2-2 against the spread
Overall: 20-7 straight up, 16-11 against the spread

I'm actually picking 3 underdogs this week, and my one favorite is the Ravens, who have burned me bad this year. Fingers crossed this week!!