Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Week 13 Picks

Week 12 proved to be my best week yet, as I struck gold on all but 4 of the 16 games on the weekend. The Broncos blew it at home against Oakland, and so did Miami against New England, and so did the Titans against the Jets, and so did the Browns against the Texans. So all of my loses last week came from home teams who were favored to win. I can't complain though, because the other 12 games went my way. So now it's on to Week 13. Tomorrow we will all be feasting on turkey, and watching some good, hard-nosed, Thanksgiving Day football. So without anymore wait, it's on to my Week 13 picks:
Week 12: 12-4 Overall: 37-21-1

TEN:30 DET:13
SEA:17 DAL:42
ARI:38 PHI:28
SF:14 BUF:23
BAL:27 CIN:17
NO:24 TB:30
NYG:19 WAS:7
MIA:31 STL:16
IND:34 CLE:17
CAR:24 GB:27
ATL:38 SD:31
DEN:20 NYJ:31
PIT:28 NE:24
KC:34 OAK:13
CHI:23 MIN:24
JAC:16 HOU:20

So there they are. My Week 13 picks. Everybody, have a great Thanksgiving. Don't get carried away on Friday. And finally, have a happy Sunday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Week 12 Wrap; What We Know

Boy, was Week 12 wacky or what? The Titans received their first loss of the season, courtesy of the Jets. The Vikings scored more points in the first two minutes of their game than the Jags did in 60 minutes. The Birds of the NFC south are back, and so are the Birds of the AFC north. On the other hand, the Birds of the NFC east are in deep trouble. McNabb looks to be on his way out, and Kevin Kolb does not look like the future of any franchise, much less a franchise based in The City of Brotherly Love.

But then again, you never can tell. Who thought Tyler Thigpen, the 3rd string QB of arguably the worst team in the NFL in '08, would not only be a starting quarterback, but in some cases (mine included), a fantasy football savior? I'd say, give Kolb a year or two, some receiving help, and evaluate your program. Donavan McNabb, you're a good quarterback who doesn't deserve the constant criticism he's getting in Philly. You'd be a great fit, somewhere else.

For Christmas, I'm going to give the San Diego Chargers 59:36 to put up as many points as they possibly can. They've now lost four games in the final 24 seconds after that heartbreak Sunday night against the Colts. Their record is 4-7, which means if they had won all those games they would be 8-3 and running away with the AFC west. As it is, they need only to keep pace with the Broncos (which lately has been like keeping pace with a slug)going into the final week to have a shot at the playoffs.

The Lions may never win again. After starting the '07 season 6-2, they have since dropped 18 of their last 19. This week, they get the formally undefeated Titans on Thanksgiving Day. Their only hope: Stuff the Titans' players full of turkey before gametime so they will be sleepy.

To wrap things up, the 'Boys are back after their defeat of the 49ers, and so are the Bears, after their stomping of the 'Niners divisional counter-part, the Rams. Matt Cassel has now thrown for over 400 yards in each of his past two games, something Tom Brady never did. The Saints and the Packers scored a combined 80 points on Monday, the 5th most in MNF history. That's all for week 12. Come back tomorrow for my Week 13 picks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hopper On: Why the Jets are Hot

We all know that the New York Jets are on fire right now, but just why are they so good? This may shock you, but it's not Brett Favre.

The New York Jets are a football team. It's not just one guy like some may think, but many people coming together to become a football team. The offensive line is working well, opening up the running game. The running game is working well, opening up the passing game. When the passing game opens up, it allows the quarterback, in this case Favre, to throw the ball well. And then, the receivers have to be on the other end ready to make the catch. And if you ask me, it's the receivers, not Favre, that make Favre look so good.

Laverenues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are making spectacular plays on the other end of the ball. Throw in a steady dose of Dustin Keller, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and Chansi Stuckey, and these guys could send Dan Orlovsky to Hawaii.

But it's not just the offense. Kris Jenkins and the Jets defense have been phenomenal. Abram Elam has come up big in the secondary, and the rest of the defense has been absolutely stout. Then there's the special teams. Let me tell you something: Leon Washington(mentioned above) is an absolute beast on kick/punt returns. He has good speed, good agility, and he's pretty good out of the backfield too.

So you see, Brett Favre is not why the Jets are so successful, as the media might think, and Tony Kornheiser will probably give you an earful of it tonight on Monday Night Football, especially since the Packers are playing. The real reason that the Jets are playing well? They are an all-around football team.

Hopper On: is an opinionated column by the writer

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Week 12 Picks

I simply cannot believe that it's Week 12 already. It seems like only yesterday they were kicking off the season, and next week, we'll be stuffing ourselves with turkey, and of course, watching some good 'ol fashion football. Lions at one, Cowboys at four. But before we can see those games, we first must get through Week 12. So here they are. Your Week 12 picks:
Last week: 9-6-1 Season:25-17-1

CIN:17 PIT:30
PHI:14 BAL:23
HOU:17 CLE:27
TB:27 DET:13
BUF:21 KC:20
CHI:24 STL:14
NYJ:13 TEN:19
NE:17 MIA:24
MIN:28 JAC:24
SF:16 DAL:30
OAK:19 DEN:34
CAR:23 ATL:27
NYG:38 ARI:35
WAS:26 SEA:13
IND:31 SD:28
GB:24 NO:34
Here they are. Your week 12 picks. My dear readers, have a happy Sunday.

Week 11 Wrap; What We Know

Week 11 brought us some wacky stuff. For starters, the Bengals and the Eagles tied. That's right, the Eagles(a good team), and the Bengals('nuff said). It could have been worse for the Eagles. They could have lost, like the Giants did on that Monday night to the Browns.

Speaking of the Browns and Monday night, they remained undefeated on Monday night after defeating Buffalo. It might not be a bad investment for them to pay off the NFL scheduling committee to let them play all their games on Monday night in 2009, including all playoff games.

For the first time in NFL history, there was an 11-10 final, as the Steelers topped the fading Chargers. However, somebody somewhere is all up in arms that the touchdown Pittsburgh scored at the end didn't count. People, get over it. The game was over. If the NFL is going to start investigating every incorrect call, maybe they should watch the video of the Falcons-Eagles game from earlier this year, when a so-called "muffed punt" may have cost the Falcons the game.

Speaking of the Falcons, they will be kicking themselves come January if they don't make the playoffs. All season, they had not lost one game that they should have won, then, along came Sunday. There is no reason that the Falcons should have lost that game. Granted, Denver is a good team, but the Falcons are better in my opinion. They'll have to make up for that Sunday, when they face the Panthers.

And finally, the Dolphins, Packers, Browns, and Colts are on NFL's preverbial "Up-Escalator", while the Bills, Bears, Redskins, and Chargers are all moving down. These teams will have to pick it up if they are to make the playoffs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Media Bias: NASCAR

There's a huge celebration going on down in Miami right now.

No, I'm not referring to Jimmie Johnson. I'm referring to everybody at ESPN. The announcers were awful throughout the race, making comments as to how every call Chad Knaus made was absolutly wonderful, just as they did throughout the Chase. And how enthusiastic and excitedly giddy they were as Johnson crossed the finish line. Heck, Andy Petree virtually guided us through Johnson's final pit stop, almost reassuring everyone that it was going to be a smooth stop, and that, once the stop was over, Johnson would cruise to his third championship. Anybody who watched this race had to notice the putrid job that "The Three Stooges" did. A job at which even Johnson's own fans had to be nauseous .

The guys in the truck were no better, giving Johnson the "Allstate Good Hands Driver Award" on a pit stop, and calling the same stop the "Sprint Monster Moment". Forgive me, but I distinctly remember Aric Almirola spinning down the frontstreatch, and keeping it out of the wall, and Michael Waltrip driving through smoke and sun to avoid the same wreck. Now that's good hands driver material to me.

And this wasn't the first time such a thing happened. In fact, last week at Phoenix, another Jimmie Johnson pitstop earned the "Sprint Monster Moment". Just a few laps later, David Gilliland's car was on top of Scott Speed's car. Now that's a monster moment. But no, they had already given it away like a free sample. They even gave Johnson a theme song, something they did for no other driver, playing "Sweet Notion" everytime he won.

But it wasn't just ESPN. gave the championship to Johnson after Atlanta. That's right, with three races to go, they were practically calling the season over. And they wouldn't let off, publishing such articles as "Dispite no championship, Roush still upbeat about season". This all leading up to Championship Week. I know it seems like a mute point now that Johnson has his third straight title, but it's annoying as a fan to have everybody calling it over before it's not. Especially if the guy you were cheering for wasn't Johnson.

To all you Jimmie Johnson fans, I congradulate you. Your boy has really accomplished a lot during his short career. But it's also not fair to you or your driver for the media to gloat about him like this. It really puts everybody in a bad light. I hope that what the media has done does not take away from this great accomplishment that your driver, your driver, has achieved.

Johnson Wins the Cup

Jimmie Johnson won his third straight Sprint Cup title on Sunday, tying Cale Yarborough for the most consecutive championships. Johnson needed to finish 36th or better to control his own destiny as far as clinching the championship was concerned. He finished 15th. Carl Edwards did everything he could possibly do to win the Cup, leading the most laps and winning the race, something he also did in the Nationwide race. Unfortunately for Edwards, he came away with no championship. Jimmie Johnson dominated the Chase once again, and proved that he is argubly one of NASCAR's greatest drivers. My congrats go out to him, as well as these drivers:

Clint Bowyer: Nationwide champ
Johnny Benson: Truck champ
Regan Smith: Cup Rookie of the Year
Landon Cassill: Nationwide Rookie of the Year
Colin Braun: Truck Rookie of the Year

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 11 Picks

Week 10 did not bode well for me as far as my picks go. I missed on 5 of my 6 upset picks(the only one I got right was Minnesota over Green Bay 28-27). Still, I ended up just above .500 on the week, thanks to the Sunday night and Monday night games(which killed my percentage last week).

I said in an article yesterday that it was time to give the Ravens some credit after picking them to lose their last two games, which they won.
Unfortunately, I cannot pick them this week because of the simple fact that they play the Giants, who, by the way, are pretty good. That leads me to my week 11 picks. I am doing them one day early so that I can pick for tomorrow night's Jets-Patriots game. So, without further adue, I give you my week 11 picks:
Week 10: 7-6 Overall: 16-11

NYJ:20 NE:23
DEN:28 ATL:34
MIN:20 TB:17
BAL:21 NYG:31
OAK:16 MIA:27
NO:24 KC:26
DET:9 CAR:24
PHI:31 CIN:20
CHI:23 GB:21
HOU:14 IND:38
STL:17 SF:24
ARI:31 SEA:16
TEN:19 JAC:13
SD:20 PIT:23
DAL:24 WAS:26
CLE:21 BUF:17

The Ram's defense is going to allow a few more than just 13 points this. Last week, they only gave up 34 more points than I said they would. Unfortunately, sometimes you simply don't get it right. I also believe that this is the week that KC gets win #2 on the year. My dear readers, this is where I leave you. Have a happy Sunday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Championship Week; It's Still Not Over

It's championship week in NASCAR this weekend as all 3 series head to Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, you wouldn't know that the Cup championship is still up for grabs. Listen to me now, this is not over. Carl Edwards can win this weekend at Homestead. He did it in Atlanta. He did it in Texas. He can do it at Homestead. Now, some of you are probably saying to yourselves, "But Jimmie has such a big lead." Well, he has had issues at Homestead before(2005, blown tire caused him to wreck while battling Tony Stewart for the Cup; finished 40th), and it can happen again. I am aware of the fact that Johnson is ahead by 141 points. I am aware of the fact that he needs to finish only 36th or better to clinch. And yes, Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, and Dale Jarrett, I am aware of how wonderful Jimmie Johnson and this 48 team are and how they dodge every obstacle thrown at them. But come on. Give Edwards and this 99 team a little credit. In any given race, anything can happen.

Week 10 Wrap; What We Know

Week 10 is now in the books, and what did we see? Well, for starters, there were not a whole lot of upsets. The Colts beat Pittsburgh in the Steel City, and the Vikings beat the Packers at home. Otherwise, really not a whole lot of unexpected things happened. That said, we did learn a few things.

The Jags are back. Is it too late? No. However, they will have to win a few crucial games down the stretch if they are to make the playoffs. They did make a statement on the road in Detroit with their 38-14 rout of the Lions. Now they have to make an even bigger statement at home against the undefeated Titans.

The Chiefs are this close to actually winning a game. They are a really good football team right now, and Tyler Thigpen is coming into his own. Their problem is closing out games. If they can do that, then watch out for the Chiefs in '09. They get Larry Johnson back this week. We'll see how that goes.

The AFC East is impossible to figure out, and it may come down to the final week to determine who will win that division. The Bills are not the same team that started the season out so well, and the other three teams are not the same teams that started out the season so badly. This division will be monitored right down to the last week.

Finally, it is time for me to give some credit to the Baltimore Ravens. I have picked them to lose the last two games, and they have won them both(one of them quite handily). These guys, led by rookie Joe Flacco, are proving to be the real deal. They could win the AFC North. And, as the Giants proved last year, once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. Is it possible that we could have to rookie quarterbacks face off in the Super Bowl? Matt Ryan and the Falcons might think so.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Week 10 Picks

As I promised yesterday, week 10's picks are in. But before I share those with you, I'd like to recap week 9.
Week 9: 9-5; overall: 9-5
Now, last week, a couple of early games hurt me. The Bills lost to the Jets by about the same score I predicted them to win by. The Jags were upset by the Bengals. And the Ravens beat the Browns. A couple of blowout picks that had me on edge were the Bucs, who edged the Chiefs, and the Bears, who almost blew another comeback at the end. Up until Sunday night I was 9-3, and then, the Pats lost. Then, to make matters worse, the Skins were dominated on Monday night, dropping me to 9-5 on the week.(Quite frankly, I don't care whether my picks win or lose. These stories just sound good.) So, after finishing my recap of week 9 two days later than anyone else, it's time to move on to my week 10 picks:

NO:27 ATL:30
TEN:17 CHI:22
JAC:23 DET:28
BAL:27 HOU:28
SEA:10 MIA:24
GB:20 MIN:23
BUF:23 NE:21
STL:17 NYJ:13
CAR:31 OAK:7
IND:24 PIT:28
KC:17 SD:28
NYG:34 PHI:21
SF:13 ARI:31

Yes, a few upsets in there. And, yes, I am predicting that the Rams defense is going to hold the Jets offense to 13 points. I also do not have too many blowout predictions after last week's close calls. We'll see what Sunday brings. Note: The Denver-Cleveland game is currently being played, so no prediction for that game. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Week 9 wrap; what we know

It's been a crazy, unpredictable season in the NFL this year. So I'd like to take a moment to discuss what we do know:

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be kicking themselves in January if they miss the playoffs. One week after being upset by Cleveland, the Jags took on the winless Bengals... And LOST! This week, they face the winless Lions, so they had best win that one if they want any shot at the playoffs.

Falcons fans everywhere are laughing in the face of Sporting News, who predicted the birds would go 1-15. Funny? Yes. Funny Ha-Ha? Definately. The Falcons not only are better than the 1-15 team Sporting News predicted them to be, but are a legitimate playoff contender. Matt Ryan is 10 times better of a passer than Vick ever was, and Michael Turner may be the best free-agent pickup since, well, ever. On top of that, their defense and special teams is better. These guys are finally a team. They're biggest problem? They're division, which is arguably the best division in the NFL.

The AFC East is tough to figure out. Just when you thought the Bills were going to run away with it, they lose to a pair of division rivals. All four teams are within a game of each other. Colts' fans, start cheering against this division. These are the teams that could keep yours out of the playoffs. Note: Sporting News also said that 3 of these 4 teams would finish NO BETTER than 7-9. The only team they said would do better? The New England Patriots at 14-2.

The NFC West is almost in hand. The Cardinals just have to keep winning and the division is theirs. Sorry Seahawks', Rams', and 'Niner fans, but you know it's true. This just isn't your year.

And finally, to wrap things up, the Dallas Cowboys, sportsnation's almost unanamous pick to win it all, is no better than the 10th best team in the league. That does not include teams with better records such as the Falcons or the Patriots. Nor does it include the Rams, who blew them out. When they get Romo back they might contend. But this team has to many egos to win a super-bowl right now. Think New York Yankees.

That's a wrap. See you Thursday for week 10 picks.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Carl is Conservative!

Carl Edwards dominated Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway, but great fuel mileage is what propelled Edwards to victory. Edwards managed to go 69 laps on one tank of fuel at the 1.5 mile oval. It was his 7th win of the season. Jimmie Johnson struggled all day and finished 15th. Edwards chipped 77 points off Johnson's lead, which is now at 106. As I said before, this deal isn't over yet.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

College Football Recap

A brief recap of the day's college football action. The number 1 team in the nation went down in Lubbock, Texas today, as the Longhorns lost to #7 Texas Tech 39-33. It's a big win for Tech, as they continue their undefeated season. It's the Longhorns first loss of the season despite playing four consecutive top 10 teams.

In Jacksonville, Florida made "Gator-Bait" out of the Bulldogs, as they rolled 49-10. The win all but secures a spot for Florida in the SEC championship game. At the same time, the loss for Georgia virtually eliminates them from the national title talks.

The Bulldogs in-state rival, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets upset #15 Florida State 31-28. This, coupled with Virginia's loss to Miami (Fl), moves the Jackets back to the top of of the ACC Coastal standings.

A late interception return for a touchdown sealed the deal for Northwestern in Minneapolis today. The Wildcats downed the Golden Gophers 24-17.

Here are the rest of the top 25 scores from around the league:

Ark St:0 Alabama:35
Nebraska:28 Oklahoma:62
Wash:0 USC:56
Iowa St:17 Ok St:59
Boise:49 New Mexico St:0
TCU:44 UNLV:14
Mizzou:31 Baylor:28
Tulsa:23 Arkansas:30
Tulane:10 LSU:35
BYU:45 Colorado St:42
Wisconsin:24 Mich St:25
Oregon:16 Cal:26
West Va:35 UConn:13

For all of you Utah fans, sorry I did not get your score as the game went late. That's a wrap. Hopefully we get some more good action next week.