Winners Gotta Win.

Wrong Kind of Crunch.

Wrong Kind of Crunch.

It is crunch time.  In the NFL, in Pick ‘Em, in your fantasy league, but I’m not interested in exploring that incredibly original content.  I want to talk about crunch in food form.  I have a texture complaint against a lot of healthy food.  It’s not necessarily the flavor of the berry, or the GRAPE, that bothers me–more the texture.  If these things were crunchy like an apple, I’d love to eat them all the time.  YUM–fruit salad for days.  It’s a matter of smoothness vs. mushiness. Mashed potatoes? Smooth.  A green bean? MUSH.  Ice cream? Smooth.  Random melon? MUSH.  Crunch is a little more complicated.  There is good crunch and bad crunch.  It needs to be handled on a case by case basis.  Some examples…

Good Crunch: Chips in a Sandwich

Why have the chips on the side when you can just condense?  The key here is that the chips are neutral in temperature and hold up well.  Which brings me to…

Bad Crunch: Lettuce on a Burger

A piece of lettuce will remain crunchy, if it ever was, on a hot burger for ABOUT…three seconds.  Then it turns into a wet tissue.  So, we want to heat up the lettuce and cool down the burger?  Is that the strategy here?  No lettuce on hot sandwiches.  JESUS.  And, the next time someone puts hot chicken in my Caesar wrap…strongly worded complaint coming.

Good Crunch: Oreo Cookie

Crunchy cookies can be a real red flag, but you want the chocolate part of the OREO to snap to attention.  Anything less than that and they’re probably stale, which is unfortunate, but doesn’t mean you should stop eating them.

Bad Crunch: Nestle Crunch

People insist on ruining good chocolate.  Even if you are a chocolate snob and think Nestle is junk (get over yourself), you still shouldn’t condone putting crunch into a chocolate bar.  And, what the hell is that stuff anyway?  Is that f*cking rice? IN CHOCOLATE?  What is wrong with you people?

Anyway, I could go on and on like this for some time, but there are picks to make, lives to lead.

***

Week 12 NFL Picks:

Big Dub, Record: 26-19

  1. New England (-7) over Detroit
  2. Baltimore (+3.5) over New Orleans
  3. Denver (-7) over Miami
  4. Seattle (-6.5) over Arizona
  5. Green Bay (-9.5) over Minnesota

***

Grossy, Record: 27-23

Cleveland (+3) over Atlanta.  Josh Gordon is back.  He’s vowed to tear up the league.  Not sure what else you need to hear.  The guy sets his mind to something–it’s done.  Sold cars like a champ for 11 weeks, now he’s going to go off on the Falcons–who could lose to anyone at any time.  OUTRIGHT.

Tennessee (+11) over Philadelphia.  I know the consensus is the Eagles will easily bounce back and crush Tennessee. They probably should.  There’s only room for one ‘berger QB in this league and it ain’t Mettenberger.  BUT, I think the Eagles could start slow here, there’s some turmoil going on with Shady I think, and I just see a sloppy win.  Visionary stuff.

Green Bay (-9.5) over Minnesota.  We’re just going to ride this one until it bucks us.  It’s a road game, which means the Packers might not score 50 points, but they had 70 last week if they needed them.  Know that.  I’m not sure bringing in Ben Taint is the answer for the Vikes.

San Francisco (-9) over Washington.  Was last week rock bottom for the Redskins?  Or can things get even worse?  I think there’s room.  Going on the road to the west coast seems like the perfect time to put a final flourish on this implosion.  Do we know who Washington’s 3rd string QB is?  He could see a few snaps.

Baltimore (+3.5) over New Orleans.  The name recognition of both these teams outpaces their actual talent level at this point by miles.  Might as well take the points.

 

Pencil Marks on the Door Frame.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Big Dub, 26-19
  2. Grossy, 27-23
  3. DC, 22-18
  4. Nichols, 24-25-1
  5. Kraft, 26-28-1

***

The “Melted Cheese,” Pick of the Week: Big Dub, Cincy (+7)

Turned out to be an outright winner, helping Big Dub maintain his lead on the pack.  Just wanted to touch on how completely over it is in New Orleans.  Drew Brees window?  Shut.  They are the 2012 Phillies right now. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Sean Payton might want to wiggle out of there before he loses genius status.  The Eagles might be interested after Chip Kelly goes to Florida.

The “Sugar Free” Awful Pick of the Week: Grossy, Seattle (+2)

My picks shouldn’t be influencing other people’s picks, so I feel pretty badly about this one.  There are times when I make a very compelling argument, but that is in the spirit of making an argument and not necessarily based on any real information.  I can make something sound good.  That doesn’t mean anyone should listen.  I am a little bit surprised by this outcome.  I don’t think the Chiefs are THAT good, but somehow they are now in decent position to win the AFC West.  Fat Andy can win those divisions, let me tell you.

***

The 3PT D.A. of the Week:  ELI MANNING!

I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t even look at the stats closely this week.  Someone might have gone 1/40 for 2 yards and 9 picks.  I DON’T KNOW.  But, if Eli throws 5 INTs that trumps everything.  Eli really has one of the strangest careers of any players I’ve ever watched in any sport.  It’s like if someone played the Masters 20 times, made the cut only twice, but won both of those times.  Frickin’ Eli. What a mutt.  On Sunday, he maestro’d a 22/45 to go along with those 5 INTs.  I’m pretty sure the most mediocre of efforts would have beaten the Niners, because they stink, but NO.  Not on this day.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:

  1. New England, 8-2. Yeah, Indy had 0 shot.
  2. Green Bay, 7-3. As long as they’re at Lambeau.
  3. Arizona, 9-1. Would have better chance in playoffs with Mike Stanton.
  4. Kansas City, 7-3. High Water Mark.
  5. Denver, 7-3. Prolly shouldn’t lose to los Rams.
  6. Dallas, 7-3. Pointing toward Thanksgiving.
  7. Philadelphia, 7-3. Balancing on a pin.
  8. Detroit, 7-3. Guaranteed to win or lose ugly.
  9. Cincinnati, 6-3-1. Hey look, a tie.
  10. San Francisco, 6-4. Someone’s got to be 10.

These Picks Will Not Tank.

Sixers Should WIn 1-4 Games.

Sixers Should WIn 1-4 Games.

The Sixers are an intentionally bad basketball team.  This happens in every sport to a certain extent, but the nature of the NBA makes tanking a little more visually offensive.  It’s not like baseball where a terrible team could beat the best team thanks to a great pitching effort, or hockey where a goalie can steal a game.  In basketball, bad teams almost never beat good teams.  EVER.  And, historically bad teams almost never beat mediocre teams.  This is where the Sixers find themselves after just eight games.  There is no doubt that, as constructed, the Sixers are one of the worst NBA teams ever.  This was part of the plan.

You must acquire draft picks and then get lucky with those draft picks to win an NBA title, assuming you aren’t in one of the two or three cities that could draw a tandem of top free agents.  This is pretty much an accepted fact, so since LeBron wasn’t coming to town and bringing along some friends, the Sixers made the decision to get bad before they attempted to win.  They’ve done a remarkable job.  If second round picks were worth anything, they might already be a title contender, but they still have acquired four lottery level talents in a couple years with more picks on the way.

The only question is, did they go too far?  They don’t have to be THIS bad.  A nice, solid, 20-62 would have accomplished what they were looking for and at least the players get to win a game almost once a week.  Can any player go through a 4? 8? 10? win season and come out on the other side as a building block for a winning team?  The front office of the Sixers seems confident it can happen.  I’m not so sure.

As usual, I’m also not so sure about these NFL picks.

***

Week 11 NFL Picks:

Big Dub, 23-17

  1. Miami (-4.5) over Buffalo.  WIN
  2. Green Bay (-6) over Philadelphia
  3. Indianapolis (-3) over New England
  4. Cincinnati (+7) over New Orleans
  5. New York Giants (+4) over San Francisco

***

Grossy, 25-20

Cleveland (-3) over Houston.  I’m not sure I’m ready to toss the keys to Ryan Mallett.  How many former New England quarterbacks are bouncing around the league right now and pulling the occasional start?  Is Michael Bishop starting next week for Oakland?  The Browns should completely shut down the Texans and skank and shank their way to enough points to win by a TD.

Green Bay (-6) over Philadelphia.  Massive Packer line.  The Eagles have done an admirable job of crushing bad teams, and not having a blemish in those situations is enough to make you of the better teams in the league, but this trip to Green Bay isn’t coming at the right time.  Short week, feeling a bit too high, like Chip spiked the smoothies?  If the Eagles were to win this game, they’d become definitive favorites to win the NFC with Mark Sanchez at QB.  Yep, that’s not going to happen.  Should be a fun one, though.

Seattle (+2) over Kansas City.  My fantasy season will be hanging in the balance with Jamaal Charles this week, so I’d expect about 7/19/0TDs.  One of those games where Andy is down 6 points the whole time, but still throws the ball ineffectively every play?  You know what I’m talking about.

New England (+3) over Indianapolis.  Betting against the Pats right now seems a bit like betting on Chicago.  We know Indy can’t stop anyone, so….

Pittsburgh (-6) over Tennessee.  Monday night obligation special.  Can’t pick the Titans in good faith, and I’d expect the Steelers to bounce back after last week’s humiliation against the Jets.  I don’t think Big Ben’s going to go for another six TDs, but he might do four.  He’s gonna do four!

Trying To Get on a Run.

You Can Also Put Food in These.

You Can Also Put Food in These.

Ever been at the grocery store and see someone trying to learn how to grocery shop?  I guess rolling the cart around the store can be a bit more difficult than it looks.  Often it’s a mother and one of her charges, who is braving apartment living for the first time.  The mother will do things like hold up a package of chicken and say, “Now you can cook this all at once and have dinner for three days!”  For $11.99 that’s a life lesson in VALUE.  The kid, usually a son, will nod in agreement while his mother puts the value-pak in his cart, but you can tell he’s just gazing at the frozen pizza aisle with bedroom eyes.  The funny thing about these sessions is I think all parties know that nothing is really going to come of it.  The kid gets one free round of groceries out of the parent and the parent gets to think that their kid won’t have the most aggressively unhealthy diet imaginable.  I saw one playing out today and the parties weren’t even going through the proper motions.  The mom was trying her best, but the son already had a base layer of 24-oz Monsters in his cart.  They call that a lost cause.  Not a lost cause?  The slow burn of my NFL picks….

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:

  1. Big Dub, 23-17
  2. Grossy, 25-20
  3. Nichols, 23-21-1
  4. DC, 18-17
  5. Kraft, 23-26-1

The “Fall Foliage” Pick of the Week:  Philadelphia (-6). Kraft & Grossy.  

I remain a force to be reckoned with on Monday night.  When all my brain power focuses on one game, amazing things can happen.  This game played out almost exactly how I imagined it, with Carolina looking even worse than I expected being the lone exception.  Cam Newton looks like Dan Marino post-Achilles blowup, he’s a statue.  It’s a shame.  Also a shame?  Nick Foles’ pouty face on the sideline.  The guy knows he’s done here.  The goof who was talking about chicken fingers on the sideline a few weeks ago is not capably filling in for him.  It’s possible we’ve seen peak Foles.  Next year, he’ll probably be starting in Tennessee.

The “Jay Cutler” Awful Pick of the Week: Chicago (+7).  Nichols. 

Sometimes it’s a shame that NFL teams don’t fully run up the score, because it would have been interesting to see how many TD passes Aaron Rodgers could have thrown.  The NFL record is 7–I think–but how many times have we let off the pedal?  Sometimes you have to just be selfish, Wilt Chamberlain 100 points style.  This game was immediately over. I don’t even know if they got the tee off the field from the opening kickoff before anyone with Chicago money was a little queasy.  I don’t think you can take the Bears right now, no matter the line, until they at least do something on the field that resembles football.

***

3PT D.A. of the Week:  Andy Dalton.  

Cam Newton had his moments on Monday night, but at least he LOOKS hurt and really this has been Dalton’s week since Thursday.  It’s like he shot 59 in the first round of the U.S. Open.  All he had to do was hang on.  And while we should all be excited about Zack Mettenberger and the like, it’s been a nice year for D.A. veterans.  The Red Rifle reminded us of a finer time this week when he wasn’t signing contract extensions and being a viable fantasy option.  Such an uphill battle for ginger QBs and just when you think Dalton is over the hump–he’s suddenly not.  Thursday: 10/33 for 86 yards and 3 INTs.  QB rating?  2.0.  The sweet symmetry.  Great all-around effort.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:

  1. New England, 7-2.  In Control of AFC.
  2. Denver, 7-2. Great Regular Season Squad.
  3. Arizona, 8-1. Stanton can lead this team to 10 wins.
  4. Philadelphia, 7-2.  Love that Sanchize pocket mobility.
  5. Detroit, 7-2. Worst 7-2 team EVER.
  6. Dallas, 7-3. Move to London full-time?
  7. Green Bay, 6-3. They’re coming.
  8. Indianapolis, 6-3. Seem a little short.
  9. Cleveland, 6-3. Josh Gordon Coming Soon.
  10. Kansas City, 6-3. Good Ole’ Fat Andy.

Follow This Advice.

Necessary?

Necessary?

I was driving down the road the other day, the INTERSTATE, and I passed a pickup truck.  I realized this almost never happens.  I’d say the average speed of a pickup is about 27 mph over the speed limit.  This is a bit faster than I drive. There must be something about driving a pickup that makes you want to get somewhere in a hurry.  Are you always racing to the next gas station?  It must be a powerful feeling to charge up behind someone, tailgate, watch them get flustered/angry in the mirror and then move onto the next car.  Such an American way to drive an American vehicle.

I also wonder how many pickup trucks are used for their designated purpose?  Are we really out there towing trailers, hauling straw bales, or transporting cords of wood?  Does owning a confederate flag sticker require a pickup truck to adhere it to?  Even with the giant SUV, I feel like at least a decent portion of these people have some kids, or some pets…whatever.  With the pickup trucks, I’m not so sure.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Nichols, 22-17-1
  2. Big Dub, 20-15
  3. Grossy, 22-18
  4. DC, 16-14
  5. 21-23-1

***

Week 10 Picks…

Big Dub:

Cincinnati (-6.5) over Cleveland (loss)–The Browns are awful. Barely beating Tampa and Oakland and losing to Jacksonville. Frauds.

Detroit (-3) over Miami.  Classic overreaction/letdown for Miami here.

Jacksonville OUTRIGHT over Dallas.  I know the line is off, but can I just take Jacksonville outright? The fact that Jerry Jones isn’t telling Romo to sit out tells me how desperate he is to win and how little confidence he has against a bad Jags team.

Baltimore (-9.5) over Tennessee.  If the Ravens score 10 points they cover.

Seattle (-9.5) over New York Giants.  If the Seahawks score 10 points they cover.

***

Grossy: 

Pittsburgh (-5) over New York Jets.  The NFL is a mystery to me right now.  Look no further than that Thursday night game.  So, the Browns are good?  Less awful than Cincy?  I’m not really sure.  In the spirit of grasping at straws, I’ll lock onto the Steelers offense being on a roll and the Jets being generally terrible.  That should be enough to swing this game in Pittsburgh’s favor by a TD.

Denver (-11.5) over Oakland.  The Broncos are going down in the playoffs.  Possibly early.  Probably hard.  But, before that happens they are going to reach some more staggering regular season highs.  I’m sure last week’s beatdown left a sour taste in forehead’s mouth.  Time to prop up the legend with a good ole’ fanny whipping of the Raiders.  Broncos run it up.

St. Louis (+7) over St. Louis. Arizona.  I generally don’t like having teams leave cities, but the fact that the football Cardinals and baseball Cardinals existed is a bit embarrassing.  I think once we broke into the 1940s and we realized there were more than 9 possible team names, this isn’t something that should happen.  Unless you are going to have the exact same logo to save the fans from buying extra merch.  Anyway, the Rams are scrappy.  That’s the sound reasoning here.

Green Bay (-7) over Chicago.  I feel like the Packers never cover these games, but Chicago is in a death spiral.  They’re taking down a city, fantasy teams, whatever.

Philadelphia (-6) over Carolina.  Do you believe in Sanchez?  I think Chip Kelly does and he’s going to cook up a Sanchez specific game plan.  This is part Kelly’s ego–I can win with anyone–and part that Foles was nothing great.  He wasn’t.  The Panthers are a sloppy mess and won’t score nearly enough points to keep up.

***

Nichols:

  1. Tennessee (+9.5) over Baltimore
  2. Pittsburgh (-5) over New York Jets
  3. Denver (-11.5) over Oakland
  4. St. Louis (+7) over Arizona
  5. Chicago (+7) over Green Bay

***

Kraft: 

  1. New Orleans (-4.5) over San Francisco
  2. St. Louis (+7) over Arizona
  3. New York Giants (+9) over Seattle
  4. Green Bay (-7) over Chicago
  5. Philadelphia (-6) over Carolina

 

Roll Sized Results.

Your Average Kaiser Will Block Out the Sun.

Your Average Kaiser Will Block Out the Sun.

So, when did we lose control of the size of a Kaiser roll?  I was in the standard “want a cheeseburger/don’t want 8 buns” dilemma the other day and my usual go-to, the sandwich size English Muffin was not available.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I decided, against my better judgement to go with the Kaiser.  These rolls are ubiquitous, and yet I’m not sure of their primary use.  I suppose in a pulled pork, crock pot full of hot roast beef scenario, or any instance where you can make a pile of meat–the Kaiser does well.  It can contain juices, but its sheer size makes it a difficult play in many meals.  I don’t make small portions.  When I make a cheeseburger, no one is going to confuse that sumbitch for a slider.  I knew I had to go even bigger too, because of the kaiser–and I didn’t even get close.  Did the roll get bigger after I sliced it in half?  My lord.  When I put the burger down it looked like a quarter sitting on a dinner plate.  Pretty frustrating.  Also frustrating? The Eagles blowing that easy cover…

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Nichols, 20-14-1
  2. Big Dub, 20-15
  3. Grossy, 19-16
  4. DC, 16-14
  5. Kraft, 17-22-1

***

The “No Candy Corn,” Pick of the Week:  Big Dub, Carolina +5

Is it becoming trendy to pick against Seattle?  Personally, I assumed Seattle would rebound in what was essentially a must-win against the Panthers.  That they pulled the game out, makes the result a bit more frustrating.  They probably deserved to lose.  Thirteen points?  What happened to this offense?  I don’t think Percy Harvin was THE problem.  He might have been a problem, but now it looks like Marshawn Lynch is on the way out and Pete Carroll is probably angling to get back to college.  Sorry, 12th Man.  It’s already over.

The “Nate Allen,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Nichols, Indianapolis -3

What happened in this game?  Did the Colts borrow 11 guys from the Big-12 to play defense?  Was that Texas Tech out there?  I don’t want to take anything away from Big Ben, ok I do, but he didn’t really strike me as a guy who was going to go out and slang it for half a grand at this point in his career.  Was this game exciting to watch because there was 90 points, or just a sloppy embarrassment?  Hard to say.  At least I had the Colts as my fantasy defense….

***

The 3PT D.A. of the Week:  GENO SMITH!

Wow.  If you’ve ever seen A River Runs Through It, the definitive movie on early 20th century fly fishing, there are a few scenes of sentimental Robert Redford narration.  In one, Norman McLean talks about how is brother Paul’s fishing technique has evolved.  He says, “and in the time I was away I realized my brother had become an artist.”  I say this, because if you had seen Geno Smith play football for a while, what a revelation Sunday must have been.  You can watch a highlight package of his start in about 30 seconds.  There were only 8 throws.  Two of them were complete.  THREE were intercepted.  He moved the Jets 5 yards with those throws.  His quarterback rating….wait for it….was ZERO.  If we were playing D.A. we’d have to recalibrate the points system, because this was about a 55 point D.A. effort and it should have been at least 100.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Denver, 6-1. Regular Season Kings.
  2. Arizona, 6-1. If Palmer can somehow keep it together…
  3. New England, 6-2. Just Killing People
  4. Dallas, 6-2. His Neck. His Back. His Neck and His Back.
  5. Philadelphia, 5-2.  Not inspiring in Red Zone.
  6. Detroit, 6-2. Just a terrible win.
  7. Pittsburgh, 5-3. They’d win the AFC South
  8. Indianapolis, 5-3. That was a hiccup
  9. San Diego, 5-3. Everyone loses in Denver
  10. Buffalo, 5-3.  Why not?