Tiger’s Out of His Own Event. (Other Updates)

Joke's on you Chevron.

Tiger has officially pulled out of his own golf tournament this weekend, citing injuries suffered in his one-car pile up.  I feel for Chevron.  Oh, you want to title sponsor Tiger’s event?  Great, too bad he never plays it in it.  This is the second straight year Woods will miss the event that benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation, and if he wants to keep this thing afloat, perhaps he should start playing.  The field without Tiger, is a little lacking.  I assume the chilly relationship between Tiger and Phil keeps Mickelson away every year, and now the limited field is being headlined by the likes of Steve Stricker and Vijay Singh.  Camillo Villegas and Anthony Kim provide some flair, but this has basically turned into a must-miss event.  Sorry Chevron.  Better luck in 2010. 

It looks like the Charlie Weis experiment at Notre Dame has ended.  I guess it wasn’t really an experiment, more like a huge investment that went titanically wrong.  Weis was given the keys to the kingdom after one successful year, and now Notre Dame is going to be feasting on a big buy-out sandwich.  Weis failed at Notre Dame, there’s no doubt, and there wasn’t really another option here.  You can’t fire the Willingham’s of the world and let Big Chuck get by with a 6-6 season.  The great thing about Notre Dame is that they won’t dial it down a notch.  They’ll just throw more money at this thing, and hope they finally get it right.  What they need in South Bend is a recruiter.  The NBC deal isn’t bringing the bodies that used to.  And, what about Weis?  What do you do if you’re Charlie?  I fade into the night with my buyout millions, but that’s just me.  I’m poorly motivated. 

I want to give a quick update on the glorious Nets.  They’re my new favorite basketball team (unless the Sixers bring back A.I.).  The Nets fired Lawrence Frank, and then got their nuts handed to them in a neat little package by the Lakers.  Wouldn’t you wait until after the Lakers game to fire Frank?   I mean, you can bring in Red Auerbach and a couple of Hall-of-Famers and you’re probably losing to LA.  Why not give the new guy a better chance to win his first outing?  Well, I guess there really isn’t a winnable game when you are the Nets.  They’ve matched the NBA’s all-time worst start, and on Wednesday morning, before they take a run at history against Dallas I’m planning on taking a little bit closer of a look at this stellar season they’ve put together. 

 

Saints Vs. Patriots.

For all the Marbles. (Not Really)

So, there’s finally a decent Monday Night game.  Whether it will live up to the hype remains to be seen.  Sometimes these games that project to shootouts (over/under 57) fizzle out.  I doubt that will be the case tonight.  Despite the fact that both of these teams have highly ranked pass defenses, I don’t think this will be a case of defense beating offense.  I think the ball is going to be slung around, and hopefully at the very least we’ll get an entertaining match-up.  It should be a revealing game in some other areas as well. 

It could shed some light on the whole NFC/AFC thing.  I have been of the mind all season that the AFC is the vastly superior conference, and that may well be the case.  The NFC has the Saints, though, who are undefeated, and the Vikings who are playing great football.  From there it gets a little bleak.  The AFC has a top echelon as well with Indy, New England and San Diego.  Their top-tier seemed much deeper as recently as a month ago, but the Steelers/Broncos/Ravens and Bengals aren’t really looking like world beaters at this juncture.  If the Patriots can go into what’s going to be a frenzied environment, and handle the Saints, then we’ll know that the NFC is probably a second-class league or at best ridiculously top-heavy.  If the Saints beat the Pats, well…the NFC is probably still top-heavy, but maybe deserves some respect. 

Speaking of respect, I don’t know how many 10-0 teams there have been in history, but I doubt many have been disregarded as much as the Saints.  Now, the Saints are certainly getting credit, but we hear a lot of things.  They haven’t played anyone.   They’re just a dome team with a good offense.  Is there anyone out there, anyone outside of New Orleans that thinks the Saints are going to win the Super Bowl?   This is an undefeated team that opened as a 3 point favorite at home, and the line has dropped to 1.5.  That’s pretty remarkable.  Flip the roles here.  If the Pats were 10-0, at home, and facing a top-three NFC opponent who was 7-3…what do we think the line would be?  7?  And it certainly wouldn’t move like this one has. 

And, that leads to what I think is the best thing about this game.  The Saints probably need it more.  The Patriots could use a win to keep themselves in the first round bye discussion, but that’s all they really gain from beating New Orleans.  Afterall, everyone is expecting them to take the game.  The Saints on the other hand like I said before can almost play the “No one Believes in Us” card, and not only that, they’re in a dogfight with the Vikings for home field in the NFC.  The Saints need those home games.  Not all domes are created equal. 

So, I picked the Saints on Wednesday, and that is awfully early to pick a Monday Night game, but of course I am sticking to my guns.  The fact that the line is moving in the Pats direction just reaffirms my instinct on this game.  I’m going with the “Public is Never Right” theory on this game.  And, while they are right some of the time, I’m going to have to ride the wave against them tonight.  Win or lose, it should be a good one.

The NFL…the Week that Was.

Calmed before the game by News that, "Kraft Picked Baltimore."

Well, I thought Dennis Dixon was going to do it.  Fearless handicapper Mr. Kraft was on the verge of his first winning week in months, and all that stood in his way was Dennis Dixon.  Kraft even had the benefit of the early week line when it looked like Roethlis-hump might actually play.  Dixon gave them a late lead with a TD scramble, but threw the tell-tale young QB pick in overtime that set up the eventual Ravens win.  The week muddled the AFC playoff picture as a handful of teams in the hunt for the last wild-card spot congregate around .500.  With Pittsburgh so banged up, it could be a case of who gives it away the least.    What developed…

Two teams stayed hot, and continued a push toward the top of their respective conferences.  You know, I try not to watch too much Favre, but he was on today, and like it or not, the Vikings are serious.  I wouldn’t want any part of them in Minnestoa.  Say what you want about the Bears, that’s a divisional rivalry game, and the Vikes just gutted Chicago.  It wasn’t nearly as close as the score.  This is probably the most complete team I’ve seen this year. 

In the AFC, the Chargers dismantled Kansas City and moved to 8-3.  Well, the Chargers should kill Kansas City.  That’s the point.  The Chargers are playing like they are supposed to.   Earlier in the year, or in years past you wondered if the Chargers were going to show.  They’ve been putting in solid weeks for a while now, and look leaps and bounds better than anyone in their division.  I don’t think they are the class of the AFC, but certainly a team gaining momentum and confidence. 

For the hometown faithful, the Birds played a miserably painful game against the Redskins.  It started with Andy Reid calling for an onside kick on the opening kickoff.  The Redskins were caught off guard, but it didn’t stop them from returning the kick well into Eagles territory.  Why you’d want to risk giving the Redskins any kind of field position, any kind of momentum…I don’t know.  The resulting 7-0 deficit changed the flow of the game. 

Washington, who has a defense that always comes to play, hung tough, and held a lead much of the second half.  The Eagles had to overcome an atrocious game by Brent Celek, and an injury to DeSean Jackson, but still scored on two late possessions to seal a much-needed victory.  The decisions of Reid/Morning-glory continue to stupefy.  The use of Michael Vick continues to produce nothing but a lack of tempo, and I think they still need to realize that “out-trick” isn’t a synonym for “out-coach.” 

They’ll get a chance to put a strangle hold on the NFC wild-card with a win next week in Atlanta.  The Falcons lost Matt Ryan and Michael Turner in a close win over the Bucs.  It remains to be seen which stars will be missing from next Sunday’s contest.  This week, of course, far from over with the Saints and Pats meeting Monday night.  The Derek Anderson on the other hand is likely over…but we’ll hand that out tomorrow night with the weekly Pick ‘Em Wrap.  As is usually the case….they’re all tied together.

Tiger Gets TMZ’d.

Can Jump Up out of Nowhere.

I’m sure Tiger Woods never thought he’d be occupying the front page of www.tmz.com.  As famous as he is, Tiger doesn’t really move the needle in the celeb gossip world, but while most of the country was taking a breather for Thanksgiving, Woods was getting himself involved in the kind of stories that TMZ and similar outlets thrive on.  First, there was the Enquirer report that Woods was having an affair.  Then came news of his early morning car accident on Friday.  After it became clear that Woods was not seriously hurt in the incident, concern about his well-being was replaced with speculation. 

I don’t want to reiterate all the details of the accident here.  Basically, there are two stories.  Tiger’s version, and the tabloid version.  Tiger’s version, which places all the blame on his shoulders, doesn’t add up in a lot of people’s opinion.  The tabloid version, which features a domestic dispute instead of driving incompetence seems to be gaining momentum with each day Tiger remains silent.   His statement today revealed nothing of the details, and his refusal to speak with the police is puzzling. 

The thing about this story is, the truth about what happened may never be known.  And, regardless of what those facts are, the Woods image has already been slightly tarnished.  Tiger is famous for his love of seclusion, his yacht is named Privacy, he’ll do everything he can to keep this story from coming out, but the more he tries to brush it away…the more it leaves room for speculation.  If he had a plausible story, a simple explanation, it would already be out.  But, I don’t see an easy way to explain getting in a one car accident when barely out of one’s driveway. 

Someone asked me yesterday if I was hoping that Tiger goes down in flames.  They know I’m not the biggest Tiger fan out there, but I certainly do not want to see his life fall apart.  My feelings for Tiger are sport related.  I like when the Y.E. Yang’s of the world rise up at the end, and nip him, but I’m not champing at the bit for a spectacular divorce drama starring him and Elin.  That part of it doesn’t interest me that much.

I never thought Woods was a saint.  His on course demeanor allows a window into some flaws that Woods may have.  We know he’s immensely competitive, he has moments of smugness.  Nothing damning, but the guy certainly has flaws.  He’s also extremely charitable and seems to have an awareness of his power as a celebrity.  My interest in the details of this story aren’t related to wondering whether or not Tiger is a good guy, but more just a curiosity in the resolution.  It’s almost like someone set up a joke for you, and now is holding the punchline.  Once I know the rest of the story, the aftermath, whatever…that’s Tiger’s business. 

Thoughts on Woods?  Thoughts on his less than cooperative dealings with the Florida authorities?  Wild speculative theories involving the incident?

Sunday Crucial For Birds.

Send This Guy Home Unhappy.

Can we get better games on Thanksgiving?  The Lions attach an anchor to holiday spirit every year, and much of the time the Cowboys aren’t that much better.  Where did they come up with the Raiders?  I’m not sure the schedule makers pay any mind to who they drop into these Thanksgiving slots, but they should.  Any time there is only one TV option, the game should at least hold some intrigue.  Maybe the Lions are a lost cause, but give the Cowboys a division rival, something.  The still relatively new night game on Thanksgiving looked like the best match-up on paper, but then the Giants took the field.  Ugliness prevailed.  About the only thing the Thursday games produced besides blowouts and boredom was some clarity in the NFC playoff race. 

If you want to think the Cowboys are a good team, because of their 8-3 record, go ahead and do so.  I’m going to stick to my guns, and say they stink.  A win over Oakland doesn’t really blow my hair back.  The Cowboys close with a brutal stretch of schedule, and even though they probably only need 2 wins to get in, they could be tough to come by.   They go @ NY, San Diego, @ New Orleans, @ Washington, and Philly.  There’s not a lay-up on the schedule, and the key game is likely next week against the Giants.  If the Giants can salvage their season with a win, it could send Dallas into a tailspin.  Even if they do beat Dallas, it will be tough for New York to get to 10 wins.  They still have the Vikings and a full trip through the division on their plate. 

Green Bay won handily yesterday, and has been looking more consistent in recent weeks.  They’re sitting at 7-4, and what benefits them the most is a week seventeen showdown with Arizona.  A winnable game no matter what, there is a decent chance a 9-6 Packers team could face a Cardinals team that is resting players.  If the Cards are locked into the 3 seed, regardless of the outcome, it could be just what the Packers need to get to ten wins.  Otherwise, they may have to take care of Baltimore next week at home. 

So, what does this all mean for the Eagles?  Well, it means the next two weeks are basically the season.  Sitting at 6-4, they have to find a way to get to 10-6.  Finishing 9-7 could be good enough, but it’s not a risk they want to take.  It all starts Sunday at home against Washington.  They must win.  There’s no excuse for losing to this Redskins team, who will likely play hard, but can’t match up talent wise with Philly.  Their anemic offense will provide little challenge for even a banged up Eagles D, and the Birds should be able to wear them down.  A win against Washington sets up a Wild-Card throwdown with Atlanta the following week.  At 5-5, Atlanta is on the outside looking in right now, but has 2 games with Tampa, the Jets and Bills remaining.  Weakness of schedule is squarely in their court.   If they beat the Eagles, they could easily streak to 10-6. 

I’m sticking with 10-6.  I think Green Bay gets there, and I think the Eagles still have a chance to get their as well.  The Giants probably would need to sneak in at 9-7, and Atlanta has eliminated all room for error.

Turkey Day Picks.

Pass the Turducken, Please.

All right, we have the majority of the NFL Picks in, and I know that this week is going to fizzle out here in a major way, so we might as well put them up.  As luck would have it, some of the distinguished handicappers are going to try to take the week by the neck, and get off to a good start tomorrow…I’ll let Big Dub start since he was bitter that no one gave him credit for predicting the Jets collapse.

BIG DUB H:  Record, 24-26 (Last Week 3-2).

There aint no rest for the wicked and money don’t grow on trees. I got bills to pay and mouths to feed. There aint nothing in this world for free.
 
Detroit (+10.5) vs. Green Bay
Last year the Titans were laying 11 in this spot. They covered with ease, but I don’t see how this Packers team can lay that many points. Oh and fade the public.  Green Bay 30, Detroit 24
 
St. Louis (+3) vs. Seattle
The Seahawks stink on the road and the public is in love with them. Simple enough. Double fade.
St. Louis 27, Seattle 23
 
Buffalo (+3) vs. Miami
The Dolphins won by 28 at home against the Bills earlier this year and now they are noly laying 3? I hope Kraft doesn’t step into this trap.  Buffalo 20, Miami 16
 
Cincinatti (-14) vs. Cleveland
People, wake up. The Browns looked good against the Lions. I know the Bengals laid an egg, but they were coming off an emotional win against the Steelers and then had to go out to the West Coast. Is Mangini still coaching? Is the public backing the Browns? Good.   Cincinatti 36, Celveland 13
 
Denver (+6.5) vs. New York Giants
The G-men have Dallas on deck and this game could not come at a worse time. The public is in love with the Giants who escaped with a win against a Falcons team that has won like 2 or 3 road games in their last 12 tries. It’s something like that. If you want the stat look it up. I just give out winners not stats.  Denver 20, New York 13

JCK:  Record, 3-2 (Last Week 3-2)

Green Bay (-10.5) @ Detroit – What a thriller last week.  Stafford becomes the hometown hero in an emotional win over the scrappy Browns.  However, without a ridiculous PI by Hank Poteat and an ingenious timeout by Mangenious (which would have forced Duante Culpepper to take the final snap) – the Lions would have taken an L.  Three days rest + a Doubtful Stafford = Packers rout 28-7. 
 
Philadelphia (-9) vs. The Hogs – No Portis, No Betts.  No chance.  Don puts it up 77 times and DeSean runs naked all day.  Eagles 33, Skins 9.
 
Seattle (-3) @ St. Louis – Another injury.  Marc Bulger is sidelined for up to 6 weeks with a broken leg.  His backup?  Kyle Boller, who’s mojo should be drained by his new sweetie pie, future porn star Carrie Prejean.  Seattle 27, St. Louis 3.

 Atlanta (-12) vs. Tampa Bay – Matty Ice has thrown in a number of consecutive stinkers.  I don’t see it happening again.  Atlanta’s offense is too good and Tampa Bay stinks.  Freeman throws three picks and the Falcons roll 30-13.
 
 Baltimore (pick ‘em) vs. Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh lost to Kansas City.  Roethlisberger is dinged up and with all the issues surrounding NFL players getting concussed, I just don’t seeing him getting cleared to play.  What a PR nightmare.  The backup is Charlie Batch…..who is also hurt.  This means unless Tomzcak is walking through the door Oregon’s Dennis Dixon will get his first career start.  Dixon’s Career line you ask?  1/1 for 3 yrds.  Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 13.

GROSSY:  Record, 31-21-3 (Last Week, 4-0-1)

You know I wanted to pick a Thursday game, but there’s too many contradicting flags.  It’s Culpepper against the “We Never Cover” Packers.  It’s Dallas laying more points than they’ve scored the last two weeks.  And, it’s Denver (a dead stick) hosting a team coming across the country on short rest.  It’s just too damn hard.  That being said, I feel like I am jumping the gun on Sunday lines, but here we go anyway…

Colts (-3.5) @ Texans.  Here’s the deal.  The Texans already played the Colts tough.  That was their one chance.  This team is a mess with a mess of a kicker.  Colts keep the 16-0 talk alive, 31-21. 

Browns (+14) @ Cincinatti.  How many times do I have to tell you people that teams with offenses like the Bengals shouldn’t be laying this many points?  Who played QB for the Raiders last week?  Mike Gminski?  And he won?  I hate to disagree with Big Dub, but I don’t see public money shifting to Cleveland…Bengals 23-16.

Panthers (+3) @ New York Jets.  Show me someone who is laying points with the Jets these days, and I’ll show you an idiot.  Maybe you can make the same case for betting Delhomme, but he’s got the Sanchise in position to out pick-6 him.  Carolina, 23-20. 

Vikings (-10.5) vs. Bears.  Time to put my money where my mouth is.  A big part of my gut feels like the Vikings are the best team in the NFC, if not the whole league.  The rest of my guy knows Jay Cutler stinks, and Favre will be dancing around like a moron.  Vikings, 34-17. 

New Orleans (-3) vs. New England.  It strikes me as odd that everyone assumes the Patriots are going to win this game.  I admit it was my first feeling as well, but then I thought will they be able to stop the Saints?  They didn’t stop the Colts, and I think NO’s defense does a little better job of keeping the Pats in check than Indy did.  HUGE game down in New Orleans.  Just epic, fans push ‘em over the top.  Saints 38-31.

Kraft:  Record 18-37 (Last week, 2-3)

I hate to jinx it, but i am en fuego.  Not many people can say they doubled their win total from the previous week, but I did.  Tom Brady said that Bellichick always say the season starts after Thanksgiving, so i am rounding into form at the right time.  The moons are aligning, as the Steven Segal, Lawman TV show debuts this week on Wednesday—I’m taking you clowns to the bank, the blood bank…
 
Philly -9 over Wash
Fresh off a 6 pt outburst, the skins come to the Linc. 
 
Baltimore pick over Pittsburgh
No Polamalu, Big Ben’s bell is rung, their backup is Dennis Dixon?  I’ll take the Ravens in a physical game with something to prove.  Mike Tomlin does have the best groomed haircut/chinstrap beard in the league, but that isn’t enough to take the defending champs.  I look forward to them not making the playoffs and Big Ben picking out the next lucky girl to have a shady encounter with in the offseason.
 
Minnesota -10.5 over Chicago
The Vikings are hot.  Chicago is not.  This is the game Cutler has been looking forward to all year long—he can finally show Brett Favre that he deserves the title of “most careless with the football” in person, taking that mantle away from the all-time leader.  Chicago runs the ball for like an avg of 3 ft per carry, they have an atrocious Defense—-will the Viking starters need to play in the 4th quarter?
 
Jacksonville +3 over San Fran
I’ll be honest, I was going to pick the Miami game, but Big Dub H’s warning resonates loudly.  So i will do my best to find another poor game where I will make an idiotic pick.  Cue the Jaguars.  The last time they went west they lost 41-0 to Seattle, but they seem to be peaking and are about to sneak into the playoffs with another Pittsburgh loss.  The 49ers are incredibly close to a highlight reel Mike Singletary post game blow-up, and I for one can’t wait for the fireworks…”can’t win with him, can’t coach with him, can’t play with him…” 
 
GB -10.5 over Detroit
I have to pick a Thanksgiving day game, and this one to me stands out.  Stafford is out with a separated shoulder, and they come back to earth.  GB is playing good football and they light up the Lions D, which make Brady Quinn look like Peyton Manning.  When will the NFL remove Detroit from the Turkey Day lineup?  WIll someone punch Goodell in the stomach, you have the Raiders & the Lions playing on Thanksgiving.

Happy Amateur Night!

Careful out There.

Well, it’s Amateur Night tonight.  It has to be one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.  Nothing says Amateur Night like a bunch of corporate offices shutting down and noon, and letting the masses out into the wild.  Some of these people get dinged up only a couple times a year, and if you swing by a happy hour, you’ll see them…already in deep trouble.  There are pros and cons to Amateur Night. Personally, I’m not a huge fan.  I like to buck trends.  Don’t tell me what days to drink on.

What’s good about it?  Well, like I mentioned, everyone is out.  And, there’s a decent chance it is going to get weird, because you have a lot of people going hard that never go hard.  Seriously, have a camera ready.  Who knows what could happen.  Plus, there’s kind of like a euphoric feeling, a pre-Thanksgiving high?  I don’t know what it is, but it’s palpable.  Also, if you like catching up with people?  It’s the night.  Has to be the most popular night for reunions, planned or otherwise.  I know my high school basically congregates at one bar.  It’s there for the people who need it.  I haven’t needed it since about 2003. 

The good thing about the reunion scene is that if you play your cards right, you can have a pretty cheap night.  Keep running into people, they buy you a round, you disappear, find another target…that kind of thing.  This isn’t what I do, I’m just saying, if you’re one of those characters with the plus personality, you could get away with it.  Downside, you’re probably hearing “So, what’ve you been up to?”  about 100 times. 

There are other cons as well.  Overcrowding.  Regular, relaxed bars can become packed to capacity, and on a Wednesday, no less.  It’s no good for the claustrophobics.  There’s also the Thanksgiving hangover to consider.  I ate Thanksgiving dinner hungover for a few straight years in my early twenties, and it isn’t quite the same.  Maybe some people think it’s a great hangover meal, but I’ve never seen it.  I prefer to have a clean slate.  So, in turn, in recent years I’ve dialed it back a notch.

The biggest problem though, is the cops.  They love giving out DUI’s on Amateur Night.  And, not like you should be out there driving around drunk on any night, but there’s a MUCH bigger chance of you getting caught in a check point tonight.  And, really, even if you’ve just had a few, do you want to roll the dice with a check point?  And, because of the early exits from work, the aforementioned euphoria, I think more people go past their limit.  The cops know this, and they’re waiting.  So, keep yourselves in check.  Or, get a pregnant lady to drive you around. 

So, Happy Thanksgiving Eve, or Amateur Night.  It’s a big holiday weekend.  I’m not sure how often I’ll be updating the blog the next few days.  The football picks will go up at some point.  Big Dub has already turned his in, and he has picked some Thursday games, so they’ll be up before kick-off, possibly with the rest.  Depending on my schedule, and world happenings, you know the updates will come accordingly.  In the meantime, enjoy the bird.