Tuesday Evening Self-Esteem Check.

Low to Quite Low Self-Esteem.

Low to Quite Low Self-Esteem.

Poor Philly.  On the ride home tonight the radio host was reminding everyone that it is the 5-year anniversary of the Phillies winning the World Series.  He started playing audio highlights from the playoff run that year, things got a bit woe is me, and I had to turn the station.  When it comes to Philly sports, the fans take things pretty hard and I don’t remember morale in the city ever being so low.  The professional sports teams in the city are not only mediocre at best, but the players are largely difficult to like and so are the front office personnel.  I’m not even sure which franchise you would say is in the best shape, but the fact that it actually might the Sixers (a team that is built to go 12-70) tells you all you need to know.  From the old Phillies, to the QB-less Eagles, to the hackneyed Flyers there hasn’t been anything to get excited about in the city for years. After spending a weekend in Boston watching World Series games, you remember how much you miss the big game atmosphere.  I don’t know when the next one in Philly will be.  A fact that I’m sure has every person in the world not located in Philly grinning ear-to-ear.  The only way they’d be happier is if they’ve been betting our football picks…

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Big Dub, 25-14-1
  2. Kraft, 25-14-1
  3. Grossy, 23-16-1
  4. JCK, 19-20-1
  5. Nichols, 19-21
  6. DC, 18-20-2

The “Pulled Pork” Pick of the Week:  Big Dub, Arizona (-2.5)

This was a trap game, a sucker bet if there ever was one.  OH ATLANTA!  Matt Ryan and stuff.  What you fail to realize is that Atlanta is really, really bad this year–a bit like a southern version of the Steelers.  I had all of this in my mind, but I still took Atlanta because I have an issue with the Cardinals.  An allergy.  It was very dumb.  It should have at least made me stay away from the game–but, no.  Big Dub was the only guy using his head here and it helped him surge to a 4-1 week and things are once again tied at the top.  Twenty five wins out of 40 (with a push) is impressive.  Period.  The fact that you could be making good money by betting the picks of someone at this site is really hard for me to fathom, but it’s true.

The “Matt Barkley” Awful Pick of the Week:  The Collective (sans JCK), Seattle (-11)

I really don’t think this was a bad pick, I just want to talk some more about this game.  What is going on with Seattle?  Does St. Louis have a pretty good defense?  Because, I don’t think they do.  How did the Rams not win the game outright?  After all that, they could have at least pulled off the upset.  Was this a trap line?  Should it have been 16.5?  I don’t know how many points we need to see Seattle laying on the road before we get comfortable.  The Niners, in a mildly similar spot, absolutely barn-doored the Jags.  I think if they play this game over 50 times, the Seahawks cover 40 of them.

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week: Geno “Pick” Smith.  

Geno threw 2 pick6s, which at one time was like retiring with 500 home runs–automatic.  Things are a bit different now, but there wasn’t an eye-popping performance to steal the show.  You can read about Smith, and the total logjam of a playoff race on the D.A. page.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:

  1. Kansas City, 8-0.  I’m starting to think they’ll win a playoff game.
  2. Denver, 7-1.  Pulled away from Washington–with ease.
  3. New Orleans, 7-1.  Jimmy Graham is OK.
  4. Seattle, 7-1.  Overlook the junky win.
  5. Cincinnati, 6-2.  Hilarious win over the Jets.
  6. Indianapols, 5-2.  Bye-Week Slippage.
  7. San Francisco, 6-2.  When do they play Seattle again?
  8. New England, 6-2.  Tom Brady’s hurt.  It’s the hand.
  9. Green Bay, 5-2.  Needs a quality win; receivers.
  10. Detroit, 5-3.  All Hail Megatron.

Week 8 NFL Picks.

Hey Buster, How About an Otter Creek?

Hey Buster, How About an Otter Creek?

I’m up in Boston this weekend for the classic AFC East tilt between the Dolphins and the Patriots.  Back in the day, when Bledsoe and Marino were battling it out, these were some classic games and when Miami started strong this season it looked like they might challenge the Pats for divisional supremacy.  But, since that start the Dolphins have been playing like themselves and the Patriots have looked…well, a bit like the Dolphins at times.  You never want to write off a team like the Patriots, but if they don’t knock around the Dolphins at home, it’s a sure sign things have changed.

Week Eight Beer:  Otter Creek Hop Session Ale

The idea behind session beers is that they are something you can drink all day, or leisurely over the course of a game and not get too dinged up.  They’re for people who can’t stomach a Coors Light, but don’t want to churn through a six pack at 6 percent ABV.  Otter Creek a newer offering from the Middlebury, VT brewer checks in at a modest 4.25% ABV.  You’ll hardly feel a thing!  The beer is remarkably light, but I wasn’t all that impressed with the flavor.  A few seconds after my first sip, I couldn’t remember what it tasted like.

Am I Sorry I Didn’t Get Sierra:  Yes.

I suppose if you wanted to have six, it would be a decent choice, but not a great selection if you are savoring one after work. In related news, you may be offered one of these the next time you visit my apartment.

Rankings So Far:

  1. Heady Topper Double IPA
  2. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  3. Shed IPA
  4. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  5. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  6. Deschutes Brewery IPA
  7. Otter Creek Hop Session Ale
  8. Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA

Ok, let’s do this, we’re already a day late.

Kraft, Record: 22-12-1

Dallas (+3.5) over Detroit.  

Denver (-12.5) over Washington.  Bounce back.  Big Time.

New Orleans (-11) over Buffalo.  New Orleans comes back strong and Buffalo’s ridiculous run of covers with Thad Lewis must stop.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) over Oakland.  The Steelers won’t die.

Atlanta (+2.5) over Arizona.  Famous JK line, “Can they both lose?”

***

Big Dub, Record: 21-13-1

  1. Dallas (+3.5) over Detroit
  2. Cincinnati (-6.5) over New York Jets
  3. Oakland (+2.5) over Pittsburgh
  4. Arizona (-2.5) over Atlanta
  5. Seattle (-11) over St. Louis

***

DC, Record: 16-17-2

Detroit (-3.5) over Dallas.  I’m no big fan of Detroit, but Dallas winning two weeks in a row just seems wrong.

Miami (+6.5) over New England.  It feels like the right time for a small losing streak out of the Pats.  Miami keeps it close in the divisional standings.

Oakland (+2.5) over Pittsburgh.  For the second week in a row I reject the notion of Pittsburgh laying points.  Perhaps a letdown?

Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota.  Maybe Christian Ponder gets it now.  Or maybe he doesn’t and the Packers win by A LOT.

Seattle (-11) over St. Louis.  Seems like a really bad spot for the Rams.  You know, what with the whole Brett Favre thing.  My god, what a sad day for DA that Favre isn’t starting this week for the Rams.  Can you imagine?

***

Grossy, Record: 21-13-1

Atlanta (+2.5) over Arizona.  I’m just going to pretend that this is week one and we’re operating under the assumption that Atlanta is a far better team than the Cardinals.  Even with the Falcons banged up and tanking the season, the Cards don’t really strike me as a team that “takes care of business” at home.  Or the road, or anywhere really.  I’ll take a few points with Matt Ryan against Carson Daly.

Washington (+12.5) over Denver. I think the shine is a bit off Peyton’s forehead–if you know what I mean.  The Redskins can score points, RG3 is looking better and the Broncos aren’t a team I trust with big spreads.  Plus, isn’t there some type of Mike Shanannahan revenge factor?  That’s got to be good for a few points.  Standard backdoor cover.

Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota.  Is this game in London?  No?  The Vikings are purely bad news on this continent.  Especially when the turn the wheel back over to Christian Ponder who looks a lot like David Carr without the upside.  Green Bay is probably starting some guys from the local high school at WR, but it doesn’t matter.  This is a rout.

New England (-6.5) over Miami.  Going to be at the game, have a long-standing hatred of the Dolphins–it just feels like the right thing to do.  Pats have to have this one, should bounce back and beat Miami by two scores.  Stay tuned for Brady’s post-game wardrobe.

Seattle (-11+∞) over St. Louis.  When Brett Favre says no, you are at rock bottom.  Where do you go after that rejection?  Do you buzz your secretary and say, “Get me the number for Jeff Blake’s agent?”  I don’t know.  I don’t like to predict shutouts in the NFL, because you usually end up looking foolish, but really, how does St. Louis score here?  What unlikely series events must occur?

 ***

Nichols, Record: 16-19

  1. New Orleans (-11) over Buffalo
  2. Pittsburgh (-2.5) over Oakland
  3. Denver (-12.5) over Washington
  4. Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota
  5. Seattle (-11) over St. Louis

***

JCK, Record: 16-19-1

  1. New England (-6.5) over Miami
  2. Pittsburgh (-2.5) over Oakland
  3. Green Bay (-9) over Minnesota
  4. Dallas (+3.5) over Detroit

 

How Many Idiot Bloggers Does it Take to Destroy A Light Fixture?

One of These MIGHT Fit.

One of These MIGHT Fit.

There are jokes out there.  Not particularly good jokes, but even the most clever can fall into the trap.  How many Ruben Amaros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  Five.  One to flip the switch and four to stand around telling him that nothing is broken.  Or something.  The punchline that delivers zero laughs is based on what is supposed to be an undisputable fact.  It is EASY to change a lightbulb.  We must now rewrite every hacky joke book in the world.  

I’m old enough to remember two things.  First, when a light bulb was actually shaped like a bulb.  I bet that’s HOW THEY GOT THE NAME.  I also remember when you just screwed them into the darn light hole.  You couldn’t make a mistake. Perhaps you screwed up your wattage and you accidentally got mood lighting in your kitchen, but I bet you never returned a light bulb to the store.  That’s right, time was you could just stroll into a grocery store and get a generic bulb.  There were only a few choices–but who cares?  

The light bulb (now a name with no meaning like “woods” in golf) has undergone a dramatic change.  I suppose this is mostly due to environmental reasons?  We’re saving energy?  Saving filament?  For a while light bulbs started to change their shape, but you could still just screw the cusses into the fixture.  The light might be SOFTER, meaning you couldn’t actually see anything, but the bulb would last for 3 billion hours and you had a clear conscience.  I wasn’t too bothered by this development.  I let everyone else save the world and I just went on buying my regular light bulbs, an old curmudgeon sticking to his unfiltered Lucky’s.  

The bulbs finally got me, though.  This week the revolution came to my doorstep.  A nifty, decorative, barely functional light fixture in the kitchen had been down a bulb for some time, but we soldiered on in slightly enhanced darkness instead of trying to change one of the magical bulbs.  But then, light number two vanished and the entire room was illuminated by one meek light that wouldn’t satisfy a toddler who was afraid of the dark.  The lights had to be changed, and they weren’t going to take your basic Sylvania Soft White.  No, Sir.  

I was prepared for the battle.  I knew that the “bulbs” in this fixture were actually FOR SHOW.  They came out to reveal these tiny little mutant lights that are likely designed by the tiny fingers of Santa’s elves in the off-season.  Written on the fixture itself is a handy little tip.  It says, 12 Volt T4 Bi-Plug.  Only one part of that information is useful.  I won’t spoil which one it is just yet.  I write this gibberish down on a note and head to SEARS HARDWARE.  

Sears is very close to where I live and I wanted to do my best not to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, because it could take me the better part of the evening just to find the light bulb aisle.  Plus, I could have impulse bought all the supplies for a Beirut Table and frankly I don’t have the means to transport that home.  But, anyway, I’m in Sears, trying to drum up some American nostalgia, or better yet be the last customer in the HISTORY OF THE CHAIN.  Sears is so awful right now, and it’s sad, but true.  They’ve been conquered, and aren’t even trying.  

Much to my delight, Sears does have these gypsy bulbs and I spend three to four minutes staring at the section.  I see some buzzwords “T4” and “Bi-Pin” on some signage above the display, but on the shelves there are no T4s.  There is a T3 and some other junk, but I was expecting to see what I had written down in bold and obvious type and that WAS NOT THE CASE.  So, I swallow my pride and ask a guy.  Asking a clerk for help in a retail store is, for me, just slightly more appealing than living my life in darkness.  The kid had NO IDEA about the bulbs.  Can you blame him?  Who would know this stuff, but he scurried off to get me some educated help.  

It never arrived.  The old guy that ambled over and I shared a nice conversation that revealed he knew nothing about the bulbs.  He suggested I go to Lowe’s.  Great.  My problem was, I thought I was on the right track after seeing “T3” in print.  I wasn’t.  T4, written on the fixture is a completely useless piece of information.  You’re welcome.  

I arrive at Lowe’s several minutes later, it’s not close to Sears really, not when you are starting to think about what you are going to have for dinner.  To my surprise and contained elation the light bulbs are front and center at Lowe’s.  No search required.  But, in the section I saw no mention of T3s, T4s, or really anything that I had on my handy paper.  There were plenty of bulbs that KIND OF looked right, but they all have slight variations.  I’m sure an electrician could tell you why, but I bet I wouldn’t make too much sense.  

At this point I realize it’s likely I will need the actual bulb to make my purchase.  I do not have it–can you imagine taking a regular light bulb into a store for reference?  So, I make my best guess and leave Lowe’s with two bulbs.  They cost more than my dinner.  

Seven point three seconds after arriving home I know that I have the wrong bulbs and this makes me quite angry, but I guess I did this to myself.  Who doesn’t bring the light in so they can match up the width of the base?  TOTAL AMATEUR MOVE.  It was one more night in darkness and then back to Lowe’s, with my bulb, with my incorrect new bulbs, and with my receipt–SCREW YOU FOR MAKING ME KEEP A RECEIPT, light bulb.  

I go right back to the bulb aisle.  I know my way around now.  Pro.  There’s another kid there.  We have the following conversation:  

Me:  Do you know anything about these (pause so I don’t say f&cking) specialty bulbs? 

Kid:  (Look of abject terror)  Uh, let me get the guy who works in this department.  

There’s a department?  I take everything back, these new bulbs are CREATING JOBS.  It took a few minutes to find the light bulb guy, I imagine he’s in high demand, but he comes over and he’s throwing off a bit of a hippie vibe.  He examines my bulb like he’s looking at a bit of designer marijuana.  He’s not saying a damn thing, so I spit out the stupid information I have on my paper.  This is when I found out that it was mostly useless, so I produced the bulb from pocket and let this guy take a look.  

What would have been reassuring is if he took one look and grabbed the bulb I needed immediately.  That didn’t happen. He examined, he pondered, he speculated and then gave me his best guess.  The light bulb guy, at Lowe’s, the man in that department, couldn’t give me a guarantee I had the right bulb, but what choice do I have? 

I’m back in the kitchen.  It’s getting pretty late again, I’m starving again and I start wrestling with the damn light fixtures. These things just kind of jam into the fixture like a misshapen puzzle piece.  There’s not satisfying click, no reassuring screwing motion–it feels a bit like you might electrocute yourself at ANY MOMENT.  I wedge one up in there, go over, flip the switch and nothing.  That was the moment where I almost lost my composure.  A man cannot make three trips to Lowe’s to get a light bulb.  I think you have to move out of the apartment before you do that.  

I end up dismantling the last working light on the fixture, trying to see what kind of trickery I need to perform to get these things to work, and finally after about 12 minutes, a bit of brow sweat, and a shoulder tweak, I finally said, “Let there be light.”  

It was a truly horrible experience and I know the third light is probably due to go out at any moment.  If you are wondering why you just read 1,500 words on changing a light bulb (did anyone make it this far), it’s so I can deliver my Christmas list. Send candles, please.  

 

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Will Eagles Get it Together in time for Shady?

Will Eagles Get it Together in time for Shady?

This week in the NFL made me think of wasted primes.  NFL players have very small windows of peak performance, especially at certain positions.  A peak performer one year can become ordinary the next.  The declines are hard to predict. While every team would take a star quarterback over a star running back, or a wide receiver–those guys are still nice to have. In Philadelphia, the Eagles have one of the best backs in the league.  McCoy is just 25, but this will be his 5th season of NFL wear and tear.  The Eagles wasted his terrific 2011 campaign, and now that he’s fully healthy again, it appears that 2013 will just be another good year of stats for Shady.  You’d like to think that McCoy has 3-5 years of top-level production left, but you don’t know for sure and that’s the troubling part.  By the time the Eagles land on a QB will the rest of the functional pieces on offense be over the hill?  

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 22-12-1
  2. Grossy, 21-13-1
  3. Big Dub, 21-13-1
  4. DC, 16-17-2
  5. Nichols, 16-19
  6. JCK, 15-19-1

Not our best week, but still looking pretty good at the top.  Gotta keep churning out those 3-2 weeks.  

The “Show-Off Pumpkin Carver,” Pick of the Week:  Grossy, Cowboys (+3) over Eagles.  

A little redemption for jumping the gun on the Foles demise.  I had the Eagles losing outright last week and Tampa proved to be too incompetent, but Foles took the opposition out of the equation this week and lost the game by himself.  Even with the Eagles’ defense playing their best game of the season, the Birds had no chance.  That’s because Foles is not an NFL QB. This is something I’ve known since the moment I saw him take his first snap.  Perhaps my obsession with measurables is a bit extreme, but when a guy is slower than Drew Bledsoe with a 1/10 of the arm–it’s not going to happen.  Honorable mention to anyone who had Buffalo, and to Big Dub who quickly got back on Jacksonville when they were no longer getting 27 points.  

The “Groupon” Awful Pick of the Week:  DC, Grossy, and Kraft–Baltimore +2.5 over Pittsburgh.  

The Ravens were right there for the ugly cover the whole game, but it didn’t happen.  The Steelers got the late field goal.  Is losing a game by a half point so shameful?  In this case it is, because I don’t think we really saw a close game here.  I didn’t.  I thought the Ravens would comfortably win by 7-10 points and that’d be it.  I don’t know that the rivalry factor was overlooked, it might have just been giving a bit too much credit to Baltimore, who is a truly bad team this year.  Probably still better than the Steelers, but not by a margin that means anything.  And, a bit disappointed that a consensus pick took a beating, I don’t like to see that.  This one probably was a bit too easy and we fell victim.  

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Josh Freeman.

Freeman wins a D.A. for his 2nd organization (not easy) and makes a stylish impact on the D.A. Fantasy standings.  Check out the D.A. page to read about Freeman, see the logjam in the standings and discover why things in D.A. are only going to get more exciting for the remainder of 2013.  

***

Definitive, Yet Arbitrary top 10:  

  1. Kansas City, 7-0.  For now, still winning ugly. 
  2. Indianapolis, 5-2.  Time for a Colts Super Bowl taste in Vegas?
  3. Denver, 6-1.  Pey-Pey may have been too emotional.
  4. Seattle, 6-1.  Rolling right along.  
  5. New Orleans, 5-1.  Bye Week.
  6. San Francisco, 5-2.  Winning Easy right now.
  7. Cincinnati, 5-2.  Winning games they usually lose.
  8. Green Bay, 4-2.  Down to 0 Receivers,
  9. New England, 5-2.  Big Game this week against Miami.
  10. New York Jets, 4-3.  High-Water Mark.

Week 7 NFL Picks.

Better Than Five Alive.

Better Than Five Alive.

I’m tired of football analysis.  I don’t mean talking about the sport in general, I’m talking about people trying to get in-depth. Honestly, I never want to hear the term “read-option” again in my life.  It doesn’t matter to me.  I don’t care what Chip Kelly’s true offense is, I don’t want to talk about the difference between a quarterback who can run and a running quarterback.  I’m not an offensive coordinator.  I have no desire to be one, or to watch the ALL-22 film, or whatever that horsebleep is called.  If you want to break down offensive line blocking schemes, maybe you are a better fan than I am, but you are certainly a different kind of fan.  You know what interests me?  Results.  Call the offense whatever you want, play who you want, draft who you want–just stop screwing it up.  Win some games.  That’s all I care about.

***

Week Seven Beer:  Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Here’s a comment pulled from a Racer 5 IPA review, “Mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium.  Small carbonation fills it up nicely.”  Are you kidding me?  I thought the mouthfeel was on the fat side of small.  I made that mini-rant on football above to relate it to beer reviews.  I don’t want to get obsessive about any of these things.  IS THE BEER GOOD TO DRINK?  Racer 5, in my non-mouthfeel opinion, is a really good IPA.  It’s a bit stronger (7% ABV) than some, but has everything I’m looking for when trying a new IPA.  Is this what I was hoping it would taste like–yes.  That is all.  For a California beer that gets some solid reviews, it’s readily available on the east coast.  Hooray distribution.

Am I sorry I didn’t get Sierra:  No.  Racer 5 has a bit too much alcohol to replace Sierra as a go-to beer, but the taste is quite similar in my opinion.  I like to crush the occasional Racer 5 when I see it on tap, makes it feel like a special occasion.

Rankings So Far:

  1. Heady Topper Double IPA
  2. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  3. Shed IPA
  4. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  5. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  6. Deschutes Brewery IPA
  7. Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA

Can I have the winners please…

***

Big Dub, Record: 19-11-1*–All sucker lines this week.

  1. New England (-4) over NYJ.  Geno Smith Blows
  2. Chicago (+1) over Washington.  RG3 Blows.
  3. New York Giants (-3.5) over Minnesota.  Josh Freeman blows.
  4. San Diego (-7.5) over Jacksonville.  Entire organization blows.

*Had Seattle Thursday Night.

***

JCK, Record:  14-16-1*

  1. Patriots (-4) over New York Jets
  2. Detroit (-3) over Cincinnati
  3. San Francisco (-4.5) over Tennessee
  4. Denver (-6.5) over Indianapolis

*Also had Seattle.

***

DC, Record: 14-14-2

Chicago (+1) over Washington.  Has there been a proposal for what we’re going to call the Washington Football Senators when they are no longer the Redskins?  Chicago, 22-18.

Green Bay (-10) over Cleveland.  Brandon Weedon and Willis McGahee.  Green Bay, 31-9

Baltimore (+2) over Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh beat the Jets and now they’re laying points to the Ravens?

New York Giants (-3.5) over Minnesota.  Las Vegas sees Josh Freeman and gives the Vikings an extra half-point.

Tennessee (+4.5) over San Francisco.  Just feels like a bad spot for the Niners.  I know that doesn’t make any kind of analytical sense.

***

Grossy, 18-11-1

Kansas City (-6.5) over Houston.  So, Case Keenum.  Or is it Kase Ceenum?  Does it matter against KC’s defense.  It’s going to be another horrific bloodbath.  And, while KC’s offense is no prize, there is a reasonably good chance that Houston has given up on the season.  See performance against Bradford, Sam.  Looks awfully easy, but again Case Keenum.

Cincinnati (+3) over Detroit.  I keep going to the Bengals–not sure why.  Detroit is still a team for me that should never give points.  It was fashionable to pick them to lose last week against Cleveland–so why not here?  In the Buckle Bowl, it’s best to always take the Lions.  Still unsure about Mega’s health and I like Cincy’s defense a bit more.

Buffalo (+8) over Miami.  The Dolphins are laying eight points now?  It appears that Thad Lewis, no relation to Chad Lewis, is a competent enough QB to cover spreads.  Meaning, he’s no Case Keenum.  But, really, I just can’t imagine a scenario where the Dolphins are giving eight points.  Half a spite pick, because I still am upset with the Dolphins.

Dallas (+3) over Philadelphia.  The Eagles have beaten the Giants (0-6), the Bucs (0-5) and the Redskins (1-4).  It’s not like Dallas has distinguished wins either, but I’m just trying to put into perspective the Birds as a .500 team.  It’s kind of like when the Astros were .500 this season when they were 1-1.  Not terribly indicative of what they were as a ballclub.  This is essentially the Chargers game again for me, the Eagles lose some type of “shootout.”

Baltimore (+2.5) over Pittsburgh.  BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Just stop it with the Steelers, OK.  They are going to get killed.  I don’t care about rivalries.

***

Kraft, Record: 20-9-1

Chicago (+1) over Washington.  Washington’s D is porous.  Cutler has a field day.  Operation .500 looks like a best case scenario for these skins.

San Francisco (-4.5) over Tennesee.  San Francisco has their groove back and Tennessee still has Fitzy behind center.  Infinity x Infinity.  Boom!!!

Baltimore (+2) over Pittsburgh.  Yawn.

New York Giants (-3.5) over Minnesota.  The schneid ends in week 7.  Jared Lorenzen comes off the bench and leads Big Blue to a seven point win over the punchless Vikings.

Kansas City (-6.5) over Houston.  Case Keenum?  Check please.

***

Nichols, Record: Record, 14-16

  1. New England (-4) over New York Jets
  2. Buffalo (+8) over Miami
  3. Chicago (+1) over Washington
  4. St. Louis (+6) over Carolina
  5. San Francisco (-4.5) over Tennesee

Tuesday Self-Esteem Check.

97% Chance They Both Stink.

97% Chance They Both Stink.

There are a lot of people in Philadelphia talking about “Dallas Week.” This is a term.  Dallas is coming to Philadelphia.  Not the Mavericks, or the Stars, but the Cowboys.  In some years this is what passes for the Super Bowl around these parts, This might be the biggest Dallas game since the Eagles were pummeled by the ‘Boys on the last week of the season and then again in the playoffs a few years back.  You’ll remember it as the “Air Guitar Game.”  If they’ve played a big game since then, forgive me, I don’t remember.

This week is a game that people want to be jacked about, because IT’S FOR FIRST PLACE, but winning the NFC East isn’t going to get you anything this year aside from an extra road trip.  One of these teams will emerge at 4-3, and once again, for what could be a brief moment the entire division won’t be .500 or worse.

This is a rivalry game with JV talent.  The fans will be in top form, but I worry about the players.  This brings me to the Vick vs. Foles debate, which has penetrated the area so completely that it’s virtually impossible to listen to sports radio.  Both Foles and Vick have their supporters, but to me the debate feels a bit like arguing over who is going to be your 4th starter.  Should the Phillies bring back Kyle Kendrick, or sign Dan Haren?  Let’s discuss for 11 days.

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 20-9-1
  2. Big Dub, 18-11-1
  3. Grossy, 18-11-1
  4. DC, 14-14-2
  5. Nichols, 14-16
  6. JCK, 13-16-1

Not nearly the week we had last week, but a total power move by Kraft to take over the top spot and the boys in the back are rallying toward .500.  A mere 55 picks to go!

The “David Ortiz in October” Pick of the Week:  Kraft, Carolina (+2.5) over Minnesota.

The best consensus pick of the week was probably Pittsburgh over NYJ, and Kraft and Big Dub both made good calls on the Indy game, but on the week Kraft makes everyone forget about his 33% year I wanted to go with a unique pick.  I guess it was Carolina’s poor effort in Arizona that affected this line?  Is the dome that scary?  It had to be something, because the Vikings are terrible.  Their big win was in London, over a team with 0 wins, so….favorites?  Strange.  Cam Newton quickly went about making Minnesota look ridiculous with a series of runs and long throws to wide-open receivers.  Would the Vikings have been better off with the wildcat as Kraft suggested?  It would have been hard to do worse than 35-10.

The “Raisins For Halloween” Awful Pick of the Week:  DC, Oakland (+9) over Kansas City.  

I wish we had an explanation for this one.  I imagine it would have incorporated the 1st loss theory.  Maybe something about KC struggling to pull away from teams?  Maybe a nod to Oakland’s recent success against the Chiefs?  An unwillingness to accept Andy Reid at 6-0.  We’ll never know what DC was thinking, but here’s what I’m thinking:  Wow, this was a terrible pick.  Pryor against that Chiefs defense looked like Great Valley vs. anyone in 1998.

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3PT D.A. of the Week:  Terrelle Pryor

Bow down, folks.  Pryor was sacked 10 times against Kansas City.  That’s a lot.  Tamba Hali had 3.5.  The less hype a PSU player has leaving college, the better his pro career will be.  Tamba Hali vs. Courtney Brown.  Navarro Bowman vs. Poz, etc. Anyway, to see how many points Pryor racked up and to check the up to the minute D.A. Standings, check out the top of the page.

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The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:

  1. Denver, 6-0.  Sleepwalking–never sniffed the cover.
  2. Kansas City, 6-0.  That defense, a fantasy football dream.
  3. New England, 5-1.  Brady scrapes another one together.
  4. Seattle, 5-1.  Ugliest FG attempt ever–still a win.
  5. New Orleans, 5-1.  Heartbreaker, but at least they showed up on the road.
  6. San Francisco, 4-2.  Still need Kaepernick back on track.
  7. Indianapolis, 4-2.  Upon Further Review, that was a bad spot in SD.
  8. Detroit, 4-2. Won a game many thought they’d lose.
  9. Chicago, 4-2.  Playing the Giants is Fun!
  10. Cincinnati, 4-2. Still think they can put something together.

Week Six NFL Picks

Do NOT Pour Into a Glass.

Do NOT Pour Into a Glass.

I thought Justin Verlander was going to throw a no-hitter last night.  That’s what Justin Verlander does.  There have been some incredible pitching performances in the post-season.  Power arms.  Makes you wish the Phillies could develop a pitcher. And, I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for post-season pitching.  When I don’t have a team in the hunt, I’ll usually bounce around between aces and underdogs, showing loyalty for only a game.  When I was elementary school I got caught up in Orel Hershisher even though I didn’t like Hershisher or the Dodgers.  I liked them slightly more than the A’s and Mets. Heading into that post-season Hershiser had thrown 5 straight shutouts and a 10-inning (0 ER) no-decision.  He then took no-decision losses in game 1 and 3 to the Mets.  That’s games 1 and 3.  The next day for game four he snuck into the bullpen, told the coach he was supposed to warm up, had the bullpen coach call the dugout and say he was ready, then came in and got a 1-out save. Three days later he threw a shutout in game seven.  I love that story.  So from Hershisher to Jack Morris to Schill and Roy Halladay I’m always up for a little post-season history.

I know for a lot of you, though, this last paragraph read as: Oh my god baseball-boring!  So, onto beer and football.

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Week Six Beer:  Heady Topper American Double IPA

A couple weeks ago I linked a list that rated the “top beers” and lamented that they were all too random and too high in alcohol content for a novice.  Well, thanks to the unparralelled generosity and character of two people who recently visited Vermont, I got my hands on a top-15 beer–The Alchemist’s Heady Topper.  It gets 10/10 ratings, 100/100 ratings–it’s a critical darling.  It’s also 8% ABV.

A couple of interesting facts I’ve learned about Heady Topper.  It appears you can only get this beer in Vermont, and for a long time it was only available at The Alchemist’s brew pub.  However, recently they’ve opened up a cannery.  That’s right, the beer comes only in cans–not bottles.  The cannery distributes to retail spots around Vermont, but as far as I can tell, the beer rarely leaves the state.  Combined with it’s high-standing, this leads to a Heady Topper Black Market and I’ve read the beer can fetch up to $15 a can outside the region.

You are also supposed to drink this beer out of the can, for hop optimization, so you really shouldn’t pour it into a glass like you see above.  The drinking instructions are printed right there.  So, I feel a bit bad about choosing this beer since it’s so hard to find, but it’s the only non-reviewed beer I’ve got in the house.

Am I sorry I didn’t Get Sierra:  NO.

Heady Topper lives up to its reputation.  They say they aren’t concerned with making the biggest, or most bitter Double IPA, and their commitment to drinkability is evident.  The beer is very smooth, but it still hits you quickly.  My first taste test was on a bit of an empty stomach and about halfway through the can I had to take a moment of reflection–am I wasted right now?  So be careful if you get your hands on a few Heady Toppers, it’s best to lay down a foundation of starch and beef before jumping in.

Rankings So Far:

  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper Double IPA
  2. Shed IPA
  3. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  4. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  5. Deschutes Brewery IPA
  6. Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA

But, who is going to win these games…

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Big Dub, Record:  17-8-1

Washington (+5.5) over Dallas.  A lot of people were impressed with Dallas last week. I’m not buying it. Give me a team off the bye against a team that suffered a heartbreaking loss.

San Diego (+1.5) over Indianapolis.  Colts off the emotional win have to travel on the road for Luck’s first Monday Night game. Feels like a good spot for the Chargers.

Cincinnati (-7) over Buffalo.  Typically I’d say this is a good spot for the Bills, but that could never be true with their current QB situation.

Denver (-27) over Jacksonville.  If Peyton tosses 4 TDs it’s a cover.

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Kraft, Record: 16-8-1

Philadelphia (-1.5) over Tampa Bay.  I will be attending this playoff type game and can’t see how mike glennon will be able to produce anything. Mike Glennon IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE IS! That would be grossly in over his head and not an NFL starting QB.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) over New York Jets.  Now that those Steelers can’t play ping pong in the locker room, I can’t imagine how focused they will be right out the gate in this game. Yes, they stink, but they are not losing them all. And, the Jets are not a 4-2 team. Please , if there is a football god, stop this insanity.

New Orleans (+2.5) over New England.  The defense has been the key for the Saints so far and I don’t think the Patriots can keep up with Brees and Dalton Hilliard.

San Diego (+1.5) over Indianapolis.  I’ve hit five times in a row with red on Indy, now it’s time to bet on black.

Carolina (+2.5) over Minnesota.    Carolina does have a good front 7 and the ability to put 10 in the box should limit AP. Seriously, how do the Minny QBs make a play? They have the worst 3 QBs on 1 team- an injured Ponder, that is your starter? Matt Cassel? Or how about a recently signed, new to your offense, QB that has had roughly the equivalent of Blaine Gabberts QB rating over the past 12 games. How about you just go Wildcat for all 65 snaps?

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Grossy, Record: 16-8-1

Tampa Bay (+1.5) over Philadelphia.  Outright, though the pick implies it anyway.  Here are the issues.  Nick Poles is a stationary target.  Tampa is actually a better team than the Giants.  BY A LOT.  Mike Glennon plays QB like he’s Geoffrey from Toys ‘R Us, but what difference does that make when he’s just going to hand it to Doug Martin for 32/196/3TDs?  Nick Foles didn’t turn the momentum back in the Eagles favor last Sunday.  Eli did.  Tampa line, it’s just bad news.  Sorry.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) over NYJ.  Outright again.  Do not give Mike Tomlin two weeks to prepare for a mediocre football team with his season and pride hanging in the balance.  Actually, he may have lost the team in which case this will be the awful pick of the week…

Jacksonville (+27) over Denver.  How many times in my life am I going to get to take 27 points on and NFL game?  I assume Jacksonville’s players have gone from their usual level of embarrassment to a hyper-aware state where they are alternating between rage and tears.  Henne to Blackmon is a thing–OK?  And Denver can give up points, especially late, as well as anyone.  Backdoor against the 3rd stringers.

Seattle (-13.5) over Tennessee.  Russell WIlson is the only ten I see.  Um, this line struck me as awfully high, even with Jeremy Lin’s frat bro at QB for the Titans.  So, that must mean that the Seahawks are going to win by 40.  Makes sense.  Back at home.  The Titans will do nothing on offense–go ahead and bench CopSpeed2K in fantasy and the Seahawks will just have one of those slow, ugly burns to 31-9–probably with a pick-6.

Indianapolis (-1.5) over San Diego.  Terrible spot for Indy, but if you are good you can go ahead and win ugly in San Diego by at least a field goal.  The Chargers’ GENEROUS defense makes the difference here.  The Colts offense avoids a letdown somewhere along the lines of 30-21.

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DC, Record: 13-10-2

  1. Seattle (-13.5) over Tennessee
  2. Cleveland (+2.5) over Detroit
  3. Cincinnati (-7) over Buffalo
  4. Pittsburgh (+2.5) over New York Jets
  5. Oakland (+9) over Kansas City

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JCK, Record: 10-14-1

  1. Pittsburgh (+2.5) over New York Jets
  2. Green Bay (-3) over Baltimore
  3. New Orleans (+2.5) over New England
  4. Detroit (-2,5) over Cleveland
  5. Philadelphia (-1.5) over Tampa Bay

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Nichols, Record: 12-14

  1. Buffalo (+7) over Cincinnati
  2. Seattle (-13.5) over Tennessee
  3. Denver (-27) over Jacksonville
  4. San Francisco (-10.5) over Arizona