Tag Archives: NFL

Boo’s, Sapp, and Bounty

BOOOO – Not sure why, but booing the Warriors owner on Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement night got a TON of media attention. When I watched it live, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a little excessive in that, the only things Lacob has done wrong is make too many promises to a fanbase that has been through a lot empty promises by management. If you don’t believe me, then read Simmons article on the most tortured fans in the NBA. Honestly if I was there, I would’ve booed him. Some were booing because of the Monta trade, but I’d boo because they didn’t amnesty Biendris, who we all knew wasn’t good based on his last two seasons, and ended up wasting the amnesty on Charlie Bell’s expiring contract. For all those saying it was disrespectful and ruined Mullin’s night, I’ll bet you anything Mulley was on the fans side at one point, but he’s too classy to boo. Especially when he was run out of Oakland by the previous owner as a thank you for building the We Believe team, and trying hard to keep Baron Davis. Joe Lacob made a round of media appearances in the Bay Area the day after the booing. He swung and missed on his explanations too. For some reason he still says they’re a playoff team this year, c’mon man, you can’t truly believe that, I didn’t before the season and definitely don’t now, we’re not stupid even if we do fill a stadium for a team that has a 30% winning percentage. He also contradicted himself by saying he might boo himself too, but probably not. He also pronounced the fan-favorite Monta Ellis’s name wrong twice in this interview. He said Mon(TUH), not Mon(TAY) like it’s really pronounced. Did he even know his best players name that they traded away? He doesn’t seem to understand the fans frustrations, and he’s not like Mark Cuban even though he seems to be trying to be. I know it’s going to take some time for the ownership group to figure it all out and distance themselves from the Cohan era, so hopefully this teaches him a valuable lesson. Maybe he should take a page out of Jed York’s playbook and stop making silly predictions and just lay low letting the team and the staff they put together do their thing until they start winning. Since Jed let the powers he put in charge do their thing, the 49ers sure have turned it around, maybe the same will happen for the Warriors.

Snitches – Warren Sapp tweeted out that Jeremy Shockey was the “snitch” for the whole Bounty gate thing in New Orleans. Shockey responded with an angry denial. It’ no secret Sapp was one of my least favorite Raiders and is in the Jamarcus category on the all-time hate list. If he’s as lazy as he was while wearing the Silver and Black as he is with his reporting I’m already siding with Shockey, and that was before I saw that Shockey said he’d take a polygraph to clear his name. Sapp is also one of my least favorite NFL announcers. I’d rather listen to Shaq’s NBA analysis, than Sapp’s NFL take. I truly hope he gets fired for making this type of claim without stating any kind of evidence. It’s sad how much of an attention whore he is.

As for Bounty Gate itself, I guess it was a fair penalty. Goodell plays the role of father figure to the NFL, and just like when you lied to your parents as a kid, the penalty gets twice as bad when you get caught. I’m not sure I agree with taking away a bunch of draft picks though. Seems like missing their coach for the year is enough in my book. I had an interesting conversation with some Raiders fans and if something happened to them similar to what happened to the Saints. Can you say DEATH PENALTY!?! I bet they’d either be contracted or lose every first round pick for the next decade that they didn’t already trade away, and unfortunately Al Davis wouldn’t be around to sue the pants off the league.

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Manny, Steroids, and the NFL Combine

If you didn’t know, Manny packed up his estrogen and brought it to Oakland. The hysteria has swept over Oakland’s Spring Training in Arizona since he arrived Friday morning. I’m not sure if the bearded lady is a sideshow or the main attraction yet, but it’s become clear that the players are having fun with it using Mannyisms in their interviews whenever possible. I’m not sure why some people think it’s a terrible signing when he’s only making a prorated $333K after he serves his 50 game suspension. If he sucks, so what, they can just cut him. If he’s a cancer to the team, let’s face it, they probably aren’t finishing higher than 3rd in the AL West anyways. At the moment, I’d much rather watch Manny strikeout swinging as hard as he can than see someone else tap out on a weak grounder to the pitcher. If I thought the A’s were a contender, then maybe I’d be angry he’s taking atbats away from someone else, but at the moment that’s just a silly thought, so let’s see what the bearded lady can bring to the circus that is Oakland these days! The circus has for a moment taken over whatever the Giants are doing right now, so for a day or two at least Oakland is in the headlines over the Giants…

Lord knows I’ve never cared about players doing steroids, and if I did, I’d probably have to condemn my favorite A’s teams with the bash brothers or even more recent versions with Giambi and Tejada. When I heard about Ryan Braun’s negative test, I didn’t bat an eyelash. When his ruling was overturned, I didn’t bat an eyelash. When I heard Braun’s prepared statement, I felt like it was Rafael Palmiero waving his finger at me again, but didn’t truly care what his message was or what others thought of him. Whether he’s innocent or guilty, it’s obvious something happened that wasn’t right. The whole steroid era is overblown. It’ not like crappy players were all of a sudden good because they took steroids, they may have become average, but never great. The great players might be able to enhance their longevity a little, but who cares. I don’t watch games worried about who is using and who isn’t. I watch it to be entertained, and if PED’s end up being a part of that entertainment so be it. Hell, I don’t even care what message it sends to kids. Call me heartless, but if parents don’t instill to their kids that cheating is wrong, then they’re probably not that good parents to begin with. It comes down to a life choice for each athlete, and it should be their choice since they know the repercussions in the media and on the field.

I never watch the NFL combine (since I try to have a life), I’ve always felt it’s sole purpose was to keep NFL fans entertained with something during the off-season while players are poked and prodded in their underwear. Maybe if they had pads on doing some of the workouts would make more sense to me, but they choose underwear instead. As a Raiders fan during the Al Davis era you always had to look at the numbers coming out of the combine, because whoever had the fastest 40 time or could bench the most would most likely end up on our team at some point. Now that he’s gone and we only have two draft picks, I have zero reason to care what’s happening. The only thing that I really do think matters is their wonder-lick scores. No, I don’t really care if a player gets average or high scores, but I’d stay away from any player that scored low on the test, because it’s made for elemetary school kids. Other than that, look at film and call it good with making your picks.


Doin Super Bowl Prop Lines

Chappy: The Championship games never go the way I predict they will, and shockingly this year was no different. Maybe I just root for the wrong teams. Aside from New Orleans winning it all, I haven’t really had a rooting interest the Super Bowl over the last six years. This year is no exception to the rule. I guess when I put some money down, I’ll have a rooting interest, but at the moment I’m pretty even keel. Instead of actually picking the game we decided to pick the props since I’m sure everyone knows just about everything they need to know to make their picks on the big game.

Championship Week: Chappy (1-1), By (1-1)

Playoffs: Chappy (4-6), By (5-5)

Regular Season: Chap (50-35-4) By (27-20)

Will the coin toss be heads or tails? (PK)

Chappy picks tails never fails! 

By picks tails, because it’s been scientifically proven to never fail ~

Will the team that wins the coin toss win the game? (PK)

Chappy picks yes. Obviously if you win the coin toss, luck and momentum is on your side for the rest of the game. I’m not even sure why they play the rest of the game when it’s usually decided in the coin toss. I guess they want to make those millions of dollars on commercials.

By says no.  The trend lately is to “defer” the opening kickoff when winning the coin toss.  Also known as deferring the win.

Longest TD scored over/under 49 1/2 yards? 

Chappy picks over 49 1/2 yards. Not sure I think the Patriots will win me this prop, since they dink and dunk their way down the field, but the Giants always seem to have a long TD or two during their games, so I think one will be over 50 yards.

By picks over 49 1/2 yards.  When you have guys like Victor Cruz and Wes Welker, this is a no brainer!

How many times will David Tyree’s catch be shown during the game? O/U 1

Chappy picks Over 1. I’m actually surprised this isn’t higher than 1. If anyone makes a miracle catch during the game doesn’t it feel like they’ll show this play, and they’re going to HAVE to show it sometime in the pregame/intro.

By picks over 1.  Seriously?  The o/u on this is 1?

What color will Madonna’s hair be? (Blonde -400, Any other color +250)

Chappy picks AOC. Who really wants to bet on something that doesn’t win you much more than the vig!?! One clarification I’d like on this prop though is what if she has streaks of another color in her blonde hair, does that count?

By picks blonde.  Madonna is 73 years old, and blonde makes her look 67 years old as oppose to any other color which makes her look 2,142 years old.

Will Michaels or Collinsworth say “Tebow” in the first quarter? (Yes +130, No -160)

Chappy picks yes. Don’t they have to recap how the Patriots got to the Super Bowl including them beating the Denver Tebows? There’s noway they don’t mention Tebow at least once. I can’t believe that “No” is the favorite in this one.

By says yes.  They might even say “Tebow” in a sentence like this, “We will try not to mention Tebow tonight.”

How many aircrafts in the flyover during the National Anthem? (1-4 -260, 5+ +180) 

Chappy picks 5+. I don’t understand why they still do the fly over when it’s in a dome, but I have to think they go big and waste some extra jet fuel for this meaningless fly over that the fans can’t even see.

By picks 1-4.  The country is in a recession and doesn’t want to see excessive amounts of jets being flown over a stadium.

Who will Obama pick to win the game? (NY -105, NE -105)
Chappy picks New York. Obviously there’s more voters in NY than NE. Gotta keep the masses happy. Either that or he declares the city of Indianapolis the winner for being a gracious host.
By says New England.  It was rumored that he’s a Justin Bieber fan.

First team to call a timeout? (PK) 

Chappy picks New England. They will have to challenge a highly questionable incompletion/tuck by Eli and end up losing their first time out.

By New England.  Bill Belichick will call one after the first minute of the game to make sure his team is prepared to execute sitting and listening to the coaches during the half time show.  All that practice will pay off.

Which Manning will be showed first? (Peyton -160, Archie PK) 

Chappy picks Archie. I’m going for the upset. We know they’ll show both eventually, but what if they are boIt's me, Uncle Danny.th sitting together? Do I get my money back? If Peyton’s neck was on this prop, I’d be all over it!

By picks Danny!?  In a surprise twist, the network will show long lost uncle, Danny Manning.

What will be higher on Feb. 5th Eli Manning completions or Lebron James points? 

Chappy picks Eli. Lebron decided long ago that he doesn’t like showing up in championship weekends.

By picks Eli.  Eli plays 4 quarters, a full one extra than LeBron in which to complete more passes.


Raiders Go Defensive

After about 1,000 names were linked to the Raiders head coaching job since they let go of Hue Jackson, they decided to go with Dennis Allen, the former Broncos defensive coordinator. Was he on the so-called “short list” that Reggie Mackenzie had going into the process? Maybe, but based on all the people he talked to for the coaching vacancy, his list wasn’t that short to begin with. I can’t say I was getting very excited during the search since two or three names seemed to come out each day, and some were good names and some were Mike Tice that made me question whether our new GM knew what he was doing. This hiring does make sense on a few levels though, and I can see the now youngest coach in the NFL being successful if he can change a few things.

It’s tough for me to get overly excited about Allen, but taking a strength away from the division champion Broncos isn’t ever a bad thing. I don’t know too much about Allen, but I was a huge fan of the way the Broncos defense played last season, and they deserved as much or more credit than Tebow for thier team’s success. Allen worked under some solid coaches in Sean Payton, Jim Mora, and John Fox, so I feel like he’s going to know what he’s doing in his new role.

The hire also addresses their two biggest weaknesses from last season which were defense and discipline. It was their first defensive minded coaching hire since before I was alive. Reading that Broncos players Champ Bailey and Von Miller were very sad to him see go only makes me like the hire more. Players don’t react unless they actually have good things to say, and when they don’t, you’ll either hear crickets or comments like when Bob Geren was fired as the A’s manager. Champ Bailey even went as far as to say he’s one of the most intense coach’s he’s ever had over his long career also adding the Raiders will now be intense, hard nosed, and tough. Even without a defensive coordinator on the staff yet, the defense will improve by the subtraction of Chuck Bresnahan who never really deserved the DC job to begin with.

The Raiders were the most penalized team in NFL history that had no discipline on defense, and at times, on offense. They needed to hire a no nonsense type of guy to get this team caring about those game killing penalties that seemed to happen every drive. It’s also good they get the HC hired sooner than later so they can focus on the other coaching vacancies before all the good coordinators get snatched up. I’d love to see Del Rio as the DC, so let’s hope that’s the next announcement out of Oakland.


Doin Championship Lines

Chappy: You can’t get much better football than the game the Saints-49ers played last weekend. Through the craziness at the end of that game I almost forgot I even won money on my bet!

By:  Broncos/Steelers, Niners/Saints!?  What more could you ask for from January football!?  It’s an exciting time to be a 49ers fan, and I’m crossing my finger Eli Manning reverts back to his overrated self for one game.  Let’s go Niners!

Last week: Chap (2-2) By (2-2)

Playoffs: Chap (3-5) By (4-4)

Regular Season: Chap (50-35-4) By (27-20)

Baltimore @ New England (-7)

Chappy picks Baltimore (+7). You didn’t think a Raiders fan would actually pick the Pats did you? I can’t believe how much they’re showing the damn Walter Coleman overturned tuck rule game on ESPN lately, so very depressing… Anyways, it’s hard to feel overly confident picking the team that has players questioning their own QB, but I feel like the Ravens can hang with the Patriots who haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season, well unless you count the 9-9 Broncos as a winning team. That stat alone makes me feel like Baltimore will cover the spread. The Pats defense isn’t as good as it showed last weekend, and Baltimore’s offense will do better against them than they did against Houston’s top 5 defense. Another thing that makes me feel like Baltimore will cover is Brady usually has bad games against the Ravens. For some reason this D has his number and forces him into bad decisions that he usually doesn’t make against other teams. The Patriots don’t have the receivers to stretch the field that they’ll need to keep the Ravens D off balance.

By picks Baltimore (+7).  Remember the last team to come into Gillette Stadium and hand the Patriots an ass kicking in a playoff game?  Yes, it was these Baltimore Ravens, and amazingly, that defense is still in tact and just as good if not better.  I don’t know how many deals with the devils were done on that side of the ball, but these old guys can still play some really fantastic, smash mouth defense.  Then again, this is Tom Brady we’re talking about, and if anyone would be unintimidated to face these wolves, it would be him.  However the outcome, one thing’s for sure, these aren’t the Denver Broncos coming to town.  I believe this game is going to get really ugly before it gets pretty, and while I still think the Brady Bunch pulls it off at home, it definitely will come down to the wire.  Game winning field goal anyone?

New York Giants @ San Francisco (-2.5)

Chappy picks San Francisco (-2.5). Is it possible the Giants are overconfident against the 49ers? Is it possible that since the 49ers beat them in the regular season and that BOTH teams are playing better not just the Giants? Yes and yes. The Niners offense is not the Packers offense, yet they seem to be scoring more TD’s than field goals for the past few games. Maybe they finally figured out what to do in the red zone that they were sorely missing earlier in the season, because the scoreboard has reflected it. One of Alex Smith’s best games passing in the regular season was against the Giants, so I have no reservations against them put up 25+ points. If it’s truly a wet field, the Giants will have to play more zone, which they are not good at, and will help Alex a lot. Another thing is the 49ers defense. They HIT everyone hard. Every guy they knock out has to take some steam out of the other team like when Pierre Thomas was knocked out last weekend. The Aldon/Justin Smith combo is going to hit Eli a lot. I don’t see how they’ll be able to run the ball, when nobody runs on the 49ers.

By picks San Francisco (-2.5).  Can’t believe the Niners are favored?  Perhaps that’s a bad thing though.  The Niners have played the underdog roll perfectly all season, and despite the second best record in the NFC, no one gave them a chance against the Saints last week.  I must say, that game might have very well been the best game I’ve viewed in the history of my life.  What a game, what a game.  Anyway, I don’t need to get into this too much, I’m a homer, and I’m obviously confident in my Niners and feel they could take this thing the distance.  The forecast calls for rain on Sunday, which will make the Giants even more one dimensional on offense, advantage us.  I don’t want to speak to much on this game in fear of jinxing something, but Niners should win and cover, then hopefully ride that momentum towards a 6th franchise championship.


Jed York is Cool

So the exchange below happened to a friend of a friend, but when the email was forwarded on to me, I instantly thought it was post worthy. Oh, and this happened last night 1/18…

Hey guys,

check this out.  I had the coolest experience ever after work last night.

So I was just walking home from the bus after work tonight.  Heading up Vallejo St. towards my apartment.  This dark-haired guy in his early 30’s in a suit and his girl are up the street about 15 yards coming towards me.  Got my 1980’s 49ers gold satin Starter jacket on.

I had worn it to work Monday, skipped wearing it Tuesday, then debated this morning whether to wear it again today.  Kinda felt a little dorky, but I have been having way too much fun again being a Niner fan.  So I chose to wear it again and stick out like a sore thumb in SF’s Financial District.

As we pass each other the guy turns and asks “Hey you going to the game Sunday?”.  I take a couple steps and turn around, and say “You know I’m not sure, I went last Saturday (to the Niners epic win over the Saints) and it was incredible.  I’m not sure, though – I don’t have tickets and need to get them.”

The guy pulls a pair of big, commemorative Niners tickets out of his suit pocket.  I look up and realize it’s Jed York, the 49ers owner.

ME: “Jed?!  No, I can’t believe it!  Nice to meet you!  How you doin’?!”

JED: “Nice to meet you, too. Love the jacket – love seeing that around town.”

ME: “You’ve got to be having so much fun right now, huh?”

JED:  “Yep, it’s been incredible.”

ME:  “I had such a good time at the game Saturday.  Can’t believe this, you made my year, man – thanks so much.”

JED: “Absolutely, this is my wife Danielle by the way.”

ME:  “So nice to meet you – I’m Marz Garcia.  So, what are you doing here?”

JED:  “We’re going to dinner at Firenze.  Just heading over now.”

Firenze-by-Night is the most down-to-earth Italian place in North Beach.  Great place, but nothing fancy.  Real fun scene, though.  Ferol and I just ate there a couple weeks ago.  So cool that Jed would go there for dinner.

They were both so gracious and friendly – obviously I can’t be anything but a big fan at this point.  Danielle got us a picture – attached.

Got home and checked and they’re 50-yard line seats.  I could sell ’em for a couple thousand bucks but there is no chance.  Called my buddy Carter who immediately booked his flight up from LA – and off we go on Sunday!

Needless to say, I am flying right now.  One of those special moments when fate touches you.  I feel so lucky.

The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to fly your colors!!

GO NINERS!!


Doin Divisional Lines

Chappy: I can’t remember a first round of the playoffs that I did well in, and last week was no exception missing 3 of 4 picks. No big deal though, there’s plenty of time for redemption. Last weekend was somewhat boring for playoff football, but now it looks like we’re getting into the fun match ups. If you happened to miss Tebow’s pass to win it in overtime, here’s an awesome peanut remake of the play.

Last Week: By (2-2) Chap (1-3)

Regular Season: By (27-20) Chap (50-35-4)

New Orleans @ San Francisco (+3.5)

Chappy picks San Francisco (+3.5). I can’t really tell if I’m rooting for the 49ers to win or not. I have mixed emotions about them returning to glory while the Raiders continue to spiral in god knows what direction. That being said, if there’s a team that can slow Brees down, this is the team. I feel like the biggest match up of this game will be Sproles. If they stop him, they will be able to get the Saints off the field. If not, they might be in for the longest day their defense has seen in awhile. If there’s one thing I love about the Niners it’s their linebackers abilities, and Bowman and Willis will be able to cover Sproles and Graham. The 49ers are also coming in probably the healthiest they’ve been all season, which is another reason I’m taking them in this one.

By picks who else? SF (+3.5)  Obviously I’m a homer on this one, but without sounding too bias, I’ll state some reasons as to why the Niners might be able to pull this off.  #1 – We’re at home, we’ll have a blood thirsty crowd on our side, and I’m crossing my fingers it’s going to be windy/rainy as hell over here come Saturday.  #2 – We have the best defense in the NFL, and if the old adage holds true, defense is supposed to win championships.  I couldn’t agree more with what Chappy said above, and it’s the same thing I’ve been telling all my friends/family/co-workers all week, if we can contain Darren Sproles, we have a legitimate shot at slowing down the Saints offense.  I believe the Niners front 7 will get to Brees before deeper routes can develop, and if his safety valve in Sproles is locked up, it changes the complexity of their entire offense.  I don’t think the Saints score more than 20 against us.  The question is, will we get 21 against them?

Denver @ New England (-13.5)

Chappy picks New England (-13.5). Did Tebow really win throwing the ball last weekend? Do the Patriots really have WR’s starting in their secondary? I can’t see Tebow winning two weeks in a row throwing the way he did at the end of the season, not that I couldn’t throw against the Pats secondary, but I see God ending his sons magic run this weekend. The Patriots were the first team to make the “blueprint” on how to force Tebow out of his comfort zone (making him roll to the left), and now they have Josh McDaniels on their coaching staff they’ll know even more ways to stop him. Not sure why Pittsburgh didn’t use that template, instead blitzing nearly every down, but that’s beside the point.

By picks Tebow (+13.5).  What Tebow did to the Steelers THROUGH THE AIR last weekend was amazing.  I never questioned his ability to rise to the occasion, and do whatever is asked of him, but he took it a step further with his uplifting performance last week.  And it’s hard for me to think the magic ends here.  Bare in mind that prior to Brady taking over the 2nd half of an earlier match up between these two this year, Tebow and the Broncos were dominating the Pats.  Something fell apart for them, and Brady simply never released his hands from their throat.  The difference this time is, Tebow can throw!  New England’s defense couldn’t stop a leaky faucet from running, but now they have to play the pass too?  The dynamic of this match up has completely swung, and when all else fails, how can you ever bet against God’s quarterback?

Houston @ Baltimore (-7.5)

Chappy picks Baltimore (-7.5). I don’t know many people that really think the Texans are going to win, but will they cover is the real question. I am nervous about relying on Joe “I’m feeling disrespected even though I haven’t done anything in the playoffs” Flacco to win by more than a TD, but Baltimore is the perfect type of team to face Houston in that they can shut down the run even as good as Arian Foster is. It will be tough for the Texans to score, and still being in their first franchise playoff run, I don’t see them coming out on top. If Baltimore loses, I may never pick them again in the playoffs… Their regular season match up was a long time ago, I don’t see that factoring in the equation much because they had Schaub still as their QB.

By picks Houston (+7.5). Yes, I’m picking three, count ’em three upsets this week.  And yes, I’m not picking Houston to just cover, they’re going into Baltimore this weekend, and then flying back home to get ready to host the Broncos next week.  That’s an A1 BOLD prediction for you!  Really though, I like Arian Foster.  A lot.  And then there’s Ben Tate.  When you have a line, and two backs like that, it puts a lot of pressure on a defense, albeit a great one.  But this will be like a heavyweight fight, and what might be the difference in this game is who you trust more at quarterback.  Oddly enough, I already like T.J. Yates better.  Houston’s going to pound and pound away, then set up a big play action late to steal this game away.

New York Giants @ Green Bay (-7.5)

Chappy picks Green Bay (-7.5). If this Giants win this game, maybe I’ll believe all that they’re the same as the 2007 team crap they keep shoving down my throat. Until then, you gotta roll with the champs. The Packers didn’t look as good without Greg Jennings on offense, but low and behold he’s back, so I see them getting back to their video game type numbers. Will Eli be able to keep up on the scoreboard? Yes, but I forsee a Charles Woodson or Nick Collins pick 6 at some point to cover that spread.

By picks Green Bay (-7.5).  Yeah, yeah.  We’re hearing it from every angle from the media.  The Giants are clicking, and they’re resembling the 2007 playoff team that rode late momentum towards a championship upset.  Except this is mother f**kin’ Aaron Rodgers.  ‘Nuff said.  Pack win, and win big.


Mark Davis Puts His Plan In Motion

So far, Mark Davis’s tenure as the Raiders owner has been a quite one. Many, including myself wondered how he’d run the Raiders once his father passed away. Today was really the first time he’d spoken publicly about the teams plans for the interim and the future. All in all I was impressed how he handled himself while answering questions about their future as well as the reasons he hired Reggie Mackenzie as the Raiders first ever GM even if he’s the only guy he interviewed for the job. Here’s the whole interview of the two new top dogs in the Raiders organization if you care.

One thing they left on the table which was never actually answering during the interview was why the decision was made to fire Hue Jackson. Yes they said it was Reggie Mackenzie’s choice and he wanted to start from stratch, but that wasn’t nearly as firm as when Al Davis would do his semi-annual firing (just ask Lane Kiffin or any ex-Raiders coach for that matter). Raiders fans may never know why he was fired for sure, but you have to bet that some of it had to do with the empty promises he consistently made throughout the season in a Rex Ryan like fashion including the whole building a bully angle, we’ll make the playoffs, less penalties, stopping the run, and the best trade of all-time quotes come to mind as well. The most troubling part about the firing was that he did seem to be liked by the players, and that’s something that’s hard to replace, but at the same time if you have the ears of the players why did they completely forget to show up in a few games!?! I always wondered why he didn’t request more help while handling personnel choices as the head coach/GM this year. I’m sure they would’ve gotten him someone to help out if he asked for it. Hue’s demise was for more than a few reasons. He never put Jason Campbell on the IR opening a spot for perhaps another linebacker or corner back not named Lito Sheppard that we desperately needed. Then there was the whole finishing the season losing four out of five, which could’ve easily been five of five since they played like crap in KC, but one team had to win that game.

Another thing I think that Mark Davis must’ve seen that I even noticed is that they changed a lot of their defensive and offensive philosophies once Al passed away. Would that piss his son off in a season supposedly dedicated to his father? Possibly, and the glaring change in philosophy was letting the defense play zone a lot for the last 12 games, and ultimately killed them in the Lions game when they have always been a man to man type team in the secondary. Should Jackson have been fired? There’s reasons for keeping him and letting him go. Keeping him would basically blame this past season of failures on injuries (justifiable), the defense, and spreading himself too thin playing GM and coach. The firing however shows that they are re-setting the franchise in Mark Davis’ vision of the franchise opposed to his fathers, which is something all Raiders fans might like to see after nearly a decade of losing somewhat like the Warriors tenure change. Although I don’t know a Raiders fan who honestly hated Al even in his bad years.

I think the most impressive part about all this movement in the front office is that Mark Davis consulted people he was close with, and came out with a clear vision that he would get his team into a better place to succeed not so much next year but in the future. No, he’s not a talent evaluator like Al Davis was, but he does clearly have a plan for the future. It all started with getting Reggie Mackenzie on board, and putting a staff together with that talent evaluating ability. Whether or not Reggie knows what he’s doing remains to be seen, but watching the Packers work their way to winning two Super Bowls while he was working for them, isn’t going to hurt. I thought Mackenzie was well spoken, and seemed to have a clear vision of how the organization should be run, so in the end I’m not that sad Hue is gone. If we could keep him on as the OC, I would love to see that happen, but I wouldn’t blame him for turning that job down. Should be interesting to see what’s next for them, but at the same time it’s kinda sad that the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors are all in constant re-build mode, because sadly the Raiders were pretty much the only successful team I’ve had the chance to root for lately…


NFL Playoff Week 1 Recap

I was actually in town for the first weekend in about a month, and I took full advantage by catching all four playoff games this weekend. We might as well start with Tebow. Arguably the most anticipated game of the weekend, it certainly lived up to the hype – as did Tebow. Once again, he, at times, looked like one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. But he actually made a few more big plays than he usually does, especially with his arm. With the odds stacked against Denver late in the game, it looked like the Steelers got it together just in time to steal the game. They forced overtime, but Tebow magic struck again, on the first play of the extra session no less. Tebow’s long TD pass to Thomas clinched a Broncos win and set up a 2nd round showdown with the Patriots at Foxboro next weekend.

The Giants had an even stronger showing today. Atlanta got on the board early with a safety and took a 2-0 lead. Shockingly, those were the only points the Falcons would score all day. The Giants played surprisingly good ball on both sides and dominated from beginning to end. It was a disappointing finish to the season for the Falcons, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that Michael Turner and Julio Jones waited until the fantasy season was over to put up lackluster numbers.

The Saints did what everyone expected and lit up the scoreboard en route to a matchup with San Francisco next weekend. The Lions hung around longer than expected – long enough for me to think they had a chance. But, in the second half, Detroit stopped scoring and the Saints kept, well, marching in.. to the endzone. I can’t wait to watch Brees and co. take on the NFC’s best defense.

The Houston Texans took advantage of their first ever postseason by disposing of the Bengals. Andy Dalton played pretty well, but appeared to come a bit unraveled toward the end of the game. The other young quarterback, TJ Yates, however, never wavered, and the Texans ran away with it in the second half. It’s amazing to think the team could lose their top two quarterbacks and still find themselves in the second round of the playoffs. It’s too bad they have to go into Baltimore, but they may be able to grind one out in what should be a low-scoring affair.


Doin Wild Lines

Chappy: Well, the regular season sure didn’t end the way I’d hoped it would for the Raiders, but honestly I wasn’t too surprised as they came up short in way too many games, and probably didn’t deserve to win the West just like the Broncos didn’t either. This was by far my best regular season of betting since we’ve been keeping track of our records, so hopefully it keeps on going in the playoffs as well where everyone has to just win baby!

By: I really wish I could have joined Chappy for these picks more consistently this season, but unfortunately work got in the way.  We all have our own burdens.  Anyway, Chappy’s been quite impressive in terms of his overall record, which more than carries the load for both of us.  I hope my last minute playoff run can beef up my season record.  To the lines!

Last week: Chap (4-2)

Overall: Chap (50-35-4) By (27-20)

Cincinnati @ Houston (-3).

Chappy picks Cincy (+3). This might be the most balanced match up of the weekend, and by that I mean these teams are very well balanced in that they don’t do anything poorly. Solid defenses, solid running games, and solid special teams. The X-factor all year for Cincy has been Dalton though. He doesn’t look like a rookie anymore, and is showing that he should be highly considered for the rookie of the year by leading this team that nobody gave a chance to the playoffs. Not sure why, but I see Cincy taking it to Arian Foster by putting 9 in the box and doubling Andre Johnson with the remaining two guys and daring Yates to do something. TJ Yates hasn’t shown me anything to think he can pull out this win, even at home against a team with the same amount of playoff experience as them.

By picks Cincinnati (+3).  Congratulations to the Houston Texans, they finally did it.  All those past seasons of invalid hype has culminated to this, their first post season appearance in franchise history.  Unfortunately for them, it won’t get past Saturday.  In any other season in which Cam Newton wasn’t a rookie, Andy Dalton would be the best first year player, and despite his recent bout with the flu, I trust him tossing it to A.J. Green over T.J. Yates tossing it to Andre Johnson and his gimp leg.  The Bengals are balanced on both sides of the ball, and if they can contain Arian Foster, they should be able to pull off the mild upset.

Detroit @ New Orleans (-11.5)

Chappy picks Detroit (+11.5). I’m not going to say the Lions will win, but if there’s one lesson we’ve learned from them is that this team is never out of a game. Teams that score a lot in the 4th quarter tend to cover spreads quite often. The Stafford-Megatron connection has been huge these last few weeks (pretty much won me a fantasy playoffs), and I don’t see the Saints being able to stop it enough to cover this spread. Brees and Stafford will both get theirs against not so great defenses. I’d almost say the surer bet in this game is the over on points even with it being at 59.5!

By picks Detroit (+11.5).  First of all, let me state that I was pro Detroit Lions before the season began, and although there are some class act players in this organization, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the bunch.  In every national televised game featuring the Lions this season, there have been breakouts of temper tantrums similar to that of a child, a disgusting sight to see from a large, grown man.  Anyway, I’m not as big a fan now.  As much as Drew Brees has been lights out throwing the ball as of late, 11.5 points is hard to cover in a playoff game, especially against another high scoring dome team.  Saints win by 7.

Atlanta @ NY Giants (-3)

Chappy picks Atlanta (+3). A lot of people are saying that the Giants are making a run like they did in 2007, but I don’t buy it. That year was ridiculously lucky, and I think they had a better all around team then especially in the running game. I feel like this is finally the time for Matt Ryan to get a playoff win. The Giants secondary isn’t as good as Roddy White and Julio Jones are, and the routes they often run are short ones that will negate some of that Giants pass rush. I still never understood why a team with a worse record should ever have a home playoff game, but whatever it seems to happen every year now…

By picks NY Giants (-3).  Is it time to jump back on that Matty Ice bandwagon?  Not quite.  As much as I like Atlanta and the makeup of their team, I just feel like the Giants are clicking on all cylinders now.  Victor Cruz might be the most explosive player in the game right now and I predict a big game from him, in fact more specifically, a game changing play from him.  Plus it’s tough for a dome team to travel on the road to cold climates come January and try to steal one from a veteran team.

Pittsburgh @ Denver (+8.5)

Chappy picks Denver (+8.5). I’m not sold on Denver winning this game, but the way Rothlisberger has played the last few weeks I wouldn’t be shocked if he throws a few picks to the ball hawking Denver defense that will keep it close. Tebow should have more opportunities to make plays throwing the ball since Clarke is out for this game. That being said, he probably won’t throw that much regardless of who is in the secondary no matter how much Elway wants him to throw. Win or lose, I bet all we hear about next week is what happened in this game to Tebow…

By picks Denver (+8.5).  I’m not making this pick for the spread, I actually think Tim Tebow can pull this off.  The Broncos have lost three straight and only deserve to be in the post season because the Chargers and Raiders ended up being greater disappointments.  But this is a new stage, and even more so, this is Tebow Time.  Denver’s defense is good enough to keep the game close late, and if that’s the case, Tebow and company pull it off.  If you don’t think so, you’re obviously not a person of faith.


The Few Things I Remember From This New Year’s Weekend

My body came back yesterday, but I think my head just finally returned from Tahoe this evening. It was a blurry three days up at the cabin, but I managed to sprinkle in some sports here and there. The majority of it came on Saturday morning/afternoon, as it was do or die for not only the Oakland Raiders, but also the West Sac Narwhals (you guessed it, my fantasy team). Here’s the recap of my weekend in sports…

Boring Morning Games – The scores may look close, but the 49ers-Rams and Jets-Dolphins definitely didn’t feel as close as your average 34-27 or 19-17 games. Neither had much meaning, other than the Jets being able to make a small claim toward a playoff berth. The Niners were also able to sew up a bye in the first round. The fantasy relevance was limited, with only Steven Jackson struggling to muster up 9 points. The Rams did a good job of wiping points away from my opponent though, putting up 17 against his 49ers Defense. I’d have much rather been watching the Lions-Packers. I opted to start Matthew Stafford for just the second time this season. The only other time was during Tom Brady’s bye week, and he turned in a dismal 12 point performance. Who would’ve thought, though, that it’d be the other Matt throwing for 6 TDs. But, when you’re in Northern California, you can’t expect to see any other NFC games while the 49ers are playing. Maybe I was just bored waiting for the game of the year….

Oakland Raiders Can End 9 Year Playoff Drought – The scenarios were many, but one was simple. Beat the Chargers, and get a Denver loss at the hands of Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’re in. Beating the Chargers isn’t usually a doable task, but Oakland beat them in pretty convincing fashion in front of a national Thursday night NFL Network stage IN San Diego. Throw in Orton’s return to Denver (he HAS to light it up against his old team, right?), and I was feeling like the chances were good. The Chiefs took care of business, even if Orton didn’t light it up. A 7-3 ballgame seemed like the perfect setup for the Raiders to get in. Ultimately, though, a porous defense and untimely turnovers – both Raiders staples this season – squandered away a golden opportunity. Oakland will miss the playoffs yet again, and Denver backs into the playoffs, riding a 6-22, 60 yard, 1 interception, and a fumble lost game by Tim Tebow. Sounds to me like a perfect script for a Denver upset against Pittsburgh next weekend. Too bad I wasn’t still 10 minutes from Nevada anymore!

Demarcus Cousins Demanded Trade From Sacramento Kings – This one caught me way off guard. I read the news on my phone, and quite frankly, I was many sheets to the wind at this point. The headlines, though, were crystal clear….

“Demarcus Cousins DEMANDS Trade”

“Demarcus Cousins SENT HOME For Good”

“Demarcus Cousins Has Played His LAST GAME In Sacramento”

By the time I got caught up on all the news, it was over. I just watched the Kings lose to the Grizzlies, but Cousins was back out there as if nothing ever happened. Albeit he came off the bench and played just 22 minutes, it’s amazing enough that he saw the floor at all. He struggled offensively, just 4 points on 1-5 shooting; but he grabbed 8 rebounds, including a game-high 6 offensive boards. I’m hoping it gets more back to normal in the next few games. Here’s a BIG reason why… Tonight, I was officially SOLD on Jimmer Fredette as an effective NBA player. He CAN get his shot off. He CAN create off the dribble. He CAN shoot 3’s from NBA range. OK, I suppose no one ever doubted the last one. Well to make up for that one, I’ll add that he CAN pass. Like Tyreke Evans, no one will ever be sold on him being an NBA point guard, but he can find the open man like one. So maybe two of those guys in the backcourt can equal one point guard. They’ve got another guy who can light it up with the best of them too in Marcus Thornton. If only they had a tall, quick, athletic, passing big man to round it out. Oh wait, they DO. It appears they’re on the brink of trading him though. If they end up shipping Cousins away, we’ll know it had to have been bad, because he’s a once in a decade talent, like a second coming of Chris Webber. Unfortunately, it took Webber a trade or two to really find his groove. Cousins has lasted longer in Sac than C-Webb did in Golden State, but it feels eerily similar. Who knows, maybe Demarcus gets reunited with John Wall in Washington for a few years, then he spends his prime in Oakland for the Warriors.

One Last Thought – Were there ANY College Football Bowl Games on New Year’s Day? I thought New Year’s Day was supposed to be about Bowl Games…? I swear, when I was a kid, roughly 6 of the best 7 of all 15 bowl games were on New Year’s Day. If I remember my weekend correctly (which I certainly don’t), NONE of the 35 Bowls were played on Sunday. What the HELL?! Oh well, Sunday was for BBQing. I broke out my new smoker and probably served up the best trio of Tri-Tip, Pork Loin, and Smoked Salmon this side of the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, I said smoked Tri-Tip… It’s California. I can’t find a brisket to save my life out here. One day, smoked Tri-Tip is gonna be a nationwide phenomenon though. It’s gonna be the Tim Tebow of barbeque… no one thinks it can be that good, but all it does it WIN.


Doin Lines Week 17

We missed the lines for the first time in its three year existence last weekend. There was just too much going on with life to get a post up. Fortunately for me, I now can’t finish the regular season below .500 this year, so I’m playing with house money this final weekend of the season! And as a tribute to me winning, may as well put Charlie Sheen atop the post.

Week 15: Chap (2-3)

Overall: Chap (46-33-4), By (27-20)

San Francisco @ St. Louis (+10.5)

Chappy picks San Francisco (-10.5). It might take awhile for the Niners to get four field goals on the board, but once they do it’s a lock to cover. I don’t see the Rams scoring really at all against this stout D without Bradford behind center. Steven Jackson is no Marshawn Lynch these days as dinged up as he’s been. The Niners should be motivated for this game since they want a bye week, and that can only happen with a win, and with the tie-breaker over New Orleans that’s all they really have to do, which sounds like plenty of motivation to me.

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (-3.5)

Chappy picks Indy (+3.5). If there’s one thing the Colts have shown us this year it’s that they don’t care to tank a season for Andrew Luck. Not sure I entirely agree with this strategy, but in this crapfest of a game, I’m taking the points. Jacksonville doesn’t confuse opposing defenses much on offense giving the ball to MJD on half their plays, so I feel like Indy stays close enough to cover in what will be the least watchable game on the Sunday slate.

New York Jets @ Miami (-2)

Chappy picks Miami (-2). The Dolphins have proven to be a solid team this second half of the season. Too bad they wasted away their first six games or they could be in contention for a playoff spot. Reggie has proved he’s an every down back much to the surprise of well, everyone… It’s a shame this might be Jason Taylor’s last game. It looks like the guy has more in the tank, but I can’t see them letting him end his career with a loss. He’s going to pound Sanchez into a couple of interceptions.

Carolina @ New Orleans (-8)

Chappy picks New Orleans (-8). The Saints don’t have to play their starters, but since they still have a shot at the #2 seed if SF loses, they do have something to play for. They’re at home against a so-so Carolina defense, so there are plenty of points to be had for Brees and Co. I see him stacking on another 300+ yards to his passer record, and what’s even more amazing about Brees season is he might not even win the MVP. Cam might have another 3-5 TD game, but that won’t be enough against a team that usually puts up 40 at home.

San Diego @ Oakland (-3)

Chappy picks Oakland (-3). Probably a hopeful homer pick here, but I do see them beating SD, and the Broncos winning as well keeping Oakland out of the playoffs once again. Jacoby Ford has made his way to the practice field this week for the first time since Carson’s second game. Have I been overly excited about Palmer’s play lately? Not really, but having all of his receivers healthy is going to help him this weekend. They’ve played really well at home this season, and I think that will continue with a lot on the line. After they win, hopefully Orton can upset god and beat the Denver Tebows. There will be a post about it if that does indeed happen, but I’m not holding my breathe.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-11.5)

Chappy picks Atlanta (-11.5). A pissed off Atlanta team playing against a doormat of a team in Tampa feels like the perfect storm for a blowout, and letting some of the key Falcons sit for the final couple quarters. The Falcons already clinched a playoff spot, but it doesn’t take much to beat the Bucs these days as the team seems to have given up on Raheem whether he fires himself or the team fires him.


Doin Lines Week 15

Chappy: I feel like there’s a lull in every football season where most of the games you watch seem to blend together in a I don’t give a f**k what’s happening except if my fantasy player is doing good, which is why I never understood why people thought they should extend the season any longer than it currently is. Do I need two extra week’s of football added onto the season? Not for me. I think I mentally check out from what the analysts and writers say for a solid four to five week period aside from injury updates. By won’t be joining me again this weekend, as once again life has gotten in the way. Sam Hurd took Doin Lines to a new level, so he was the obvious choice for the picture up top of this post. Now it’s onto Tebow time with the picks!

Last Week: Chap (3-2)

Overall: Chap (41-28-4), By (27-20)

Dallas @ Tampa Bay (+7)

Chappy picks Dallas (-7). We’ll if the Tampa resident Sportschump isn’t picking Tampa Bay, I don’t see how I could. Dallas has looked good at times this year, but then they have a no show every now and then, and even though they usually collapse in December I think they should handle the Bucs who have regressed a ton this year on their way to seven straight losses. I’d be shocked if Tampa covered the spread or won this game.

Green Bay @ Kansas City (+13.5).

Chappy picks Green Bay (-13.5). This feels like the no brainer of the week since NOBODY beats the Pack, which scares me to an extent since two TD’s are a big spread in the NFL. That’s not the case here though, because the Packers can put up by 14 before all the fans are even in their seats. Kansas City usually plays well at home, but with the coaching change and a less than healthy roster with Palko leading the way, I don’t see them scoring more than 10 points, and the Pack can put up 30 in their sleep.

New Orleans @ Minnesota (+6.5).

Chappy picks New Orleans (-6.5). New Orleans in a dome, how can you bet against them!?! These two teams couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum. The Saints are on a 5 game win streak, the Vikings are on a 5 game losing streak, and are looking to lose more. I hear Adrian Peterson is going to be back for this one to help out people’s fantasy teams, but I don’t feel like that will keep them within a TD after they get down by two or three scores. Plus I’d rather just see him sit out so I win my bet.

New England @ Denver (+6.5)

Chappy picks Denver (+6.5). There’s noway God lets the Broncos lose by more than a touchdown. Actually is there anyway God lets the Broncos lose period? As much as I want to see the Pats win to help my Raiders out, I just don’t see it happening. Tebow might even look like a good throwing QB this weekend playing against such a crappy defense that even made Dan Orklovsky and Rex Grossman look good. If the Broncos can shorten the game, ie not give Brady a ton of possessions by running all game, I don’t see it being that high scoring which works in the Broncos favor. I feel like Von Miller will spend a lot of his time covering Gronk, and if there’s anyone that can do it, it’s him. I feel the same way Steve Smith does, the Broncos D doesn’t get nearly enough credit.

Detroit @ Oakland (+1)

Chappy picks Detroit (-1). I don’t feel good about this game one bit. Why didn’t Goodell suspend Suh for three games instead of two? Oh yeah, he probably heard from God’s messenger Tim Tesus that he needs the Raiders to continue to fade, so even if Suh is the anti-christ he still should get to play in this game. Both these teams playoff hopes are riding on this weekend. Right now the Raiders just don’t have enough offense to keep up with the opposing teams scoring on their so-so defense. Denarius Moore is expected to be back, so at least with a deep threat in the lineup they can get the ground game going again, but that won’t be enough as the Raiders season ends this weekend.


Doin Lines Week 14

Chappy: Let’s just not talk about last weekend and leave it at that since it wasn’t a good week for either of us. Unfortunately By won’t be joining me with the picks this week, because work has gotten in the way again.

Last Week: Chappy (2-3) By (1-3)

Overall: Chappy (38-26-4) By (27-20)

Oakland @ Green Bay (-11)

New Orleans @ Tennessee (+3.5)

Chappy picks New Orleans (-3.5). I’ve rarely bet on the Titans games, because they’re a very hard team to figure out. I’ve heard all about how the Saints struggle on the road, but this offense is clicking on a level they haven’t seen since their 2009 Super Bowl run. It hasn’t just been through the air either. Regardless of who’s been running the ball  or catching out of the backfield they’ve been gobbling up the yardage. I know Chris Johnson is tearing it up lately, but the rest of the Titans offense just doesn’t convince me they’ll be able to keep up on the scoreboard. Maybe they’re 7-5 for a reason, but I honestly can’t put my finger on why they are.

New England @ Washington (+8)

Chappy picks New England (-8). Is this the same New England team that was favored by 20 last weekend against a Colts team that was put to sleep with Peyton’s neck surgery anesthesia? I think so, and I’m sure they know that last weekends game was way too close for comfort. I expect to see a huge game from Brady and Co with their defense stepping up more than it has in a few weeks. I’m sure the Grossman-Helu option play will get the Pats prepared perfectly for their match up with the Denver Tebows in week 15.

Oakland @ Green Bay (-11)

Chappy picks Green Bay (-11). I wish one of the three injured guys between McFadden, Ford, and Moore was healthy enough to play. If ONE of them was playing I’d feel comfortable that the Raiders would be able to cover the spread. I’m getting annoyed with how Hue has been our defacto GM this year, and trying to wear too many hats in the organization. I didn’t mind the Palmer trade, and still don’t, but the second time he was put into a GM type ruling with McClain, he showed us why he can’t do both jobs. While worrying about trading for Palmer, we ended up getting thumped by KC. While worrying about whether or not to play McClain last weekend ended with them getting destroyed by Miami. Hue didn’t have the team prepared the two times he was playing GM instead of concentrating on winning that week’s game like a HC should be doing. I look for the Raiders to play better than last week, but let’s face it, they’re playing the Packers in Lambeau… Oh a sad note, my condolences go out to Chris Johnson, and the sister he lost to a senseless shooting, maybe Rolando will learn something from this.

Chicago @ Denver (-3.5)

Chappy picks Denver (-3.5). As if it couldn’t look more hopeless for the Raiders supposed resurgent season. Now the healthy Von Miller led Broncos D gets to feast on Caleb Hanie and his Forteless offense. Maybe Urlacher or Briggs can do us a favor and knock a snot bubble out of Tebow. I’m actually predicting there will be no Tebow magic in this one, because the Bears will never really be in this game long enough for that Tebow magic to actually happen. They could probably win with Eric Decker starting at QB this weekend. I think God has one of those stickers on his truck with a Broncos fan peeing on a Raiders logo.

St. Louis @ Seattle (-9.5) 

Chappy picks Seattle (-9.5). I usually try to avoid these games, but this one was an easy choice. Seattle actually looks like a solid team recently. You could even say they’re the Dolphins of the NFC as hot as they’ve been. If you haven’t been enjoying Marshawn going all beast mode the past four weeks, then he must’ve scorned you in a fantasy league in years past. Seattle is really tough to beat at home, and St. Louis forgot how to score points a few weeks ago when they gave up on their season. Not even Steven Jackson can get interested in their games. If the Rams score more than 10 points, I’d call that a mini-win for them at this point.


Doin Lines Week 13

Chappy: Whoa, in By’s absence, I almost had a perfect week if I hadn’t stupidly gone against the Packers on Thanksgiving. This week we both decided to skip the Thursday game altogether… I’m creeping in on my best gambling season since the first year I started betting on the games. Naturally winning a lot that first season got me hooked for life, but this year may have gotten me more into it than ever. Enough of my bragging babbling and onto this weeks picks!

By: Sucks that I was too swamped at work to put in my thoughts on the match ups last week.  But with Chappy going 6-1, the hot streak continues for the Doin Work team, as both of us remain well over .500.  Not much else to say other than enjoy our picks, and onto the lines!

Last Week: Chappy (6-1)

Overall: Chappy (36-23-4) By (26-17)

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-7)

Chappy picks Cincinnati (+7). For some strange reason I’m really confident in this pick. I almost feel like taking the moneyline on this game, but that’s probably not going to happen when I can take a touchdown. The Steelers are coming in banged up with Big Ben’s finger that he injured more in practice, Polamalu’s head, and Woodley’s hammy. The Bengals on the other hand have basically nobody hurt, and are healthier than any team I can think of off the top of my head. Oh and the Bengals are road warriors this year, going 5-0 against the spread. Will Cincy win and keep their playoff hopes alive? I can’t say they will, but it will definitely be a closer than a TD type game.

Atlanta @ Houston (+2.5)

Chappy picks Atlanta (-2.5). I think every week I write that a team is overlooked, and this week is no different as I think Atlanta has really rounded into form, and they catch a huge break playing against a third string QB in T.J. Yates. As if the Texans weren’t predictable enough before with their offensive scheme, now they might run 85% of the time. I see the Texans franchise long 5-game winning streak coming to an end as Matt Ryan puts up some big numbers on a defense that is on the field too much during this game.

By picks Atlanta (-2.5). Atlanta isn’t the best of road teams, but they’re definitely a talented bunch, with enough weapons to compete against the Saints or Packers in a slugfest on any given Sunday.  But the fact that this game is considered an even bet, when Houston will most likely start a third string quarterback in T.J. Yates speaks volume on the balance this Texans team has.  We all know of the two headed monster in the backfield with Foster and Tate, Andre Johnson is back and closing in all full strength, but it’s Houston’s underrated defense that steadies the ship in my opinion.  With all that said, I can’t see the Texans holding off the Falcons with whoever they throw in at quarterback this weekend.  That’s just too much to overcome when considering their opponent.

Oakland @ Miami (-3)

By picks Oakland (+3). Miami has been very tough lately, and prior to the Dallas game last Thanksgiving, their defense has been rather stiff.  In fact, even in that game, they had Tony Romo against the ropes for the greater portion of that game.  Offensively, Matt Moore looks just as effective, if not more effective than Chad Henne did earlier in the season.  And don’t look now, but is that Reggie Bush shouldering the load as the lead back?  Unfortunately Miami is facing an Oakland team that has yet to peak, but is coming off an impressive win against a then streaking Bears team.  When Carson Palmer finally clicks with his receivers, watch out!  The one thing the Raiders can hang their hat on, is that running game.  Darren McWho?  Michael Bush has filled in and at times outshined DMac.  And I expect more of the same this week.  Raiders by 7.

Denver @ Minnesota (PK)

By picks Denver (PK). I’m sorry, but I can’t explain the Tebow phenomenon.  Like I’ve said in the past, I’ve been a Tebow fan, and I knew of what he was capable of doing in college purely on his will to compete, but this is the NFL.  This is the elite among the elite.  And according to the experts, Tebow is not supposed to be successful at this level.  Well he’s 5-1 as a starter this year and has a once dead Broncos team in the hunt for a playoff spot.  It’s tough to bet on a west coast team travelling east, but the fact that one side has a hobbled AP, and the other an improbable winner, I like my chances with the latter.  God’s QB delivers again.

Baltimore @ Cleveland (+6.5)

Chappy picks Baltimore (-6.5). As much as I hate to pick the Ravens after a big win after they seem to usually choke against a crap team like the Browns, but not this weekend. I don’t see how they can play down to the Browns level even if they are division rivals. I think what makes me think they won’t play down to the competition is they get a few extra days to prepare after playing on Thanksgiving. Peyton Hillis might be back, but that won’t help as much since he’s been a huge disappointment all year long and the Ravens are pretty good at stuffing the run lately…

Green Bay @ New York Giants (+7)

Chappy picks Green Bay (-7). There’s one way to stop Aaron Rodgers, and that is to knock him out of the game. Without Osi in the lineup, I don’t forsee any Rodgers concussions. The Packers also had some extra time to prepare for the Giants, which makes me think they’ll do what the Saints did to their defense. I was watching some highlights of Rodgers that Kurt Warner went through, and it looks like he channeled some inner Brett Favre with a little Peyton mixed in. Favre in that he was taking risks, and Peyton in that he always makes the right choice on where to throw the ball. If the Pack get out to a big lead, don’t be surprised to see the boo birds coming out in NY as their team gives up early in the third quarter.

By picks Green Bay (-7). I know this is essentially a must win for Eli Manning and the Giants.  And I know they’ll be playing at the New Meadowlands.  But I just can’t bet against Aaron Rodgers.  He’s the clear cut favorite for MVP this season, so much so that if you a bet a dollar on him to win the award right now in Vegas, and he does win it, you lose a dollar.  I know it’s standard protocol for a team flirting with perfection to not talk about the potential feat, but there’s something about the way the Pack carry themselves that makes me think they’re really going to go for it.  And aside from the Saints game on opening night, I must say, they haven’t been truly threatened to lose yet.  If Drew Brees ripped apart the Giants secondary, what do you think Rodgers might do?  Pack, big.

Detroit @ New Orleans (-9)

Chappy picks New Orleans (-9). It’s hard not to like what the Saints have been doing at home this year putting up 40+ ppg. No need to tell you about all their weapons, because that might take as long as this entire post to break down. One other thing you have to be excited about with the Saints is they are pretty much completely healthy. The Lions have fallen back into the team they’ve been for the past few decades. An undisciplined bunch that finds ways to lose. They kinda remind me of the Raiders last year, improving, but just not quite there yet in terms of maturity (not that the Raiders are mature this year). The Saints are there, and will roll them up in the Sunday night late game.