Archive for January, 2010

Another Strange Trip, Football Included

January 16, 2010

The annular solar eclipse brought with it devastation and nature’s wrath, specifically in the form of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island nation of Haiti this past Tuesday. You could barely call it a nation now; by virtually all accounts the place is on the brink of turning into a free for all, with violence escalating over basic essentials like food and water. I hate referring to the death toll because I feel it makes light of lost lives and tends to take away from how the tragedy strikes many on much more personal levels, but reportedly 50,000 have been lost in the last three days. This may be a shocking estimate and sell newspapers, but those 49,999 probably don’t mean a damn to the husband or wife of some one who lost a loved one amidst the ruins. Many will not be found for burial, and thousands of corpses have found resting places along streets or barricading intersections. The scene is gruesome, mortifying.

It is strange in moments like this to reflect on how lucky we are in our soft Western world bubbles, pre-wrapped and packaged in aluminum foil for us, well insulated. I don’t know if its for good or for ill, but anyone who doesn’t consider themselves fortunate to not be at the breaking ground is a fool. CNN ran reel after reel of pure human carnage, and although we tend to over deify ourselves in various circumstances, the dignity for life must be a priority. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go to them, and we must use our resources on both the individual and state levels to provide whatever relief we can. I am making a small contribution, and though I don’t intend on boasting over charity, it is something for us all to think about.

Anyways, I would like to now take a complete shift of gears, so bear with me as I rev myself up and start spewing out some football. Last week was a split, with my picks of Baltimore and Dallas making me some cash (Baltimore was the big, and Ray Rice came through as anticipated). Ochocinco and Aaron Rogers let me down, and I went against my own playoff betting rules of “To Hell with Forcing yourself to root for Green Bay” and “forget betting on a team led by a showboater who is unproven in the playoffs.” Lesson Learned.

Tomorrow, I like the Cardinals taking down the Saints in the over, as you can’t bet low on gunslinging quarterbacks in the playoffs. I think this is Kurt Warner’s final season, and this guy is simply magic in the playoffs. Talk about doing work, he has a Superbowl record for passer rating and knows how to take a team through the walk that is the NFL postseason with a number of impressive victories with various teams spanning his career. The Saints will come out and take it to the end, but I just can’t ride the New Orleans bus into defeat. Mark it here, Warner is Bowl bound as I said in December/November.

Game 2 is a Colt’s no brainer in the under, but I’m not sure ‘t they cover the spread. Give up to 3 or 4, but anything over 7.5 might put it out of reach. This is playoff football. I think it will be a grittier game, and Manning surely will lead the Colts to victory as the reins are unleashed and he is allowed to fire all cylinders for a full game. He also has the bitter taste of the last few playoffs in which the Colts had first round byes but failed to win a game. I think Flacco et al. fight a tough battle, and the kid performs well as both defenses provide problems for opposing QB’s, but it won’t be enough for Indy’s wonderboy. Don’t expect Rice to carry his team into another victory wither with a well coached Colts DFence, so watch the Colts take it down at home.

I’ll talk to you tomorrow, and I hope we all meet at the bar ’round midnight with fat wads of cash oozing out of our pockets because of these blockbuster calls. If not, thanks for another read and keep your noses to the proverbial grindstones. Achoo.


WildCard Weekend

January 10, 2010

Dear Esteemed Readers,

I apologize sincerely for my abrupt hiatus. Unfortunately, your author has a tendency to veer from the path of dedicated and timely publishing in order to pursue of other follies, and you will have to bear with him, as he would surely do the same for you. In all seriousness though, lets get our eyes back to football and the wacky happenings of the world the past week.

J-E-T-S. New Jersey’s team. I hate to say it, but they are going to make the AFC championship game. They look good, and they have a savvy that indicates intentions of victory in the grueling NFL playoffs. Mark Sanchez has been the most steadily rising rookie stock option, and their defense looks fit and murderous. Such a combination is often lethal, as quarterbacks hold the key for Super Bowl success (consider why the Patriots and Packers have been the most heavily favored sports team the last five years) and defenses that prevent the run from dominating are invaluable in playoff worthy runs. Watch out for those Jets, hear it here first.

An equally compelling story, and similar parallel, in the NFC resides in Dallas, as the Cowboys swept out the Eagles and their anemic offense while removing another monkey from the back of the 2009-2010 season. Romo looked on point and confident, while the defense smothered McNabb and contained Jackson to next to nil. It was impressive, and despite an arena-silencing Micheal Vick touchdown sling in the first half, the stadium seemed alive and inspiring throughout the game. Many analysts have written the place off as a slouch corporate playground rendering no real home field advantage for America’s team, but even a drunk accountant knows how to stand up and talk trash from the Motorola Seating Section in Jerry’s World. Alaska was once consider a laughable subject as well,  so who knows what kind of legend could become of this place.

Now, we look onward and upward to tomorrow’s matchups. First, look for Joe Flacco to come out firing as Baltimore takes down New England, as a sure fire bet falls on Sunday. Like anything, when you have two guarantees (see New England and Green Bay comment earlier), one has to lose. Tomorrow it is Tom and the Patriots, with a waning Moss and an injured Welker, to stumble at home to the boys from Baltimore. Ray Rice is going to grind yards out in the December grass, and I like the Ravens if they can win the turn over battle and Keep Flacco around 68% in completions. Pick one is a grueling bitch of a call, as I know what those East Coast heroes are capable of, but I just don’t think this is the year for Brady and co. The Ravens have been able to shut down the likes of Chad Ochocinco, and Moss doesn’t seem like this season has rubbed him the right way.

Game two is the sure bet, with Green Bay looking to destroy every rank of the clingy Favre idolizers, and Arizona standing in their way. I like FOX’s odds with a Minnesota/Green Bay showdown, and you’ve got to think Congress has it’s bailout money backed by this sure fire victory over Arizona. Even though Kurt Warner remains the most thoughtful and well rounded QB in the league, the Cardinals have some key injuries and have been exposed to be not that divine since their once “miraculous” victory over the highly thought of Vikings. I know Warner has the experience, but I now believe a lack of proper support around him may cause a L in the column for Sunday. Chalk it up, Green Bay in the over (but any bet with a spread over 3 be sure to postpone until a halftime analysis can be made), and take your money with the rest of the pocket pushers.

For this, we rest at ease. Tomorrow will be a good day and full of fine football, and I hope to snatch up all the leftovers from the week, microwave them in a large ceramic bowl at  400 degrees for 7 minutes and take a fork at the creation. I will keep your posted, as wild card weekends keep getting weirder. Stay tuned for gross misconduct and overtly rude social commentary in Sunday’s portion of the PSJC.