Happy Friday, Gabbers! It’s December already...2013 is almost over. Looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s and having some free time and spending some some of it re-introducing myself to the family. (OK, it’s not that bad.) It’s been a busy week in sports, and as always I’ve enjoyed catching up with it on the Gab. Old Harry and Lanz (part of the Boston Sports Alliance here at the Gab--I just made that up, I like alliances and crap like that) did a great job covering the Boston angle with the Patriots surviving baseless accusations from opponents, weird high school sports happenings with fake/real racism in the Western part of the state, and Jacoby Ellsbury leaving Boston for the Yankees with 1/1,000,000 the outrage when Johnny Damon did the same.
They did such a great and thorough job I can spend the whole blog writing about the Texans-Jaguars game on Thursday Night Football...
(that’s the sound of everyone closing their laptops simultaneously)
Just kidding. :)
Let’s take a swing through the NFL real quick with my homage to great writers of my youth and NFL predictions:
Jaguars 27 - Texans 17
A month ago, picking Jacksonville anytime was insane. A year ago, picking Jacksonville over Houston was beyond insane. Tonight, not picking the Jags seems odd. The team is winning and young coach Gus Bradley has his team playing hard and aggressive. The Texans had their last hurrah last week and lost in heart-breaking fashion to the Patriots. The Texans may be in great shape to draft a real quarterback and pull a Kansas City Chiefs like turnaround next year, but right now this team is going to be more deflated than that balloon my daughter let go of on the Fourth of July.
Vikings 24 - Ravens 23
The Ravens are an odd team to figure out. Madly overpaid quarterback, aging running back, bi-polar offensive line, decent defense, annoying coach, and still no logical explanation for giving away wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the offseason. That said, I can see the Ravens get hot and go 4-0 down the stretch, grab the last WildCard, beat the Chiefs and Broncos on the road, and then be facing the Patriots in the AFC Championship for the third straight season. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems. Here’s hoping Adrian Peterson goes for 200+ yards and the Vikings pull off the upset. I don’t think its likely, but I keep telling myself if I believe, it can happen.
Colts 27 - Bengals 23
Both of these teams are going to win their respective divisions; however, both teams peaked in the first half of the season and could be underdogs at home to their WildCard opponents in the playoffs. Both teams have issues on offense: the Colts are not as explosive without Reggie Wayne. The Bengals keep running out BenJarvus Green-Ellis for some inexplicable reason and no one believes Richie Cunningham Andy Dalton at quarterback can lead the offense to victory when they NEED to score. Right now, the Colts have Luck on their side, and that makes all the difference.
Patriots 34 - Browns 13
As always, I end up writing a lot about the Patriots (at least 4 or 5 articles a week) and am doing a favor by covering the Browns regularly for a buddy on his website (Browns writers are apparently like Spinal Tap drummers). As such, I feel all that knowledge is useless because NO ONE is thinking the Patriots do anything short of blowing out the Browns in Foxboro, MA on Sunday. That said, there are some interesting sub-plots: Do the Patriots allow fumbling running back Stevan Ridley out of the Dog House against the Dawgs? Will the Patriots offense get on track and have “that game” where they drive for six or seven touchdowns? Is there anything better than watching tight end Rob Gronkowski dominate as a run blocker, pass catcher, and still act like a big, dumb kid? Can Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon light it up again for 200+ yards for an unprecedented third straight game? Who the heck is going to play quarterback for the Browns if all their QBs have concussions? What does it say about the Patriots if they don’t blow out the Browns?
Raiders 17 - Jets 10
The Raiders have one of those rosters that looks like a semi-pro club: “We got McGloin at QB...you know, Jimmy’s boy. There’s Jennings at running back...remember him, he was a grade ahead of us in high school? At receiver there’s Streater, there’s that guy Denarius some-thing-or-other, and that crazy Rivera dude.” Does anyone know anyone on that team? Terrelle Pryor is known, but Matt McGloin is starting now. Darren McFadden is well known, but he lost his job to Rashad Jennings. They recycle receivers every year it seems. The Jets are sad sacks who are close to quitting on Rex Ryan. The Semi Pro Club takes it.
Packers 19 - Falcons 16
Just think, in September the FOX network had this game circled and highlighted as “Potential NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field for National Telecast.” Now it ranks below Lions vs Eagles as most likely to be watched by the national audience. No Aaron Rodgers and the bottom fell out on the Falcons. When all things are equal, go by the gambling code: home team plus three points.
Lions 27 - Eagles 24
I have no idea what to do with this Lions team anymore. They suck. They dominate. They suck for a while and then dominate. They dominate. Then they suck again. That said, does anyone buy Nick Foles and coach Chip Kelly yet? No? Me neither.
Steelers 28 - Dolphins 13
Speaking of not buying it, if Baltimore blows it against the Vikings and the Steelers win, they’re right back in the WildCard race. The Steelers have the passing game to be dangerous if their offensive line gives Big Ben a few seconds to set his feet and look downfield. The defense is still suspect (what happened to all those linebackers?), but Miami is still dysfunctional. It appears the Dolphins are finally moving past the Incognito-Martin mess, but they have a lot of holes still. Ryan Tannehill is better than I thought coming out of college, but I still think he is a few years away from his peak (he was a receiver coming into college). The running game is inconsistent and wide receiver Mike Wallace has improved, but still looks like an overpriced bust. The front four are very good, but the imported linebackers are weak and the secondary scares no one.
Buccaneers 27 - Bills 23
I loved seeing crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and all his security at the Bills “home” game in Toronto. Sitting and signing autographs, chomping on chicken wings, and then booted by some folk singer whose seat he had stolen. You can’t make this shit up. Does anyone outside of Buffalo know what happened in the game last week? Of course not. It was Bills losing to Atlanta and all eyes were on Rob Ford. All highlights were Rob Ford chomping chicken wings. It’s great theatre.
Chiefs 12 - Redskins 10
I’m wondering if 22 points combined is too much for these offenses? The Redskins have collapsed and I blame the coach and front office. Quarterback Robert Griffin the Third (or RGIII) was clearly not ready to play quarterback the first month or so of the season. The Redskins should have had him on the PUP list or IR designated to return. They have a very good backup in Kirk Cousins and there was no reason to rush RGIII back. The team let the media and the quarterback dictate team policy. Mike Shanahan should know better. Also, why does Robert Griffin go by the third? Did his Dad and Grandpa play in the NFL. Hell, I’m Hal Bent the third, but I don’t go around signing HB3 on everything. Marketing? Vanity? Who knows.
Titans 48 - Broncos 38
Just kidding…(or am I?). No, put it Broncos 41 - Titans 17. Tennessee is just not that good on offense. Of course, the stories this week are all about Tennessee pursuing Peyton Manning 2 years ago when he was a free agent. THAT would have been more interesting than going to Denver. Tennessee plays Indianapolis twice a year, Manning played his college ball in Tennessee, but I don’t think the fit was quite right with offensive coordinator Chris Palmer (long gone from Tennessee). Too bad owner Bud Adams did not just say “we’ll bring in whoever you want” and see what Peyton Manning would do as a Titan.
Cardinals 23 - Rams 16
The Cardinals are looking better and better each week, and then I remember that Carson Palmer is their quarterback and I start dismissing them as a team that can make some noise in the playoffs. I wonder if the Rams fans are sick of waiting for Sam Bradford to string together a couple of good performances. He seems smart, athletic, and strong-armed...he just doesn’t have “IT”. At least the Rams have the Redskins probable top-five first round pick for RGIII to chase another quarterback.
Chargers 35 - Giants 15
Time for the Giants to get back to their losing ways. Eli Manning goes to the city he rejected...which still puzzles me. I mean, San Diego. What the heck is wrong with San Diego? Great weather. Tijuana around the corner. Awesome powder blue throwback uniforms. Sure, he got his two rings, so it was worth it in the end. But it did not make sense then, and I hope the San Diego fans are loud in the lungs with ol’ Cousin Eli.
49ers 13 - Seahawks 12
Seattle on the road is not as scary as Seattle at home. I expect the Seahawks corners will struggle to cover Anquan Boldin and if the 49ers can get some semblance of a running game going they could control the clock and take a win from the division leaders. Of course, I could see Seattle put up 40 points and intercept Colin Kaepernick four times, too. But I’ll stick with this score.
Saints 27 - Carolina 24
This is a super Sunday night game. For the Saints, after being embarrassed on Monday night in Seattle, they must be chomping at the bit to get back on the field and get to it. For Carolina QB Cam Newton, this must be a big test to go into the Super Dome and battle it out for the division lead in the NFC South. I like Carolina’s chances, but how do you pick against a motivated Drew Brees at home? I will say that I think Carolina will show they are legit, though, even if they don’t pull out the win.
Cowboys 38 - Bears 34
Well, it’s a great game if you love offense. Neither team has what you would call an overachieving defense (both teams give up 25+ points per game). This is a fantasy football dream as both teams should be able to rack up a lot of yards and points. If Jay Cutler were healthy, I’d say the Bears may be able to keep up with the Cowboys...regardless, it should be a fun game to watch.
As always, thanks for checking in...I appreciate it! You can catch my weekly work at cover32com, musketfire.com, firststopfantasy.com, and at h4-entertainment.com.
Cleveland Browns game preview is here: http://firststopfantasy.com/nfl-teams/cleveland-browns/cleveland-browns-can-take-a-positive-step-forward-in-matchup-vs-new-england-patriots/
I look at Patriots running back Stevan Ridley as a key down the stretch here:
A look at what’s wrong with the Patriots defense is here: http://www.h4-entertainment.com/2013/12/new-england-patriots-defense-needs-to-improve-in-a-hurry/
and I’ll have a new post at http://Cover32.com/Patriots by 10am today about why the Patriots NEED to blow-out the Browns on Sunday
Look for a Game Preview Sunday morning at Cover32 and the Instant Analysis of the Patriots game each Sunday afternoon at http://www.musketfire.com
On Monday night at 9pm eastern, you can tune in to hear me go around the NFL with the H4TV NFL writers at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sportsbar1/2013/12/10/nfl-shotgun and feel free to call in and add your 2 cents at 347-202-0508.
Thanks as always for visiting…and be sure to check out the great DVT over here --->
Have a great weekend!