Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NFL WEEK 12

Miami Dolphins at Detroit Lions
Thanksgiving tradition often will lend itself to some exciting football, and occasionally the historically mediocre Lions provide surprise wins. This season finds a fairly equal matchup as Miami is also mired in mediocrity -- although the Dolphins have recently played much better. The Dolphins' defensive front seven will control Detroit, stuffing the run and putting pressure on Kitna all day. Look for an exciting and entertaining game, but in the end Miami will prevail.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys enter this Thanksgiving matchup as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, while the Buccaneers continue to keep their slim playoffs hope alive. Romo and the Cowboys' offense will look to exploit a depleted Buccaneers defense that has played well over the last few weeks. Gruden must find a way to keep the Cowboys off balance with Gradkowski. Both teams will look to establish the run, while setting up the play-action attack. Look for the Cowboys to control this game and extend their winning streak to three games, while keeping pace with the New York Giants in the NFC East race.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Green returned the lineup last week and it was a bit of a struggle for the Kansas City offense. After all they were playing the hapless Raiders. That said, look for the Kansas City offense to come out and play a little more aggressively this week. Denver may have no choice but to be conservative this week. Plummer is just not getting the job done. Sucks that Plummer has a short week or we may be getting ready to see rookie QB Jay Cutler. This game is in Arrowhead and the Chiefs are tough to beat in their building. Denver is coming off a home loss and has to get ready for another division opponent on the road. This game will come down to which team can run the ball the most effectively and which QB makes fewer mistakes. For that reason, I like the Chiefs to defend their home turf.

Short week, don't have time to write about the other games right now.

Here is how I am picking:
Cincinnati at Cleveland - CIN
Jacksonville at Buffalo - BUF
Pittsburgh at Baltimore - BAL
New Orleans at Atlanta - ATL
Carolina at Washington - CAR
San Francisco at St. Louis - SF
Arizona at Minnesota - MIN
Houston at NY Jets - NYJ
Oakland at San Diego - SD
Chicago at New England - NE
NY Giants at Tennessee - NYG
Philadelphia at Indianapolis - IND

MON, NOV 27
Green Bay at Seattle - SEA

Friday, November 17, 2006

NFL PICKS - WEEK WHATEVER

The best part of mid to late season is that the bye weeks are gone so if you are trying to gain success by betting straight odds on overall games, you have more games to choose from. This week could be a nice week to use a 4 or 5 teamer and succeed easily using NFL only. I've said that before and paid the price, but this week looks more promising. Julian Peterson (right) makes his return to the team that didn't want to pay him (49ers).

Atlanta at Baltimore (-4) Worse defenses have given Michael Vick absolute fits, as his prestige and marketability have been spiraling downward after losing to the Lions and Browns. The Ravens have a better defense than those chumps, and should be able to check him once again. The Ravens are 3-0 with Brian Billick working the sidelines as the offensive coordinator, and scoring is not as much of a concern as it once was. Safe to say the Ravens will get this one, and likely cover the 4 points.

Buffalo at Houston (-2.5) I open my eyes and to my surprise the Texans are favored. They certainly played the Jags tough last week after locking horns with the Giants the week before and keeping that one close. Look for this to be a letdown game as I think the Texans have peaked, and the Bills will sneak out with a win. Not exactly an "upset special", but I'll take this as one of my upsets. Can't see myself writing "Hey, the Texans have won three in a row at home" next week.

Chicago at N.Y. Jets (+7) The Bears got serious last week and played a great second half after looking tamed in the first half against the Giants. Same stadium, same result. Can the Bears keep the momentum against the weaker Jets? Shouldn't be too much of a problem if they can remember what worked against the G-Men (Grossman throws wild against a soft secondary, Jones goes outside left tackle for big gains, Hester returns punts inside the 15 for long TDs.) Bears won't go 7-1 in the second half of their schedule, but they will win most games where they are favored by a touchdown, starting with this one.

Cincinnati at New Orleans (-3.5) A close spread for a close game indeed. The game stuck in my memory was the Eagles/Saints game where the two teams decided to run track and score boatloads of points late in the game. The Bengals just played that same game last week with SD. Palmer and Brees have similar QB ratings because they play the same tempo and have similar tendencies of finding streaking receivers for long gains. Take the over and the Saints in a shootout.

Minnesota at Miami (-3.5) This one could be a coin flipper, and is sure to be low scoring (most over/unders are set around 33 points).

New England at Green Bay (+6) I am sure Favre won't have a game like he had last week against the NE defense, who allowed a season-high 17 against IND. If Brady can keep from throwing TDs to Packers DBs, New England is looking at a win. Watch for Maroney to have a big game against a run defense that hasn't seen speed through the middle like his.

Oakland at Kansas City (-10) Trent Green returns, screwing with the adage that you CAN lose your job to injury. I would have liked KC to cover with MVP candidate Damon Huard under center, but I can see Oakland's D welcoming him back with a flurry of a pash rush that will make it difficult to reestablish his timing. KC will win, but not cover the 10 points.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (+3.5) I would have a hard time picking the Steelers to beat Rutgers. Until Pittsburgh fans start to boo him into holding a clipboard, this team will keep playing like it is a decade removed from last year's Super Bowl title. Watch closely as Cleveland plays a business-like game and manages a victory against the Steelers.

St. Louis at Carolina (-6.5) Carolina hasn't played well enough to justify being a 6.5 point favorite. The Rams look to break a 4-game losing streak, but with injuries all around it could be tough. Orlando Pace is out for the season and Travis Fisher (the likely Steve Smith-stopper) missing this game with something broken, the defense will have a hard time getting off the field.

Tennessee at Philadelphia (-13) This could end up being a closer game than most people think. Titans head coach Jeff Fisher is a master at coming up with a defensive game plan to stymie powerful offenses. The Titans are close to as healthy as they have been all season and are apt to come out with fire in their eyes after a tough loss to a strong Ravens team. The key will be to limit the number of explosive plays they allow the Eagles and how well Tennessee is able to control the clock. However, Philadelphia just has too many weapons.

Washington at Tampa Bay (-3.5) Joe Gibbs will turn to former Auburn stub Jason Campbell in hopes of turning around this disappointing season, while Gruden will continue to rely on the rookie Gradkowski. Both teams will look to establish the run to take pressure off their young QBs. This game will come down to whichever team makes the least amount of mistakes and doesn't turn the ball over in critical situations. Look for the Buccaneers to win a close game.

Detroit at Arizona (-2) The Lions have given strong efforts in road losses in St. Louis and Minnesota, but failed to finish with a victory. Detroit is an improving program, but is not quite ready to win close games, having lost seven of nine games decided in the last two minutes, especially on the road. With these two programs struggling, yet desperate for a win, the advantage goes to the home team.

Seattle at San Francisco (PICK EM!!) Easily the most important game in 2 years for the 49ers, with a chance to pull themselves within 1 game of the division lead. Did I really just say that? Hasselbeck and Alexander return in time to make this a very interesting game, and Julian Peterson returns to the team that drafted him but didn't pay him the 18M/season he was asking. The way I see it, he is one more slip-up to that Achilles tendon and his career would be over. I'm glad they didn't pay him, and am glad he is doing well in Seattle. Hope he really stinks during this game, though. Prediction: 49ers win it doing what they did to the Vikings. Lots of D and some timely FGs from team MVP Joe Nedney.

Side note: Coach Nolan will be wearing the full suit on the sideline ala Tom Landry and his dad, former 49ers coach Dick Nolan. That's serious pimpin. No way the NFL lets this go on for too long, as Reebok will soon file a suit forcing all coaching personnel to sport their licensed gear.

Indianapolis at Dallas (+2) This game has all the makings of a high-scoring game with the potential of these two offenses. Peyton Manning and the Colts are looking to remain undefeated and stretch their winning streak to 10 games by beating the Cowboys at home.

Tony Romo has been playing great for Dallas since he became the starter and has provided a spark to this team. Romo and the Cowboys offense will score enough points in the end to upset the Colts and give them their first defeat in a close game that could go down to the wire.

San Diego at Denver (-2.5) San Diego QB Philip Rivers and RB LaDainian Tomlinson are playing as well as they have played at any point during the season. That said, the Broncos defense will pose a much stiffer challenge then the Bengals did last weekend. There are also some concerns about the San Diego defense ,which will be missing OLB Shawne Merriman and most likely DE Luis Castillo. The game is in Denver and the crowd will be a factor. I'd go with the Broncos here.

Monday, Nov. 20

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville (-3.5) The Giants will need to rebound after the Sunday night loss to the Bears, a game that they should have won if it wasn't for poor coaching and a struggling Eli Manning. Tom Coughlin will have his team fired up to play his former team and they will take the frustration of Sunday night's loss out on the struggling Jaguars.

Coughlin will stick with the running game this week and should get Jacobs the ball more. The Jaguars do not have enough weapons on offense and will not make enough plays to stay close with the Giants.

NUMBER ONE STUNNA

After the stunner last week that we all saw coming, but couldn't avoid, I must admit I am less enthusiastic about scouring the NFL prospectus and figuring out who is least likely to disappoint. The wife is still encouraging me to fire up my 4-team parlay career by suiting myself up with an offshore sports book. I used to kill it going down to Caliente in Tijuana on Friday nights and placing bets, then coming back Sunday evening and picking up $300-1000. It was like taking candy from a baby. The NFL has changed though, and this season is especially rocky. The house is cleaning up fools left and right and really steering a strong ship of profitability.

Moral of this story: Shelling out cash for online gambling? No word on if that's gonna happen, but don't bet on it (no pun intended).

I'll keep posting my thoughts on the week's NFL matchups until further notice. Since I get an average of 25 hits when I post this, that tells me someone finds it useful/entertaining/otherwise.

Monday, November 13, 2006

DOWN HOME COOKING AIN'T TOO EASY

The wife decided to give me a chance to make dinner last week, which is a frightening thought. Since she went back to work after maternity leave, she has made dinner just about every night right before she skips out for work. This makes life very easy for me and my boys, as we basically just have the job of enjoying her delightful meal, then I knock out the dishes.

Paradise? No too far from it anyway. The woman can flat out cook.

So one day she kept herself extra busy during the day and didn't have time to throw a meal together for us boys, so I decided to make meatballs and mashed potatoes, green beans, a very downhome meal. It probably should have taken about an hour to prepare everything, but because this fool doesn't appreciate how hard it is to *not* screw up the gravy, it took about 2.5 hours.

First I tried to make it from a packet of gravy in the microwave. I followed the directions to a tee, but it came up looking like a scoop of chocolate ice cream and hard as a rock. So I threw it away. Next I tried the same packet of crap in a saucepan on the stove. I hovered over that damn stove and never stopped stirring, only to have it taste like Thanksgiving in hell. It was so grainy despite my constant mixing that I would have been better served in a sandbox.

Then I jumped online to allrecipes.com to find a recipe from scratch that, surprisingly, I had all the crap for. It was pretty much a pain in the arse to make it this way, and if it didn't work out I was going to have to order a pizza.

Moral of this story: Don't they sell gravy in a can?

Thanks to the hot arab for mentioning how difficult it is to make gravy, which piqued my thoughts this morning.

Friday, November 10, 2006

MOST ADDICTING GAME EVER?

Check this one out, and don't forget to drop bills in the mail. You won't be turning this game off any time soon.

Also, a Dodger fan gets tasered by refusing to take his hat off at a city council meeting. Justice is served on this day. Watch the video to see the police haul his limp body out of the meeting hall.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


NFL SURVIVOR TEAM REACHES WEEK 10, TOUGH DECISIONS LIE AHEAD

Of the teams we have available to use, the most highly favored are:

Jacksonville -10.5 (4 of 4 remaining players have this pick available)
New England -10.5 (3 of 4)
Philadelphia -7 (2 of 4)
Dallas -7 (2 of 4)
Detroit -6 (4 of 4)
Minnesota -5 (4 of 4)
Pittsburgh -4 (4 of 4)
Seattle -3 (3 of 4)
New York Giants -1.5 (only 1 of 4...US! This is our silver bullet.)
Kansas City -1 (4 of 4)

We had talked about using Jacksonville here. Is that still the plan? All three others who are still alive also have JAX available, so you can guess we won't be the only ones using them. I am guessing that one of the others might use New England here.

If we survive this week, it was brought up that the Chiefs at home against the Raiders would be the best option for week 11. We need to get there first, and I'm not sure if we should use the Jaguars this week or not. State your case!

NFL WEEK 10 PREDICTIONS

Baltimore (-7) at Tennessee
- Brian Billick's success taking over the offense has proven crucial so far, and should continue through this week. Until the Ravens slow down and their overrated defense gets lit up once or twice, keep picking them in almost any situation.

Buffalo at Indianapolis (-11.5) - The Colts look to maintain their perfect record against a Bills team that is great at beating bad teams, but rarely shows up against the AFC's elite. The Colts near-loss to the Titans still comes to mind, but I have a feeling they will play big in this one after a tough bad weather win in Foxboro.

Cleveland at Atlanta (-7.5) - The Browns are coming off a loss in San Diego. They played the Bolts tough for 3 quarters and showed that they play on continuing the trend of keeping games close regardless of the opponent. No reason for Atlanta to lose this game, save the fact that they just got bombed by the hapless Detroit Lions. I have a feeling this home game will help them get back on track to winning the division.

Green Bay at Minnesota (-5) - Brett Favre typically plays some of his best road football in the Metrodome, and with the way the Vikings offense played last week, the Pack may not need his best game this week to steal a win. The way the parody in the NFL has treated fans this year, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings win this one in a squeaker.

Houston at Jacksonville (-10.5) - This has been a dangerous meeting for the Jaguars, despite the Texans tendency to suck on the road. I noted the Jaguars struggles against Houston last week, but I have a feeling that the way David Garrard is playing right now the trend of the Texans sneaking out with a win may have to wait until next year. This is our pick for the survivor pool unless anyone objects.

Kansas City at Miami (+1) - Miami was the surprise winner last week, taking out the previously unbeaten Bears in a laugher. Can they carry the momentum into this home game against the high-scoring Chiefs, who hung 31 more points on the Rams last week? I doubt it. Go with the Chiefs here.

N.Y. Jets at New England (-10.5) - We all know that the Patriots don't lose games back to back. Coach Belichick does not allow it. I am sure the Jets will be hungry to pick up a big division win and get to within one game of the division-leading Patriots, but after losing to the Colts, Tom Brady will look to get the Pats back on track. I see it happening.

San Diego at Cincinnati (+1) - The Chargers look for their first win outside of California this year, and the Bengals look to break .500. These suddenly average Bengals were pushed aside by the Ravens last week, a team that was also able to beat the Chargers this season. In a measuring stick game, I would say the Chargers played them tougher, and I think the edge will probably go to the Chargers here. The on-again, off-again Bengals offense will probably struggle to score as the Chargers substitutes, who are seeming to jell at the right time. Chargers should win this one, but it will be up to the success of Martyball on the road.

San Francisco at Detroit (-6) - I am all about trends, and the Lions were hot last week, passing all over the Falcons in a huge upset. The 49ers defense played up to task last week in holding the Vikings under 200 yards and just 3 points. I can see the Lions passing all day against this inconsistent 49ers defensive unit. The 49ers only chance at success relies on their ability to get back on track offensively, and to light up the Lions using Frank Gore as the primary weapon. 49ers could pull this one out if they can minimize the damage Kitna's arm proved capable of last week.

Washington at Philadelphia (-7) - The Redskins should have lost last week, but Dallas was kind enough to misplay their hand. The Eagles should be well rested and should take this one easily.

Denver at Oakland (+9) - Denver is red hot, having taken the wind out of the Steelers' sails and look to continue their winning ways against an amazingly bad Raider team. If you saw any of their Monday night flop against the Seahawks, you'll understand how incredibly easy it will be to pick the Broncos here.

Dallas at Arizona (+7) - After showing some promise early, the Cardinals have regressed back to the team everyone expected. Dallas has more talent on defense and should be able to contain Arizona's young weapons. However, I have a feeling that the Cards will be hungry here as this is one of the more attractive games on their home schedule, so maybe they look to make a statement here. I'll take the Cards, without much of an explanation.

New Orleans at Pittsburgh (-4) - The Saints are blazing right now, and the Steelers are slumping. Coming in to this game, Cowher is still hearing from his faithful fans that he should be replacing Big Ben with Charlie Batch, and maybe it is time for that move. Willie Parker is unable to pick up the slack, and the Saints may have the leverage to steal a win here.

St. Louis at Seattle (-3) - These teams met up a few weeks ago with the Seahawks sneaking by 30-28 in St. Louis. After the lack of offense Seneca Wallace and Maurice Morris put up against the Raiders (16 points?), one wonders if they will be able to score enough to hold off the Rams. One would still pick the
Seahawks, as their is a smattering of hope that Shaun Alexander will be back for this game.

Chicago at N.Y. Giants (-2) - the battle for home field advantage begins on Sunday night, and the G-men have to be considered the favorites. The Bears look to regroup and search for the other Rex Grossman, and not the one who threw 3 INTs and completed just 42% of his passes in a home loss to the Dolphins. Eli is clicking with Plaxico, and the Tiki Barber retirement show is going well, especially after he finally scored his first TD of the year.

Monday, Nov. 13

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-9.5) - I am still in shock from Carolina's last nationally-televised home game, when they stunk up the field after jumping out 14-0 against the Cowboys, only to lose 35-14. Thankfully I feel more at ease against a Buccaneer team that is still a work in progress with Bruce Gradkowski under center. They may play this one close, but the Panthers really ought to win this one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

AMERICAN EXPRESSION

Back during the summer, I saw this magazine advertisement featuring a large picture of a soft embrace between Tiger Woods with his mother. Underneath was a form of sorts, with a few bulleted questions and Tiger's handwritten response. I attempted to save the magazine so I could answer the same questions and send them to the wife and gauge her response. I am sure I threw it in the trash at some point, probably wondering why I had saved it in the first place.

To my amazement, the advertisement resurfaced in Wired magazine a few months later, so here we go...

my name: (chuck)

childhood ambition: to fly in a F-14 Tomcat with Maverick and Goose

fondest memory: roughhousing in the pool or shooting hoops with my Dad, getting tickled silly by my Mom, watching Golden Girls or Murder She Wrote with my Grandma

soundtrack: Dean Martin

retreat: Cabo San Lucas

wildest dream: Some recent ones...playing shortstop naked for the Giants, navigating around Manhattan as a young boy with only my dog as a guide, walking with my sister through a dark forest as she relies on me to calm her fears

proudest moment: entering into holy matrimony in Vegas of all places, the births of my boys was pretty amazing, earning a college degree

biggest challenge: moving up the corporate ladder, making ends meet while owning a home in San Diego, talking to unbelievers about Christ

alarm clock: 4:00am on weekdays, 6:00am on the weekends

perfect day: baseball in the morning, beach in the afternoon, dinner with friends and family in the evening, study Bible/talk about how good God is, roll around in the hay with the Mrs. and doze off

first job: building maintenance for office complex

indulgence: music, graphic design, sports

last purchase: new laptop from Dell (via Costco.com...much cheaper than buying from Dell direct)

favorite movie: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, A Christmas Story, The Sandlot, Edward Scissorhands (too many to list)

inspiration: the sinless life and exponential grace of Jesus Christ, my desire to make sure those I care about know Him like I know Him

My Life: is unlimited joy
My Card: is American Express

Friday, November 03, 2006

NOV. 3RD: KNOW YOUR YIDDISH DAY

If you are a meshugina like me you constantly strive to dive feet first into the dialect of other cultures and learn their language just well enough to butcher it badly when speaking to someone who speaks it quite well. Satisfy your inner goyim by incorporating a few tidbits of Yiddish into your day. Yes, you will likely mispronounce some terms and sound a little fahrblunget, but if you come across someone who understands you they may get ferklempt and ooze with pride. You may not know this, but even those who do not speak Yiddish will appreciate your embrace of a foreign tongue and may no longer accuse you of schlepping around town wasting your days.

Here is a primer on some important terms you will need today.

It will only take a bissel of time, and with all of the other chazari on the Web, this will be time well spent.

Feh.