Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4 Picks

I’ve been so busy at work this week that I haven’t had the time to weigh in and rant on Drew Brees ruining my chance at winning the office pool with his four interception, one fumble performance on Monday night; the Lakers potentially trading Lamar Odom and Brian Cook for Shawn Marion; or Brian Giles’ go-ahead three run homer in the ninth to win the game for the Pads on Tuesday. I also didn’t have the time to do as much research as I’d like in picking these games so you’re getting the Ryan Leaf effort this week instead of the Jake Peavy effort. Sorry about that, but God knows this blog isn’t paying the bills.

Here are the picks (team listed first is the team that I picked):


Cleveland +4.5 vs. Baltimore
I said it before the season started and I’ll say it again: Baltimore isn’t very good this season. That’s all I have to say. Told you you’re getting the Ryan Leaf effort this week.

Houston -4 at Atlanta
Get ready for the deluge of features Sunday morning about Matt Schaub returning to Atlanta to face the Falcons. While we’re here, is there a more unsurprising story than Michael Vick failing a drug test for pot? The guy is about to go to the clink, he’s suspended from the NFL, and when all is said and done between the cost of lawyers, and loss of salaries and endorsement money, he’s going to be out about $100 million. What do you want him to do, skip down the street? I would have been more surprised if there was a story that said Michael Vick hasn’t been toking it up.

Miami -3.5 vs. Oakland
Holy crap! I just realized that Daunte Culpepper is going back to Miami to play against the Dolphins this week, Jamal Lewis is returning to Baltimore, Matt Schaub will be playing in Atlanta, and Donnie Edwards will be returning to play against the Chargers. Plus you got the two Arizona coaches facing their old team. Did the NFL plan this or something? Hopefully Kenny Mayne doesn’t notice so we can avoid being tortured with a “Mayne Event” about this.


Philly -3.5 at New York Giants
How’d you like that bounce-back performance for McNabb last week? 381 yards and four touchdown passes. Yup, nothing like throwing the race card out there to get yourself motivated. After I’m done with this blog I’m ripping off an “Asian auditors are subject to more scrutiny than white auditors” email and sending it company-wide to motivate myself to get back to work.

Seattle -2.5 at San Francisco
This game is definitely way too close to call. Frisco looks like it has the potential to be a good team but just isn’t quite there yet, and I haven’t really been impressed with the Seahawks so far this year. But the Seahawks are on the road, Alexander is hurt, and Frisco beat the Seahawks twice last year so you know what? I’m going with…

Frisco +2.5 vs. Seattle.

There. Much better.

Tampa Bay +3 at Carolina
Even though the Panthers are favored, I’m not so sure they’re the better team. The Bucs barely lost to the Seahawks and easily handled the Saints and Rams while the Panthers barely beat the Rams, got killed by the Texans and needed that DeAngelo Hall meltdown to beat the Falcons.


Minnesota +3.5 vs. Green Bay
The ratio for teams beating the Chargers and then having me pick against them the following week must be like 326-1.

Detroit +2.5 vs. Chicago
I don’t think Vegas has caught on to how crappy the Bears are yet. Half their defense is hurt, their running back is a wuss, their receivers are terrible and they just benched their quarterback for Brian Griese.

Remember, signs of desperation include: searching your couch cushions for change so you can afford to buy booze, stealing from your family or friends, smoking a cigarette that someone has already put out, hooking up with a fat chick (well unless you’re into that type of thing), and benching your starting quarterback for Brian Griese.

Arizona +7 vs. Pittsburg
Do you think there’s anyway ex-Steeler coaches Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm are going to let Pittsburg come into their home stadium and beat their team by more than seven points? I don’t either.


Dallas -14 vs. St. Louis
This line looks almost too easy. The Cowboys are on a roll and Steven Jackson is out for the Rams. Also, this week Marc Bulger revealed that he’s been playing with two broken ribs. Thanks pal. Maybe next time you can tell me that before you score negative points for my fantasy team. Jerk!

San Diego -11.5 vs. Kansas City
My uncle Steve from Scripps Ranch asks: “San Diego teams are pathetic. Is it because of the weather?”

Yeah, I guess it’s kind of hard to worry about winning and losing when you live in a city where during the fall and winter seasons the temperature fluctuates between 75 and 63 degrees. Not to mention the fact that as a collective group our women make women from almost every other city look like livestock.

Yup, let me tell you, it’s a tough to maintain that competitive edge in this type of an environment.


New England -7 at Cincinnati
As much as I like Cincy I can’t see them staying with the Patriots for four quarters. This game will be competitive for about a half then Bilichick will go in, decipher the Bengals’ signals and the Patriots will blow them away.

(No, “Camera-Gate” jokes are not yet old)

New York -3.5 at Buffalo
The Jets will be facing a defense decimated by injuries and an offense with a rookie running back and a rookie second round draft pick at quarterback making his NFL debut.

Indy -10.5 vs. Denver
Quite frankly, despite their 2-1 record, I don’t think the Broncos are very good.

With nothing else to add, I went 10-6 last week against the spread which was my best week this season but I lost the office pool to a Pilipino lady in Accounting and went 0-3 on my parlay. Kill me now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Are you still spitting out blood? Still feel a little woozy? Is your jaw as sore as mine?

After a summer spent dreaming about a potentially euphoric fall -- the Padres making it to the World Series and the Chargers making a Super Bowl run, San Diego sports fans got woken up by a Chuck Liddell right hook combo to the chin this Sunday. In the morning we saw the Chargers, continuing to look disoriented on both offense and defense, lose to the Packers and drop to 1-2. About an hour later we saw Milton Bradley on first base jawing with umpire Mike Winters and Todd Helton with a smug smile on his face. The situation continued to escalate and a few pitches later the bizarre happened: Bradley exploded and started to charge Winters. And when Bud Black ran out to restrain him, Bradley fell awkwardly, hurt his knee, and had to be helped off the field. Bradley later said that Winters baited him by calling him “a fucking piece of shit” but in the end it didn’t matter. The damage had been done. The Padres eventually lost the game, got swept by the Rockies and pretty much ended any hopes we had of a third straight division title.

The next day, the carnage looked like this:

Milton Bradley: torn ACL, out for the year.

Mike Cameron: torn ligament in right thumb, out for the remainder of the regular season.

Padres (after a 4-9 drubbing Monday night): three games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West; tied for the Wild Card lead with the Phillies.

Chargers: 1-2 tied for last in the AFC West.

Chargers Offense: ranked 27th in the NFL

Chargers Defense: ranked 22nd in the NFL

LaDanian Tomlinson: Averaging 2.3 yards per carry.

As a shaken and saddened Don Corleone asked after Sonny got shot: “How did it come to this?”

For the Padres, the answer is simple. They spent the summer avoiding their obvious weakness-- that huge LenDale White sized hole in the middle of their lineup, and put all their chips into one basket with a volatile player who couldn’t stay healthy. Hey, I was all for the Bradley trade saying at the time that he was immediately the second best hitter on the team. But maybe Kevin Towers should have hedged his bets a little. I mean, was anyone really surprised that Bradley blew up at the umpire or blew out his knee? Maybe we didn’t expect it to happen all within the span of 45 seconds but was anyone really surprised? Everyone’s heard a variation of the parable about the snake and the old man where the old man nurtures a sick snake back to health, the snake bites him, the old man asks why, and the snake says well you knew all along I was a snake. Well, with Milton Bradley the Padres knew he was volatile. And the Padres knew he was injury prone. It was just a matter of time before they got bitten.

For the Chargers the questions are more complex:

Did the Chargers come into the season too overconfident?

Did the players believe too much of their own hype?

Was last season a fluke?

Are they overrated?

Was this season lost in January when they should have fired Schottenheimer and promoted Wade Phillips?

Is Norv Turner Satan reincarnated?

I don’t know the answers to these questions but I do know that their offensive and defensive lines got pushed around for the second week in a row. I know that their defensive backs missed a ton of tackles. I know that they miss the hell out of Matt Whilhelm. I know that they hardly blitz anymore. I know that Clinton Hart should get benched for Eric Weddle. I know that Shawne Merriman should go see if Ken Caminiti has any Snickers bars stashed somewhere. And I know that their running game -- their bread and butter last year, is absolutely terrible.

And their offense doesn’t skip any downs. I heard Ron Jaworski say this about the Saints last night and I thought it also rung true for the Chargers. Its first down, second down, and third down with these guys every single drive this year whereas last year it was first down: 15 yard run, first down again: 8 yard run, second and two: 5 yard run, first down again: 15-yard pass… Put me on the list of people who thought the Chargers offense would improve under Norv Turner (and maybe it still will) but right now they are hapless. It’s one thing to get pushed around by the Patriots but the Packers? The Chargers faced a dozen defenses better than the Packers last season and ran them over no problem. And the biggest surprise of them all is that LT doesn’t remotely resemble LT that we’ve all come to know and love.

Is there an end to this madness?

Well the baseball regular season is over on Sunday so we’ll find out about the Padres soon enough. But even if they make the playoffs are they going to do anything with an outfield of Scott Hariston, Jason Lane, and Brian Giles? Chris Young is hurt, Maddux got rocked last time out and Peavy really hasn’t proved himself in the playoffs or any big game for that matter. The best case scenario for the Pads is that they go on a 2006 Cardinals-type run which isn’t that far fetched considering they play in a league where last year, the starting pitchers for game seven of its championship game were Jeff Supan and Oliver Perez. I mean, who’s the favorite in the National League right now? The Mets? Cubs? Phillies? Diamondbacks? None of those teams scare me-- even without Milton Bradley. So all the Pads have to do is get into the dance and we’ll see what’s what.

For the Chargers, who would have thought this weekend’s game against the Chiefs would be such a huge game for them. After that they’ll complete the AFC West gauntlet by facing the Broncos in Denver (another suddenly huge game) and the Raiders. If they can get through those games they’ll be 4-2 going into their bye with games against the Texans and Vikings afterwards so they can still come out of this thing looking pretty decent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The goal this season is the Super Bowl. Doesn’t matter what they do or how they get there.

So there you have it. You never want to take it on the chin like we did this weekend but it’s not over yet. One of the things about being a sports fan is that even when you take it on the chin, you have no choice but to get back up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Picks on a Plane

After the Monday Night Football game the other night El LamGal and I were trolling On-Demand for a movie to watch and on a whim I selected Snakes on a Plane. I heard about the movie when it first came out and I heard that critics panned it, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect-- well, other than snakes on a plane of course. 90 minutes later, not only was I pleasantly surprised but I couldn’t believe more people aren’t talking about this movie. I mean, there was suspense, there was high-comedy, there was a gratuitous sex scene that also included drug use, and most importantly, there was Samuel L. Jackson who was absolutely perfect for his roll. Yes it was corny. Yes it was predictable. And yes, it was definitely over-the-top. But you know what? That was the whole point of the movie. I absolutely loved it! How can anyone pan a movie like this?

Later, after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who like Snakes on a Plane and those who take themselves a little too seriously. Not coincidentally, the people in the latter group are probably the same people who: denigrate a waitress because they think they’re getting bad service, listen to classical music, order things at Starbucks like a “sugar free triple grande macchiato upside down with low fat whip cream and two pumps of caramel”, can’t take a joke, don’t understand sarcasm, only have sex with the lights off, are named “Skip Bayless”, and walk funny because they have their heads up their asses.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with doing those things. It just kind of shows everyone else where you in life.

Don’t get me wrong. By no means is Snake on a Plane a cinematic masterpiece , but how can you not be entertained by Samuel L. Jackson in his Samuel L. Jackson voice saying things like: "Do as I say and you live"? And of course when he screamed the movie’s catchphrase: "I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!" I completely lost it. You can say what you want, but I will defend the comic merits of Samuel L. Jackson until the day I die --especially his performance in Snakes on a Plane. What a riot.

What does all of this have to do with my NFL picks you ask? Not much other than the fact that I went 7-9 last week and I have had it with these motherfucking picks on this motherfucking blog!
Here are the picks as well as some tidbits from Snakes on a Plane (team I listed first is the team that I picked):


Oakland -3 vs. Cleveland
The cruelest part of Snakes on a Plane was when an uptight British guy in a suit, throws Mary-Kate, the rich girl’s dog, towards a giant snake so that it would get eaten as the uptight British guy was trying to escape, and then yelling “You would have done the same thing!” Similarly, the cruelest part of Week 2 was when the Raiders were about to beat Denver and the Broncos call a timeout just before Sebastian Janakowski makes what would have been the game winner and on the next attempt the kick bounces off the goal post. What a way to lose a game. In any matter, I feel just as strongly about the fact that Mary-Kate should have lived as I do about the fact that the Raiders should have beaten the Broncos.

Atlanta +4.5 vs. Carolina
God only knows how you could give up 31 unanswered points to the Texans but the Panthers did it. When the Texans were down 14-0 I thought they were dead in the water. This reminds me of the time in Snakes on the Plane when they thought Rick the co-pilot was dead but it turned out he was alive. Unfortunately, though he died about 30 minutes later. Anyways, it was characters like Rick that made this movie so good with lines like:

“We're in a two-hundred foot aluminum tube and we're thirty thousand feet in the air, and any one of those slimy little pieces of shit can trip a circuit or a relay or a hydraulic and this bird goes down faster than a Thai hooker. So my job is to keep LAX informed on how totally screwed we are and then find some way to keep this mother in the sky another two hours. Figure that out.”


Rick: “Oh my, I was hoping you'd be the sky-candy on this flight. You're looking especially delicious this evening.”

Juliana Margulies: “I love it when you demean me, Rick.” Rick: “My pleasure.”

Rick also says something to Juliana Margulies like “you’d be surprised at what a guy can do with one hand” when she asks if he can fly the plane with one hand and tries to get her to take off her shirt after he gets bitten by a snake. Unfortunately, she doesn’t.

NYJ-3 vs. Miami
Miami’s offense looks putrid turning the ball over five times against the Cowboys last week.

Speaking of putrid, remember the landlady in King Pin? The one who has Woody Harrelson puking after he sleeps with her so he doesn’t have to pay rent? Well, she’s the senior flight attendant on the plane in Snakes on a Plane. And if you’ve seen King Pin and can get through Snakes on a Plane without picturing her doing the “tongue-through-the peace sign” thing, than you’re a better man than me.

Kansas City -2 vs. Minnesota

My favorite side character(s) in Snakes on a Plane would have to be rapper Three G’s and his two bodyguards -- one played by SNL’s Keenan Thompson. But the only problem I had with Snakes on a Plane was when Three G’s flips out because there was no air circulating through the plane and takes Samuel L. Jackson’s gun and starts pointing it at everyone. The problem I had is, when Keenan Thompson is trying to calm him down, Samuel L. Jackson quickly grabs his gun back but doesn’t shoot Three G’s. I mean, the guy just flipped out and almost shot everyone because the freaking air conditioning didn’t work! Why wouldn’t you just cap his ass?

I’ll go along with the fact that they were somehow able to load hundreds of poisonous snakes on a plane, I’ll believe that Keenan Thompson can land a plane after only playing a flight simulator on Play Station 2, but don’t tell me Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t cap Three G’s in that situation because I’m just not going to buy it ok? I’m just not.


Pittsburg -8.5 vs. San Francisco
Sadly, Pittsburg was the only team in my four team parlay that covered last week and they kicked about 5 field goals that should have been touchdowns. As for Frisco, they were able to hold off the Rams, but statistically they have the worst offense in the NFL right now so I don’t think Alex Smith is going to do so well on the road against the Steelers defense.

Speaking of San Francisco, another funny part about Snakes on a Plane is this effeminate flight attendant that does gay things like volunteer to suck the venom out of out one of Three G’s bodyguard’s butt, but then at the end of the movie he gets off the plane and basically dry humps his smoking hot girlfriend. Great times!

Philly -6.5 vs. Detroit
You think Snake on a Plane was over the top? Snakes on a Plane would look like a documentary next to this comment by Lion quarterback Dan Orlovsky about John Kitna: “Indy can have Peyton and New England can have Tom, but we wouldn't trade this guy for anyone in the world.”

As for the game, Philly looked awfully bad Monday night against the Redskins and this week McNabb started in with the “black quarterbacks are scrutinized more than white quarterbacks” talk. I thought we were over that like three years ago. What does he think this is, 2004? My guess is he’s trying to draw attention away from his fantasy performance this year as he’s absolutely killing everyone that has him. And if you read a headline in the next couple of days reading “Mexican Girl Slices McNabb’s Tendons” it wasn’t El LamGal ok?


Arizona +7.5 at Baltimore
After a poor showing in Week 1, Matt Leinhart had a nice bounce-back game throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens, on the other hand, don’t look too good. They lost to the Bengals Week 1, and would have lost to the Jets had it not been for a dropped pass. Steve McNair looks like a shell of his old self, they can’t throw the ball downfield and Willis McGahee looks like he is about a month away from purposely failing a drug test so he doesn’t have to run behind that atrocious line.

With nothing else to say here, check out this funny line Samuel L. Jackson said at the 2006 MTV Movie awards: “No movie shall triumph over Snakes on a Plane. Unless I happen to feel like making a movie called More Motherfucking Snakes on More Motherfucking Planes.”

Jacksonville +3 at Denver
Mike Shanahan’s savvy / borderline unethical move of stoning Janakowski was nothing compared to Snakes on a Plane and Eddie Kim’s plan to load poisonous snakes on a plane going from Hawaii to LA and put pheromone on the leis they give out to the passengers to make the snakes go crazy in order to kill a witness that was supposed to testify against him. Only an Asian criminal mastermind would go to such great lengths to eliminate a witness. Forget car bombs. Forget going after your family. We’re going to have poisonous snakes kill everyone in hopes of sinking the plane in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so you won’t testify. What a diabolical genius.

Like Samuel L. Jackson said, “They did the ONE thing that they didn't train us for in the FBI... they put SNAKES on the PLANE!”

(Alright, no more Snakes on a Plane references. Let’s just get through these picks)

Cincinnati +3.5 at Seattle
Sometime last week I read that the Bengals were really banged up on defense after a physical Week 1 Monday Night Football game against the Ravens. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to deter me from putting scratch on them on Sunday. Yup, I’m an idiot. I’m predicting that this will be a bounce back game for Bengals. Either that or Matt Hasselbeck will throw for like 600 yards and 8 touchdowns against them.

SCOT WRIGHT SPECIALS (seemingly easy picks that could end up screwing your parlay):

Tampa Bay -4 vs. St. Louis
How about that win for my 2007 Sleeper Team! Too bad I didn’t pick Tampa over the Saints last week. As for the Rams, it’s never a good sign when your team is playing “Shuffle the Line” by Week 2. With Orlando Pace out they have right tackle Alex Barron moving over to left tackle, with Milford Brown and Adam Goldberg as candidates to replace Barron. Marc Bulger is probably pretty happy that he signed that big contract at the beginning of the season. Or maybe he’s not because the Rams look like they’re going to be crappy for the next 2-3 years. I don’t know. Let’s just move on.

New England -16.5 vs. Buffalo
After the win last week there is no doubt in my mind that the Patriots are going to go 16-0 this season and win the Super Bowl. Whether Belichick knows what the defense is about to do or not, Tom Brady looks great and Randy Moss could very well get over 2,000 receiving and continue his torrid pace of touchdown receptions and end up with 32 this season. Their defense looks terrific and will be even better when Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour return. The Chargers have no chance of winning this year. We should just trade LT for a bunch of draft picks and start building for the 2012 season when hopefully, Bridget Moynihan trains their five year old son to assassinate Tom Brady because she’s still bitter he better-dealt her for Gisele Bundchen.

And for the record in no way, shape, or form am I trying to reverse jinx the soon-to-be undefeated, 16-0, perfect, New England Patriots.

New Orleans -4 vs. Tennessee
The shine will definitely be off their 2006 season if the Saints lose this game. The thing about the Saints is that Peyton Manning and Jeff Garcia killed them with the deep ball and I’m not so sure Vince Young has the arm to do the same.

San Diego -4.5 at Green Bay
You’d think the Chargers would be extra motivated to go into Green Bay, face a young defense and a quarterback that’s been regressing over the past 5 years and just blow them out of the water. So why did I put under them under Scot Wright Special? It’s because of comments like this from Norv Turner when asked about why he didn’t go with his nickel or dime packages against the Patriots’ spread offense: “Our thought was to go keep our best guys on the field. We thought we could handle it that way.”

That one made me slam my head against my desk. Repeatedly. It took me about the first four plays to realize that the Chargers couldn’t handle the Patriots spread offense with their base package and I was at least 10 drinks deep. When do you ever handle the spread offense with your base package? Anyone who’s ever played football on a video game console in the past 10 years knows this. Can someone Fed-Ex Norv Turner a copy Madden 2008? Did Turner really think Stephen Cooper would be able to cover Wes Welker? Crap like this is why I’m a little hesitant about picking the Chargers this week.

Who am I kidding? I’m throwing the Chargers down on a parlay with one or two of these teams:


Washington -3 vs. New York
The atrocious defense that that’s being overshadowed by the Bengals atrocious defense is the Giants D. They let Tony Romo throw for like 400 yards and made Brett Farve look like Brett Farve circa 1998. Their offensive line is beat up, their running back is hurt, and I think the Giants are about few weeks away from just quitting. Without a doubt, Tom Coughlin is the frontrunner for the “2007 Coach I wouldn’t want to be” award after narrowly losing out to Art Shell last year. The Redskins on the other hand look really good. They have two good running backs, two good receivers, and a really good defense. Had I known that McNabb would’ve crapped the bed this season I would have picked the Redskins to win the division instead of the wildcard.

Dallas +3 at Chicago
Dallas a three point underdog on the road against the Bears is free money you ask? The Bears have scored two touchdowns this season: One by a punt returner and the other by an offensive lineman. Take the points and thank me in the morning.

Indy -6.5 at Houston
The Texans have the look of a JV player who’s about to get smacked around once he gets bumped up to the varsity. Wins over KC and the Panthers were nice but to quote Wolf from Pulp Fiction, “let’s not start sucking each others popsicles just yet.” If the Colts bring their “A” game on Sunday-- and they will because the both teams are 2-0 and the Texans beat them in Houston last year, the Texans are going to get punked.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Reconciling the Loss

You know the saying that goes, “You don’t know that you have a good girlfriend until you’ve been with a bad one?” Well after watching Norv Turner’s coaching performance while the Chargers were getting shellacked by the Patriots yesterday, everyone in my group of friends felt like we just traded Kelly Kapowski for Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction. I was really excited about this game and Norv Turner came by and boiled a proverbial rabbit in my kitchen. The Chargers looked unprepared, were outsmarted, and played like a team that was poorly coached. I’m not a Marty Schottenheimer fan by any means, but in their losses last year, they didn’t get blown out like they did yesterday. How demoralizing.

I’ve heard people say that the Chargers just ran into a buzz saw in the form of a Patriot team motivated by people questioning the credibility of their three Super Bowls. But while there may be some truth to this, the Chargers shouldn’t have gotten blown out the way they did. I saw a team that failed to adjust when the Patriots started the game off with the spread formation. I saw corners playing back when they should have been pressing. I saw no attempts at disguising their coverages or anything other than vanilla blitz packages. I mean what happened to all of those corner and safety blitzes I kept reading about in the preseason? Did someone forget to tell Ted Cotrell that the season started two weeks ago?

On offense Turner showed that he had the balls of a field mouse with some of his play calls. Let me tell you a couple of three things: They should have gone for it on 4th and 1 in the second quarter when they had the ball on their own 39-yard line. When you’re down 17-0 and have Lorenzo Neal -- who was like 20-for-20 in those situations last year, you gotta go for it. I don’t care where the ball was. And if they wanted to play it safe, they should have given Neal the ball the play before when it was 3rd and 1. On the next drive, it was 3rd and 1 again and they still didn’t give it to Neal! Instead they call a pass play that gets picked off and returned for a touchdown which made it 24-0 and marked the beginning of the end for the Chargers. Look, every game has a moment or two where the head coach decides to either “whip it out” or “keep it in their pants”-- let’s just call this the “Whip it Out Moment”. Turner had two chances to whip it out on the road against the best team in the League and both times he kept it in his pants.

The Chargers had a couple of other chances to make it a more competitive game but didn’t. They opened the second half with a touchdown but let the Patriots come right back and score to make it 31-7. And when the Chargers brought it to 31-14 and then recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Patriot 31 a touchdown would have made it a 10-point game. Instead Turner calls two pass plays that both resulted in sacks, they call some halfhearted passing play on 3rd down, punt, and that was that.

So where does this leave the Chargers?

For one thing, they need to get better on offense. The Chargers offense doesn’t exactly look like its being run by an offensive genius. They haven’t scored in the first half yet this year, the line is getting pushed around, and their receivers haven’t done squat. But the biggest problem right now is that Phil Rivers is absolutely killing us. He turned the ball over three times yesterday and the pick he threw to Adalius Thomas that got ran back was brutal. I don’t know what happened to him, but Rivers doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket and is having a really hard time dealing with the blitz up the middle. Come to think of it, this offense doesn’t really have an identity right now. Are we a power running team? Are we a short yardage passing team? Are we a play-action team? Are we going to at least try to throw the ball downfield? Hopefully we’ll figure this out in the next few weeks. They go to Green Bay and play a good defensive team this weekend and if they can handle the Packers they have the Chiefs at home and they’re looking at a 3-1 record in the first quarter of the season. During the second quarter of the season they play at Denver, Oakland, Houston, and at Minnesota so they should be 7-1 or at the very least 6-2 at the midway point which isn’t bad. After that, they have their next gut-check game against the Colts on November 11th so they basically have seven weeks get their crap everything squared away.

And that’s why I’m not worried. Unlike the guy who delivers mail at my office who earlier today bet me a case of beer the Chargers wouldn’t make the playoffs (true story), I’m not going to give up on the season because of one lousy game. I’m I pissed that we lost? Hell yes, I am. But if you look at the big picture it’s Week 3 and we’re 1-1 against two of the top five teams in the League even though we’re going through a coaching change, we haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in the first half, and our running back is averaging less than two yards a carry.

I got emails and comments this morning slamming me for picking the Chargers to win this game 30-14. Do I feel like a moron for thinking the Chargers would blow out the Patriots? Of course I do. In retrospect I was a little too confident in thinking that the transition between Schottenheimer and Turner would be smooth. But you know what? My expectations for this team still haven’t changed. This season isn’t about beating the Patriots in Week 2. This season is about winning a championship. And while they got embarrassed last night there’s still a whole lot of season left to go. Maybe we get another shot at those guys in January. And maybe, by then Norv Turner will have grown some balls and we can stop comparing Marty Schottenheimer to Kelly Kapowski.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

“Saw Things So Much Clearer…

Once you… were in my… REARVIEW MIRROR.”

--Pearl Jam

I think that just about sums up my Week 1 performance that saw me go a putrid 6-10 against the spread. Ouch! The good news is that I still won some scratch on a Charger-Colts parlay. Woot! Remember kids: It’s not about picking the right teams, it’s about betting on the right teams.

Let’s just hope they put that quote on my bust when I’m inducted into the Sam Rothstein Bettors Hall of Fame.

Here are my Week 2 picks (team listed first is the team that I picked):


Green Bay +1.5 at New York
Eli Manning has a bum shoulder, their defense gave up 45 points and Brandon Jacobs is on pace to become the fastest player ever to gain “Guy I Regret Drafting on my Fantasy Team” status joining Randy Moss, Felix Hernandez, 2006 Manny Ramirez, and Rich Harden. I think it’s safe to say the 2007 season hasn’t started off so well for the G-Men. I’m just looking forward to around Week 8 when the Giants are 1-7 and Peter King is interviewing a Tiki Barber who has six coats of make-up on and a grin so big you’d think he just ate a 42-ounce piece of turd.

Minnesota +3 at Detroit
I don’t know what games I’m getting on Sunday but I would like to make a special request to FOX: If you guys could find it in your heart not to saddle San Diego County with the Minnesota-Detroit game this weekend I would really appreciate it. I don’t know if there’s a game that would make everyone in my collective group say, “Screw it, let’s just play Madden until 1” but this one would really tempt us. Thanks!

In case you’re wondering, I went with the Vikings because I think the Vikings will be able to run the rock and Detroit won’t be able to score as easily as they did against Oakland last week.

Baltimore -7.5 vs. NY Jets
Both quarterbacks are hurt and I’m thinking Kyle Boller would fare better against the Jets defense than Kellen Clemens would against the Ravens defense.


Philly -7 at Washington
I went with Philly only because it’s a must-win game for the Eagles this week. They can’t lose their home opener and go 0-2 to start the season can they? Even though McNabb looked horrible last week, they would have won that game if it weren’t for those two muffed punts.

On the Redskins side, everyone says they looked good last week but they only beat the Dolphins by three points! It’s hard to take points on a road team when you don’t think they can win straight up.

San Francisco +3.5 at St. Louis
If I could take a mulligan on one of my preseason picks it would be the Rams winning the NFC West. “Piss Poor”, “Unprepared”, and “Sloppy” are three adjectives I would use to describe their performance last week against the Panthers. And now they’ve lost Orlando Pace for the season. Also, a couple of more bad games from Steven Jackson and I’ll be ready to introduce the “Never Trust a Black Football Player with Long Hair” corollary. I mean we already have Ricky Williams, Al Harris, and Cedric Benson. I just need a couple more instances before we can confirm this. I nominate Jackson and Lawrence Maroney to each fumble three times this week and Benson to miss the next 4-6 weeks with bruised ribs.


San Diego +3.5 at New England
This is going to be the biggest game of the regular season. You wanna know why I think the Chargers will win? Let me break it down for you:

I don’t care about the spying. I don’t care about last year’s game. To be honest with you, I don’t care about what LT has to say about Belichick or what Rivers has to say about Hobbs or any of that crap. The Chargers are just going to line up on Sunday night and beat the living crap out of the Patriots. We’re going to stop the run with our front seven. We’re going to knock Brady around. We’re going to cover Moss with Jammer and a safety on top and the first time a ball is thrown his way, Moss is going to get smacked so hard he’ll be wishing he was back in Oakland smoking indo and running over meter maids. We’re going to use Cromartie on Stallworth and Florence on Welker and the Patriots “major acquisitions” are going to give their fans a nice big shit burger to eat. On offense, our line is going to maul their line. Do you hear me? MAUL. And since they’ll be loading up the box against LT, mark my words, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd will have a field day against Asante Samuel whoever else they have on the other side.

To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “We’re going rip your head off and shit down your fucking throat. You fucked with the wrong team.”

Trust me Charger fans, it will be a joyous beat down that will leave us looking forward to the next beat down we give those over-hyped, east coast, scarf and glove wearing sissies in January.

Chargers 34 Patriots 14.

Tennessee +7.5 vs. Indy
I was very impressed with the Tennessee win over the Jags last week and while the Colts looked good too, I’m not 100-percent sold on Indy’s defense just yet. Now if they go on the road and cover against a Titan team that always plays them tough then I may change my mind. But as of now I see a Titan upset or Indy squeaking out a 25-24 win or something of that nature.

Houston +6.5 over Carolina
The current leader for the award for “The Over-Hyped Storyline that everyone’s laughing about by Week 5” goes to “Jake Delhomme is looking over his shoulders now because of David Carr.” Are we talking about the same David Carr who has a 75.5 career passer rating or is there another David Carr out there that I don’t know about?

Another fun story that’s been circulating is the “Mario Williams has more touchdowns than Reggie Bush” take. I think it’s safe to say that at the end of the day, Reggie Bush will have more touchdowns than Mario Williams this year. In fact when it’s all said and done I’m guarantee you that Reggie Bush will have more touchdowns this season than Mario Williams will have in his entire career. I’m even willing to go as far as to say that Reggie Bush will have more touchdowns this year and in his career than Mario Williams will have sacks this year or throughout his entire career.

I like Mario Williams and all, and he seems like a nice guy but he’s not even in the same stratosphere as Reggie Bush.

Hopefully somewhere in Houston, someone is reading this while repeatedly ramming his head against the wall.

SCOT WRIGHT SPECIALS (Seemingly easy picks that could end up screwing your parlay):

New Orleans -3.5 at Tampa Bay
I’m not ready to give up on my sleeper team just yet and to be honest with you, I was this close to picking the Bucs to cover this one. First of all, the Bucs were right in that game against the Seahawks last week until Jeff Garcia got hurt and secondly the Saints offense didn’t exactly look like world beaters against an undersized Colts defense. I picked the Saints but I think that this game will tell us a lot about both teams.

Seattle -2.5 at Arizona
Matt Leinhart looked like he’d rather be doing body shots off of Tara Reid in some club in LA rather than playing in the game against the Niners last Monday. He didn’t exactly look like the guy at USC who threw for like 380 yards and 4 touchdowns every game. Still, the Cardinals defense didn’t look too bad last week and the Cardinals did beat the Seahawks last year. Although I’m not picking them, the Cardinals are at home and if Leinhart can get it together I think they can pull this one off.

Dallas -4.5 vs. Miami
I initially picked Miami on this one but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Dolphins have little to no talent on offense and I would be an idiot to pick them. And for the record, I’m glad Wade Phillips and Cam Cameron aren’t with the Chargers anymore. I thought both were ridiculously overrated. As Wade Phillips found out last week playing Cover 4 every down and relying on your front seven doesn’t exactly work when you don’t have Shawn Merriman. And after looking at the Dolphins I set years Cameron remains head coach at 2.

Denver -9.5 vs. Oakland
The Broncos should win this one going away -- especially with Josh McCown now hurt, but you have to figure in the Jay Cutler factor here. The Broncos out-gained the Bills 470-184 last week yet only won by a measly point. You wanna know why? Because Cutler had plays where, according to the game recap, he “blindly pitched a lateral to his left, over running back Selvin Young's head (forcing Young to punch it out of bounds) and putting the Broncos in a deep hole, facing third-and-23.”

If you have money on a team, under no circumstance do you ever want to see the quarterback blindly pitching a lateral to his left. None. You hear me? None.


Jacksonville -11 vs. Atlanta
This game almost made it on the previous category but although I don’t trust the Jags, the Falcons looked ridiculously bad. Six sacks and two interceptions returned for a touchdown while scoring only three points against the Vikings. This is one of the games you pass on because you think that the point spread is too high and all of a sudden its 14-0 in the second quarter and you’re wishing you had thrown some scratch down on the game.

Pittsburg -10 vs. Buffalo
Although it was against the lowly Browns, Pittsburg looks like a team that’s going to be in the mix this year. As for Buffalo, they lost two defensive players last week and now they have JP Losman and a rookie running back in a tough road game this week. They Bills may be able to keep it close in the first half but the Steelers are going to blow the game open in the second half.

Cincinnati -8.5 at Cleveland
Two stats courtesy of the good people at Pro Football Weekly:

1. Cleveland is 1-12 vs. AFC North competition in head coach Romeo Crennel’s tenure.
2. Cincinnati outscored Cleveland 64-17 and out gained Cleveland 869-504 last season.

You can’t put this one on your bet card fast enough.

Chicago -13 vs. Kansas City
Last week’s drubbing by the hands of the Houston Texans confirmed the obvious: The Chiefs suck! Now they go on the road and face a 0-1 Bears team that’s still pissed off about losing to the Chargers last week. Unless Rex Grossman completely craps the bed, this one looks like an easy bet.

Speaking of Rexy, look what Ron Rivera told the Charger linebackers according to Matt Whilhelm: “He told us that Rex was kind of a mental midget so you can get into his head and create that doubt." Since I dubbed Adam Eaton a mental midget a few years ago can we just call this the Adam Eaton Hall of Fame? I nominate Adam Eaton, Rex Grossman, Eli Manning, and Chris Webber to be in the inaugural class.

And you know what? That’s still not enough to deter me from picking against the Bears.

And if you don’t think I’m throwing J’ville, Pittsburg, Cincy, and Chicago down on what will probably be the easiest four team parlay this season, you’re crazy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Grinding It Out With the Chargers

This past weekend was a pretty solid sports weekend highlighted by the Chargers winning their season opener 14-3 and me drinking so much that I passed out sometime after the game ended as guests slowly filtered out of my house. I don’t know which Sunday performance was worse -- my drinking performance or Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV Music Awards. Rookie mistake not mixing in a glass of water here and there.

The lesson of course is that I’m an idiot.…

Here are some thoughts on the Charger game:

1. The Bears defense clearly limited the Chargers but if you think about it, the Chargers would have scored 24 points had Tommie Harris been called offside (which he definitely was) on the play at the Bears goal line where the Chargers turned it over, and had Nate Keading (who’s slowly entering “Idiot Kicker” status) not gotten a chip shot field goal attempt blocked.

2. The Charger defense looked very solid. Props to Shawn Phillips for smacking Rex Grossman in the first quarter, to rookie Eric Weddle for recording his first NFL sack, and to Marlon McCree for not getting the ball stripped from behind after his interception. Good all-around performance. Had Phil Rivers not thrown a stupid, stupid, interception the defense would have pitched a shutout.

3. Everyone looks at LT’s 25 rushing yards and says the Bears contained him but he also had 51 receiving yards (which makes it 76 total yards if my math is correct), ran for a touchdown and threw for a touchdown. It wasn’t a typical LT performance but a pretty good day by anyone else’s standards and a great day considering the competition and the fact that the Bears were loading up the box with up to 9 guys.

4. Antonio Gates: 9 receptions, 107 yards, 1 touchdown in what was the first of many great games for Gatesy this season.

5. Phil Rivers didn’t look that sharp. In addition to the aforementioned stupid, stupid interception he was a little scattered and didn’t handle the blitz well -- especially when they blitzed up the middle. Granted he was hurt by a few dropped passes, but Rivers needs to be a little sharper-- especially this weekend. Maybe he needs to go back to the clear visor or something.

6. The bottom line is that I was glad to see the Chargers win a game where they had to grind it out a bit. And as everyone was saying afterwards, it was a good thing that they remain composed after the Rivers’ interception, the blocked kick, and when the Harris call didn’t go their way. On a call like that a year ago, Schottenheimer probably gets a 15-yard penalty for going to midfield to argue, followed by the Chargers going into prevent defense, getting two pass interference penalties called on them, and giving up a touchdown pass that gets the Bears back into the game. This year, they collect themselves, force the Bears to punt, got the ball back and that was that.

Like someone on a six-hour drinking binge breaking things up with a glass of water here and there, the Chargers didn’t let things get out of control on Sunday. Maybe I can learn a thing or two from them this year…

Friday night was the only night all weekend where I caught a glimpse of the Padres. This past week they’ve lost series’ to the Diamondbacks and Rockies and are back in second place. Padre apologists will say they haven’t been doing so well offensively because Milton Bradley is hurt but I say it’s Kevin Towers’ fault that their offensive viability in the final month of the season heavily relies on an injury-prone player who’s never played over 120 games in a season.

In any matter the Pads play the Dodgers and Frisco this week. I’ll be playing Madden ’08...

I watched the UFC fight on Saturday and was pretty entertained. My homie Rampage “Chillaxin” Jackson beat Dan Henderson to unify the light heavyweight title although he didn’t knock Henderson out. The highlight didn’t occur until Sunday when my brother pointed out that the deaf guy in one of the under card matches had a speech impediment, which led to me ask how a deaf guy would even know whether or not he even had a speech impediment. UFC is good times.

(I know, I’m really going to enjoy those 500 degree cups of coffee every morning when I’m burning in hell)…

And finally, here are my thoughts on Week 1 of the NFL:

1. I watched most of the Patriot game and I’ll have to admit, they look pretty good. Of course, any team can look good when they steal their opponents’ signals. What a bunch of cheaters.

All I can say is: It’s on this Sunday!

2. My NFC Super Bowl pick didn’t do too hot last weekend as the Eagles lost to Green Bay. My sleeper team (the Bucs), and the teams I had winning the AFC South (the Jags) and NFC West (the Rams) also lost. I’m an idiot! But I guess you already knew that…

3. I watched most of the Bengals-Ravens game last night and I’ll say this, the Bengals defense looks like its improved tenfold since last year. And from watching the Steelers highlights, Pittsburgh’s offense looks greatly improved too. Looks like it may be a two horse race for the AFC North.

4. Vince Young keeps winning games.

5. There are few things more enjoyable than rocking out to the “San Diego Super Chargers” song. That song never fails to get me jacked up, which got me thinking, if I had to compose a list of “Songs that Invariably Get me Jacked Up” it would look like this:

- “San Diego Super Chargers” by unknown black man with a sweet, sweet voice
- “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg
- “Fever Dog” by Stillwater
- “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Led Zeppelin
- “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors
- “The Ultimate Warrior Theme Song” by Jim Johnson (Johnson actually discussed writing this song in the documentary “Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior”)

And you wonder why I went girlfriend-less in 2006…

I’m also posting on Wordpress now. Just another way to get the word out. Wordpress readers can read older blogs at and if you really want to go old school, go to

Alright, that’s it. Keep an eye out for the Week 2 NFL picks blog Thursday evening / Friday morning.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Week 1 Picks

I’ve always wondered how I’d fare against other gamblers when it came to picking against the spread. We’ll I’m about to find out. This year, I’m playing in the Bill Simmons / ESPN Pick’em Challenge. I’ll be blogging my picks each week a la Simmons and comparing how I do with other readers, most of whom are sure to gamblers themselves. Something tells me this is going to end with me maxing out three credit cards and moving in with my dad, brother and Cousin Jimmy.

Anyways here are my picks (team listed first is the team that I picked):


Oakland -2.5 at Detroit
This will be the Josh McCown Bowl or as I’ll call it, “Crapfest 2007.” My litmus tests any time two bottom-of-the-barrel teams meet are:

1. Which is the team with the better defense? Since in any Crapfest, the team with the better defense will cause more turnovers, make more stops, and have the upper hand in wacky plays that invariably affect the outcome of the games when bottom-of-the-barrel teams meet.

2. Which is the team in the better division / conference? I call this the “Bigger Bully Theory” and it goes a little something like this: The whimp who gets beat up by a bigger bully will always beat up the whimp who gets beat up by a lesser bully since the whimp who gets beat up by the bigger bully will be a better fighter simply because he’s been beat up by a better bully…. Hopefully that makes sense.

In this instance the Raiders win both litmus tests.

Kansas City +1.5 at Houston
I watched Hard Knocks last night and came to one conclusion: The Chiefs suck. The last episode featured Tyrone Brackenridge screwing up in every way possible and somehow, at the end of the episode he makes the team! If Brackenridge can’t cover Marques Hagans, I can’t wait to see how he does against Vincent Jackson.

In any matter since Larry Johnson probably won’t tear his ACL until Week 4, and since Damon Huard did win some games for them last year I’m willing to take the points and KC against a Texan team that is perpetually rebuilding.

Atlanta -2.5 at Minnesota
If there’s a candidate for the first NFL game ever where no passing plays are called this is it. I don’t know if Matt Vasgersian is announcing football games this year but this one has his name written all over it. It’s Joey Harrington! Against Tavaris Jackson! Next! On Fox!

I’m went with the Falcons simply because they have a new coach although the more I think about it I probably should have went with the home team and taken the points.

I’m such an idiot.

St. Louis -1.5 vs. Carolina
If there was a football purgatory Carolina would be in it. They’re not quite good enough to be Super Bowl contenders but they’re not bad enough to where they should seriously start to rebuild. I went with the Rams at home on this one.


Cincinnati -3.5 vs. Baltimore
I’m going with the Bengals on this one because:

1. Steve McNair is a pubic hair away from being done. If this were a game of HORSE he’d have a D-O-N.
2. The Ravens defense is getting kind of old.
3. The Bengals always seem to play well against the Ravens.

Arizona +3.5 at San Francisco
I think Frisco is overrated this year. Arizona has a better quarterback, better receivers, a better line and they just upgraded from Dennis Green to Ken Whisenhunt which is like going dumpster diving for dinner one night and then going to Ruth’s Chris the next.

By the way, the headline no one was talking about this offseason but should have been talking about would be “Overexposed Quarterbacks Having Kids with Their Ex-Girlfriends.” First Matt Leinhart and then Tom Brady. What’s the quarterback equivalent of getting the goalie pulled from you? Sadly, I spent the past 20 minutes thinking about this but couldn’t come up with anything. Horrible.

NY Giants +3.5 at Dallas
Something tells me this is going to be a three point game won by a field goal on the final play of the game. It just has that kind of smell.


NY Jets +5.5 vs. New England
New England will be without their two defensive stalwarts Rodney Harrison and Richard Seymour, and Randy Moss didn’t play a single down for them in the preseason. Couple that with the fact that the Jets can run the ball now that they have Thomas Jones and the fact that Eric Mangini always looks to trump his mentor, plus the fact that the Jets are playing at home against a division rival and what do you get? Something a little closer than a five point game.

Tampa Bay +6.5 at Seattle
I can give you reasons why I picked the Buccaneers to cover but I think it would just be better if we called this one the “I’m backing my sleeper team this season” pick and call it a paragraph.

Tennessee +5.5 at Jacksonville
This one also has that “three point game” smell to it. I can see the Jags running the ball, Vince Young running around a bit and a disgusting final score of something like 15-12. Anyways, if Vegas took bets on things like “Team that Vince Young gets injured against” I would go with the Jags. Just wanted to make sure I got that on record before Young misses the next six to eight weeks with a partially torn MCL.


Denver -3.5 at Buffalo
On paper, the Broncos look like they should walk away with this one. But Buffalo is at home, and something tells me that if JP Losman can make a couple of big plays and Cutler throws a couple of picks the game will be a whole lot closer than it should be. Consider yourself warned.

Washington -3.5 vs. Miami
Here’s another one that seems a little too easy. If you played the Checkmark Game between the Redskins and Dolphins, the Redskins would have checkmarks on their side in almost every single category. Plus, they’re at home. This is one of those games that you have as an “easy win” on your parlay and it ends up screwing you. Or as I like to call it: “The Scot Wright Special”.

Actually, moving forward I’ll just call this section “The Scot Wright Special.”


Indy -6 vs. New Orleans
Ever since the NFL did the “Super Bowl winner from the previous season plays on opening night” thing, not only have the defending champs always won, they’ve always covered. Just thought that would be something you’d like to know.

Philly-2.5 at Green Bay
A rejuvenated Donovan McNabb out to prove he’s not injury prone against a Packer team that citing Bill Simmons, who’s citing Pro Football Prospectus was “4-8 (last season heading into Week 14) and lost to four teams with good defenses (the Bears, Pats, Eagles and Jets) by a combined 130-19 margin.”

Good times if you have scratch on Philly.

San Diego -5.5 vs. Chicago
You can call me a homer if you want, but depending on how many interceptions Rex Grossman throws, the Chargers are going to win this one by anywhere from 25 to 32 points.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

2007 NFL Preview

Before we get to the football preview I have a couple of house keeping items to take care of. An anonymous reader correctly points out that in my “Deconstructing the Patriots” blog I said that Gerald Green was the defensive end for the Patriots when I really meant Ty Warren. Gerald Green was the Celtic who got traded for Kevin Garnett. Somehow I got them confused. Sorry about that. I should be dragged out back and beaten to a bloody pulp.

The same anonymous reader goes on to say: “Your logic of ‘The Patriots went out and signed these players b/c they 'knew' the Chargers were 3 TDs better’ is so backwards, but it does set an appropriate tone for the rest of your backwards analysis. Perhaps they look to improve their football team on a yearly basis? Regardless of what another team in another division did last year.”

Seems like this guy missed the point of the blog. I wasn’t criticizing the Patriots for trying to improve their team; they always make a move to improve their team. My point was that they took chances on players like Randy Moss that they never would have considered in the past. In the Patriots’ heyday they KNEW they could beat teams like the Steelers and Colts and they didn’t need to trade for guys like Moss-- an injury prone malcontent who admits he doesn’t play hard every game, or to draft guys like Brandon Merriweather. Think about it, Terrell Owens was available the year after they won their second Super Bowl and the Patriots didn’t even look in his direction. Likewise do you think the Patriots would have traded for Moss if they would have won the Super Bowl last year? Probably not. But after they lucked out in the Charger game and had nothing in the second half of the Colts game they knew they weren’t head and shoulders the best team in the Conference anymore. And while the Chargers didn’t do anything because they knew they had a championship-caliber team, the Patriots knew they had to take chances on players they otherwise wouldn’t have in order to get/stay on that level. Desperate teams do desperate things. The Chargers didn’t have to take any chances this offseason and the Patriots did. That was my point.

Not really backwards if you think about it.

Now that’s out of the way…

With apologies to Peter King, these are the 10 Things I Think I Think about the 2007 NFL Season:

1. I think these are the teams that are vastly overrated: Patriots (uncertainty in the secondary, their linebackers and receivers still aren’t that good), Saints (still not a Drew Brees believer and they have a putrid defense), 49ers (injury prone RB and the loss of Norv Turner), and Broncos (second year QB in a division with strong defenses)

And these are the teams that are vastly underrated: the Jaguars (great D and strong running game), Redskins (Jason Cambell’s a potential fantasy sleeper), Buccaneers (more on this later), Jets (any friend of Tony Soprano is a friend of mine) and Rams (most talented players in tossup division).

2. I think LT is going to win consecutive MVP awards, rush for over 2,000 yards and will break the touchdown record he set last season. And Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman will win the Defensive Player of the Year Award and break the single-season sack record.

For Offensive ROY I’ll go with Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and for Defensive ROY I’ll remain a homer and go with the Chargers’ Eric Weddle.

3. I think the Buccaneers were the most impressive team during the preseason. I’m not kidding you about this. I’ve watched good chunks of three of their preseason games and each time they did something that impressed me. It makes sense if you think about it. They seriously upgraded their quarterback position and now have Jeff Garcia quarterback who thrives in the west coast offense and who’s not going to kill them with mistakes. Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman are a good 1-2 punch in the backfield so they’ll be able to run the rock. They have Joey Galloway and up and comer Maurice Stovall at wide out and they signed the DUI-machine Jeremy Stevens at tight end so they have some receiving options. On defense, I like Gaines Adams. They have oldies but goodies in Derrick Brooks, Rhonde Barber and Phil Buchannan and they just signed Jeremiah Trotter over the weekend. You combine all of this with the fact that Jon Gruden is on the hot seat and what do you have? A bona-fide sleeper team that no one else is picking. Mark it down!

4. I think the NFC West is a total crapshoot. You can put any team in that division in any slot and make a solid, rational, argument for why they’ll finish there. I’ll use the Rams as an example since my friend Scot is supposedly a huge Rams fan even though everyone knows that deep down inside, in places he doesn’t like to talk about at parties, the Chargers are his favorite team.

You could say:

The Rams look like they can win 10-12 games this year and take the division. They have a solid quarterback and superstars at the running back and wide receiver positions. Their defensive line has immensely improved with Adam Carricker in the mix and as long as Leonard Little thinks before he drinks. Dante Hall brings a dimension to the Rams return game that they haven’t had since Az Hakim.

Or you could say:

Orlando Pace is on his last legs. Likewise, Isaac Bruce shouldn’t be a starting receiver for a playoff team anymore. Randy McMichael is a disappointment in fantasy football and in real life football. Remember Fakhir Brown? He used to play cornerback for the Chargers. I thought I saw him behind the deli counter at Vons the other day but I was wrong; he’s the Rams starting cornerback. The Rams’ linebackers are small and it will be tough in a division with Shawn Alexander and Frank Gore. They’re a .500 team at best and a Stephen Jackson hamstring pull away from being 4-12.

See what I mean? A complete tossup. I swear, you can do this for every one of those teams in that division.

5. I think from top to bottom the AFC North is the toughest division in the NFL. The Bengals, Steelers and Ravens are all teams that could make noise in the playoffs and if the Browns ever got their quarterback situation figured out they’d be decent team. (They have solid line, good wide outs and some playmakers on defense). The Steelers probably have the most well rounded team in that division, but I went with the Bengals because they will have a healthy Carson Palmer for an entire year and their offense will be absolutely ridiculous this year.

6. I think I had the Jaguars winning the AFC Central this year until they released Byron Leftwich over the weekend. I really like their RB tandem of Maurice-Jones Drew (or as I like to call him Moe-Joe Drew) and Fred Taylor, and I think their defense is rock-solid-physical. Plus I think the Colts are going to struggle this year. They play the Patriots and Chargers back-to-back. They always struggle against the run and play teams thrive on running the rock like Denver and Carolina. Plus they always struggle against the Jaguars and they usually split against the Texans and Titans. So assuming they lose to the Patriots and Chargers, they split against Denver / Carolina, and they split against the Jags, Texans and Titans you’re looking at a 10-6 team. Now what if they have a slipup and lose to the Saints on Thursday or to a team like the Ravens? Suddenly you’re looking at a 9-7 record, you’re a borderline playoff team, and maybe, just maybe the Jags can sneak right in there and win the division.

But it’s going to be tough now with David Garrard at the helm…. wait a minute… um, you know what?

Screw it. I’m sticking with my guns and going with the Jags to win the division even with Garrard at QB.

7. I think these are how the standings will look at the end of the season:

AFC Central

AFC East

AFC North

AFC West

NFC Central

NFC East

NFC South

NFC West

Wild Cards: Colts, Steelers, Redskins, Cardinals

8. I think I hate reading predictions where the writer pretty much picks the same exact team that won the division last year to win the division again this year. Look at this Why-o who picked the same division winners as last year in all but one division and picked Denver and St Louis to be the only new teams in the playoffs this year. I read Don Bank’s columns all the time but he didn’t exactly go out on a limb with his picks. When will prognosticators realize that unlike baseball, that’s not how the NFL works and its reason #23 why the NFL is so gosh darn great.

And since we’re on the topic, ESPN the Magazine, Merrill Hodge, and Eric Allen are the only people / magazines I’ve read so far that picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl. Not since Sean Salisbury’s performance in The Benchwarmers have I seen something so egregious. Except for a couple of guys who picked the Ravens and SI who picked the Chargers to lose to the Saints, everyone else picked the Patriots. What a joke.

9. I think my fantasy sleepers this year are: Kevin Curtis, Jerious Norwood, Brandon Jackson, Adrian Peterson of the Bears, Vincent Jackson, Phil Rivers, Cadillac Williams, Dante Culpepper and Jason Campbell.

And my fantasy busts are: Cedric Benson, Marquis Colston, Frank Gore, Larry Johnson, Drew Brees, Randy Moss, Vince Young, and Jay Cutler.

By the way, my fantasy team name this year is “Chillaxing” after what UFC Champion Rampage Jackson said he was gong to do after he beat Chuck Lidell in May. And in case you’re wondering I have Kevin Curtis, Jerious Norwood, Brandon Jackson and Adrian Peterson of the Bears on my team.

And in case you’re still wondering here’s what my fantasy team looks like: QB- Tony Romo, RB- Lawrence Maroney, RB- Brandon Jacobs, WR- Chad Johnson, WR- Tory Holt, TE- Chris Cooley, RB/WR- Jerious Norwood, WR/TE- Chad Curtis, D- Jaguars, K- Mike Nugent, B- Matt Leinhart, Brandon Jackson, Adrian Peterson.

God help me if I don’t win the Bada Bing! this year.

10. I think this year is going to be the Chargers’ year!

It’s going to be the Chargers and Patriots in AFC Championship Game, the Eagles and Bears in the NFC Championship Game with the Chargers beating the Eagles in Arizona and February 3rd 2008 will forever be remembered as The Day San Diego (Finally) Wins a Championship in a Major Sport.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Whoa-o, Mexico

Hola LamLoggers! Due to the Labor Day weekend I only blogged once last week. I’ll make it up to you guys this week with a blog today, a football preview blog tomorrow, and another blog on Thursday night / Friday.

God only knows how I can do this for you and still maintain a full-time job…

A lot of people have been asking me if I’ve gotten back with the Padres after breaking up with them a couple of weeks ago. Over the past two weeks the Padres have gone 10-4, are back in first place, and are averaging an astonishing (for them at least) 6 runs per game! This is like breaking up with your girlfriend because she's a fat slob, then watching her drop 25 pounds, dye her hair blonde and get breast implants. But to answer your question, no I haven’t gotten back with the Padres. They’ve done this crap every single year for the past three years! They start off OK, slump, and then squeak into the playoffs where their crappy lineup that’s filled with 6th and 7th hitters are exposed worse than Michael Vick. This happens every freaking single year. So no, I haven’t been watching the Padres and yes, I’m perfectly fine with my decision…

I was in Irvine on Thursday so I only watched a few minutes of the last Charger preseason game. By all accounts, the Chargers are ready for the season and gosh darn it, so am I. I’ve heard a little bitching here and there about the team and let me tell you something: People who complain about how the Chargers look in the preseason are the same ones who get offended from LT’s Nike commercial. Look, there are more important things to concern yourselves over than how Stephen Cooper looks in the preseason. And if I were the Bears, I’d be less concerned about LT’s Nike commercial and more concerned about the 5 interceptions that Rex Grossman is about to throw this Sunday.

It’s worth mentioning here that while in Irvine I stayed at the Embassy Suites which has something spectacular called “The Manager’s Hour” or something to that effect and it’s basically an open bar for all their guests from 5:30-7:30. So there I was Thursday night polishing off two bowls of nachos (which were also on the house), one regular sized 7 and 7 and three more double sized 7 and 7s. Man, what a treat.

(After that I went over to McCormick and Schmick’s and had an average dinner that could be described as: “An overpriced plate of blandness that wasn’t remotely gratifying.” But I guess anyone who knows anything about chain restaurants could have told me that.)

Thumbs up Embassy Suites, thumbs down McCormick and Schmick’s…

ESPN screwed up its fantasy baseball league at the beginning of the season so they gave everyone a free fantasy football team. My league’s draft was this Friday and I had the sixth pick. Here’s who I got:

Round 1: Reggie Bush
Round 2: Travis Henry
Round 3: Thomas Jones
Round 4: Antonio Gates
Round 5: Plaxico Burress
Round 6: Matt Hasslebeck
Round 7: Brandon Jacobs
Round 8: LaMont Jordan
Round 9: Joey Galloway
Round 10: Mike Bell
Round 11: Chris Chambers
Round 12: Michael Turner
Round 13: Broncos D
Round 14: Craig Davis
Round 15: LP Losman
Round 16: Jason Hanson

Sixth was a little high to pick Bush but it will be good cheering for the Regginator again and I’ve always wanted him on my fantasy team. In fact “I’ve always wanted him on my fantasy team” could be used as the reason why I drafted Antonio Gates and Plaxico Burress as well. I should just rename my team “Guys I’ve always wanted on my fantasy team.”

In the end, I really didn’t care. I just want to win the Bada Bing! this year. That’s the league that counts…

I was down in Mexico on Saturday so I didn’t watch most of the first weekend of college football. Two things that I would have like to have seen:

1. Appalachian State upsetting 5th ranked Michigan -- the first time a Division I-AA school beat a ranked opponent.

2. Notre Dame looking atrocious. I’ll just let the K’ster (an ND alum) take it from here:

“The ND game was awful. They didn’t even look good and basically gave me no hope for the rest of the season. The defense is still slow and the O-line is pathetic. Charlie should just instill a shotgun offense for the rest of the season. We are screwed. After the game I went home and sulked and wondered why every team could find the endzone except for ND.”

Well then… we’ll check back with her next week to see how she enjoyed Week 1 of the Jimmy Clausen era.

In case you’re wondering, Mexico was pretty fun. Here are some quick thoughts:

1. The first bar we were at we had two beers, two shots of tequila and a margarita and the tab came up to a whopping $27! Man, if I wanted to get overcharged for drinks I’d just go downtown.

2. The lobster in Puerto Nuevo was pretty good but I still prefer lobsters with claws… or as most call them, Maine lobsters.

3. I bought a couple of Cuban cigars, a toy bow and arrow set, and some firecrackers down there. I smoked the cigar after I ate some lobsters and lit some firecrackers on the beach in Rosarito. Good times!

4. Rosarito was like an episode of Girls Gone Wild. Girls were dressed like porn stars and there were drunken kids everywhere. I saw a girl passed out on the street and it was only around 8:00 in the evening! Am I getting old or what? Seeing drunken 19 year olds is fun when you’re 19, but somewhat disturbing when you’re 29…

Alright, that’s it. Keep an eye out for the football preview blog to be posted Wednesday night / Thursday.