2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 17

Time flies when you’re having fun. Isn’t that the common expression?? I can hardly believe that we’re near the end of another football season. It seems like just yesterday the warm summer breeze of August was blowing as we began this journey, and now the cold winds of the holidays are making cozy blankets & hot mugs of cocoa the accessories of choice as we watch another year come to a close. I am pondering a slam bang finish to our entertaining little project next week, but for now we move forward after a week in which Zach (3-2) bested me (1-4) and point spreads were a key difference. He probably doesn’t have much of a chance to catch me for the season crown, but a strong finish is always nice, and I’m just trying to get back above .500.

My Season:        50-52

Z’s Season:        43-60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati                    at      Cleveland (-8.5)

In my season preview I predicted that for the Browns “winning more games than they’ve won in total over the past couple of seasons would be cause for optimism. If that actually happens then it could mean a last place finish for the Bengals”. As we near the conclusion of the season Cleveland has already won the six games I said they would and they’re currently a half game above Cincinnati in the standings. So basically my prediction comes down to this game, and it just so happens to be in Cleveland. Zach likes the way the Browns have been playing and believes they will win the game…but he isn’t comfortable with the points and doesn’t think they’ll cover.

My Pick:     Cleveland

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

Green Bay (-3.5)                   at      NY Jets

In that same season preview I gave the Packers eight wins, and said they “are leaning on their reputation but in reality aren’t that good”. As it turns out they’re even worse than I thought. The Jets have also been even worse than I imagined they would be since I predicted they’d get to seven wins. Neither team seems to have any momentum and both seem to be limping to the finish line, so I’m not sure where to go with this one. New York has the home field, so I’ll lean in that direction. Zach thinks both teams are bad but still believes the Jets are worse.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

 

 

 

 

Houston             at      Philadelphia (-2)

Could history be repeating itself?? Will backup QB Nick Foles spell an injured Carson Wentz, get his team on a run, & lead them back to The Super Bowl?? Ehhh…probably not. I suppose they could still get into the playoffs, but this game is probably a must win, and the Texans have won 10 out of their last 11 games. I am somewhat surprised that Philly…even with the home field…is favored. That seems more than a little disrespectful to Houston, and I’m not buying it. Zach is all in on Foles and is predicting another Philly upset.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

Kansas City (-2.5)      at      Seattle

I was way off in my assessment of the Seahawks. I opined that “Seattle’s Legion of Boom has been relegated to the dust bin of history and their once imposing defense looks totally decimated” before predicting that they’d win only five games. They are currently 8-6 and could clinch a wildcard with a home victory against the celebrated Chiefs, who need to keep winning to secure a division title or else they’ll be one of the best wildcard teams in recent memory. Both teams have plenty of motivation and something to play for…I just think KC is the better team. Zach thinks the home field for Seattle is an advantage that the Chiefs won’t overcome.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

 

Denver (-2.5)      at      Oakland

There have already been rumors that Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is about to lose his job. They are 6-8, which is atleast better than the 2-14 I penciled in for them a few months ago, but I suppose when combined with a 5-11 finish a year ago one can understand a lack of patience from the front office. The Raiders are a few games worse than their opponents, but we all know that Gruden will get a pass for a couple of years before the powers-that-be start to get restless. Once this season is finished their focus will quickly turn to the team’s impending move to Las Vegas as well as the three first round draft picks they’ll have this spring. So, while both teams are suffering thru an horrendous season I think it’s fair to say that they are on opposite ends of the hope spectrum. The stark contrast in future outlook might be enough to make a difference. Conversely, Zach foresees Denver scoring an easy victory.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Denver

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 10

football-introducing-the-science_1Sorry folks…running behind so this is going to be quick & dirty. Lots going on in my world. I’m not used to so much activity. Last week I was 6-3, while Zach was 3-6. More than most weeks in recent memory we had several games decided by the point spread…teams winning but not covering. That’s exactly why we have that added layer of strategery. It makes things that much more interesting. The college football schedule is kind of prosaic this week, so we’re leaning a little more on the NFL. I try my best not to be repetitive by choosing games involving the same teams every week, although it is undeniable that some teams are just more interesting and play better opponents than others.

 My Season:     28-27

Z’s Season:     19-37

 

 

 

 

Alabama (-7.5)             at      LSU

Zach & I both agree that the Tide are on another level. Actually they have almost become boring since they tend to bulldoze opposing teams with the outcome never alabamatidereally in doubt. I don’t anticipate anything different even with this game being in Baton Rouge. I wouldn’t mind being wrong.

My Pick:     Alabama

Z’s Pick:     Alabama

 

 

Nebraska            at      Ohio St. (-17.5)

This is another point spread situation. I don’t think the Buckeyes lose at The Horseshoe. However, as Penn St. proved, Ohio St. isn’t infallible. Nebraska is coming off of nebraska-cornhuskersa tough overtime loss, but they still have a lot to fight for, including a spot in the Big Ten (which has 14 teams) title game. At the very least I expect a spirited effort from the Cornhuskers and a fairly close game. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Nebraska

Z’s Pick:     Nebraska

 

 

NY Jets               at      Miami (-3.5)

Jets-Pin-ProNeither team has any chance whatsoever to overtake New England in the AFC East, and the playoffs are a pipe dream. Both teams would be MiamiDolphinslucky to finish with a winning record. But somehow Jets/Dolphins games always seem to be exciting & fun to watch, going all the way back to my childhood. I’m going to roll the dice on an upset just for the hell of it. Conversely, Zach likes the Dolphins’ rushing attack, which is actually better without recently retired Arian Foster.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Miami

 

 

New Orleans (-3.5)     at      San Francisco

Neither of these teams are going to the playoffs either. The Saints have a chance to finish around the .500 mark, but with Atlanta running away with their division that’s new_orleans_saints-3737just not good enough. The Niners are probably in the conversation for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, a choice one would assume they’d use on a quarterback. ‘Frisco doesn’t even get the respect of the obligatory home field bump from the oddsmakers…probably because they don’t deserve it. Zach has concerns about N’awleans’ inconsistency, but even less faith that ‘Frisco can field a competent professional football team.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans

 

 

Denver                at      Oakland (-1)

QB Derek Carr has the Raiders riding high, topping their division deep into the season for the first time in several years. But the Broncos are right there with them. This raidersis the Sunday night game on NBC, and it’s a big one for both teams, with the winner sitting in the post-season driver’s seat and the loser in a wildcard spot and facing a possible playoff game at New England. I like the Broncos’ defense, but I think Carr figures out a way to keep it close to set up a Sebastian Janikowski game winning field goal. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

2015 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

kickoff_footballLast week I swung for the fences…with mixed results. Both Zach & I went 5-3. I absolutely nailed the wacky Texas Tech/TCU finish, and The Vibes guided me correctly in a very close Colts/Titans game. Zach wisely picked the Utes of Utah, who mauled a shockingly inept Oregon squad, and also took the Green Bay Packers. I suppose the KC Chiefs aren’t as good as I thought they were. So far in 2015 the numbers look like this:

Me = 16-7           Z = 11-12

The schedule is a bit tricky this week. There are a handful of potentially good games, but I really try to have variety in these picks. I don’t want to focus on the same few teams every week. That’s difficult in college football because the cream tends to rise to the top and it is tempting to gravitate toward matchups featuring the same highly ranked teams over & over. It’s even harder with the NFL, which has only 32 teams and fans tend to lose interest in those that we can already see are going to be terrible, which narrows the pool even more. The point spread shouldn’t play a significant role in any of these games, but then again I could have said the same thing last week and I ended up winning two games in which the points did matter. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Minnesota at Northwestern (-3.5)
Northwestern_WildcatsIt seems like every few years Northwestern pops up with a solid season in which they take up residence in the polls and end up minnesotalanding in a nice bowl location. I always know when it’s that kind of year for the Wildcats since one of their biggest fans is my man Greeny from ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, a 1989 graduate of the school. Minnesota was a consistent Top 25 team last year and are off to a pretty decent start this season, with the only blemish being a close loss to highly ranked TCU in the season opener. I am far from an expert on either of these teams, but I would assume we can expect characteristic hard-hitting Big Ten football, a low scoring affair dominated by defense. There may be some concern about Northwestern looking past this game and ahead to next week’s battle with Michigan, but I’d actually be more worried about that if they were playing a lesser opponent. They won’t overlook Minnesota, and I think the home team wins by a touchdown. Zach disagrees and is picking Minnesota to win by a field goal.

My Pick – Northwestern
Z’s Pick – Minnesota

 

 

Alabama at Georgia (-2)
AlabamaCrimsonTide2This is the first game since 2009 in which Alabama has been the underdog. Wow. That’s impressive. The reason folks are georgiadoubting them is a surprising loss to Ole Miss a couple of weeks ago. They also don’t seem to have a QB that impresses anyone, which is an issue. Conversely, the Bulldogs are undefeated and just keep handing the rock to RB Nick Chubb, who is averaging nearly 150 yds/game. This is a must win for ‘Bama if they hope to make it to the playoff. Two losses would kill that dream. We’ll know a lot more about these two teams when this one is over. Is the uncertainty about the Tide valid?? Are the Bulldogs for real?? The question I have is whether or not Georgia has a Plan B if the Alabama defense stuffs Chubb. I don’t think he’s getting 150 yards this week. He may not get 100. Can they chuck the ball downfield and get the job done thru the air?? I’ll believe it if I see it. Alabama with their backs against the wall is dangerous. Zach is putting his mancrush on Nick Saban on the backburner, choosing Georgia to win by two TDs.

My Pick – Alabama
Z’s Pick – Georgia

Notre Dame at Clemson (-1.5)
NotreDameFightingIrishThe talking heads have been bragging on Clemson since before the season began, many of them predicting that the Tigers clemsonwould win the ACC. Meanwhile I have been much higher on Notre Dame than most. My enthusiasm has been tempered just a bit because of all the injuries the Irish have suffered, but they’re 4-0 without the benefit of as easy of a schedule as most have played thus far. This will be Clemson’s first real test and they do have the home field. The winner of this game will be nicely positioned for a playoff run, although it is far too early to really think in those terms. It may not be the wise choice, but I’m pretty stubborn about sticking with my pre-season vibes until I am proven wrong, so I have to lean toward the underdogs. Zach believes that Clemson is the real deal, and isn’t buying the luck of the Irish.

My Pick – Notre Dame
Z’s Pick – Clemson

 

 

NY Jets (-1.5) vs Miami
Miami_Dolphins_HelmetIt’s early, but it is entirely possible that I may have completely misjudged both of these teams. I thought Miami would be solid Jets-Pin-Proand in the hunt for a wildcard playoff spot, but they’ve gotten off to a 1-2 start. People are criticizing the non-impact of free agent defensive end Ndamukong Suh and there are whispers that Joe Philbin could be the first head coach in the unemployment line this season. Conversely, the Jets have already secured the 2 victories that I predicted they’d get for the entire season and the reviews have been much more positive than most expected. This game is in London, England which means that those of us on the east coast will have to watch it at 9:30am, and I can’t imagine that there’ll be anyone out west getting up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning for it. The NFL really needs to rethink this London thing. Anyway, I’m just not buying the good vibes coming out of New York and I still believe the Dolphins are the better team. Zach does buy what the Jets are selling and thinks they’ll win the game easily.

My Pick – Miami
Z’s Pick – NY Jets

 

 

St. Louis at Arizona (-6.5)
nflarizonacardinalsThe Cardinals just might be the best non-cheating franchise in the NFL at the moment. If QB Carson Palmer can remain healthy (a huge IF) they could be a legitimate challenger to Seattle for the division title. Meanwhile, the Rams occasionally show potential but something just seems to be missing. Whatever that something may be is unlikely to suddenly show up in the desert this week. Zach concurs.

My Pick – Arizona
Z’s Pick – Arizona

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

Last weekend was a bloodbath. There’s no other way to soft sell it. One of the keys to success in the prognostication arts is being able to predict big upsets and last week college football had more than its fair share…very few of which I saw coming. As a fan it was lots of fun to watch, but for the purpose of these picks it was viciously humbling. I ended up going 3-4. Both Zach & I picked Arizona & Virginia Tech correctly, and I was happy to see Nebraska stage a late comeback to atleast cover the points even though they didn’t win. Zach was 4-3 and picked both Mississippi St. and Notre Dame correctly. We both completely whiffed by picking LSU & Alabama. You know it’s a wacky year when both of those teams lose in the same day. So the season records look like this:

Me = 15-18
Zach = 16-16

There are several big college games again this week but I prefer to have a little variety and not pick games involving the same teams week after week. With the NFL this is somewhat unavoidable because there are only 32 teams, but the NCAA has a much bigger selection from which to choose and so we shall.

 

 

 

 

 

TCU at Baylor (-8.5)
The Horned Frogs are 4-0 and coming off a surprising upset of Oklahoma. Baylor is now a legitimate part of the national playoff conversation but they need to keep baylorwinning. I am sure TCU will put forth their best effort, but don’t believe they are an authentic Top 10 team. This game is in Waco and the home team should roll to a solid double digit victory. Zach likes the Bears’ high powered offense and expects that it’ll be hard for TCU to get revved up for another big upset so soon.

My Pick = Baylor
Z’s Pick = Baylor

Louisville at Clemson (-10.5)
Louisville-CardinalsThe Cardinals have represented themselves rather well in their inaugural season in the ACC. They are 5-1 and currently in 2nd place in theirclemson division. I must admit I did not think they’d be that successful this season, especially after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater to the NFL. Conversely Clemson is 3-2 and hasn’t done well against stiff competition. They lost a lot of talent to the NFL and it has shown. I don’t think Louisville will win this game, but I do think they’ll play good enough to cover the points. Zach disagrees and thinks Clemson will win in a blowout.

My Pick = Louisville
Z’s Pick = Clemson

 

 

Denver (-8) at NY Jets
8 point spreads in the NFL are almost like 20 points in the collegiate ranks. Theoretically these guys are all professional athletes and no team should get shellacked denverby 2 or 3 touchdowns. However we all know that it does happen. This spread is especially insulting to the Jets since they are the home team. However, I do agree that the Broncos are a team on a mission…Super Bowl or bust…and that New York is a hot mess without a good starting QB and with a head coach who has to feel the noose tightening. I’d be surprised if the game isn’t essentially over at halftime and Peyton Manning isn’t chillin’ on the sidelines by the 4th quarter. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

Dallas at Seattle (-8)
seattle-seahawks1I know everyone is jumping on the Dallas bandwagon, but I’m not buying it. They are 4-1 but three of their wins are over teams with a dallas-cowboys-logo2combined record of 4-10. Simmer down Cowboys fans…no need to be more obnoxious than usual just yet. Philadelphia is still going to win the division. Meanwhile the defending champs are 3-1 and I think their early season loss to the San Diego Chargers will actually prove beneficial. It’s really easy for champions to become complacent but the Seahawks got a wake-up call and now seem to be back on track. I think this will be an easy win for Seattle. Zach isn’t a Cowboys fan but does believe that there is good reason for folks to have high expectations. He thinks Dallas is a solid playoff team and will atleast cover the points in this one.

My Pick = Seattle
Z’s Pick = Dallas

 

 

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-2.5)
philadelphia_eagles-3715The Giants are another team that everyone suddenly has renewed faith in, although it’s a bit more understandable in their case. They have aGiants Logo history of bouncing between being a playoff contender and a bottom dweller as effortlessly as Marty McFly travels thru time. On the flip side the Eagles are 4-1 but haven’t been quite as dominating as some (including me) expected. RB LeSean McCoy is only averaging 55 yds/game. To call that underwhelming would be like calling President Obama somewhat of a disappointment. Philly’s defense isn’t that good either, ranking 24th in the league against the run and 29th in passing defense. This is the Sunday night game and I think it’ll be a high scoring back & forth kind of contest with the home team getting the victory late in the 4th quarter. Zach agrees that it’ll be close but believes it will be the Giants that score late to seal the victory.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = NY Giants

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

I am so mad at myself. Sometimes something is so obviously staring one right in the face that we too easily look past it. Such was the case last week. There was a fantastic opportunity for me to go 5-0, which I think would have been the very first time in three years that has happened. I am far too lazy to research the archives in order to verify that fact. At any rate, instead I ended up going 3-2. Why?? Well, first of all, the Green Bay Packers only beat the NY Jets by 7 points. The spread was 8. That one wasn’t so much my fault as it was a Packers team who basically phoned it in and may have actually lost were it not for the inexplicable ineptitude of the Jets coaching staff. Then there was the major upset…the San Diego Chargers defeating the Seattle Seahawks. I should have seen it coming. There was no way the Seahawks were going to go undefeated. That just doesn’t happen. I am the guy who said in my NFL Preview that “Super Bowl Champions oftentimes slip a little the following season” while predicting a rather pedestrian 10-6 record for Seattle. At the same time I called the Chargers “sneaky good” and also predicted a 10-6 record as well as a playoff berth. The Seahawks had dismantled Green Bay in the opening game of the season while San Diego lost a heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle-San Diego was a home game for the Chargers & a classic trap game for the Seahawks, and they fell into the trap. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. The good news for me is that while I went 3-2 Zach went 1-4, which means our season thus far looks like this:

Me = 7-9
Zach = 7-8

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Iowa at Pitt (-6.5)
iowaI ranked Iowa 14th in my pre-season Top 25, but after a last second loss to in-state rival Iowa pittSt. they have some work to do if they’re going to fulfill that prophecy. Meanwhile, the hated Pitt Panthers have gotten off to a solid 3-0 start, including a victory at Boston College. Heinz Field isn’t much of a home advantage for the Panthers since there are usually only a few dozen people there on Saturdays, including vendors and homeless people hoping to score some scraps from discarded Primanti Brothers wrappers. Most folks in The ‘Burgh wait to spend their hard earned money on Sunday at the Steelers game. Pitt seems like they may be the real deal, but who knows?? I think this will be a close game and it is undoubtedly pivotal to both teams’ seasons. I’m going to support my own pre-season prediction by going with the Hawkeyes. Using the logic that Boston College beat USC and Pitt beat Boston College so therefore Pitt must be a legitimately good team (which actually does make sense) Zach is picking the Panthers to pound the ball with their rushing attack and win easily.

My Pick = Iowa
Z’s Pick = Pitt

Florida at Alabama (-14.5)
Where is the love for ‘Bama?? Are we just so use to them being a top team that we don’t even feel the need to discuss themflorida gators image anymore?? Is there a bit of Tide fatigue amongst the masses?? The answer is probably yes on both counts. However, this game should receive a fair amount of attention. Florida isn’t back to its Spurrier/Urban Meyer heyday just yet, but they are 2-0. Yes it took them 3 overtimes to beat Kentucky last week. I think they may have been looking ahead just a bit. Anyway, if this game were at The Swamp it’d be really intriguing, but alas it is in Tuscaloosa. Therefore I believe there is probably not much of a doubt that Alabama will win. The question is by how much?? I am probably going to regret this, but I guess maybe I am one of the doubters. I think the Tide rolls, but by less than 14 ½ points. Zach has a man crush on Nick Saban but agrees with my assessment that this will be a close game.

My Pick = Florida
Z’s Pick = Florida

Clemson at Florida St. (-20)
There are no shortage of folks who already have had the #1 ranked Seminoles on upset alert. They were less than clemsonimpressive in a season opening victory over Oklahoma St., a game in which the Cowboys narrowed their deficit to within a touchdown with 2 minutes remaining but ran out of time to make anything else happen. Add in the fact that Florida St.’s quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, upstanding citizen, scholar, gentleman, & all around class act Jameis Winston is suspended for the first half of this game because he is a moron. Meanwhile, the Tigers are 1-1 after a season opening loss to Georgia followed by dismantling an overmatched junior high team last week. I honestly don’t know how Clemson is still in anyone’s Top 25. They certainly haven’t earned such accolades. However, that could change with this game. Heck, if the game were being played at Memorial Stadium in South Carolina I might actually give them a puncher’s chance to win. However, it is in Tallahassee. The point spread does concern me just a bit. Florida St. has put up only 37 points in each of its first two contests. I think Clemson will be overmatched but motivated, while I am not sure the apprehension of the doubters has reached enough of a crescendo for Florida St. to pay much attention…yet. Zach not only agrees but is boldly predicting an outright Clemson victory. That boy has a set of brass ones. He gets it from his mother’s side of the family.

My Pick = Clemson
Z’s Pick = Clemson

Denver at Seattle (-5)
For anyone who may have been hiding out in one of those bomb shelters from the 60’s recently, this is a rematch of last denverseason’s Super Bowl. In that game the Seahawks’ defense made living legend Peyton Manning look like…well…Eli Manning and cruised to a 43-8 victory that was even more underwhelming than Bruno Mars’ halftime show. But the beauty of the NFL is that every season is new and teams can change…both for the good and the not so good…at the drop of a hat. The Broncos made notable improvements to their defense, while Seattle lost a few pieces, although I don’t think it’s had a significant impact so far. Adding intrigue to this game is the fact that the defending champions, as previously mentioned, were upset last week. Could they really lose two games in a row?? Is Denver as good as their 2-0 record indicates?? The revenge factor for the Broncos cannot be overlooked, but neither can the anger of the Seahawks after a tough loss. This is a hard game to figure out, but I’m going to roll the dice on Manning and go with the underdogs. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

Chicago at NY Jets (-2.5)
Jets-Pin-ProThe Bears spoiled the opening of their brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers last chicago-bears-logo13Sunday night and looked pretty good in doing it, especially in the 4th quarter. But let us not forget that they lost their season opener at home in three OTs to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are 1-1 as well. So basically no one really knows what to expect in this game. New York gets the nominal home field advantage but I’m not sure that means much. This is the story of two quarterbacks. The Bears’ Jay Cutler is, in my opinion, overrated. The Jets’ Geno Smith…a former WV Mountaineer…has potential and occasionally shows flashes but has been disappointing to some. I look for this to be a defensive battle defined by turnovers and lots of smashmouth football. Which QB will make the least mistakes?? Which one will make a blunder at the worst possible time?? Whose running game will dominate?? This is the Monday night game so I suppose I’ll stay up past my bedtime to find out. In a flip of the proverbial coin I’m going with the Jets. Zach disagrees and is picking the Bears.

My Pick = NY Jets
Z’s Picks = Chicago

2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 15

Okay citizens, this is going to be another quick one. Your humble Potentate of Profundity has once again ran into some unfortunate computer issues and I have limited time in my secret Plan B bunker. In last week’s grand finale of college football’s regular season Zach 3-4 and I went 3-5, so our season records look like this:

                Zach       =             34-41

                Myself  =             38-38

From here on out we’ll be riding down the home stretch with the NFL where playoff berths and positioning will be the name of the game. It should be fun.

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New England (-1)             at            Miami

New_England_Patriots_HelmetThe Patriots are like a serial killer in a cheesy slasher flick…rumors of their demise are always greatly exaggerated. All the sudden they have aMiami_Dolphins_Helmet legit shot at being the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Meanwhile the Dolphins are clinging to a playoff spot like a Black Friday shopper who scored the first Xbox One but is now cornered by an angry mob of desperate mothers. In other words it doesn’t look promising. I’ll be cheering on Miami (because I truly loathe the Pats), but honestly the smart pick here is New England. Zach thinks the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski will have a negative impact on New England, plus he feels like the Dolphins will be extra motivated with a wild card berth on the line.

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NY Jets                  at            Carolina (-11)

I have to give the Jets credit. I predicted that they’d win 2 games and they’ve already won 6. QB Geno Smith, while still inconsistent, has performed far better Jets-Pin-Prothan I thought he would. I don’t think they’re going to make the playoffs but kudos are still in order for having a much better season than anyone ever dreamed they would. My prediction was also a bit off about the Panthers, whom I thought would be a .500 team at best but instead they are 9-4 and look to have a wild card spot locked down unless they completely flame out over the next few weeks. I’m rather uncomfortable with the double digit point spread so even though I think Carolina will win I’m going to pick the Jets. Zach is on the same wavelength.

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Green Bay           at            Dallas (-7)

Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the Cowboys go down. However, Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers is still out with a collarbone injury so putting dallas-cowboys-dallas-cowboys-15496395-1280-1024one’s faith in backup Matt Flynn is a shaky proposition. Dallas’ defense is terrible but if the only thing they need to worry about is shutting down Green Bay’s rook RB Eddie Lacy that’ll make thinks a bit easier. If this game was being played on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field I’d probably go with the underdog even considering the quarterback situation, but it’s being played at The Death Star in Big D so I’ll go with Dallas. Zach concurs.

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New Orleans (-6)              at            St. Louis

The Saints need a victory to maintain their division lead, plus they are still in contention for home field in the NFC playoffs. The Rams are a mess. I’d be 10_new_orleans_saintsshocked if New Orleans didn’t win easily. Zach agrees.

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Baltimore            at            Detroit (-6)

I predicted the Lions would go 7-9 and finish last in their division. Instead they are currently 7-6 and lead the division. This is the Monday night game this week Detroit_Lions_Helmetand it should be a dandy. Weather won’t be an issue inside the comfortable confines of Ford Field, and I think Calvin Johnson will have a big game. This isn’t a spot that Detroit is used to whereas it is par for the course for the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens who are in a battle for a playoff spot. I’m going to roll the dice on the Lions since they have the home field. Zach…like myself…has a strong dislike for the Ravens and refuses to pick them. He’s predicting a big game from Calvin Johnson as well.

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2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 12

The football fun starts early this week, with several college & pro games taking place on Thanksgiving & Black Friday. I knew this but still somehow managed to procrastinate until the last minute. Let me seize the opportunity to wish all the citizens of The Manoverse a healthy & happy Thanksgiving filled with family, food, and faith. I’m going to keep it pretty short & sweet today because I have a dinner to go to!! There’s some stuffing & pie with my name on it just waiting to be savored. God bless & enjoy.

 

 

 

Washington       at      Dallas (-3)

Cowboys versus Indians on Thanksgiving. I think we all know how this story goes. The Redskins are a team on the rise while the Cowboys are a dysfunctional joke, but in this one game they’ll get the job done.

 

 

Houston (-3)      at      Detroit

I’m stunned that the Texans are only favored by three points. Yes the Lions have the home field advantage, and they are used to the short week & playing on Thanksgiving. But Houston is clearly the better team and should win easily.

 

 

New England (-7) at   NY Jets

The oddsmakers either know something we don’t or were feeling really generous this week. I suppose a 7 point spread is considered rather large in the NFL, and of course the Jets have the home field. But again, the Patriots are far & away the better team. It makes me cringe to pick New England to win anything, but I just call ‘em as I see ‘em.

 

 

Michigan            at      Ohio St. (-3.5)

The Buckeyes are undefeated, but since they are on probation & ineligible for post-season play this is their bowl game. Michigan is still in the hunt for a possible Big Ten title so they have something to play for. I think home field means a lot more in college than the NFL, so normally I’d be easily persuaded to go with Ohio St., but those pesky (and notoriously inaccurate) vibes are speaking to me. You’d think I would have learned to ignore them by now. Anyway, call it karma, call it justice, call it whatever you want, but a team that has something to play for deserves a victory over a program that cheated & lied, no matter how silly the cheating may have been. Go Wolverines!!

 

 

Florida                at      Florida St. (-7.5)

Even with the home field I am a bit surprised that the Seminoles are getting so much respect from the folks in Vegas. It’s not that Florida St. is bad…that’s not what I mean. It’s more that the Gators are that good, not to mention several spots higher in the polls. Also, this is a rivalry game which means the records don’t mean much. I do think Florida St. gets the upset (if one goes by the rankings), but I foresee a much closer contest. The Gators lose but not by 7 1/2 points.

 

 

Seattle  (-3)        at      Miami

Both the Seahawks and the Dolphins have been much better teams than most anticipated thus far. Sure Miami is only 4-6, but 4 of those losses have been by a total of 14 points, two of them in overtime. They’ve only been dominated twice. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are battling for a possible playoff appearance and are actually still in contention for a division crown. Both clubs have been inconsistent and difficult to figure out, so I just have to go with my vibes on this one and they are leaning toward Miami.

 

 

Atlanta (-1)                   at      Tampa Bay

Until a couple of weeks ago the Falcons were undefeated and making me look like a complete idiot since back in September I predicted they’d go 7-9. I had the same exact negative prediction for the Bucs and they too are proving me wrong by being in the thick of the wild card race. This could be one of the better games on the schedule this weekend, and even the oddsmakers see it as essentially a toss-up. Atlanta is probably the better team, but I’m going with Tampa to get the upset.

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 2

Before we forge ahead into this week’s picks let’s take a look back at last week. I went 4-3 in my inaugural round. Tennessee easily handled NC State, Northwestern edged Syracuse but didn’t cover the 1.5 point spread winning by just 1 point (a pyrrhic victory that I am sure I felt much better about than the Orangemen), Michigan St. beat Boise St. but didn’t cover the 7 point spread just as I predicted, and Northern Illinois fell to Iowa but easily stayed within the 9 point spread losing by only 1. On the flip side Clemson defeated Auburn by a touchdown, Miami upended Boston College, and I was way wrong about Michigan, as they were handily dismissed by Alabama. I can certainly do better, but for my first jump into the pool I’ll take it.

This week we add the NFL into the mix as their season gets underway. Enjoy the games, enjoy the tailgates, be safe, and remember…no wagering.

 

 

 

Temple  (-10.5)                                 at            Maryland

The Owls easily dispatched 1-AA Villanova last week, while Maryland barely defeated tiny little William & Mary 7-6. Maybe my early support of the Terrapins is misguided?? We will know more after this game, because I don’t care that Temple has gone to a couple of bowl games recently and has been welcomed back into the desperate Big East…it’s still Temple. If Maryland loses by double digits to Temple then Maryland head coach Randy Edsall should just go ahead and get his resume ready now because his days are numbered. Fortunately for him I think his team will wake up and atleast make this a competitive contest if not an actual victory.

 

 

Florida                                at            Texas A&M (-2.5)

The Gators started their season by beating Bowling Green in solid yet unspectacular fashion, while the Aggies had their game against Louisiana Tech postponed due to Hurricane Isaac. So instead of beginning their maiden voyage in the SEC against a cupcake like so many college teams do nowadays, A&M dives in headfirst against a prominent conference foe. However, this game is being played in College Station, and the current Florida Gators don’t really resemble the team that was so successful during the Steve Spurrier or Urban Myer eras. I think this will be a good, close game and really enjoyable to watch. However, at the end of the day I think the newcomers will make a statement against their highly respected brethren and easily cover the points.

 

 

South Florida                     at            Nevada (even)

The Bulls had no problem with UT-Chattanooga in week 1, while Nevada surprised some folks by defeating the Cal Golden Bears. To be honest that “upset” didn’t shock me all that much, and it was a pick I almost made here. I regret now not pulling the trigger. Ah well…c’est la vie. This is the rare “even money” matchup, meaning there is no point spread. That uncomplicates things I suppose. There is a very valid concern that the Wolfpack might suffer a hangover from their previous big victory, but I don’t think that’ll happen. Having home field advantage should give Nevada the edge needed to pull away for the win.

 

 

Georgia (-3.5)                    at            Missouri

Here we have a 2nd team making their SEC debut. The Tigers bolted The Big 12 for the SEC just like Texas A&M, and got their season started last week by destroying SE Louisiana. The Bulldogs were highly ranked in most pre-season polls (except mine), and got things off to a good start a week ago with a solid win over Buffalo. I am obviously not quite as sold on Georgia as a lot of folks, and honestly I don’t really have an exact reason for that. I just think that there are a lot of great teams in the SEC and someone’s got to be the proverbial odd man out. I have chosen Georgia to fill that role. I may be right, I may be wrong…who knows. But we will have a better idea of which after this game. Missouri having the home field advantage is once again a key factor in my pick. Their fans will be fired up and so will the team. Can emotion & momentum trump talent?? I think it can, especially when the talent gap isn’t all that huge. I’ll take Missouri in this one, and I think it’ll be a really fun game.

 

 

Oklahoma St. (-13.5)      at            Arizona

The Cowboys obliterated Savannah St. 84-0 in week 1, which sparked an interesting debate amongst the talking heads about the morality and the actual physical hazard involved when a much superior team plays a woefully overmatched cupcake. That is an interesting topic that maybe I’ll pontificate about some other time, however Oklahoma St. has a taller mountain to climb this week in the Wildcats, who edged the Toledo Rockets by just a touchdown last week in the opening volley of the Fraudriguez era in the desert. I do think that Fraudriguez will have much more success (not to mention a longer leash) at Arizona than he did at Michigan, but traditionally it takes a couple of years to install his system, so don ‘t be surprised if the ‘Cats suffer a couple of dismal seasons before things click. I am a bit tentative about this game because of the nearly 2 touchdown point spread and the fact that the game is being played in Tucson, factors that would normally lead me to pick the underdog. However, I am going with the vibes and picking Oklahoma St. to cover.

 

 

Buffalo Bills                       at            NY Jets (-3)

Ahhh….our first NFL pick. Pro football is a bit more difficult to gauge than college because the league has been so successful in creating parity over the years. A team may be horrible one year but become Super Bowl contenders the next…or vice versa. Changing a coach, signing or losing a few free agents, and drafting a big time star can all change the fortunes of an NFL franchise…for better or worse…in the blink of an eye. There is rarely such a thing as a huge upset in pro football. It definitely keeps things interesting, but it poses a unique challenge in prognostication. It seems like just yesterday Jets coach Rex Ryan was confidently predicting a Super Bowl for his team (heck…knowing Ryan maybe it WAS yesterday), but the truth is this team has some issues. I don’t think QB Tim Tebow adds anything to the mix except controversy, and even if starter Mark Sanchez overcomes all the haters the fact is that he has no reliable weapons. Meanwhile, the Bills added defensive sack master Mario Williams, who I think once & for all has proven that he was indeed a better #1 overall pick than either QB Vince Young (currently unemployed) or RB Reggie Bush (currently wasting away in Miami with the miserable Dolphins) would have been. I know he is only one player, but to me he transforms that defense. I think Buffalo is going to surprise a lot of folks this year, and it all starts this week.

 

 

San Francisco 49ers         at            Green Bay Packers (-5)

This is most assuredly one of the marquee contests in week 1 of the NFL season, and may be a preview of the NFC Championship game. The Packers, after 2 stellar seasons and a victory in Super Bowl XLV (that’s 45 for those of you from the backwoods of Kentucky visiting the big city for some vittles & ammo), stumbled in last year’s playoffs against the eventual World Champion NY Giants, while the 49ers also lost to the Giants in the conference title game, a heartbreaking overtime defeat. That means both teams will be angry and out to prove something, which should provide a very entertaining game for fans to watch. The question is, which team will be angrier and more resolute?? After much debate with The Voices I have decided to go with the supposed underdogs. I like the 49ers defense more, and I believe in the old adage that defense wins championships.

 

 

 

 

Winning & Musing…..Volume 4.12

On tap…a surprising amount of football talk for early spring, with a little Madness sprinkled into the mix.

 

 

I must admit that my money was on either Tennessee or the 49ers landing Peyton Manning. I didn’t think the Broncos had the hutzpah to pull the plug on Tebow, although when Broncos boss John Elway says about his now former starting quarterback that he’s the kind of guy he’d want to marry his daughter the team’s real feelings became obvious. Implicit in that seemingly very nice backhanded compliment is the idea that Tebow’s a great guy but a terrible QB (which has been my point for months!). San Francisco was so close to making it to The Super Bowl last season, and the idea of Manning throwing to the suddenly unretired Randy Moss and the newly signed Mario Manningham sounded solid. I am not sure what made Peyton shy away from such an intriguing prospect. Surely it had to be more than not wanting to be in the NFC competing against his little brother, right?? And then there are the Titans. It would have had a nice feeling of symmetry to see the former Volunteer great end his career back in the The Volunteer State. Who says you can’t go home?? In Denver Peyton Manning…who has always been the big man on campus wherever he has been…can never hope to escape the shadow of Elway. Maybe Peyton Manning’s ego really is that much in check and his self-esteem that solid. Or maybe we’ll have us some drama down the road. We shall see.

 

Congratulations to Hines Ward, not only for a stellar 14 year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but especially for doing the classy thing and retiring instead of tarnishing his image by squeezing out one final year riding the pine in another uniform. I understand that it is hard for a lot of these guys to walk away from a game they’ve been playing since grade school. No one wants to admit when they are getting older, slowing down, and can no longer do what used to come so easy just a few years ago. Ward’s legacy is secure, and though this ending is bittersweet, his courageous decision to do the right thing means it is more the latter than the former.

 

I am a little ambivalent about this whole New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. I suppose no one can argue that it is wrong, not to mention a little silly. You mean to tell me that a guy making a million dollars or more can be motivated to be just a little meaner & hit harder with a $10k challenge to take an opposing player out of the game?? That just doesn’t compute. It’s sad that this stupidity casts a shadow over what was a memorable & heartwarming run to a Super Bowl title for the Saints during the 2009-10 season, a championship that meant so much to the hurting city of New Orleans. I think this sort of thing has probably always gone on in professional football, and was likely more meaningful back in the days when players made the kind of paltry sum that still dictated that they find an offseason job. Under those circumstances the opportunity to make some extra scratch would atleast make some sense. The tyrannical reign of Commandant Fidel Goodell continues, under the politically correct auspices of making an inherently violent game “safer”, whatever that means. The punishment handed down to the Saints, especially the season long suspension of head coach Sean Payton, seems more about the commissioner making a statement of his own power & authority rather than punishing any legitimate wrongdoing.

 

ESPN’s Skip Bayless has done the impossible. He has made fellow blowhard Stephen A. Smith seem almost tolerable…maybe even likeable…in comparison. This makes me loathe Bayless even more.

 

Tiger Woods is back…maybe. It is probably a bit premature to rejoin the bandwagon, but atleast he has returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in nearly three years. I realize that may not be considered a good thing by a great many people, but I am the forgiving sort that tends to give people a second chance. Tiger has paid for his sins on many levels, probably more than any of us will ever truly know. His return to the top of the leaderboard is good for golf, which is good enough for me.

 

So…now we now have our Final Four, and as expected the pretenders that had their moment in the sun during the first couple of rounds have all fallen by the wayside and the cream has risen to the top. In this case that cream consists of Kentucky, Ohio St., Louisville, & Kansas. The 4th seeded Cardinals are the “Cinderella”, although I’d hardly call the 17th most successful program in NCAA basketball history with 2 national championships and 8 Final Fours an interloper.

 

Texas Rangers fans can apparently…if they so choose…shell out $26 for something called a Boomstick, which is a 2lb. hot dog with fixins’ that include shredded cheese, chili, sautéed onions and who knows what else. Good Lord.

 

I am not sure what to make of Tim Tebow’s trade to the NY Jets. The move raises more questions than it provides answers. From a football perspective, are the Jets a good fit?? I know there has been some restlessness with QB Mark Sanchez, but I just don’t think they are really ready to give up on him yet. No matter what his shortcomings may be, Sanchez is undeniably a better signal caller at this point. How comfortable will Tebow be with fiery, egomaniacal blowhard Rex Ryan as his coach?? There have been lots of reports this offseason about discord in the Jets locker room, and one wonders whether this trade was a PR move to improve that image, if Jets’ brass legitimately think Tebow will effectively bring about a culture change, or the problems will just multiply. In the media & cultural epicenter that is The Big Apple will Tebow-mania fade quietly into the background, or will it detonate larger than ever?? On the spiritual front, should one feel sorry for such an inherently decent fellow being dropped into the big city cesspool of debauchery, or is this just a bigger stage from which Tebow can spread The Good News to the masses?? If it is the latter, one cannot deny the Hand of Divine Providence in the midst of these snowballing events. I don’t know any answers, but I cannot deny that I am interested in seeing how things shake out.

 

 

Winning & Musing…..Volume 1.12

The first W&M of 2012 finds us ever so close to the annual sports “dead zone”, when football will be over, Nascar not quite back yet, baseball still several weeks away, and only college basketball (which isn’t all that exciting until March Madness) and the NBA (completely useless until the playoffs begin) to keep us company. And no, I have no interest in hockey in case you are wondering. Take heart sports fans…it’s the perfect time to catch up on your reading, hone your culinary skills, and of course become Manotized!!

 

 

 

I must admit that I did not watch one second of the NCAA championship game between LSU & Alabama, and from what I have heard I didn’t miss anything as it wasn’t that much more interesting than the first time the two teams met a couple months ago. Come on NCAA…it’s time for a playoff!! One argument that I have heard ad nauseum by opponents of a playoff system is the ol’ “College football’s regular season IS a playoff every week…lose and you’re out!!”. Well…not quite. LSU did what it was supposed to do by defeating Alabama in the regular season and were still forced into a rematch, which of course they lost. So that “logic” has now officially gone down in flames. The regular season game between the two meant zero, zilch, nada. I have absolutely no clue why we can’t have a 4 team playoff (which this season would have included ‘Bama, LSU, Oklahoma State, and most likely Oregon) and still maintain a thriving, robust bowl system. There’s just no reason for not doing it.

 

Speaking of the bowl games…

I am usually not one to boast, but I have to give myself a bit of a public pat on the back. I picked 28 of the 35 post-season games correctly, which is an 80% winning clip and by far the best I have ever done in forecasting those slate of contests. Go Me!!

 

Conversely, my NFL predictions were mediocre at best. My two Super Bowl teams were San Diego & Tampa Bay. They finished a combined 12-20 and didn’t make the playoffs. Oops. I owe a huge apology to the Cincinnati Bengals, who I picked to go 1-15 and have the top pick in the draft. Instead they went 9-7 and made the playoffs as a wildcard. Mad kudos to Bengals’ rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who exceeded all expectations and in my universe would be a slam dunk choice for Rookie of the Year. Sadly for him that honor will instead go to Carolina Panthers’ signal caller Cam Newton. I was also way wrong on the NY Giants, who I predicted to go 5-12…far from the division winning 9-7 record with which they ended up. I totally whiffed on the Philadelphia Eagles, but everyone else did too so I don’t feel so bad. I nailed the AFC North race by saying that the Steelers & Ravens would tie, with Baltimore winning the division in a tiebreaker and Pittsburgh being a wildcard team. That is exactly what happened. I pretty much had the AFC East & NFC North pegged right on as well. I did not see the utter implosion of the Indianapolis Colts coming, but then again no one did because the extent of Peyton Manning’s injury wasn’t made known until after the season began. I got 2 of the NFC’s 6 playoff teams right, while in the AFC I chose 4 of 6 correctly.

 

NY Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez needs a change of scenery. He has obviously lost the confidence of his coach, his teammates, and the fans. That’s tough enough anywhere, but in New York I just don’t think it’s something from which he can recover.

 

If I am in charge of the Indianapolis Colts I trade the #1 overall choice they “earned” (with a dreadful 2-14 record) for everything it’s worth, which should be atleast a half dozen picks including a slightly lower first rounder. Andrew Luck, as much potential as he has, is overhyped. There will be a next “greatest prospect ever” coming ‘round the bend in a few years (maybe even next year, when Matt Barkley finishes up at USC). Assuming his neck heals Peyton Manning has probably 3 or 4 years left, but he needs a better team around him.

 

To the Penn St. alumni & former players who have been critical of the hiring of new head coach Bill O’Brien…what is your freakin’ problem?? I fully understand the penchant of college sports teams to hire “within the family”, aka a former player or assistant coach who understands the tradition & history of the program. However, in this case, does it shock a-n-y-o-n-e with a brain that the powers-that-be in Happy Valley want to make a completely fresh start and decided to go with a guy with absolutely no ties to the school, the team, and especially any connection whatsoever to Joe Paterno or his former coaching staff?? Sure in a perfect world interim head coach and long-time Paterno assistant Tom Bradley would have gotten the gig as a reward for all his years of loyalty. But in this case that simply was NOT going to happen. They HAD to have a 100% clean break from the past. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the issues the school faces and the unseemly reputation they must now fight an uphill battle to overcome, but it is a step in the right direction and was the only choice that could be made.

 

I will address this issue once & only once, and then I will never speak of it again and erase the abomination from my memory. If the debacle that was the Denver Broncos’ shocking overtime victory over my Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs taught us anything, it is that, despite their ranking as the league’s #1 pass defense, the Steelers’ secondary is atrocious. They somehow managed to make quite possibly the worst “quarterback” in pro football history look like the love child of Dan Fouts & Dan Marino. When April’s draft rolls around the Steelers simply MUST spend atleast 2 or 3 picks…including their 1st rounder…on new cornerbacks. If there are any talented corners available in free agency they need to sign one or two of them as well. Ike Taylor, their supposed top CB, would be no better than a dime package backup on most other teams. And guys like Bryant McFadden, Anthony Madison, and the atrocious William Gay need to be given their walking papers. This has been an issue for several years that has not been properly addressed by the team’s braintrust. Well gentlemen…the time is now. It may also be time to begin grooming a successor for 74 year old defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. Undoubtedly he has been very successful, but he’s not getting any younger and in two consecutive seasons post-season opponents…the Broncos this year and the Packers in last year’s Super Bowl…have outcoached him and played his defense like a fiddle.

 

Some things never change. Even after the death of nutjob owner Al Davis the Oakland Raiders are as dysfunctional as ever. The new regime just fired head coach Hue Jackson after ONE season…a season in which they went 8-8, tied for the division lead, and fell one tiebreaker short of making the playoffs. Really?? Do the suits there think they’ll be able to lure a big name coach that’ll do any better?? Maybe…maybe…twenty years ago. But not now. When will people learn that organizational stability is the cornerstone of success in sports?? Certainly they haven’t learned that lesson in Tampa, where the Bucs also foolishly fired a coach after one bad season. Raheem Morris was in his third year as head coach and had lead a 7 game turnaround, finishing 10-6 in 2010, a vast improvement over their 3-13 record in his first go round in 2009. In 2011 the team admittedly took a step backward, going 4-12. However, based on the success of the 2010 season I feel like Morris should have been given one more chance. Unfortunately I don’t own an NFL franchise.