Thursday, November 16, 2017

Week 11 NFL Picks: Unsustainable

Ayup, Ayup
Second in my points league. Having the best year in picks in years. Riding a winning streak in my head to head league. My football laundry is 8-1, top seed in the conference, looking the best they've looked in decades. My basketball laundry is the most fun young team in the league.

If only the President weren't an active embarrassment, and my finances were in order, and my family on the same coast as me...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Best of times, worst of times, nothing in the middle of times.

On to the picks!

* * * * *

TENNESSEE (+7) at Pittsburgh

DETROIT (-3) at Chicago

Baltimore at GREEN BAY (+2)

Jacksonville at CLEVELAND (+7.5)

Arizona at HOUSTON (-1)

LA RAMS (+2) at Minnesota

Washington at NEW ORLEANS (-7.5)

KANSAS CITY (-10.5) at NY Giants

Tampa at MIAMI (-1)

Buffalo at LA CHARGERS (-4)

Cincinnati at DENVER (-2.5)

NEW ENGLAND (-6.5) at Oakland

PHILADELPHIA (-4) at Dallas

Atlanta at SEATTLE (-2.5)

Last week: 7-4-1

Season:76-65-2

Career: 956-954-37

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Week 10 NFL Picks: Time Is Fleeting, Madness Takes Its Toll

Who wants an earworm?
The fun of making all of your picks early due to the continuing abomination that is Terrible Night Football is that you wind up with plainly insane things like Tom Savage as a double-digit home favorite.

Of course, given the way Life Is Right Now, I might have taken him anyway, Just Because the Colts? Also terrible.

Oh well; the Eagles are the best team in the NFL, I'm having my best fantasy season ever, and I own Carson Wentz for a minimum bid in my auction keeper league. Smile!

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

SEATTLE (-6) at Arizona

MINNESOTA (-1.5) at Washington

PITTSBURGH (-10) at Indianapolis

LA Chargers at JACKSONVILLE (-4)

NY Jets at TAMPA (+2.5)

CINCINNATI (+4.5) at Tennessee

New Orleans at BUFFALO (+2.5)

CLEVELAND (+12) at Detroit

Houston at LA RAMS (-12)

Dallas at ATLANTA (-3)

NY Giants at SAN FRANCISCO (+1)

NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) at Denver

MIAMI (+9) at Carolina

Last week: 6-7

Season: 69-61-1

Career: 949-950-36

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Eagles - Broncos Takeaways: Getting Used To Prosperity

Can't Get Enough Of This
As Eagle fans, we're really not emotionally prepared for this team.

We've spent the better part of half a century, with occasional moments of delusion (The Foles Year, moments of Bobby Hoying and Kevin Kolb, the Miracle at the Meadowlands II game with Mike Vick) and wary optimism (the McNabb Era), hoping for That QB. You know, the one that *other* teams had, the one that extended plays and made good decisions and threatened a defense all over the field. While also not getting hurt.

And now we've got that guy. Who is all of 25 games into his career, which means he's really likely to get better.

We've spent the better part of a generation remembering the way defense used to be, when opposing teams just gave up on the running game and the secondary made picks, and there was just play after play of the quarterback eating turf.

And now we've got that defense.

We've spent the better part of half a century wondering why the other teams had young guys that got better, why they had magic coaches and we had single unit savants who derped their way into playoff losses. And sure, the latter part could still happen, and HC Doug Pederson is late to the party of Trust Carson Wentz and End Teams Aggressively, but he's actually getting there. Along with all of the good stuff happening in terms of personnel development.

So. 8-1, best team in the league, going on a bye.

Are there still things to worry about?

10) All you need to know about football gross statistics: Denver's Brock Osweiler threw for more yards today than Carson Wentz. 208 to 199. Also, even time of possession

9) If you've ever needed confirmation that NFL personnel overrate height, consider how much money Osweiler has made in this league. Or that he continues to get work. Oh, and yeah, a Colin Kaepernick comment would go here, but if anyone actually thinks that isn't collusion and a screw job, I've got a bridge to sell you.

8) The Eagles' 4-man RB committee combined for 197 yards rushing today, with rookie RB Chris Clement getting the biggest fantasy win of the day (66 yards, 3 TDs).

7) Here's how good the defense has been: 226 net yards, and it still felt like one of their worse efforts of the year.

6) Nice to see TE Brent Celek looking spry and useful, with starting TE Zach Ertz out with a hamstring injury. Count me among the Trey Burton skeptics, but the dude just keeps making plays.

5) Not to be too on the nose about this, but honestly? 51 points with a missed PAT, all of the touchdowns coming on offense, against a very good defense, playing for their lives. Oh, and without your starting TE or LT. The ceiling just keeps rising for this offense.

4) I don't know if the Jay Ajayi trade is really going to be such a slam dunk -- dude has knee issues that might not be going away -- but a 4th round pick is pretty chintzy for a guy that had that level of burst for his 8 carries, and his TD was downright pornographic. I'm still pining for LeSean McCoy (and to a lesser extent, Darren Sproles). McCoy was the best RB that the franchise ever had who was traded away for a bag of crap because Chip Kelly was a quasi-racist arsonist, but four guys who all seem to do good things is also nice. And a lot less worrisome in the case of injury.

3) Today's game was watched in a mediocre sports bar where I ate too much and had to have the management switch the screen back to the game in the third quarter, because the national feed turned off the game when it become Devoid of Drama. It's downright freakish, how the best eras in Eagle history parallel my physical presence leaving the area. Oh, and no one in the Bay Area cares about football any more. Honestly, the only people who care are transients.

2) Something else that I can't quite wrap my head around: the Eagles getting the better part of the officiating. Just not something we're used to. Also, Denver played really sloppy football today, and the league's refs seem to think every game is an opportunity to audition for an open mic.

1) 8-1, best record in the NFL, and honestly starting to think more about other teams in the conference (New Orleans? Los Angeles?) than teams in the division. Just what we expected, right?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Week 9 NFL Picks: Bye Standers

Folks -- Status quo in re time, life, and the continued neglect of the picks column. And because Karmic Gods are powerful creatures, after pointing out that I had achieved perfect .500 last week... I went perfect .500 again. Hard to do with an odd number of games, but ties exist for reasons.

On to the picks!

* * * * *

BUFFALO (-3) at NY Jets

ATLANTA (+1) at Carolina

Indianapolis at HOUSTON (-12.5)

Cincinnati at JACKSONVILLE (-5)

Tampa at NEW ORLEANS (-7)

LA RAMS (-3.5) at NY Giants

Denver at PHILADELPHIA (-8)

BALTIMORE (+3.5) at Tennessee

Arizona at SAN FRANCISCO (+2)

Washington at SEATTLE (-7.5)

KANSAS CITY (-1) at Dallas

Oakland at MIAMI (+3)

DETROIT (-2.5) at Green Bay

Last Week: 6-6-1

Season: 62-54-1

Carer: 943-943-36

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Eagles - Niners Takeaways: Humdrum Beatdown

To be fair, Niner Fan said this in Week 1
For the second time in six days, the Eagles won a home game by a lot against a team they should beat by a lot. With the win they got to 7-1, on top of the football world, and it says something to the expectations involved, and today's utterly moribund opponent, that a 23-point win comes with some concerns. Here's mine.

10) Let's start with the positives for head coach Doug Pederson; he's clearly coaching up guys who weren't very good for this team just a year ago. WR Nelson Agholor is the obvious pick here, but the more important player moving forward is LB Mychal Kendricks, who is going to have to do lots of good things with LB Jordan Hicks seemingly done for the year. Kendricks was a beast today, but it was more than the physicality; he's also making plays in pass coverage that he's never pulled off before. On a day where the defense was dominant, Kendricks was one of the bigger reasons why.

9) Pederson's play calling, despite the team's 7-1 record, stills leave a lot to be desired. He always goes safe after a negative play, keeps trying to establish RB LeGarrette Blount on plays that aren't very suited to his skill set, and in general, surprises no one with the play calls. San Francisco was in this game for nearly an entire half, and really shouldn't have been. Pederson's part of the reason why.

8) If you'd like to ignore the NFL, there really isn't a better part of the country to do it outside of the Bay Area. The Niners are now off to the worst start in their history, and Oakland just got absolutely punked by Buffalo; the latter is also leaving fairly soon. I'm thrilled with how this year has been going, but living out here just means the games don't feel as exciting. No one really cares; I watched this game from a stationary bike in a gym, and very few of the monitors were on the Niners.

7) Speaking of SF, they start rookie QB CJ Beathard, and man alive, he's.. not good. I get that he's mobile and willing to take a beating, but the accuracy isn't there, and there's nothing about him that says he's more than a QB2 that you never want to see. I'm not sure the Niners have any better ideas, but at least QB Brian Hoyer has, at times, resembled an NFL starter. I'd probably start him as well, because 0-8 is 0-8. But teams that don't win games have guys who give up and free agents you don't want, and it really wouldn't surprise me if this SF team completes perfection with 8 more whiffs.

6) Not QB Carson Wentz's best day. He held the ball too long too often, perhaps trying to recreate last Monday night's magic, missed some open guys, and threw a bad pick on what might have been a miscommunication with rookie WR Mack Hollins. But it says something to his development as a QB that on a wet day with middling OL work, he winds up 18 of 32 for 211, 2 TDs, a 2-point conversion and 7 yards on 2 runs. If this is the floor now, we remain thrilled.

5) One more for the Peterson's a great coach outside of Game Day: Zach Ertz continues to treat the end zone in 2017 like it was the first down sticks. For a guy who just had the yips for his entire career before this year, this continues to be a welcome transformation.

4) Great game for DE Vinny Curry, who is really coming into his own this year as an all-around disruptive force. Curry was all over this game, isn't a one trick rush the passer pony any more, and has given this team a fantastic rotation of edge rushers. Kudos to rookie DE Derek Barnett, who seems to be catching up to NFL speed just in time, too.

3) The Eagle touchdown celebrations with baseball pantomime is downright inspired, and today's bit (Ertz throwing a bean ball at WR Alshon Jeffery after the latter's TD, and Jeffery charging the mound) made me LOL. It's really not a small thing that this team seems to enjoy each other's company to this level.

2) CB Jalen Mills gets targeted a ton, and has really held up against the pressure. SF clearly doesn't present much in the way of difficulties here, but it was still fun to see the green-topped CB take one to the house. With presumptive CB1 Ronald Darby getting close to returning, and maybe even some late season help from stash CB draft pick Sidney Jones, the team's shockingly good unit might get even better soon.

1) Put the credit for this game squarely where it belongs: on the defense. The only score they gave up was a short field TD after Wentz's lone pick, they turned the game around with turnovers in the first half, and the season-low yards allowed was even more impressive after you factor out a fair amount of Beathard just running for his life. For a dreary day against a dreary opponent, they were everything you could ask for.

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