Week 17: For all the Marbles

We find ourselves at 69% percent for the year ladies and gentleman. Let’s end this thing right shall we?

Marbles

 

SUNDAY

Only Sunday Games now, no whackass Thursday or Saturday Night games to mess with the NFL Original flow.

Eagles @ GIANTS – Win and get in with some help situation for the Giants. They will do their part against a once again Michael Vick-led Eagles squad. The G-Men have become notorious for stepping it up when they need to, but the Eagles have also been a thorn in their side as they showed earlier this year. Michael Vick is giving an audition to quarterback needy teams in this game, so expect him to play his hardest, unfortunately for the Giants and the fans at MetLife.

Buccaneers @ FALCONS – The Falcons will definitely rest some of their starters in this game, they may get the lead and then give it up later in the game must to the chagrin of the crowd, but they’d have to risk getting their starters injured. I don’t believe they are in the mindset of handing a game away to a divisional opponent and the Bucs are awful at stopping their opponents’ passing game. The Bucs on the other hand have some respect to play for and can show that their offense can match anybody’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons accepted a loss here.

Jets @ BILLS – The merry-go-round keeps turning for the Jets. Their quarterback situation is a mess and only got messier when McElroy was sacked eleven times and, naturally, suffered a concussion. The Jets, yet again, overlooked Tim Tebow who has made a life off of winning games and turned back to Mark Sanchez. It is being reported Mike Tannenbaum will be fired on Black Monday for his mismanagement of this team. The Bills are going to finish another mediocre season, but with the help of CJ Spiller and Mario Williams will most likely beat up on the slugging Jets.

Ravens @ BENGALS – This is revenge. The Bengals are the hottest team that nobody is paying attention to right now. They have won six out of seven games and it appeared they would be looking to next year when they sat at 3-6, but since they have looked like a well rounded team with a front seven that has developed into a force. The Ravens are coming off a statement win against the Giants in which I and most others underestimated them. With Jim Caldwell behind the helms of the offense, it looked like a force that many have thought it could be for a few years now.

Bears @ LIONS – The Bears have crumbled and are all different types of banged up coming into this game. I believe the Bears play their way out of playoff contention and the Lions light up the scoreboard against the Bears.

Jaguars @ TITANS – The Jaguars played a very tight game with the Patriots last week while the were blown out by Green Bay. These teams have both played very poorly all year long. Montell Owens vs Chris Johnson and Chad Henne vs Jake Locker. Some seriously nice matchups here (sarcasm).

Texans @ COLTS – I am picking the Colts in this game for one reason, Chuckstrong. The Texans may play themselves out of the bye and homefield here. The Texans are definitely the better team here but there is a Magic surrounding these Colts this year and especially at home that I cannot seem to deny this last game of the year.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

Panthers @ SAINTS – Drew Brees last game of the year with news that Sean Peyton comes back next year with a nice big new contract? I’ll take him even with Cam Newton and his underrated defense playing solid down the stretch of the year. Both of these teams have underachieved all year, but the Saints find themselves in second place in the division after the Bucs have fallen apart. Maybe a new coach next year for the Panthers and Cam.

Browns @ STEELERS – No Steelers in the playoff, has a weird ring to it. The Steelers had a prime opportunity at home against the Bengals, but played poorly enough to lose that game. The Browns will be firing their head coach Pat Shurmur and starting fresh after this game. I would imagine that the Steelers would be firing Todd Haley after this year and the ineffectiveness of the offense since he came aboard. Big Ben will definitely love the support.

Chiefs @ BRONCOS – Broncos playing for the bye and possibly homefield, the Chiefs are playing a game. Let’s not joke around here. Peyton Manning has been either the Comeback Player of the Year or the MVP, whichever he doesn’t get Adrian Peterson will.

PACKERS @ Vikings – Aaron Rodgers is completing 70% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this year in dome games. The Packers put up 55 on the Titans last week for funsies. Adrian Peterson needs 209 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record and as much as I want this machine to break it, I don’t believe he will because they will be playing from behind, even though their running game is what drives them. I think if Leslie Frazier sticks with it then and keeps running the ball to AP they can have a chance, don’t make Christian Ponder throw the ball.

Dolphins @ PATRIOTS – The Pats are also playing for a bye here. Tom Brady will get back his favorite target on a limited basis in Rob Gronkowski. The Dolphins have been fiesty all year under first year coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. With a win the Dolphins could end up with a .500 record, but it won’t happen in Foxborough. The ‘Fins have not played great games in the colder weather this season.

Raiders @ CHARGERS – Terrelle Pryor will get his first career start after the Carson Palmer was knocked around last week. The Raiders and Chargers met in their first game of the year, an ugly one, and paved the way for their ugly seasons. The Chargers are coming off a beating of the Jets where they sacked Greg McElroy 11 times. The Chargers will be looking at a new front office and coaching staff, finally, next year.

Cardinals @ 49ERS – The 49ers need this win to clinch the division. Brian Hoyer will get the start. The Cardinals defense has been fierce all year and is the main reason they have won a game in the past 11 weeks. The 49ers defense has been simply better and besides when they got blown up last week by the underrated and streaking Seahawks have been one of, if not, the best defense in the league.

Rams @ SEAHAWKS – Jeff Fisher has coached up this Rams team, mostly their defense. Something is in the defenses’ waters in the NFC West this year because they are all solid. Sam Bradford has been limited this year with developing and injury prone receivers (mostly his best target Danny Amendola). The ‘Hawks are coming off a destruction of the 49ers on national television last Sunday night and are aiming for 8-0 at home this year. No reason they won’t win this game as Russell Wilson continues his ridiculous rookie season, which has been unfortunately overlooked by many because of RGIII and Andrew Luck. Any other season he wins the Rookie of the Year, and he still might this year. He will tie or break Peyton Manning’s rookie single season touchdown record today.

Cowboys @ REDSKINS – Both of these teams came back from “dead” in the NFC East to now be playing for the division title on Sunday Night Football, second consecutive year that the division title will be decided on the last day on NBC. The Cowboys have ridden a red-hot Tony Romo until last week where the Saints played spoiler. The Redskins have now won 6 straight games since starting 3-6 and RGIII is not 100%, but he is still very dangerous with his arm. The home crowd will be pumped and I’m sure the Cowboys will make some mistakes and their defense is just as banged up as the Redskins.

Seems like I like the home teams in these Week 17 matchups.

siren

UPSET ALERT – Anything goes in these games, I’ll put everyone on Upset Alerts this week.

BYEAHHHHH!!!!

BYEAHHHHH!!!!

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SURVIVOR PICK – Let’s go with the Patriots here. (If picked already: 49ersBroncosSteelers)

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Week 12: Turkey for Everyone!

Do you like apples … I went 13-1 last week … So how do you like them apples? (Thanks, Matt Damon).

The double digit wins just won’t stop coming and I’ll continue to aim for that undefeated week as we near our end here. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, Thanksgiving. Lots of food and all day long Football, its like a pre-Sunday feast. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

THURSDAY

Texans @ LIONS – The Texans are due for a let down loss. Matthew Stafford has been catching fire recently and the Lions defense is getting more banged up each week. The Texans were teetering on the edge of a letdown against the Jaguars (REALLY???) last week. Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub and Arian Foster have been lighting up of late in fantasy scoreboards. I expect a hard-fought battle but the Lions to come out on top.

REDSKINS @ Cowboys – RG3 is going to have his way with the Cowboys defense. Romo and the offense are too sluggish in games this year to keep up with Griffin’s offensive swagger. Romo can’t stay upright still with a beleaguered offensive line. The Redskins defense will have to be in the backfield and the Cowboys defense will have to contain RG3’s running, but watch out for his rocket launcher. Redskins do what many can’t do and beat Romo in November.

PATRIOTS @ Jets – The Pats destroyed Andrew Luck’s Colts. They suffered a huge loss in Rob Gronkowski’s forearm, and the rest of him. It won’t matter much, he definitely will be missed, but Brady will spread those targets out elsewhere. The Jets are coming off a much-needed win at St. Louis, but they will be surely outclassed on Turkey Day. Pats in a blowout.

SUNDAY

Vikings @ BEARS – I fully expect Adrian Peterson to run a muck, but with Cutler playing the Bears offense will be able to put up some points. Without Cutler, the Bears offense was barely able to move the ball with Jason Campbell behind center. Christian Ponder will be facing a lot of pressure staring down the turnover-happy Bears defense. Expect a good cold-weather rivalry game here.

Raiders @ BENGALS – Marcel Reece is the bright spot for the Raiders’ offense, but that’s because it appears without Darren McFadden the offense runs through him quite literally. The Bengals looked great against the Chiefs, but who hasn’t really this year. At home, I expect Andy Dalton and AJ Green to have their way with the Raiders.

STEELERS @ Browns – I know Charlie Batch is starting, but he started last year and the Steelers started 3-1. Ridiculous, I know, but I can’t pick against them while they are playing the Browns. Brandon Weeden shows signs of progression at times in games, but then looks just plain bad. The young receivers on the Browns are just that, young and still developing. Trent Richardson is banged up and you know the Steelers hit hard. Expect a low-scoring game.

Bills @ COLTS – Andrew Luck has thrown 8 touchdowns to 2 interceptions in home games and 4 touchdowns to 10 interceptions away from home. Talk about home field advantage. Against a bad Bills’ defense I don’t expect this parity to change. The Bills played a good game against the Dolphins in which Fitzpatrick didn’t need to force any mistakes. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson expect to carry heavy loads against a bad Colts run defense. Andrew Luck stays great at home.

BRONCOS @ Chiefs – Brady Quinn again really? Blowout and enjoy the fantasy points everyone who has somebody on the Broncos. Kepe an eye on Ronnie Hillman.

SEAHAWKS @ Dolphins- This Seahawks’ defense will pressure Ryan Tannehill into making mistakes. The warm weather will certainly be a change for Russell Wilson, but isn’t that always a welcoming change. The Dolphins defense hasn’t been as sound recently as it was the first eight or nine weeks. The Dolphins have started to lean on a timeshare, when Reggie Bush is still clearly the better back, but maybe they’re preparing for life after Reggie, who knows. Seahawks, because of their defense here, but always be wary of the West Coast team going east to play at 1.

Falcons @ BUCCANEERS – The Falcons played with fire again last week and almost lost. They will do the same here and will get burned because this team actually has an offense unlike that Arizona team. The Falcons have Julio Jones hurting, but he will play through it as it appears he has gotten better through the week. The Bucs are firing on all cylinders after making a nice comeback against a bad Panthers team last week that always plays their divisional foes tough. The Bucs will win this at home in a shootout. Expect a lot of fantasy points.

TITANS -@ Jaguars – Chad Henne went HAM last week against the Texans … some things hurt when you type and confuse you when you type them. The Titans had a week to rest and get Jake Locker back into the offensive groove because he looked awful in a blowout of the Dolphins two weeks ago. The Jags sorely miss Maurice Jones-Drew and should pay the guy. They are fighting for the #1 draft pick, but who knows if they should take a quarterback with it. Titans here easily as long as Chad Henne goes back to his normal play.

RAVENS @ Chargers – The Ravens still haven’t really looked like a championship team, but they win games. Phillip Rivers has found a new play toy in the form of Danario Alexander, who always had great potential but couldn’t stay healthy. The Chargers are probably not going to compete for a playoff spot this year because they’re not consistent on either side of the ball. The Ravens need to get the ball to Ray Rice more, and I’ve been saying it all year. It will catch up with them, but not this week.

49ers @ SAINTS – The Saints are high-powered and high-flying now. The 49ers are looking at a quarterback controversy because of one good game by Colin Kaepernick; can I say Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn anybody? I think I should be picking the 49ers, but if they can’t choose a quarterback I don’t like it. Their defense looked tremendous against the Bears, but Campbell was under center, and Drew Brees is looking for sweet revenge in Louisiana for that NFC Divisional Playoff game last year.

RAMS @ Cardinals – The Rams looked awful against a bad Jets team last week and at home. Their defense did their best job, but the offense kept sputtering after starting over drives well. Expect a heavy dose of Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson if Danny Amendola doesn’t play. These are solid defenses, but the Cardinals cannot move the ball and we will see if this changes with Beanie Wells coming back.

Packers @ GIANTS – This is the toss-up of the week. The Packers come in on fire and the Giants come in off their bye and suffering their usual November swoon. However, the Giants are typically coming off their bye way before this. The Packers have more key injuries than the Giants, and that is going to matter. These two teams play great games and I expect no less. I only pick the Giants because they are at home and I think the Giants want to prove the Packers didn’t beat themselves last year.

PANTHERS @ Eagles – No Vick and now no Shady McCoy. The Eagles can kiss this season goodbye. The Panthers offense can go at the Eagles and the Eagles offense cannot move the ball. I recommend spot starting any defense playing the Eagles as long as Nick Foles is starting. Sorry Andy Reid, but the buck stops here.

 

UPSET ALERT – I have put the Seahawks because they are coming to the East coast at 1 P.M. The Falcons and 49ers are also on Upset Alert this week. The Texans may be in for a Thanksgiving Upset.

 

SURVIVOR PICK – Patriots (If used already: Broncos, Panthers, Bengals and Panthers).

Those are my two cents … Cash them in!

T-Catz (Anthony)

5 Things We Learned: The Seattle Screwjob Edition

1) If players can be flagged for throwing the ball at fellow players, then coaches should be reprimanded for throwing the game. Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, you should be ashamed of yourself. Schwartz took full blame for the loss after the game (which he should), but that doesn’t change the fact that it was arguably one of the dumbest play-calls on fourth down since Belichick went for it deep in his own territory versus the Colts.

“I was getting ready to call timeout,” said Schwartz after the game, who said the play was an attempt to draw the Titans offside. Jim, we are still waiting for you to call that timeout. Quarterback Shaun Hill telegraphed that QB Sneak the moment he broke the huddle.

It was fourth-and-1. All Schwartz had to do was send Jason Hanson, who was 4/4 on the day, out for the 24-yard field goal, thus displaying trust in his defense to get one more stop. Sounds too easy right?! It’s a move like that which makes a player on the defense start to question the coach’s play-calling on the offensive side of the ball.

Then there is Miami Dolphins first-year head coach Joe Philbin. Joe, is there any conclusive evidence to suggest that icing the kicker actually works? Because if there is, I am dying to get my hands on that data. It’s bad enough coach Philbin believes if a coach calls for time the moment before the place-holder asks for the ball to be snapped, the kicker will miss the ensuing field goal. What makes this even more of a face-palm moment is the Dolphins were able to successfully block the kick!

Coach Philbin, I get it. You’re a superstitious individual. I am too. When the Giants were getting steam-rolled in the first half of their week 2 game vs Tampa Bay, I found myself scratching my head a lot. Then, at half time, my friend’s sister texted me and implored that the four of us switch seats for the second half. Nothing else seemed to be working at the time, so we did switch. And what do you know, the Giants came roaring back to win on the shoulders of a career-day from quarterback Eli Manning.

Did I actually believe I had any impact on the Giants performance in the second half? In the moment, of course I did, but in reality the answer is no. Did Philbin really believe his timeout call was going to ice Nick Folk? As Timbaland and Nelly Furtado would say, “Nope. Didn’t think so.”

2) Panic should ensue in New Orleans right about…NOW!

You’re the New Orleans Saints and you’re 0-2 going into week 3. You’re down on yourselves for the disappointing start to the season (as you should be.) But then the football gods hear your sorrows, and they give you the gift of the Kansas City Chiefs at home. What more could you ask for?! To the credit of the Saints, it has taken monster performances from their 3 previous opponents to keep them winless:

-Robert Griffin, III threw for 320 yards and 2 scores, with the addition of 42 rushing yards on the side for good measure.

-Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers, as a team, rushed for 219 total yards on 41 carries.

-Jamaal Charles gutted the Saints defense for 233 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Needless to say, to beat the Saints, a team needs to have at least one player with a breakout game. They’re not getting blown out. The Saints simply aren’t closing out games, as this past Sunday’s overtime performance displayed. Blame the lack of coach Sean Payton’s missing presence on the sidelines all you want, but the reality is the Saints look flat, and even more so, beatable. If anything, the absence of Payton should inspire them and bring out more passion in their game, and yet, the opposite is occurring. More often than not, when something/someone is taken from you, you will do whatever it takes to retrieve it. Maybe the Saints don’t want it bad enough.

Now, the Saints have to travel up north to take on the very pissed off Green Bay Packers. This game may very well determine if the Saints can make one final push to turn their season around, or if they should start scouting for their top 10 pick in next season’s NFL draft. According to nfl.com, since 1990, only 5 NFL teams have started the season 0-3 and still made the playoffs. With the depth that is in the NFC this season, the Saints would need to play near perfect football, and need a lot of teams to fall off immediately.

3) It is time to cut ties with Chris Johnson on your fantasy team. I take this learned lesson especially personal because I was one of those fantasy players who felt Chris Johnson’s holdout two season’s ago would not stop him from being a 1500-yard rusher in 2011, at the minimum. Boy was I wrong. Fast forward to this past August and there I was, like many of you, sitting there with a second round pick and thinking, “I have to take him here.” Now together, we are all face-palming the decision to have drafted him at all.

Through three games, Chris Johnson is averaging a mere 1.4 yards per carry. Per espn.com and the Elias Sports Bureau, among those who have the minimum 6.25 per game to qualify, Johnson ranks dead last at number 51. As I have stated in previous weeks, this is the year of the backup running back, and there are plenty of players out there who can amass the measly eight fantasy points he has put up thus far. Drop him now, while there are still valuable players on the waiver wire, because he is done.

4) Goodell Logic. I certainly can’t take credit for the name of this (shout-out to WFAN’s Evan Roberts), but I definitely subscribe to this theory that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approves moves that make you scratch your head. In this case, the weekly Thursday night football game, which every team plays in at some point during the regular season.

Goodell Logic allowed the Baltimore Ravens to play in the prime-time game on Sunday night, only to have them play once again this Thursday evening vs the Cleveland Browns. That makes no sense whatsoever. Regardless of who they are playing, teams should not have to play a football game on 3 days rest. Nothing good can come of that, except the NFL making more money by having people tune into its network channel every Thursday.

Sadly, nothing will be brought to the table to end this until players start to get injured because of these short turn-around weeks. Be on the lookout though, because Goodell Logic is bound to punish your favorite team at some point this season.

5) The Sunday night game featuring the Ravens and Patriots may have been the worst officiated game this season…until we all witnessed the screwjob that was Seattle vs. Green Bay.

No need to rehash what has already been beaten into the ground over the last 48 hours. The officiating of those two nationally televised games was abysmal! The final play should not have been ruled a touchdown at all. It was clear as day (apparently not if you were on the field and wearing stripes it wasn’t) that Golden Tate did not have possession, simultaneous possession, anything, and yet the refs still ruled in favor of the Seahawks.
I really want to believe professional sports are never rigged, Tim Donaghy aside, but then officials blow calls like that and it makes me wonder if Roger Goodell runs the NFL, or if Vince McMahon and the writers at WWE are the ones calling the shots. The ending to the football game delivered from a ratings perspective, something Vince McMahon has seen the WWE excel at. Fact is, when the conclusion of Monday Night Raw seems less fixed than the outcome of a professional football, we as a fan base, and as a culture, have failed ourselves.

#BookIt

-The New York Jets are done. You know the rest of your season is bleak when one of the backup running backs is being converted into cornerback.

-Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback in Philly as long as he healthy. Head coach Andy Reid wasn’t fooling anyone when he told reporters that Vick was their quarterback for now. What are his other options?

-The blown call in Monday night’s game changed the landscape of the NFC playoff picture. Just wait.

-If the Saints lose on Sunday, they are not making the playoffs. If the Saints win on Sunday, they are not making the playoffs.

-Rob Gronkowski will not be as effective as last season until: A) Aaron Hernandez returns B) Josh McDaniels actually figures out what he is doing with that offense…whichever happens first.

In Week 3, McKayla is certainly not impressed with the Green Bay Packers. This is truly meant for guard T.J. Lang and cornerback M.D. Jennings. Had the two of you done your jobs just a tiny bit better, your team would not have been on the wrong side of a horrendous call.

Mr. Lang, had your offensive line had a pulse in the first half, the game would not have had to come down to the final Hail Mary. Mr. Jennings, all you had to do was swat the football down, up, to the left; any direction your heart so desired. That is football 101. Instead you chose to go for your individual defensive player fantasy points and be a hero to your own team. McKayla is not impressed, and neither is anyone that witnessed you selfishly catch the ball on that last play.