Friday, October 24, 2008

New Direction and NFL Picks

In thinking about my blog, I realized that in so many ways I was just creating my own version of an of blog. It had my thoughts, etc, but a blog that follows games is out there already. So I thought perhaps I could bring something different ... a blog that actually teaches people who do not know much about sports. In the coming weeks I will cover the basics of football and basketball (with baseball season ending I cannot see much of a reason to cover it right now). I will explore general topics, such as positions, basic offenses, defenses, etc as well as delving into details and specifics about weird rules, etc. It should be fun. Look forward to that in the upcoming weeks!

Now for my picks!

Bucs over Cowboys
Redskins over Lions
Bills over Dolphins
Pats over Rams
Chargers over Saints
Jets over Chiefs
Falcons over Eagles
Ravens over Raiders
Panthers over Cardinals
Jags over Browns
Texans over Bengals
Giants over Steelers
49ers over Seahawks
Titans over Colts

There you have it. What an amazing set of games, particularly that Monday night game! Should be a fun weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NFL Week 7 Pick'em

I have been lax again this week - I'm going to blame it on being sick the last three days. But being sick cannot keep me from making my picks for this weeks NFL matchups. Here we go ...

San Diego over Buffalo
Chicago over Minnesota
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Tennessee over Kansas City
Carolina over New Orleans
Dallas over St Louis
Baltimore over Miami
NY Giants over San Francisco
Houston over Detroit
NY Jets over Oakland
Washington over Cleveland
Indy over Green Bay
Tampa Bay over Seattle
Denver over New England

Quick thoughts:
Carolina and Baltimore are coming off losses. I expect them to be playing angry, inspired football. Same for the Redskins - Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio picked the Redskins as his lock for the week, saying the Redskins would just demolish the Browns. I couldn't agree more.

I think the Colts have found their way. The announcement that Peyton Manning had a second surgery prior to the season definitely helps to explain the slow start for the Colts. Manning looked a lot better last week and I think the Colts will get back into form even more this week.

There are questions in Dallas - have been all weeks. No Adam Jones, would it be Romo or Johnson starting, etc. Yesterday it appeared that Brad Johnson would start and Romo would be the wild card if needed. Either way, I think the Cowboys can beat the Rams. despite the Rams' win last week. Though, if the Cowboys do not get some control over the constant chaos they are going to start to falter.

Last week was crazy - which of course made this week a lot more difficult to pick, but I feel pretty good about my choices. We will have to see how it plays out.

I'm very much looking forward to watching Oklahoma/Kansas and Missouri/Texas today - Is the Big 12 stacked or what? Another awesome weekend of football.

Oh yeah - I think the Red Sox just may force a Game 7 tonight. Tampa Bay has had lots of time to think about how they gave up a 7 run lead in 2.33 innings - Young players, like the majority of the Rays players, do not always handle that sort of pressure as well as a team like the Red Sox who have been in this position a couple times before. If it does go to Game 7 - the Red Sox should win the series.

Now, off to get the flu shot - as random as that seems.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crazy Ending in Atlanta

What an ending to the Falcons/Bears game. Orton puts together an awesome drive for a touchdown and they go up by 1 with 11 seconds left. Ryan comes out - passes a gem under pressure to the 30 of the Falcons and his received goes out of bounds with 1 second left. Out trots Jason Elam and he nails the 48-yd field goal. Wow - that was crazy and awesome.

I am thinking the Falcons are legit - they are going to be very good in the near future. I am impressed by Matt Ryan's development and his poise under pressure. He has the potential to develop into an excellent, top-notch NFL quarterback.

The Texans yanked it out against the Dolphins and Tampa Bay made Carolina look bad. So I'm already down five games today, but as I said earlier, I do not mind being wrong about Indy and I'm excited about Atlanta, so I am only bummed by 3 of the wrong picks. Looking forward to more fun this afternoon!

Wrong About Indy

I am going to be wrong, very wrong about the Indy and Baltimore game, but I am okay about that. The Colts have barely won the couple of games they had won prior to this week. They have been a kicking post for many in the last couple of weeks. Finally this week it appears that Peyton Manning and the Colts have it all figured out, on both sides of the ball.

31 points of offense - including 3 TDs by Peyton Manning in the first half (two to Marvin Harrison) and so far they have held the Ravens to just 3 points. The world feels a bit more normal with the Colts playing the way they have in the last several years. I think the Colts are back and will be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the year.

Interesting Morning so far ...

This has been an interesting morning in football so far.

Detroit is beating Minnesota 3 to 2 ... in the 3rd quarter! Are the playing baseball?

Indy may have finally woken up 24-0 over Baltimore at the half. Pretty amazing considering the Ravens' Defense.

Washington vs St Louis is close - which I never would have expected honestly.

The Texans are leading the Dolphins, Cincy is hanging with the Jets, and Atlanta is beating the Bears. Though Atlanta better figure out how to get more than some field goals or the Bears will get them in the second half.

Looking forward to seeing how the rest of these games play out!

Advanced Apologies

I am not getting to watch the early games today, because of many different things going on, so I apologize that I am not going to have much to say the early part of this day. I'll be back either during the second games today or definitely for tonight's games.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Red River Rivalry Referee Ridiculousness

I generally try to avoid getting into discussions about bad officiating, because human error is honestly part of the game. You cannot review every single play in a game and you have to trust the on field officiating crew to call a good game. This all being said I must weigh in on what have been some very questionable, and even down right terrible, calls by the crew and review officials of the Oklahoma vs Texas game.

Oklahoma intercepts a pass in the endzone. Everyone, but the officials, immediately said it was a touchdown. Then to the surprise of many, including the announcers, Texas is lined up to kick a field goal - apparently, it had been ruled an incomplete pass. Replay on television clearly showed that the Oklahoma player had possession of the ball until he hit the ground. Last I knew, the ground couldn't cause a fumble. The play was not reviewed - and an incorrect call stood. I do not understand how that call could not be reviewed. A turnover in the end zone causes a huge momentum swing and obviously the field goal for Texas would never have happened. If Oklahoma loses this game by three, be prepared for many to blame that play and that bad call.

In addition, there have been many penalties called that have just been bad. Colt McCoy ran for a first down in the second half with a Sooner chasing him out of bounds. McCoy's run took him into the Longhorn bench/sideline. The defender made no effort to push McCoy down, in fact, from replay it appeared that the defender was actually trying to slow McCoy down, hold him up. The Longhorn sideline immediately starting calling for a flag and after a few moments, the flag was thrown. When did officials start relying on the opinions of one of the teams when making calls? Seems to me the entire point is for the officials to not pay attention to the noise on the sidelines.

Of course, it is only fair to point out that Oklahoma had a similarly ridiculous flag go in their favor. On an Oklahoma punt, Texas brought pressure (though the punt was not blocked). One Texas player barely grazed the punter - from the replay, it did not appear that the Texas player had any actual impact on the punter. Yes, the punter did fall down, but then immediately started to get up. Halfway to standing back up, he suddenly collapsed. Now, I have a feeling he was genuinely injured - he had been hurting after a fake punt earlier in the game, but he certainly was able to play up how hard he got hit and earned a flag.

At this point (now late in the 4th quarter), Texas is pulling away, so perhaps these calls will not impact the game's final result, but it is disappointing to see such an important game have such lackluster officiating. Hopefully the NCAA will take a look at this game and figure out how to avoid such issues happening again.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playing 20 innings in just 5.5

Game 2 of the NLCS has been ridiculous so far. In 5.5 innings it is 8-5 Phillies, but the game has felt extremely long. The Dodgers are on, I believe, their 4th pitcher. Myers Ithe pitcher)for the Phillies had 3 hits ... he actually went 3 for 3, so he was done by the end of the 5th because he was worn out, which is an odd thing to think about.

Manny, of course, hit the big home run to get the Dodgers back within 3. He is just insane during October.

My pick of the Dodgers to win is looking at little shaky, but they certainly are not out of it yet.

NFL Week 6 Picks

It is time for me to go out and make my picks for week 6 in the NFL. I did okay last week, 10-4, and I learned a few things. I am concerned about the Chargers; I do not understand why a team with so much talent is playing so poorly. They certainly have a lot to prove this week - if they lose their game this weekend, they can pretty much count themselves out of the playoffs. The Cowboys worry me as well. They came this close (imagine me holding my fingers less than an inch apart) to losing to the Bengals. So with those things in mind ...

Baltimore at Indy - Baltimore
I know Indy has scraped out some games, but that is why I am concerned. Last week, they needed Houston to just fall apart to win. Baltimore is not going to self destruct, not to mention the always exciting Baltimore D led by Ray Lewis.
Detroit at Minnesota - Minnesota
I think this is a fairly obvious pick. The Lions are just terrible - I am seriously starting to think that they may never win a game this year ...
Oakland at New Orleans - New Orleans
Oakland has a lot of talent, but they are just a wreck as an organization. Yes, they had a bye to start adjusting to a new coach, but that is not going to save them.
Cincy at New York Jets - New York Jets
Cincinnati has shown some fight in a few games - including their game with the Cowboys last week and the Giants a couple weeks ago. But I do not buy moral victories in football. The Bengals just are not consistent enough to win games (particularly with Palmer not starting) and Brent Favre is finally starting to gel with his Jets teammates and they will only get better as the year goes on.
Chicago at Atlanta - Chicago
This one was tough for me to pick. Atlanta is really starting to look good on offense and I am quite impressed with the play of quarterback Matt Ryan. I do not think they will beat the Bears though with the Bears' defense. Expect a good, tight game though - should be fun to watch.
Carolina at Tampa Bay - Carolina
This also could be a good game. I think Carolina's defense will make a difference in this game (I am apparently on a defense kick right now). I expect Tampa Bay to turn the ball over when facing Carolina's tough defense.
St. Louis at Washington - Washington
The Redskins just keep looking better and St. Louis is terrible, simply terrible. Enough said.
Miami at Houston - Miami
Miami is coming onto their own with their last two big wins over the Pats and the Chargers, and Houston is coming off an embarrassing loss where they self destructed. Expect Miami to continue to high and beat the Texans handily.
Jacksonville at Denver - Denver
Jacksonville is 26th against the pass, Cutler has a crazy good arm. Plus, Denver is just insane at home and their defense proved themselves a bit in the tough game against Tampa Bay last week. I don't expect this game to be that close. Denver should score easily and often.
Philly at San Fran - San Francisco
Philadelphia is beaten up. Westbrook is out. I just do not see Philly competing when they are falling apart, literally. San Francisco will come out and surprise people against the Eagles.
Green Bay at Seattle - Green Bay
This game only marginally needs an explanation. Seattle is terrible and Green Bay is a solid football team.
Dallas at Arizona - Arizona
I am not sure this is a much of an upset pick as it may initially appear. Arizona is good at home, very good and they are coming off a big win against Buffalo. Whereas, Dallas has been showing some weaknesses - they lost to Washington and just about gave the game away to Cincy. In addition, all of the drama with Adam Jones adds more difficulty to an already hurting Cowboys secondary.
New England at San Diego - New England
New England stayed on the West Coast this week, rather than travel back East and then turning back around again. Smart move - they will be better rested and more ready to play. Cassel is still not super impressive, but he manages games well and I just cannot pick the Chargers after how poorly they have played this year. They have so much talent, but they are just playing flat and while I think they are a desperate team, I just do not think things will change against what is still a solid New England team.
New York Giants at Cleveland - New York Giants
This game is pretty easy. Cleveland is not that good - despite all of the pre-season hype. Add to that, the team that I would argue is the best team in football - the Giants. Eli Manning looks very, very good and the defense of the Giants is solid as well. We may finally have a relatively boring Monday night game, after so many fun weeks so far.

So there are my picks for the NFL. Should be interesting to see how I do this weekend.

Quick thoughts on a few college games -
Florida over LSU
Oklahoma over Texas
Mizzo over Ok. St
Penn St over Wisconsin

I still am not feeling 100% confident in picking the baseball playoffs, but I do think the Dodgers will win Game 2 - they have a better pitcher going today.
Overall, I really do hope we get Dodgers vs Red Sox in the World Series, so much more fun, so much more drama in that matchup, but I do not think that is a guarantee. The Rays are playing good ball, but I do think we will see Dodgers/Red Sox. Experience for Boston will win out and the Dodgers may have lost Game 1, but they will come back to win their series.

Looking forward to a fun weekend of sports. It should be awesome.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I am a Slacker

I apologize for the lack of updates this week. Sadly, the real job, which happens Tuesday through Thursday, keeps me away from my sports obsession. I will be free once again starting this evening, so I promise good posts about all things sports.

Baseball playoffs - I'm very excited for both series. Though, I have a bit more fascination with the Rays and Red Sox.
College football - Texas vs. Oklahoma, LSU vs. Florida and other great games this weekend. I cannot wait.
NFL - Pacman Jones and other fun topics
Preseason NBA - I live in Portland and you would think the entire city had just won the lottery with the level of excitement.

Stay tuned ....

*wishes I could spend all of my days watching, talking, and writing sports. It is really my passion!*

Monday, October 6, 2008

So the Championship Series are set

Dodgers and Philles .... Red Sox and Rays ...

I honestly didn't see the games this weekend or tonight, due to my absolute obsession with football, so no series picks for me here. I will do some research though and maybe come in with some tomorrow.

The Vikes pulled out the game - two missed field goals (one of which was returned for a touchdown (a big 10 point swing)) will do that to ya. I know Grammatica has been nursing a groin injury, but you have to make those kicks. He made one from 55 (I think), so either he could have/should have hit the two he missed.

Honestly though, you can't put it all on the kicker. Did you see the first half? The Saints dominated everything, but the scoreboard (which of course is all that really matters). Really the Saints didn't really deserve to win the game. Well, I take that back - Reggie Bush deserved to win. :D Great game on his part.

Fun sports weekend overall! I am glad I got to enjoy it. I'll be back throughout the week with random thoughts, news, etc. Maybe a few rants if I can find something to get worked up about.

*I love this time of year! Yay for baseball, football, and even the preseason basketball to keep me busy!*

Don't Kick to Bush!

So, if you are a punter in the NFL - pay attention! Do NOT under any circumstances kick to Reggie Bush. I just don't get it. He burns the Vikings for one return for a TD, every time he has touched the ball on a kick return he has come within one or two steps of breaking it big. So what do the Vikings do? Kick one right to him, which he runs back for another touchdown. (Beautiful move on Bush's part randomly, what an electric runner!)

As for the Viks touchdown to tie the game at 27 - what a goofy looking play. I'm actually a little unsure which receiver was supposed to get the pass, but Berrian came down with it, took a nice lick from his own teammate, but held on for the score.

I have to say that Monday night football has been amazingly fun this year. Just lots of crazy plays, lots of high scoring games, just all over fun. This is why I drop everything for Monday nights!

*Thinks her dream job would be to report from the sideline on Monday nights*

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sacking the Quaterback

OKay, seriously ... Ben Roethlisberger gets hit, sacked, knocked around so freaking much. I saw the stat board earlier about his the most hit quarterback in the league ...

It isn't really his offensive line ... sure, they play a role in some of the hits, but Ben seems to just walk into some of them. He holds onto the ball too long, almost making it too easy for the defense.

Pittsburgh needs to work on this with their quarterback - he's already hurting from an injury sustained in Week 1 - going to be hard to completely get over that getting hit so much, not to mention the possibility of another injury.

*Glad its not her getting hit around by the Jags Defense - as if I would only get hit as many time as Ben. I'd get smacked every play*

Rockin' the 2nd set of games!

I did well this afternoon (well afternoon for me in Oregon). I called all 4 games correctly.

Denver played in a defensive game - only 16-13. Much better than their performance when they let the Chiefs walk all over them. Jay Cutler continues to be very impressive - he has a bright future in the NFL.

Dallas tried to lose to the Bengals, but held onto their lead. Sloppy game though - two turnovers for each team, including one interception each. But Dallas apparently did learn from their mistake last week - give the ball to Barber and Jones! Run the ball! That is the major difference in this game and it why they lost to the Redskins last week. You simply cannot turn into a pass happy team, even with T.O, with such a potent running threat.

Buffalo was at a disadvantage losing their starting quarterback on play number 3 of the game. Kurt Warner played well - no mistakes. And Arizona simply ate Buffalo up. Buffalo had 4 turnovers, which pretty much spells death for any team.

Cassel was effective, despite two interceptions, as New England beat the 49ers. New England won the the turnover battle (all 5 turnovers in the game were interceptions) and that made a big difference. New England is not flashy or overwhelming amazing like they were last year, but they are well-coached and will not roll over just because their starting quarterback is down. I expect them to have a chance at the post season.

Watching the Jags and Steelers right now (though have been playing cards at the same time, so have been distracted a bit). Higher scoring than I expected honestly and the Steelers have dominated the 2nd quarter and are threatening again with just over a minute left. We will have to see what adjustments the Jags make at half time!

Charissa out!

*Just gotta say I love fall weekends - College football, NFL, MLB playoffs. It is a sport fan's little piece of heaven on earth!*

Week 5 round 2

So the second round of games for the fifth weekend of the NFL are at half time - here is what we have seen so far.

Buffalo is playing about how they always play early in a game. 1 turnover, losing the penalty battle. Now Edwards did get hurt, but Losman used to start, so at least he knows the game. If the Bills play the second half of this game, like they have done in previous weeks they definitely could beat Arizona, but at some point that it going to run out.

Cincy looks bad again. Palmer is 7 for 17 with an interception and they only have 107 yards of offense. Dallas could do themselves a favor without 42 penalty yards against them, but they will not have any trouble putting away the Bungles.

Tied game in Denver. Even the quarterback numbers are similar - 13 for 18 each early in the third with just under 200 total offensive yards for each team. This could be a good one (again I wish I could actually watch it!)

New England has the lead - Cassel's two interceptions certainly haven't helped, but New England looked good in their last drive. Moss made some catches in double coverage (though it wasn't particularly good double coverage honestly) and they punched it in on a run. Cassel manages a game well. There are few spectacular Brady-esque plays (though his one long one to Moss was pretty impressive). But New England is solid overall, so they do not need the crazy plays.

Back to watching the games ...

*Wishing I had NFL Sunday ticket ... wonder if the husband will let me spring for it for the rest of the season!!*

My day so far ...

Well Green Bay and the Chargers lost. I have some serious issues at this point with the Chargers. Outside of the few mistakes the Dolphins made - the Chargers got absolutely dominated on all aspects of the game.

I have not gotten to see any of the Packers game, so I will hold off on judgment right now.

The Titans, Colts, and Redskins all came back to win their games. What good games across the board - close, hard fought games. The Colts score 3 touchdowns in three minutes and capitalized on some big mistakes by the Texans. The Redskins just keep getting better. Since their loss to the Giants in week one, Campbell has looked better and better.

No surprises for the Giants, Panthers, or Bears - they all handily demolished their opposition, which wasn't all that difficult with the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Lions, respectively. Will the Lions win a game this year? The Chiefs may have beat Denver, but that was mostly because of a terrible defensive day by the Broncos. The Chiefs are not a good football team - they have a ways to go still.

Now for the afternoon games. I can't wait!


28 seconds - two touchdowns ... only down by 3 -- 27-24 to Houston. Could Indy do it again?

I'm now really worried about Indy, but if they could pull this game out it would be a start to perhaps getting their season back.

Mistakes ....

So the Dolphins are not going to pay for their fumble on special teams, but still ..

The Dolphins have been dominating the Chargers. Sure, the Chargers had a good drive for a touchdown in the third quarter, but the Dolphins were getting the ball back with a chance to go up two scores again. What do they do - fumble the kick off return, giving San Diego awesome field position and a chance to tie the game. Great teams do not make those mistakes - those kind of mistakes cost teams games.

For the Dolphins to completely convince me - they have to stop making these kind of mistakes, even if this one did not end up costing them.

Much credit though to the Dolphins defense for making up for the mistake of the special teams with a phenomenal goal line stand. Don't want to take away from that.

Oh yeah, and how about the Redskins now leading in their game against the Eagles.

First Impressions Week 5

Well, half way through the first round of NFL games today and there are lots of crazy things right now.
Chicago,Carolina and the Giants are definitely performing as expected .. but the Dolphins are once again direct snapping to Brown and making the Chargers D look bad. The Dolphins are simply dominating the game all the way around. Maybe they aren't so bad after all?
Matt Ryan looks good for the Falcons and they are beating the Pack.
Indy's defense gave up 17 points in the second quarter, but I wouldn't count them out yet. I've seen Peyton just do crazy things in the 2nd half, so if their D wakes up they will be fine.
Washington/Philly is close as I expected - I'm sad that I do not actually get that game live. It would be fun to watch.
As for Baltimore and Tennessee - what more could we have expected - a tough, hard nose defensive battle with interceptions on both sides. Kerry Collins' experience should get the Titans through the second half and help them come out with a win.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Heart Attack Bucks

Okay so Pryor scores with just over a minute left and the Buckeyes win - I'm sorry I doubted them ... Pryor is definitely something else though and it is so good to have Beanie Wells all the way back. Guess I still have to pull for some more losses by top teams so the Buckeyes can hope the third time is the charm in the BCS Championship.

Okay, I change my mind ...

I think I have changed my mind ... Oregon State just might be better than Oregon.

Oregon looks absolutely terrible right now against USC - perhaps their good record so far really is just a result of an easy schedule thus far. The Beavers beat USC and pushed Utah to the limit -- seems much more convincing than what I'm seeing from the Ducks right now.

And, of course, Ohio State is doing be proud and losing to Wisconsin. Plenty of time left, but I just wonder if the Bucks will make my life easy, get out of the BCS picture this week and then I can kick back and just enjoy all the college games without worrying whether my team will make a BCS bowl.

USC and Oregon

I've been watching USC/Oregon. For the first few minutes there is looked like maybe Oregon was going to pull an Oregon State on USC. Now at half time - not so much. USC has turned it on and turned it on fast. They once again look like one of the best teams in the NCAA.

What is it about USC? Do they just always get lazy for one game against a Pac-10 team? I just can't figure it out. When I see how they can score 17 points as quickly as they did against a good Oregon team, I just have no idea how they can lose to a team like Oregon State (I'm not saying OSU is bad - they did give Utah a run, but they are not as good as Oregon).

Pete Carroll is a great coach, but year after year his team loses a dumb game to a team they should cream and they miss a chance to go to the BCS championship (though they probably would been a better choice over Ohio State the last two years even with the losses- and I'm a Buckeye fan). Someone explain it to me? Coaching issues? Player overconfidence? What? Oh well ... back to watching them make Oregon look bad.

NFL Week 5

Twice now I have tried to put up my picks for NFL Week 5 along with the reasons for my picks. Twice now my computer has killed Firefox in the middle of my blog. Therefore, here are my picks without reasons (so I can get them typed up fast enough). This makes me sad, because I do have good (and maybe bad) reasons for my picks, but I give up on the computer. Maybe next week I will be able to do better.

Tenn @ Baltimore - Tennessee
Kansas City @ Carolina - Carolina
Chicago @ Detroit - Chicago
Atlanta @ Green Bay - Green Bay
Indy @ Houston - Indy
San Diego @ Miami - San Diego
Seattle @ New York Giants - NYG
Washington @ Philadelphia - Washington
Tampa Bay @ Denver - Denver
Buffalo @ Arizona - Arizona
Cincinnati @ Dallas - Dallas
New England @ San Fran - New England
Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville - Jacksonville
Minnesota @ New Orleans - New Orleans

There you have it. I'll be back early next week to see how well (or how poorly) I did. And again I am sorry there are no 'reasons' but I am sick of having to retype it all!