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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Turkey Day!

Before you dig in, make sure it's not a plastic centerpiece!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tuesday Night NFL Picks

It's a quick turnaround this week on the NFL prognostication since there are two games on Turkey Day and I'm traveling tomorrow, probably not to blog again until next week. I'll report back on whether Boston has changed since I last was there in August.

The fact that Detroit and Dallas get to host the Thanksgiving games every year is one of those things that makes me irrationally outraged. These two franchises shouldn't get the perk of hosting the holiday games year after year just because they have some history of doing that. It's like the pro sports version of the favoritism shown the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Come on, Paul Tagliabue, let's see some leadership on this one.

Thanksgiving also means I will have to face my George Bush-supporting extended family for the holiday meal over at my cousin's house. You could say I'm thankful we have football to serve as a way to divert the conversation. (And just think how thankful these relatives of mine should be, this fall they had both their favored presidential candidate win and the Red Sox World Series victory--they are in that rare category of being happy about both.)

On to the picks, which don't endorse wasting your money on bookies and such, naturally. If you were doing that sort of thing, though, it's worth noting that last week I was a strong 12-4 straight up and 9-6-1 against the spread.

Indianapolis (-9) over Detroit

OK, I think I might be sold on this whole Peyton Manning thing now. The fact that he threw the ball with such ease at Chicago proved he wasn't just fattening up his numbers in the dome against crappy teams. This is another road tilt, but it is another pass-friendly dome environment, plus the Lions are cratering. They actually had a shot to beat the Vikings last week and Joey Harrington threw an awful interception down three with two minutes left. We might see Mike McMahon here soon.

(Random trivia: when did Tom Brady make his NFL regular-season debut? It wasn't when Drew Bledsoe got belted by Mo Lewis in the post-9/11 game but back on Thanksgiving Day 2000, when Detroit was clobbering the Patriots, believe it or not. Bledsoe got pulled and Brady's first pro pass was taken back on an INT for TD.)

Chicago (+3) over Detroit to cover and win

Neither of these teams did so well last week. I'm giving the Bears a pass and punishing the Cowboys, who have been dreadful for a while. Bill Parcells is now hinting that Drew Henson may get the start, which I pray comes to pass since that's the only thing that would make this game at all interesting. Do you think Parcells will apologize to the reporter he publicly chastized a few weeks ago for making the ridiculous suggestion of a QB switch?

(Another side note: the Leon Lett debacle trying to pick up a blocked punt in the snow has to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.)

Cincinnati (-6) over Cleveland

Butch Davis is getting fired, apparently. The Bengals, who I've watched the last two weeks, aren't half bad either. Barring an emotional performance to pick up their coach, the Browns, winless on the road, aren't pulling this off.

San Diego (+3) over Kansas City

The Chiefs are the Ron Artest of the NFL, impossible to figure out. They have beaten Indy, Baltimore and Atlanta, but lost every other game. They have the top-ranked offense in the league, yet they lost to the Patriots patchwork secondary last night. Priest Holmes is supposedly missing this game too, and the Chargers are the Team of Destiny this season. My favorite line from John Madden on MNF, after Deion Branch's touchdown: "You can't let them run through your entire defense." No kidding?

Minnesota (-5.5) over Jacksonville

I usually prefer making selections at the last moment before the games since then I get to know who is playing. Case in point: Randy Moss may be playing in this game, or he may still be out. That's kind of important to the pick, don't you think? Oh well, I seem to get the Jaguars wrong every week, why be any different this week?

Philadelphia (-7) over NY Giants

Soon after Terrell Owens put Philly up 14-6 with his calisthenics endzone display, the news came down on the Artest suspension Sunday late afternoon. I flipped to ESPN to see the David Stern show. After that was wrapping up a short while later, I clicked back on over to Fox. Apparently Brian Westbrook scored two touchdowns in the interim, and Philadelphia by then was up 28-6. For the record, both George Michael and Sonny Jurgenson had the Skins in an upset last week. Poor old guys, I fear this season is taking years off their lives.

Pittsburgh (-11) over Washington

Dammit, I need someone to beat the Steelers so the Patriots can get the #1 playoff seed. That ain't happening this week when the hapless Redskins visit Ketchup Field.

Tampa Bay (-3) over Carolina

Both of these teams scored in the mid-30s last week, somehow, despite the lack of discernible offensive talent. The NFL: impossible to figure out.

Houston (+2) over Tennessee

The Texans won in Nashville earlier this year, yet they're underdogs at home to the same Titans. It's back on the Houston bandwagon for me this week after their impressive-yet-losing effort versus Green Bay Sunday night.

New Orleans (+9.5) over Atlanta to cover but lose

That's just too many points for a Falcons team that still isn't dominating despite being 8-2. That's correct, if you hadn't realized, Atlanta's won eight of ten. They've also lost a home game to Detroit, given up 56 points in Kansas City, and had some other close calls that weren't so impressive (21-19 in Frisco week one, 6-3 over Arizona at home in week three, por ejemplo). That's good enough for the NFC South title and #2 NFC seed this year.

Miami (no line) over San Francisco

Both teams are 1-9, with the #1 pick in the draft riding on the outcome of this game. Can you feel the excitement? The cringing in pain of A.J. Feeley when he got slapped on the butt Sunday should make the all-time sports blooper reel. ESPN has no line listed for this one as of yet, probably a sign they want to pretend this game doesn't exist. The folks in Vegas have the Niners as a slight favorite. I'll go with the Dolphins, based on their better performance last week.

Buffalo (+5.5) over Seattle

I guess ESPN has no line yet for this one either, and three of the four main casinos put the Seahawks as a 5.5-point favorite. I'm not sure how Seattle only could beat Miami on a late interception return last week, and I did see Buffalo beat up St. Louis at home. This will be a popular upset pick, I'm thinking (and those points may narrow up later in the week, get in now--if you were betting that's what you would do, that is, not that I advocate that, mind you.)

NY Jets (-3) over Arizona

The Cardinals are another one of those teams I can't figure out. I thought they would be ready to play last week in Carolina, with a shot of getting to 5-5, but instead they lay an egg and drop the game 35-10. Shaun King is now their starting QB, and the Jets are still in the midst of the Quincy Carter experience, so cover your eyes.

New England (-7) over Baltimore

Why I prefer picking later in the week, part two: Jamal Lewis might miss the game with an ankle injury. That's kind of important. I'm more confident of a Pats win in this one than I have been the last few weeks, at least, since the Ravens don't have much of a vertical passing game with which to exploit the depleted New England secondary.

Denver (-10.5) over Oakland

Lots of points for a rivalry game, but I can't see how Oakland makes it competitive either.

Green Bay (-5.5) over St. Louis

MNF is already preparing their Brett Favre-worship, as their promos last night made known this will be the QB messiah's 200th consecutive start for the Packers. Yes, I know they were doing a good bit of Tom Brady-praising last night too, and I thought that was excessive as well. Not to beat a dead horse, but I'd be more confident in a pick with later info on the Ahman Green injury. Even if he's out, though, the Rams looked pretty poor last week in Buffalo, I can't pick them (then again, this might be one of those weeks they decide to show up).

Warning: Blogger Triumphalism Ahead

Dan Rather, bogeyman of the rightie bloggers, is leaving the top job at CBS. Undoubtedly, this is all because of all those fascinating blog posts about decades-old typeface conventions on military forms. Good going, guys.

Or not. Rather is 73, after all, and he seems to be getting kinda loopy, so it's time he step down anyway. But if the blogging thing is an effective way of venting one's partisan rage, I guess that's all good. It sure beats the alternatives.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Washington Dubyas

Shouldn't they wait to sell the team so that a new ownership can choose the new nickname and logo? That way, if the owner is an egomaniac, he can name the team after himself even (as is the case with the NBA's expansion Charlotte Bobcats).

Red, white and blue, rah, rah. I'm sure the fat Midwestern tourists on the Mall will buy up the merchandise since it goes nicely with their American flag t-shirts.

Man, I really need to get back on a regular blogging schedule cuz by the time I get to the keyboard these days I'm absolutely choking on the snark.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Great Moments in Blogging

Let the record show that on Thursday night I wrote that Ron Artest gets treated too harshly by the media. I praised him as a great athlete and a great entertainer.

A scant 24 hours later, Artest went on a rampage in the Detroit stands, leading to his suspension for the rest of the NBA season. That seems rather excessive to me, though I admit this is an unprecedented situation, so unprecedented penalties shouldn't be overly surprising. I just find it wrong that the Indiana Pacers' chances this season are basically gone because of this brawl.

Also, let the record reflect that tonight's AP recap of the Celtics win says, "That lead was too big to blow, even for Boston." Excuse me?

Week 11

I'm sick, so that's my excuse for the no-frills post today. Don't really bet, OK? Last week I went 9-5 straight up, 5-9 against the spread.

Detroit (+8) to cover but lose at Minnesota

Vikes have still looked OK in losing the last few weeks, but the Lions are still decent, and Culpepper is playing with the flu.

Denver (-5) over New Orleans

How did the Saints win last week?

Tampa Bay (-8) over San Francisco

The Niners stay in line for the #1 pick.

Arizona (+2.5) over Carolina

Watch out, the Cards can get to 5-5 here, even if Shaun King is now the starting QB.

Jacksonville (-3) over Tennessee

Does anyone give the Jags a shot at the AFC South title? They are tied with the Colts at 6-3, mind you.

Baltimore (-7.5) over Dallas

Michael Irvin had a great line on ESPN last week: "Bill Parcells shopped for the groceries this time, and the meal stinks."

St. Louis (-1) over Buffalo

J.P. Losman had an impressive debut on Sunday night in New England, with a fumble and interception in limited late action. Looks like he's been learning from Drew Bledsoe.

Chicago (+8) to cover but lose to Indianapolis

Wow, I guess Peyton Manning is suddenly the greatest quarterback of all-time, if the TV people are to be believed. Does that mean he might get a team to the Super Bowl one of these days?

Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Cincinnati

The Bengals beat the Redskins here last week, but then again, who hasn't these days?

Cleveland (Even) over NY Jets

The Browns offense is much better at home, and Quincy Carter is still running the Jets' offense. William Green continues to do Boston College proud, as we saw last week, along with the Jets' inability to get three plays off in the final minute of regulation.

San Diego (-3.5) over Oakland

Chargers are the best story in the NFL.

Seattle (-9) over Miami

The post-Wannstedt era begins.

Atlanta (-3) over NY Giants

Some guy whose name escapes me is starting at QB for New York.

Philadelphia (-10) over Washington

First time Joe Gibbs has ever been a double-digit underdog, says George Michael, so that stat is possibly inaccurate, but I'd believe it. After all, this is the worst team Gibbs has ever had. Maybe Patrick Ramsey is the answer, right? Then again, maybe Elisabeth Hasselbeck is the answer.

Green Bay (-3) over Houston

The Texans are skidding, I'm down on them these days, and the Pack is pulling its annual turnaround to get a playoff spot.

New England (-3) over Kansas City

I'm still not sure how KC lost in Tampa and New Orleans these last two weeks, and I'm not sure how long the Pats can keep winning with guys off the street playing in the secondary. At least Priest Holmes is out, though.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hand-Wringing Central

I've gotten a bunch of search engine hits this week on account of the Monday Night Football intro featuring Terrell Owens and the risque promo of ABC's show Desperate Housewives. I guess that's because I've mention Owens, MNF and the TV show all on this blog, so the search engines naturally spit this URL out when people enter those search terms together.

Since that's most of my traffic right now, why not write a little ditty about it? The news pieces are pretty dumb. Racist? Please, come on now. Tony Dungy really wants to see Bill Parcells or Andy Reid involved in that skit instead of T.O.? That just ruins the imagery, yikes.

And to the fools who have attributed the hysteria to the wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, here's a key distinction for you. The Super Bowl halftime was a live performance. The MNF intro was a scripted, pre-produced piece. I think the ABC people are competent enough not to let a boob pop out under those conditions, but you never know.

Was the skit in bad taste? Yes, probably. Here on the east coast, the game goes on at 9, same time as the Housewives show, though I understand this was shown at 6pm out west. Probably dumb by ABC since they should've foreseen the hue and cry. But really, people, football itself is in pretty bad taste. It's OK for kids to glorify violent sports, but the suggestion of sex, that's not OK? I look forward to seeing the Cowboys cheerleaders in their burkas on the sidelines for the Thanksgiving Day game.

While I'm ranting on, and since I write so rarely these days, let me briefly mention the Ron Artest thing from last week, which similarly got the sports-media-machine all worked up (God forbid we should discuss actual games, right?). So Ron Artest wants to take time to do an album. Let the man do whatever the hell he wants, let the team impose whatever sanction it finds appropriate, and let that be the end of it. Sure it doesn't speak well of his siingle-minded dedication to the game, but maybe that's how it is. Talented as Artest is, we can't compel him to devote his entire life to playing basketball. Comparisons to the Latrell Sprewell "feed my family" comment were similarly unfair since Artest wasn't being a jerk, he was just doing what he wants to do.

Oh, and my album drops on February 30, go check it out (that seemed to be the mandatory joke that everyone had to make about the Artest story).

What would ESPN fill the hours with if they didn't have Artest and T.O.? I like both guys, great athletes, great entertainers--why must we demonize them so?

Finally, let me state one more time that I love Bill Clinton. Seeing him on the news makes me long for a time when a leader in this country had me nodding along in agreement when he spoke, rather than cursing at my television, which is more the norm today.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Man Sets Himself on Fire Near White House (AP)

Jeez, if Colin Powell really wanted to resign that bad, he could've just given the president his resignation letter.

Did you hear the one about the widely respected secretary of state who threw away his intergrity by supporting a war he knew was wrong?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Week Ten NFL Picks

Time for one of my bi-weekly blog posts, as it's turned out lately. I'll try to make it relatively substantial below, analyzing the games and such. It's probably a lost cause, though, since the more I think about these games, sometimes, it seems like I get even further from what will happen. Last week, for example, I was only 7-7, both straight-up and against the spread. [Insert the "I don't endorse sports betting" disclaimer here.]

Kansas City (-3.5) over New Orleans

OK, the Saints have the worst-rated defense in the league, the Chiefs must beat these guys, right? How KC lost to Tampa in a shootout last week is another one of those results that I can't figure, having not seen the game. Priest Holmes is out with a knee, and when that news came down last night I alertly put Derrick Blaylock in my fantasy starting lineup--aren't I smart? The guy got 4 TDs in one half against the Falcons, so he should be good for a few on New Orleans, which looked like the JV trying to defend the varsity in San Diego last week.

Cleveland (+3.5) to cover but lose against Pittsburgh

I can't quite pick against the Steelers after what they've done the last two weeks, even though they are on the road against a Browns team that is good at home. Roethlisberger & Co. showed good poise in Dallas a few weeks ago, remember. I exoect a tough loss for the Browns, much like the Philly game a few weeks ago. Cleveland also was involved in my favorite gambling moment of last week when, about to go in for a late tying TD, Jeff Garcia was picked off by Ed Reed, who returned the INT for six the other way. Everyone who had bet on the six-point underdog Browns simultaneously cursed.

Washington (-3) over Cincinnati

Bengals, as I've written, are inconsistent, but one thing I do know is they haven't won on the road all year. The Redskins are similarly hard to understand, since they've got the league's top-rated defense, despite the absence of several defensive starters like Lavar Arrington. Meanwhile, the vaunted Joe Gibbs offense hasn't translated into any discernible passing game, even though this team has Brunell, Coles and Gardner. They beat the Lions last week on a Clinton Portis halfback-pass and a blocked punt. Hey, whatever works; I think they have enough to take out Cincy today.

Buffalo (+7) to cover but lose in New England

This Buffalo game actually scares me a little bit. The Bills looked pretty good last week in the Jets game, which I had a chance to watch here in the DC TV market, and Willis McGahee really is a difference-maker for them. If they keep pounding Portis against the Pats' D, they could have some success. But they still have Bledsoe back there, so I'm not too concerned about the outcome, even if we do have some guys off the street playing defensive back. (On that point, a classic moment in this week's Inside the NFL shows a player on the St. Louis sideline last week saying, "Man, they got Troy Brown out there, come on!")

Baltimore (Even) over NY Jets

Hmm, Quincy Carter against the Ravens' D on the road. Not a hard choice.

St. Louis (+1) over Seattle

Jeez, these two teams are hard to pick. I'll guess that those crazy Rams will put together a good performance at home today just because they usually do that, notwithstanding the Patriots game, and because whenever I think they're totally gone they come back and play well. I have to quote Bill Simmons on the Rams:

New England's nickel package last Sunday included a wide receiver (Troy Brown); a backup linebacker (Don Davis); a rookie free agent with the worst-selling jersey in the league (Randall Gay); and a practice squad CB named after Earth Wind and Fire (Earthwind Moreland). Of course, they beat the Rams in St. Louis by 22. How does this happen? How many Mike Martz games can end with everyone saying, "Wow, that was an absolutely ATROCIOUS loss" afterwards? Fifteen? Twenty? Thirty? Give me a number. The man needs to be stopped.

And yet I'm picking them today. The Seahawks have their own issues.

Green Bay (-4) over Minnesota

The Vikings are having their annual collapse a little early this year.

Philadelphia (-6.5) over Dallas

The Eagles are showing some weaknesses, especially in run defense, and they even have put Jeremiah Trotter back in the starting lineup to try to fix things. Unfortunately, the Cowboys only have the artist formerly known as Eddie George to carry the ball. I am looking forward to the Parcells postgame comments for the rest of the year as the trainwreck known as the 2004 Dallas Cowboys gets even worse--especially if reporters keep asking about Drew Henson.

Detroit (+3) to cover and win at Jacksonville

Both teams had nice starts but now find themselves set back by injuries. I'm going Lions for a few reasons here. 1) Detroit has shown good resilience in road games this season. 2) I'm chalking up the Lions' offensive woes last week to facing the Redskins defense. 3) Byron Leftwich has been the key to every Jags win this year, and he's out with some other guy starting in his place at QB.

Tennessee (-6) over Chicago

Another game tape from last week I would need to see to believe. The Craig Krenzel-led Bears put up how many points on the Giants? 28, you say? I don't care if it's Billy Volek starting.

Arizona (+2) over NY Giants

The Giants are struggling after the aforementioned Bears debacle in which they lost both starting defensive ends. The Cardinals, on the other hand, won at Miami and finally have both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin together to stretch opposing defenses. The Cards are at home and really should win this game. We shall see.

Atlanta (-4) over Tampa Bay

The last time we saw the Falcons, they put together an outstanding performance in winning at Denver two weeks back. Vick ran for over 100, and even though he's struggled in the past against the Bucs D, he does seem to be getting the new Atlanta offensive system, at last. (That win over San Diego is looking a lot more impressive now too, huh?)

Houston (+9) to cover and lose at Indianapolis

My beloved Texans struggled in Denver last week, but I'm not quitting on them. The Colts let the Vikings stick around until the end Monday night, so I see no reason why they won't do the same with Houston.

San Francisco (-1.5) over Carolina

Gee, I wonder why Fox isn't featuring this as their big doubleheader game? Matchups of 1-7 teams are always a good time.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

One More Time on that Maurice Clarett Guy

As you may recall (OK, you probably don't) I've been as big an advocate as there has been for Maurice Clarett's right to be in the NFL right now. He's back in the news this week with all sorts of allegations about improper money from boosters at Ohio State, the entirety of which he spilled to ESPN the Magazine. Today's new angle is the similarity between this and the scandal from back when Jim Tressel coached at Youngstown State. Amazing but true, Youngstown State appears to have boosters!

I've never contended Clarett to be a saint, but, to summarize my thoughts on this briefly, I think the corruption in the entire structure of college football is a much bigger deal. If you feel like it, dig through the archives for the full Clarett spiel that I'm too lazy to dig out myself just now.

Also on Arafat, I've not been on the winger blogs, but I can just imagine the catty comments about the fact the man died in France and got a full military send-off in Paris when his body was loaded in the plane today. Frogs!

Thank You, Yasser Arafat

Thank you for finally kicking the bucket, that is. I don't know how much more of the repetitive news reports on your medical condition I could take. You were on your way to becoming this generation's SNL joke about Franco being "still dead." (Yeah, I know Franco lingered way longer, but everything seems longer in this era of 24/7 cable news, or so I've been told by old people.)

Blogging of death, why does this story seem bizarrely amusing to me? It's just that the old guy survived World War II only to die when a van runs him over at a Veteran's Day parade--not as glorious a way to go.

Back on Arafat for a second, the news broke late last night that he was done, and I watched a few minutes of Aaron Brown on CNN fumbling for names of countries in the Middle East that this might impact before flipping away. Then over lunch today I picked up a copy of "Express", the crappy little Washington Metro paper, and I see a headline that was something like "Arafat in Dire Condition." Well, death certainly is a dire condition, right? The perils of going to press too early, I guess.

Again on dead people, do you realize our newly-departed AG John Ashcroft lost a senate race to a dead man back in 2000? Since the people of Missouri had judged a corpse more worthy of a senate seat, the pyschopathic Ashcroft, of course, gets to be the top law enforcement official in the country as his consolation prize. At least he's gone if not the rest of the administration, and now we'll have in his place a happy, smiling dude whose policies will probably be just as bad but who won't get treated so harshly because he's happy and smiling.

And did I mention he's a Hispanic, son of Mexican migrant workers? Clearly anyone who opposes this man's nomination is a racist who does not see the need for America's Latino youth to have positive role models. After all, I've long felt that international humanitarian law is extremely quaint, and I'm glad Gonzales came out and called the Geneva Conventions on their quaintness. Surely he'll be another outstanding Bush cabinet official, fitting right in with the other saints.

One more unrelated note before I return to not updating this blog. Last night was Singles Night at the Washington Wizards game. While I sadly could not attend, it sounds like a great time--see the picture especially. Maybe I'll go witness one of these things for the Celtics game in April.

George Michael (as usual I mean the decaying sportscaster, not the gay pop star) was in the house last night doing his report on the news for the "Sports Machine" and for some reason he included a brief video of him hugging NBA referee Dick Bavetta, who Michael actually called one of his "heroes." This is the same Dick Bavetta players and fans have accused of throwing games to the Knicks (or whoever the league wants to win in the playoffs for economic reasons). Um, George? Really, it's things like that, along with the repetition of weird stats from five seconds previous, that makes watching semi-senile sportscasters like Pat Summerall, Dick Enberg and Michael so enjoyable.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Week Nine: Back to Reality

Since the tanks aren't in the streets yet, I guess we can go on and enjoy the NFL. Not only did Kerry lose this past week, but so did the Patriots, and the confluence of the two were a great way to kill the high I was on from the Red Sox championship. Now, to top it all off, I want to make last moment fantasy football changes but the page won't load. Woe is me.

Last week was a typical 10-4 straight up and 8-6 against the spread. The two spread-busters were 7-point favorite Philly beating the Ravens 15-10 (Baltimore's 4th quarter TD enduced groans across the land) and 7.5-point favorite Seattle winning over Carolina 23-17 (same thing, Panthers scored a TD inside two minutes). Those late garbage scores are what makes picking against the spread so foolish.

And one more thing, can we retire that Coors Light song they keep playing with the highlights every week on the SportsCenter? "And I -- LOVED -- WEEK -- NINE!!" There are about a billion better songs they could use than that, sheesh.

On to the selections, which of course are not an endorsement of gambling, before we get the early kickoffs. Let's play at Mirage today:

NY Jets (-3) over Buffalo

The Bills got some crazy special teams scores on Arizona last week, putting up 38 points on less than 300 yards toal offense. The Jets don't give games away quite like that.

Pittsburgh (+1) over Philadelphia to cover and win

OK, I'm sold on the Steelers now. They ran the ball right down the Pats' throat, and run defense happens to be Philly's weakness too. Brian Westbrook is playing but will be limited for the Eagles. And can we all please leave Terrell Owens alone? The guy is entertaining and we love it, so let's let him be, it doesn't hurt anyone. My all time favorite T.O. moment has to be the celebration on the star in Dallas, that was hilarious.

Detroit (-3) over Washington

It's so pathetic to watch the exhaustive Redskins coverage here every week as the TV people try to figure out what's wrong with the team. You know, guys, maybe the team just isn't that good. It happens sometimes. They're so bad that even when they lose, an incumbent president wins reelection.

Cincinnati (+1) over Dallas

There's really no way to figure this matchup of inconsistent clubs. Thus I go with the home team.

Oakland (+7) over Carolina to cover but lose

Yikes, both of these teams are having rough years. Seven points seems a lot.

Miami (-3) over Arizona

Well, the warm weather won't be an advantage over the visitor not used to such conditions. I didn't catch the MNF debacle, but it suggests to me that the Dolphins defense might be demoralized and giving up on the season. Still, they can beat the Cardinals, who didn't show up last week themselves as they were blasted in Buffalo.

Kansas City (-3) over Tampa Bay

I think the Chiefs are officially back. With the Broncos dropping two in a row the AFC West race is now looking interesting, with both the Chiefs and Chargers coming on (Denver has beaten both of those teams already, though).

NY Giants (-9.5) over Chicago

ESPN knew they had a dog of a game last Sunday night with Bears-49ers. I tuned in for a few minutes and the announcers were interviewing Mike Ditka back in a studio somewhere and essentially ignoring what was happening in what was then a tie game. The Giants get their second shot at Philadelphia in three weeks.

Seattle (-7) over San Francisco

Jerry Rice returns, etc. The Seahawks showed last week they really can win a road game against a weak opponent, now they get a chance to do it again (but let's cover this time, OK guys?).

San Diego (-6.5) over New Orleans

Who would've though the Chargers would be such a favorite in this game before the season started? I heard a Chris Mortensen report that the Chargers are going to let Drew Brees go in free agency this offseason. That's rather hard for me to believe considering the guy has played at a Pro Bowl level of late. As I've written before, the Chargers are a very intriguing story, so stay tuned.

New England (+1.5) over St. Louis to cover and win

Everyone's talking about the Patriots' injuries in the secondary putting them at a disadvantage against the Greatest Show on Turf. Yes, but that forgets that the Steelers won last week because they ran the ball so effectively. Mike Martz, unlike Bill Cowher, lacks the patience to stick with the running game. The Rams are masters of the letdown, and the Patriots can win a wide-open game, people sometimes forget.

Houston (+7) over Denver to cover and win

I'm back on the Texans bandwagon this week, after their win over the Jaguars (who may lose Byron Leftwich for the year, bad break for them). As mentioned above, the Broncos have lost two straight now and had trouble running on the Falcons last week. Seven points is too much, and since I'm a Texans-backer, I'll take them outright too.

Baltimore (-6) over Cleveland

The Browns somehow beat the Ravens back in week one. They're not the same team on the road, though, and Jamal Lewis is back from his suspension too tonight.

Indianapolis (-7) over Minnesota

The Vikings are screwed here, with their offense hampered by injuries right at a time when they'll have to put up points to beat a Colts team (like KC did last week, that's the formula). Randy Moss has finally figured out he needs to let his hamstring heal by not playing in a football game for at least a week.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


I'm still trying to come to grips with the prospect of a second Bush term here. I recommend a post from Soylent Content offering serious reflections and one from Matthew Yglesias that is less serious.

Obviously, I never liked John Kerry. I trashed him throughout the primaries and I thought it would be dishonest of me to sing his praises on this site during the general election, or even to add a Kerry logo to the page. I thought he was the wrong choice as the nominee all along, and even though he proved a dogged campaigner and competent debater once again, he never was able to energize people against the war and the economic policies of the administration sufficiently. The country really needed someone who could pull this off, and Kerry just wasn't the guy.

Attempts to keep writing this post resulted in some incoherent ranting, which I have just deleted back up to this point. I'll leave my remarks at that for now.