Posts Tagged ‘nfl’

Week # 7 Picks

Record after Week # 6: 20-10-0 = 66% (4-1 in Week # 6)

Pick #1:  Cardinals (+6.5) @ Vikings – Cardinals win it, 17-16

This game is about defense and special teams, I don’t care if it’s Kevin Kolb or John Skelton starting. Arizona has already beaten New England on the road, they beat Philadelphia last year on the road and had the Ravens, in Baltimore, down 24-6 – they are not a bad road team. The Cardinals are holding people to 16 ppg and let’s be honest about Minnesota – Leslie Fraser is a good coach but he is super conservative, 6 ½ points is a ton to give anyone in this football game. Christian Ponder, in his last 2 games (people are getting more film on him) has 4 TD’s but 4 INT’s as well. Arizona’s defensive coordinator Ray Horton does a phenomenal job on dialing up pressure packages that can create turnovers and get you to the quarterback. Percy Harvin is the offense right now – everybody is getting film, everybody is seeing that they are being super conservative with Christian Ponder. I get an outstanding defense and almost a touchdown, I’m not sure if they win but I’m taking the 6 ½ points, Arizona narrowly wins it 17-16.


Pick #2:  Titans (+3.5) @ Bills – Titans win it, 28-27

This one’s a weird one, I don’t like either one of these teams, but I get a field goal with Tennessee. Firstly, the Bills are god awful against the run – worst in the NFL at 170 yards per game, an absolute mess! They have been poor all year. Linebackers for Buffalo? No other way to put it other than to say that a scout reported earlier in the week that they’re just slow and Chris Johnson isn’t! He had a respectable game last week with over 90 yards against the Steelers. Now on offense, the Titans have Matt Hasselbeck and they’ve got excellent offensive tackles in Michael Roos and David Stewart as they both are playing very well in protection. Right now, Tennessee has got a very deep and healthy group of receivers at their disposal now that Kenny Britt has returned from injury and had a long week to heal. In the end, the Titans have extra time, their offense is getting healthy, Hasselbeck – against this defense, should have time to throw and pick a part a weak backend. I’m taking Tennessee and the points to win this game, 28-27.


Pick #3:  Cowboys (-2.5) @ Panthers – Cowboys win it, 27-17

Listen, Cam Newton right now – he’s not getting better, has 6 turnovers in 5 games, fumbled 3x in which his team luckily recovered the ball. Tony Romo makes his mistakes of course, but the difference is that he’ll have a much better defense at his disposal. Defensive linebacker and defensive back – the Cowboys have huge advantages in this game. Carolina is 13th in defense IN THE NFC! By the way, the offensive line for Tony Romo? Sacked only once in Baltimore, has not been under constant duress which is very good progress! The return of Phil Costa at center helped a great deal. The Panthers by the way are not a great pass rush defense. Here’s another issue: Romo is getting better protection and the Panthers’ cornerbacks are just okay, but their safeties have been a major liability when in coverage. Dallas is a better all around team, significantly better on defense, I think they control both lines of scrimmage and Dallas wins this game comfortably 27-17.


Pick #4:  Redskins (+6) @ Giants – Giants win it, 27-26

Now again, this is more about “betting against the masses” because the masses tend to get high/low, high/low. Rule of thumb…bet against the masses! All the masses right now love the Giants. The Giants are returning from a huge West Coast win and who do they play after this game? The Dallas Cowboys! New York is going to be flat, they do this every year. By the way, as a home favourite, they are only 7-16-1 at home against the spread. Right now RG3 is athletic, showing great poise; tremendous running game helps behind him. Now of course, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul (who by the way, is not having a great year so far) are all ferocious pass rushers. But Washington has 2 formidable tacklers with good size and athleticism in Trent Williams and Tyler Polumbus. The Redskins have an excellent ground game, they have versatility with RG3, and they can control the line of scrimmage and limit the Giants’ oppoutunities. This is betting against the public – it’s a perfect oppourtunity to seize on the masses. The Redskins getting 6 – I don’t know if they win, but don’t forget they beat the Giants twice last season and controlled both games, I’ll say Giants 27-26 but you have to take the 6 points.


Pick #5:  Steelers (-1.5) @ Bengals – Steelers win it, 30-24

I am predicting that Pittsburgh will have a very solid next 2 months as they are 15-6 under Mike Tomlin, extra rest should help their veteran players like LaMarr Woodley. Now, the Steelers are best when they can utilize a good mixture of run and pass, Rashard Mendenhall is back in the lineup. Don’t forget that the Bengals are inconsistent defending the run. They have also been inconsistent in protecting Andy Dalton whose been sacked 17 times in 6 games. The advantage here is that Pittsburgh, a tremendous 3rd down team, with Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Heath Miller – real weapons and the Bengals are all banged up in the secondary. The Steelers have their backs against the wall, they need to stay within striking distance of the Ravens – I don’t dislike the Bengals but I’m taking the better team here and swallowing the points, swallow the 1 ½ , 30-24 on Sunday Night Football.


After Week # 4, Season record:  13-7-0


Pick #1:  (-7) Packers @ Colts – Packers win it, 30-17.

That’s a lot of points to swallow, but after dealing with the 9ers, Bears and Seahawks in Seattle, it’s kind of nice to face a bad AFC team. They play indoors, it’s what Brady, Manning and Rodgers want as there is no wind indoors for the better offenses. At quarterback, the OL and Special teams? Huge edge Green Bay! As far as coaching, Chuck Pagano was diagnosed earlier this week with treatable leukemia, so he’s out! I think that severely damages a young football team. Rodgers got beat up in Seattle and Green Bay hasn’t been sacked, Rodgers that is, in his past 67 drop backs – a massive improvement. The Colts’ Reggie Wayne can be trouble but Tramon Williams of the Packers, one of the best cover men in the NFL, will negate his afternoon. Green Bay’s secondary (Sam Shields, Casey Hayward) have overachieved this year, they’re really good players. Rodgers has been absolutely superb in the red-zone, has no discernible weakness. The Colts’ offensive line with Clay Matthews on fire is a huge weak spot. Green Bay wins it; I’ll easily swallow the points, 30-17.

Pick #2: (+3) Seahawks @ Panthers –Seahawks win it, 21-20

I get 3 points and I get the better team! Seattle has the 2nd stingiest run defense, 63 yards a game is all that they give up, what does that mean? Cam Newton is going to have to throw – no thank you! I don’t trust him. Seattle’s pass rush is really good and they’re secondary is absolutely outstanding! Now, there are parts about the Seahawks that I don’t like – they lead the NFL in pre-snap penalties (what’s new, it’s a Pete Carroll team, they lack detail like USC did when he was there) But I get Seattle +3 and I get the better team. Russell Wilson up until this point has been managing games, thrown fewer passes than any other starter in the league and their asking him to manage the games – I’m okay with that right now. I feel like I get an absolutely superior defense, an absolutely superior special teams and at least Wilson won’t lose the game for me. I’m taking the points, Seattle goes cross country – they have been bizarrely affected when flying cross-country like when they beat the Giants (remember that?) take Seattle to win it, 21-20.

Pick #3:  Chargers @ Saints (-3.5) – Saints win it, 31-21

I’ve been taking a lot of dogs this year and it’s paid off so far – but this weekend feels like a favourites weekend to me, so take the Saints at (-3.5). San Diego’s lone dome stadium game – first time they are playing on artificial turf since last year when they got smoked by Detroit. Remember what this game means: Sunday night at the Superdome, Drew Brees is going for a record, it will be an absolute nuthouse. Don’t kid yourself about San Diego – did you know Kansas City out gained them with 6 more first downs? The problem with the Chiefs though is that they keep turning it over. Drew Brees at home – for all the criticism this year, he’s still on pace for 40 TD’s, over 5,000 yards and 67% completion. Special teams? Edge Saints! Jimmy Graham creates major match up issues for San Diego down the middle. New Orleans’ running game with Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas darting, pounding and slashing guys gives you a lot of different looks and New Orleans showed signs of regaining their swagger, even though they lost to Green Bay. I think San Diego is in trouble and I’m taking New Orleans to win comfortably, 31-21.

Pick #4:  Eagles @ Steelers (-3.5) – Steelers win it, 31-21

I love this game and nobody agrees with me, Pittsburgh is at home (getting starters back – key guys and veterans, smart players too) against Michael Vick, Steelers at (-3.5) I’ll take them all day. Listen, Steelers now have been sitting around resting and ticked off after that miserable performance against Oakland. Philadelphia, by the way, has 3 wins this season by a combined 4 points and is coming off a big rivalry game against New York and now Pittsburgh is sitting there. Don’t kid yourself; Big Ben at home is a different quarterback. At home? 45-15 TD’s to INT ratio in his last 30 home games so I’d give the edge at quarterback to the Steelers. Steelers also have a Special team’s edge and they are at home. The Eagles’ pass protection has been totally inconsistent with 11 sacks as Vick has been knocked down 18 more times than the next guy in the league. James Harrison is back, Troy is also back and Michael Vick in the end has a 57% completion rate, 4TD’s with 6 picks and in the redzone is atrocious. Philadelphia is 30th in scoring, are you kidding me? With all those weapons? Same score I had in the last game, Pittsburgh hammers Philadelphia, 31-21.

Pick #5:  Broncos @ Patriots (-6.5) – Patriots win it, 31-24

Why not keep going on favourites, you know that Vegas is going to hate me, but Belicheck has Stevan Ridley whose on pace to have 1400 yards and they also have a rookie running back in Brandon Bolden who has become a beast, it is a one/two punch. The Patriots love to spread the field and with Aaron Hernandez out – they are using 3-wide receiver sets, what does that mean? Von Miller is going to have to be in coverage, he’s okay as he is what he is as a pass rusher. Peyton Manning is effective on getting rid of the ball and avoiding sacks, but right now, Denver’s protection schemes appear to be a work in progress – ton’s of blown assignments. Brady is on fire!! He looks better than last year, Gronk and Welker have both eclipsed 100 receiving yards, now Buffalo is bad, but passing attacks – especially tight ends, have given the Broncos trouble this year. Despite popular opinion, the Patriots’ offensive tackles the offensive line has been pretty good this year: Brandon Bolden, Stevan Ridley have been pounding away in between the tackles. Devin McCourty, New England’s best cover guy, shutting down Demaryius Thomas. New England will challenge Manning to throw deep and right now, that is not his strength. New England wins it 35-24. I’ve been on the dogs all this year in my picks, decided to change it up and make it a favourites week.

After Week # 2, Season record:  6-4-0

Buccaneers @ Cowboys (-7.5)

So what do we always do with the Dallas Cowboys folks (because they are America’s most popular team?) We overreact! They beat the Giants, so we say they are going to win it all. They then lose to Seattle and we think they are terrible. Don’t forget, the Buccaneers are atrocious in the secondary. Dallas does not match up well with teams who have top corners because they have tremendous skill people such as: Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. But Tampa is a team that is old, immature and inconsistent in the back end. In fact, they’ve also had trouble getting pressure on the quarterbacks – so Romo is going to have enough time on the snap, he’s going to be at home and the weakness of the Cowboys – the offensive line, will not be threatened. Don’t overact in losing to Seattle last week – watch Green Bay this Monday night, Seattle and that defense can carve you up! Dallas rebounds, it’s a fat number that I’m telling you to play but I like the Cowboys to win and cover, 31-20.

Eagles @ Cardinals (+3.5)

You know where I’m going with this! Michael Vick has been picked off 6x, could potentially be 8x along with fumbling once though he managed to recover it. He’s a turnover machine and Arizona actually matches up pretty well. They weren’t very good last year and they still beat the Eagles on the road, scored as a double digit dog. Philadelphia – and schedules matter a lot in the NFL, are coming off an emotional win over the Ravens and host the Giants next week. This is what I would call a massive “trap game” for Philadelphia emotionally. Vick is already forcing a lot more passes this year; he’s starring down his primary receivers and the times he doesn’t do that is when he’s got space and time. But the defensive line and the linebackers for Arizona may be the most underrated in the league. They’ve got a loud crowd, they just beat the Patriots, it will be an absolute zoo, I’m taking the 3 ½ points, I think Arizona beats Philadelphia, 20-17.

 Bengals (+3) @ Redskins

The first thing you should know is that Washington is beat up! Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo won’t play… translation? Andy Dalton is going to be a little bit more comfortable. Cincinnati’s defense – don’t make fun of the Bengals here, it’s been ranked in the top 10 2 of the last 3 years. The Bengals now have some film on RG3 – which the Saints didn’t have and you also saw how the Rams did some things differently. Cincinnati’s defense could also get a lift if Carlos Dunlap, their best pass rusher, becomes available. Never forget, athletic defenses that force quarterbacks into compromising positions are how you win games in this league. Cincinnati’s front 7 is excellent; RG3 is talented but very young. Special teams in close games are huge and the Bengals have outstanding return guys such as Brandon Tate and Adam Jones. Cincinnati’s got two veteran corners in Leon Hall and Nate Clements. I like Cincinnati in this game – again, young quarterback, veteran tough defense, an underdog. I’m taking the points; Cincinnati beats the Redskins, 27-23.

49ers @ Vikings (+7)

You say to yourself “ohh come on, 49er’s will crush them Andrew” on the road? The 49ers don’t crush a lot of teams and the Vikings at home get 7. Second time travelling to the Midwest in 3 weeks could be a letdown spot for the 49ers that have played in huge games – against the Packer and Lions. But now you’re going to Minnesota and playing the “lousy” Vikings, this is a classic letdown spot – even for Jim Harbough’s intensity. Also, Christian Ponder – Bill Musgrave, the Vikings offensive coordinator has done a really nice job with him, he’s rolling him out. Ponder is a really big and athletic kid, kinda like a Tannehill in Miami. Get him out of the pocket, get Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson …he’s got some weapons. Right now, Randy Moss is the most overplayed guy in the league; he’s more of a decoy or a possession receiver than a real deep threat. San Francisco’s offense doesn’t make mistakes but it’s still pretty limited. 49ers end up winning this game but I’m taking a touchdown with the home team, 23-20 San Fran.

 Jets (-2.5) @ Dolphins

Alright, I’m telling you to swallow some points here because the Jets don’t score a lot of points. But the Dolphins beat the Raiders because of Reggie Busch; this is not the kind of team that you’re going to run wild on. Under Rex Ryan, he’s held Miami to 35 points in their last 3 meetings, that’s about 11 ½ points a game. Now Joe Philbin has got the west coast offense working but the reality is that Ryan Tannehill is young- what do young quarterbacks do with new offenses? They latch onto one or two receivers, everybody does that. Darrelle Revis is back for the Jets, you can take out Brian Hartline – and that’s who Ryan Tannehill loves to throw to right now. Is Anthony Fasano going to work me up and down the field? He’s a good tight end but he’s not going to do it. So in the end, I get a defense that has had Miami’s number, a young quarterback against Mark Sanchez – who is really a great road quarterback. I’m swallowing 2 ½ points – it might be my best bet of the weekend to be honest with you; Jets take it 24-13.

Record After Week #1: 2-3-0

California Golden Bears (+16 ½) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

The Golden Bears go to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State – they’re getting 16 ½ points, they’ll need more! Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miler is the perfect quarterback for Urban Meyers as he ran for over 150 yards in his first week. What’s troubling about Cal is that the program – promising years ago, is trending in the wrong direction. They lost to Nevada earlier this year and the Cal defense looked overmatched against Nevada. By the way, the Bears have had a sub .500 record over the past 2+ seasons despite playing 3 games against lower division schools, they are really trending down as a program. This is also very troubling: heavily penalized last year and nothing has changed as they had 19 penalties against Nevada. They lost top coaches in the off-season, doesn’t look like they’ve replaced them with top coaches. Swallow the points the energy is all on Ohio State, 40-13 Buckeyes!

Rams (+3 ½) vs. Redskins

The Rams are at home against the Redskins and are getting 3 ½ points. Listen, the Rams have met the Redskins in each of the past 4 years, they’ve been close games – they won 2 of them. RG3 had 26 throws with not INT, he’s certainly not going to be that efficient this time around. It’s also the 2nd straight road trip for the Redskins. The Rams’ Sam Bradford had an excellent pre-season and a solid opener, on the road, against an excellent Detroit team. The Rams showed signs of excellence and brilliance against the Detroit team many believe has as much talent up front defensively as anybody in the league. The Rams’ Chris Long, dramatic improvement with his counter moves, when he’s coming off the edge. He’ll meet RG3 this weekend – I thought the Rams looked good in Week #1 and now they go home. Remember, Washington was picked last in this division for a reason, let’s be honest here: New Orleans may just be a ship wreck this year because of all the issues they have gone through with the NFL. I’ll take the points Rams 24-20.

Seahawks (+3 ½) vs. Cowboys

Seattle is getting 3 ½ points and at home. Listen, I like Dallas and I love what they did against the New York Giants but extra time isn’t the same for every team. Tom Coughlin gets extra time, he’s 7-0. Cowboys haven’t proven that as they haven’t won back to back road games in 3 years. The key for Seattle’s defensive backs – and they are fantastic, is jamming Dallas’ wide receivers. There is quite the possibility here that the replacement refs – we saw the numbers last week,  not going to call penalties against the home team, allowing the Seahawk defense to say “you know, we’ll bump and run on coverage” Special teams? Big edge to Seattle because between Sherman and Browner on the outside, you’ve got here the best secondary, I think, in the league. Jason Witten is not 100%, first full week of practice but he’s not 100%. Also, Kevin Ogletree had 8 catches last week, he won’t duplicate that and Dez Bryant is still inconsistent. I’m getting a home team, home opener, special teams edge and over a field goal. I’m not sure if Seattle wins, but I’m going to go 21-20 Seattle and the points here.

Colts (+1 ½) vs. Vikings

Colts are getting a point and a half and they are at home. First of all, they’ve got a better quarterback and they’ve got superior wide outs with Austin Collie – as he will play and Reggie Wayne. Luck is going to get better quickly and now he’s at home. Remember, Indy only ran the ball 15x last week because they got down on the scoreboard big and they got down on the scoreboard early. I don’t suspect that’s going to be the case this week as they’ll have a more balanced attack. The Vikings’ secondary, with one exception, is one of the worst in the NFL, very suspect on the back end. Now the Colts defense allowed a whopping 41 points in last week’s loss in Chicago but Chuck Pagano is an excellent defensive mind. I suspect they’re shore some things up. Jay Cutler, despite what you saw Thursday night, is still much better than Christian Ponder. I’m taking the points and an improved Andrew Luck; the Colts win 23-20.

Steelers (-5) vs. Jets

 The Jets looked very good but the Jets’ offensive line faces a far more difficult match up. The Steelers are minus 5, it’s a pretty big number in the NFL but I’m going to lay it. I think they have a big edge at quarterback and on the defensive line. Big Ben is 24-5 at home with 43 TD’s and 15 INT and a 98 QBR. Pittsburgh has a big and physical front 7 and they are going to challenge that offensive line which was virtually untested in Week #1. Pittsburgh also has several offensive weapons that I love:  Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and Darrelle Revis is out. LaMarr Woodley didn’t record a sack in Week #1; he’s usually one of Pittsburgh’s best pass rushers, look for him to take Austin Howard to school this week. Swallow the points, much like Green Bay Thursday night, a good team at home like Pittsburgh and desperate, should win 28-20.

2012 NFL Standing Predictions

Let’s start with the NFC East; I’ve got the Giants and Philadelphia both at 10-6. The Eagles through the years have owned the Giants but I think the Giants beat them twice this season and turn the tables on them. I’ll take the Cowboys to go 8-8, they have upgraded their secondary and I really like their talent but am not a fan of the culture. For the first time, I rolled the dice last year on them and got burned. Redskins will be fun to watch in a lot of games but with a rookie quarterback in that division, I go 6-10 – they’ll be the most exciting 6-10 team in the league

In the NFC North, I think it’s Green Bay and Chicago’s division to lose – Packers at 12-4 is who I’ll take, Chicago at 10-6. Detroit has shown major maturity issues on/off the field, I’m not sold on Jim Schwartz  being able to pull back on this team, being able to pull them in, they are an 8-8 football team as they’ve still got massive holes, no running game and their secondary is – if they don’t get a requisite pass rush, is really really average.Minnesota? Outkast! Nothing you can say about it. If you have to face Aaron Rodgers twice, Stafford twice and Jay Cutler and you’ve got Christian Ponder, you’re going to lose a lot of those games, take them at 4-12.

In the NFC South, I think it’s a bunch of good teams – no great teams, I think 9-7 for Atlanta wins the division. Carolina is 2nd place at 8-8, I’m down on New Orleans right now because I think there is simply too much noise around the organization, I think coaches matter as Sean Payton is a great motivator and he’s gone, so I’ll take them at 7-9 and their schedule also isn’t easy. Tampa is rebuilding, 5-11.

In the NFC West I don’t think anybody denies that San Francisco appears to have the best coach, best special teams, best defense, their schedule is more difficult than last year’s – so they pull back a little, but take them to go 12-4. I’m going to take St. Louis as my dark horse team in the NFC, I think their schedule is workable if Sam Bradford is upright, I love their draft picks, they improved in the front 7, and I’m rolling the dice on them and calling a 9-7 record. Seattle, everybody is high on Seattle but let’s see Russell Wilson over the course of a season, a scrambling 5-11 rookie quarterback, I’ll go 7-9. Arizona – just a mess on the offensive line and in quarterback position, take them to go 5-11.


My playoff teams in the NFC therefore are: San Francisco, Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Giants all winning their divisions, with the Eagles and the Bears as the wild card teams.



In the AFC, let’s start with the East. I’m going to take New England at 13-3, I don’t know how they landed the weakest schedule but they also face some rookie quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill a couple of times, they play Cleveland as well. I think Buffalo has really improved their defense, they’ll have a pass rush, I liked their offense last year, I think they have under-rated tight ends, under-rated backs, I’ll take Buffalo to finish 10-6 – even Vegas likes them this year. The Jets, too much of a circus for my taste, don’t have a “pop” player offensively whom they can depend on, Stephen Hill could emerge midway through the season as a “go to threat” that would certainly help a lot, 7-9. Miami is too young coupled with a rookie quarterback, 4-12.

AFC North, the excellent Baltimore Ravens should finish 12-4, they were one catch away from the Superbowl, I don’t see any erosion there though perhaps getting a little old in certain spots defensively, but like them enough to win the division. I’ll go Pittsburgh 10-6, already had an injury on the offensive line with one of their young draftee’s, Big Ben has got to stay healthy and they are getting older defensively. Cincinnati is good, still not great, it s tough division for them, I’ll call them at 8-8. Cleveland, what can I say 3-13.

I think Houston has the most talent in the AFC South although we don’t know if Gary Kubiak is a great head coach, Matt Schaub is really good, they had some defensive losses, Andre Johnson is now past his prime, I don’t think they are that great of a team, I’ll take them at 9-7. I’ll say Tennessee finishes 8-8; I still like Hasslebeck rather than Jake Locker as my starter, I’ll go 8-8. Indianapolis – one of my other dark horse teams, I think they’ll be 6-10, go look at their schedule as their first 9 games, 7 are very winnable. Take Jacksonville at 5-11, very good up front defensively, not enough firepower offensively.

In the AFC West, I’ll take Denver and Manning to win it – their schedule is just brutal though, 9-7. I think they could even be 11-5 with a reasonable schedule, but it’s 9-7 now, it was good seeing Peyton Manning take a hit last weekend and get up quickly. San Diego and Kansas City are just both missing things – I think Denver has the best personnel in this division, take Kansas City 2nd and Oakland I think is on their way – they have a new general manager, I’ll go 6-10 for the Raiders.

Thursday night I thought was the single most interesting 1st round of the NFL draft I’ve ever watched in my life!  People were moving up and down, but as you may know, I like assigning grades and I’ve said this for years – when I grade the draft, I like doing it completely different than everybody else. I like to take your free agent acquisitions and your first 2 picks – those are all starters and that’s how I like to grade a draft. So far, Buffalo (that’s right Mike) has the best draft…seriously! Mario Williams, Mark Anderson Thursday’s draft…those are 3 starters right there! That to me is the team that has done the best. Now, nobody else does that and I’ll talk more about that in my next rant on Monday.

Though my big overview about the 1st round is that generally in life, people are what they are and are attracted to themselves. If you go to a party, the first way to attract somebody is by saying “hey, tell me about yourself! Tell me about what you do…” people love to hear themselves talk and to hear their name. People love to talk about themselves and we’re attracted to ourselves. Biker guy likes biker chick, tat guy likes tat chick, grumpy cranky guy eventually ends up with cranky chick. In the end, people often marry who they “think” they should merry, but they get divorced because ultimately they find out they are really attracted to somebody else – a type, and that type is themselves and people never get away too far from what they are, their DNA.

That’s why I just simply had to laugh at the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night – for the record, the last couple of years I’ve really liked what they’ve been doing – hence why I just recently became a season seat holder for this upcoming season. They found their quarterback, they’re getting offensive linemen, they’re getting receivers…I really really like what they have done in the past 2-3 years in the draft, I really do. But ahh they had to go back and be Cincinnati this year, they took a sip of that cocktail Thursday night – we’re going to draft Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama. Cocky, jumps routs, goes for the interception too often, celebrates on every play, massively immature, lot of teams took him off their draft board – but that’s who Cincinnati is! For the record though, I think Cincinnati is a buy – if they were a stock, I’d buy them, but good old Cincinnati just couldn’t get away from their core, their DNA. They’ve done such a good job with most of their picks in the last 2-3 years, offensive linemen, big studs, Andy Dalton is rock sold, get him some receivers…they had a chance yesterday to stop being who we know they are, but they just simply couldn’t stay away! Dre Kirkpatrick has got all sorts of issues.

Many sources that I had been reading, leading up to this NFL draft said that he’s truly a piece of work and will have his issues follow him wherever he landed! Same issue with my Jets where Rex loves the sexy, “Plaxico is out of the can…let’s get him!” Sanchez – good looking, GQ mag guy, Holmes, Tebow…and now you’ve got Quiton Coples – for every solid pick that Rex has made, his DNA is a sexy Rexy pick!Chris Jenkins, former Jet, on the Jets drafting Quiton Coples – who most believe is the one guy in the 1st round who could be a bust, Chris Jenkins said “ I question his heart, running to the ball, pad level, throwing guys around, your coached about those things over and over until you get to the NFL – it’s not rocket science” says Jenkins who went onto further say that “he only moves fast for the sack and that’s it” and Rex wants to put his hand in the dirt and at a 3.4 – Quinton looks like a better outside linebacker, that was the same issue with Vernon…hello?? But that’s sexy Rexy for you.

Rexy, when you think about it, really drafts himself – a project! He was a guy that was passed on for several coaching jobs, so he drafts the guy who was passed up by other teams. We are attracted to ourselves and we draft ourselves. But what do the Patriots do? The Steelers? What’s their DNA? Rock solid, big, strong, and not flashy and the Steelers go out and draft a great offensive guard to go along with their great center – that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers! What do the Patriots do? They draft a high functioning, very smart, two year captain Dont’a Hightower – who was the captain of his defense and called out plays. Why? Because Belicheck sees himself as a smart coach and that’s what he is attracted to – smart players. Most college degree’s out of any NFL current roster. By the way, the late Al Davis saw himself as a rebel…what did he draft? A kicker in the first round and always the fastest guy available!

So we all have a certain type that we’re attracted to and we just never are able to get too far from it…Cincinnati! I really like 8/9 out of the last 10 picks, so I’m totally a buyer on Cincinnati but God they had to go back to what Cincinnati is! I will say this though, I believe – and I’ve been thinking about this for 3 weeks now, that Jeff Fischer and the St. Louis Rams are the best $8 dollar stock in this league right now. All they do is nail it! Mel Kiper came out and he did not like them getting a defensive tackle. He was interviewed this morning on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN and said “there’s still a lot of picks, a lot of movement, but they missed out on Justin Blackmon by one pick, missed on Michael Floyd by one pick and they took Michael Brockers  – a run stuffing defensive tackle…” totally disagree with Mel!

First of all, what did Jeff Fischer – Rams head coach say on the Scott Van Pelt Show earlier this week? That you have to worry about your own division! “First and foremost, you start with your own division and what are the strengths of your division. Well, we’ve got some very talented running games that we have to defend against in our division” so they get the run stopper in the draft, a monster from LSU whose a baby! He’s barely grown into his own body, yet to go along with him is free agent signing Kendall Langford who also goes along the two talented young pass rushers Chris Long and Robert Quinn…they are loaded!! They are the younger version of the New York Giants in the box now! But you might say “ohh they didn’t get a receiver and they didn’t do this…” folks, they have 3 of the first 13 picks in the 2nd round (was written before the start of the 2nd round) and there are receivers and linemen everywhere in the draft. In fact the big story of the first round is that the linemen didn’t get drafted.

So they got 4 tackles, one from Georgia, one from Stanford, one from the SEC and one from Ohio State…all available. They’ve may have a shot at, in my opinion, the only receiver in this draft many believe could become a superstar, but that you don’t know anything about – Stephen Hill, who I thought they would take as their 1st pick in the 2nd round (later did I find out after typing this up that my Jets actually landed him) but he’s a receiver from Georgia Tech, played in a weird triple option offense, but this guy is unbelievable! 6’4, 220lbs and can run a 4.38. So you have the Rams that because of all of this trading down and Mel didn’t like it, they now have nothing but 1st and 2nd picks next year and 1st and second picks the following year. Thursday they go out and get a star on the defensive front – they are now the New York Giants from about 5 years ago on the defensive front, the Rams are the “pop” franchise of the NFL if you ask me, absolute love what they did on Thursday.

So the Cowboys went out and got Morris Claiborne who apparently had a score of 4 on his Wonderlic – the lowest reported score in a dozen in years, the average score is around 21. As I’ve usually said, the further you get away from the ball the less it really matters. My biggest knock on Claiborne is that he doesn’t seem to support the run that much though he’s unbelievable in pass coverage – it doesn’t bother me much. Claiborne said “I looked on the test, there was nothing on the test that came with football so I pretty much blew the test off” that’s a Cowboy for you right there!

So with the NFL draft coming up and all, I’ve been getting all these emails – firstly asking if I’m still alive…clearly I am, just had some personal matters to attend to and crunching fantasy baseball numbers using spring training stats for my keepers league isn’t something I take lightly. Anyways, Secondly and more importantly, a lot of you are asking if Andrew Luck is the real deal or could we all be possibly whiffing. For starters, people have a right to ask and I’m at a point where I’m getting enough emails and the volume is enough where I’m just going to answer it. So is it possible that we are all making a huge mistake with Andrew Luck? Is it possible that Andrew Luck is over-rated?  I think….no! But you might say “Well Andrew, Ryan Leaf…” he’s not Ryan Leaf.

When you have overwhelming evidence such as Tiger Woods at 13 years old –every golf expert had to be wrong because at 12/13 years old, he already had an agent and everyone in golf acknowledged “that’s the prodigy” You can say “I’m going the other way on this” but what you are then saying is that your smarter than everybody else who works in this business. If you’re a bartender, a lawyer, a doctor, don’t you get agitated when people walk into your law firm or your hospital or your bar and think they know more than you? Don’t pretend you know more than NFL GM’s – it’s what they do for a living and all of them say “best college quarterback in 20 years” As a lawyer, isn’t it frustrating when clients are telling you how to do your job? Heck yeah!! Tiger Woods at 13 was labeled as a “can’t miss” and John Elway was also labeled “can’t miss” athlete.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they are always right, but when every single guy in the league overwhelmingly says “brains A+, arm is A+, eyes A+,  toughness A+, dad played in the NFL, coachability A+”  barring an injury, he’s going to be at least very good. Jimmy Clauson? It was 40/60 amongst the GM’s, Cam Newton was split, Peyton Manning as well…some guys liked Ryan Leaf, Tom Brady – even the Patriots who picked him passed on him for 5 or 6 rounds, so this is one of those situations. Lebron James was another one – go back to the Lebron draft, overwhelmingly 100% of basketball people said that Lebron was the Tiger Woods of the sport – he was the prodigy. So in life, sometimes you have to do things to protect yourself that even if deep down you didn’t believe it to be true, you draft Lebron! If he fails you can say “everybody else loved him too” but you don’t go against unanimous support. There were other good players in that draft – Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, but if you were Cleveland…you had no choice but to draft Lebron if for no other reason than to protect your organization and to protect you! So if you’re the Colts you will take Luck and if he fails? Everybody loved him as well.

Josh McDaniel’s of Denver was a great, young and bright football coach via Belicheck – now he’s a coordinator, he thought he was smarter than the league; he drafted Tebow when no one else would. When you go out in a raft by yourself, sometimes you can hit the lottery but if you fail Josh, your fired! Sometimes, you have to draft Luck! Just as you would have to sign Tiger Woods if you were the #1 golf agent or for the rest of your life people would say “oh hell, you passed on Tiger Woods…you’re an idiot!” and people still say “well college this or college that…” again, overwhelmingly! Nobody is saying, for instance Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Matt Leinhart – half the league didn’t like those guys, more than half on Leinhart, a lot of guys didn’t like Sanchez or Stafford yet with Luck it’s 32 of 32…everybody across the board is in on Luck, you have to take him!

Yet people will still say to you for instance “well, what about Greg Odon?” I always say about Greg Odon that centers are less important, they fall apart, he had major injuries in high school and college, and he was 18 and looked 38! I was never a Greg Odon guy nor was I a Durant guy, but everybody else in the league liked him so with those guys, there were buyers and sellers yet there are no sellers with Luck. So if you’re the Colts and you don’t take him…good luck! You’re on your own on an island…good luck! I’m not willing to do that.

Now, for those of you who have been reading these rants for the past year or so, after this rant you might go “hey Andrew, it sounds like your kinda contracting yourself. You’re the one always claiming to buy what people are selling and now you’re saying buy what people are buying , that’s pretty ironic no?” First off, it’s not ironic because I generally believe that you shouldn’t follow the masses, there’s an old saying, “don’t follow the masses because the masses are…” let’s keep it professional here. But I think there are also times in life that you should just buy Microsoft stock or Apple stock because it’s a good buy, no contradiction at all. Generally speaking, when it comes to gambling for instance, don’t follow the masses. But there are times that conventional wisdom is right – when the smartest people in any industry are all on board, you go for it! By the way, the smartest people in the world were buying technology stocks 15-20 years ago, that’s why my dad initially bought Apple and Microsoft stock. Just because conventional wisdom – anytime the smartest in any industry are in, you go all in! When it comes to Andrew Luck…they are all in!