Posts Tagged ‘sports’

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.


Pick #1:  Raiders (-9) @ Falcons – Falcons win it, 31-20.

It’s at Atlanta and it’s a big number at (-9) but the Falcons are averaging 30 a game and the Raiders’ offense is depending too much on Carson Palmer – an aging, past his prime Carson Palmer. Aside from the offensive line, I don’t see the Raiders – maybe special teams (slight edge) having an edge with any unit. Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and secondary are all edges for Atlanta. Oakland’s defense could be overmatched as their not only struggling to cover out wide, but their defensive front is not mounting much of a pass rush. That is a problem because Matt Ryan, especially at home, is money. He is completing his passes – 13 TD’s and only 3 INT’s thus far. Carson Palmer is aging okay? You can’t depend on aging quarterbacks past their prime and to carry you along with the Raiders not being able to run the ball with any consistency. The Raiders’ linebackers are talented but their much stronger defending the run than they are in coverage and right now, Atlanta is using their passing game as well and as efficiently as anybody in the league. Swallow the points and take Atlanta to win it, 31-20 over Oakland.

Pick #2:  Lions (+3.5) @ Eagles –Lions win it, 24-20

I get Detroit, a team that’s enigmatic, has some issues and get (+3.5) points. First of all, Philadelphia is just not a great home team. In their last 13 home games, they are 3-9-1 against the spread. The Lions are a motivated group called “over-rated” by a rival GM this week. Quarterback? Huge edge Detroit – I’m not a Vick guy. “O” and “D” lines? Big edge Lions. Vick has been a turnover machine 11 INT through 5 games but it’s also the harassment he has been dealt – 14 sacks, he’s being treated like a hotel room is by a rockband, he is in constant trouble. Suh has had a rough week – another off-field incident, he’ll play inspired football against the makeshift “O” line. Philadelphia makes too many mistakes, they are winning games they could’ve easily lost and I find a Detroit team, inspired, in a must-win situation. Take the +3.5 points, Detroit wins 24-20.

Pick #3:  Bills (+4.5) @ Cardinals – Cardinals win it, 21-20

 One of the things I remember hearing on the Scott Van Pelt show a couple of years ago is: when there is a game on that everybody is sure is going one way in the NFL. It’s really going the other way. Buffalo is getting +4.5 at Arizona. Buffalo has been clobbered the last couple of weeks. But don’t kid yourself, +4.5 points is a ton against an Arizona team that hasn’t produced 300 yards in any game so far. Their offensive line is the worst in the league allowing 17 sacks in the last couple of games. Buffalo? Though not good as expected up front defensively, has a pretty solid defensive line. What Buffalo does is run the football when Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are healthy and they’re getting healthier. There is no other way around this, Arizona has been super lucky! Now, they’re 11-3 in their last 14 games but 5 of those have been in overtime. The Bills’ running backs that have been fighting injuries all season are now healthy. Their “O” line is a vastly underrated group. Kevin Kolb has been sacked an amazing 17 times over the past 2 weeks

Pick #4:  Colts @ Jets (-3) – Jets win it, 27-20

I think this goes down – I feel this game for New York as it feels like a very huge game for Rex Ryan, huge for Mark Sanchez and huge for Tony Sperrano. I don’t feel like it’s huge for the Colts because the Colts are going on the road for the 1st time since opening week and are coming off a highly emotional upset win. They’ve got a cluster of injury issues on the “O” line; Robert Mathis is out on their “D” and Dwight Freeney isn’t as productive as his name. Huge edge for the Jets is at linebacker, special teams, and secondary. The Colts have been rushing the football, which should only help Rex Ryan. Now, Reggie Wayne has been terrific for the Colts. The Jets do a very good job when you’re a team with one star receiver. Revis is out but Cromartie is more than capable on the perimeter. I think the New York Jets – who showed some real fight on Monday night, come back and continue to be the most criticized team with a decent record. Jets win; swallow the points 27-20.

Pick #5:  Cowboys (+3.5) @ Ravens – Cowboys win it, 24-23

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.

When the real NFL ref’s do return – and I think it will be soon, fans will give referees a standing ovation! It’s never happened in the history of North American sports. It may be slightly sarcastic but I can assure that almost every single stadium hosting an NFL game will give the referees a stand ovation. It’s going to be absolutely hilarious because we’ve hated them for our entire lives and now we can’t wait to get them back.

I was thinking about this Monday night – terrible call obviously, Green Bay losing to Seattle. It was really a historic day as it was an absolute terrible call. Large corporations like the one I work for and like the one’s many of you reading this may work for – they always have more power than I do, you do and we regular workers do. Even if you’re a great employee, corporations have the power – it really stinks. But after Monday night’s Green Bay/Seattle butchered call, I believe it’s the first time in North America where part-time workers – remember, refs are part-timers. For the first time in North American history, part-time workers have more power than a major corporation because negotiations are all about “who has the leverage” Corporations have got the money, the brand. 99.5% of the time corporations have the negotiating leverage, rarely do you or I have it and that’s even if you’re good. But one of the ways you and I can get leverage from a big corporation is via bad press because they absolutely hate bad press, especially when it’s the worst kind of bad press – bad integrity press.

You can call ESPN all day “I don’t like what Skip Bayless said or what Stephen A. Smith said…Colin Cowherd is an idiot!” pfft they couldn’t give a rip about what you think. “I don’t like your programming, you shouldn’t have the Spelling Bee competition on” again, they couldn’t give a rip. But if you question their integrity you’ll have a bunch of suits running down the hall calling a big meeting. Did you hear what ESPN NFL Analyst Trent Dilfer said Monday night after the game? Where he basically said that you can sense now – especially after Monday night, where you’ve got 30 million people (estimate viewership of Monday night’s game) questioning the integrity of the NFL saying “The NFL has insulted my intelligence, has insulted your intelligence and everybody’s watching the game and the NFL is simply trying to tell us that this issue is not that big of a deal [refs lockout] and we have a multi-billion dollar machine and we’re letting this [ref blown call] ruin it, it’s ruining the very fabric of the game. You don’t hear Drew Brees – arguably the classiest guy in the NFL, come out and say what he said today [Monday] unless it’s a colossal issue. Players have never tweeted and done stuff out of such rebellion that they have been in, than today”

Whoa!! Worse kind of PR – integrity PR “you’ve got no integrity NFL” PR. I get emails, comments all day “I hate you, you don’t know what you’re talking about” etc my response? “So? I don’t give a rip” but if you question my integrity…that hurts! I don’t like that at all. “You stink, you’re a hag…” yeah whatever. But when you say that I have no integrity? That stings! Through 3 weeks, 16 games a week, via 47 games already played, the leverage has gone from the league  to these part timers. Don’t get me wrong, there are still tiny rain drops of criticism like Harbough getting challenges he shouldn’t have been allowed, Lions/Giants/Bengals/Redskin games where the officials marched off too many yards on penalties – it’s little stuff though, little rain drops of criticism. Game # 48 Monday night? The roof caved in!!  The complaints were all self-contained fires, Monday night however a 5 alarm, out of control ragger was created. 30 million people, Packers got hozzed, America loves the Packers , 47 games in which the NFL had leverage, game # 48 changes it all and gives it to the NFL refs. So the question now becomes: How much integrity heat does the NFL want to withstand?

I mean, you’ll still watch the games – its fall and you’re in Wisconsin, what are you going to do? Hit up the local Strawberries festival again? I mean seriously…what are you going to do? It’s the fall, it’s Wisconsin…you’re obviously going to watch the Packers! But again, how much is the NFL willing to digest because it’s certainly going to be awful. My gut feeling is that within the next 36 hours…it gets solved. The irony is that it took a really bad call to get the real guys back with more good calls and that’s usually the way negotiations work, where there is a tipping point. It’s as if someone came to replace me at work, but they weren’t as good, then my clients that I deal with start to complain to the corporation I worked for then my replacement drops an f-bomb, leverage then comes back to me. If you’re going to make a mistake as a ref…make it during Week # 3 of the pre-season, you do not make it on Monday night football game.

So the irony here is that a very atrocious call will actually end up getting us a lot more good calls and the real refs will come back. This is how North American negotiations work where corporations have leverage 99.5% of the time- Monday night however, the .5% won. Now there is not much confusion, I’m sure most of you have already seen by now the replay. It was like a perfect storm of incompetency where Seattle could’ve really been penalized for several different things. First of all, you can’t overturn possession with a replay – so whatever is called on the field is the call, when it comes to possession. So first of all #14 for Seattle (Charlie Martin) was using his arms to clear out Packers. They are never going to call that but that could be a penalty. Secondly, Tate pushed the player covering him and then thirdly, Tate didn’t have simultaneous possession of that ball at any point – it wasn’t close! But once the refs called the touchdown, you can’t overturn possession with a replay.

Jerry Markbeit, long time official but now retired, was on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio Tuesday morning and basically said what he would’ve done in this mess “what I would’ve done is go to the other official – the back judge, and ask him “ why were you killing the clock and about to give a touchback signal – tell me what you saw” and when he would’ve told me that Tate had one arm on the ball, I would’ve then looked back on the touchdown and said “if the interceptor had both hands on the ball and if there was not simultaneous catch in the air, we’re going to go with the touchback” and I would’ve exerted my expertise – as with the other professional referee’s to get this call correct”

Yeah, I mean once the ref put his hands in the air and signaled a touchdown on what was clearly not simultaneous possession, it’s not that hard of a call. Like once he puts his hands in the air to rule it a touchdown –if you’re Green Bay, you are hosed at that moment because you can’t overturn possession on that kind of play with replay, your done! So what you would’ve seen with veteran refs – and they would’ve gotten it right had they been there, is them getting into a huddle and saying to one another “no no no, no simultaneous possession”

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.

Whoever replaced David Lee Roth on Van Halen, was going to get crushed! It didn’t matter that Sammy Hager had done some great tunes, had some hits, had some big sales, my neighbor was as guilty as anybody, he loves Van Halen with David Lee Roth and it had been decided that Van Hagar was bad! They perhaps weren’t that bad with Sammy, but my neighbor was guilty because he loves David Lee Roth, he had made up his mind and he was not being fair. In the end, as he admits to me now, Sammy Hager wasn’t all that bad but he brought the bias to the table, he was not objective.

I’m not saying that these replacement referees are ideal – the Rams/Redskins game on Sunday was really sloppy and undeceive.  There was a call in the Pittsburgh/New York Jets game against the Steelers that was just an absolute mystery to me, even as a Jet fan, luckily it didn’t change the outcome of the game. But what we see happening is that 95% of the time (97 or 98% to be fair) of the time, replacement ref’s are fine. But the media and the players are looking so hard for that 3% so that when it happens, they are just pouncing on it. You know what it really reminds me off? Listen, I too thought the call in the Steelers/ Jets game was horrific but it didn’t change the game did it? Josh Morgan ruined it for the Redskins, not the refs.

You know what this all reminds me off? It reminds me of the media when reporting shark attacks as they are absolutely ridiculous! The summer time is usually a slow one for the news; many in the media take that time off. So the media just waits for shark attack stories, perhaps just one. So they’re just sitting there with cameras poised at the beach and if anybody see’s a fin – it could be a dolphin, it then becomes a story and then you’ll get one shark attack on some Florida beach and then 10 minutes later this is what the local news is reporting “Tonight on the 11pm news: Could sharks come into your home and eat your children? Tonight on News 10” I mean, it just over the top and we are just crushing these guys.

Joe Flacco said something after the game – by the way, read what Flacco sayid, as the players in general have made their mind up. They hate these guys, it’s easy to make an excuse, said Flacco “For them to make that call, l might sound a little bit like a baby here but for them to make that call I think was a little crazy. He didn’t even throw a flag, he threw a blue beanie and then put his hands up in the air as if it was pass interference, I mean…come on!” Excuse me? The other ref’s throw that blue beanie too…all the time! They can’t get there flag…they throw a hat, throw a beanie, real refs do that all the time. Like even the play by play guys have an animosity, this kind of play happens constantly all the time as the quarterback is hit. It was just palpable animosity, that’s a tough call that usually happens once a weekend, it really is. Everybody throws beanies or hats sometimes; I saw it twice in college this past weekend. It just happens all the time but the media and the players have already made up their minds – just like my neighbor had about David Lee Roth, people are demanding that they get “rid of these guys”.

I find it funny because I don’t honestly think they are nearly as bad as people paint them to be – they’re not changing any outcomes, they’re really not. The best teams are winning and the bad teams like Jacksonville and Cleveland are bad, Kansas City is not very good. Do you really blame the ref’s for Arizona/ New England outcome? The only argument you can make is that it seems as if home teams have done better than usual because the replacement refs may be a bit intimidated. But the truth is home teams win anyways! New England lost at home, so like home teams win anyways! New Orleans lost at home as well. I just find that the players and the media have simply already made up their mind.

Another issue I really wanted to touch on is the New York/Tampa situation which was getting a lot of press Monday morning. So there was like 5 seconds left, Giants are winning the game, it’s within one score, Greg Schiano – rookie head coach with the Bucs, the Bucs blast through the line but its suppose to be one of those kneel plays. Here’s the thing though: the NFL is not a gentlemen’s game…that’s golf! I’m hearing all this “well Andrew, it’s etiquette, you don’t do that…” One thing we know about football is that it is incredibly violent, even now at the high school level, kids are bigger and stronger. Here’s what I would warn everybody about: when you get on the football field – at any level, play until there is double zero’s! If you start going by the “that’s etiquette…” that’s what baseball does, they do all these silly unwritten rules. Even with these unwritten rules in baseball, Curt Schilling – former Red Sox pitcher says one thing, another guy is interviewed an hour later and says “I don’t believe in that unwritten rule”

You have to remember in football that because you have an offense, defense and special teams, you really have 3 teams inside a team. So quarterbacks see what the Bucs did as evil, the defensive players however don’t because football is very unique. You have an offensive team that usually goes to their own meetings in their own room; defensive guys go to their own rooms as well, it happens at halftime. The NFL is separate, so offensive and defensive guys sometimes don’t even talk during the week. So you’re getting all these offensive guys saying “it’s unwritten rule” and your then getting these defensive guys saying “it’s not an unwritten rule for a guy like me” The New York Giants are a great example on how different offensive and defensive players are: the best defensive player you’ve ever had is Lawrence Taylor – look at his life! Defense is about blowing stuff up and violence. The best offensive player you’ve ever had of the many? Eli Manning – the Manning family, royalty, 40 Wonderlic score. He gets critized for not having emotion, Lawrence Taylor? He’s all emotion. So you’re getting all these different opinions where offensive guys hate it “it’s a gentlemen’s game…etiquette” while defensive guys are okay with it “hey pal, 4 seconds left, I’m taking your ears off” that’s what football is all about!

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.