Friday, November 30

UNC vs. Ohio State (11/28) Game Wrap

A few quick thoughts on our game against Ohio State. Most of these (on my end at least) will be notable things on our Game Plan page on Kenpom, expounded on by what it looked like on television. I'm just going to comment with italics here, and for equity's sake I'll take the baton in the review of the UK game tomorrow

First off, I thought a huge key to the game was making Ohio State's center Kosta Koufos look bad on the court - he looked so bad that Matta sat him on the bench for much of the second half despite not being in foul trouble. For a 7-footer to be playing only 27 of your team's minutes with just one foul, that's saying a lot about his inability to do anything positive for you on the court, be it on offense (Koufos shot 1-10, and collected just one offensive rebound) or defense (Hansbrough was able to score 13 points and collect five offensive rebounds). Yeah, one of the storylines going in was the fact that Roy pushed hard recruiting Koufos, and I'm not exactly upset we missed out after his performance. Everything I had heard about his being in the mold of a soft European player was confirmed as he seemed to wither under outstanding post defense by UNC's three-headed PF/C monster.

In addition to keeping Koufos in check, we also did an all-around good job of playing defense on the Ohio State shooters. The Buckeyes shot 27% for the night - a pretty terrible number. Only one player had a good game in terms of shooting, and that was Jon Diebler. Everyone else (including Jamar Butler, who recorded 17 points but shot only 6-22) was forced into bad shots. Helping this matter was OSU's seeming eagerness to put up the 3, they came in shooting in the low 30% range from 3, on average they take 37% of their FG's from behind the arc, but against UNC it rose to nearly 50%, though this is in part due to the absence of Koufos for much of the game I can't help but wonder what would make a mediocre 3pt shooting team lean so heavily on the 3 ball.

Both sides did an excellent job not turning over the ball. 10 and 11 turnovers for them and us, respectively, are fine numbers for a 70-possession game. One thing we did do poorly was our free throw shooting - we didn't get to the line often (some would say that's the refs' fault, but I refuse to take that stance), and when we did, we shot poorly, allowing ourselves to get PUNK'D by the Buckeye faithful. 7-14 free throw shooting is simply unacceptable. On the whole this seems to be in line with OSU's early season profile, keeping their own TOs down (21st) but not forcing any either (304th), they have a similar skewing in Free Throw Rate, (233rd/3rd) not getting to the line often, but not allowing their opponent to get their either. As for the students punking our players, they are 53rd in %FT defense cough, sample size, cough.

Overall, we didn't have our best shooting night ever, but we played excellent defense, meaning Ohio State's shooting was even worse, and we completely shut down Ohio State's big man Koufos. In doing so, we were able to overcome our relatively cold shooting night from the field and from the line and record a victory. Like I say, we can screw up on one end of the floor at a time, if our offense is off, our defense better be on, and it was against OSU. Promising was the fact that the defense defended shots well (24% on 2pt FG) as opposed to forcing turnovers, which helps explain the lack of offense (no TOs forced = no transition points). This game was quite a confidence builder because the Heels won while playing out of their comfort zone and without their star point guard and, for argument's sake, MVP. Notice the fact that neither John nor I spoke of our +16 rebounding margin. I feel that this was more an artifact of the Buckeyes only shooting 27% (creating plenty of oppurtunities), hustling back on a transition prevent defense to allow us to gather a large majority of their 51 misses, and on defense playing a zone which allowed us to get more offensive boards than usual.

As for the Kentucky game, Billy Gillespie already has his fingerprints all over this program. They're top 10 in defending both 2 and 3 point FGs, and 30th at forcing TOs, and 7th in Adj Defensive Efficiency. However, these numbers are based on games played against pretty weak opponents (241 average KenPom ranking, and that's with Gardner-Webb at 130 skewing the numbers towards the impressive end, all 4 other opponents are in the 230's or worse). The Heels should be able to shut down the Wildcat offense, and with any luck will drag UK into a high paced contest to wear out their injury thinned bench.

Ryan's Week 13 Picks

6)Cleveland over @Arizona - Cleveland is 7-4 in the AFC, Arizona is 5-6 in the NFC, and coming off a loss to the Niners, why is the line even close? John, should we just open up a BoDog account now and quit our jobs? (There, that should jinx the hell out of the pick)

5)Seattle over @Philadelphia - I think last week was a major fluke, look for Philly to come out flat against the Seahawks.

4)@New Orleans over Tampa Bay - The Saints smell blood in the water, the absolutely need this game to stay in the playoff race, a loss would put them 3 games back of the Bucs with 4 to play.

3)@Carolina over San Francisco - We're not that bad, are we?

2)New York Giants over @Chicago - I've decided to bet against common sense, and bet for another Giants' second half meltdown. Come on G-men, don't let me down.

1)@Miami over NY Jets - Rough luck has cost the Dolphins this year, who have lost 6 games by a mere 3 points (including to the Jets in NY). I think they'll get that win this week (and if not they still have the Bengals and Ravens on the home slate, oh, and Buffalo).

Upset: Jacksonville over Indy (7.0) - the Jags aren't going to run all over the Colts any more, but the Colts are still banged up, and I don't think a team as good as the Jags should be getting 7 points.

Bethany's Week 13 Picks

Cleveland over Arizona (6). Jamal Lewis rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries last week. And besides, Cleveland rocks!

Seattle over Philly (5). McNabb is iffy, and Hasselbeck is hot.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans (4). Buccs should close up the NFC South.

Chicago over NY Giants (3). The Giants are 4-1 on the road, but Eli hasn't been doing much of late, other than throwing interceptions (and ruining my fantasy team).

Carolina over San Fran (2) The niners are weak on the road, even if the Panthers are weak everywhere.

Jets over Miami (1). The battle of who could care less…

Upset: Bills over Skins (-5.0). duh.

John's Week 13 Picks

Cleveland over Arizona (6). The Browns may be without Braylon Edwards, so this one might be a bit close if that's the case. Even without him, though, their offense is too powerful for Arizona to overcome.

New York Giants over Chicago (5). Eli will certainly bounce back this week against a weak Giants secondary, and Adrian Peterson has not shown much this year in limited use backing up the now-out Cedric Benson.

Carolina over San Francisco (4). Say what you want about Frank Gore, the 49ers haven't been able to win this year with or without him. Even ugly teams like Carolina should be able to get by San Francisco, and having Vinny Testaverde available will only help the cause.

Miami over New York Jets (3). Jesse Chatman has looked good this season, and should be able to power the Dolphins over a pathetic Jets defense.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans (2). Jeff Garcia is likely out for this one, but I think the Bucs can squeak by the Saints even with Luke McCown leading the charge.

Philadelphia over Seattle (1). Color me impressed that A.J. Feely was able to total 375 yards against the New England defense. I'm not sure how much that will influence his success in the future, though, so I'm tempering the enthusiasm. Seattle is without D.J. Hackett, which should help Philly's chances.

Upset Special: Cincinnati over Pittsburgh (-9.0). Going for broke here because there are only four games over 4 points, but Troy Polamalu is out for the Steelers, which can only help the Bengals' passing game. Add in the fact that the Steelers are without Santonio Holmes, and I like my chances for a tasty upset here.

Tuesday, November 27

Week 13 Slate

Sorry for not posting a recap this week. I'll recap the upcoming week after it's over, no matter what the outcome. Bethany has agreed to be our guest picker this week; here's the slate:

New York Jets at Miami
Seattle at Philadelphia
San Francisco at Carolina
Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Cleveland at Arizona
New York Giants at Chicago

Monday, November 26

NFL Pick 'em Recap...

...uh, for week 11

First things first, deadbeat Flippy turned in his pick sheet:

6. New York
5. @Baltimore
4. San Diego
3. @Houston
2. St. Louis
1. @Denver

What an honest guy, weeks later he still turns in his picks without cheating. On the week that leaves us at:

Ryan: 15 pts (5-1) [67, 41-25]
John: 7 pts (3-3) [105, 44-22]
Flippy: 3 pts (4-2) [1, 32-34]

Damn you John, again finding a way to net major points with a 3-3 record. I wonder what your record is on the year with 5 and 6 pt picks. I'm only 3 games behind you, but I'm a whole world of points in the red. The guest sniffs positive points for the first time, well, all year I think. Look for some college basketball commentary soon, as this past weekend the "Feast Week" tournaments got things kicked off in earnest, while the two conference challenges look to keep the ball rolling this week. Hopefully, John and I plan on writing up the major UNC games (maybe against all top 50 KP opponents?) and perhaps one major game per week, we should be able to find one top 50 matchup per week, right? Leave any advice, tips, or requests for games to be reviewed (~1 week early please) in the comments, because as you know John and I personally read all of your input.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Turkey Day!

Okay folks, the last relative has been chased from the Campbell house in Charlotte, I had visions earlier of posting about all the things I'm thankful for, in picture form, but then something happened. I ate a lot, like a whole lot. So, now I just want to go to bed, or at the least not put the amount of work it would take to track down pictures, not to mention finding things (sports related) for which I am thankful, just imagine lots of college basketball pictures, with some Jon Beason thrown in.

In other news, John has headed for Alabama, so over the break I'll clean up the pick 'em mess from last week while John and I officially take our bye this weekend. I hope everyone has a good weekend and enjoy this (very limited) set of pictures of things that I am thankful for:

Also, as a Public Service Announcement, the Heels play on ESPN"F*^@"U at Midnight Friday to take on the 12th (mod-major poll) ranked Old Dominion Monarchs, then they take on the winner/loser of the Louisville/BYU game at 10:30/7:30.

Tuesday, November 20

No, this isn't Photoshop

Weird, just weird. John should be by later with the pick 'em results.

Sunday, November 18

Ryan's Week 11 Picks

aka "Bienvenido a la Tierra de Puntos Negativos"

6) New York over @Detroit - despite losing to the 'boys, the Giants are a much more well rounded team
5) St. Louis over @San Francisco - as long as they play like the Week 10 Rams and not Week 1-9 Rams
4) Cleveland over @Baltimore - Cleveland = NFC Playoff Team, Baltimore is starting Kyle Boller, ouch
3) San Diego over @Jacksonville - I was going to bet on San Diego's inconsistency, but I don't think the Jags can run the ball on the Chargers, so I'll go with the Bolts here
2) @Houston over New Orleans - Andre Johnson rips the Saints pourous secondary to shreds
1) @Denver over Tennessee - Wow, MNF could you get more irrelevant? (yes, yes, they could be showing SF/St Louis)

Carolina over GB (-11) - when Vegas dangles a big fat 6 point carrot in front of me, attached to my favorite team, its really really hard to say no (even if Seattle over Chicago is a free 2 pts that I'll need here in la Tierra de Puntos Negativos), maybe Steve Smith will get the start on a game-time decision, right?

Look for Flippy to drop by later, I think he got out on parole.

John's Week 11 Picks

New York over Detroit (6). I'm definitely not on the Lions bandwagon, and the Giants have looked especially strong of late, being picked by FO as the most likely team to defeat the Patriots this season after the Colts came up short.

St. Louis over San Francisco (5). San Francisco SUCKS. Nothing more to say.

Tennessee over Denver (4). Look for LenDale White to run rampant over the Broncos defense, while Tennessee holds the Denver offense to mediocre numbers.

Cleveland over Baltimore (3). The Browns offense has been on fire all season; don't expect it to slow down against a weaker-than-usual Ravens defense.

New Orleans over Houston (2). The defenses are pretty much equivalent (in terms of being awful), and the Saints have the much better offense, although that's offset by the return of Andre Johnson this week. Look for a close shootout here.

Jacksonville over San Diego (1). Yes, the Chargers took down Indianapolis last week, but they looked ugly doing so. The Jaguars offense should be able to power up against a mediocre Chargers defense.

Upset Special: Carolina over Green Bay (-11.0). I'm not really feeling any of the other big upsets, and I missed the two-point conversion last week, so here's to "keeping the faith." Maybe DeShaun will have a big day.

Wednesday, November 14

Week 11 Slate

San Diego at Jacksonville
Cleveland at Baltimore
New Orleans at Houston
New York at Detroit
St. Louis at San Francisco
Tennessee at Denver

Get ready for negative points this week, kids.

Monday, November 12

Oh, The Humanity

Yes, it was a wild weekend in the NFL, so incredibly wild that Dani takes the weekly Pick 'em crown. We really shouldn't invite her to play any more, whenever she shows up we all seems to sink to ~.500, for instance, on these weekends, teams that suffer insanely lopsided losses in previous weeks (Minny 35, SD 17), go ahead an defeat teams they shouldn't (SD 23, Ind 21), while the previous victor totally lays an egg (GB 34, Minny 0). Oh NFL, you're so mysterious. In all seriousness, congrats to Dani for nailing the upset pick and managing the rest of her picks well enough to captain a 3-3 record to a victory on the week.

Dani: 3-3, 4 points (Guest: 28-32, -2 points)
John: 3-3, 1 point (41-19, 98 points)
Ryan: 3-3, -1 points (36-24, 52 points)

Saturday, November 10

Ryan's Week 10 "Peyton Manning Special"

Hey there folks, just providing you with my "Peyton Mannings" of the week. Ok, relax everyone, don't worry, I do have the Colts beating the Bolts, I'm just picking at Peyton a little bit.

6) Buffalo over @Miami - Um, really? Miami is really really really bad, has no one in Vegas noticed this. Ronnie Brown is out for the season.

5) Indianapolis over @San Diego - I can't see the Colts dropping the game after the Pats game, and the Chargers haven't been very consistent. The Colts defense should give Rivers fits.

4) Detroit over @Arizona - I'm all over the Lions bandwagon, and the Cardinals haven't really shown me much since they surprised the Steelers and gave the Ravens a game.

3) Dallas over @New York - Cowboys = class of the NFC, Giants = winning streak from playing a poor schedule. The Giants last real contest was at home agains the Eagles, in week 4.

2) @Kansas City over Denver - I like the Chiefs here, they're a tough matchup at Arrowhead (see last week's game agains the Packers), and their injury is where the Denver is weakest (29th against the rush)

1) Philadelphia over @Washington - This showdown rounds out the NFC East doubleheader of the day. I don't have a whole lot of faith in either team, but after Donovan is in the media he usually plays pretty well that following weekend, so after his "Its not all my fault" claim look for him to lead the team to victory.

Minny over GB (-6)

Dani's Week 10 Picks

Apparently i've been nominated for pick' here they are. and let me just say, i feel much better about this now that i have an understanding of the rules.

6. Buffalo over Miami
5. Indianapolis over San Diego
4. Detroit over Arizona
3. Philadelphia over Washington
2. Denver over Kansas City
1. New York over Dallas

And my upset: Cincinnati over Baltimore (-5.5).

The circ desk did not contribute this week, all but the upset are gut instinct/impression picks. After last time, I trust those more.

John's Week 10 Picks

Indianapolis over San Diego (6). The Chargers really didn't show anything last week against Minnesota, and the Colts play both excellent offense and excellent defense. Indy rolls.

Dallas over New York (5). The Giants are a good team, but they're just not as good as Dallas, on either side of the ball. I think the Giants' defensive line will pressure Romo a bit more than he's used to, but I don't think that will be enough to tip the balance of this game.

Buffalo over Miami (4). Marshawn Lynch is going to have a field day in this one.

Detroit over Arizona (3). Eww, ugly game here. Neither team really plays offense or defense especially well, but I'm going with the Lions due to their slight advantages in all facets.

Philadelphia over Washington (2). Neither team is really that good, but Brian Westbrook is going to tear apart the Washington rush defense because McNabb won't be able to hit anyone through the air on the Washington secondary.

Kansas City over Denver (1). The Broncos offense is banged up, and the Holmes/Smith tandem should be an upgrade over the wholly ineffective Larry Johnson. Kansas City's defense should carry them in this one.

Upset Special: Minnesota over Green Bay (-7.0). These teams are close enough together in talent level that I've got to put my hopes on Adrian Peterson for four points this week.

Friday, November 9

Week 10 Slate

Here are the games we'll be picking this week (do we have a guest picker lined up yet?):

Denver at Kansas City
Buffalo at Miami
Philadelphia at Washington
Dallas at New York
Detroit at Arizona
Indianapolis at San Diego

Tuesday, November 6

Week 9 Pick'em Recap

Ryan: 5-1, 15 points (33-21, 53 points)
Guest (Lucy): 4-2, 13 points (25-29, -6 points)
John: 4-2, 11 points (38-16, 97 points)

A hearty congratulations to all on another good week of pick'em, marking the second time in TFSB pick'em history (in as many weeks) that the guest picker has scored higher than either Ryan or me, with Lucy pulling the victory out over John this week after Cason got by Ryan last week. John decided to pick against the Lions this week and it cost him big time, giving the rest of the panel 11 points while costing him a victory. So much for not usually ending up on the wrong side of blowouts; that one wasn't even close as the Denver defense totally collapsed and Patrick Ramsey had no shot at keeping the Broncos in the game on the offensive side of things.

A New Season is Here!

That's right folks, as you all were sleeping, well, maybe more like as you all were playing EA Sports' MVP Baseball, or whatever you do when you realize the MNF matchup is a blowout, the college basketball season quietly tipped off, with the initial rounds of the Coaches v. Cancer Tournament.

To kick off the morning, a couple of locally themed links:

The 2-0 Bobcats host the Suns (2-1) tonight, who might be without Amare Stoudemire, if he doesn't go, I'll give the 'Cats a decent shot at 3-0.

Another week, another quarterback quagmire for the Carolina Panthers (I kinda want to see what Matt Moore has to offer).

Back to college basketball, the Heels have found their new Tyler Hansbrough, nailing down another typical Roy Williams white boy, Tyler Zeller.

Also, just for John, some Hot Stove questions.

Saturday, November 3

Super Bowl XLI.5

So, apparently it has been requested that John and I opine on Pats-Colts, we appreciate Byron's curiousity and respect for our thoughts, though we have our doubts to his actual motives (ie, to throw it in our face how WRONG we were after the game). To opine, John and I will attempt a dueling post/thread, with me initiating the conversation (as such), to which John will respond in kind.

Ryan: I'll start off pretty generic here, the Pats are GOOD. Like, really good. There has not been an 8 run game like the one they've been on ever seen in the NFL, pre or post Free Agency. The Patriots closest game was a 34-17 walk over the Browns, and as FO says, championship teams can best be judged not by their play against equal competition, but by how handily they defeat weaker opponents. Using this idea, the Patriots are good. Indy has "had trouble" (won by less that 7 pts) twice, 22-20 over the Titans and 30-24 over the Texans. Along with that, for the first half of last week's game against the middling (sigh) Panthers, the Colts looked very beatable. John, does Indy have a prayer?

John: Of course Indianapolis has a chance; you can't say that a team that's 7-0 and has the second-highest DVOA this season in the NFL (and pretty high up there all-time, although FO decided to pull that from their efficiency ratings, for some reason) doesn't have a chance. The difference in DVOAs this season between New England and Indianapolis is about 13%. That's roughly the same as, say, Seattle and Cleveland, or Cleveland and Detroit. Couldn't you see either of those games going the other way? Certainly. Keep in mind, this is with the Patriots running up the score on certain Sundays, so had they not been doing so (or had the Colts been doing that to their opponents), the DVOAs would be closer. Ryan, how much advantage does being in the dome give Indianapolis this Sunday?
Edit: Lets not forget the law of averages John. There are a lot of teams hovering around the middle of the pack like the Browns and Seahawks, who just get pulled up and down by playing teams of equal strength each week. Its much harder (disproportionately so) to dominate the league and be 15% higher in DVOA over the next competitor, who themselves are 20% ahead of the next guy, playing all those average teams weighs you down.

Vegas: [to be read in a computer voice] The Colts get a 3 or 3.5 point advantage from playing at home.

Ryan: Hey! How'd he get in here? The Colts, uh, get about 3 points... Well, special teams wise, the Patriots have got to like that Gostkowski gets to kick inside instead of at a potentially wet and 45 degree Gilette. I feel like that bonus helps him more (since he needs more help to begin with) than it does Vinatieri. Offensively the turf doesn't help the Colts that much. The Patriots now have an equally high powered offense and fast recievers, and the Colts offense has recently become equal parts power and speed (Since '04 the Colts OL has gone from 5th to 15th on outside runs and 6th to 3rd on runs between the tackles). Defensively the Colts do rely on speed, so it should help them to play at home. In the end its about an average boost, its nice to play for the home fans, and sleep in your own bed, but this Colts team doesn't rely on the turf to make its offense go like it once did. That said, it will be fascinating to see who will win the matchup of Colts balanced offensive attack and Patriots defensive scheming. Who's got the edge there John?

John: Well, the Colts offense has DVOA ratings of 54.9 (Passing, 2nd in NFL) and 31.0 (Rushing, 1st in NFL) this season. Conversely, the Patriots have defensive DVOAs of -22.5 (Passing, 2nd in NFL) and -8.2 (Rushing, 9th in NFL) this season. Given these numbers, I think the Colts will go to Addai early and often, while Peyton is certainly good enough to move the chains when Dungy needs him to and to keep the Patriots honest. Addai has been the best running back in the NFL this season, and he should continue to show this dominance against the Patriots' front line. And to give credit where credit is due, the Indianapolis offensive line has been the best in the NFL this season both in run blocking and pass protection, to debunk any naysayers who think the stats might be unfairly inflated. The Patriots' defensive line is only ranked 18th against the run, so check out those stats if you want to see exactly what the Patriots have done against the run (when they've had to face the run, that is). Ryan, the flip side of this is obviously: How will the Patriots fare when they have the ball?

Naysayer: Nay, Nay, Nay.

Ryan: How do all these people keep getting in? Byron, did you leave the door unlocked again? Um, John just lobbed me a soft one, nice high arch. The Patriots will score points. Last week the Patriots played FO's #1 ranked defense (per DVOA), and they put up 52 points, now the Redskins are the 5th ranked defense. The Patriots will score lots of points. Last year, the Patriots put up 34 on Indy in the playoffs, with Gaffney, Caldwell, and Brown playing WR. They're much much better this year. The Colts really don't have the corners to cover all three of the Patriots recievers simultaneously. And despite what Tony Kornheiser says, Bob Sanders is not Chuck Norris. As long as the Patriots have watched their game film, and know that the best way to run on the Colts speed defense is up the middle, and don't forget to throw plenty of jump balls to Randy Moss, they'll be ok. The true question here is not if the Pats will score, but if the Colts will be able to keep up. So, John, can we have a prediction (score included)?

John: I'll take the Patriots, 35-21.

Ryan: Sounds feasible, though I think it will be a little more high scoring than that. I'll go with Patriots 41, Colts 28.

Ryan's Pick 'em (9)

6) Dallas over @Philadelphia - The Cowboys should continue to show that they're the cream of the NFC, up there along with Green Bay and maybe the Giants (I'm not on board with that train yet). The Eagles will provide evidence that their window to winning a Super Bowl is closing fast, extremely fast (or should I say closed fast?).

5) @Detroit over Denver - No one seems to believe in the Lions, ladies and gentlemen, they're actually good. The offense is putting up points, and the defense is playing haphazardly and causing turnovers doing so. The key here is that the Lions have a healthy Kevin Jones and the Broncos have a weak rush defense (29th per FO).

4) Green Bay over @Kansas City - Brett Favre seals the deal and nails down the last franchise (other than Green Bay) that he hasn't defeated. Look for 52 yards on 28 carries for Larry Johnson.

3) Cincinnati over @Buffalo - I don't see the Jets Bills defense containing the Cincy passing game (or running game), so they'll put up tons of points. Can Buffalo even put up tons of points? I'm leaning towards no.

2) @Cleveland over Seattle - I just can't get behind a team that lost to New Orleans at home a few weeks ago, the Browns are looking strong and being 4-3 in the AFC is impressive, being 4-3 in the NFC is.

1) @Atlanta over San Francisco - No reason to think that the [blank] can pull it together for a win here, they've shown some signs of life but nothing to make me feel strongly about them pulling off a victory here over [blank]. Yeah, can you tell which team goes where? Me either.

Jacksonville over @New Orleans (-3.5) - for a measily 2 points

Friday, November 2

Lucy's Week 9 Picks

Take it away, Lucy...

How dare you threaten me with flippy mcquarter! When have I ever let you down? But I understand Dr. Huff wanting to redeem himself after he blew it the first week. I emailed my mom today and got her picks but then I went to the bookstore and read USA today there just to double check and now I have made my desicion.

detroit over denver (6)
atlanta over san fran (5)
dallas over philadelphia (4)
cincinnati over buffalo (3)
greenbay over kansas city (2)
seatle over cleaveland (1)

I'm listening to mom 100% even though USA today picked Kansas and Cleavland. Kansas won the last 5 times they met and it's the Packers second week on the road but they are a higher rank so why wouldn't I listen mom? Traveling and packing sort of go together anyways don't you think? As far as Seattle @ Cleaveland's rank it's a toss up so here are my thoughts...hmmm... I think Browns is a horrble masscot and I will not pick them. What is a Brown anyway? Those Seahawks have way more style.
Since I had to look up the masscots for teams so that I could understand what I was reading about in the paper, I don't know what an upset would be but I would like to pick Carolina over Tennessee (-4.5). Does that count?

Thursday, November 1

John's Week 9 Picks

Green Bay over Kansas City (6). Green Bay seems to do everything right, and Ryan Grant has a chance to really shine over the last half of the season. Kansas City's pass defense is very stout indeed, but their offense is just pathetic, and their rush defense is decidedly mediocre.

Dallas over Philadelphia (5). Dallas also seems to do everything right, and Philadelphia's defense just hasn't lived up to expectations this season. Look for Romo to throw all over the Eagles' pedestrian secondary.

Atlanta over San Francisco (4). The 49ers have been just abominable this season. Yuck. Their only bright spot, Frank Gore, has been limited by injuries for the past several weeks. While the Falcons are certainly nothing to write home about, they should be able to get it done at home this week.

Seattle over Cleveland (3). Seattle gets D.J. Hackett back this week, so let the fireworks start against the 31st-ranked pass defense in the Browns.

Denver over Detroit (2). Denver gets the slightest of edges in this matchup because I think their offense matches up better with Detroit's defense than the other way around. Both teams are pretty terrible at both pass and rush defense, but the Broncos' passing attack has shown to be much better than the Lions', with the rushing games being roughly equivalent. This one will be close.

Buffalo over Cincinnati (1). This one will definitely be close too, but I have more faith in Marshawn Lynch running all over the Bungles' weak linebacking corps than I do in Palmer's ability to beat this surprising Buffalo secondary.

Upset Special: Jacksonville over New Orleans (-3.5). Uh, not sure how this is really an upset...but I'll take the easy two points anyway.

Week 9 Slate

Here's the slate of games for this week; hopefully we can hold our heads above water with these. Lucy has expressed interest in being the guest picker this week; hopefully she'll respond by Sunday or we'll haul in Flippy.

Green Bay at Kansas City
San Francisco at Atlanta
Denver at Detroit
Cincinnati at Buffalo
Seattle at Cleveland
Dallas at Philadelphia