Thursday, November 27, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 13

Thanksgiving:

Tennessee (-11) at Detroit - Yes, I know that I've committed to taking Detroit every week until they win one. And had Tennessee not just gotten embarassed in its own stadium by the Jets, I might even go with the Lions this week for the Thanksgiving upset special. Under the circumstances, however, the relevant question seems to be this - in how many of the four quarters that they play will the Titans fail to cover 11?

Seattle at Dallas (-12) - In one way, the Thursday afternoon schedule is going to work wonders for the NFL. They are going to draw tremendous ratings for games that look to be absolute dogs. On the other hand, they are going to "treat" that massive captive audience to some football that may turn off even real fans, never mind the casual fans in the room. It strikes me as extremely implausible that either of these games will appear remotely competitive after halftime. The Cowboys are a fraud team, but they're a bully fraud team, a team that will beat up on a weakling. The Seahawks - well, I think I've said this before, but starting the season with a lame duck coach is not the greatest idea.

Arizona (+3) at Philadelphia - After the NFL shows the entire country two dreadful games, they'll treat the 278 people with the NFL Network to what is clearly the best match-up of the day. "Best" is, of course, a relative term. Calling a game the "best" of this set is an exercise in damning with faint praise. The Cardinals lead one of the worst divisions in football and are 0-3 east of the Mississippi. The Eagles are in a state of complete disarray, with significant questions about the quarterback, the head coach, and the relations between the two. This could go either way, and there's really no possible result here that would be shocking. But the Cardinals look like the better team, and that'll have to do.


San Francisco (+7) at Buffalo - I read somewhere that no west coast team has won on the east coast this year. I don't know whether that's true or not, but, their performance in Kansas City last week notwithstanding, the Bills are primed to end that streak.

Baltimore (-7) at Cincinnati - Is commentary really necessary for this game?

Indianapolis (-5) at Cleveland - Or this one?

Carolina at Green Bay (-3) - I've got an opinion about the Lions. And the Falcons. The rest of the NFC North and South are teams that I don't normally see, and really don't think much about. I think that the Packers are a better team, and they're at home, and therefore, I'm picking them. This generally means a Panther victory.

Denver at N.Y. Jets (-7.5) - As always, I approach this task with an air of absolute neutrality, performing this function in an objective, unbiased ("Go BRONCOS!!! Go BRONCOS!!!") fashion. (Think MSNBC covering Obama vs. McCain.) And I'm certain that, if I wanted to spend a little time on it, I could talk myself into the Jets letting down after two big road wins, a Favre interception-fest, Shanahan outcoaching Mangini, the Broncos controlling the clock and shocking the Jets. But that would be a lie. I do not see anyway that Denver wins this game. (If they do, of course, I'll come back on Monday and gloat about the jinx pick working...)

Miami (-7) at St. Louis - 7? Why not 17? 27? 77?

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3.5) - Listed in order, from most closely to least closely followed, the NFC South comes in 9th of the 8 NFL divisions. I suspect that my opinion of the Saints was formed in 2006, and my opinion of the Buccaneers in 2005.

N.Y. Giants (-3.5) at Washington - Earlier in the season, it looked as if the NFC might have passed the AFC again. It doesn't look like that now. The NFC looks like the Giants and everyone else. The AFC looks to have a group of strong teams. It's hard to imagine any NFC other than NY winning the NFC Championship. But there are six teams (Tennessee, NY, New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Indianapolis) that one can easily picture facing the Giants. I guess the takeaway here is that the Giants are a much better team than the Redskins, and while the latter could conceivably win, the former is a much better bet.

Atlanta (+5) at San Diego - Every team has a couple of plays that they can look back on and say "if only..." The Chargers have a half dozen, and each of them cost them a win. Here's another that they lose late or close or both.

Pittsburgh at New England (-1) - If the season ended today, the 6-5 Denver Broncos would host a playoff game as the AFC West Champion, while the 7-4 New England Patriots would miss the playoffs. The season doesn't end today, but if they want to avoid that scenario, the Patriots need to keep winning. I think they will. The Steelers have great defensive numbers, partly because they've got a very good defense, and partly because they've played Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Cincinnati twice. The Patriots aren't going to put up 48, but they'll move the ball and score. New England wins by a touchdown.

Kansas City at Oakland (-3) - As bad as the Raiders have been, they've looked like Champions when compared to the Chiefs.

Chicago at Minnesota (-3.5) - Is either of these teams a threat to go beyond the NFC Championship game? I don't see it.

Jacksonville at Houston (-3) - The AFC South has two strong teams. This game features the other two. Unlike Thursday's games, this irrelevant match-up between two not-quite-mediocre teams at least has the potential to be competitive.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Les Nessman, your man on the scene..."

The whole episode can be found here, but the key moments are among the funniest ever broadcast, certainly the funniest Thanksgiving episode any sitcom ever did...

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 12

Cincinnati (+11) at Pittsburgh - This is a no-brainer, right? The Steelers blow out the Bengals? Well, yeah, that's probably what happens. But I don't trust the Bengals to lay down, and I don't trust the Steelers to play smart and disciplined. I can't see Cincinnati going into Pittsburgh and coming out with the win, but it's fairly easy to imagine them keeping it within 10, and that's the way I'm going.


Philadelphia (+1) at Baltimore - The Eagles are not as good as we thought. When they went down to Dallas and lost close, everyone thought that the Cowboys were an uber-team, and that it said great things about Philadelphia. We now know that we had overrated Dallas, and, consequently, there was some overrating of the Eagles as well. Having said that, I should now be picking the Ravens. But I'm not. I know that their record is 6-4, I know that they've outscored their opposition by more than the Eagles have, I know that they're at home - I know all of that. But I still don't buy them as a first-rate team, and, while I've never thought that the Eagles were a great team, I suspect that they're good enough to come out of Baltimore with a win.

Houston at Cleveland (-3) - It's been a frustrating season for each of these teams. The frustration continues on Sunday for the Texans, as the Browns drawn within one game of .500.

San Francisco at Dallas (-10) - It would give me great pleasure to see Mike Singletary, who I admire, pick up his first win as a head coach (well, his first win as a head coach against a real NFL team, not just the Rams) against the Cowboys (who I detest) this weekend. It would also give me great pleasure to win the PowerBall lottery this weekend. The odds, I suspect, are similar.

Tampa Bay at Detroit (+8.5) - The Lions are going to win one this season. It probably won't be Sunday, but if it is, I'll be able to say, "Hey, I called it!"

Minnesota (+2.5) at Jacksonville - The Jaguars looked strong for a half last week, but don't have enough left right now to beat a good team. The question is, of course, are the Vikings a good team? Eeny, meeny, miny, mo... I think I'll pretend it's so.

Buffalo at Kansas City (+3) - On the season as a whole, the Bills have been a better team. But they're on a horrendous skid, having lost four in a row and five of six, and there really isn't anything to point at to suggest that they ought to be a favorite on the road against anyone. I actually think that the Chiefs win this one at home.

New England (+1) at Miami - Two 6-4 teams meet, with the loser not eliminated from division contention, but in really bad shape. If the Patriots lose this, it will be their third loss in the division, and their second loss to the Dolphins, who will be a game ahead of them with the tie-breaker. If they want any realistic chance of continuing their streak of division championships, they need to win this game. Which means that they need to play significantly better defense than they've been playing. I believe that they will, and that they'll win the game.

Chicago (-8.5) at St. Louis - How much respect do I have for the Bears? Very little. It is very telling about the Rams, then, that I'm picking the Bears to cover more than a touchdown against them.

N.Y. Jets at Tennessee (-5) - The Titans will lose before the season ends. It won't be this week. (At least, as a Patriots fan, I hope it won't be this week...)

Oakland (+9.5) at Denver - The Broncos win, but the defense is so porous that they cannot be expected to cover more than a touchdown against anyone. (OK, maybe the Lions or Rams.)

Carolina at Atlanta (-1) - One of the things that happens is that my opinions of some teams crystallize early. Teams in NFC divisions that the Patriots don't see, that aren't the glamour divisions, aren't capable of doing much to change my opinion once the season starts, because I rarely see them. But I've seen enough of the Falcons, and I saw enough of Matt Ryan at BC, to jump on the Atlanta bandwagon.

N.Y. Giants (-3) at Arizona - The Cardinals are going to win the NFC West comfortably. This won't make it any more comfortable, as the Giants should win handily. Frankly, this line looks strange to me, as the idea is to balance the money, and I have to believe that there is a lot more money coming in on the Giants than the Cardinals. In fact, this is such an obvious sucker bet that I'm tempted to take Arizona. In the end, I'll play the conventional wisdom, follow the crowd, be one of the sheeple bet, and take the Giants to cover.

Washington (-3.5) at Seattle - The return of the prodigal, as former Seahawk star Jim Zorn leads his Redskins into Seattle. The Seahawks are, of course, one of the bigger disappointments in the NFL, defending division champions who are currently five games behind. I may have mentioned this before, but starting a season with a lame-duck coach is not a great idea.

Indianapolis (+2.5) at San Diego - One of the big shockers of the 2007 NFL playoffs happened in Indianapolis, when the banged up Chargers went in and beat the Colts. Each of these teams was expected to win its division again this year - the Colts aren't going to, and while the Chargers are better positioned, they're not in first either. And they won't get there this weekend, as the Colts go into San Diego and run their winning streak to four.

Green Bay (+2.5) at New Orleans - The Packers are a first place team, the Saints are a last-place team. Which is a very misleading statement, as each team is 5-5. But the Packers have significantly better point differential (65) than the Saints (17). And I think that difference is real and representative of the gap between the teams. In what should be a close game, the Packers pull it out by a field goal.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AL MVP today, and there will be a lot of foolish votes

On the AL MVP award (to be announced today), the Globe's Nick Cafardo writes that:
While Dustin Pedroia seems to be the front-runner heading into today's American League Most Valuable Player announcement, Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau, Carlos Quentin, and Francisco Rodriguez are all going to garner support, and with good reason.

The first part of that may be true, the last is definitely not. To start with the most obvious problem, there is absolutely no reason for a voter to consider voting for Justin Morneau.

1) He wasn't the best player at his position. Morneau, a first baseman, hit .300/.374/.499/.873. Kevin Youkilis, who also played first base, as well (plus played some third base, which makes any offensive production more valuable) hit .312/.390/.569/.959.

2) He wasn't the most valuable player on his own team. Minnesota's catcher, Joe Mauer, hit .328/.413/.451/.864. As OBP is more valuable than SLG, and as catchers, as a group, hit far worse than first basemen, as a group, Mauer's performance was significantly more valuable to the Twins than Morneau's.

3) The Gold Glove winners at 2nd base, Dustin Pedroia, had a comparable offensive performance (.326/.376/.493/.869). Make a positional adjustment, and there's no debate about which of the two is a more valuable player.

4) He didn't "lead his team" to a playoff spot.

5) He didn't "shine down the stretch," hitting just .243/.298/.398/.696 in September.

Really, the only reason that I can see for even considering Morneau is the long-discredited belief that RBI means something. And if you're an "RBI uber alles" MVP voter (said species sadly not yet extinct), you should be voting for Josh Hamilton, who had more while playing a more valuable defensive position. Anyone who votes Morneau higher than 6th on his ballot should have his voting privilege's revoked. (As should the Cy Young voters that left Halladay off, or voted Matsuzaka over Lester.)

As for Francisco Rodriguez, that's just silly. Yes, he broke the record for saves. Woo-hoo. He pitched well, though not spectacularly, and threw only 68 1/3 innings for a team that won its division by 21 games. Mariano Rivera was a more valuable relief pitcher, and a dozen AL pitchers were more valuable for their teams than he was. Some voters will undoubtably vote for him, dazzled by the saves and oblivious to how little they mean, but that will say far more about them (the voters) than him (the pitcher).

Quentin was a good candidate until he missed the last month. As he did, there are others who passed him.

I haven't had the time to do a full analysis. Based on a pretty quick look, I've got no big problems with Pedroia, Youkilis, Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer or Josh Hamilton. Results to be announced today...

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The hottest October on record! (according to bad data)

Uh, never mind...

This is, of course, the correct question to accompany ALL "global warming" or "climate change" stories:
...whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world's governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

NFL picks, Week 11

N.Y. Jets at New England (-3.5) - You could make an argument that the Jets are, right now, a better team than the Patriots. The two teams have identical records, but the Jets have outscored their opposition by 37 more than the Patriots. New England has now lost two of their key offensive players (Brady and Moroney) and two of their key defensive players (Harrison and Thomas) for the season to injury. So you could make the argument that the Jets are better. But I won't. New England by a touchdown.


Denver at Atlanta (-6) - Honestly, can someone give me a compelling reason to think that Atlanta is not, right now, at least two touchdowns better than the Broncos?

Detroit (+14) at Carolina - Too many points. This actually would not be a shocking week to see the Lions come up with their first win, as the Panthers are exactly the type of team that could play down to their level. While I expect some of that, Carolina probably wins it anyway.

Chicago at Green Bay (0) - The Bears have been (slightly) better than the Packers so far. But. They are in Green Bay. And I don't believe in the Bears. This game - heck, this season - will end with me believing that Green Bay is the better team, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

Houston at Indianapolis (-8.5) - The Texans had their opportunity to beat the Colts this year, significantly outplaying a struggling Indianapolis team before completely melting down in the last five minutes and giving it away. The good news for Houston fans is that they won't lose this one in hearbreaking last-minute meltdown fashion like the last one. Of course, the bad news is that it won't be close in the last five minutes this time.

New Orleans (-5.5) at Kansas City - I supposed, earlier in the week, that I'd be able to come up with some interest in some aspect of this game. I supposed wrong. Obviously, the Chiefs can't be favored over anyone. The Saints aren't such a force that a Kansas City win here would be a shocker, but I've got to go with New Orleans anyway.

Oakland (+10.5) at Miami - Too many points. Dolphins win a close one.

Baltimore at N.Y. Giants (-6.5) - I don't like the Giants. I am pretty much always rooting for the Giants to lose. But I don't like the Ravens, either. The consolation for the Giants winning this week is the Ravens losing.

Minnesota at Tampa Bay (-3.5) - Two of the teams that I can't ever get right. Every time I start to think that one of these two teams is better than I had thought, they go out and lose. Every time I write them off, they win. Since I'm picking the Buccaneers, the Vikings are probably your best opportunity for a profitable investment.

Philadelphia at Cincinnati (+9) - I'm taking the Bengals on the "too many points" platform. But is it? Frankly, there would be nothing remotely surprising about an Eagle blowout. But I picked the Bengals to lose relatively close, and I guess I'm sticking with it.

St. Louis at San Francisco (-6) - Chances are good to excellent that the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, will not be asking for game tapes of this one for permanent exhibition.

Arizona (-3) at Seattle - It is hard to tell how good the Cardinals are. What is clear is that they're far and away the best team in the woeful NFC west.

Tennessee at Jacksonville (+3) - This is the week the undefeated dream dies for another year.

San Diego at Pittsburgh (-5) - This looked like a much better game when the NFL posted the season schedule than it does now. There's nothing in what they've done this season to suggest that the Chargers can go into Pittsburgh and be competitive.

Dallas at Washington (-1) - Will Romo be back? Apparently. Is that going to make everything all right with the Cowboys? Not even close.

Cleveland (+5) at Buffalo - While they started the season very differently, both of these teams are currently disappointing followers and underperforming preseason expectations. Monday night won't change that, but a Buffalo win keeps the Bills in contention, while a Browns win probably doesn't. Going with Cleveland, for no good reasons that I can see right now.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NFL Week 10 wrapup

Week 10 in the NFL...

  • The Patriots are currently 6-3 and tied for the 2nd best record in the AFC. There were a lot of people that did not expect that when Brady went down during the first game. I did.


  • It seems to me, though, that they've currently got a red zone problem. As in, they're allowing touchdowns when their opponents reach the red zone, but not scoring them when they reach the red zone themselves. The offense has consistenly improved, and they are both moving the ball and controlling the clock. But they aren't putting the ball in the end zone. (Whether this is true or just my perception is, of course, determinable. I don't have the time right now, and no one's going to pay me, to do the proper research, so I offer this not as fact but as perception.)


  • A year ago, we made it through week 10 with an undefeated team and a winless team. And the undefeated team stayed that way until the Super Bowl. But the winless team didn't. I don't expect either the winless team or the undefeated team to make it all the way through this year, either.


  • Coming off of a dispiriting loss in Oakland, the Jets are the proud owners of a bright, shiny three-game NFL winning streak. Have they turned a corner of some sort, risen to a new performance level? Or have they hit a fortuitous stretch in their schedule? We'll know more about them Friday morning, as the Patriots and Jets fight for first in the AFC East Thursday night.


  • The Titans have (obviously) been excellent so far. They've played outstanding defense and good offense, and have made all of the plays that they've needed to make. That said, I'm not buying them as an undefeated team. They haven't shown me the kind of separation that's required between points scored and allowed that cushions the off night. They're going to lose at least once down the stretch.


  • The Lions are going win at least once, too.


  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    Buffalo at New England - "The Bills looked to be one of the great stories of the NFL season when they started 4-0. But in their last four games, they're 1-3 and have been outscored 106-73. And they'll be in New England without Donte Whitner and Aaron Schobel, two of their better defensive players, to face a New England team that's showing signs of getting it all put together. The Patriots win this by a touchdown or more, in a game that isn't as close as the final score would indicate."

    Seattle at Miami - "Too many points. I don't see the Seahawks winning, though I'm rooting for them to do so. But I can't pick the Dolphins to cover 8."

    San Francisco at Arizona - "Too many points. Arizona's a better team, but Singletary is either going to get an effort from the 49ers or lose them completely. In the long run, probably the latter, but for now, the former is more likely. The Cardinals win a close one."


  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    Jacksonville at Detroit - "Is this the week that the Lions break through and guarantee that another NFL season passes without a winless team? Yes."

    New Orleans at Atlanta - "This is a pick based on pre-conceptions rather than what's happened this year. The Falcons have obviously made tremendous strides, and Matt Ryan is as good a first-year quarterback as we've seen in a long time. And the Saints have been a disappointment. Rationally, you've got to go with Atlanta in this one. But I'm not."

    Denver at Cleveland - "Losing badly to New England on the road is one thing. Losing badly to Miami at home in their next outing is something else entirely. The former could happen to anyone, the latter on the heels of the former is indicative of mediocrity, or worse."


  • For the week:
    Winners: 7-7
    ATS: 6-8-0


  • For the season:
    Winners: 83-61
    ATS: 75-65-4


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Saturday, November 08, 2008

I have completed the degree requirements

In January of 2007, I started working on an MBA at the University of Phoenix. On Thursday night, I finished. Today, the final grade for the final course posted. I now can put "MBA" on my resume.



It has been a great learning experience, not only in the classroom and the "virtual" classroom, but also in forcing me to learn more about the business I was involved in from marketing people, finance people, operations management people and others, people who gave me time and answered questions for me. It would be a stretch to say that I enjoyed every minute, but I'm glad I did it, and I learned a lot...

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fifteen down...

...zero to go.

All done.

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NFL picks, Week 10

Denver at Cleveland (-3) - Losing badly to New England on the road is one thing. Losing badly to Miami at home in their next outing is something else entirely. The former could happen to anyone, the latter on the heels of the former is indicative of mediocrity, or worse.

New Orleans (+1) at Atlanta - This is a pick based on pre-conceptions rather than what's happened this year. The Falcons have obviously made tremendous strides, and Matt Ryan is as good a first-year quarterback as we've seen in a long time. And the Saints have been a disappointment. Rationally, you've got to go with Atlanta in this one. But I'm not.

Tennessee at Chicago (+3) - Here's the question - am I stubborn enough to keep picking against Tennessee until they lose? The answer to that is very probably, "yes."

Jacksonville at Detroit (+6.5) - Is this the week that the Lions break through and guarantee that another NFL season passes without a winless team? Yes.

Seattle (+8) at Miami - Too many points. I don't see the Seahawks winning, though I'm rooting for them to do so. But I can't pick the Dolphins to cover 8.

Green Bay at Minnesota (-2.5) - I don't believe in the Vikings. I don't know why I'm picking them. But I am.

Buffalo at New England (-3.5) - The Bills looked to be one of the great stories of the NFL season when they started 4-0. But in their last four games, they're 1-3 and have been outscored 106-73. And they'll be in New England without Donte Whitner and Aaron Schobel, two of their better defensive players, to face a New England team that's showing signs of getting it all put together. The Patriots win this by a touchdown or more, in a game that isn't as close as the final score would indicate.

St. Louis (+9) at N.Y. Jets - Too many points. The Rams have been too tough recently to make the Jets an easy cover. New York probably wins, but close.

Baltimore at Houston (0) - I could come up with reasons to support either team in this game, I suppose. I could also come up with reasons to pick against either team. In the long run, all of those reasons would cancel out, leaving me tossing a coin or choosing the home team. I'll just skip a couple of those steps.

Carolina (-9.5) at Oakland - The Raiders are a bad team right now.

Indianapolis (+0) at Pittsburgh - The only possible rationale for picking the Colts is that you think the Colts are still a better team than they've played so far, and the Steelers aren't quite the team that they've been so far.

Kansas City (+15.5) at San Diego - Too many points. The Chargers win, comfortably, but not by 16.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3) - There were many different election projections over the past couple of weeks which had John McCain winning. Several of them seemed plausible. But it all smacked of analysis by wishful thinking. This pick may fall into that category, too.

San Francisco (+9.5) at Arizona - Too many points. Arizona's a better team, but Singletary is either going to get an effort from the 49ers or lose them completely. In the long run, probably the latter, but for now, the former is more likely. The Cardinals win a close one.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I see bad things coming...

I'd love to be upbeat and optimistic, but right now, as we await the returns, I see two scenarios, and they're both bad for the country.

1) Barack Obama wins the election. With a Democratic majority in the House and Senate, the worst, most socialistic elements in the Democratic party get their way for the next two years, and the damage to the economy and the national defense will be felt for a long time.

2) John McCain wins the election. The Bush-Derangement-Syndrome sufferers instantly transform into McCain-Derangement-Syndrome sufferers, and the political divisiveness, particularly from the left, gets significantly worse. (Though it's hard to see how that would be possible.) There are accusations of stolen elections, demonstrations, and possibly riots. The Democratic Congress gives President McCain nothing that looks like a honeymoon, and the only policy that goes through is amnesty. Everyone loses. Ugliness ensues.


(There is, of course, a version of scenario 2 which is even worse - McCain wins the electoral college and Obama wins the popular vote. You think things were bad after that happened in 2000? Ay caramba! The mind boggles when contemplating the possible ramifications of that outcome...)

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From James' keyboard to God's ears...

James Pethokoukis got this from "hardly a perma-optimist" in the McCain campaign:
I just talked to one of my best Team McCain sources who told me that heading into today all the key battleground polls were moving hard and fast in their direction. The source, hardly a perma-optimist, thinks it will be a long night, but that McCain is going to win. So add this with the new Battleground poll (Obama +1.9 only) and the rising stock market...

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NFL Week 9 wrapup

Week 9 in the NFL...

  • One play can make a big difference in a 3-point game. On Sunday night, there were several plays, any of which could have changed the outcome by going the other way. If the Patriots convert the 2-point conversion on their touchdown (which was so close that replay probably would not have overturned it if the officials had called it good), if Jabar Gaffney catches that pass down the left sideline, if Belichick doesn't call the timeout before Cassell converted the QB sneak, if David Thomas doesn't commit that unspeakable penalty, the Patriots may win that game. But those all went the wrong way, and they lost.


  • The Jets did come up with a win in Buffalo, which surprised me. That, combined with the New England loss, resulted in a three-way tie at the top of the AFC East. That will (probably) be a two-way tie next Monday, as the Jets are likely to beat the Rams, and the Patriots and Bills play head-to-head.


  • I do not know why it is, but with some teams, my opinion changes on a weekly basis, and with others, it doesn't change regardless of what they do. I have now gone, in the span of a month from "the Redskins are bad" to "the Redskins are going to win the NFC" to "the Redskins are part of the vast middle." In the meantime, I have yet to change my opinion that the 8-0 Titans and 6-2 Panthers are part of the vast middle, which the evidence suggests is not the case.


  • Well, if someone's going winless this year, it will be the Lions, as the Bengals have finally put up a win. Some in Cincinnati are talking about finishing 8-8, which is only slightly more likely than the sun rising in the west tomorrow.


  • For all of the pre-season talk about how weak the AFC East would be again, it is one of the three divisions without a team with a losing record. And if the Dolphins beat the Seahawks in Miami on Sunday (which, as a feat, isn't quite on a par with going to the moon), the loser of the Bills-Patriots game will fall from a first-place tie to a last-place tie.


  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    Detroit at Chicago - "Have I really got my (entirely theoretical) money riding on the Lions? Again? Apparently. Yes, the Bears scored something like 897 points last week, but sometimes I'm slow - I don't buy them as a 13 point favorite against anyone. Not even the Lions. They'll win, of course, but not by 13 or more."

    Philadelphia at Seattle - "Congratulations to the Seahawks, who looked like an actual NFL team last week in San Francisco. Anyone see two in a row? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? No, I didn't think so."

    Dallas at NY Giants - "This is always a marquee matchup, I suppose, but what looked like a great game a month ago looks like a mismatch today."


  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    NY Jets at Buffalo - "Buffalo is 5-2 and tied for the division lead. The Jets are not. The Jets are coming off a narrow escape at home against the woeful Chiefs, while the Bills are recovering from a road loss at the hands of the improving Dolphins. If the Jets are going to be serious competitors this year, they'll find a way to win this game. I rather think that they won't."

    Jacksonville at Cincinnati - "I asked this last week, I ask it again - "where's the evidence that Jacksonville can beat anyone by a touchdown?" Of course, Cincinnati's not just anyone. I have little confidence in the Jaguars, but I think the Bengals are capable of losing by double digits to anyone."

    Miami at Denver - "If the only information one had about these two teams were their games in New England, the Dolphins would be favored by 30. That's not the only information we have. The Dolphins will score, but the Broncos will score more. This is another game that's very likely to end in a push, with the Broncos winning by exactly 3, but I don't feel quite certain enough about it to pick it, so I'll pick them to cover."


  • For the week:
    Winners: 6-8
    ATS: 8-6-0


  • For the season:
    Winners: 76-54
    ATS: 69-57-4


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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Second opinions on all translations are a good idea...

Why is the internet such a wonderful invention? Because without it, we'd never have the opportunity to see signs like this or this...

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