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The Seattle Seahawks – Finally, They Are Who We Thought They Were

I watched every Seahawks game this year.
 
I was in Carolina for the opener and in Houston for the epic comeback that had Richard Sherman coronated as the hands-down best cornerback in the NFL.
 
At no point during the season did I watch a game where we put the entire “thing” together. The Hawks always played amazing defense (best in NFL history amazing) and occasionally put chunks of points on the board but always felt like they were just on the precipice of awesome.
 
Part of that was due to injury. The offense never had a downfield threat required to truly balance the attack with Percy Harvin spending almost the entire year nursing a hip injury. His absence did lead to the discovery of Jermaine Kearse (signed off the practice squad out of camp) and put a lot of the offense squarely on the shoulders of one big BEAST.… Read more...

Is Chip Kelly a Good Fit For the Philadelphia Eagles?

(In a shocker, Oregon Ducks football coach Chip Kelly became ex-Oregon Ducks football coach this afternoon, as he signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly had been courted by several NFL teams, but seemed to be going back to Eugene after some sources reported he had signed with the Cleveland Browns just two weeks ago. Our man and foolish Eagles faithful El Mariachi had no choice but to comment on his potentially history-making day)

It is common knowledge that the Philadelphia fan base is a notoriously tough crowd when it comes to sports. But when you look past all the bad press that they get you can see deep down in the cavities of their chests that there is a tiny, Kelly-green Grinch- heart three sizes too small. They are arguably the most passionate fan base in all of sports and they are usually the most critical. Which made the 2012 season all the more painful.

To say the least, it was a sad year. Beginning with the tragic death of Andy Reid’s son, the culmination of a 4-12 season, and the inevitable firing of Reid, ending a twelve year long witch hunt. Add everything up, and this made the Eagles one of the unprecedented seven teams that needed a head coach entering the 2012 postseason.

After a grueling process of interviewing over 11 candidates, it was reported today that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly will be the new boss of the Philadelphia Eagles. Askany fan and they’ll tell you that any change is for the better…but is it really?

Chip Kelly is best known for his high octane offensive style. His no huddle offense is reminiscent of the Patriots, Redskins, and the Colts during the Manning era. Almost always starting in shotgun, Kelly uses the spread offense with 3, 4 or even 5 receiver sets. In theory this spreads the defense dangerously thin which opens up not only the run game, but the read-option for the quarterbacks. This is best run by someone mobile like Cam Newton, RGIII, Colin Kaepernick, or interestingly, a young Michael Vick. The Eagles might have Nick Foles running the show next year, which is a problem in itself. It’s not that Foles isn’t capable–it’s that he’s unproven with such a small sample size of games. Regardless of who’s throwing the ball, this offensive is devastating when implemented correctly with the right personnel and it led Chip Kelly to an astounding 46-7 record in only a four year span at Oregon.

The problem with this style offense is that it’s not much different from Andy Reid’s pass first, chew bubble gum and take names second, West Coast offense. And with the current wide receiver core consisting of an over paid and underweight DeSean Jackson, solid but not great Jeremy Maclin, Jason “I-like-to-take-chunks-of-the-season-off” Avant, and cascadingly-haired Riley Cooper, the Eagles don’t have the big pass catching threat that would draw double coverage to help spread the defense. With the way this group plays, there is no reason to not run the bump and run defense with opposing team’s corners. And on top of that, they don’t have a competent quarterback in Michael Vick who finished 24th in quarterbacks with a dismal 78.1 passer rating. A young Michael Vick would work well in this offense, but that time has clearly come and gone.… Read more...

Feeling Big Blue

This season Sports Illustrated revamped it’s NFL predictions from September with the foresight and knowledge of eight weeks of football already past and came up with new picks for the Super Bowl that were different, rational and not far off from what I would have pegged it at myself. The choice by SI’s Jim Trotter, with the argument of “Whom do you trust late with the game on the line? Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning or Matt Schaub, who has never started in the postseason?” was the New York Giants to win a second consecutive championship with a 24-20 victory over the Houston Texans in Super Bowl XLVII. At the time that I saw this after I got my issue in the mail I had one thought run through my head.

“Oh, I don’t like this one bit.”

I hesitate to say that I’m superstitious. After all, the idea that a few words printed on a page in a soon to be forgotten article in a weekly periodical don’t actually have the power to unseat or upset anyone or anything. They’re just words, meaningless as every game in college football’s postseason with the notable exception of one. And yet fear still ran down my spine as I saw it, hypothetically jinxing everything I had known to be a true, reasonable interpretation of the season’s first half. After all, the Giants had overcome an early season hiccup against Dallas and were 6-2 with a comfortable division lead at the season’s mid-way point, their lone other loss being a frustrating, but forgiveable road defeat at Philadelphia which had not yet revealed itself to be utterly horrendous.

Otherwise, the Giants were off and running with an offense looking every bit as potent as one would have expected, a solid defense, championship experience in their back pockets and an absolute thrashing of a San Francisco team many expected to (and still expect to) compete for a Super Bowl title this February. All of this makes the fact that New York is already home for the summer more than a little baffling, and if you happen to call yourself a Giants fan (spoiler alert: I do), it’s more than a little frustrating. I sat in my father’s living room in New Jersey Sunday watching my team display in just about every facet why it has the potential to make a Super Bowl run any time it gets into the postseason and the entire time I kept watching Chicago stave off Detroit on my laptop and realized what the Giants did wouldn’t mean a thing. This is maddening to some extent considering had the Giants done what was required of them in just one of any number of previous games this all would have been moot, but in the end, a rational man takes his gifts and hesitates to get greedy.

This offseason, I am going to pretend that that is me.


After all, with two championships in five years, how upset can I be? There are teams that wait lifetimes for that kind of success, some longer than lifetimes and in one or two cases, hopefully forever. It would be unbecoming to believe you were somehow slighted by a team that in such a small span has gifted you with two titles and arguably the greatest upset in the history of the sport. Given that, it’s hard to let the disappointments beat you down and even without a track record like that, perspective should keep your head on straight. As I explained to a teenage fan in front of me when I traveled to Cincinnati in November to see a game that, uh, didn’t go as planned, in all likelihood, he would watch the Giants play roughly 700 more times before he died. For your heart’s sake, you can’t let yourself get frazzled over on… Read more...

MAMBINO’s Pro Bowl Selections

It happens when Mike Antoni is prompted to talk about defense. It happens when an Asian student has to explain a B+ to the parental droids. It happens when you have to explain a mischievous deed to a significant other.

Rambling run-on sentences.
When you don’t know what you’re talking about or when anything you say won’t be believed, you may fall victim to over-talking and fail to use punctuation regarding tone and speed. I am certainly above such pedestrian nonsense, but rather than risk it, I present to you, the MAMBINO Pro Bowl rosters defined by best Youtube video.
Special thanks to my committee: Pucklius, who has staved off NHL Lockout-induced suicide for yet another day, and TuckRule, who is probably playing Madden to find a new NFL team to root for.

Players picked by Mambino but not chosen by the fans or the NFL are highlighted in bold.
Quarterbacks:
Tom Brady’s wife, Peyton Manning’s neck nerves, Andrew Luck
Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, The third version of Robert Griffin
Some people forget that she’s first ballot:
Running Backs:
Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice
Adrian Peterson’s drive, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin

If you ever need motivation for ANYTHING:
Wide Receivers:
A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Andre Johnson
Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson
This went from “subtle” to “awesome” rather quickly:
Tight Ends:
Heath Miller, Rob Gronkowski
Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten
Really hate that I’m posting videos related to THREE New England Patriots, but Gronk is just so damn likeable:
Check back in about 3 months when I refuse to do a traditional NFL Mock Draft.… Read more...

Week Ten NFL Picks

Last week the only one happier than me was the landlord. It only took 9 weeks (well 8 with my personal bye week), but I experienced my first winning season of the season. Since the bye week, I haven’t lost. And dating back to the .500 record of Week 7, I haven’t seen a loss since the presidential candidates were debating. It’s time to start the expert comparisons.

Last week’s 9-4 record only puts a small dent in the overall record that now stands at 37-51, but with a couple more half-full weeks we’re in business. One of those weeks is coming this week.
NY Giants (-4) over CINCINATTI: Everyone insists that the Giants are ready for a “November swoon.” I don’t believe in that sort of thing. They lost to a good Pittsburgh team in a week in which there was a tiny weather distraction. Eli will pick his brother’s brain after the Broncos just beat the Bengals last week.
Tennessee (+6) over MIAMI:  The Titans have had five losses of more than 20 points this season, so when they lose, it is pretty clear that they aren’t trying to at least cover. They have also had back-to-back games of losing by more than 20 twice this season. Sunday will be an opportunity for a third time, but there’s got to be some sort of pride on the line that helps them avoid such a fate. That and the Dolphins offense shouldn’t be able to blow them away.
MINNESOTA (+1) over Detroit: Detroit has won two in a row while the Vikings have lost two in a row. Then again, the Vikes are at home and getting the point. Can’t pick against that.
NEW ENGLAND (-11) over Buffalo: Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable, but in New England that can’t really mean much. In the Patriots last game against St. Louis two weeks ago, Gronk never had to leave the game and the numbers support the fact that he is fine. The Patriots are coming off of a bye, playing a team they already beat by 24 just six weeks ago, and face them at home this time.
NEW ORLEANS (+2.5) over Hotlanta: As John Sterling oncesaid, in life all good things come to an end. The Falcons are going to need Sterling’s wisdom after Sunday because the Saints are rounding into form without their coach and with the bounty scandal mostly behind them. Lock of the week right here. I’m going to count this game twice (I’ve got some ground to make up, ok?).
TAMPA (-3) over Saint Diego: The Whale’s Vaginas defense is in the top seven in yards and points allowed in the game. The offense though is 29th in yards. Tampa is 6-2 against the spread this year and hasn’t won a game by less than 10 since Week One. I also fancy the name muscle hamster.
Denver (-4) over CAROLINA: I know Carolina is at home. And I know they won last week. But come on? Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning again. The Broncos might run the table this season and have a shot at being the number one seed in the AFC. There is just no way they don’t light up a 2-6 team.
Oakland (+7.5) over BALTIMORE: Too many points. The Ravens have lost five of six against the spread and have played close games against the likes of Kansas Ci… Read more...

NFL Week 9 Picks

Well I took a week off to celebrate a .500 week in Week 7. The record now sits at 28-47. I still haven’t had one winning week all season, but my six week losing streak is over. And now let’s commence a winning streak.

(Editor’s note: At this point, I’d just go ahead and do the opposite of what Mr. Marquez predicts. You’ve got a 3/5 chance that he’s completely wrong)

CINCINNATI (+3.5) over Denver: I was thinking of taking Denver, but I took a page from Peyton and called an audible. The Bengals are at home, coming off the bye, and getting points.

Baltimore (-3.5) over CLEVELAND: Before LeBron left, before Sabathia left, there was the original Cleveland Browns leaving. The Baltimore Ravens are coming back for the first time since the death of Art Model. They are coming off of the bye week and the creepiest holiday of our calendar (Edgar Allen Poe feeds off of that). Given that the Colts would have covered this same line at Cleveland two weeks ago, there’s no way the Ravens aren’t doing the same this week.


GREEN BAY (-10) over Arizona: The Cardinals looked really bad last Thursday especially when it came to running the football. If they can’t keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, the Packers should have no problem getting this spread and then some.


Chicago (-3.5) over TENNESSEE: The Titans have been a fun team to watch I must admit. That said, the Bears look like the second best team in the NFC right now and should match up well with an average team on the road.


INDIANAPOLIS (+2.5) over Miami: This is basically a pick em’ game, so I’ll take the home team that has a healthy starting quarterback.


Carolina (+3) over Washington: The Panthers played great for a little more than three quarters last week. In any case, throw out the records. This is a game worth watching if anything for the style of play that RG III and Cam bring to the table.


Detroit (-4.5) over JACKSONVILLE: I don’t know. On paper I just think the Jaguars have the worst team in the NFL. Steve Spurrier might be on to something. Could Alabama beat Jacksonville minus Maurice Jones Drew? They’d have the edge in coaching.


Houston (-10) over Buffalo: This is a tough game to pick because I think Buffalo will put up some points, but we’ve seen how Buffalo has done against the upper echelon (San Francisco & New England). They don’t like to cover.


Tampa Bay (pick) over OAKLAND:  Lock of the wee
Read more...

Week 7 NFL Picks – Rexy Aint Too Sexy

Last week was close, but for the sixth consecutive week, I had a losing week. The 6-7 brings my season total to 22-41-2.

Enough with moping though. This is a huge week for a lot of teams starting in the AFC East. For all the hate surrounding the Jets offense (or lack thereof) they are one win from taking over first place today from the Patriots. Last week they looked more impressive than they have all season as Shonn Greene not only had his first 100-yard rushing game, but his first 160-yard rushing game of the season.

The Patriots meanwhile were winless in Seattle. Leading by 13 in the fourth quarter, they blew their lead against a rookie quarterback as Tom Brady looked very mortal against a strong defense. It was the second time this season that the Patriots have led by two scores in the fourth quarter (Week Three against the Ravens) and blown the game. Despite that killer instinct I’m not going to say that Brady and Belichick have lost it. On the contrary, the Patriots just haven’t found it yet. This is the youngest team that Belichick has coached with New England, so while Brady is getting up there the rest of the team should get better.

If you had told me it would only be 10.5 two weeks ago, I’d be elated.

NEW ENGLAND (-10.5) over NY Jets: I happened to catch one of the SportsCenter polls this week that compared the Titans miracle to “the comeback” earlier this week. Great stuff. This year’s game doesn’t have as much on the line, but Buffalo could also play it’s way atop the AFC East with a win. Given that they are at home what a story that would be if they were over .500 this laste in the season. It’s a story that I feel so warm about inside that I’m going to bet on them just because it would be too hard to root against them.

BUFFALO (-3) over Tennessee: The Browns ended an 11-game losing streak last week. If they win this week that’s two wins in a row. Cleveland has had winning streaks before.

Cleveland (+1) over INDIANAPOLIS: The Packers are back. Last week was everything that the world thought it would be. Beating up on the Texans in Houston (everyone’s darling to get to the Super Bowl before they played) was a sign that they should still be the team to beat in the NFC and NFL for that matter.

Green Bay (-5) over ST. LOUIS: Perhaps the NFL’s two greatest surprises square off in the Humpty Dump. Christian Ponder looked bad last week (although fantasy owners would disagree) as he struggled for most of the game against the Redskins. He faces a tougher defense this week. The Cardinals have already won at New England this year. All that being said, I don’t see where Arizona gets its offense from anymore. They struggled to score with the Bills for five quarters last week, and the Bills had given up over 40 points twice in the three weeks leading up to that. Arizona covers.

Arizona (+6.5) over MINNESOTA: Robert Griffin III is the NFL’s biggest story this year and New York is (once again) America’s biggest city. The two collide on Sunday coming off of statement victories. Justin Tuck has been encouraging RGIII to stay away from him this week, so look for RGIII to go his way and get a concussion.

NY GIANTS (-6) over Washington: This is the week where everyone lets the Saints re-enter the conversation as a contender. They had a bye week, a win over the Whale’s Vaginas, and haven’t lost since losing by one Week Four at Green Bay. Don’t let the record fool you. The Saints are still good and they are slowly getting their parts back together. If they come out of Tampa Bay wi… Read more...

NFL Week 6 Picks – The Houston Astros Are Better Than Me?

For the fifth straight week, I picked more losers than winners. This has become academic. If you just look at how amateur my logic, knowledge, and acumen for gambling is, and spotted this at week one, you could have taken every pick I made and bet the farm on the opposite. Last week I was 5-8. For the season, my record is 16-34-2.

That means that if you bet every game at even money on the Houston Astros this year, you’d have more success than I’ve had picking NFL games this year.

It also means that you would have had better luck picking the Sacramento Kings every night last season in the NBA.

It means that if you decided to bet just $5 per game in week one, and then double that amount in week two upon seeing that you lost, and then double that amount upon seeing that you lost in week three, and then double that amount upon seeing that you lost in week four, and that double that amount upon seeing that you list in week five that you would be down $585.
Or, if you prefer the glass half-full, you are just four more correct picks than wrong picks this week from being up $55 if you double the amount per game again this week.
That being said, it’s time to lay down $160 per game and get to work.
Oakland (+10.5) over HOTLANTA: This line opened at 7.5. The world is way too high on the Falcons right now who I think could will lose at least four times before this season is out. Tony Gonzalez is using the same steroids as Raul Ibanez, but I still don’t think that gives him the right to play as he has been. On the other end, the Raiders have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Darren McFadden is healthy and hasn’t really displayed much of yet. He will get it going in this one.

Cincinnati (-2) over CLEVELAND: Trent Richardson is awesome, but the Browns did not get as much quality from their rookie quarterback in the draft last year. The Bengals meanwhile are coming off of a disappointing loss at home to the Dolphins. I would look for them to come out scorching on Sunday. Done are the days of Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis fumbles.
St. Louis (+4.5) over MIAMI: Something about picking road teams just has me excited this week. It makes no sense given how well home teams played in Week 5, but this is the stuff that leads to being successful 32% of the time. Both teams had nice weeks last week, but I like the Rams more because I saw more of their game. Again, 32% of the time I am successful. Even the great Albert Pujols would take that.
NY JETS (-3) over Indianapolis: This makes sense. Young quarterback going into New York versus veteran quarterback fighting for his job. I think the Jets find offense from Wayne Chrebet and win this thing by double digits.
PHILADELPHIA (-3.5) over Detroit: Michael Vick is a dog owner again. He’s also slowly heading into the dog house. Anyone else see the Vick turnover breakdown on Mike and Mike this week? He is making a ton of mistakes. That said, the guy is better than this. If the Eagles play a clean game, there’s no way they don’t cover.

Kansas City (+4.5) over TAMPA BAY: The Chiefs offense coul… Read more...

Week 5 NFL Picks – A Blind Squirrel Finds a Highway

Last week I went 5-9. It was the fourth straight week that I lost more games that I picked than I won. There have only been four weeks in the season. The record now stands at 11-26-2 on the year. If you are smart by now you know, do what I don’t not what I do. Anyway here is this week’s disaster:

CINCINNATI BENGALS (-4) over Miami Dolphins: Bengals have won 3 in a row and are averaging 33 points a game since losing to Baltimore. The Dolphins haven’t been good since Dan Marino was kidnapped by Ray Finkle. This year is no excpetion.
Green Bay Packers (-7) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: On a day where Tom and Peyton are playing again, Aaron Rodgers faces off against Andrew Luck. Rodgers kind of took the title of top quarterback from Brady last year while Luck took Peyton’s old job. Problem is Luck also took Peyton’s old teammates. The Packers haven’t had an easy game yet this year, but this is close to that. They should win by 10.
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEF: The Ravens will win going away. It’s just one of those separation games. Arrowhead be damned.
Cleveland Browns (+9.5) over NY GIANTS: Without Hakeem Nicks, the Browns will be able to key in on Victor Cruz. The Giants are Barack Obama. On paper they could destroy the Browns, but instead they are going to keep it close and not take advantage of their two biggest weapons until the very last minute.
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS: The Steelers are not the same team this year. The defense is another year older, the bruising running game is last in the league in rushing, and they lost to Oakland at one point. The Eagles meanwhile are finding a way to win every week and getting points.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+3) over Hotlanta Falcons: The Falcons were a little lucky at home last week and this week face (dare I say!) Cam Newton 2.0 instead of the Cam Newton 1.0 they got last week.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3) over Seattle Seahawks: One game after picking on Cam Newton I take the Panthers, but that’s because Russell Wilson is Cam Newton 0.0.
Chicago Bears (-5.5) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: The Bears have a short week and have to face a short running back. Don’t be short-sighted though. This is a good team – a playoff team – against a bad team. The Jaguars are going to have a top pick in April.
Tennessee Titans (+5.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS: The whispers are growing louder. The Vikings are good. When they start getting more than a field goal against a somewhat average opponent, it’s a sign that the people are starting to come around.
Denver Broncos (+6.5) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: This will be a shootout as advertised. And as much as people try to say that this is a chess match between Manning and Belichick, it’s been a while since New England’s defense actually baffled Manning. The Patriots struggled for a half against the Bills last week, and play a better team this week. Whoever has the ball last will win, so the number of outcomes that have the Patriots covering are not many.
SAN FRANCISCO 49erRead more...

Week Four Picks: The Refs Are Back – Throw Out the Records

Last week we hit rock bottom. It was capped off by the inaccurate reception crushing my Green Bay pick and bringing the record on the week to 3-11-1.  Now for the season I’m at 6-17-2. This human torch will not be denied a bank loan though. Grampie got fired after making the picks and not having the wisdom to look into the degree to which the replacement officials were determining outcomes. This week the real officials are back. And so I am.

ATLANTA HAWKS (-7 ½) over Carolina Panthers: I was listening to Doug Gottlieb on CBS Radio earlier this week speak about how much has changed in the perceptions of Cam Newton versus Matt Ryan. Good point. Perhaps a better point though is how much the outlook on this whole division has been altered. The Falcons have looked like the best team in football while the Saints look to be heading toward the Matt Barkley sweepstakes (not saying Drew Brees is done – just saying Matt Barkley is going #1 regardless).
New England Patriots (-4.5) over BUFFALO Bills: The conventional wisdom is that the Patriots are going to be mean and angry, and that Bill Belichick will have the Patriots ready. The Pats haven’t loss three in a row since 2002. That said, the Bills have the type of team that can matchup with New England defensively. They can get to the quarterback and it won’t hurt that they are playing on the road. In the end though, I’m not sure if Buffalo can accomplish enough offensively. Both running backs are dinged up and New England has been pretty good at stopping running backs thus far in 2012.
DETROIT LIONS (-6) over Minnesota Vikings: Coming home the Lions will be ready to play after a disappointing loss at Tennessee, and the Vikings will be hung over (still) from their win against the 49ers.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+3) over San Diego Chargers: What’s that you say? The Chiefs beat New Orleans in New Orleans last week. And they’re GETTING points? At home? This is the lock of the week. The Whale’s Vaginas have done nothing to merit getting points in the season. Their “weapons” Gates, Matthews, Floyd, etc. have been yawnspiring to date and they just got walloped at home.
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) over ST. LOUIS RAMS: In the most well-documented case of a fated cover since the Cincinnati Reds sent out a hot starting pitcher five straight nights under Pete Rose, you hafta ride the hot hand in Seattle.
San Francisco 49ers (-4.5) over NY JETS: Both teams come in 2-1 and obviously the 49ers are traveling across the country, but the eye test says that SF the best team in football. They have the kind of defense that can win a game by itself. The Jets are without their best player for the rest of the season and there’s no Kurt Warner for them to rally around.
Tennessee Titans (-13) over HOUSTON TEXANS: The Texans are winning games by an average of more than 15 points per contest thus far, but only won by 6 last week. The teams that Houston has beaten up on are Miami and Jacksonville. Tennessee isn’t that bad.
Oakland Raiders (-7) over DENVER BRONCORead more...