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Last year I made some horrendous predictions, but just like a weather man, I am back to try again!
Last year I picked only 6 of a possible 12 playoff teams correctly, ultimately picking the Atlanta Falcons to overcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to become Super Bowl XLVI champs.
Nowhere to go but up, right?!
As always injuries can and will play a major role in the season. It happens every year. Peyton Manning, the obvious example, going down turned the Colts from a probable wild card team to #1 choice in the NFL Draft (hello, Andrew Luck).
Who knows how the Buffalo Bills would have performed if Fred Jackson never went down and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ribs were never injured? They finished 6-10, but when healthy they were 5-2 and to say they could have went 9-7 or 10-6 isn’t a far reach. We’ll never know and that’s the rub with injuries to key players in the NFL.
This year is no different. Michael Vick will always be the prime suspect on everyone’s list to get hurt and ruin his teams season. He is notoriously fragile with his little baby bones and needs to run less recklessly or he will never complete a full season again.
Is Peyton Manning all the way back? He took some good, hard shots in the preseason and popped right back up, but (there’s always a ‘but’) no one has ever had this sort of injury/surgeries before so there’s no way to possibly predict how his neck will react to a full slate of games.
Can the New York football Giants repeat?
Can the Packers repeat a 15-1 type season and win the Super Bowl?
On to my prediction of every teams record; Read the rest of this entry »
Part I can be found here.
The fact that every contending team in MLB has issues (some worse than others) is a good thing, unless of course you are a frustrated fan of one of those teams. The flaws in every good team will almost guarantee a thrilling season.
Every team will have to punch and crawl and drag themselves to the finish line. With the exception of the Detroit Tigers who are (easily) in the worst division in baseball. The Tigers should cruise to the AL Central crown.
Just like the majority of the division races should be fun to watch, so too will the awards races.
The MVP races in both the AL & NL should be especially close, particularly with the additions of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols to the AL.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers – The 1-2 punch of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera is a scary prospect for every pitcher in the American League. Fielder, like Pujols, should have a field day on more than a few of these #4 & #5 back end pictures. (Think .310 avg, 40 HR, 130 RBI)
Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
AL Cy Young
David Price, Tampa Bay Rays – Being 6’6″/220 lbs he can handle the rigors of a full season and well over 200 innings of Grade A pitching. His ERA elevated slightly last year, but I see him returning to his 2010 season where he finished second in the Cy Young race to the stellar Felix Hernandez. The kid is 26-years-old and is entering his prime years. (Think 21-6, 2.50 ERA, 230 IP, 215 SO)
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds – Votto signed a massive $251.5 million, 12-year deal that is the largest in Cincinnati Reds history. Votto won the NL MVP in 2010 and I expect him to repeat that feat again this season. (Think .300, 25 HR, 125 RBI)
Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
NL Cy Young
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies – since 2008 he has been one of the best (if not the best) pitchers in baseball. Last season he threw six (I repeat six!!) complete game shutouts in addition to winning 17 games, posting a 2.40 ERA, and striking out 238 (in 232.2 innings). Damn impressive. He’ll be 34 in August and he’s thrown at least 212 innings each of the last four seasons, but he has shown no sign of slowing down. (Think 19-5, 2.25 ERA, 220 IP, 220 SO)
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Miami Marlins
So far I am making up for a poor weekend with a decent week this week. Here’s hoping is continues!
UCLA Bruins (6-6) @ #9 Oregon Ducks (10-2)
Pick: Oregon -31 & taking the over (66.5)
Reason: A 31 point spread is a gigantic number, I know, but UCLA is probably the worst team to play in a conference championship game ever. They gave up nearly 31 points a game, combine that with the face that Oregon nearly 46 and it’s a recipe for successfully covering a 31 point spread and going over 66.5 combined points.
#9 Florida Gators (5-1) @ #3 Syracuse Orange (7-0)
Pick: Syracuse -6 & taking the over (148.5)
Reason: I like the Orange to cover the spread by attacking a suspect Florida defense. The over (148.5) seems to be relatively easy to meet with Florida averaging 90.9 ppg and the Orange at 83.1 ppg.
Cincinnati Bearcats (4-2) @ Georgia Bulldogs (4-3)
Pick: Georgia +1.5
Reason: Cincinnati is pretty terrible. Combined with the fact that Georgia has 3 of their 4 total wins at home and that equals a Georgia win.
#19 Vanderbilt Commodores (5-2) @ #6 Louisville Cardinals (6-0)
Pick: Louisville -8
Reason: Louisville is off to a fantastic start (injuries be damned!) and is playing some ridiculous defense holding opponents to under 50 ppg on the season. The Cardinals are also 5-0 at home.
After a rough weekend in which I went 6-9 on my picks I am hoping to have a good week this week. Had a couple of close calls that could have made my picks a more manageable 8-7, but those .5 points killed me!
I didn’t put the pick up yesterday (since there was only the one), but I did take the over (51) in the Giants-Saints game. I won that pick, by the way, as the Giants got slaughtered 49-24.
NFL Season stats
On to tonight’s action;
#15 Michigan Wolverines @ Virginia Cavaliers
Pick: taking the over (115)
Reason: 115 is a very low number for two teams that regularly score over 60 ppg as a team. Michigan averaging 68.2 and Virginia 62.7.
Miami (OH) RedHawks @ Cincinnati Bearcats
Pick: Miami (OH) +11.5
Reason: Neither team is really any good, but Miami (OH) has been competitive in their two losses, one of which was a 6 point defeat to #14 Xaxier. Cincinnati on the other hand lost to Presbyterian…PRESBYTERIAN!
Eastern Michigan Eagles @ #3 Syracuse Orange
Pick: taking the over (131)
Reason: I see a good 90 point game from the Orange as a team, which leaves a measly 42 points left to be scored by lowly Eastern Michigan. I have faith in the Eagles.
Arizona @ New Mexico State
Pick: Arizona +3
Reason: This is a “I’m glad I don’t gamble pick” because I don’t have a concrete reason other than it just feels right. I fully expect my intuition is wrong.
#4 Duke @ #2 Ohio State
Pick: Duke +7.5
Reason: Does anyone really think giving a Duke team this good over 7 points to start the game?
I am currently at my in-laws house typing this up and had only enough time to look at my NFL selections. Therefore this an NFL only edition.
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Atlanta -9.5
Reason: This spread is low by 2-3 points, IMO. I try to make all my picks by thinking, “Would I bet real money on this?” and this passes that test thoroughly.
Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts
Pick: taking the over (46.5)
Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders
Pick: Oakland -3.5
Reason: I love the Bears defense and I think they will keep the Bears in this game through three quarters, but I think they were playing so well offensively that the loss of Jay Cutler will be too much. I like the Raiders going away in this one at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Pittsburgh -10.5
Reason: This game could be -14 and I’d still jump on it. The Chiefs has lost any luster they did have and Tyler Palko is their starting QB these days with Matt Cassell being lost due to injury. This is an easy laugher.
I occasionally make picks on Covers.com for free. They are a part of a contest they have for various sports with weekly and monthly winners (I believe). It’s fun for me and the reason for that is I am at least half good because I consistently finish at 50% or slightly higher.
With that said, here are all of my picks for today (and probably a well below 50% win-loss record since I so obviously jinxed it).
Some games will have a reason listed and other will not. The ones that do not are because it’s either A) an obvious pick or B) a boring explanation (i.e. “it just feels right”, or “I have a hunch”)
Texas Tech @ #18 Baylor
Pick: Baylor -12 & taking the under (82)
Reason: I think Robert Griffin III and the Bears can easily cover the 12, they are clearly the better team. The o/u on the other hand is much more difficult. Both teams have put up tons of points during the season, but 82 just seems like such a huge number to me. If they go over than more power to them.
#17 Clemson @ #12 South Carolina
Pick: Clemson +3.5
Reason: Clemson had me fooled earlier this season into thinking they were a marginal great team and they are not, but neither is South Carolina who has been extremely inconsistent (at different times) on both sides of the ball. I’ll take the team that beat Auburn, Florida State, and Virginia Tech by a combined score of 106-57.
#22 Notre Dame @ #4 Stanford
Pick: taking the over (59.5)
Tulane @ Hawaii
Pick: taking the over (55)
San Diego – Alcorn State @ New Orléans
Pick: San Diego -11.5
UMass – Charleston @ Battle 4 Atlantis at Nassau, Bahamas
Pick: UMass -4
Northern Iowa – Providence @ South Padre Island Invitational at South Padre Island, TX
Pick: Northern Iowa -4.5 & taking the under (126)
UNLV – North Carolina @ Las Vegas Invitational
Pick: UNC -7.5 & taking the over (158.5)
Reason: UNLV has the unofficial home court advantage, but let’s be real here, the Tar Heels are the most stacked team in the country. I think that 7.5 point spread is solely on the fact that the game is being played in Las Vegas alone. The spread and over/under will both be blown away, in my opinion.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
This is the man who threw for 30 TD’s and 4,710 yards at 66% completions throwing to guys like Patrick Crayton, Legedu Naanee, and Seyi Ajirotutu. Now this season he has Vincent Jackson & Antonio Gates (mostly) healthy. Naanee or Ajirotutu as a 3rd receiver or in the slot is fine, but as a #1 or #2 is not going to end well for most QB’s. Philip Rivers is going to have a ridiculous season. I can see 4,900 yards and 34 TD’s.
Defensive Player of the Year
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
When you are half way through your rookie season and people are already referring to you as being one of the top 3 DT’s in the NFL you know that man is a special player. Barring injury, Suh is going to rack up a bunch of these Defensive POY awards. Not to mention Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams. Suh is as dominate as position as any player at any position. Man is a beast.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
In my opinion Jones is the most NFL ready of all rookies this season. He has had his off moments in the preseason and he does drop too many balls, but he’s as ready as they come. He has a true pro at QB throwing him the ball and one of the top 5 receivers on the other side of him in Roddy White.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos
I could have went in plenty other directions here with Patrick Patterson, Jimmy Smith, Ryan Kerrigan or Adrian Clayborn. I settled on Von Miller because he appears to be the most clean cut and ready NFL prospect.
Coach of the Year
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
Finally gets his Houston Texans over the hump and they excise those nightmares of Peyton Manning and the Colts and win the AFC South. With Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and Matt Schaub on offense and a defense that is certainly improved with Jonathan Joseph & Danieal Manning in the secondary and Wade Phillips can work wonders as a defensive coordinator.
I feel pretty decent on most of my win/loss predictions, with the exception of a few.
One in particular is the Indianapolis Colts. With even a slightly injured Peyton Manning the Colts are a solid 10 win team.
Without him? They are on the clock for a top 5 pick in next years NFL Draft. That is the risk you run with you have a player who accounts for so much of your offensive production. When he’s healthy and right everything is peachy, if he manages to get hurt? Might as well write the season off.
The other team I am wholly unsure of is the Philadelphia Eagles, the supposed Dream Team of the NFL. It’s true they amassed a king’s ransom of talent in some spots, but they left others completely alone. With the additions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, etc… they strengthened themselves greatly. Now they have a game ready backup QB, a talent rich secondary and defensive line. Read the rest of this entry »
The 2010 NFL regular season is in the books so that means it’s time for some awards! Who doesn’t love some awards?
NFL Coach of the Year
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers – I know all teams suffer through injuries in this league, but the Pack had injuries to some major players (Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley) and when you can coach a team into the playoffs where the person with the most rushing TD’s (four, tied with John Kuhn) is your quarterback (and that QB is not named Vick) that’s something of a tremendous accomplishment.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Comeback Player of the Year
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles – Who else could it be? Two years out of federal prison and the man is a strong candidate for NFL MVP in his first season back as a regular starter. The numbers simply speak for themselves;
100 carries, 676 yds, 9 TD, 6.8 ypc
233-372, 62.6% cmp, 3018 yds, 21 td – 6 int, 100.2 QB rating
Normally I would see I went 8-6 for the week and be disappointed. The 8-6 week doesn’t usually follow a 5-9 week, so considering how I did in Week 5, I think Week 6 wasn’t so bad!
Hopefully this is a trend and the 5-9 that went to 8-6 can now go to 10-4, but I’m not holding my breath (because I’d probably die).
Last Week: 8-6
(Home team in all CAPS)
Sunday, October 24
ATLANTA over Cincinnati
Washington over CHICAGO
Philadelphia over TENNESSEE <—-upset of the week
KANSAS CITY over Jacksonville
Pittsburgh over MIAMI
NEW ORLEANS over Cleveland
TAMPA BAY over St. Louis
San Francisco over CAROLINA
BALTIMORE over Buffalo
SEATTLE over Arizona
DENVER over Oakland
SAN DIEGO over New England
Minnesota over GREEN BAY
Monday, October 25
NY Giants over DALLAS
Upset of the Week:
Said as plainly as I can put it, if Tennessee was starting Vince Young I would have picked them to win.
I know Philly is going to be without DeSean Jackson, but he isn’t going to affect the offense for Philly as much as Vince Young being out will affect the Titans offense.
(Side note: I think it’s an upset, in and of itself, that the spread in the Baltimore-Buffalo & New Orléans-Cleveland is 13 in both. That’s all? I know New Orléans has struggled some this year on offense, but good God, Cleveland is terrible. Conversely Baltimore has been pretty damn good so far this year and Buffalo has been downright disgusting in 4 of their 5 losses in their lovely 0-5 start.)