Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | All Access e-Edition | Home RSS
 
 
 

Week 13 NFL Picks - And Some Other Stuff, Too

November 28, 2008 - John Whittaker

A Good Week For Otto The Orange

A couple of notes about coverage of Syracuse football and basketball games from the past week.
These Things Made Otto Smile: On Saturday, the Orange, a 20-point underdog, went into South Bend and knocked off Notre Dame, 24-23. First off, let me give credit to the announcing team on NBC. Tom Hammond, Pat Haden and Alex Flanagan called the game down the middle, which was surprising since NBC has an exclusive contract to broadcast Notre Dame football games. Of anyone, they'd be excused for being homers. But, they not only covered the game and its ramifications for the Irish, but what it meant for the Orange and recently fired coach Greg Robinson. Kudos to a job well done by an announcing team that seems to get panned all over the Internet. If you guys are reading this, and judging from my readership numbers, you aren't, you get a thumbs up from the Whitless Wonder.
On Monday night, the Syracuse basketball team was on ESPN2 against Florida. Now, for all the flak Dick Vitale gets for being too, um, carnally familiar with Duke, he was also good with putting the game into the proper perspective for both teams - the young and ranked Gators and the up-and-coming Orange. I really don't mind Dickie V., and thought he did a great job on the game.
During Tuesday night's game, he gave mad props to Arinze Onuaku, Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris and didn't let his famous homerism get in the way of the game. I have no problems with Dickie V's calling of those two games. He was calling for the Orange to give the ball to Onuaku in the post (he was right); said Jonny Flynn needed to step up in the second half against Kansas for Syracuse to have a chance (right again) and said Paul Harris should try out for an NFL team (right again. Let's be honest - he doesn't have NBA game). And, I'd be remiss if I didnt' give Dan Shulman a lot of credit for keeping Dickie V. on something close to the subject of each game.
All I ask is balance. Tell both sides of the story. And, for three games, NBC and ESPN's game crew did just that.
Otto's Giving These Guys The Finger: ESPN: I understand the collapse of Notre Dame is big news, and that Charlie Weis is on the hot seat. But, the story surrounding Syracuse winning Saturday's game was incredible. They were 20 point underdogs, for crying out loud. Their coach has been fired! He has no job to hang on to! A group of seniors that has put up one of the worst four-year stretches in Syracuse history went into South Bend, in the cathedral that is Notre Dame, and won! And, if you didn't catch the live press conference after the game on ESPN News, well, then you didn't hear anything about it, because ESPN completely blanked on the Syracuse angle of this story. Come on, Worldwide Leader, people are interested in something other than Notre Bleeping Dame.
Doug Gottleib: Okay, I understand that you don't like the way Jim Boeheim runs his program. You don't like his scheduling. He rips on you for the circumstances surrounding your exit at Notre Dame (who's got sticky fingers? DOUG GOTTLIEB!). But, shouldn't you just not comment on Syracuse games, then? I've been listening to him rip Syracuse for the last three years, and it's really getting old. Monday night, during halftime of the Syracuse-Florida game, Gottlieb is front and center minimizing the game if Syracuse wins. He bitches that Coach B doesn't play a tough enough schedule, and now, when he plays a ranked team in November, he's downgrading the game and ripping on the Orange anyway. He's whining because they aren't playing tough enough defense - never mind it's November, and anyone who knows college basketball knows good defense comes later in the season as teams learn how to play together. Early season games are always offensive showcases, and then defense wins conference and national championships in March and April. From now on, I just wish Gottlieb would SHUT UP. He sucks out loud. Hey Doug, I've got a newsflash for you. Ready? YOU SUCKED AS A PLAYER, AND YOU'RE NOT MUCH BETTER AS A FRICKING ANALYST. Analyze that, you stupid moron!

Since we've taken this week off from updating the blog, consider this a triple posting - long sidebar and a longer picks column than even I can read in the bathroom while, um, recovering from Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

At 4:15 p.m. Sunday, the Whitless Wonder and News Gal will take a break from wedding planning and Christmas shopping list making to grab some Lena's Pizza and watch the Pats beat the Steelers.
Pizza and the Steelers-Pats game has become almost as much a yearly tradition for the two of us as the Christmas shopping trip to Erie or me getting whupped at skee-ball and air hockey at Midway (and yes, those things do happen).
What makes me so confident in the Patriots, you may ask? Here are the Whitless Wonder's three keys to Sunday's game.
1. Dan Rooney needs to hire the Hardy Boys to find his team's offense. Pittsburgh has never been an offensive juggernaut, but this is ridiculous. I start three Steelers in my fantasy football league, and my team is 6-6 and barely hanging in the playoff race. Ben (no last name needed, right Phil Simms?) has been hurt, throws the ball to the wrong team too often and hardly ever cracks 250 yards passing in a game. That would be fine, but "Bruised' Willie Parker (play more than 3 straight games and you get the "Fast' nickname back, slick) is in and out of the lineup every other play, Mewelde Moore disappeared and Gary Russell (what?!?!?!) is getting significant carries. Spells a team the Pats can possibly stuff defensively, even if they are missing a slew of defensive starters.
2. Matt Cassel. That's right, the Whitless Wonder is back on the Matt Cassel bandwagon. There was one spot left, and I'm on it. WOOHOO! Even though neither game was on TV, it was amazing just to see the bottom line scrolling across ESPNNews the last two weeks. How good was USC if this guy was third-string? My God - he's amazing. Not replace Tom Brady amazing, mind you, but pretty damn good nonetheless. I think he can shred the Steelers defense. If they get pressure on him, he takes off for a decent gain. If they play zone, he picks them apart. He's like Michael Vick, but white and without the whole killing dogs thing. Moving on…
3. Feeling No Pressure. I wouldn't trade the 2007 regular season for anything. Seriously, who goes 18-0? But, I think the pressure got to the Pats last season. This season, they're playing with the house's money. When Brady went down, all the expectations changed for them. When Rodney Harrison and Adalius Thomas got hurt, the expectations went out the window. Once Bill Belichick had the "have fun' talk with the team, the Patriots have looked like a different team. The Steelers, on the other hand, come into the season with Expectations, with a capital E, and they're feeling a little pressure now from Crazy Uncle Ray's Baltimore Ravens and Joe A-Flacco. Will Mike Tomlin's boys come through, or, if you put a lump of coal in their butts, would you have a diamond in two weeks? I'm betting the Steelers are a collective DeBeers mine.
On a Friday morning, this feels like a 31-24 Patriots win. Bring on the Lena's!
Before we get to the picks, a few thoughts on the BCS and the Thanksgiving Day football games.
1. I'm not saying the NFL should move the Lions off of Thanksgiving Day. It's a tradition and all. But, if you're going to commit to having that team on national TV on Thanksgiving, they have to be remotely competitive. And, if they're down by 30 points, there should be no more TV timeouts and delays. With that in mind, the Whitless Wonder has two suggestions. First, I say, if William Clay Ford insists on putting that lump of cat excrement on the field every week, then, when they're down 30 in the second half, there's a running clock like in junior high basketball games. And, Ford has to make the TV sponsors good for all the advertising that isn't run during the game. How's that for an incentive to field a decent team?
Second, well, on second thought, let's just take the Lions off of Thanksgiving Day. Watching that game almost made me throw up turkey in my mouth, a little bit. Ugh.
2. I didn't see this game, since I don't have NFL Network, but Andy Reid has to be feeling a little stupid for benching Donovan McNabb last week after McNabb rallied for four touchdown passes last night against Arizona. Maybe that bad first half had more to do with Ray Lewis and a good defense than it did with McNabb being done like Thanksgiving dinner. Are you rethinking that move a little bit, Andy? Just a little bit? Just a thought….
3. I hope Alabama loses in the SEC title game, seriously. What a monkey wrench it will throw in the BCS - I could see college football teams hanging banners next season like they were boxing championships. We could have eight teams claiming a share of the national championship - who wants to tell Joe Paterno that his team doesn't deserve a share, regardless of what the BCS says? Texas Tech? Texas? What do you do with Boise State and Ball State? Yeah. I say all of those teams have a share, if Alabama loses. If all the teams have one loss, and there is no playoff system, then you have a crapload of national champions.
Speaking of the NCAA, some real gems from Sir Cumference this week:
Alabama-Auburn: Alabama: And they're not even the best team in their own conference....
Florida-Florida State: Florida: The Gators could pretty much name their margin in this one. They could cover the 16.5 in each half--this one promises to get ugly.
USC-Notre Dame: Southern Cal: I'll take "Blowouts' for $400, please, Alex.
Cincinnati-Syracuse: Cincinnati: I'm happy for you that we actually got to pick a 'Cuse game this year. It's too bad they're going to lose it by four TDs.
The race for the Fat Guy trophy is heating up, so the Whitless Wonder needs to come through this week with his picks.

Sir Cumference took over as the leader this week with a 19-8 showing last week, just beating Finn's 18-9 and the Whitless Wonder's 17-10. Now, on to the picks.
San Francisco at Buffalo: So, if you're Joe Montana, are you introducing yourself as the former quarterback of the Ringgold Rams? I'd give it some serious thought - the 49ers are crap, the Chiefs are crap, and Notre Dame is really crap. The Trent Edwards Resurgence (sounds like a cool name for a band) continues this weekend as the Bills play another team with a lousy defense. The game's a lot easier when you play crappy teams, isn't it, Trent?
Sir Cumference's Take: Buffalo: Here's a phrase I haven't used in a while, but "Lock of the Week". I don't love this Bills team, but I am almost 100% certain they will thrash a weak West Coast team in the Ralph.
Teddy's Take (channeling his inner Chris Berman): The Bills, because no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Ray Lewis and Ed Reed must be licking their chops for this game. Ray might have, like 200 tackles, and Reed could have 200 yards in interception returns. Hasn't Boomer Esiason turned on the Bengals yet? If he hasn't, he should. I like Baltimore winning this game, since they have something to play for and the Bengals are trying to keep pace with the Lions for the first pick in the draft.
Indianapolis at Cleveland: If Peter King knows that the real problem with Brady Quinn is the tendon in his finger and not the broken finger, why don't Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage know this? Don't they have an Internet connection in their office? Do they not read Monday Morning Quarterback? They should be fired just for playing Quinn last week. Since the Browns have no Internet access, here are a few other news tips for you: Peyton Manning is a really good quarterback who you might want to try to come up with a game plan to stop; the stock market is in the crapper; and the News Gal and I will take the crystal candlesticks for a wedding present. Oh, some Whitless Wonder guy from Jamestown is picking the Colts to beat you this weekend. Got all that?
Sir Cumference's Take: Indianapolis: The Colts are rounding into form. So are the Browns, for that matter, but not the kind of form that makes me want to pick them. Braylon Edwards has to have a shot at the league record for drops, and if he continues to not look the ball all the way into his flippers it should be all his.
Teddy's Take: So much for Quinn. Maybe he still has a year of eligibility left, Notre Dame could use him
Carolina at Green Bay: Was it only 12 weeks ago I took Carolina to beat San Diego in my eliminator pool? Holy schnikes. I thought Carolina would be better with Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme, but they're not. I thought Green Bay's defensive backs and linebackers would be enough to keep their offense in games, but they're not. I'll be honest with you - I have no idea who's winning this game. I'm flipping a coin, and, Packers win!
Sir Cumference's Take: Green Bay: I can't think of a single reason to take Carolina on the road against a decent team. This has "Jake Delhomme Stinkbomb' written all over it.
Denver at N.Y. Jets: If Denver can't stop Oakland, there's no way in the name of all that's right in the world they keep Brett Favre off the scoreboard enough to win Sunday. And, I don't know what's happened, but Jay Cutler looks really pedestrian. Oh wait, I know what happened - they're starting Peyton Hillis at running back. Bet you wish you'd picked up BenJarvis Green Ellis in the offseason, don't you, Mike Shanahan? As much as I could really use the Jets losing to get the Patriots even in the division race, I don't see it happening this weekend.
Miami at St. Louis: Before the season, I would have picked this game as a chance for the Dolphins to get their first or second win of the season. Now, it's a slam dunk. Did you enjoy your last head coaching job, Jim Haslett? Don't think you'll be getting another one after the debacle you've overseen the last few weeks. Tony Sparano, on the other hand, is making himself a ton of money in either a contract extension with the Dolphins or a contract with the Lions when Bill Parcells comes back down to coach the Dolphins.
Sir Cumference's Take: St. Louis: There is no good reason to pick the Rams. I expect heavy money on Miami, because this line is way too short. Vegas knows more than I do, and they're content with heavy money on Miami. Ergo, the Rams should win, though I really have no idea why.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay: You almost had me, New Orleans. I was this close to picking you to beat the Bucs, but then, common sense broke out in Whitless Wonder-land. This is what the Saints do. They look like crap for three weeks, have a game where they bait you into betting on them, and then lay a stinky, eggy fart all over the field the next week. Jon Gruden will have his Fabreze with him to keep the air clean as the Bucs take out New Orleans on Sunday.
Sir Cumference's Take: Tampa Bay: I MIGHT back the Saints on the road if I were at gunpoint.
Teddy's Take (as a silly Tampa Bay fan): Does anyone think that its fair that Tampa will be playing at home for the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!
N.Y. Giants at Washington: When did the Giants become the best team in the league? Probably when they derailed the greatest season in NFL history by beating the Pats in the Super Bowl. I don't know how Tom Coughlin has kept his team playing that well for this long, but this season probably cements a Hall of Fame spot and genius designation. Damn you, Tom Coughlin and your red nose. I have to pick you to beat Washington, too.
Atlanta at San Diego: I wouldn't have seen this pick coming at the start of the season, but I'm taking Atlanta, on the road, against Philip Rivers, LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. How far the trash-talking, whiny Chargers have fallen. I'm riding shotgun on the Matt Ryan bandwagon right now, though, and I can't wait to see what happens when this team adds some defensive pieces in the offseason. Is it too much to ask to see Matt Ryan do the Dirty Bird after a touchdown this weekend?
Sir Cumference's Take: San Diego: Nice schedule for them at the moment, and I'm still not sold on them being bad. I would not be shocked if they beat out Denver for the AFC West title.
Pittsburgh at New England: I'm picking the Pats, see above.
Sir Cumference's Take: New England: This is my "Ugh' game of the week. I have no idea whatsoever who will win, and there is almost nothing that could shock me. I'll take the favorite.
Kansas City at Oakland: (Stared at blank screen for 10 minutes, stomach started feeling upset, went to bathroom for 20 minutes). This game sucks. Really sucks. Sucks out loud. Oprah should give any fan attending this game a new car or something for their trouble. Isn't it worth it? Doesn't the Constitution say something about cruel and unusual punishment? I mean, man, this game really sucks. It doth really suck (like how I went all King James with the this team sucks argument? Me too).. Since there's a contest and a trophy at stake, I pick Oakland. I can't tell you why.
Sir Cumference's Take: Oakland: Tyler Thigpen on the road = no thanks, even if he's going against JaMarcus Russell
Teddy's Take: I'd rather watch paint dry then watch this game.
Chicago at Minnesota: I was really torn on this one, so I let Tecmo Bowl make my pick for me. Tommy Kramer threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, one of them to Anthony Carter, and Darrin Nelson ran for 60 yards and a touchdown as the Vikings won, 21-17. For the Bears, Jim McMahon threw for 220 yards, Walter Payton ran for 45 and a touchdown, and Dennis Gentry returned a kick for a touchdown. I'll stick with the Tecmo prediction - though I think Adrian Peterson has more to do with the outcome than Anthony Carter or Darrin Nelson.
Sir Cumference's Take: Chicago: OK, I'll say it--Minnesota is mediocre at best. I love me some All Day, but they have NOTHING else on offense, and the Bears should have just enough to win a close one.
Jacksonville at Houston: This television season has given us Hole in the Wall, Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, Real Housewives of Atlanta, another season of the Ghost Whisperer, and now, David Garrard and Sage Rosenfels on Monday Night Football. Thank God I won't be watching this lump of turd. There's a new episode of How I Met Your Mother and Monday Night Raw, as well as two hours of Family Guy on TBS. If there is a flex deal for ESPN in the Monday Night Football package, I think they should have flexed for this game. Again, since there is a trophy up for grabs here, I'm taking Jacksonville.
Sir Cumference's Take: Houston: I'm not sure which of these teams is worse. I suspect it's Houston, but Jax looks bad enough that I'm not ready to take them on the road.

 

 

Whitless wonders

Finn

Sir Cumference

Teddy

Simon Teska

Season Record

241-115

245-111

246-110

240-112

213-133

Previous Week

17-10

18-9

19-8

15-12

16-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco at Buffalo

BUF

BUFF

BUF

BUF

 

Baltimore at Cincinnati

BAL

BAL

BAL

BAL

 

Indianapolis at Cleveland

IND

IND

IND

IND

 

Carolina at Green Bay

GB

GB

GB

GB

 

Denver at N.Y. Jets

NYJ

DEN

NYJ

NYJ

 

Miami at St. Louis

MIA

STl

STL

MIA

 

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

TB

TB

TB

TB

 

N.Y. Giants at Washington

NYG

NYG

NYG

NYG

 

Atlanta at San Diego

ATL

ATL

SD

SD

 

Pittsburgh at New England

NE

PITT

NE

PIT

 

Kansas City at Oakland

OAK

KC

OAK

KC

 

Chicago at Minnesota.

MINN

MINN

CHI

MINN

 

Jacksonville at Houston

JAX

HOU

HOU

HOU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NCAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama vs. Auburn

ALA

ALA

ALA

ALA

 

Florida at Florida State

FLA

FLA

FLA

FLA

 

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

OKLA

OKL

OKLA

OK ST

 

Southern Cal vs. Notre Dame

USC

USC

USC

USC

 

Texas Tech vs. Baylor

TEX TECH

TEX

TEX TECH

TEX TECH

 

Missouri vs. Kansas

MISS

MISS

MISS

MISS

 

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech

UGA

UGA

UGA

GA TECh

 

Cincinnati vs. Syracuse

SYR

CINN

CINC

SYR

 

Oregon State vs. Oregon.

OREGON

OREG ST

ORE ST

OREG ST

 

Boston College vs. Maryland

BC

BC

MD

BC

 

Simon's picks will be posted Friday/Saturday afternoon.

 

It's anybody's ballgame with a few weeks to go - Sir Cumference has a 1 game lead, with the Whitless Wonder five games back and Teddy six games back.

 
 

Article Comments

No comments posted for this article.
 
 

Post a Comment

You must first login before you can comment.

*Your email address:
*Password:
Remember my email address.
or
 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web