Friday, December 30, 2011

The Friend's Picks

Standing on my soapbox…

What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm,I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends.

If that didn’t conjure memories of watching The Wonder Years on Tuesday night, then I don’t know what will.

After going 5-0, YES 5-0, in Week 15, the long-awaited friend’s picks blog is here! Yippee!!  My group of friends are ready so let’s go to the games…

Week 15: 5-0
Overall: 32-27

WASHINGTON at PHILADELPHIA (-9):  I’ve known Chris Foster for more than a decade.  We go back to the days of working at Sportmart.  After closing hours, we’d play HORSE on one of the basketball hoops set up at the store.  At $5 a game, the games were competitive.  He and I have been colleagues for years but more importantly we’ve been friends for more than a decade.  He likes Philadelphia for one reason…LeSEAN McCOY.  CHRIS FOSTER PICKS: PHILADELPHIA

SAN FRANCISCO (-10.5) at ST. LOUIS:  Seth Martin, director of the cult-classic, Die-ner! Get it!, is a trust-worthy source for gaming purposes.  He’s known to play online poker and knows his way around an NFL sportsbook.  I’ve been friends with Seth for many years now.  We’re both in the same Fantasy Football league and were teammates on the infamous flag football team, K-Town.  I can still hear him yell, Danny, que papas! -meaning we were blitzing and yours truly was going to blitz.  SETH MARTIN PICKS: SAN FRANCISCO

DALLAS at NY GIANTS (-3): A belated Happy Birthday to Andrew Bressler, P.A.!!  New York readers, especially my NY female readers, if you see Andrew, wish him a happy b-day.  Andrew and I have many stories but there was an experience with him that helped me out tremendously.  Last year in April, my live-in girlfriend and I were having relationship problems, to say the least.  During a round of golf, Andrew opened up about his problems with his live-in girlfriend.  We both were experiencing the same problems and were in the same state of mind.  Though our relationships with our girlfriends ended, it felt good that someone was able to relate to my relationship problems.  Thank you, Andrew.  I’ll always remember that talk.  Our beloved Iggles will be back in 2012!! ANDREW BRESSLER PICKS:  NY GIANTS

TENNESSEE (-3) at HOUSTON: This whole year, I’ve touted Tennessee as the Paul Giamatti’s of the NFL.  You don’t know how good Giamatti is as an actor until you see one of his movies.  As soon as the movie ends, you tell yourself you need to watch more of his flicks.  Angel Fajardo is a very talented actor.  You might have seen him in an episode of The Sopranos or Southland, or in a play such as Much to Do about Nothing or Alice in Wonderland.  He’s a hell of a cousin to boot.  Hollywood, take note of Angel Fajardo.  ANGEL FAJARDO PICKS: TENNESSEE

BALTIMORE (-2.5) at CINCINNATI:  What would be a friend’s picks blog without representation from my Jewish brethren?! Not a true blog!  Though Jewish, Dan Everakes , aka the Heebs, is more in touch with the Latino culture than most of his Latino friends.  He’s a die-hard Raider fan, lives in the greater San Fernando Valley, and wears USA socks.  Watching an NFL game with him is beyond fun.  From frustrating bellows to euphoric yells, the Heebs is a roller coaster of emotions on game day.  I raise my Manischewitz to you, Heebs!  DAN EVERAKES PICKS: BALTIMORE

PITTSBURGH (-8.5) at CLEVELAND: My ambassador of horse racing, Kara Cahill, is also a trusty source for NFL games. If I ever need help with horse racing bets, I look to Kara for advice.  CA readers, follow her advice and play at Hollywood Park.  Santa Anita’s handling of the horses is suspect.  Whenever the Eagles and the NY Giants face each other, she and I go back and forth with texts about the game.  Her beloved Giants had her on the brink last week but were able to position themselves to win the NFC East this week.  Kara, the Maragaritaville is calling us!  KARA CAHILL PICKS: CLEVELAND

INDIANAPOLIS (-4) at JACKSONVILLE:  Ef and I have been through a lot.  High school buddies turned roommates to now really good friends, I see him as my sound of reasoning.  Whether I have family problems, need advice on women, or advice on my career, Ef has given me sound advice throughout the years.  If you ever want to take a Vegas trip, make sure Ef is one of the people invited.  I’d like to take credit for breakfast burrito/mimosa trend but that was all Ef’s doing.  He and I could conjure up memories of our adventures until the cows came home.   EFRAIN GUTIERREZ PICKS: INDIANAPOLIS

NY JETS at MIAMI (-1): The first time I met Fernando, I thought he was a classmate’s brother.  It was the summer of our incoming freshman year in high school and there was this tall guy with a full goatee;  I mean that goatee was thick. “No way a freshman could grow that goatee”, I thought.  It turned out that Fernando was a freshman too and we’ve been friends ever since.  Our friendship has endured the test of time and distance as he is an accomplish lawyer in Washington D.C.  I’d like to think that I had a hand with his first date with his wife, but that’s for another day, maybe over a stogie or a Boddington’s.  When in Washington D.C., the Obama’s hospitality doesn’t come to close to Fernando and Claire’s hospitality.  Congrats again to you and Claire, Fernando.  FERNANDO AMARILLAS PICKS:  NY JETS

BUFFALO at NEW ENGLAND (-12.5):  This game was toss up for Jorge Mendoza.  He was a casual fan of Buffalo and practices in Boston.  I’d like to think that Jorge and I are peas in a pod in the personality department.  I met Jorge in high school through Ef and we became buds.  We both are first-generation Salvadoran-Americans so we relate to each other’s upbringing.  It was truly evident the day I found out Jorge grew up listening to Salvadoran oldies, English-speaking songs covered by Salvadoran bands in Spanish!  Among the favorites were the Spanish versions of Don’t Let Me Down, Under the Boardwalk, and You Made Me So Very Happy.  Do you remember earlier this year when I recommended everyone to have an Ivy League friend? Well, Jorge is that friend to me.  JORGE MENDOZA PICKS: NEW ENGLAND

SAN DIEGO at OAKLAND (-3):  Like a good woman, a good friend is hard to find.  Jimmy Guidish is that good friend to me.  We’ve both dealt with family tragedies and our friendship has grown tighter due it.  He’s an honest guy who speaks his mind and lets you know it.  He’s a talented sketch comedy actor, who has a knack for portraying his friends and/or family on stage.  He’s one part of the sketch comedy group, Freedom Snatch, that holds the record for most consecutive wins in the battle cage matches at the Improve Olympic west.  A die-hard Bears and Bulls fan, Jimmy’s turn in Hollywood is due.  Hollywood, don’t fall asleep on Jimmy.  JIMMY GUIDISH PICKS: OAKLAND

KANSAS CITY at DENVER (-3.5): If there was ever a guy who was against point spreads, then Alex Aguilar would be that guy.  His reasoning is: “If you believe in your team, why should you get points?” I stopped seeing him as my cousin and started seeing him as my brother decades ago.   The Patriots were his team years before Tom Brady took the helm!  Can you find me another Patriots fan pre-Brady era?  I’ve lost many a bet to him and his love of the Patriots.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get married, but I do know that Alex will be my best man!  ALEX AGUILAR PICKS: DENVER

In closing, these are my friends who gave me advice, complemented me, constructively-criticized me and gave me the inspiration to write this year’s blog.  I want to thank you, readers, for giving my blog the time of day in your life. If I entertained you for at least a moment, then writing my blogs were all the more worthwhile.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Stepping down from my soapbox…

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adios, Mendoza line

Standing on top of my soapbox…

After my bye week (hey if NFL teams have them, why can’t I?), I’ve been re-energized and ready to go.  This week’s piece was initially intended to be a Friend’s picks blog where I asked some of my friends to pick the games, but I’d figured we would make it next week to tie into Christmas, Chanukah and Festivus. This week I’m determined to leave the Mendoza line once and for all!

Let’s go to the games shall we…

Overall: 27-27

WASHINGTON at NY GIANTS (-7): What a comeback by Eli Manning and the Giants over the Cowboys last week!! Can we start giving this man his just deserves!  Eli has been quietly putting together an MVP season with a less-than-stellar receiving corps.  No disrespect to Victor Cruz, Mark Ballard or Mario Manningham, but they aren’t Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, or Jordy Nelson.  They was a play in the 4th quarter when Eli threw the ball to Manningham in stride and in the numbers- MY GOD it was an immaculate throw but Manningham didn’t catch it. 

This week the Giants host the Redskins in what promises to be an NFC clash.  Look for the Giants to get an early lead but Rex Grossman will find a way to backdoor cover.  Plus, it’s a division game and the Giants are coming off an emotional win.  By the way, has anyone outside of Washington suddenly noticed a re-emergence from not only Grossman but from Jabar Gaffney?  Maybe it was my 3rd Bloody Mary… TSS PICKS: WASHINGTON

MIAMI at BUFFALO (-1):  There are a couple of teams that have flat out quit this season.  They’ve mailed it in and have taken that bum, Ricky Waters’ motto, “For what, for whom?”  It’s plain fully obvious.   Aside from Tampa Bay, Buffalo is another team that has already quit.  The once-hyped team (my 2011 Ugly Duckling candidates), have gone on the proverbial downward spiral since re-signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. (Where the hell was this team when they were playing my beloved Iggles??!!)

Miami, on the other hand, is running away with the 2011 Ugly Duckling title.  They’ve covered at least 2/3 of their games, were on a 3-game win streak, and have not thrown in the towel.  If that doesn’t spell out Ugly Duckling, then I don’t know what does.  I like Miami, playing inspired ball, despite the fact that Sparano was let go earlier this week.  Matt Moore, Devon Bess, and Reggie Bush circle the wagon on the hapless Bills.  TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: MIAMI

CAROLINA at HOUSTON (-6.5):  I really should stay away from this game.  This one has bad news written all over it.  Have you ever been getting your ass handed to you at a blackjack table but your ego wouldn’t let you walk away?  You know what I’m talking about.  You get 2 face cards and the dealer pulls a 21 out of a face card a 4, a 2, a 5.  Beats like that continue for the next 10 games and while your friends are urging you to walk away, you tell them to politely “fuck off” (in Ef’s and Shaun’s  cases, they’ll  say “Just go”).  What happens next is you take the walk of shame to the ATM machine to get money and to try your luck somewhere else.

Houston is the blackjack dealer that’s been killing me all year.  I haven’t been a fan (as evidenced in the Week 3 blog), but they seem to win and cover week after week.  This week will change though.  Wade Phillips’ untimely leave of absence (“Feel better, Wade”) will have an effect on the Houston D.  Keep in mind that Cam Newton is a beast when he’s running the ball. Though Carolina is torrid on the road, look for them to at least cover.  TSS PICKS: CAROLINA

NEW ENGLAND (-7) at DENVER: The Ambassador of Nice Guys, Tim Tebow, goes up against The Man.  I’m salivating at this game because both offenses are fun to watch.  The unpredictability of Tebow and the execution style of Brady are sure to make this game exciting.  Hell, I mean, heck, I’m going on a limb and saying that this could be a preview to an AFC Playoff game or an AFC Championship game.  After I give you this fun fact, you’ll know who I’m going with.  The Man is 1-5 overall against Denver.  You think The Man doesn’t know this.  You think he won’t be focused on this game.  Another point of inspiration for The Man: Brian Griese , the guy who started in place of The Man at Michigan, is a radio analyst for the Broncos.  You think The Man won’t be inspired to play well in front of Griese.  You think Bellichick will play “Prevent “defense in the 4th quarter? No way, Jose!   I like Tebow, heck I’m a self-proclaimed Tebow-ciple and I know that Jesus is Denver’s 12th Man, but I love The Man.  TSS PICKS: NEW ENGLAND

NY JETS at PHILADELPHIA (-3):  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote off my beloved Eagles for losing to Seattle but more importantly quitting this season.  The Eagles won an impressive game against the Dolphins and they’ve suckered me back in.  Call me delusional, but I think there’s one more fight in them.  Remember, Vick is somewhat healthy again and if they feed the ball to LeSean McCoy and get Desean Jackson involved, the Eagles should be able to exploit the void left from injured SS Jim Leonhard.  Philly wins comfortably…GULP

Note to NY Giants and Dallas fans:  Should the Eagles win and either one of your team loses, the Isley Brothers’ Footsteps in the Dark will be in your head as the Eagles will be a game back from your team.  I’m getting ahead of myself, but…

In closing, if you have the holiday blues or just haven’t gotten into the holiday mood, I must suggest you give James Brown’s holiday album, Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag. He’s James Brown, the Godfather of Soul…

Stepping down form my soapbox…

Friday, December 2, 2011

Life Goes On

I thought I could escape it.  I still had hope, a fighter’s last punch, if you may, that the Eagles could somehow muster up a comeback following last Sunday’s loss to the Patriots.  After watching last night’s Eagles/Seahawks game, I had to do it.  I knew my team was not going anywhere near the playoffs this year.  So what does every red-blooded American do after watching his/her team give up? They go to the bottle and this red-blooded American hit the bottle baby!! 4 Johnnie Walker Black drinks later, I realized that life goes on.

Life went on when Aaron “Fuckin” Boone hit the game-winning HR for the Yankees against my beloved Red Sox in 2003.  Life went on when the Pistons beat my beloved Lakers team in the 2004 NBA Finals.  I knew that was the last time I would see Shaq and Kobe as Laker teammates.  Life went on when the Magic announced that he had contacted the HIV virus. Life will go on…

So let’s go the picks:

Last Week: 2-2
Overall 25-25

TENNESSEE at BUFFALO (1.5): If you remember my bold prediction in Week 2, that Tennessee (aka the Paul Giammatis) were going to win the AFC South, then you’ll know who I like in this game.  Matt Hasselbeck (oven-roasted chicken) looks to inch Tennessee closer to Houston for the AFC South lead.  I don’t take much stock in Chris Johnson being the Chris Johnson of old but I like Tennessee to win-straight up!  Buffalo is done; enough said about them.  TSS PICKS: TENNESSEE

KANSAS CITY at CHICAGO (-7.5): Don’t expect KC to contend for this game like they did against Pittsburgh last week.  Chicago’s defense will get to Tyler Palko with much more efficiency than Pittsburgh.  The Bear’s offense revolves around Matt Forte, so feed him the ball!  He is 15 yards shy of 1,000 yards.  KC back-door covers.  TSS PICKS: KANSAS CITY

OAKLAND at MIAMI (-3): I really thought Miami was going to win against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.  They’re making my buddy, Andy Goldenberg, proud.  Look for Oakland to start slow due to the travel time and early game time as factors.  It doesn’t help that Rolando McClain, Oakland’s LB, will probably be out due to his arrest on gun charges and assult.  In the words of my buddy, Ef, WHAT A MIERDA!! That’s just the Raiders being the Raiders, right?! Oakland recovers from their slow start to take a late 4th quarter lead, only to lose on a Matt Moore TD. Note: This will be a FG heavy game. TSS PICKS: OAKLAND

CINCINNATI at PITTSBURGH (-7):  Have you noticed a trend in this week’s picks?  I’m loving the underdogs, baby!!  This one has UPSET written all over it.  Last week’s game against Cleveland was Cincy’s trap game. They overcame their 4th-quarter deficit to beat Cleveland.  Pittsburgh was in a trap game also against KC in an ugly game.  Cincy needs this game because should they lose, Pittsburgh holds the tie-breaker because they would have swept the season series.  My buddy, Jimmy, always tells me never to trust redheads but I have a feeling the red-headed wonder known as Andy Dalton will leave Heinz Field victorious.  They need to control the clock and stay away from silly turnovers.  They also need a statement win and this will be their statement win. TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: CINCINNATI

DENVER at MINNESOTA (EVEN): Who doesn’t love Tebow?! The dude wins AND is an all-around nice guy.  Whoever said nice guys finished last, didn’t take Tebow into account.  Don’t forget about the Denver D now.  Von Miller, Elvis Dumerville, and Champ Bailey are all forces to be reckon with on that defense.  On the side, Minnesota will probably be without AP.  Note to the Vikings: If you’re down 10 in the 4th quarter, and you’re inside your opponent’s 5 yard line, on 4th and goal; kick a FG!  It’s a two-score game and you’re going to eventually need a FG to tie! You didn’t cover last week because of that play and I lost a 3-team parlay. Sorry, I needed to vent.  DON”T BET AGAINST TEBOW!!! TSS PICKS: DENVER

INDIANAPOLIS at NEW ENGLAND (-20.5):  The spread could have been 80,000 points and I still would have taken the Patriots.  Last week, The Man single-handedly crushed my Iggles season and at the same time made me $20 poorer.  The Man was a surgeon last week and he goes up against a hapless Indianapolis team.  I’ll admit in the past, I would have taken Indy with Peyton Manning, but I’m no dummy, I saw Indy last week.  They’ve checked out as much as those turd-buckets wearing my beloved Eagles uniform have.  TSS PICKS: NEW ENGLAND

In closing, please raise your glasses to celebrate the birthdays of the best radiologist in all of the greater Boston area and to the savviest businesswoman in all of the greater Boston area but more importantly, my dearest friends, Jorge Mendoza and Michelle Mendoza (no relation to the infamous Mendoza line)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's a Family Affair

Thanksgiving is upon us!  This is my favorite holiday because it’s all about enjoying the company of friends and family over turkey, football, and all the fixins.  Being a first generation American,  I had the best of both worlds for Thanksgiving.  As a kid, my mom would make two different turkeys to feed the numerous guests that would come to our house.  Her reasoning behind the two different styles of cooking the turkeys was to celebrate the blending of our Salvadoran culture with our American culture.  One of the turkeys had all the American sides (i.e. mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc.). Yum!!!  The other turkey was made for the Salvadoran style sandwich known as pan con pavo.  Imagine a cross between a Philly cheesesteak (sans the cheese) and a banh mi (for my Vietnamese brethren) but with turkey as the meat substitute.  Mmmm my mouth is watering…. 

I miss a lot of things from Thanksgiving that I can’t experience anymore.  I miss playing football for hours with all my neighborhood friends before we were all called in for Thanksgiving dinner.   Growing up in LA, I didn’t get to see many Lions games, so Thanksgiving was the only time I was able to catch Barry Sanders play.  I miss watching him play.  To this day, I still argue with people over the fact that he was the best running back of the 90’s.  Back in the day, CBS was once the NFC carrier before FOX took over the coverage, but I miss listening to Pat Summerall and John Madden call the game.  Maybe it was the waft of the turkeys cooking in the oven mixed with Summerall’s and Madden’s voices, but it was always serendipitous when they were calling the Thanksgiving game.  Most importantly, I miss my Dad, who passed away last year in June, for being the epitome of a great host when people would stop by our house.  While we were watching the games, I loved hearing him tell people that had he grown up in the States, he would have been the best O-lineman.  His favorite line was, “It’d be cold day in hell before any SOB pass through me.”  Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, too.  Miss you, pops.

We’ve set up camp in the Mendoza line the past couple of weeks, but I have a feeling we will on the plus side this week.  Let’s go to the games:

Last Week: 3-3
Overall: 23-23

GREEN BAY (-7) at DETROIT:  Detroit’s slow start last week against Carolina almost came to haunt them.  Down 17 points at one time, they relied heavily on Kevin Smith, a former Detroit RB who was recently signed again (off the streets by the way), to lead their rushing attack.  He came through in a big way by accumulating 140 yards and 2 TDs.  What a feel good story!!  On the other hand, Green Bay had to use some elbow grease to get a comfortable win late in the 4th quarter against Tampa Bay.

This is the Super Bowl for the Lions.  They’ve marked this game on their calendar since Week 1 and the Pontiac Silverdome Ford Field will be rocking.  I expect the Lions to continue to use Kevin Smith against a porous Green Bay rush defense which will open up the passing attack for the Lions.  Dom Capers, Green Bay’s Defensive Coordinator, loves to blitz and shows many packages.  This will disrupt Matthew Stafford, but if he can read the defense and take what the defense gives him, the offense will be able to go mano a mano with Aaron Rodgers’ offense. 

Speaking of the GB offense, man, are they impressive!  They look like a real-life version of their video game counterparts in Madden.  If the Lions can create a couple of turnovers and capitalize on them, then they will give GB their first loss of the season.  I told you last week that I was taking Detroit and nothing has changed.    TSS PICKS LOCK OF THE WEEK: DETROIT

MIAMI at DALLAS (-7): Do you remember the last time these two teams played against each other on Thanksgiving Day?  If my memory serves me right, it was the Leon Lett game.  You remember that game, don’t you?  Dallas blocked a possible game-winning Miami FG only to lose the ball when Leon Lett decided to pick up the ball on an icy field in Dallas.  Miami gets the ball back and scored the winning FG. Epic!!

Coming into this game, Miami is riding a season-high 3 game winning streak much to the chagrin of Andy Goldenberg. (Embrace the winning streak, Andy!!  There are plenty of good QBs for the taking in next year’s draft.)  During this current winning streak, they have held their opponents to a total of 20 points!  Reggie Bush is finding his grove within the Miami offense and Miami is finally playing complete games.

Dallas is frightening good.  They are atop of the NFC East by a virtuous tie with the NY Giants. They themselves are boding a 3-game winning streak and the road to the playoffs is getting much easier.  Dallas left the trenches of Washington with an overtime victory that will surely strengthen team morale.  Look for Tony Romo to throw a couple of TD’s and DeMarcus Ware to continue to add to his sack total.  Barring a Romo debacle (he’s due for one), Dallas escapes with narrow win.  TSS PICKS: MIAMI

SAN FRANSCISCO at BALTIMORE (-3): Of the three Thanksgiving games, this game will be the closest one.  Don’t be surprised if this is a slow-paced game (maybe it’ll be from all the tryptophan in your system making you sleepy).  The previously mentioned games have the potential to be blow-outs but not this one.  Harbaugh Bowl I-Brother vs. Brother!! Hermano vs. Hermano!!   Sometimes, I don’t know what to make of the Ravens.  They get up for big games but falter against lesser opponents.

San Fran is a mirror of its coach.  Their blue-collar, lunchbox mentality has afforded them the opportunity to clinch the NFC West with a win on Sunday.  Their defense is rock-solid, Alex Smith is finally comfortable under center, and their running game controls the time of possession game.

Baltimore has gotten up for every BIG game this year.  At home, they are undefeated (5-0) and their average margin of victory is 16.6 points.  Though I think they won’t win by 16, I believe they will cover.  The travel time on a short week will play into account as well. Fun fact:  Both teams are averaging 25.6 points per game. TSS PICKS: BALTIMORE

NEW ENGLAND (-3) at PHILADELPHIA:  Don’t go gently into that good night! Rage! Rage against the dying of the light!”  That was my war-cry last week when my beloved Iggles played the NY Giants.  They now play The Man at the Linc on Sunday afternoon and the war-cry remains the same.

On the offensive side, the Eagles need to feed the ball to LeSean McCoy and avoid costly turnovers.  On the defensive side, they need to be aggressive and play a complete game.  Last week was the first time I saw the Eagles D play as a cohesive unit.

Look for The Man to be a surgeon on the field on Sunday.  He should be able to complete his passes down the middle of the Eagles D.  Rob Gronkowski will be able to add to his team-leading TD receptions but Nnamdi Asomugha will contain Wes Welker ala Darelle Revis.

This game is a personal favorite of mine because Alex, my cousin, (who is more of a brother than a cousin to me) and the rest of the family are big Patriot’s fans so there will be a lot of trash-talking during the game.  TSS PICKS: PHILADLEPHIA

In closing, be thankful for all that you have!

Friday, November 18, 2011

O captain, my captain

I knew I was playing with fire last week.  It all started on Thursday night when my friend, Lisandra, graciously offered me tickets to the Raider/Charger game.  The seats were fantastic- 50 yard line, 12 rows from the Charger bench.  Thanks again, Lisandra!!  The only problem was I had San Diego in a 3-team parlay and I was surrounded by a raucous Raider mob. I was relegated to watching the 4th quarter (after missing most of the game due to horrible traffic) in silence.  Thank God San Diego didn’t win that game. I probably wouldn’t be able to write this post.  Did I learn my lesson?  No!!

I lost $50 at a friend’s poker game on Friday night.  I was feeling down and then the other foot dropped. My beloved Eagles lost to Arizona prompting me to dress in black and take a long walk along the highway.  Who loses to Arizona?  Who is John Skelton?  WTF, Eagles?!!!  I took me 3 days to get over that lost all with the help of a hilarious Doritos commercial, directing by none other than Ricky Herrera.  Nice job, Ricky!!  Check it out

Last week, I went 2-2 further cementing residence at the Mendoza line.  This week is a bit unpredictable, so beware.

Before we get to the picks, l’d like to take a moment to address Ms. Demi Moore.

Ms. Demi Moore, I know you’re heart-broken due to your recent divorce.  It’s hard, I know.  You know what you need right now?  A hug!  Have you met my cousin, Alex? He can give you that hug.  He’s had a crush on you since Indecent Proposal.

Last week: 2-2
Overall: 20-20

BUFFALO at MIAMI (2.5): Well, well, well, look who has decided to win some games.  Andy Goldenberg’s Dolphins have seemingly played themselves out of the Luck sweepstakes, which befuddles Andy.  Sure he proudly wears his crisp Dolphins jacket, but he silently wishes for this 2-game winning streak to end.  The Dolphins have looked impressive the last couple of weeks and are playing complete games.  Matt Moore has held the reigns at QB while, Reggie Bush is finally establishing himself as the featured back for the ‘Fins.  In the last 3 games, he is averaging 104.3 overall yards, keeping opposing defenses honest against the run.

Buffalo is on a tailspin and their playoff hopes may crash this week in Miami.  Since Ryan Fitzpatrick contract extension, the Bills are playing more like the Bills of old than the 2011 Bills.  Maybe Defenses have caught up to them?  Eric Wood, their most dominant OL, is out for the year with a torn ACL and Stevie Johnson has been limited the past 3 weeks with injuries.  Last week’s crushing defeat at the hands of Dallas, put them in 3rd place in the tight AFC East. Kudos to Buffalo WR, David Nelson, for his TD celebration of hugging his girlfriend, a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, last Sunday.   Well played, sir! You took that one out of the ole TSS playbook.  The onus is on Buffalo to win this game and mount another push towards the playoffs.  TSS PICKS: BUFFALO

OAKLAND (-1) at  MINNESOTA: If I didn’t know who was in first place in the AFC West, I knew after attending the Raider/Chargers game in San Diego.  The Raiders have been an up-and-down team and following their last game, they might be on the rise again.  Carson Palmer has ignited the Raider offense with breath-taking passes to Denarius Moore.  Michael Bush has clearly filled in for an injured Darren McFadden and Richard Seymour continues to anchor the vaulted Raider D.

On offense, the Vikings lone bright star is Adrian Peterson, who like Larry Fitzgerald, wishes he hadn’t sign his contract extension before the start of the season.  Don’t get me wrong, AP has delivered day in and day out.  It’s a shame the Vikings receiving corps is not talented enough to help AP.  Jared Allen, quietly making a push for the single season sack record, should have a field day with the Raider O-line.  At the end, the Raider attack of feeding Bush will soften the Vikings Defense, which will allow Carson Palmer to score on the air.  TSS PICKS: OAKLAND

CAROLINA @ DETROIT (-7): Most people think this week’s SF/AZ game will be this week’s trap game.  I beg to differ. The Carolina/Detroit game has the makings of the trap game.  I see my ugly ducklings of 2010, the Lions, thinking ahead to next week’s Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay.  After their old-school beat down by the Bears last week, the Lions need to be patient when running the ball.  The run opens up the pass and Stafford is relying heavily on Calvin Johnson.  No bueno, Matthew!

Carolina is coming off a beat down last week as well from the Paul Giamatti’s (Tennessee Titans).  Defenses are definitely catching up to Cam Newton as he has played less than stellar the last couple of weeks.  Cam, whenever you’re in trouble, look towards Steve Smith or run (in that particular order, please).  TRAP GAME!!!! TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: CAROLINA

Side note: Whatever the line is on the GB/Detroit game, I’m taking Detroit next week.

DALLAS (-8) at WASHINGTON: Look who’s suddenly contending for the NFC East title!! The Cowboys are on a little 2-game winning streak and head to Washington for what’s seems like Washington’s swan song.  Both Dallas and the NY Giants can eliminate Washington and Philadelphia’s respective push towards playoff contention with a win this week;   I fully expect DeMarco Murray, the pride of Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas) and the University of Oklahoma, to have another 100-yard game.  DeMarcus Ware, like Minnesota’s Allen, will continue to chase the single-season sack record against a lackluster Redskins’ line.  He should add to his sack total since over the past 5 games, Washington’s Offensive Coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, has called been calling pass plays an astounding 75% of the time!! Who does this?! Who does he think is under center- Aaron Rodgers?! Have a little faith in Roy Helu, bud!  It looks like Rex Grossman, Jimmy Guidish’s least favorite Bear of all-time, will be under center. Tony Romo and the Cowboys will march all over the Redskins comfortably this week.  TSS PICKS: DALLAS

SAN DIEGO at CHICAGO (-4): As previously mentioned, yours truly attended the Raiders/Chargers game last Thursday night.  I saw something that many ESPN analysts saw after the game.  San Diego WR, Vincent Jackson, quit on a long pass play to him during the 4th quarter.  I was flabbergasted as to why some of his caliber would quit while his team was making a comeback in a pivotal divisional game!! You know what I think? I think the team has quit on Phillip Rivers and Norv Turner.  I saw it with my own 2 eyes! The body language says it all!

Oh man, Jimmy Guidish is on cloud nine right now! His Bears are riding a season high 4 game winning streak.  Is it coincidental that the winning streak started after I mocked the Bears O-line?! If Michael Bush ran at will against the Chargers last week, then expect Matt Forte, the Bears’ MVP, to run wild all over that weak Charger line.  The pride of Vanderbilt, Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett, are finally re-building their rapport from their playing days at Vandy.  Look for the Bears D to create a handful of turnovers and at some point, the San Diego special team will foolishly kick to Devin Hester.  TSS PICKS: CHICAGO

PHILADELPHIA at NY GIANTS (-3.5): My good friend, Kara Cahill, and Paul Barajas, I wish both of you best of luck this week.  Your NY Giants have the opportunity to put a stake through all of Philadelphia with a win on Sunday night.  To say that I’m extremely nervous about this game is an understatement.  Let’s hope the game is competitive and no one gets injured.  Let’s show the world what the NFC EAST is about!!!!

To my fellow Eagles fan, what can Andy Reid say to this team that I’m sure he has tried?  I’ve never publicly second-guessed Andy, but after last week’s defeat, I would’ve used Coach Harris’ speech to the Alpha Betas.  You know the one I’m talking about.  In the movie, Revenge of the Nerds, Coach Harris, played by John Goodman, gives this speech after his football team, comprised of the Alpha Beta fraternity, loses the Carnival Games and Skit Competition to everyone’s lovable fraternity, Lambda Lamda Lamda (the Nerds). Best line (at the 20-second mark): “You just got your asses whipped, by a bunch of God damn nerds! NEEERRRDDS!!

Going back to the game, if the ship is going down, then I’m going down with it.  Disclaimer: I’m making this pick as a homer and I don’t blame anyone who picks the Giants. Here’s my case for the Giants. Eli Manning is playing extraordinarily well.  He’s making Victor Cruz and the rest of the previously unknown WRs into viable fantasy football players.  The Giants’ D is stellar yet again.  This team is a complete package.

The only arguments I have for picking the Eagles are they play to their competition and they always seem to bounce back from a head-scratching loss.  That’s all of got. TSS PICKS: PHILADELPHIA

In closing, it’s very apparent there will be no NBA season.  Fellow sports lovers, I urge to support your local park and rec teams.  Boston readers, support FC Tufts’ Level II Trauma as they make their annual run towards the indoor soccer playoffs.  Texas readers, support your local high school football teams.  Los Angeles readers, support your LA Galaxy as they try to win the MLS Cup this weekend.  For all you basketball lovers, I shall ask for your continuous support as soon as the NBA hires replacement players. 

You can call me a scab all you want; I’ll do it for the love of the game.  What’s on my basketball resume, you ask?  I’m the 1994-1995 Mr. 100% Award Winner of the Frosh basketball team at Daniel Murphy High School!  BAM!!!

Stepping down my soapbox…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweet home, Mendoza line

Standing on top of my soapbox…

Home Sweet Home!  After two terrible and ill-advised weeks, I have made my humble return to the Mendoza Centeno line.  Hoping to shake the previous week’s dreadful result, I’d figure last week’s picks were slumpbusters.  Boy was I wrong-the slump continues as I went 2-4 last week.  What’s even worse for yours truly is the fact that the Eagles lost on Monday night.  Can it get any worse?!  After much soul searching, a couple rounds of Catchphrase with friends, and an all-you-can eat Korean BBQ (for $10 by the way!!), I realized the problems with my picks.  I was all over the board, picking teams off the radar and flying by the seat of my pants.  So for this week, since I’m back home at the Centeno line, I’m going with old faithfuls.

Among the highlights from last week:  The Patriots and The Man lost 2 in a row for the first time since the Carter administration, Tebow t-boned the Raiders D for a victory,  Brees and the Saints marched over the Bucs, the Ravens chanted “Nevermore” as they left Heinz Field victorious, and Shaun Lagadi’s Packers pack-attacked the Chargers in a rain-soaked field in San Diego.

OAKLAND at SAN DIEGO (-7): After his abysmal debut two weeks ago, the only direction for Oakland’s Carson Palmer was up.  Though he did improve, little did he know that Tebow running the option what was eventually going to separate him from his first victory as a Raider.    McFadden has been ruled out which means Michael Bush will start again, which I think he’s more than capable of doing.  If there was ever a game to mirror a team’s record over the past 3 years, then last week’s San Diego/Green Bay game was said game for San Diego.  They started off slow and tried to mount a comeback after falling behind 21-7 at the end of the 1st quarter.  At the end, the comeback fell short thanks to a questionable pass from Rivers.  Did anyone notice that San Diego used a silent count last week at home? At home, everyone!  I expect the Chargers to win this game and cover.  It’s hard to go against the Chargers in November and Carson Palmer is still trying to shake the rust off.  TSS PICKS: SAN DIEGO

JACKSONVILLE (-3) AT INDIANAPOLIS: I have deemed Indianapolis as the whipping boys of the NFL. They are horrible against the run and their offense is torrid.  They look destined to win the Luck Sweepstakes.  Jacksonville, coming off a bye, will make one-last attempt at being a contender for the AFC South.  What the hell am I saying?! Pick Jacksonville on the sole fact that they can run the ball with Maurice Jones-Drew. TSS PICKS: JACKSONVILLE

DETROIT at CHICAGO (-3): My Ugly Ducklings of 2010 are back from a bye and wouldn’t you know it, they’re dogs in this game.  Chicago impressed me last week with their victory against my Iggles.  What I have been preaching to Jimmy Guidish all year about Matt Forte came true last week.  The guy is an absolute beast!  I’ll take Matt Forte any day on my team.  Coming back to this game, I’m skeptical about the Lions rushing attack or lack thereof.  Jahvid Best’s injury is starting to take its toll.  I think if there was ever a good time to have a bye, then last week was it for the Lions. The bye week also gave Detroit’s Matthew Stafford extra time to get his ankle healed.  This will be Chris Harris first game against his former team, the Bears.  I see Chicago winning but my Ugly Ducklings covering.  TSS: DETROIT

NEW ENGLAND at NY JETS (-1): This will be a classic AFC East game  with these teams tied with Buffal o for the AFC  East lead.  I don’t think  I’ve ever I bet against The Man when his team was the dog.  Last week’s, Patriots/Giants game was a classic!!  Congrats on the win, Ms. Cahill, you’ve separated yourself in the NFC East! The Man looked jittery and out of sync last week, which is very uncharacteristic of him.  The Jets shut me up last week with their win against the Bills.  It was a classic beat-down from Rex Ryan’s team.  Did anyone see Mark Sanchez flinch as he was lining up as a WR last Sunday?  Check it out- it’s at the 35 second mark: (   

Look for Revis to be locked up against Wes Welker all game long, while the Jets’ D will try to stop the law firm of BenJarvus Green Ellis and his committee of running backs, and they will try to continually disrupt The Man’s timing.  On the Patriots side, look for short dump-offs from The Man to his TE’s.  Lastly, expect a significant play from Plaxico Burress in this game.  Even after a 2 game skid, I’d never bet against The Man when he’s a dog.  TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW ENGLAND

In closing, Gentlemen, there are a few rules that a man should always follow without any doubt.  You never hit a dog or a cat; they’re defenseless animals and more importantly a member of your family.  You never take advantage of elders; they paved the way for younger generations and deserve nothing but respect.  You never hit a woman; regardless of how upset you are.  Like Tupac once said, “We all came from a woman and got our name from a woman”.  The last one- YOU NEVER EVER SODOMIZE OR ABUSE A CHILD!!!! There is no excuse to this!! This week’s horrible news about 8 children sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, a one-time Penn State Defensive Coordinator, made me sick.  This monster abused his position as an authority figure and he must pay for his actions!!  These victim's lives were forever changed when they were violated against their will.  It doesn’t help that Penn State swept it under the rug for so long.  Penn State, especially Joe Paterno, you should be ashamed of yourself!!

I’m a pacifist and all-around good natured man.  But sexually abuse a kid, you and me have problems, buddy!!  My heart goes out to these victims and these are only ones we should be worried about.

Stepping down from my soapbox…

Friday, November 4, 2011

My ode to the 90's

Standing on top of my soapbox...

Thank, you Chiefs!! You saved me from going 0-4 last week. Whew-I’m ducking the Mendoza line like Mayweather is ducking Pacquiao.  I hope y’all stayed away from the big lines because they were brutal!!  Before I get to this week’s picks, I have a bone to pick with the team hosting this year’s Super Bowl.

I’m turning my venom on you, Colts, for obviously not showing up week in and week out!  You can’t use Peyton Manning’s injury as a crux for your losses.  Look in the mirror and be accountable for the team’s failures.  Let me introduce you to a team that played their asses off after their captain abruptly retired at the beginning of their season 20 years ago.  Who is this team and why hasn’t ESPN done a “30 for 30” Special on them?!!  Your guess is as good as mine.  This team is none other than the 1991-1992 Los Angeles Lakers!

Twenty years to the date this upcoming Monday, November 7th, was one of the saddest days of my childhood.  Magic Johnson, my childhood hero next to Hulk Hogan, announced that he had contacted the HIV virus thus needed to retire from the sport of basketball.  I vividly remember Gus Pubill's dad telling us that afternoon about the unfortunate news and couldn’t sleep the entire night.  The team expectations, coming off a Finals appearance, drastically changed as their floor general would no longer be there.  They went from being a Finals favorite to a lottery-pick team.  What happened to the Lakers that season?  They went to the playoffs as an 8th seed!! An 8th seed, Colts!!  This from a team that lost their point guard, their lost floor leader, lost SHOWTIME!!

Curtis Painter, do you think Sedale Threatt would have run the Laker’s game plan lackadaisically?! Oh no, my friend!  By the end of the year, Chick Hearn had amorously nicknamed Sedale as “The Thief”.  The 6’2” (what really, he looked smaller than that on TV) guard was known to pick-pocket the opposing team’s PG.  The Thief went “balls to the wall” by shooting 3’s and driving down the lane.  He had a knack, something you obviously don’t have, for controlling the situation especially in road games.

Reggie Wayne, do you think James Worthy would have let HIS team be a lottery-pick team?!  No way, Jose! The Colts are YOUR team now and it’s up to you to rally them. Shit, man, light a fire up their ass because you guys are pathetic to watch, let alone root for.

Joseph Addai, do you think Byron Scott would have let himself be injury-ridden?! Never, bro!  Quit your aching and get on the eff’in field and play- PLAY HARD!!!

Dwight Freeney, do you think the pride of Yugoslavia, Vlade Divac, would have let his team down by not manning the Laker D?! Come on!!! Vlade used his European antics to get calls his way.  Don’t let his natural charisma fool you! Vlade intimidated everyone by smoking a pack of smokes before the game and in fact, smoked during halftime.  You think I would want todrive the lane with a bearded smoker like that?  Fun fact: Vlade’s first English speaking words were, “Yabba Dabba Doo.” Thanks to Inside Stuff for televising that report 20 years ago.

Lastly, Jim Caldwell, do you think second year coach, Mike Dunleavy, would have played the “Woe It’s Us” card”?!  Never in a million years!! He coached the Lakers after Pat Riley left the team.  With all due respect, that was a harder task than you replacing Tony Dungy!  I’m still waiting for you to put your signature on this team.  Time is running out, Jim.

Now that I’ve gotten it off my chest, let’s go to a condensed Week 9 picks.  This week’s theme is Redemption.  So if you hear Bob Marley’s, Redemption Song, on Sunday, then my picks are boding well:

Last Week: 1-3
Overall: 16-14

TAMPA BAY at NEW ORLEANS (-8.5): The Bucs are 7-1 when LeGarrette Blount has 18 or more carries.  He’s had a full week of practice and he’ll be the every-down back.  I believe he’ll have an impact on Sunday.  If the Bucs win, they sweep the season series against the Saints and that will be HUGE come playoff-seeding time.  Somehow, New Orleans hasn’t been the same since Sean Payton went to the press box.  Had the line been smaller, I would have taken New Orleans. Ricky, I like the Bucs this week. They start singing Bob halfway through the 4th quarter. TSS PICKS: TAMPA BAY

NY JETS at BUFFALO (-1): The Bills will be wearing their retro all-white uniforms.  They will also be commemorating their Super Bowl teams.  Do you think Buffalo won’t be geared up for this game?! You betta believe it, baby!!  Should the Jets lose, I think they’ll be done for the year.  Fred Jackson’s gonna destroy the Jets’ defense. TSS PICKS: BUFFALO

SAN FRANCISCO (-4) at WASHINGTON: I’ve officially transferred all my Week 2 Washington shares to San Francisco.  My sleeves are rolled up and I yelling at the top of my lungs telling everyone to “Sell, sell, sell!!” a la Jim Cramer.  Efrain fun bet: House pays 3-to-1 odds that Washington doesn’t score in this game either. TSS PICKS: SAN FRANCISCO

MIAMI at KANSAS CITY (-4.5): I was going to wait until next week to do a Miami pick but this one is way too good to pass up.  Andy Goldenberg, body double of Adam Sandler in Jack in Jill, this one’s for you: Miami will barely…(wait for it)…Miami will barely (this is harder than I thought)…ok, one more time…Miami will barely lose BUT COVERS!!!  That’s what Andy wishes for and that’s what I think will happen!! TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: MIAMI

SEATTLE at DALLAS (-12): What the hell happened to the Cowboys last week?! Oh yeah, they ran into the Eagles!!  Before last week’s game, I told Ef, a lifelong Cowboys fan, that Andy Reid was 12-0 coming off a bye.   The Cowboys will be looking to rebound from their disappointing outing last Sunday.  The Seahawks are 1-3 on the road this year with their lone win coming against the Giants.  Come on Cowboys, represent the NFC East!  They’ll sing Bob on Sunday. TSS PICKS: DALLAS

GREEN BAY (-5.5) at SAN DIEGO: San Diego, I’ve figured you out!  You guys are a second half team! Yes, people say that all the time but for all you naysayers and for my readers, who think I’m pulling this out of my ass, since 2007, San Diego is 27-7 from Week 9 through Week 17. I was befuddled and almost dropped my coffee in my lap when I computed those numbers.  If there was a chance of Green Bay stumbling, then this is it.  History doesn’t lie.  This will be San Diego’s rebound game as well.  They’ll be singing Bob on Sunday.  TSS PICKS: SAN DIEGO

In closing, Hollywood executives, I strongly plead you to bring back more sitcoms.  As addicting as some of today’s reality shows are, I find myself feeling empty after watching them. What’s even worse, children are growing up to emulate and/or admire these faux stars.  Hollywood loves remakes so I ask you, “Can we go back to the days of Winnie Cooper, Kelly Kapowski, Jaime Powell and Mallory Keaton?!”  I think I speak for America on this one, “We're tired of seeing that media whore and her family on television!! “

Stepping down from my soapbox singing “Redemption Song”