Standing on top of my soapbox
Welcome, readers to my first of many blogs for this upcoming NFL season! This weekly blog will provide you with insight into my weekly picks all the while incorporating stories, memories and references from my life.
I have to admit that the Fall is my favorite time of year. As a kid, it meant the beginning of a new school year, catching up with my classmates about summer vacations, having a clean slate with new teacher, and most importantly football. Nothing was better than Dad oversleeping on Sunday morning causing us to miss the 10:00am Mass. It meant that I would be able to catch the morning game (hopefully an Eagles game) in its entirely. If the TV Gods were on my side, both networks would have a game at the same time. At that age, I didn’t know what Chris Berman (in that ridiculous get-up as the Swami) implied when he would do his weekly picks . For instance, if the Bears played the Lions, he had the Bears winning 20-18 but the graphics showed an arrow pointing to the Lions and +4 in parentheses. This stuff was confusing to a 12-year old kid. First, I was dealing with the changes in my body, finding out about girls, and now I was verklempt by this commentator’s pick. Was there game a game within a game that he was making a prediction on? If so, what was it? I needed to know.
Fast forward to present day and hundreds of hours in front of the television watching and yelling at the television screen , I have learned the tricks of the trade for picking games against the spread. Some of my picks might be accurate, some might be outlandish, but know that there is a rhyme and reason for my picks. These lines are from Wednesday's Bodog's list. Without much further ado, I give you my picks for Week 1 of the 2011 NFL season:
NEW ORLEANS at GREEN BAY (-4) – What a way to start the NFL season! At game time, the blog was not ready for posting so we will let this game go. I know what you’re thinking, ”Hey Soapbox Speaker, you write your first ever blog and you can’t post it in time for Thursday’s game! Way to start off the season!” Listen, in life, I think we all deserve a mulligan, a re-do, if you must. If you had a mulligan, what would it be? So many choices come to mind but for now this will be The Soapbox Speaker’s (TSS) mulligan for the season.
ATLANTA (-3) AT CHICAGO – My buddy, Jimmy a life-long fan of the Bears, starts his “Cutler Out of Chicago” campaign on the right foot. A weak offensive line plus the lingering effects of Cutler quitting on his team “in the most important game in Bears history to date” equals doom for the giants of the Midway. To add insult to injury (in this case, ineptitude) , Atlanta comes to Chicago as the darling of the NFC. Too much offensive power for Jimmy’s Bears to overcome. TSS PICKS: ATLANTA
BUFFALO at KANSAS CITY (-5) – I’m salivating at this game. Usually when I salivate at games, it leads to constant yelling at the television screen asking whatever player dropped the ball why he would ruin my Sunday. Somehow, said player redeems himself (maybe he hears my yelling) by either scoring a game-winning TD or scoring the TD that will help me cover the bet. In this case, I see Buffalo either winning straight up or losing by 4 on a game-winning score. This is one of TSS’s Lock of the Week. TSS PICKS: BUFFALO
INDIANAPOLIS at HOUSTON (-9) – There used to be few guarantees in life. The obvious ones are death and taxes. In the NFL, Peyton Manning being under center was a guarantee. This guarantee is no longer as Manning will possibly miss the first half of the season. Kerry Collins will be under center for the Colts this week. Kerry Collins is NO Peyton Manning!!! Kerry Collins is NO Curtis Painter either!!! Kerry Collins is a wily veteran, who knows how to manage the games. He’s like the old guy at a pick-up game who will beat his man everytime by doing the fundamentals. Rex Imperator refers to Collins as “The QB of the best Penn State team ever!!”. I don't know if I agree with Rex Imperator but I think Collins will do enough to cover. TSS PICKS: INDIANAPOLIS
PHILADELPHIA (-4.5) at ST. LOUIS- All summer long, everyone criticized the Eagles’ play on the field due to their major change through free agency. The “Dream Team” (this is no Dream Team) starts their quest to the Super Bowl in St. Louis. Now is the time for Andy Reid to be aggressive. He’s the kid accidentally locked in overnight at a toy store! Play with all the toys, get a feel for what works! The Rams are not a pushover so I expect the Iglles to win by a slim margin. Continue playing with those toys please, Andy!! TSS PICKS: ST. LOUIS
NY GIANTS (-3) at WASHINGTON – I’m better than this. I can smell a trap when I see it. The Giants Defense has been decimated with injuries and Eli Manning lost his two favorite receivers. Washington looks as though they’re getting their act together. Rex Grossman or John Beck at QB? Yikes!!! My logic wants me to pick the Giants but this is an NFC East game and the first game of the season. I had to consult my buddy, a true Giants fan, on this one. Her gambling alter-ego likes Washington as do I. Note: This game has the making of a "I can't believe I took Washington! It's effin Washington!" shaking of the head. TSS PICKS: WASHINGTON
MINNESOTA at SAN DIEGO (-9)- San Diego is the lazy kid in class. If he would only apply himself throughout the school year, he would be top in his class. He has all the talent but shows little motivation. He skates by with a “B’s” and a few “A’s”. Sound familiar? We all know someone like this- heck- we’re probably that guy!! In this case, Sunday’s game will be the lazy kid’s first assignment. How does he do? He’ll wait until the last hour to complete his homework, he’ll get a B on it, and he’ll continue with his life. The same will happen in this game. San Diego will start off slow and without any urgency. They will let Minnesota hang around for a while. In the 4th quarter, they will turn it up, enough for them to win; BUT not by 9 points. Note : I’m hoping McNabb is the latest version of "the old guy at the pick-up game". I’m calling his season, “The Re-Birth of Slick”. Sing it with me everybody, “Cool like dat…cool like dat… cool like dat.” TSS PICKS: MINNESOTA
DALLAS at NY JETS (-4) –We are at the dawn of the new era in Dallas. Jason Garrett will open up his playbook and a healthy (dare I say, more mature) Romo will make the Cowboys relevant again. The Jets will have all of NYC on their side as Sunday marks the 10-year anniversary of September 11th. This game will also be RYAN BOWL 2011!! Last year, serving as the Browns D-Coordinator, Rob Ryan held the Jets in check enough for Cleveland to beat the spread. Rob is now the D-Coordinator for the Cowboys which will make this a great game. The Latin ladies' eyes will be glued to this game as it features, for the first time ever, both starting QB's of Latin descent. I like Dallas to win-STRAIGHT UP!!! TSS PICKS: DALLAS
NEW ENGLAND (-7) at MIAMI – My friends tease me. They think I have a man-crush on The Man. I don’t see it that way. I see it as an admiration for being the best! The Man is epitome of Americana. He’s the most popular guy on his team, he’s got a smoking-hot wife, and he’s a surgeon on the football field. All the guys want to be him and all the ladies want to be with him. I haven't revealed his name and we all know who I'm talking about. Listen, I’m now going to bore you with Brady accolades (Hell this is Week 1! We still have 17 more weeks! Hahaha) but The Man is on a mission. He’s got a new weapon in Ochocinco and Belichick wants to send a message!! The ‘Fins are a fragile bunch right now. Had this game been played in October, I’d consider taking the Dolphins, BUT it’s Monday Night Football!! Enough said!! TSS PICKS: NEW ENGLAND
This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We will always remember that day but I ask you, the readers, to thank your local fire fighters, police officers, and the service men and service women. They put their lives on the line for us every single day so that we can live our lives without interruption. Thank you, Ouchtown!!
Finally, appreciate all your family and friends. Tell them you love them, once in a while. You never know, you might not be able to one day…
Stepping down my soapbox