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)