crazy colored glasses

Friday, October 31, 2008

Observations and Predictions...

Last weekend my beloved Cowboys showed they had a little fight still left in their injury (and drama) decimated team. They held on for dear life against a very good Bucs team. The defense looked very strong in limiting the Bucs to just a few field goals. Brad Johnson even utilized Roy Williams by finding him for a jumpball in the end zone. 

Carolina had a huge second half in beating a game Cardinals squad. The more I see of the Panthers, the more I like. They run the ball well, they pass well and they play strong defense. Could be a team to watch in the NFC for the ret of the year. Philadelphia benefited from a gift call late against Atlanta (refs completely blew a fumble call on the punt returner which would have given the Falcons the ball with a chance to tie the game with less then 3 minutes to go) and showed that teams better not have forgotten how good this team is when Westbrook is healthy. The Giants showed the heart of a champion in coming from behind with a strong fourth quarter and beating the Steelers. The Titans showed all of America on Monday night that they are for real in dispatching the Colts

Players of the Week
QB-Drew Brees: Has any QB been more consistent this year. The crowd in London was treated to a QB playing in an offense perfectly suited to his abilities. A trend that should continue what with Reggie injured, and Deuce getting ready to be suspended.
WR-Donnie Avery: Impressive new deep threat for Marc Bulger. Gashed the Cowboys for a deep score two weeks ago and ran through the Pats secondary for 160+ yards and a score.
RB-Brian Westbrook: Continues to be the most effective back in the league. 200+ total yards and a score. He is the engine that drives the Eagles offense.
TE-Dallas Clark: He was Manning's most effective weapons against a tough Titans defense.
Defense-New York Giants: The Giants picked off Big Ben 4 times and sacked him 5 times. Another dominant performance by a strong defensive unit.
Special Teams-Houston Texans: Strong returns all day keyed by the 73 yard punt return for a score by Jacoby Jones.

This weeks main event is the conference matchup between the Cowboys and Giants. The Giants benefit from catching the Cowboys hurting and on the road. I simply don't think the Cowboys have enough (especially at QB) to put up a fight. The Giants in a blitz induced laugher. The Bills shut down the ground attack of the Jets and expose them for the overrated mess they are. The Titans continue to let the good times roll in winning a close one over the Packers. The Colts should find a way to win one at home against the Patriots. If not they can pack their bags. Redskins keep the Steelers winless against the NFC East.

Here are my picks for the rest of this weeks games (8-6 last week). Jags keeping the Bengals winless. Browns getting to .500 against the Ravens. Vikings over the Texans in a close one. Bears huge over Detroit at home. Bucs over the Chiefs. Cards over the Rams. Miami over the Broncos in Denver. Philly over Seattle. Falcons beating the Raiders

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Kyle Orton: The Lions are horendous and Orton shredded them the last time these two teams played.
WR-Anquan Boldin: Looked great in his return to the lineup last week. That should continue this week against the Rams inviting secondary.
RB-Michael Turner: He's enjoying being the number one back. The Raiders defense has just enough holes up front for Turner to shred.
TE-Chris Cooley: Steelers and Redskins will pay a tough Monday night contest. Cooley should break free for a score and close to 100 yards.
Defense-Tampa Bay: The defense was strong against the Cowboys in a losing effort. They'll be able to take out the frustrations of last week against the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
Special Teams:-Jags: MJD should break through against the awful special teams of the Bengals.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NBA Tipoff

OK, so the start of this NBA Season snuck up on me and I didn't get to do my elaborate full on NBA preview. I'll give you a quick abbreviated preview though (as I'm at work).

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams
1. Boston Celtics: Another finals appearance not out of the question.  
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Mo Williams could be the run and gun teammate LeBron has been looking for... but is any front court slower than Ben Wallace and the Big Z.
3. Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard is one of the Top 10 players in the league. Time for him to take this team deeper in the playoffs.
4. Detroit Pistons: Veteran squad could take a slight step back this year. Will be interested to see how Chauncey deals with some his minutes going to Rodney Stuckey (chance to be very special).
5. Philadelphia 76ers: Big Elton Brand could take Philly into the second round. An outside shooter will need to emerge to go any further.
6. Toronto Raptors: Bosh and O'Neal are a formidable front line. If Bargnani can guard anyone they have a chance to be scary good.
7. Atlanta Hawks: So much talent. They need an inspired Mike Bibby as well as Josh Smith and Marvin Williams to not rely so much on their outside games. 
8. Washington Wizards: Fun team to watch will have to scrape and claw to keep Miami and Chicago from trying to sneak in. Well balanced team that will be better when Gilbert Arenas comes back.

Western Conference Playoff Teams
1. Los Angeles Lakers: 60-65 wins plus a parade in June. Bynum makes a world of difference in bringing a title back to LA.
2. New Orleans Hornets: A trip to the Western Finals for this Chris Paul led bunch. James Posey's man hugs and words of encouragement might just be what they needed in the Big Easy.
3. Utah Jazz: Could this be the last hurrah for this squad with Boozer flirting with Miami.
4. San Antonio Spurs: It's an odd year (when the season ends) which means they are normally champs. Not so this year. The ailing Argentine (Ginobili) hurts them.
5. Houston Rockets: Have all the pieces in place, but will Artest behave, and will Yao stay healthy... both big question marks.
6. Dallas Mavericks: Can Rick Carlisle get this team to play some defense. If they want to make the second round they better.
7. Portland Trailblazers: Could be the makings of a dynasty. I love what they have done with this squad.  Roy, Aldredge and Oden are very strong (and will be for years to come).
8. Phoenix Suns: The sun is starting to set for this older running squad. I don't think Porter can change the mindset in one year. Plus 3/5 of his starting rotation is 35. They'll barely hold off the Nuggets for the 8th spot.

NBA Finals
Lakers over the Celtics in 6

Kobe Bryant: Wants to continue to show the world he is the baddest ball player on the planet. He'll also benefit from the Lakers being on national TV a ton. Lebron James and Chris Paul should be a close second and third.

Derrick Rose: Playing the point for his hometown Bulls in Vinny Del Negro's up tempo system should do wonder for his numbers. Michael Beasley and Greg Oden come in right behind him. 

Defensive Player of the Year
Kevin Garnet: Keep it where it was last year. Great one on one as well as team defender. One of the most complete defenders in the history of the NBA. Between him and Tom Thibedeau they changed the defensive mindset of an entire team.

Coach of the Year
Erik Spoelstra: The Heat will be much improved with a healthy Wade, Marion for a full season and Michael Beasley. A 10-15 win improvement is not out of the question. 

NBA First Team
PG-Chris Paul: Hornets
SG-Kobe Bryant: Lakers
SF-Lebron James: Cavaliers
PF-Elton Brand: 76ers
C-Dwight Howard: Magic

NBA Second Team
PG-Deron Williams: Jazz
SG-Brandon Roy: Trailblazers
SF-Carmelo Anthony: Nuggets
PF-Kevin Garnett: Celtics
C-Yao Ming: Rockets


Friday, October 24, 2008


One of the most successful independent (if you consider Dark Horse an independent) comic book characters of all-time is Mike Mignola's Hellboy. Great story-telling and a very unique visual style have helped Hellboy continue to stand out on the comic racks. 

From his humble first appearance, in the  pages of John Byrne's Next Men (you really only know that if you are a Byrne fan like myself... also note Byrne co-wrote Hellboy's first mini-series) he has become the subject of 2 theatrical releases, 2 direct to video animated features as well as countless lines of action figures. That type of success is usually reserved for characters from the big two. Hellboy was able to break the mold. The success of Hellboy allowed other Dark Horse properties like 300 and Sin City to get theatrical releases as well.

Mignola has a visual style unlike anyone else in the comic game today. It's very bold and graphic while being incredibly simplistic and geometric.  You can easily tell when you are looking at a Mike Mignola piece of art. That cannot easily be said for most other comic creators. 

This piece took me about an hour to pencil. My wife finds it funny how I tend to draw pieces like this while basically drawing the negative space. The un-inked pencils looked like one of those color by numbers pieces we all loved as children. The inking took place over 3 hours while I watched the Cowboys lose and ate a few burgers. All in all a piece I loved putting together.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Observations and Predictions...

The Dallas Cowboys had an early game last week, so I settled in with a few burgers (thank you baby) and sat down to watch my favorite team. The game started the Boys drove the field and scored. I thought this just might be an easy game for the Boys. Not so much. The Cowboy got destroyed by a very game St. Louis Rams team. Therefore ruining the rest of my football Sunday.

Even though I was in a foul mood the rest of my football Sunday I was impressed by the Packers (complete dismantling of the Colts) the Bucs (dominating an injury ravaged Seahwaks) and Carolina (they continue to play great at home).  The Pats also showed a pulse in blowing out the Broncos on MNF.

Top Performers of the Week
QB-Matt Cassel: Nice game for the Pats at home against an overmatched Broncos secondary. A nice efficient game.
RB-Stephen Jackson: He took the fact that the Cowboys skipped him in the draft a few years go out on the Boys to the tune of 160 yards and 3 scores.
WR-Antonio Bryant: I've always been a big fan of his potential. Unfortunately he's a knucklehead. He seems to have clicked in T.B. with Jeff Garcia. Once Galloway comes back this passing game could be a huge weapon.
TE-Owen Daniels: Daniels was a big weapon in the red zone for Matt Schaub. 60 plus yards and 2 scores in the Texans second consecutive win.  
Defense-New England: They shut down Jay Cutler and the Broncos while forcing 5 turnovers.
Special Teams-Chicago Bears: A couple of big plays in the punting game helped distance the Bears over the Vikings.

With the news that Romo will not be rejoining the starting lineup before mid-November I don't have high  hopes for the next few weeks. With the Bucs this week and the Giants next, things could get very scary in big D. The Bucs haven't played as well on the road as they do at home. I still think they pull out a close game and drop the Boys to .500. Panthers versus the Cardinals is a really intriguing game of division leaders. I like the Panthers at home. The surprising Falcons visit the Eagles in another very interesting game. I think the Falcons will play inspired football and pull out a shocker. I really like Matt Ryan's composure (he reminds me of a young Tom Brady). The Giants have too much d-line for a porous offensive line of the Steelers. Expect a long day for Big Ben. Colts at the Titans might be the start of the death knell on the 2008 season for the Colts. I think the Titans could have 300 yards rushing in this game. Titans in a close one.

The rest of the weekend should break down this way (11-3 last week). Baltimore over the Raiders.  Redskins destroying the Lions (what's new). Buffalo continues the good times against Miami. New England edging out the Rams. San Diego over New Orleans. Jets (behind Thomas Jones) over KC. Texans extend the winning streak to 3 in beating the Bengals. Jags over Browns. San Fran wins one for the new coach against the Seahawks.

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Matt Schaub: A favorable matchup against Cincy as well as the confidence of two straight victories.
RB-LenDale White: The touchdown vulture should be able to gash the awful run-D of the Colts.
WR-Santana Moss: Detroit awful. I expect them to stack the box and try to stop the NFL's leading rusher. Thus giving Campbell lots of time to find his favorite target.
TE-Antonio Gates: The Saints defense stop no one. With Chambers hurting I expect Rivers to Gates even more.
Defense-Baltimore: They will put way too much pressure on JaMarcus and the conservative Raiders. 
Special Teams-Atlanta: I can't help but think this game will end in a last second field goal.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I can't believe it's been almost 6 months since my last piece of art on this site. I do promise you that I have been very busy. I drew about 10 new characters (should have been closer to 20, but I've been very lazy) as well as drew multiple characters in a cartoony style.

The latter became my favorite summer time train ride distraction. It started out as a keep Scrappy busy on the train project. She would throw out a character and then we would try and draw kid versions of said character. With that said here is my latest piece of comic art... Soulfire.

As most readers of this site know, I was a huge Michael Turner fan. My pencilling style and linework are hugely influenced by his work. Early this past summer I was greatly saddened by his passing. He was only 37. Far too young to be taken from us.

Michael burst onto the scene drawing Witchblade for Top Cow. He became an overnight sensation. His star only continued to rise when Top Cow launched the Tomb Raider comic featuring his art. The crossover appeal of that book allowed him to approach Top Cow head Marc Silvestri and pitch him on an idea that was floating around in his head since high school. That idea turned out to be the incredibly successful Fathom. With the success of Fathom, Turner was then able to open up his own comic company, Aspen Comics. Aspen had great initial success but was slowed when Michael first took ill with cancer.

After beating cancer, Michael came back full force. He launched Soulfire which became a smash hit and announced plans to produce Ekos with Geoff Johns. Then he worked on the return of Supergirl in the pages of Superman/Batman. On top of that he was turning out some of the best covers in the industry, first for DC (Identity Crisis, Flash, Justice League) and then exclusively for Marvel. ESo although his cancer eventually returned, he didn't let it beat him. He continued to work and churn out some of the best pencils of his career. He truly is an inspiration. I know everytime I pick up a pencil I'm inspired by his work and the memory of him.

The pencils on this piece took a little over an hour (I ended up missing most of the debate) the inks took close to another hour. I then went back in and added extra pencil shading for depth and detail. Most of all it was nice to be back drawing... especially drawing a Michael Turner character.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Observations & Predictions

For weeks I have been heaping praise on the NFC East. I'd claimed they had the 4 best teams in the entire league. Apparently the rest of the league did not agree. Previously winless started off the shocking weekend by beating a sloppy Redskins team. I think it was a bit of a letdown game with the Skins having come off two tough division games. The Cowboys then were beaten in overtime by a very game Arizona Cardinals squad. The Cardinals controlled both lines of scrimmage and were just tougher and more physical than Dallas (as evidenced by the amount of injuries the Boys suffered). The Eagles provided a bit of sanity by beating the Niners but the NFC East was turned topsy-turvy again a night later. The Browns pummeled the Giants and made everyone remember why they were the trendy pre-season AFC pick.

Besides the aforementioned close games that the Cardinals and Rams won, this proved to be a really exciting week in the NFL. The Falcons kicked a field goal with no time left to beat the Bears (why did they squibb kick instead of kicking deep). The Texans picked up their first victory behind a Matt Schaub sneak in beating a very competitive Dolphins team. The Vikings won on a last second fieldgoal by Ryan Longwell (although the fans were chanting Fire Childress). The Colts, Saints and surprisingly Tampa Bay all won laughers.

Top Performers of the Week
QB-Matt Ryan: Although some QB's threw for more yards, and some threw for more scores, no one was a better story than Matt Ryan. The rookie QB was poised and very effective (especially when rolling out of the pocket). The Falcons are 4-2... who would have bet on that in the pre-season.
RB-Correll Buckhalter: Correll pulled his best Westbrook impersonation and helped the Eagles in their rout of the Niners with over 170 total yards and a score.
WR-Marvin Harrison: A nice bounce back game for Harrison. Proving their is still some game in this veteran. Could be a sign of things to come for the Colts. If Manning and Harrison start to connect at a pre-injury clip things could be scary for the rest of the AFC.
TE-Marcedes Lewis: Proved to be a nice big target for Garrard. He has all the size and skills (he still needs to work on his hands) necessary to be a big time tight end.
Defense-Tampa Bay Bucs: They completely shutdown the good offense of the Panthers.
Special Teams-Arizona Cardinals: From the opening kickoff (which J.J. Arrington took for a score) to the final pay of the game (blocked punt for a TD) the Cards dominated.

There are five main event games for me this weekend that I will be paying close attention to. First (of course) is Dallas at St. Louis. Do the Boys let this week full of injuries and distractions get to them, or does this collection of stars rally and beat the Rams. I think the latter will happen, as the very capable Brad Johnson leads the Boys to a close victory. The second is the intriguing match-up in Buffalo. San Diego flying cross-country and playing at 10 a.m. pacific time spells trouble for the Bolts. I think the Bill pull one out. The third game is the important NFC North battle between the Vikings and Bears. I think the Bears have the superior offense (did I just say that) and should be able to hold off Peterson and the Vikes. Fourth is Indy at the not yet frozen tundra of Green Bay. The Packers are struggling a bit and the Colts seem to have found their groove. My pick is Colts. The other game I have my eye on is the Monday night match-up of Denver at New England. Everytime I think the Pats have it together they toss out a stinker. I still think they can exploit a bad Broncos defense and win one in front of the home crowd.

Here are my picks for the rest of the weekends games (9-5 last week). Carolina beating the Saints at home. Steelers routing the Bengals. The Titans (my pick as the new best team in the league-now that the Giants were knocked off) over KC in a closer one than most people think. The Ravens beating the Dolphins on the road. Giants recomitted to the run win big over San Fran. The Texans get their second in a row over Detroit. Jets beat the Raiders. Washington in a close one over Cleveland. Tampa Bay beating Seattle (those Bucs are tough down in Tampa).

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Jake Delhomme: The Saints secondary is very welcoming. They also don't put enough pressure on the QB. Both are good signs for the Panthers.
RB-Brandon Jacobs: I think the Giants are going to want to get back to their brand of power football. Jacobs should benefit in a 25 carry day.
WR-Torry Holt: The Cowboys secondary is in disarray. They are starting a rookie opposite Anthony Henry and lord knows who will be the nickelback (I've got a jersey if Wade wants to give me a call). It could be a long day for the Cowboys defense.
TE-Greg Olsen: With Brandon LLoyd still gimpy Olsen becomes Orton's main target. He seems to have gotten over his early season fumbling problem. I think he'll find the endzone at least once against the Vikings.
Defense-Pittsburgh Steelers: With Palmer injured the Bengals don't stand a chance. The Steelers can rush and rattle the QB better than most teams in the league.
Special Teams: Buffalo Bills: Always one of the best units in the league, a tired and weary Chargers unit should have fits trying to catch Roscoe Parrish and his fellow return men.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Loss

Not only did the Cowboys poop the bed and lose to the Cardinals (who are pretty formidable at home), but with every breaking news feed on Monday afternoon the loss got worst.

The sight of Felix Jones trying to loosen up a tight hamstring on Sunday was bad. Now the news reports fluctuating from partially torn to severely sprained hamstring was worse. Felix who has been a huge weapon in the early part of the season (TD's rushing, receiving and in the return game) will miss 2-4 weeks. Even when he does return, will it be the same speed demon who started out so strongly. I doubt it, hamstrings injuries tend to linger. With no other viable backup to Marion Barber, expect the Marion to carry the ball often in Jones absence. It should be interesting to see how this plays out with Barber who has never been a solo feature back (he split time with Maroney in college and Julius Jones his first 3 seasons as a Cowboy).

Sam Hurd, the Cowboys 4th receiver (as well as a solid special teams contributor) was caught from behind in the third quarter and then had to be helped off the field. He re-aggravated a high-ankle sprain that kept him out most of the first month of the season (it originally occurred during their last pre-season game). His season is now over as his ankle will require surgery. The Cowboys are very thin on experience at wideout. Owens and Crayton really the only receivers with in-game experience. Miles Austin has emerged as a solid 3rd receiver of late, but now untested Isiah Stanback will have to play in 4 receiver sets. I see the Cowboys going to more of a two tight end set for the rest of the season. With Witten and Martellus Bennett taking the place of the third and fourth receivers.

Another key contributor (and Pro-Bowl player) Matt McBriar will be lost for the rest of the season with a broken right foot. McBriar is on of the best punters in the league. He has a tremendous leg (evidenced by his 49.0 average) and consistently pins the opponents deep in Cowboy territory. This is one loss that will hurt tremendously. Punters aren't generally hard to find... good punters are though.There is an outside shot that McBriar will be ready for the post-season. I wouldn't hold your breath.

Even though the loss of McBriar is huge, nothing is bigger (or scarier) than the loss of Tony Romo with a broken pinkie. The Cowboys have gone 23-9 in Romo's 32 starts. Only Brady and Philip Rivers have better records. He is the unquestioned leader of their offense and the main reason they have the swagger they do. He completes almost 65% of his passes and tosses nearly 2 TD's a game. He throws a very easy to catch ball and generally hits his receivers in open spaces and gives them a chance to run after the catch. He is everything you could want in a quarterback. Now he is out for 4 weeks with a broken pinkie. One also has to wonder how that pinkie will affect him the rest of the season. He already has problems holding onto the ball, do these become magnified with a hurt digit. Only time will tell.

The Cowboys are pretty lucky to have a pretty capable backup in Brad Johnson. He's proven to be reliable and a very good field general in his multiple stops (I mean he is a Super Bowl winning QB). I do worry that the aging offensive line (which allowed Romo to be pummeled by the Cardinals) won't be able to keep Johnson upright. With the amount of talent the Cowboys have on offense, I can't imagine they will slip that badly. The game this weekend against St. Louis seems very winnable. After that they face the Bucs and Giants, two teams that love to come after the QB. If the Cowboys can weather the storm and go 2-1 (with the fourth week being the bye week) while Romo recovers I'd be a happy camper. If they go anything worse than 2-1 they might start to be on the outside looking i at a playoff spot. The NFC East is brutal.

This was easily one of the most costliest losses in recent history.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Parallel Lives

In reading this week's ESPN, I got to the last page of the magazine and read Rick Reilly's Life of Reilly column. This week's piece was on perennial Pro-Bowl safety John Lynch.

Lynch is a 15 year NFL veteran who had played in 9 Pro-Bowls including the last four years with the Denver Broncos. He was an integral part of one of the leading secondaries in the league. He shows up to training camp this year and is told he will have to split time. He questions management on it and is then given his release. He then signs a 1 year contract with the New England Patriots, plays one pre-season game (where he leads the team in tackles with 8) and again gets released. A Pro-Bowl safety still (seemingly) at the top of his game was jobless.

The article spoke in detail how John didn't know what to do with himself. He had to pay for a cellphone for the first time in his life. He had to schedule his own transportation. He was driving his wife crazy. He had been to his daughters dance classes and recitals. His sons soccer matches. Most of all he missed playing the game he loved, and he wasn't sure why he wasn't playing football anymore.

All of this got me thinking about myself. In late April of this past year, after a near 15 year career in publishing, I was laid off from my role as Creative Director. No biggie I thought to myself. Someone with my pedigree shouldn't have too much of a hard time finding a new job. Even though times were tough in the publishing industry and the economy was tanking, I was sure I would land somewhere very quickly. I went on countless interviews, sent out resumes to all kinds of contacts and former colleagues... all to no avail.

Once my website went up, I saw an upswing in freelance clients. Enough so that I had visions of grandeur in being able to make a full go at it as a freelancer and contract designer. As much as I liked making my own schedule and working from home I felt like something was missing. I missed getting up and going to work. I missed feeling like I was contributing to something a large number of people would see. Most of all, I missed magazines. I had spent all of my adult life working on magazines, and for the first time in 14 years I wasn't involved in publishing. Slowly but surely doors started to open for me and I was able to dive back into the world I knew. I did a few weeks at the first publishing company I ever worked for. Designed some other odds and ends, and then, finally, a long term freelance gig at a publishing company became available for me. It's definitely not a role at the level I had before, but it is a role I am enjoying. It's refreshing and reinvigorating to be back at a publishing company working on magazines.

I feel like I totally understand where John Lynch was coming from. I couldn't understand why I wasn't working. While I enjoyed spending time with my wife and daughter, I'm sure I was driving them crazy. Most of all I missed what I had been doing before. I love magazines. It's all I've known for a long time. Here's hoping that John lands a role somewhere. I'm sure like me, he misses the game, but most of all can still be a star on the field.

This year the Broncos defense has been a mess since the release of John Lynch. He was their field general. Without him the defensive unit has been one of the worst in the NFL. Maybe the veteran safety they released was a larger part of the unit than they thought.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Observations & Predictions

As Week 5 passed us by I continue to be more and more impressed by both the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. While the Giants schedule has been very favorable, the Redskins have gone on the road and knocked off the Cowboys and Eagles on back to back weeks. The offense behind Jason Campbell has been very impressive. He seems to have a firm grasp of Jim Zorn's West Coast style offense. The defense has played surprisingly well without one of it's major cogs in Jason Taylor. How much better will they be when he returns from injury. I shudder at the thought.

The best game (in a week surprisingly full of good ones) had to be the Colts come from behind victory over the Texans. I was cursing Peyton with 5 minutes to go in the game, as I thought he had buried my fantasy squad for another week. He then threw for two scores as the Colts shocked the winless Texans. The Titans, Falcons (behind my pre-season ROY pick Matt Ryan), Broncos, Steelers and Vikings all also won close games in this week of the nail biter. The Panthers, Bears, Giants and Cardinals (a win I predicted over the previously undefeated Bills) all enjoyed laughers.

Then there were my beloved Cowboys. When they were out to a 17-3 lead I expected a blowout. Not so much. A few Romo turnovers later (getting to be a scary regular development-8 straight games with an interception, fumbles in 3 of the 5 games this season) and the game was within a missed 2 point conversion of being tied. Touchdown passes to Owens and Crayton made the score a bit more inflated. Until the Cowboys cut down on the mental mistakes (turnovers and penalties) they won't be able to compete with the upper echelon teams in the NFL. They have all the talent in the world, but they need a little more discipline.

Top Performers of the Week
QB-Kyle Orton:
A Bears QB on this list. Crazy, but Kyle has performed very well over the last few weeks. The wide receivers seem to have responded to him as well. Very good game over the overmatched Lions.
RB-DeAngelo Williams: Was a complete animal against the Chiefs. Ran for a couple of scores as well as caught one out of the backfield.
WR-Bernard Berrian: It seems like Gus has found his go-to-guy over in Minny. He looked great in the fourth quarter in helping the Vikes pull out a tough one over the Saints. He should be able to build off of this game.
TE-Chris Cooley: The Eagles have had trouble guarding tight ends all season (check out the stats, McMichael, Witten, Miller, Olsen and now Cooley have all had big games). That trend continued against the Redskins. Cooley went off for 109 yards and a score.
Defense-Carolina Panthers: Pitched a shutout and thoroughly dominated the overmatched Chiefs.
Special Teams-New Orleans Saints: Although Gramatica had a kick blocked and returned for a touchdown, the return efforts of Reggie Bush (two punt returns for scores) and Pierre Thomas (put the Saints in great field position all game) have to be commended.

Looking forward to Week 6 there are 4 games on the schedule I'll be paying close attention to. Dallas at Arizona is the first. The Cardinals play really well at home, and the Cowboys have trouble with big, physical receivers. Warner could pile up big yardage, but I see the Cowboys behind the strong running of Barber and Felix Jones pulling out the victory. I'm also interested to see what happens Sunday night in San Diego. The Pats seemed to have figured out how to get the ball to Randy Moss during the bye week. Do they have enough to stop the Chargers, whose season very well could be over with another loss. I think they do. Pats in a close one. The Ravens versus Indy looks to be one of those matchups of offense versus defense. The alarming trend for the Colts has been that teams have been able to run on them at will. Does that continue against the Ravens. I think not. My pick is the Colts as I think Dwight Freeney will put too much pressure on Flacco. Manning does just enough to will his team to victory. And finally the most intriguing game on the docket, Jacksonville at Denver. The Broncos have looked rather pedestrian the last two weeks, while the Jags are fighting for the season. I think the physical Jags secondary does enough to slow down Jay Cutler and allow the Jags to run away with a victory.

Here are my picks for the rest of the games (10-4 last week). Chicago over at Atlanta. The Orton express continues to ride. The Texans finally pick up a victory in beating Miami. New Orleans taking out the loss against the Vikes on the Raiders. Minny over Detroit. The Jets in a close one at home against the Bengals. Tampa Bay upsetting the Panthers. Redskins behind Portis over the Rams. The Eagles need one bad, and they'll prevail over the Niners. Packers over the Seahawks. The best team in the game, the New York Giants huge over the Cleveland Browns. I think we finally see Brady Quinn in this game. The Browns have looked awful and the Giants will blitz them into submission.

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Gus Frerotte:
The Lions will have 8 in the box most of the game, Gus and Berrian finally seem to be on the same page. I see another long day in store for Detroit fans.
RB-Thomas Jones: The Bengals gave up 200 yards rushing to the Cowboys. The Jets should be able to take similar advantage. They'll try and prevent Favre from beating them, which should provide ample running lanes for Mr. Jones.
WR-Devery Henderson: Brees should have all day to throw against the Raiders. Henderson should be the beneficiary of that. He's a bad speedy matchup for the physical Raiders corners.
TE-Vernon Davis: I'll go with my theory once again, that the Raiders cannot defend tightends. Jim Johnson is so blitz happy that the tightend usually has a linebacker matching up on him. Vernon Davis finally has his breakout NFL game.
Defense-New York Giants: The Browns will be completely overmatched. Also, remember the Giants knocked Derek Anderson out of the game in the preseason with a concussion. I think he will be very gun-shy.
Special Teams-Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson and David Akers will help the Eagles in a close one over the Niners.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Observations and Predictions

Week 4 was a big upset week for me as my beloved Dallas Cowboys were knocked off by a very impressive Washington Redskins team which has now won 3 in a row after looking dead in the opener against the Giants. Jason Campbell showed great poise and played the new West Coast offense to perfection. They are going to be a team to be reckoned with. The Bears also showed they are a team to look out for in upsetting the Eagles. The Bears are a few breaks away from being 4-0. They are a team that bears watching. The Chiefs also pulled out a shocking win against the previously undefeated Broncos. I don't know anyone who picked that. I was also surprised that the Bucs handled the Packers so easily. I think their was a bit of a letdown after the Cowboys game last week.

The rest of Sunday (and Monday) basically went according to plan. A few standouts were Brett's big day against the Cardinals. Jacksonville pulling out a close against the Texans (welcome back Matt Schaub). And even though they lost, Baltimore also showed it has some fight in them behind rookie Joe Flacco. I like this kid, and with that defense they will be in every game.

Top Performers
QB-Brett Favre:
Huge 6 touchdown performance against the Cardinals.
RB-Larry Johnson: Was it a return to form, or a 1 game blip. The biggest reason for the Chiefs upset of the Broncos.
WR-Lavarenues Coles: Finally seems to have clicked with Favre as evidenced by his 3 score day.
TE-Zach Miller: A big reason the Raiders held a surprising lead at the half. Nice day, I think he'll turn out to be JaMarcus Russell's main weapon.
Special Teams-Washington Redskins: They dominated the Cowboys in kick coverage. Giving neither Adam Jones or Felix Jones a chance at any type of quality runback. Therefor pinning the Boys deep on their end of the field constantly.
Defense-Carolina Panthers: They did a good job of shutting down the resurgent Falcons.

Here are my thoughts on Week 5 games. Washington at the Eagles is my game of the week. I think the Eagles will be amped up and should win this game in a shootout. Only if Westbrook returns. Without Westy I think you have to favor the Skins. Other games I'll have a close eye on are Pittsburgh versus the Jaguars. I'm not buying into the Jags yet, and I liked the toughness the Steelers showed. I pick the Steelers in a low scoring close game. Indy at Houston should be a tough road test for the Colts. I think the bye week came at the right time for the Colts. It should have allowed him to rest up and get on the same page with his receivers. Colts in a close one. Dallas very big over Cincy. Boys take out last weeks loss on the Bengals. Titans over an amped Baltimore in a low scoring defensive battle. The Cards over the Bills in my upset special. Just a hunch I'm having.

The rest of the games should go as follows (8-5 last week). Carolina over the Chiefs. Chicago's Matt Forte running wild over Detroit for the win. Packers beating the Falcons in a close one. Chargers big over the Dolphins. Giants winning a close one over Seattle. Broncos beating the Bucs. Pats over the Niners in San Fran. The Saints over the Vikings to drop them to 1-4.

Fantasy Picks of the Week
QB-Tony Romo:
Should bounce back nicely from the loss to the Skins against an overmatched Bengals secondary.
RB-Matt Forte: The rookie has looked good as the focal point of the offense. Expect a great game against the lowly Lions front line.
WR-DeSean Jackson: The Skins have fits trying to cover speedy slot receivers. Jackson should see plenty of time in the slot in 3 receivers sets.
TE-Tony Gonzalez: Special shout-out to Tony who will become the all-time reception yardage leader for Tight Ends. He is (and has been for many years) my favorite player in the NFL and in my eyes is the greatest Tight End in the history of the league.
Special Team-San Diego: Return tandem of Sproles and Cromartie one of the most dangerous weapons in the game.
Defense-Titans: I expect a low scoring game in Baltimore with the Titans clamping down and limiting Flacco and the Ravens.


Post-Season Predictions

In my pre-season baseball blog my predictions ranged from the absurd (Seattle Mariners, Clayton Kershaw... what was I thinking) to the safe (Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs making the playoffs). With that said my pre-season World Series pick is still possible. I picked the Red Sox over the Cubs.

Now, although I'll stick with those two teams making the series, I'm flipping my pick. I think the Cubs are the most complete team in baseball. They have a great pitching staff that lines up well for the playoffs. Their offense is strong top to bottom. Their bullpen is the best in the majors.

I think their overall pitching gives them the edge over the Sox. The Sox bullpen, besides Papelbon, has really struggled. Without a healthy Josh Beckett the rotation looks average. And I'm still not sold on Jason Bay replacing Manny's dangerous bat. I mean seriously, if you're an opposing team, does Jason Bay coming to bat with the game on the line instill as much fear as the proven Manny Ramirez. I think not. I still think the Sox have enough to make it to the Series (the Angels for as good as they are simpy don't match up well, I love the Rays but think they're inexperience will hurt them) but I think the Cubs are a team of destiny. Plus they're managed by former Yank Sweet Lou and are my wife's favorite team. Gotta cheer for the ladies squad since my own has been bounced.