The Baseball Update
Thankfully, I didn't see much of Friday night's meltdown, but all was made better by yesterday's win. Lead back to 5.5 with 13 to play. Gives them a magic number of 9. Not saying it's over (I remember the '87 Jays who blew a 3.5 game lead over the Tigers with 7 to play - damn you Manny Lee), but it's pretty close. Magic number to clinch at least the WC is 7.
From last night's game, Three things I noticed: (1) Varitek is done as a productive major league hitter. He should be dropped to 8th in the lineup (leave some speed at the 9th spot with Lugo). I was talking with a guy at work who said Varitek looks like a "guess hitter" at this point in his career, and judging by his swings last night, I couldn't agree more. (2) Tim McCarver and Josh Lewin might be the worst combination of baseball announcers this side of the South side of Chicago. Master of the obvious (McCarver) and master of the annoying (Lewin). Their discussion of the Joba Rules was silly and only something an actual Yankee fan would find interesting or clever (the idea that after midnight, it's the next day and now the Joba rules no longer apply. Ha. Very funny). And it only took them 'til the second batter of the top of the first to remind us all about Bucky Dent and 1978. Thanks, guys. WE GET IT!!! (3) Not worried about Beckett (although he had way too many full counts). Marginally worried about the following guys: Dice-K, Okajima, wakefield (although he always gets straightened out). Offensively, so long as Youk is not seriously injured, they will be fine, especially if they get Manny back.
Speaking of the Joba Rules, Here is a funny bit on the "expanded version" of the Joba Rules (Bugs and Cranks).
Some other links:
Red Sox Diary has the game story from last night's game Here
Vegas Watch is a great blog, some statistical analysis, some Vegas odds, and some links posted today.
One more Dying Quail has an interview with Tina Cervasio of NESN. (found via Vegas Watch).
The NFL Picks (no taxes or death update this weekend - possibly a life update later today as my sister appears to be in early labor).
This week, I'm going to use the same lines as Simmons as apparently there were pushes last week that didn't get reflected in my picks (either way, I was .500).
So away we go (Home team in CAPS)
Falcons (+10) over JACKSONVILLE. I'm a glutton for punishment, but I refuse to believe that the Falcons are 10 points worse than the Jags. Especially as the Jags have a lingering case of the Del Rios, which should be worth at least 3 points to ATL.
Bills (+10) over PITTSBURGH. See last week's post. I don't pick against the Bills. Their defense is seriously banged up, but I think the emotions from the Kevin Everett situation will keep them close. Losman looks disgusting, however.
Bengals (-7) over BROWNS. Cleveland also looks disgusting. PREDICTION: Quinn sees time today and will be starting by Week 4.
GIANTS (-1.5) over Packers. The interesting thing coming out of last week's debacle against the Cowboys was that Derrick Ward actually looked better than Brandon Jacobs.
TITANS (+7) over Colts. This one is screaming for a PUSH. As everyone knows, the Titans played the Colts close last year and are improved on offense this year. I know I said I was not convinced by the Colts D and, despite the Week 1 showing, I'm still not fully convinced. We'll see.
PANTHERS (-6.5) over Texans. Now watch as Delhomme pulls his Mr. Hyde impression after being Dr. Jekyll last week.
Saints (-3) over BUCS. Tampa's D looked relatively good last week, but I don't think there is any way the Saints are as bad as they looked against the Colts. Another one screaming for a PUSH. I'm guessing 17-14 Saints.
Niners (+3) over RAMS. Man, another team that looked much worse than people expected, the Niners were lucky to escape AZ with a win. Not sure, actually, why I am picking them here. I guess because Week 1 seemed like an inaccurate representation of many teams (Niners, Saints, Falcons) - which will be corrected this week.
Cowboys (-3.5) over DOLPHINS. Seems like a no-brainer. miami is gross.
Vikings (+3) over LIONS. I'm picking against a lot of home teams this week, but the Vikes looked pretty solid last week; although so did the Lions. Understand this: I have no idea what I am doing here.
BEARS (-12) over Chiefs. How, exactly, is Herman Edwards still employed? LJ does not look good, either.
Ravens (-10) over JETS. Mangenius is a genius if only for diverting attention from how lousy the Jets played last week. Pats could have scored 1 or 2 more TDs easily.
Seahawks (-2.5) over CARDS. So, the Seahawks made the Super Bowl two years ago and have essentially the same cast as they did then? And they're just 2.5 point favorites over the Cardinals? Okaaaaaay.
Raiders (+9.5) over BRONCOS. Denver did not look particularly good against the Bills and, but for a ridiculous decision by the Bills to throw a bomb on 3rd and 5 with 2:42 to play (???) and a ridiculous effort by Elam to kick the winning FG, they would be 0-1 with questions flying around about Cutler's accuracy. Raiders D is better than the Bills. I see the Raiders actually winning this game.
Redskins (+7) over EAGLES. Jeez, how many teams are there in the NFL anyway? I'm getting tired.
PATS (-3) over Chargers. So I guess this means these teams are essentially even. Thankfully none of the talking heads on Boston sports radio were talking about "distractions" this week. They're going to blow the Chargers off the field.
A couple of football links:
The Tailgate from bfloblog. a breakdown of the Bills-Steelers game. My score prediction is 27-20 Steelers.
The Patriots Roundtable via Boston Sports Media Watch. Good breakdown of the Pats-Chargers matchup.