Last Call

fantasy-football-belt-12So we have 2 weeks left in the season, but really, today is the last great Sunday.  Fantasy football finals going on (including myself facing off against my good friend and defending Zach Morris Cup champion Jonathan Stretch) and next week you get a lot of teams that pack it in.  So enjoy this one.


Falcons at Saints is huge, even though it’s 2 teams well below .500 that have a shot to get into the playoffs thanks to that pathetic division.  Ravens at Texans is big for the Ravens, Browns at Panthers is big for Carolina with the division still on the line, on and on and on.


In fact I went through the schedule, only 2 games are truly nothing games today.  Vikings at Dolphins and Giants at Rams (ironically I have picked both those games in case you need to make it interesting).  And I would guess the Vikings/Dolphins game is well played.


But next week we won’t get that.  There will be a lot resting players, a lot of teams who have been eliminated playing each other, and while we always get 2 or 3 really big games on week 17, it really has a feeling of playing out the string for the most part.


So enjoy today, because it is the last Sunday packed full of interesting.  Obviously the playoffs bring two weeks of 4 really intense matchups, but you don’t get the variety.  Big games, Redzone, fantasy football, this is it guys.


9 pick week for you as I try to make that late season push back to respectability.  Check out my hot streak “ya’ll”!  7-2 two weeks ago, 4-2-1 last week, I’m closing out what was becoming a disastrous season picking games.  Doubt I finish over .500 (very honestly I don’t know what my record is), but I’m hot right now so none of those millions I lost you REALLY matters right now…


Baltimore at Houston

Texans +5

I know Fitzpatrick is done, Mallet is done, and the Texans are going with Keenum.  But this isn’t a team that relies on their QB and can hang with teams because of their run game and D.  So 5 points at home, despite the Ravens being a good team is too many points.


Green Bay at Tampa Bay

Buccaneers +12

This is simple.  You take home dogs getting this many points and the Bucs have been playing teams hard in the 2nd half of this season.  So the Packers win but they can win by 10 and you still win money so roll with them.


Atlanta at New Orleans

Falcons +6.5

Are we kidding with this line?  The Saints have been AWFUL at home this season!!  And they aren’t much better than the Falcons.  Maybe someone in Vegas is messing with us, but I don’t see it.  Falcons are going to keep this one close, maybe even win it.  Add to this, the Saints are on a short week.


Minnesota at Miami

Vikings +6

There is really only one reason I love the Vikings in this game, Teddy Bridgewater.  This is his Super Bowl, going back to his home town.  Probably a dumb reason to make a pick, but I just think he’s going to show up big and his teammates will follow suit.


NY Giants at St.Louis

Rams -7

I don’t like taking huge favorites, but I have to take the Rams here.  The Giants have been awful.  Yes they beat Washington, and Washington just knocked off Philly yesterday, but it is easy to get up for divisional games.  The Rams are the superior team here and I expect them to blowout the Giants.


Indianapolis at Dallas

Colts +3.5

You shouldn’t trust the Cowboys in December.  Now, they’ve proven that this is a different Cowboys team and I’m happy to say that I had the Cowboys last Sunday night.  But that doesn’t mean you should be trusting them.  The Colts are the much safer bet here.


Seattle at Arizona

Seahawks -7.5

It’s a fat number, I know.  But without anything even decent at QB I just don’t see how the Cardinals can compete, and the Seahawks are back to the dominant team that won the Super Bowl last season.  7.5 is a big number, but not big enough to scare me off.


Denver at Cincinnati

Broncos -3

I don’t care that the Bengals are at home, they’re still the Bengals and can’t be trusted.  I know Manning hasn’t looked good lately and they’ve been establishing their run game, but he’ll make the throws when he has to.  Dalton won’t.


Green Bay at Tampa Bay

Over 49

Warm climate, Aaron Rodgers, the Packers D and the number is only 49?!  Take it and run!


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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

83ca239c-08b5-4076-8704-48eb05457b18I laugh every time I write these and I go to categories and click on “NHL”.  This isn’t the NHL, this is pathetic is what it is.


So Mac T steps behind the bench and is the interim head coach, but then Todd Nelson is going to take over at some point and he’ll be the interim head coach.  If that doesn’t spell dysfunction, I don’t know what does.


The THEORY is that MacTavish is going to coach so he can get a better feel for what moves need to be done.  But that can backfire.  MacTavish could easily find himself growing more fond of these players and want to make a move even less!


Nelson deserves a shot to show what he can do in the NHL.  He has a good track record in the AHL, but it’s not THAT great.  He is known to be a guy who relies heavily on his AHL vets which isn’t what other coaches down there are doing.  Most teams are looking to play there kids and develop them.  Nelson is healthy scratching Mitch Moroz, who is one of the Oilers best and most important prospects!  This doesn’t mean that I expect Nelson to fail at all, just that maybe temper the expectations because some people are really geeked about the idea of him behind the bench.  But I don’t have any problem with him as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Todd Nelson will get his shot to prove he can work miracles.

Oh and congrats on being back Buchy!  Man, that was a brutal 5 months he was gone.  They must have really missed him in the old boys club.  But now Buchy who has literally one of the worst track records of anyone currently employed in hockey is back with the organization, this time in OKC.


As the title says, reduce, reuse, recycle.  The Oilers never let any of “their guys” go to waste.  I won’t be anything shocked if they do make a big front office shake up.  It’ll go like this: “we are here today to announce the changes in our front office.  Kevin Lowe is out as President of Hockey Operations.  Scott Howson is out as Vice President of Hockey Operations.  And Craig MacTavish is out as General Manager.  Now to announce the men taking over those roles.  I would like to introduce new GM, Scott Howson.  New Vice President of Hockey Operations, Kevin Lowe.  And the new President of Hockey Operations, Craig MacTavish.  Also, we would like to introduce our new Sr. Vice Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment group, Daryl’s son, Afro Katz.”

Coming soon to the Oilers front office…

Do you actually think this organization knows how embarrassing they are to their fans?  No they don’t.  If they did, management would have been cleaned out 2 or 3 years ago.  Kevin Lowe would have never saw the rebuild, he would have been axed along with Steve Tambellini after the 2010 season.  How was Tom Renney supposed to succeed, or Ralph Krueger, or the now former coach Dallas Eakins?


I never understood the Renney firing, yet so many fans wanted him gone.  Why?  The number 1 reason given by fans at the time was “well he played Eric Belanger on our 2nd unit PP”.  That unit ranked 3rd in the league that season.  The team had improved a lot from the year prior, they were competitive every night, and actually had some real impressive wins.  That had to be one of the most ridiculous firings in league history.


The fact is that none of these coaches have had a chance.  This organization hasn’t taken any of the key positions seriously.  Center, defense, goaltending.  They loaded up with undersized wingers which are a dime a dozen.  I would rarely draft a pure winger, and if I did he would have to be at least 6’1, 200.  There are teams in the NHL that have this same philosophy.  Definitely aren’t the Oilers.


Now I have to address Darren Dreger coming out and declaring that Hall will be in play before the trade deadline.  I’m a big Dregs fan, but he is clearly speculating here and I don’t know why.  You’re an insider, so all you’re doing is creating a buzz to what has turned into a completely dead trade market until mid February.


If you trade Taylor Hall, you aren’t getting equal return and a guy like Dreger should know that.  And as much as the Oilers are a shit show, they know that.  But he says it because it gets clicks.  Fans of 29 other teams salivate at an Oilers fire sale because they think their team will get them for cheap and they’ll become the superstars they’ve been expected to be.

Barring getting their socks blown off, the Oilers won’t be moving Taylor Hall any time soon.

As much as all the people who don’t know the Oilers cry for them to trade the kids, they never have a suggestion as to whom the Oilers could get back.  “They need a D-man!!  Trade the kids for a D-man!”  Ok idiot, who is giving up that stud D-man that they need?  The reason you don’t have a response is because there isn’t one that a team will deal.  “Trade the kids for a stud center!”  Right, and again, who is dealing that guy?  Unless you have the answer, shut up.  I don’t defend much the Oilers do these days, but nobody trades any more.  Figure it out.


I have one answer.  And again, I will discuss my favorite guy….Ryan O’Reilly.  Now, this is all assuming that the since fired Adrian Dater of the Denver Post was correct in his assessment that the Avs and O’Reilly marriage is nearly done.  It was a contentious this summer for the 2nd time in 3 years between the Avs and O’Reilly.  And the Avs don’t use him at center where he is most valuable.


IF things are bad between the Avs and O’Reilly and IF they are willing to move him, I don’t understand why the Avs and Oilers haven’t hooked up on a deal that would see Jordan Eberle going to the Avs and Ryan O’Reilly heading to Edmonton.  Both making 6 mil per, I believe O’Reilly is the better player but Eberle might be a better fit for the Avs and is locked down for a much longer time than O’Reilly (Eberle is a UFA after the 18-19 season, O’Reilly is after next season).  They are a little under 9 months apart in age too.  But again, this is all assuming the Avs are interested in moving O’Reilly now while they can get something for him rather than risk losing him as a UFA after next season.


Eberle and I would say David Perron are guys who make sense to deal.  Not that any Oiler fan wants to see Perron go, but he wants out and he’ll get a good return.  I would say Yakupov, but I don’t think you can move him now.  If anything I would say he is the guy that you need to look to pad his stats for the rest of this season and if you do than maybe you get some decent offers.  I don’t personally see it with Yak.  As hard as he works, he just doesn’t have the hockey sense and his talent while really good, isn’t elite enough to overcome that lack of hockey sense.  I like the kid, but I’m not seeing a 35-40 goal guy that he was projected to be.


But as for the D, the only way the Oilers are going to fix that is continuing to build the blueline and maybe more so playing a more structured game that sees what would be a HUGE improvement on the defensive end from the forward group.


Then you have the goaltending, that hasn’t been taken seriously by this organization for a long time now.  The fans and media who still stick with this team want to look down at teams like the Leafs, Avs and Flames who get good goaltending.  “Well the analytics say it won’t last and also say we’ll improve”.  Shut up, please.  They have great goaltending, and just because the Oilers analytics say they’re better than they are doesn’t mean they’re right.  Analytics don’t show the quality of shots the Oilers are getting on goal, or how much traffic they are getting in front of opposing goaltenders.  Maybe those teams can’t sustain what they’re doing but trust me they are doing MUCH more right than the Oilers are.


But I got off track there.  The goaltending.  They have to start taking it seriously.  You need to bring in goaltending specific amateur and pro scouts.  You need to go out and acquire a legit number 1 goaltender.  Cam Ward could likely be had, as long as he’s willing to waive his NTC.  Same thing looks like it’ll go for Mike Smith.  I would bet the Coyotes would love to shed his deal, but he has a NMC.  Craig Anderson still has 3 years left on his deal AFTER this season and might be the ideal guy as he plays better the more his team relies on him.  Antti Niemi is a UFA after this season.  You would have to overpay to get him, but you probably could get him.  I like a few of these options, but will the Oilers actually step up and get a goaltender?  Who knows.

Craig Anderson could be a guy who makes sense for the Oilers to acquire between the pipes.

But this is all old news talking about what needs to be fixed with this roster.  We all know by now.  The gameplan for the rest of the season has to be to end up 30th, or at the very least 29th which would guarantee Noah Hanifin who is maybe the best D prospect since Drew Doughty.  And obviously people are going to roll their eyes at that and cry “well it hasn’t worked for them”, they haven’t had a shot at prospects like the top 3 in this draft.  It is literally like Crosby, Stamkos and Doughty are at the top of this draft.  Now, maybe these kids don’t reach their potential, but that is the type of potential we are talking about.  And while all the critics of the team will shit all over the rebuild, I personally still think it is the best way to build a hockey team and it take extraordinarily bad management to screw it up.


Which as we know the Oilers have.  So until 6 rings, and Colin Cowherd, and accountable Mac, and the pro scouts, and the amateur scouts are wiped out and competent/experienced people are brought in, not even Connor McDavid becoming better than Crosby will get this sorry ass franchise out of the gutter.


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Here’s Johnny!

Browns Redskins FootballHow many times have writers used that headline this week?!  Or when he was drafted?  Or when he won the Heisman?  Or when he beat Alabama?  Oh what the hell, once more isn’t going to hurt anything!


So the Browns turn to Johnny Manziel.  The guy who is pretty much the complete opposite of the prototypical QB.  He doesn’t appear to be well liked, doesn’t appear to be a leader, he’s small, he doesn’t have a big arm, he tucks it and runs a ton, basically everything you DON’T look for in a franchise QB.


But the Browns had to make the move, and I was big on them sticking with Brian Hoyer but the problem is that Hoyer has completely stalled.  This team has a shot at the playoffs, and while QB’s like Manziel don’t have much of a shelf life, over a short span they can give a team a spark and that is exactly what the Browns need.


A perfect example of this was when Willie Beamen did it for the Miami Sharks.  Dan “Cap” Rooney got hurt late in the 99 season (as you’ll recall), and Beamen came in and led the Sharks to back to back wins to get them in the playoffs.  Now Manziel doesn’t have the advantage that Beamen did of being fictional, but sometimes you think he is.


My take on Manziel is that he’ll be OK for the Browns this season.  Will he get them in the playoffs?  I doubt it, but I like their chances better with Manziel than with Hoyer right now.  Long term, I think the guy will fizzle out.  The only reason he was a 1st round pick was because the success of the pistol offense for that half a second at the end of the 2012 season made awful organizations believe any College QB could thrive in the NFL.


But you have to be an adult to have any kind of long term success at QB in the NFL.  People will say “he’s like Russell Wilson!”, but he’s not anywhere close to Russell Wilson in terms of maturity and that’s where it really counts.  I’m pulling for the kid because polarizing figures like him are great in any sport, but being honest about it I don’t think he’ll last long term.  Soon, he’ll frequently be getting PICKED….


What a lead in!  Just 7 picks this week, unlike the 9 that I did last week to an AWESOME 7-2 and 1 of those losses I got completely f***ed on in the KC/Arizona game!  6 ATS, and an over/under.  Between College and NFL I was 12-2 last weekend.  I’m hot….at least for 1 week.


Green Bay at Buffalo

Bills +4.5

Something doesn’t feel right about the Bills only being 4.5 point dogs in this game, so I’ll take the home team getting points.  Pack are on a short week.


Miami at New England

Dolphins +7.5

Dolphins will be desperate, they beat the Pats in the opener, and 7.5 is a lot of points.  Maybe the Pats blow them out, but the smart money is on the fish.


Pittsburgh at Atlanta

Falcons +2

The Falcons shouldn’t be only 2 point dogs in this game.  But here is the thing, the Steelers have played down to their opposition all season long and the Falcons are a solid team at home.


Denver at San Diego

Broncos -4

The only favorite I like this week.  The Chargers are sinking, and don’t forget they just played what has become a very physical Pats team.  Chargers just aren’t as good as I thought they were to start the season and the Broncos are going to win this one going away in my opinion.


San Francisco at Seattle

49ers +10

I don’t care what happened last game, the Niners shouldn’t be 10 point dogs to the Seahawks.  Maybe the Hawks do blow them out again, but this number is due to an overreaction from the public which means go the other way.


Dallas at Philadelphia

Cowboys +3.5

It hasn’t moved to 3.5 yet, but it will.  I know the Cowboys can’t be trusted in December which makes this pick scary, but 2 things I love.  1) Cowboys have had 10 days to prepare.  2) This is the 2nd time seeing the Eagles.  3) The Eagles just had the piss beat out of them physically by the Seahawks.  This line normally should be the Eagles getting 6.5, they want you to bet Philly.


Dallas at Philadelphia

Over 55

It’s a huge number, I know.  But I don’t see either team stopping each other.  Check the forecast before you lay any money on the over though.  I wouldn’t be taking the over if it is garbage conditions.


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Those Who Don’t Learn From the Past…

10389856One of the best things about doing this blogs/articles/a disgrace to writers everywhere, whatever you want to call them, is that you can write something in them to see just who is paying attention.  I have an old buddy of mine, Brad Ollen, who doesn’t tweet that much.  But he’s a Flames fan and more so a Seahawks fan.  He’s never said anything about the Seahawks stuff I write (would have LOVED last weeks), but he spoke up when I mocked Brian Burke yesterday on twitter.  So I guess we’ll see if the pride of Hillmond, with all due respect to the Mann brothers and Redden brothers, is reading!  If he is…he won’t like it.


First of all, as an Oiler fan, let me say this:  Good on the Flames for the amazing start to the season!  This organization is so much more competent than the Oilers right now, it really is night and day.  Jay Feaster who I mocked a lot on here while GM of the Flames, actually did an ok job assembling talent.  Now, he needs to grow up and check himself when it comes to mocking the Oilers because the last time I checked Feaster had been fired for a year and has very little to do with what the Flames are doing this season.  But respect where it is due.


I said it before the season, the Flames are on the right path.  They have snagged 2 centre’s (Canadian spelling today for a Canadian team) in the last 2 drafts who are going to be great building blocks, and with T.J. Brodie emerging this season their blueline is one of the best in the league.


But this leads me to my issue.  So Brian Burke comes out the other day and declares that the Flames are opening the vault and that GM Brad Treliving has instructions to go to the Cap if the right deals come along.  Nooooooo!


Brian, you did this already and it failed MISERABLY!!!  He had the Leafs rebuild going right and just couldn’t keep his hands out of the cookie jar in trading two 1st round picks for Phil Kessel.  A stud centre and a young stud D-man for a 1 dimensional winger later….and the Leafs are stuck where they are.  Not bad, but they aren’t contending any time soon.


Here we are just over 5 years later and the Flames rebuild is going good.  Better than the Leafs was, but as most Flames fans have heard all season, the analytics would disagree with that and things should start evening out (if they haven’t already after playing great in their last 3 and walking away with nothing).


Now maybe Burke just meant what he said as a hypothetical.  But you know full well fans aren’t going to take it that way.  Fans take that as “we’re going for it!!”  And no way should the Flames be going for anything, not yet anyway.


I’m with Burke in that the Flames should be looking to add, but you need to get guys who are both short term and long term answers.  And they shouldn’t be moving a 1st round pick, nor should they be moving certain guys (Giordano, Brodie, Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, etc).  I worry Burke will do this.


Going back to my buddy Ollen for a minute, his response to me was how Burke isn’t the GM this time.  No, but he has the final say and make no mistake he will be in on trade talks.  For the flack I give Burke and will never stop giving Burke over the Kessel thing, he’s hit a lot more out of the park than failed like he did with Kessel.


So who makes sense for the Flames?  Well, Ryan O’Reilly is one guy who comes to mind, ironically whom they signed to an offer sheet in 2013.  The Avs and O’Reilly seem likely to part ways at some point due to a couple of lengthy contract squabbles and the depth the Avs have down the middle.


Now the Flames moving forward might not have a huge need for a centre, but they sure do now.  One of the worst teams in the league down the middle, especially in the dot.  O’Reilly is one of my favourites.  He is one of the best all around centre’s in the league (even though the Avs have been using him on the wing).  Very similar to Patrice Bergeron.

Avalanche takes on the Sharks


O’Reilly makes the Flames a lot better down the middle now, next season he would allow Sam Bennett to be eased in, and if Bennett and Monahan moved past him on the depth chart he would be the best 3rd line centre in hockey.  You can’t lose acquiring this guy…if you can get him without giving a 1st, or any of the untouchables for the Flames I mentioned earlier.  Not likely.


And guys like O’Reilly who make a lot of sense for the Flames are very few and far between.  It has to be centre if they do make a big move, and it has to be a guy with size in my mind.  Chris Stewart is a power forward, but they have plenty on the wing and he’s an impending UFA.  Antoine Vermette I would guess is moved before the deadline and is a fit, but like Stewart is an impending UFA.


It just doesn’t look good to me for the Flames to make a big splash, without giving up pieces they shouldn’t give up.  So why is Burke coming out and proclaiming that they’re ready to make moves and will go to the cap?  I just think you stay the course this season.  It is gravy you make the playoffs this season.  Should they, then look to take the next step in the offseason.  I’m not saying you can’t make small additions, but now is not the time to make the big splash.  But making the big splash is what Brian Burke is all aobut.  Can he keep his hands out of the cookie jar this time around?


It’s like a QB with a great arm.  They have so much confidence they can make all the throws, that they tend to have a lot of picks.  Burke has so much confidence that he can make great trades, that he sometimes horrifically fails.  Of course, it’s all Brad Treliving making the deals…just like Santa will be at your place in just a couple of weeks…


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Welcome Back

RichardShermanI have a love/hate relationship with the Seattle Seahawks.  A lot to love.  Russell Wilson I love.  Those uni’s I love.  Earl Thomas I’m a big fan of.  But then there is a lot to hate about them.  I’m not a big Pete Carroll guy.  As a guy who has a big soft spot for the Buffalo Bills I’m not the biggest Marshawn Lynch guy.  And ALL the bandwagon fans they acquired in the last 3 seasons is pretty annoying.  No big Seahawks fan in Alberta could likely even tell you who Cortez Kennedy or Steve Largent are.


And then you have Richard Sherman who I love and hate!  Love him when I hear him in interviews, he’s such a smart and engaging dude…and pretty funny!  I hate the fake…yes, FAKE act that he does on the field.  Please save the “that’s just the intensity he plays the game with” BS because there have been MANY players who played it with more intensity than Sherman, and never acted anywhere near as ridiculous as he does.


But this isn’t a piece to trash the Seahawks at all.  This is to welcome them back to the number 1 spot in the NFL.  Yep, you can have your Packers, Pats and Broncos.  I’m going to take the team with the most intimidating D in football, one of the smartest, most elusive and best leaders in the game in Russell Wilson, and one of the best running backs in the game.


After the loss to KC, I really thought this team was in trouble.  But this team really got it together after that game, and now 2 REAL impressive wins later against the best in the NFC West have them right back in the hunt for the number 1 seed in the NFC which would cement them in the Super Bowl.  But even if they only end up with the 3rd seed or a wildcard spot, they have proven that they can go on the road and win.  So the lack of home field doesn’t scare me off.


The proving grounds for this comes tomorrow in Philly.  And I don’t see why they won’t win.  The Seahawks are the team built to play in the elements.  Not that the Eagles can’t, but they lost a home playoff game to the “dome only” Saints.  WHEN the Seahawks win this game, they’ll be talked about on a national level once again as the Super Bowl favorites.


The Seahawks don’t have the flashy offense the media and fans love so much.  They’ll beat you 20-10, and it’ll feel like they won 40-3.  They win in the trenches, they win on D, they win with their running game, and when it is needed Russell Wilson comes up with a big play and maybe more importantly he won’t make a mistake.  I really believe the guy is a top 6 QB in this league, he’s elite.


I should have added earlier that another reason I have a love/hate relationship with this football team is because any way I bet them, they go the opposite.  1-6 since going back to Super Bowl 48, and the 1 win was the Denver game where they covered when they really shouldn’t have.  So I’ve had trouble getting a grasp on which team will show up, yet I’m still more than confident that I’m right on this, and despite a NIGHTMARE of a season picking games, that started off so awesome, I’m going to have a winning week this week.  And just to try and play catch up, I’m going to pick 8 games, and 1 over/under.


Baltimore at Miami

Dolphins -3

I can’t trust the Ravens this season, and the Dolphins have emerged as one of the toughest teams in football.  If they get in the playoffs, they could be trouble for some teams.


Carolina at New Orleans

Panthers +10

Impressive win by the Saints last week, but they’re still having a terrible season and a divisional rival getting 10 points is ridiculous.  Oh, and shockingly the Saints have been TERRIBLE at home this season.


Indianapolis at Cleveland

Browns +3.5

I can’t trust the Colts on the road as much as I love Andrew Luck.  The Browns are going to be a desperate football team to keep their season alive, and Brian Hoyer has his job on the line.  I think the Browns at worse keep this within a field goal.


NY Jets at Minnesota

Vikings -5.5

The Jets are a mess, no other way to say it, but the Vikings are still alive.  They have really played well with Teddy B under center.  So I like the Vikings to steam roll the Jets in this one.


St. Louis at Washington

Rams -3

Another team that has pretty much quit is the Redskins, while the Rams are coming to life.  They won’t give Colt McCoy much at all, and I’m expecting another big game from Tre Mason.


Kansas City at Arizona

Chiefs pick’em

I don’t see how anyone can trust the Cards at this point.  I’m a huge Bruce Arians fan, but Drew Stanton is Drew Stanton and you aren’t winning with Drew Stanton.  But even if it were Carson Palmer at QB for the Cards the Chiefs would have a good shot in this game.  Well coached, good QB, great D, great running game.  I’m not expecting a Chiefs blowout, but I am expecting the Chiefs to squeak this one out.


Seattle at Philadelphia

Seahawks +1

They’re back as I said earlier, and they have had 10 days to prepare for Chip Kelly.  Chip Kelly has had 10 days to prepare for them too, and I’m a bigger Mark Sanchez guy than most, but I don’t think he has any chance against this Seattle D with them on top of their game again.


New England at San Diego

Patriots -4

This feels like too many points, which is why I like the Pats because I’ve been too much of a sucker lately in not catching Vegas bait games.  This feels like one of them to me as San Diego was a darling early, but have some what quietly slipped lately while the Pats coming off a loss are just a nightmare to deal with.


Tampa Bay at Detroit

Over 41.5

I basically love this number just because you have big time playmakers on both sides of the ball so while I get why its a low number, the Lions on their own are capable of putting up 42 on the Bucs.

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Making it Worse

1297638483985_ORIGINALTo start you off, a little reading music, the Oilers theme song:

That’s better.  Now….HERE COME THE OILERS!


By the way, maybe the most embarrassing slogan a team has ever come up with.  Nothing says corny quite like that does.  Anyway, so the owner and his kid got together and decided to trot someone out to take the bullets for the team.  Daryl can’t do it, because that would mean he manned up and that’s not Daryl’s way.  Can’t send Kevin Lowe, he’s too close of a friend and has 6 rings so OBVIOUSLY he has nothing to do with any of this.  So he sent out the GM.  And the GM was quick to point out accountability and how everyone had it.  UNFORTUNATELY for everyone with the Oilers, it’s not hard to look up the meaning of words these days….


:  the quality or state of being accountable; especially :  an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or toaccount for one’s actions <public officials lackingaccountability>”


Ohhhhh damn.  See, I had thought it meant “I have 6 rings so f*** all of you”.  I was WAY off!

Daryl Katz

It’s too bad for Bono and 6 rings that people can easily see through absolute BS.  MacTavish was pointing fingers at everyone with the exception of himself or his bosses, Dallas Eakins has pointed the finger at Ralph Krueger in the past, Bob Stauffer goes on Oilers Now and points the fingers at development and anyone else who aren’t the actual people to blame, Fred Chabot gets fired because he was an easy guy to fire, and then all these people wonder why their young stars have no accountability.  SERIOUSLY!?


In fact with Bob, it’s become quite clear that he is not to say anything negative about Lowe ever.  A guy texted into his show a month or so ago and I can’t remember what exactly was said but basically the guy asked what has Lowe ever done right since becoming President of Hockey Op’s?  Knowing full well what the guy meant (talking about the Oilers), Stauffer responded with, and I’m paraphrasing “Well, he hired Bob Green who put together a Memorial Cup champion with the Oil Kings, that was a pretty good move”.


I don’t blame Stauff.  I did my practicum working on “Total Sports” in 2004.  Bob was and always has been a great guy to me.  I’m not intending to trash him.  But I think he has very clear orders as to what he can and cannot be critical of on the air and it does seem like Kevin Lowe is off limits.  Which wouldn’t surprise me.  In fact, it would fall right in line with everything else Bono and 6 rings do.


But back to accountability.  It was obvious to me that MacTavish was attempting to drill that into fans heads yesterday in hopes of it kicking in that they are accountable.  But when you point the finger at Steve Tambellini and talk about how this isn’t on you because you’ve only been on the job 20 months….come on!!


And MacTavish was the one guy in all this who I was defending.  I thought he had done a decent job and has simply been a product of a horrible work environment where the owner wants to be Bono and hang out with his childhood hero’s.  But that press conference made it pretty clear that he is part of the problem too.


I for one am glad they had the presser though, because really it blew up in their face.  The national media jumped all over them today and it really shone a light on what the real problem is with the Oilers.  Everyone in Northern Alberta knew it, but now everyone seems to have figured it out.


Too late to fire anyone now.  Make sure now you get 30th, THEN clean house.  If Bono is anything of a smart man he will tell Bob Nicholson to do whatever he needs to do, and Nicholson will clean house.  6 rings, Colin Cowherd, accountable Mac, the feathered coach, the pro scouts, the amateur scouts, everyone will be gone and start from scratch.  The funny thing is, if they do that, and bring in the right people, they would likely be a playoff team next season.


But can Bono do that?  Can he let his son tell uncle Bob that he is to clean house and fire all of Bono’s best buddies?  Tune in next week for another riveting addition of “Oil My Children”


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I Guess it was a Water Pistol…

yahoo_rg3pistolThere is no stopping the pistol offense!!!!!  It’s amazing, undefendable, the wave of the NFL future is the pistol!!!  Any decent QB in College will now thrive in the NFL!!!


Obviously that isn’t a direct quote, but it is pretty damn close to how the media reacted 2 years ago when the pistol offense was all the rage.  Robert Griffin, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson were unstoppable and FINALLY the running QB was here to stay in the NFL.  Just like in 1989 when Randell Cunningham was succeeding, just like in 2001 when Michael Vick broke in and Donovan McNabb was thriving.


The media can be SO stupid sometimes.  It was the same thing with Tim Tebow.  I never once jumped on the Tebow bandwagon, nor did I jump on the water pistol offense bandwagon.  In fact I’m pretty certain you can go back to last season, any piece I wrote (mainly betting pieces) and see if I ever bought it.  That isn’t to say I’m not wrong about A LOT of things, I just wasn’t stupid enough to jump on either of these fad’s.


Same thing EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Once coaches get film on any kind of gimmick in the NFL, they’ll come up with a scheme to shut it down.  Remember the wildcat offense?  Of course you don’t, because it died instantly.  But the Dolphins got the only division title the Pats haven’t in the AFC East since 2002 by running the wildcat.  The next season just about every team had a wildcat package, and it did nothing.  Brees, Manning, Favre, Rivers, Brady, none of the elite QB’s needed it that season.  Weird…


Colin Kaepernick isn’t digressing.  Teams have film on the pistol now and know how to shut it down.  So Kaepernick is getting used less and less in the pistol and being forced to throw from the pocket…and he is being exposed.  He has zero touch on the ball, and can’t handle any kind of pass rush.  So when the pocket is muddied, he’s basically useless.


But he isn’t as useless as RGIII has become.  As I said last week, I still think he can become a real good NFL QB if he goes to the right situation.  But right now he is a mess and part of that is again that coaches have figured out the pistol, so he can’t do half the stuff that made him successful in 2012.  Now he has to be a pocket guy and what do you know?  He is a complete mess mechanically.


And should we really be shocked that while Kaepernick and Griffin can do without it, Wilson….the ADULT of the 3 guys, has been just fine?  Russell Wilson has next to nothing to work with on offense, and is still getting the job done.  No, he’s not putting up amazing numbers, but he is making plays and all the right decisions.  He’s not a pocket guy, he’s a scrambler.  But he can still drop back and make all the throws when he has to, which the former 2 can’t.


Wilson isn’t out there looking to be the celebrity QB that Kaepernick and Griffin are either.  He has endorsements, but he’s all business.  Every time I see Wilson I think “it bugs me that he’s a geek who tries to sound cool at times, but I would much rather that than a guy who thinks he has to be cool”.  Kaepernick and RGIII, whether they do or don’t ACTUALLY think this, give the impression that endorsements and instagram accounts and sick headphones are a bigger deal than winning football games.


But that really has nothing to do with the water pistol.  It was a fad, just like the wildcat, just like Tebow, just like Bieber, just like undercuts….which are still sweet.


I hope the media figures this out someday.  But they won’t.  In 5-10 years something will happen that will have the media geeked again.  THIS will be the time that running QB’s are the wave of the future, just like 2012 and 2013 were.  How about this crazy thought: find a QB who makes throws from the pocket?  It’s worked forever.


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Still Work to be Done

Russell+Martin+Josh+Donaldson+Oakland+Athletics+4ZCTWSAwKUxlSo a little about my Friday night.  I’m getting ready to go over to my Budd’s place (correct spelling) and I get a text from one of my other Budd’s (my 3rd/youngest Budd) asking me if I was going over to our Budd’s place.  So 2 of my 3 good Budd’s were going to be having a few Duff’s with me, nice and chill Friday night.  But then my 3rd Budd texts me again about an hour later saying “Get here now. Talk Donaldson”.


Talk Donaldson?  What in the hell is he talking about?  About 10 minutes later I get the notification on my phone saying that the Jays had trade Brett Lawrie, and prospects Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto (the latter long term maybe the key to this deal) for one of the top 3rd basemen in baseball, Josh Donaldson.


Needless to say Alex Anthopoulos has gotten after it for the 2nd time in the last 3 offseasons.  Donaldson is a huge acquisition.  Russell Martin a few weeks ago, a huge acquisition.  But the problem for the Jays is that they already had a decent catcher.  Not great, but decent.  They already had a decent 3rd baseman in Lawrie who as we all know has big time potential which of course is why Billy Beane needed Lawrie in the deal.  AA still has all the same holes to fill.


2B, LF, CF, you need something of an insurance policy in case Justin Smoak can’t turn his career around as your DH, rebuild the pen (specifically a closer) and he needs a front line starter.  The font line starter ironically might be the easiest to get.  Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester are all free agents.  According to reports the Jays are 1 of 6 teams legitimately in the hunt for Lester.


You wouldn’t THINK the Jays could get Lester when you have the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Yankees are all teams who have been mentioned to be after Lester.  But when you bring in a Martin and Donaldson it gets guys attention.  Guys look around and they see what you’re trying to build and that can be more intriguing for guys then what you have done previously.  I still wouldn’t bet on it, but I won’t be shocked if they land him either.


They’re all in.  All of a sudden the team that couldn’t add any money at last year’s trade deadline, according to some, are free to spend to the luxury tax limit (189 million).  That is music to Jays fans ears.


But where does that money go?  If it’s me, one move I’m making is eating most of Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey’s deal and moving him for a 2nd baseman, whether it be an established guy or someone who is ready to play in the big’s this season.  With a rotation (in no order) of Hutchinson, Stroman, Sanchez, Buehrle or Dickey and Happ already next season (with Daniel Norris the first callup due to injury) they really don’t need both Buehrle and Dickey any longer.  If you eat 50-60% of what is left on one of their deals there would be a lot of interest for one of those guys at a reduced rate.


But that only fills one of many holes left.  So while they’ve made a lot of noise and probably have upgraded the team, they haven’t really filled any of the holes they have.  It’s intriguing to watch, as you know they aren’t done.  But what else is coming?  The GM meetings are next week and that is where talks will really heat up.  I don’t expect AA to make any moves there, as he is on record stating how he doesn’t like the meetings.  But the groundwork will be laid there for both trades and with free agents.  And it has to be.  So while I’m excited as a Jays fan, it won’t mean much unless AA remains extremely active and fills all the holes.

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