SPORTS

The Infallible NFL Week 3 Straight Picks

Another week of decent picks led to an overall record of 10-6. While there were a few more surprises, we are beginning to get a decent idea of what teams really have going for them at this point. A few injuries of note may slow some offenses, but there aren’t many injuries that have been finalized as of yet. So with all that is in mind as of right now, these are the picks for the third week of the season.

Last Week 10-6, Overall 20-12

Tampa Bay at Atlanta. Atlanta has a good offense and a bad defense while Tampa Bay has a shaky offense and a better than average defense. Unless Josh McCown can make something happen quickly and Doug Martin can stay healthy, the Bucs are in for another long season. Roddy White is out but that doesn’t mean Julio Jones and Harry Douglas won’t still have big days. Atlanta 30, Tampa Bay 17

San Diego at Buffalo. The Chargers have come out playing good ball so far. Two close games and the good version of Philip Rivers is what Bolt fans like to see. Buffalo has won their first two games and are playing great on defense. If CJ Spiller can continue to show a burst in the hole then this will be another close game. San Diego 24, Buffalo 20

Tennessee at Cincinnati. When AJ Green went out of the first quarter last week the Cincinnati Bengals must have been worried. Luckily, he won’t be out past this game and next week is a bye. Giovani Bernard has been great so far and I think that’s all they will need against the Titans. Cincinnati 28, Tennessee 13

Baltimore at Cleveland. Did anyone watch the Thursday night game in Baltimore last week? Wow. I saw it in person and I still can’t believe that happened. Divisional games are never usually that one-sided. And like last season, expect Cleveland to play another tough game against the Ravens. The run game will be important for both teams as Terrance West will look to shoulder the load again and Bernard Pierce will look for some consistency after a very impressive Week 2. If Torrey Smith outshines Steve Smith it could be a long game for the Brownies. Baltimore 34, Cleveland 23

Dallas at St. Louis. The Cowboys have the offense capable of making a mark, but there is still no defense. Can the Rams run the ball effectively and maybe even get a decent passing game going? These are all questions in what should be an interesting game. This is just one of a handful of games where I think the team with the better defense will win. St. Louis 17, Dallas 13

Green Bay at Detroit. Both of these teams are frustratingly talented but neither has found much of a rhythm in their first two games. The potential to see a shoot-out is always there, but the reality is that this divisional game will come down to the stouter of the two defenses. While the Lions have the better long-term prospectus due to a mammoth defensive front, the Packers are playing the best so far. Green Bay 31, Detroit 30

Indianapolis at Jacksonville. As far as no-brainers go in the NFL, this shouldn’t be a close game. The Jags have always had a solid run game. With a new offense, that’s not as much the case and the Colts are going to win a scoring contest. Indianapolis 45, Jacksonville 24

Oakland at New England. If the Raiders were playing at home I could see this game being a lot closer, but the Patriots just have too much to prove right now to think that Bill Bellichick will let this game get too close. New England 37, Oakland 10

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Might see a lot of this on Sunday.

Minnesota at New Orleans. This is the absolute wrong time for the Vikings to play the Saints. Unlike the Ravens and Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson is the best player on the Vikings and it’s not even close. Matt Asiata is doing a solid job filling in but it’s a joke to think that he can play the same role in the offense that Minnesota still needs out of their running back. Drew Brees is going to have a field day in this one. New Orleans 41, Minnesota 17

Houston at New York Giants. New York needs something good to happen. Houston has been playing great on both sides of ball. But this is Eli Manning. He’s won two Super Bowls. Maybe he really has lost it. But better judgment can conclude that he’s not that far away. Or in the very least, the Giants just aren’t that talented. Still, this is a home game and the Texans won’t go undefeated. New York Giants 16, Houston 14

Washington at Philadelphia. Both teams come in off of great offensive performances. While the Skins have the better defense, the Eagles have more weapons on offense and the speed to make this one a no-content quickly. If Washington can slow down the game with Alfred Morris running the ball then Philadelphia will have no choice but to play accordingly. I can’t bet against Darren Sproles. Philadelphia 35, Washington 31

San Francisco at Arizona. Even without Carson Palmer the Cardinals have proven that they can win. This is a really good division that Arizona could win if they string together enough good games. The 49ers haven’t been as impressive on D as most would have expected and the offense is still taking some time to gel. If there’s a time for Andre Ellington’s “arrival”, this is it. Arizona 27, San Francisco 24

Hope the Broncos can hear Peyton over the 12th man.

Hope the Broncos can hear Peyton over the 12th man.

Denver at Seattle. In a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl there’s plenty of changeover on the rosters and yet there are plenty of constants. The most obvious, Denver has a great offense and Seattle has a great defense. What the Seahawks didn’t have in full-effect in the last meeting? Their home crowd. Peyton Manning is all about calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. If he can’t hear himself, what will it matter? Seattle 21, Denver 17

Kansas City at Miami. Losing Jamaal Charles won’t help this team any, but coming to play a Miami team that has look impressive in their first two games really won’t help. Still, there’s enough talent on the Chiefs roster to compete and Miami is young enough that they are bound to drop a couple games that make you wonder how it happened. This will be one of those such games. Kansas City 23, Miami 21

Pittsburgh at Carolina. After last week the Steelers have a lot make up for in terms of effort and consistency. The Panthers, however, won’t make it easy and neither will their highly-rated defense. Pittsburgh will score some points but their defense is just too old and mediocre to handle a mobile quarterback like Cam Newton in the prime of his career. Carolina 28, Pittsburgh 20

Chicago at New York Jets. Had the Bears lost last week it would have been tough to bet against them this week. Chicago continues to struggle early in games. But this isn’t the kind of game where they are likely to fall behind quickly so they should be fine. Matt Forte might not have the game most would hope for and Brandon Marshall has enough touchdown catches in the 4th quarter last week to last a week or two, but the Jets just don’t have anyone that scares me. Their two-headed backfield of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory is okay, but Eric Decker isn’t an elite receiver. Chicago 38, New York Jets 17

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RANDOM BUT RELATIVE

GPS Won’t Help

If there’s one particular area of the country I can’t stand to drive through, yet find myself in the majority of my work week, it’s the District of Columbia and all surrounding parts. Most of I-495 is relatively easy to navigate as are other major highways. But the problem isn’t on the highway, it’s what happens when you get off. Driving through DC is hectic and frustrating in the least. There’s too many one-ways and even less straightaways. The roundabouts are ridiculous and have the tiniest street signs possible. Pretty sure your GPS isn’t going to tell you to turn 4 feet between exits. And the exits wouldn’t be so terrible if there weren’t exits off of exits. I’m serious. There are unmarked exits or extra roadways all over the place. It’s nasty.

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If you can see this from the road, you’re fucked.

What’s worse than DC? A little area called Arlington. Only this little area is not as small as one might think when looking at a map. Ever seen cities that have north or south as part of the name? It’s because some developer or real estate agency wants to extend the territory by an extra couple miles to make the people living near the ghetto think they are in a nicer area. I totally get that, but when I’m driving and I want to particular area it can’t just suddenly become a different one. That happens all the time in Arlington. In fact, streets become different ones in a blink of an eye or the slight turn at a stop light that gives no option of going straight.

Do your eyes have trouble seeing things (much less things from distances)? Well, you won’t like driving in DC or Arlington (and really it’s Virginia and anywhere south of there in the United States). In signs in Maryland and north of us, there are signs a couple hundred yards ahead that tell you when a new street is coming up and what that street is called. Apparently we are supposed to intrinsically know when and where streets are based off of intuition. That’s a little much for me. And maybe you thought that there were only streets in big cities that continued on for 10 or 20 miles, right? And I mean streets, not routes. Yes, in Arlington there are streets that continue on for ridiculous lengths.

But let’s get back to DC. Based on conventional wisdom, you’d assume that if streets were going to be numbered and lettered that they would be corresponding and make actual fucking sense. Nope. That would be too easy. Instead, numbers and letters are so wacked out I have no idea where I’m going whenever I’m around. A few years ago I left a friend’s house around K street deep in the city to find myself in Georgetown and then eventually in Virginia. And while 495 is easy to understand, every other route is confusing because to get through DC without actually driving directly by the god damn mall and White House you have to drive north or south of the city and then around. To get around DC, sometimes you have to west to go east. Yeah, that didn’t make sense, right? But that’s what you have to do. Stupid. So much like getting through New York City, if you can avoid driving altogether in DC then do yourself a favor and get in a cab!

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Music

Sensitivity Training

As if you needed another reason to hate Kanye West the man (because Kanye West the rapper is still very talented), take a look at this video and let me know what you think. At a concert in Sydney, Australia Kanye asked all the fans in attendance to stand up and when he saw a couple fans not standing he decided to lash out. The only problem was these fans were disabled. Yes, there was a wheel chair and a prosthetic involved. What. An. Asshole.

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RANDOM BUT RELATIVE

See It to Believe It

When it becomes popular to care, are we really caring?

When it becomes popular to care, are we really caring?

Right now there is somewhere in the world where domestic violence is taking place, a woman is being raped, a man is getting stabbed to death, and there’s a drive-by shooting going down as you read these very words. It’s all stuff that happens in the world we live in. They aren’t things we like to think about or let ourselves believe that actually happen. And yet, when we finally see these kinds of things in action we finally feel the need to do something about it. This goes for all things, good and bad. The two most poignant examples are the Ray Rice domestic abuse case spawned by the video in the Atlantic City elevator and the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS and Pete Frates.

There’s nothing wrong with caring once you hear about see something, but it shouldn’t take such big issues for people to take notice. In the last month or so of ALS fundraising there’s been several hundred percent more dollars raised than the past year of time. Similarly, domestic abuse isn’t a recent issue and it’s taken a video of an unfortunate situation to take it to the front page. The recent abuse issues have since extended to Adrian Peterson in his child abuse case as well as Greg Hardy and a previous domestic assault charge from several months ago. As new assault charges in bar fights come to light there will likely be new rules for all the different legal issues of players going forward. But we must remind you that this isn’t an NFL problem, this is a problem for all people and whether we think about it on our own or see it in the news and finally speak out something must be done.

Do everyone a favor and try this: find a cause or interest and look into organizations that support that cause. Giving a little bit here and there while getting the word out about the millions of different issues that are going on worldwide is the way to go. While helping out is still better than nothing, what happens to these causes when it’s not cool to dump a bucket of ice over our heads and post it online?

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SPORTS

College Pick ‘Em Week 4

Last week was a tough one for pick ‘em fans as even my lofty expectations took a bit of a hit. On the outside, only picking 4 of 10 right is pathetic and I should lose my right to give my opinion on a weekly basis. But looking closer, only 1 of those 6 games was decided by more than 3 points (amazingly enough it was Arkansas by 21 over Texas Tech). So I don’t think I’m all that crazy for making the selections I did. And if you got the opportunity to watch any (or all) of those games, you’d know that most of them really could have gone either way (rather than teams making the final score appear closer than it actually was). This week offers 10 more interestingly close games as well as another Maryland game (I swear I’m not putting this list together).

Clemson at Florida State. The Clemson Tigers come into this game without a clear read on who they are. But when you lose players for Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins, you’re going to have some trouble getting back to the exact same level as last year. So there’s not any expectation that they should be at that level. With that said, Dabo Swinney is a great recruiter and has tons of talent on the roster. On the other side of the ball for the Seminoles is a team of studs. And yet there isn’t tons of proven depth behind Rashad Greene and Karlos Williams. Naturally, Jameis Winston is set up to have a little of a “sophomore slump”. Now Winston’s slump and the average mediocre signal-caller on an FBS team is a bit different, but the biggest difference can be found on the defensive line (which hasn’t been as impressive as last year so far). Florida State 41, Clemson 28

Ameer Abdullah will need a big game for the Cornhuskers to come out on top.

Ameer Abdullah will need a big game for the Cornhuskers to come out on top.

Miami at Nebraska. Two big-time programs meet in Lincoln on sort of low-note for what may have been expected when this matchup was first put together. Neither team is very strong or looking like an early favorite to compete in their respective programs (though the Cornhuskers have a weaker division in the B1G to contend with). Miami is coming off two wins over weaker competition and thus doesn’t have much to be based on other than their loss to Louisville to open the season. That particular game wasn’t impressive in the slightest. But the Hurricanes have the talent to amp up the offense. The Cornhuskers have won their first three games and are coming off a good drubbing of Fresno State, but the close win over McNeese State where they were actually tied late is still a bit of red flag. Nebraska 21, Miami 17

Mississippi State at LSU. Both teams come in with unblemished records as they each open their SEC conference slate. The Bulldogs have played three weak regional opponents while working out the early kinks and while the offense appears to be balanced, expect more of a running game if this is a close game. MSU isn’t known for having an impressive aerial attack like their in-state rival Ole Miss, so keep an eye on how Dak Prescott handles the LSU defensive front. The LSU Tigers come into the game having outscored their opponents 87-0 in the past two games but opened the season in grand fashion at home against Wisconsin. With pro style QB Zach Mettenberger gone, the Tigers will revert back to the old way of playing with hard running, a few big passing plays, and some crazy athleticism on defense. LSU 31, Mississippi State 14

Oklahoma at West Virginia. In what was supposed to be the first test of the young season for the Sooners, Oklahoma instead trounced Tennessee and showed us all that their preseason ranking was deserved. Trevor Knight is beginning to show that last year’s bowl game was no fluke and that his talent is immense. The run game and pass defense will be most important in a game that could easily total 90 points, but is best suited to total 60 or less if Oklahoma has their way. The Mountaineers are coming off an emotional 40-37 win at Maryland that featured instant offense early in the game and then a bit of a letdown as it came to a close. For West Virginia to stick around in this one they need to limit the big plays and when their running game gets going they need to stick to it. Oklahoma 48, West Virginia 38

Utah at Michigan. The Utes have limited results so far against limited competition. Balance will be key against a team with more big, athletic bodies than they have seen up until this point in the season. Michigan laid an egg against Notre Dame and then underwhelmed against lowly competition in the other two games. Still, playing at the Big House with the talent on that roster can’t possibly be as bad as they’ve looked up until this point. Michigan 28, Utah 10

The triple option will confuse Rutgers to no end.

The triple option will confuse Rutgers to no end.

Rutgers at Navy. Rutgers did better than many would have expected against Penn State last week even though it was their B1G debut in a raucous home environment. However, this game isn’t being played at home and the triple-option just isn’t an offense you see every day. Ohio State may not be world-beaters but their talent-level struggled with the offensive scheme of the Midshipmen, as will the Scarlet Knights. Navy has veteran team of capable players that will likely be bowl-eligible within the next 4 games. Navy 24, Rutgers 14

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech. No one can get a good read on what this Virginia Tech team really is, but we do know that they have the talent. Maybe East Carolina is better than anyone thinks. My guess it was a bit more of fate intervening and telling them that any kind of magical run to the BCS Playoff wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Either way, this game should shape up to be a pretty good one. Paul Johnson brings his triple-option that was so successful at Georgia Southern and Navy to a Georgia Tech team with solid speed and a plethora of backs to “carry” the workload (bad pun). The Hokies have the best chance in this one playing at home with the stronger defense. Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 24

Iowa at Pittsburgh. Prior to the beginning of the season there might have been an assumption that the Hawkeyes would run away with this one based on talent alone (a few different NFL prospects), but the Panthers have begun this season winning their first 3 games in relatively comfortable fashion. One of those games was a 10 point win at Boston College, which is now even more impressive after the Eagles stunned USC. Iowa has had trouble getting any clearance on opponents as all three games have been decided by 8 points or less, including a 3 point loss to Iowa State. Pittsburgh 24, Iowa 17

North Carolina at East Carolina. The Tar Heels come into this one after a week off that saw them barely beat San Diego State 31-27. Neither of their first two games has been impressive for a team that was ranked in the preseason AP poll. Maintaining some kind of balance on offense will be key if they want to win on the road. East Carolina has one of the more impressive schedules if we are just counting the last two weeks. The win over NC Central was just a warmup for their tough fight against South Carolina before an upset win last win on the road against Virginia Tech. Shane Carden leads a top 10 passing offense into this one. If the Pirates can keep along that trajectory it is quite possible that another mini upset will take place. East Carolina 28, North Carolina 27

Maryland at Syracuse. In a matchup of two teams that were in the same conference for a year, each comes with something to prove before getting into difficult conference schedules. Syracuse barely beat Villanova and then walloped Central Michigan. Offense isn’t really their strongsuit, which may be a problem if the Terps don’t turn the ball over. The run game will be important on both sides of the ball and if the Orange can be successful in both instances their chances of winning will increase. The Terrapins are coming off a heartbreaking loss to West Virginia in the final seconds after coming back from a few touchdowns down early in the game. If CJ Brown can improve his accuracy and the run game (specifically the running backs) can find more holes the offense should be just fine. Maryland must improve in the secondary if they wish to be successful this season. Last week featured too many go routes with defensive backs looking lost. Maryland 38, Syracuse 20

 

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