Lou Fontaine

 Lou Fontaine's Blog 


NFL WEEK 7

NFL WEEK 7 Perhaps it’s my lot to go 4-4, as that seems to be the weekly result these days.  Another 4-4 week raises the total to 17-22 on the year.  Things should tighten up a bit from this week on as far as on field play goes.  Bye weeks and in season practice will hopefully  make the worst tackling in reason memory get better.  Let’s take a look at this week’s slate.  As always any losses incurred by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries. JETS (-1) over Chargers.  Two teams that are evenly matched an in a position to turn the corner into legit contenders.  The line I think is a fair line.  Earlier in the season it was brought up to the players that they only had one 1pm east coast start this season.  The players all said it was such a huge disadvantage to be a west coast team and play that early.  Apparently in camp players only need 3-4 hours sleep so they can play video games all night, but during the season they need beddy-bye time.  Such is life I suppose.  Still any disadvantage on a close line is a huge hoop to jump through.  Factor in that the Jets have won 6 of the last 7 tilts against the “bolts” by at least a field goal, well that adds up to a trend.  As Fireman Ed goes, so do I: J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! LIONS (-4 ½) over Falcons.  The this week is in Detroit.  Those Lions need red meat.  Just when you think there’s a turnaround in the motor city, the Lions become a cover machine.  LIONS STEELERS (-4) over Cardinals.  Andy Reid is the greatest coach ever!  He gets hack QBs to play and trades them for big picks, only to have them exposed as frauds on their new teams (Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley).  STEELERS RAIDERS (-3 ½) over Chiefs.   Those Raiders have covered 8 in a row against divisional foes.  No reason  to stop now.  Just cover baby!  Raiders. PACKERS (-10) over Vikings.  Donnie Mac’s numbers this year weren’t that bad.  At least not so bad he should take a benching playing with these hacks.  After Adrian Peterson who else on offense can play?  Chris Ponder is not the magic bullet.  Meanwhile Aaron Rdgers is quietly putting together one of the all time great seasons any QB has ever had.  Packers RAMS (-10) over Cowboys.  The Rams have won 6 of the last 10 against the pokes.  Spread wise the Pokes have only beaten 2 of their last 10 by more than a touchdown.  I had the Rams going 6-10 on the season, which makes them a perfect pain-in-the-Cowboys-neck team to be.  RAMS SAINTS (-14) over Colts.  I have never seen one team so dependent on one player as the Colts are with Payton Manning.  The Colts may go 0-16 this year.  The Saints on the other hand are really pretty good.  Saints here RAVENS (-9) over Jaguars.  If not for the Colts, the Jags would be the worst team in the NFL.  And it’s almost Halloween.  Cover the Ravens ever more.  RAVENS That's how i see it.  Enjoy the games! The Prognosticator
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NFL WEEK 6

NFL WEEK 6 Another push last week going 4-4 brings us to 13-18.  Not close and still so far, but a good week puts us back in the hunt.  Thos Lions look for real.  So do the Packers.  Philadelphia forgot how to tackle.  The Giants went to the locker room 2 minutes early and the Chiefs somehow look llike they might not be that bad.  Let’s look at this week.  .  As always any losses incurred by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries. LIONS (-4) Over 49ers.  Those Lions are the best story of the year so far.  Let’s not let it end so soon.  Don’t worry because the big cats are 10-1 ATS against teams with winning records.  Look for that motor city mojo to keep on working.  Lions COLTS (+8) over Bengals.  Why are the Bengals favorites?  The may be 8-1 ATS but this spread is way too big.  Curtis Painter won’t make anyone forget Payton manning, But Andy Daulton doesn’t even make me forget Brian Sipe.  Buy the ‘shoes. EAGLES (pick) over Redskins.  The Eagles really can’t be that bad can they?  The season isn’t really over is it?  Just a hunch….Birds BILLS (+3 ½) over Giants.  Lucky for the Bills the birds left their tackling dummy behind when camp started.  Now they take the momentum to the Giants.  Those Bills are doing ti the old fashioned way; the y always hustle and never take a play off.  It’s refreshing.  Bills STEELERS (-14) over Jaguars.  Good thing those Jags got rid of David Garrard.  He could sleep in the huddle and be better that what they’ve got now.  It’s a lost season in Northern Florida.  Steelers. PATRIOTS (-7) over Cowboys.  C’mon.  Big Game.  Tony Romo.  Look at it this way Cowboy fans, Chan Gailey’s got ‘em flying around the ball in Buffalo.  Pats BEARS (-2.5) over Vikings.  Donny Mac is looking old and cold, and he plays in a dome.  Bears. JETS (-8) over Dolphins.  Remember those great games from the 80’s?  Thise light up the scoreboard air attack games that seemed like they played without cornerbacks and safeties?  This won’t be one of those games.  J-E-T-S-JETS-JETS-JETS That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the games The prognosticator
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NFL WEEK 5

NFL Week 5 Another vanilla 3-3 week brings our total to 9-14.  Time to start racking up some “W’s.”  The tricky part for the next  4 weeks is a reduced schedule from teams having byes.  Crazy that 6 of the 8 weeks have teams off, but not in a row.  What a wacky league.  Lets take a look at what’s up for this week.  As always any losses incurred by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries EAGLES (-1.5) over Bills.  Why are the Eagles favored and not the Bills?  Vegas thinks the Eagles are still the Eagles and the Bills are still the Bills.  I agree.  Look for Philadelphia to gigure things out this week in a big way.  Eagles BUCCANEERS (+1) over 49ers.  San Francisco wins one of the ugliest games seen in public by fans not wearing bags and they’re a favorite?  Alex Smith almost got benched in the second half before stumbling  on to 3 touchdowns.  I like the Bucs big, over the past three years they’ve been cover monsters on the road.  As they announcer used to crow in the old big sombrero,  “TAAAAAAM-PAAAAH!” CHARGERS(-3 ½) over Broncos.  The favorite has covered in 6 of the last 9 in the series and that favorite is usually Sand Diego.  The thing about Denver is no one is afraid of them anymore.  San Diego Super chargers… GIANTS (-11) over Seahawks.  Normally I would stay away from this game.  I try to pick Eagles, Giants, Steelers and Jets, plus Sunday and Monday nights, as those are the teams and games people tend to follow.  This spread is really fat.  On the other hand, the Seahawks have real problems.  Tavris Jackson is, well, he’s not that good,   That 1pm new York start time is not to favoring for those bay birds either.  Giants in a romp. STEELERSs (-3) over Titans.  You know, I would roll with the powder blue here, but Kenny Britt on injured-reserve sways me to Pittsburgh.  Be careful, these Steelers are suffering the post superbowl runner up hangover.  Steelers. FALCONS (+6) over Packers.  All you need know about the Falcons is Matt Ryan is 22-2 at home.  Those dirty birds are relentless.  Falcons JETS (+10) over Patriots.  Psst, there’s a blood fued between these teams, and the Patriots aren’t as good as people like to believe..  jets cover LIONS (-5) over Bears.  Once they dumped Matt Millon the Lions stock piled great players with those last place drafts.  Pick first a few years in a row and you’ll have a stud team, too.  Lions That’s how I see it, enjoy your games The Prognosticator.
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NFL Week 4

NFL WEEK 4 3-3 last week brining the season total to an underwhelming 6-11.  It’s still going to take until week 7 or 8 to figure this year out.  No mini camps, passing camps, OTAs, the talent is evaluated on the fly.  Look at Philadelphia.  When was the last time you heard of 4 starters being benched between the last preseason game and week 4?  I was impressed with Tony Romo.  I never saw anyone play in an NFL game with a pneumothorax before.  Most people with punctured lungs lay around and complain.  Not Romo. True to form he almost gave the game up late, but Rex Grossman stole that opportunity.  Michael Vick should be careful what he asks for.  If the refs call him tight it’s going to be football in the 80’s again.  Remember the “grasp and control” era that saw how many plays blown dead to protect the QB?  It lead to some pretty lousy football. Okay, let’s look at this week’s slate of games.  .   Remember any losses encured by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries LIONS (+1.5) Over Cowboys.  Right now the lions may be the best team in football.  I’m not drunk.  Really.  Those Lions are tough.  They’ve won their last 6 in a row going back to last season, and 10 straight if you include the preseason.  Best of all they are cover monsters beating the spread 9 of their last 10 against teams with winnign records and 12 of the last 15 overall.  This is a gift.  Take it.  LIONS BILLS (-3) over Bengals.  My guess is the book makers thin there will be an emotional let down after the Bills came back and snuffed out the Patriots for the first time in 8 years.  Every year has a “cardiac kids” team.  The Bills may be that team.  Don’t bet against them. Those Bengals (Bungals?) are an anemic 1-14 ATS in week four.  The Bills on the other hand are 9 -4 -1 ATS over all.  Enough for you?  BILLS VIKINGS (pick) over Chiefs.  The Chiefs have a bye week 6.  That may be the date of Head Coach Todd Hailey’s firing.  Donovan McNabb may not have much magic left, but he won’t lose the game with bad decisions.  VIKINGS Eagles (-10) over 49ers.  If Mr. Candybones (Michael Vick) can’t make it to the end of the game, Mr. Taffyjoints (Vince Young) is finally ready to step in.  The 49ers are at a point in their rebuilding where they have to play mistake free offense to score 20 points and hope the defense holds.  Eagles win Big TEXANS (-3) over Steelers.  The Steelers had problems with a really, really bad Colts team. You can best believe those Texans were jumped all week by coaches after letting the Saints get away.  Those Texans are 8-1 ATS in week 4.  TEXANS here. RAVENS (-3 ½) over Jets.  The hook has gotten us a few time in this young season, but with Nick Mangold out against a superior Ravens defense how can I refuse?  The Black birds are 11-4 ATS in week 4.  Ravens. That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the games. The Prognosticator
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NFL Week 3

NFL Week 3 2-4 last week which brings the season total to 3-8.  Very pedestrian.  Of course who would have thought that after catching 13 balls Jeremy Machlin would let one hit between the 1 and the 8 and fall helplessly to the ground.  Who would have thought a busted rib would produce Tony Romo’s best comeback?  Actually when I think about it Donovan McNabb’s best game happened on a broken leg in Arizona. Kansas City’s getting 16 ½ already over San Diego.  That’s a sucker bet.  But there are a few games we can pick that seem worthy of our attention.  So let’s go.   Remember any losses encured by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries. Let’s go take a peek at the week’s action: RAVENS (-3 ½) over Rams.   The hook burns us all in die time, but not this week.   The Ravens are solid, the rams are not.  The Giants made short work of those Rams who looked like they still hadn’t healed from an Eagle beat down.  Besides the ravens are cover monsters against teams with losing records.  Ravens are the play EAGLES (-9) over Giants,  Looks like Michael vick will play whether he knows his name or not.  In the Giants infirmary Mario Manningham, Osi Uminyiora,  Dominick Hixon, Terrell Thomas and Prince Amukamara are all out.  Remember if Desean Jackson doesn’t run that punt back last year the Giants make the playoffs and the Packers are out.  Eli Manning’s not playing well and Brandon Jacobs hasn’t been the same since Tiki Barber retired.  Add to it the Birds are cover monsters when favorites at home in odd number years..  Fly Eagles Fly. BILLS (+9) over Pats.  How about a big cup of Fitz-magic?  I’m ready to drink!.  The line dropped two points since the open, what more do you need?   Bills CARDINALS (-3) over Seahwaks,  Tavaris Jackson is awful.  But the Seahawk defense makes up for it by not tackling or covering.  Watching them against the Steelers last week it’s obvious the Seattle boys couldn’t stop a sink.  Kold to Fitzgerald to victory.  Cardinals here LIONS (-4) over Vikings.  Those Lions found a way to restore the roar.  It’s enough to get psyched for Thanksgiving!.  The Vikings on the other hand are simply a team in decline.  Lions 49ERS (-2 ½) over Bengals.  It used to be a team feared playing those Bengals in “the Jungle.”  It seems when they blew up Riverfront Stadium they blew up the talent, too.  The line has move 2 and a half points since the open.  The open was a pick no doubt because the niners are on the road to what seems to them a 10am start.  They’s be awake enough.  Niners That’s how I see it.  Good luck and enjoy the games. The Prognosticator
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The Prognosticator's back! Let the Games Begin!

What a change a no football off season makes.  Rule changes and a free agent frenzy.  There’s a generation of fans who have never known a season without Brett Favre.  Kickoffs will now happen at the 35 yard line.  Last year the league got rid of the 4 man wedge.  That saved the wedgebuster but brutalized the returners.  Remember the Ellis Hobbs neck injury?  All scoring plays will be automatically reviewed.  I don’t really like replay, but I hate the red flag coaches challenge.   Getting it right means getting it right.  At least a team may not get burned on a bad call at the end of the game because they already challenged 3 other bad calls.  Also get ready for tight calls because now quarterbacks can’t get hit while they’re in the act of throwing the ball. Get ready for some bad tackling.  There was no offseason camp and training camp two-a-days were collectively bargained the way of the leather helmet.  Here’s one bold prediction: Now that the league can test players for human growth hormones, you’ll see over the next 5 years players will get smaller. Let’s take a look at some games.  After my record last year I really shouldn’t have to write this: Remember any losses incurred by relying on said information is not the responsibility of me, WDMT, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, its properties or subsidiaries. Here we go with Week 1 SAINTS (-4 ½)  over the Packers.  Sure the Saints were shellacked by an inferior Seahawk team in the playoffs last year.  The Pack on the other hand had to scrape to become a wild card.  They certainly didn’t dominate the league.  The good news in Titletown is the reigning Superbowl champs weren’t anymore distracted this offseason than any other team.  The bad news is the Saints still have more talent, and they’ve covered 9 out of their last 13 on grass.  Sing it with me…Oh when the Saints come marching in…. JETS (-4) over Cowboys.  The pokes will miss Marion Barber.  Yeah he lost a step.  The truth is Felix Jones was as effective because teams hated dealing with Barber.  It’s like boxing; Barber gave out the body blows that softened teams up for the rapid combo shots.  Dez White showed promise.  He also showed choke.  Mark Sanchez is out to prove its okay to be in GQ when you can really play.  Don’t worry Cowboy fans, they won’t be as bad as last year.  It’s just not going to get better for them week 1. J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! STEELERS (+2 ½) over Ravens.  The Steelers played well together last year.  And they’re all back.  22 of 24 starters.  If there was a team built to survive no offseason and get off to a fast start it’s the Steelers.   Topping that Ben Roethlisberger made positive headlines for a change this offseason.  The Ravens made some big moves, but they shuffled the offensive line a bit.  The underdog has covered 6 of the last 9 in this series and the Ravens have only covered 2 of their last 9 in September. Take the Steelers. EAGLES (-4 ½) over Rams.  There are two ways teams will have an advantage the first six weeks: All your starters return (see Pittsburgh) or you field the best athletes.   The Eagles have the best athlete at quarterback.  Besides the Rams are 1-9-1 ATS on opening day, while the Birds have covered 7 of their last 9 meetings.   Fly Eagles Fly, on the road to victory…. GIANTS (+3) over Redskins.  Joe Gibbs (2 Lombardi Trophies and inventer of the “counter tray”) and Marty Schottenheimer  (over 200 regular season wins) couldn’t save this team from Dan Snyder.  Washington: first in war, first in peace and last in the NFC east.  The Giants have won 9 of the last 10 straight up in the series.  Look for Rex Grossman to complete three to guys wearing blue shirts. Giants here. That’s how I see it!  Enjoy the games.
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And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is… Sorry Pittsburgh, I’m still on your bandwagon.  Maybe that’s a good thing?  Looking at my record this season (I’m embarrassed to even post it) I find a prime example of futility and failure.  You could have made a living, a good living, but going against me.  “That prognosticator says this, so bet that!” should have been a winning model.  One constant this year was the Steelers.  I usually picked Eagles Steelers and Giant games because they seem to be the teams of dominant interest in NEPA (although there are strong pockets of Dallas, Green Bay and strangely Viking fans in the area).  The Steelers brought home the bacon for me every week. I break down the game this way:  More experienced quarterback, proven running game and  and experienced defense.  Say what you want about Big Ben, but he consistently stands and takes more hits than any other QB I can recall, except Randall Cunningham, and maybe Vinnie Testaverde.  His style of hold the ball until the play unfolds most likely has shaved a few years off the back end of his career.  Yet he’s  accurate and seldom makes bad decisions.  When he does it still ends up well for him. See his prayer to Santonio Holmes against the cardinals to win Superbowl XVIII.  NFL channel has been showing a special including footage of ben tossing the ball, knowing immediately it was a bad idea, then raising his arms to signal touchdown.  His expression says it all: relief. I think the difference between these teams will be special teams.  Both teams are not known for stron special teams play.  You’ll recall last year’s game turned when Hank Baskett ham handed an onsides kick.  Scott Norwood’s infamous “push” to end Superbowl XXV another special teams “oops.”    That comes dwn to coaching and preparedness, and I give that nod to Mike Tomlin.  When it’s all said and done, Tomlin may even edge out Chuck “most under rated coach in NFL history” Knoll as the best of al Steeler coaches. Some prop bets I found entertaining Include: How long will Christina Augilara hold the note on “brave” in the National Anthem?  Over/under is six seconds. What will Fergie be wearing when halftime show starts? Skirt/dress, Pants, shorts, thong/G-String Will a punt hit the scoreboard? (personally I hope 5 punts hit the scoreboard every time they play in that stadium. What coor will the gatoraide be that drenches the head coach after the game? If there’s a picture of someone holding the lonvardi trophy on the cover of USA Today Mondya morning who will it be? How many time will Jerry Jones be shown? How many times will Brett Favre be mentioned? How many times will the phrase “lockout” be mentioned. More Points, Lebron James total or Steelers in first half? What happens to the Dow Jones on Monday? By the way, if you actually make a wager on any of these there are help lines for you. Steelers are three point dogs in this game.  No sweat.  Put your fries in your sandwich and pick the Steelers. Enjoy the game The prognosticator
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Bad News Steelers Fans: The Prognosticator Picks Pittsburgh, or NFL Conference

Of all the football Sundays in all the world this Sunday has always been  my favorite.  More than the Superbowl, and more than  those wonderful New Years Days of old when a college bowl game meant something  special.  The four teams left in the tournament are the best of the best.  The one’s who have shown up in the big games.  This is why players make the millions they do; to play bigger than the weather when it counts the most. Just a quick note: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Richard Dent , Chris Doleman, Marshall Faulk, Charles Haley , Chris Hanburger, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin , Andre Reed, Les Richter, Willie Roaf, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders , and Shannon Sharpe .  Is this the fattest Hall of Fame final roster in recent memory?  Who would you leave off? Okay let’s look at some games: Bears (+3) over Packers.  I’m not sold on the Packers.  Philadelphia had a banged up defense and a coordinator who game planned badly after loosing “the room” mid season and yet had Michael Vick thrown the ball 6 feet further  the Pcakers lose that game.  They looked good last week against a Falcon team that should have played better.  I know Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out, but take him out and the Pack is just an average team.  The Bears have three things I like: A better running game, Peppers, Harris and Urlacher on defense, and the worst field in football since the Vet blew up.  Players slip and fall at solder field who aren’t wearing Bear blue and orange.  The Bears know what shoes to wear and how to run on that disaster field.  Three things.  Like three points.  When the snow flurries come you’ll think somewhere Poppa Bear Halas is sitting next to Walter Payton retelling the tall tales and loving it.  Bears here. Steelers (-3.5) over the Jets.  Sorry Steeler fans.  The only thing surer than the kiss of death all year has been the kiss of yours truly when picking games.  I know I loved the Jets all year, but this isn’t a spite pick.  Last weeks game between the Jets and Patriots reminded me of Larry Holmes-Mohammad Ali.  You thought Holmes had a real chance to win, but you expected so much more from the champ; just like I expected so much more from the Pats. I don’t see the Steelers not showing up in a big game.  I see the Steelers winning the whole thing.  In my mind it comes down to Roethlisberger or Sanchez. Sorry Steeler fans.  Black and gold is my pick. Enjoy the games Your prognosticator.
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And Then There Were Eight

Was that Seattle game fun last Saturday?  Nothing like a great upset to make the whole wild card weekend come alive.  Then the upsets kept coming.  This weekend will be different.  Look for the home teams to win.  That week off to mend wounds and tweaked ankles and extra film study is too much of an advantage.  The question is by how much do the home teams triumph?  Well, let’s take a look: Ravens (+10 ½) over Steelers.  Relax yinsers.  The Steelers will win this one.  It’s just that the last 8 games have been decided by 4 points or less (actually 6 of the eight by a field goal).  What about this Steeler offense would make you believe they can light it up on this Raven Defense?  Ravens keep it close enough . Falcons (-2) over Packers.  The Packers almost blew it Sunday in Philadelphia.  David Akers missed two field goals (one a gimme).  Had Michael Vick tossed the last ball to Riley Cooper 5 feet farther the Eagles are in Atlanta.  The Packers may still be the sexy pick, but the Falcons will be the NFC sacrifice to the Patriot Dynasty in Dallas.   Falcons here. Bears(-10) over Seahawks.  Double Digit Dogs at home in November and December cover 88% of the time.  Conversely in January the opposite is true.  Double Digit dogs on the road fail to cover 92% of the time.  The fun leaked out of the Seahawks balloon this week.  Da Bears. Patriots (-10) over Jets.  Rex Ryan like his old man has to make the games personal.  It goes over big with the fans.  It goes over big with the other coaches, too, who have no problem closing their minds to the fact they’re running up the score.  The next time Bill Belecheck shows any compassion will be the first.  Looks like a long day for Fireman Ed.  Patriots. Enjoy the games.  It’s the best time of the year. The prognosticator
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Playoffs? Playoffs?

“Playoffs! Playoffs? You want to talk about Playoffs? Playoffs?”   Good ol’ Jim Mora.  Now there was après conference.  Be aware of the new overtime rule jut in time for the playoffs.  You think the tuck rule was mind numbingly inconvenient?  Now if the game goes to overtime,  it’s not so sudden death.  If the receiving team after the coin flip only kicks a field goal on the first possession the other team gets a possession.  However if the team that wins the coin toss scores a touchdown on their first possession the game is over.  There is the potential for all sorts of goofy stuff here.  Can you imagine Rex Ryan after the Jets kick a field goal attempting an on sides kick because if the Colts cough it up that’s their possession and the game is over.  If the Colts cheerleaders are dancing barefoot ol’ Rex just might have that sort of brain cramp.  It’s also a eek where all the talking heads get to concentrate on a few games and not many, so they can over think.  It makes for entertaining TV sometimes, but it can also make for annoying co workers who are looking for ammunition to pester you.  Let’s take a look at this weekes action.  Remember any losses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercomm Communications, Entercom Northeast, their properties or subsidiaries. Eagles (-2.5) over Packers.  The Packers are the Sexy pick.  The Eagles laid an Egg against the Vikings and then the second stringers gave up the ghost against the cowboys with :55 seconds left.  All of those talking heads picking Michael Vick as the MVP now have broken ankles from jumping off the bandwagon.  Aaron Rodgers ahs made everyone forget Brett Who? (pull your pants up, dude.)  Well looking at the history the Packers are 3-7 ATS their last 10 playoff games and that includes their Superbowl win.  The are also3-7 ATS their last 10 against Philadelphia (4t and 26 anyone?)  But the tell tale sign here is the money line.  Remember the spread is not a prediction of the game, it’s a prediction of how people bet.  The money line is what Vegas really thinks; and it reads Packers +125, Eagles-145.  That means wager $100 on the pack and you win $125, but you have to wager $145 on the Eagles to win $100.  Vegas likes Michael Vick, Me too, Ravens (-3) over Chiefs.  Yeah I really liked the chiefs to win the division.  I am not sure if they match-up well enough against the Ravens.  If you never saw Ray lLewis play in person its hard to explain the intensity he brings.  Even though he’s getting old, he is still ferocious and he still OWNS the middle of the field.  You can’t practice against it.   I’m not sure the Chiefs will match the intensity.  Oh, the money line? Ravens -170, Chiefs +150.  Ravens here. Colts (-3) over Jets.  The bottom line is the Jets need a big game from Mark Sanchez.  Not a huge game, just 5 more plays, 5 more throws.  The problem is Mark Sanchez hasn’t played well at all the past few weeks, at one point Rex Ryan (aka crazy head) openly talked about almost benching the quarterback,  Don’t buy the talk about the Jets being the more physical team.  I was at the Linc this year when the Colts were in town.  They are the dirtiest team in the league, bar none.  The money line also favors the Colts.  Me too, Saints (-11) over Seahwks.  Keep in mind if the ’85 Bears could lose a game anyone can.  Two eye openers here:  Of the seahwaks 9 losses all of them were by 15 points or more.  When they lose they get blown out.  That may be the craziest stat I’ve heard in a long time.  The Saints just so you know are 1-8 ATS against teams with losing records.  That may seem to balance things out.  Oh, but then there’s the money line.  Brace yourself: Saints – 600 Seahwaks +450.  That is wager $100 on Seattle and if they win you get $450.  But you have to wager $600 on the saints to win $100.  Rooting for the Saints is about as much fun as rooting for the Lions over the Christians in the coliseum.  Not much fun, but the inevitable winners. That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the games Your prognosticator
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What Happened To The Bowl Games? Or Thank Goodness for NFL Week 17

What Happened To The Bowl Games? Or Thank Goodness for NFL Week 17 You knew the BCS series was going to change things and that no good would come from it.  At the cost of crowning a national champion (even when there are three 12-0 teams and one doesn’t get a fair shot to play in the big game) all other bowls are rendered moot.  Once upon a time (like even 10 years ago) you could count on waking up at and seeing the first of 8 bowls on New Year’s Day, each with a compelling matchup to coordinate your hangover/feast/leftover celebration.   The highlight was almost always the Rose Bowl.  Big Ten Champ V Pac 10 Champ: Always a huge match-up and a quality game.  Now we’re left with close to two dozen match-ups of 6-6 V 7-5 teams.  If everyone makes a Bowl appearance then no Bowl is special.  We have to wait an entire week until we see an NCAA Champ.  The Rose Bowl is on ESPN, and other than Penn State-Florida do you really care who’s playing 1/1/11?  Sure there are those who will bring up 1994 When Penn State was locked into the Rose Bowl and didn’t get the chance to play Nebraska.  Joe Pa had recruited a legendary offense that year and naturally the Nittany Lion Nation felt they should have had their fair share.  Just the same Nebraska had to beat a formidable Florida State team the win the ACC (no small feat).  While you can argue Penn State didn’t get a fair shake you can’t argue the Cornhuskers didn’t earn their crown.  It was a  gwark year when things didn’t go quite right.   So the NCAA knee jerked a solution that has made out national celebration worthy of a nap while our wives and girlfriends watch the “what no to wear” marathon. As lon as I’m on a rant, another thing I would like that won’t happen is for the NFL rules committee to throw out a bunch of rules.  Every year someone gets nailed with a bad call and the rules committee tries to “fix” it.  There are so many rules Fox has an ex VP of officiating who manages to get the calls wrong about as much as anyone else.  It’s not his fault, there are so many rules no one knows what’s going on.  If you go to the ground with the ball you have to come up with the ball: In real time.  Slow motion changes the perspective.  A hand should be under the ball on the ground,  If the ball touches the ground it’s not a catch.  Either do replay or not, get rid of the coach’s flag.  Why replace human error with an element of chance?   Tell you what, keep the red flag, just limit challenges on touchdowns, feet in bounds calls and ball placement.  That will speed the game up, and get you a better call from the referee teams.  And hire the Refs full time.   Alright, lets look at some games Bears (+10) Over Packers.  Conventional wisdom will tell you the Bears have nothing to play for as they’ve locked in the #2 seed thanks to Philadelphia’s lackluster play Tuesday.  When you read the quotes out of the Bears locker room you realize no one wants to play the Packers in the Playoffs.  Not even the Bears.   They’ve got a chance to knock the Packers out from jump start.  I think the Bears win outright. Buccaneers (+9) Over Saints.  The Bucs are scrappy.  When the Saints look up and see the Falcons crushing the panthers they’ll sit the starters.  Even if the Bucs don’t win they’ll keep it close.  Arrrrg…go Bucs. Steelers (-5) over Browns.  Remember the olden days when John Madden would through in the old school guys at the end of the season? Darryl Lamonica, George Blanda, and those guys would throw touchdowns?  This is going to look like one of those games.  Steelers. Redskins (+4) over Giants.  Will miss those corkscrew faces Tom Coughlin makes on the sidelines next year.  The truth is he had a nice little run.  Alas, only the Panthers have looked worse ovee any 5 quarter stretch of the season.  The Giants end on a low note. Rams (pick) over Seahawks.  Hey, if Charlie Whitehurst pulls this out for the Seahawks more power to him.   Could be a night for desperate housewives.  Rams. That’s it.  Happy New Year The Prognosticator
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Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho! or NFL Week 16

Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho! I’ve got presents to wrap so here we go! Cowboys (-6) over Cardinals.  Plenty of wood to lay on the road.  The Pokes have problems on defense, and under achieving secondary who should have had a break out year after last year’s promise, and an inside linebacker/nose tackle combo that has problems stopping a sink, let alone a solid run game.  Meanwhile the Cardinals look nothing like the group that gave the Steelers a run for the money in the Superbowl 2 years ago.  Add the Cardinals to the Terrelle Pryor sweepstakes.  Pokes in this one. 49ers (+1) over the Rams.  C’mon.  Don’t you want to see a 7-9 team win a division just once?  Mike Singletary can win the division, get his team to the playoffs and get fired.  The ultimate season!  Of course, the way the league knee jerks about stuff they don’t like from week to week maybe not.  The Niners are 9-3 ATS their last 12 on turf, and the Rams are a horrid 5-13 ATS their last 18 in their own conference.  Niners here. Chiefs (-5) over Titans.  No Vince Young, and Randy Moss is a bust. Ever since the League went to a 4 division conference every year three teams in last place the previous year win their division.  The Chiefs will be one of those three teams this year.  Chiefs in a walk Packers (-3) over Giants.  Last weeks melt down was the kind fo thing that can haunt a team for years.  While Tom Coughlin was out choking his punter he overlooked the other ten guys on the field who failed to keep inside their lanes and let the winning score go by.  Think about it, over the last 8:13 if the Giant offense made one play, just one, or the Defense kept the Eagles from making one play less, the game is a Giant win.  The Packers get Aaron Rodgers back.  The Giants are 2-8 ATS their last 10 on grass., and 4-11 ATS against teams with winning records.   The Packers have covered 7 of their last 10 at home.  It’s not going to end pretty in New York this year.  Packers are the pick. Ravens (-3) over Browns.  Really? Only three? Santa comes but once a year, When he delivers take the gift.  Ravens Eagles (-15) over Vikings.  Brett Favre still doesn’t remember his name and Adrian Peterson is hurting.  NBC flexed this game because of Michael Vick.  Eagles Cowboys two weekjs ago was the highest rated Sunday night game ever.  Look for the Eagles to deliver points.   E-A-G-L-E-S-EAGLES! That’s how I see ‘em.   Merry Christmas! Your prognosticator
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It’s Bizzaro World or NFL Week 15

It’s Bizzaro World or NFL Week 15 So far we’ve played 14 games to eliminate 11 teams from the playoffs.  It’s almost like hockey.  There some huge matchups with high stakes this weekend.   Let’s take a look: Eagles (+3) over the Giants.  Loser of this game plays for a wild card that may not come their way.  The Eagles are 9-0 in games when they’ve had at least one play of 40 yards (they’re 0-4  games without the big play).  Want another stat? The underdog is 10-2 ATS the last 12 meetings.  Also Philadelphia has beaten the Giants 5 of the last 6, and Eli likes to throw picks against a defense that leads the league in INTs.  Fly Eagles Fly Jacksonville (+5) Over the Colts.  Loser in this game is most likely playing golf in January.  It’s the kind of game Payton usually wins, right?  Not this week.  Too many question marks at Wide out, and an under performing running game.  They had the cowboys dead to rights, but managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to Payton’s 4 picks.  Big cats in this one. Pittsburgh (-7) over Jets.  Fireman Ed may not be happy with me, but this is a must win game the Jets need.  Don’t worry, they won’t get it.  Rex Ryan was openly talking about benching his quarterback.  Not the stuff of champions.  Right now your AFC championship game looks like the Patriots and Steelers.  The Jets on the other hand need to get it together, San Diego is closing fast.  To bad this is not the Jets’ week.  I.C.’s all around. Saints (+1) over Ravens.  Both teams are second in their division.  Both teams need to win.  Both teams could still blow it and find them selves out in three weeks.  Those implosions usually start with games like this.  Ray Lewis can only will victory so many times.  Pull out the parasols.  The Saints are marchin’. Chiefs (pick) over Rams. All the trends point to the Rams.  This is purely a gut pick.  Every year since the 8 division format 3 teams that finished in last place the previous year finish first.  This year the Chiefs are one of those teams. Make something warm for Sunday and relax.  The snow will wait The prognosticator
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Make it or Break it Time, or NFL Week 14

Make it or Break it time, or NFL Week 14 Some big games on the schedule as the pretenders will finally be separated.  Some playoff births will begin to form this week as teams that win will have a clear drive to the postseason while losers will need some help.  In other words, now is when the games get really, really good. Take the NFC East.  Both the Eagles and Giants are 8-4.  If the Eagles win Sunday over Dallas, the cowboys will most likely have the motors running and the cars packed for the season finale rematch.  An eagle win could mean two.  The Giants on the other hand host the Vikings with Brett Dirtyboy Favre.  If both the eagles and Giants win Sunday the division could come down to the week 15 rematch between the clubs. Conversely look at the NFC west where the Rams and Seahawks are tied for the lead at 6-6 and the 49ers are still in it at 4-8.  It isn’t every year that a 4-8 team has something to play for.  Hey don’t laugh.  With the Seahawks this week and the Rams week 16, along with games against the fading chargers and the listless cardinals, the 49ers could realistically do it.  The Seahawks have Atlanta, Tampa Bay and the Rams, while the Rams have the Seahawks, Saints and Kansas City.  Those 49ers don’t look so bad now, do they (yes, the look bad, but the others look worse). Every division is still mathematically too close to call.  Exactly what Pete Rozell wanted all those years ago.  Maybe parity really is fun? Okay let’s look at some games.  Remember any losses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, it’s properties or its subsidiaries. Eagles (-3) over Cowboys.  Those pokes have played better since ol’ Wade Phillips was given the heave ho.  Jason Garret responded by making the ‘boys put the pads on and hit during practice.  The running games is strong and with Wade gone Garret is calling a much different game offensively.  The running game protects the Dallas Defense which last year looked like it was on the verge of dominance.  The Dallas secondary is porous.  Look for a high flying Eagles score. Rams (+9) Over Saints.  The Saints may be the best team to rarely cover in years, going 6-14 ATS over their last 20 when playing NFC teams.  The Saints win, just not by a bushel basket of points. Oakland (+4) over Jacksonville.  Honestly I don’t know how either team is doing it.  But when the Raiders win these days they win big by jumping out to a big lead and pounding teams.  And they said Al Davis was lost in the past.  Jacksonville has a history of swooning in December.  When the weather cools in NE Florida, so do the Jags.  Just win Baby….Raiders. Steelers (-8.5) over Bengals.  Isn’t it time I start writing “Bungles?”   The doctor said Rothlisberger’s nose looked like corn flakes.  The Bungles better eat their wheaties.  All they have to play for is the ratings on TO and OchoCinco’s shows,and giving away free money won’t help those ratings.  It takes a lot for Snooky to look good.  Can she play Linebacker?   Steelers Packers (-7) over Lions.  The Packers cover on the road.  The Lions are still the Lions.  Go Pack Go Enjoy the games The prognosticator
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Move the Referee back! Or NFL Week 13

When the league moved the umpire from the middle of the field it created a void of sanity.  How many missed penalties have you seen this year?  I mean really obvious facemasks, pass interference calls, Helmet to Helmet hits that were really shoulder to shoulder…enough is enough!  I know the league wants to protect players, and I’m all for it! But players run a greater risk of catastrophic injuries when they are indecisive.  Let them play! And move the umpire back to the middle of the field where he belongs. Let’s pick some games: Redskins (+7) Over Giants.  The Giants have to not swoon in December for me to believe it.  Also the Redskins cover on the road, 6-2-1 ATS their last 9.  Hail to the Redskins…Hail victory! Onward we triumph! Fight for old DC! Bengals (+7) Over Saints.  No, I’m not drunk.  I understand the Bengals (soon to be again known as bungles) are an underperforming mess.  But I also know the Saints are notorious for playing down to the competition, covering just once in their last 8 against teams with losing records.  It’s cold and the Saints are on the road.  So let’s Bungle in the Jungle….. Jaguars (+3 ½) over Titans.  After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against the Giants last week, the Jaguars roar into Tennessee.  If only the Titans had Davey Crocket.  The Titans have covered only 3 of their last 13 against teams with winning records, while the Jaguars hace covered 11 of their last 12 in week thirteen.  That’s crack research.  Spells a win for the big cats. Colts (-5) over Cowboys.  Van you see a playoff without Payton Manning?  Really? I can’t.  Jerry Jones ahs already shredded the roster for next year.  Someone forgot to tell them they are still playing for jobs.  Colts here. Ravens (-3) over Steelers.  A December game we all wait for.  It’s the kind of game the Steelers usually find a way to win.  I just don’t like Big Ben’s Broken foot.  The Money line favors the Ravens.  So do I. There’s your five. Enjoy with Egg Nog The Prognosticator..
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Turkey Sandwiches and Other Leftovers or NFL Week 12

Turkey and trimmings or NFL week 12 What did we learn Thursday?  The Cowboys still haven’t learned to win when it counts, the Lions aren’t “there” yet, and the Bengals are still a huge disappointment.  Some interesting games on Sunday.  Enough to go with the leftover sausage stuffing.  Mmm-mmm-yummy! Browns (-10) over Panthers.  Yes, Carolina’s that bad.  To make matters worse the Panthers don’t score on anything a horse can eat.  It doesn’t look good for the big cats.  Browns Steelers (-6) over Bills.  The Bills looked good last week – on the road.  They’ve been a road cover machine this year.  Unfortunately the faithful in the city of no illusions the Bills are terrible at making the spread at home, covering only 4 of the last 18.  Of course the way this year is going it could be a case of “bad news Pittsburgh, the Prognosticator picked the Steelers…”  But I don’t think so.  Steelers here. 49ers (pick) over Cardinals.  The road team has covered 8 of the last 9.  That’s the sort of thing on banks on.   49ers Colts (-3) over Chargers.  The Chargers are horrible on the road, while the Colts are home world beaters.  And the Colts are a cover machine, notching 11 of their last 15 at home.   Horseshoes all around Eagles(-3) over Bears.  The Eagles are 8-3 ATS their last 11 in week 12, while the Bears are the opposite, going 3-7ATS their last 10 at home.  Beware of the SI curse as Michael Vick is on the cover(line your dog crate with it…) Eagles At least this week the ice box is filled with pleanty of snacks and leftovers. Enjoy! The Prognosticator
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TWO MINUTE DRILL OR NFL WEEK 11

Two minute drill or NFL Week 11 Like so many people your Prognosticator is scrambling like Fran Tarkenton to get things ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This weekend to me seems busier than anytime during the Christmas Rush.  So we’ll get right down to business and pick games.  As always any losses incured by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, it’s properties or its subsidiaries. Carolina (+11) over Baltimore.  I know, Carolina is plain bad, and the Ravens will make the playoffs.  But it’s one of the Prognosticator’s creeds: Double Digit Dogs at home in November and December cover a whopping 88% of the time.  Go Big Cats! 49ers(-3) over Buccaneers.  I am still not sold on the Bucs.  I am sold on Troy Smith. He beat Joe Flacco for the starting job In Baltimore before suffering an emergency appendectomy that derailed his career.  Flacco went on to guide the Ravens, Smith took his Heisman to San Francisco.  The Niners may get the better art of the deal.I am sold on the fact the Tampa clan are 7=19 ATS on grass, while the 49ers are a cover machine against teams with winning records, 10-3-2 ATS their last 15.  Works for me.   There’s gold in them California hills.  Take the Niners Denver (+10) over Chargers.  How does a 4-5 team get to be 10 point favorites?  If it wern;t for the Cowboys those Bolts would be the poster children for underperforming.  Take the Broncos Oakland (+10) Over Steelers.  Call it a tale of two cities….in week 11.  Oakland is 8-2 ATS their last 10 in week 11 while the Steelers are 1-9-2 ATS their last 12 in the same week.  That 10 point thing is pretty big, too, as in too much lumber to lay.  Just Cover Baby! Take the Raiders. Eagles (-3) over Giants.  The Giants that won the Superbowl a few years ago did it with two dominating lines.  Now those lines have injuries.  They looked really human against the Cowboys after I was about to give the Giants the nod of beast team in conference.  Not any more.  Michael Vick has 10 minutes every game where it just looks stupid-easy.  Besides, the Eagles are 11-4-1 ATS at home, while the Giants are  3-11 ATS their last 14 on the road, and 2-7 ATS their last 9 on grass.  Fly Eagles Fly. There you go.  Find time to relax this weekend. Your Prognosticator
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We Need Full Time Refs! NOW! Or NFL Week 10

We Need Full Time Refs! NOW! Or NFL Week 10 Your dumbfounded prognosticator was last Sunday’s Eagles –Colts game and can safely say in 40 years of watching professional football I have never seen anything like that.  One bad call after another.  My favorite was a blown facemask on a vulnerable Shady McCoy where the defender had left his feet but was hanging on to Shady’s cage.  If I didn’t know better I would have thought Don King was promoting the game.  Oddly enough I don’t really blame the refs for blowing the Austin Collie hit.  Collie caught the bal and took two steps when he was knocked cold.  The play was ruled an incomplete pass and personal foul as Collie was ruled a defenseless receiver.  Actually he established possession and was a ball carrier.  A legal hit produced a fumble, but the refs didn’t call it that way.  Andy Reid was right, the refs and players and coaches are all learning on the fly.  It was the rest of the mindless calls that got me going. The league needs to do three things: 1) Shrink the rule book.  There are too many rules as replay has resulted in doubt and hairsplitting be the coin of the realm.  2) Kill the gimmicks.  Does Fox really need an ex VP of officiating to tell us what the refs should but won’t do?  CBS’s close up cam is pretty neat, but if the ca, is better than what the ref can see with the naked eye while on the run, how can a man call a good game? 3) Hire the refs full time.  It’s like the greatest game in America is run by permanent temps.  You wouldn’t run a factory like that in the long term, why run a league that way? Last week we went 2-3 which drops our season mark to 22-21-2 against the spread.  Let’s take a look at this week’s servings and see what looks good on our game time buffet.  Remember any losses from relying on the following information is not the responsibility of myself, the Mountain, Entercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, it’s properties or it’s subsidiaries.  Let’s check out some games: Cardinals (-3) over Seahawks.  Not a lot to get excited about until you read between the lines.  Those Seahawks play like the Sea Hag from Poppeye on the road.  At 1-9 ATS on grass and and an over all record of 17-35-1 ATS their last 53 on the road, that is ugly.  Not even Alice the Goon would take them.  Go Cardinals! Bills (-3) over Lions.  Stafford’s hurt again and the Bills can’t lose ‘em all, can they?  It’s a little more than just a hunch, November’s lake effect snow provides the backdrop for a place where Northeast dome teams go to die.  Bills here. Giants (-14) over Cowboys.  Congratulations to the Cowboys.  Not only did they get their coach fired early, they ran him out after 8 games.  I thought JJ would wait until week 15 to put Wade Phillips out of his misery.  The best line I’ve heard yet was from Frank Caliendo: “The Cowboys roster is like Hugh Hefner’s bedroom; a lot of talent going to waste.”  Too Bad T.O. isn’t in town any longer.  He might even give an interview wearing gravity boots while doing crunches.  Giants in a walk. Steelers (-4 ½) over Patriots.  This is the kind of game the Steelers always win, and the Patriots used to win.  Steelers Eagles (-3) over Redskins.  The Redskins can’t block, can’t run and can’t tackle.  Donnie Mac wishes he was banished to Oakland or Cleveland.  The redskins are 5-12-1 ATS their last 18 at home, while the road team is 6-1-1 ATS in the series.  Plus historically the team that loses the first game wins the second.  Michael Vick has a big game.  Fly Eagles Fly. Enjoy the ganes The Prognosticator
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Let's Play Rent-A-Player or NFL Week 9

We went 2-3 last week.  Obviously not the outcome we had hoped for, but it only drops our record to 20-18-2 against the spread.  We’re not retiring early, but we have some room to move at the halfway point.  How about that Randy Moss?  Now he’s a Titan.  Brad Childress can not be sitting comfortably as his team is starting to implode a bit.  Renting Moss for a week and for a 3rd round pick does not endear yourself to the team owner.  In Washington Donovan McNabb was benched for Rex Grossman.  Even Mike Shanahan makes dumb moves.  Not that McNabb was playing well.  “5” Deserved to get benched, just not for Rex Grossman.  Childress seems to be on the coaching hot seat.  Mike Singletary isn’t doing so well in San Francisco.  They play a fundamentally poor game out there, which is very un-Singletary.  Ah the joys of November.  Now the games start to get pretty good.  Most people don’t realize that at the end of the year there are so many player and coaching changes that teams literally rip up last year and start fresh.  It takes about 8 weeks for a team to gel.  We’ll see who really has game, and who was just a flash in the pan.  Let’s take a look at this week’s slate.  Remember any loses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of myself, The Mountain, Entercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, it properties or its subsidiaries.  Now let’s see what’s up…. Eagles (-3) over the Colts.  Traditionally a game against the Colts is where dreams of Eagle greatness go to die.  Payton Manning is really this season’s MVP at the half way mark.  Ol’ Payton’s doing it all by himself.  His line’s a mess, the running game is stumbling, but ol’ Payton has 15 touchdowns to 2 interceptions throwing to guys no one has ever heard of.  On the Eagle front Michael Vick has a national spotlight and an opportunity to prove the three games of brilliance before he got hurt was the real “get me a big contract” deal.  Andy Reid’s squad is 11-0 the week after the bye, and 9-2 ATS in those games.  The line opened with the Eagles as a 1 pint fav and moved to 3 points as soon as Vick was announced as the starter.  Look for a high scorer.  Eagles in a close one. Packers (-8) against Cowboys.  Who ever thought you spelled Cow-quit-boy in Dal-quit-las.  Looked like there was plenty of quit last week.  A most un-Cowboy way.  They’ve had bad teams who’s fight was unfortunately bigger than their talent.  These guys look like “no worries, we’re getting paid.”  The Pack may not e the monsters many thought they would be, but they cover, and in the series the home team has covered 8 of the last 9 meetings.  Dum-da-da-dum-dum-dum.  Go! Pack! Go! Jets (-4) over Lions.  Before we go crazy about the Lions winning in Dc last week, let us recall the movie Pulp Fiction.  Remember the words of Mr. Wolf about thinking the job is finished too early?  Yeah, let’s let the Lions prove the can win.  Meantime the Jets have covered 8 of their last 9 on the road.  That;s th sort of proof I mean.  Jets Saints (-6 ½) over Panthers.  Those black cats might actually be the worst team in the league this year if it weren’t for the poor effort the Cowboys have showed of late.  Nothing like watching two teams trying to get their coaches fired early to make you want to rake leaves on a November Sunday.  Saints have covered 8 of their last 12 on grass.  Works for me.  Get Tom Benson a cheesy parasol and let the zaniness begin.  Saints in this one. Chiefs (+1) against Raiders.  These games were once classic blood baths.  But here’s the stat of the week: The road team has covered 19 of the last 26 in the series.  I’ll take the Chiefs. That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the games! The prognosticator.
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Remember its only a game, or NFL week 8

Remember it’s only a game, or NFL week 8 Every once in a while things go your way, and then something happens to remind you what’s important.  I got some bad news about a very good friend I;ve known almost 30 years.  Most likely he won’t be around to see the week 9 posting.  Late in the summer he scored a ticket to an Eagles pre season game.  He’d never been to the “Linc” and was looking forward to a typical Eagles experience.  We ate beforehand at Chicky and Pete’s, did the crab fries. We found ourselves in great seats.  It was just a great night.  Its not so much the games themselves as it is the people we hang with while watching the games tha make the experience worthwhile.  Just keep it in mind this weekend while you’re trying to beat your bud to the last pizza slice. Not a bad week last week, again pretty sweet going 4-1 against the spread.  Our season record is looking good at 18-15-2.  We’re starting to move into  the black.  Tony Romo has his problems.  It may be the end of the Cowboy’s season, and most likely the end of Wade Phillips tenure as head coach.  Hey, those guys make millions for a reasons.  Let’s jump into the games.  Remember any loses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, it properties or its subsidiaries.  Chiefs (-7) over Bills.  Sure, some while argue Ryan Fitzpatrick has the second highest Quarterback ranking in the league.   That’s not hard to do when you are playing from behind every game.  I’m not impressed. We’re at the halfway point of the season and the Bills have cut their opening day starting QB and traded their star tailback.  Those moves never work out.  The Chiefs meanwhile are a cover machine going 7-1 ATS over their last 8 games, and 8-1 ATS their last nine games in week 8.  Take the Chiefs. Jaguars (+ 7 ½) over Cowboys.  John Kitna is not the answer in Dallas.  This looks to be a low scoring snooze run feast.  If it’s close, I’ll take the points.  Jaguars Jets (-6) over Packers.  If it weren’t for the Steelers the Jets would be the class of the conference.  The Packers on the other hand look like a team that should be great but can’t figure out how.  J-E-T-S, JETS! Patriots (-5) over Vikings.  Brett Favre looks old and cold, and now has a busted ankle.  He just doesn’t have that big play magic anymore.  At least he doesn’t need his feet to text.   Patriots in a romp Steelers (pick) over Saints.  The Saints are champs who almost never cover.  The Steelers are a machine!  This one should be fun.  Sttelers! That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the Games! Prognosticator
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And The Hits Keep On Coming, Or NFL WEEK 7

And the hits just keep on coming, or NFL Week 7 Finally the week we’ve been waiting for.  4-0-1. That brings our season record to a solid 14-14-2 against the spread.  Not bad.  Still not quite the break even mark, but we’re inching towards the black. It seems this week the NFL has taken a knee jerk reaction to some of the violent hits that have occurred.  I think the league has a duty to protect the players, but at the same time there is an inherent risk to the game that cannot be regulated away.  It is why they players are millionaires.  That may seem cold at first read, but put it into social perspective.  All over NEPA there are hundreds of men and women working on road and bridge repair.  They wear protective clothing and safety gear (PPE or personal protective equipment for those not up on industrial jargon).  Yet they run the risk of harm, permanent disability, and even death, yet our highway workers make in three years what a well paid NFL player makes in a game.  The problem with the league fixing the rules are the unintended consequences that can result.  One solution discussed is widening the field.  The Canadian league players on a 110 yard by 5 yard field.  The Desean Jacksons of the league will score 40 touchdowns a year once they break to the outside.  Once a running back turns the corner, its big gain city.  It will change the NFL as we know it, and that’s not a good idea. A professor at Penn State has mentioned the league should have a weight limit of 275 lbs.  That isn’t practical.  So the league has decided it will suspend players for helmet to helmet hits, or aggressive head shots.  That’s well and good if they get the call right.  The shot Shawn Merrimen took last week was a cheap shot.  James Harrison had one hit he was fined for, and one ruled just a good hard hit.  The Jackson/Robinson hit in last weeks Eagles/Falcons game has dropped a 50K fine on Robinson.  I am not sure what either player could have done to avoid the collision.  We’re talking about two 200 lb. men running at world class speed (about 20 mph) and according to ESPN generating a hit at about 160 “Gs.”  About an eight of that energy is enough to snap a healthy man’s spine.  The thing is, players have to play all out or they get hurt.  I maintain and whole heartedly believe that if either player held up or flinched, that player would have a more serious if not permanent injury.  Sometimes accidents happen, but if the players are worried about losing money from a suspension they can’t play at their best.  It’s also the middle of the season which is the wrong time to develop changes in techniques. This is a recipe for disaster.  I can only hope the league understands it’s over reacting and calms down the approach slightly. Alright, lets take a look at this weeks schedule.  Remember any losses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, its properties or its subsidiaries.  Eagles (+3) over Titans.  Last week the experts were touting the Falcons as an elite NFC team.  The Eagles made short work of them, so that means Either the Eagles are good, or the Falcons are frauds.  The heads seem to be leaning towards the Falcons not being the real deal.  In Philadelphia the quarterback controversy is brewing big time.  The scribes have to love this.  They spent years creating one the didn’t exist with Donovan McNabb until they ran him out of town.  Now they have a real controversy and they aren’t sure what to write about.  Well let’s look at some concrete facts.  The Eagles are 6-2 ATS their last 8 in October while the Titans are 2-10 ATS when playing teams with winning records.  So why are the Titans favored when Vince Young is in doubt?  Fly Eagles Fly. Steelers (-3) over Dolphins.  The Steelers may again prove themselves to be the best team in the league.  The dolphins may prove themselves to be just good enough not to make the playoffs.  You want some crazy numbers?  The Steelers are 6-2 ATS their last 8 played in week 7.  The Dolphins are 15-41-1 ATS their last 57 home games.  That’s about the last 7 years.  Hold onto the 70s if you want Dolphin fans...oh, right, the Steelers were the real dynasty that decade, too.  Put the fires in the grouper sandwich and go Steelers. Patriots (+3 ½)over Chargers.  The Bolts are supposed to be the class of the conference, but apparently haven’t  gotten the memo.  The Patriots may not have Superbowl Power after trading Randy Moss, but they find a way to win.  The Chargers on the other hand have to figure out life after letting Ladanian Tomlinson go.  The Bolts are 2-6 ATs their last 8 in October.  Anyone see anything to think it won’t be 2-9?  I like the Patriots. Giants (+3) Over Cowboys.  Here’s a laugher, the Giants are riding high, Tony Romo makes the same mistakes in big games he’s made since entering the league and the Giants are 19-7 ATS their last 26 road games.   Ha ha ha…take the Giants Browns (+15) Over Saints.  Lets make one thing clear, I have no illusions the Browns will win this game.  They just won’t loose by more than 2 touchdowns.  This number is way too big to lay.  The Browns have covers 9 of their last 12 in October and 9 of their last 14 overall.  Meanwhile the Saints couldn’t cover a pebble with a bed sheet going 2-7 ATS  on turf.  Besides, every plays the champs tough.  Go Browns! That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the games! The Prognosticator
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Kersplat!!!! Or NFL Week 6

Holy shmoly! We do another 1-4 week there’s going to be some trouble.  Right when we were crawling back towards the black we fall backward to 10-14-1 against the spread.  Not good, not good at all.  It’s a weird league this year.  Some of the teams who were supposed to be run away favorites stink out loud (see the 1-3 Cowboys).  Others are inconsistent, like the Giants who look horrible one week and then look like contenders the next.  Does anyone have a clue?  You look at the prognosticators on Tv they’re all picking over/unders because they don’t know, either.  Still, right now it looks  like the only thing surer than the kiss of death is the kiss of yours truly.  So this week, we won’t think, we’ll just pick.  Remember any losses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom communications, Entercom Northeast, it’s properties or subsidiaries.  Lets look at the schedule: Chiefs (+5) over Texans.  Every year since the leagues went to the 4 division conference format 3 teams go from worst to first.  The Chiefs will be one of those teams.  They’re tough, scrappy, and The Texans showed me little last week against the Giants.  Add to it the Chiefs are 6-2 ATS their last 8 on the road.  All arrowheads point to K.C. Colts(-3) over Redskins.  The colts really aren’t that bad yet are they?  Are the Redskins that good?  Is Rod Serling in the announcer booth?  This isnl;t the kind of games the Colts lose.  Besides they’re 7-1-1 ATS when playing teams with winning records,  and 11-4-1they;re last 15 on the road.  Looks like the Shoes are the play here. 49ers (-6 ½) over Raiders.  Those Raiders looked good finally beating the Chargers last week after a long drought against the bolts.  If you saw Pulp Fiction insert that famous line From Mr. Wolf about calling an early victory.  The Raiders are 2-6 ATS their last 8 in week six.  The 49ers are a team that could get hot anytime.  I like the Niners here. Jets (-3) over Broncos.  Yeah, I know the altitude, but the Jets are far better than theBroncos wherever they play.  The Jets are 7-1 ATS their last 8 on the road, and 8-2 ATS their last 10 within the conference.  Good enough.  Really, Kyle Orton?  J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! Titans (-3) over Jaguars.  The Jags are talking about maybe benching Quarterback David Garrard for Luke McCown.  Wow!  I bet Byron Leftwich isn’t looking that bad these days.  Oh, right, the Jags ran him out of town.  The Titans are one of these teams that will win 10 games every year, and they do it by clobbering teams like the Jaguars.  The Titans are 34-16-1 ATS in October, while the Jags are 8-25 ATS their last 33 on grass.   Titans here. That’s how I see it! Enjoy the games! The Prognosticator
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Slow and Steady, or NFL week 5

Slow and steady…or NFL week 5 We went 3-2 last week.  That brings our record for the year to 9-10-1 against the spread.  Jimmy “the greek” always said the goal is to have enough left so you can still play tomorrow.  One good week and we’ll be on the plus side of things.  A few things happened during the week, one being the trading of Randy Moss.  Albeit he leads the league in drops with 4, he still had to be accounted for.  Moss is still the best leaping receiver in the league.  Combined with Mr. Accuracy (aka Tom Brady) there was a constent need for double coverage which opened up the lanes for what’s known as “death by (Wes) Welker. “  With Moss gone will Welker be as lethal?  And in Minnesota does Brett Favre have anything left to get the ball to Moss?  An interesting side note, if you have Moss on your fantasy team he has the potential to play in 17 games this year.  One less bye to manage. In Philadelphia Michael Vick was looking like the ultimate weapon.  Almost like Michael Jordan launching a 22 foot rainbow, when Vick threw the ball you almost expected someone to catch it for a big gain.  The thing is with the speed at wideout the Eagles have, if you play Jackson and Maclin in zone, your backfield turns their back on Vick, which opens up huge running lanes.  Leave someone around to “spy” Vick and someone is single covered and big gain potential happens.  Seriously, Have you ever seen a quarterback have as many runs up the middle with no one around him?  Moses didn’t have as much separation parting the Red Sea.  Once Kolb came into the game the Redskins pinched the corners and played 2 deep down the middle.  What’s funny is after a decade plus of complaining they never run the ball enough, the Eagles ran the ball a lot in the first half, and everyone complained “why don’t they throw the ball deep?”  In Pittsburgh the Steelers get Ben Roethlisberger back.  Should be fun.  One more thought, the officiating is horrible,  I thought the playoff officiating was bad last year.  Holding calls have sky rocketed as moving the umpire exposes him to a view not previously seen.  The players have yet to adapt to it.  When they changed the blocking rules on kick offs and punts years ago, it took about a decade for the players to catch up.  Two holding calls on your stud left tackle looks to be the norm in the coming weeks.  That’s okay; the Refs are making up for it by running the game poorly.  That ex chief of officials who wasted your time on Fox is right maybe half the time.  I’m not saying he doesn’t know the rules or procedures. He does.  It’s that the officiating crews are so bad they’ve become unpredictable.  Alright, let’s pick some games.  Remember this is just for fun. Any losses incurred by relying on this information is your own doing and not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, it’s properties or it’s subsidiaries. Packers (-3) over Redskins.  What? The Redskins played Philadelphia tough and they’re favored over the packers?  Really?  Does anyone realize McNabb had an paltry 124 yards passing and a QB rating of 60?  The Pack is 9-3-1 ATS over their last 13, enough to carry them past a field goal in DC.  Back the Pack! Texans (-3) over Giants.   The bears played flat last week after a dramatic comeback the week earlier against their hated rivals, The Packers.  The Giants still have nothing.  The Giants are 1-7 ATS their last 8 on grass, and 2-8 ATS when playing teams with winning records.  But Tom Caughlin’s facial expressions are always good for an out loud laugh, so the afternoon won’t be a total waste.  Texans the play here. Eagles (+3 ½) over 49ers.  Can anyone explain how the Eagles are 3 and a half point dog against an 0-4 team ?  The Birds are 8-3 ATS their last 11 in week 5 (seriously we go to every length to find this stuff).  Meanwhile the 49ers are 2-7-1 ATS their last 10 in October.  And the Eagles have won the last 4 meetings.  That’s enough for me.  Birds. Chargers (-6) over Raiders.  Oakland changed QBs last week and managed to play worse.  This has B-L-O-W-O-U-T written all over it.  The Raiders are 15-36 ATS over their last 51 at home.   That’s about 5 years.  That’s awful.  Go Bolts. Jets (-4) over Vikings.  Under the October skies in New Jersey, the Jets had but one mission….find Brett Favre and punish him.  All apologies to John Facenda and NFL films (a direct rip off if you didn’t recognize it).  Still, if Rex Ryan is anything like the “old man”(Buddy) it’s clobberin’ time.  The Jets are 7-2 ATS at home over their last 9.  Randy Moss will run “go” routes.  The Jets Defense will be a little too much.  Fireman Ed will be singing sweetly. J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets!
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OFF THE SCHNEID! (or NFL Week 4)

We’re off the schneid!  Or NFL Week 4 How about last week?  4-1, the lone loss coming as the Redskins decided to play beneath the Rams.  That brings our record to 6-8-1.  Remember 55% is the breakeven point.  Some traps to look out for.  The 49ers were supposed to be the best of the west(NFC West, that is)  They’ve dramatically underachieved at the start.  They’ve got too much talent to be this bad forever, unless they quit on the coach.  The idea that Mike Singletary would have trouble holding on “the room” seems an NFL blasphemy,  teams have quit on more accomplished coaches (see the Giants later in the column).  Likewise don’t expect a team like the Rams to play inspired ball the rest of the season based on one win.  Right around now is when the real teams step forward and play starts to become consistent.    It’s also the week byes come into play which means next week trends will become even more important.  Lets look at what we have this week. Remember this is for bragging rights.  Any losses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Enercom Communications, Entercom Northeast, its subsidiaries or its properties.  Eagles (-6) over Redskins.  Michael Vick is playing lights out great.  At one point during last week’s game during the third quarter there was an eight minute stretch where Vick looked “stupid good.”  In one series Vick hit DeSean Jackson with a 45 yard dart between the 1 and the 0 throwing off his back foot.  Then Vick followed that play with a 22 yard scramble that found him walking into the end zone.  Its not supposed to be that easy.  When Joe Nameth was scouted out of Alabama, Raiders owner Al Davis described Broadway Joe as playing “downhill.” He meant Nameth played so much bigger than anyone else on the field, like he was standing on a hill.  Right now Michael Vick is playing downhill.  The Redskins have an awful offensive line, and their players are either less than perfectly suited for a 3-4 defense, or the haven’t figured out what to do.  McNabb will be cheered when he walks out of the tunnel. A proper thank you for his past effort in green.  They’ll cheer even louder when he gets sacked 8 times.  Plus the Eagles are 9-3-1 ATS at home.  Fly Eagles Fly…. Colts (-7 ½) Over Jaguars.  Obviously the Eagles/Jags game wasn’t national last week.  Jax tallied 184 total yards against an Eagle defense that’s still trying to get it together, including 54 passing yards.  The Colts are 10-2 ATS in October and 8-2 ATS their last 10 on the road.  Meanwhile the lowely Jaguars are 7-25 ATS on grass and 4-14 ATS at home.  Rumors they may be headed to L.A. aren’t helping.  Take the Colts Texans (-3) over Raiders.  Really? Only laying three against the Raiders? I’ll take that any day!  The Texans will make the Playoffs while the Raiders schedule Tee Times come January.  Besides, the Texans are 7-1 ATS in week 4.  Fortunes for the vaunted silver and black won’t change until Al Davis buys a calendar and finds out we’re in the 21st century.  Texans are the play here Bears (-4) over Giants.  The Bears rallied big time Monday night to hold off the Packers.  The Giants on the other hand are a team with problems.  A few years ago the Giants won a Superbowl over a much better Patriot team because of Michael Strahan and a scary dominant defensive front.  Now that front is ordinary, and the rest of the team is falling apart.  Rumors in the New York rags suggest they’ve had enough with Head Coach Tom Caughlin.  Not good.  The Giants are 1-8 ATS against teams with winning records.  That stinks.  Bears big time here. Patriots (-1) over Dolphins.  Miami’s good New England’s better. This is about the time the Pats break off 6 wins in a row and walk away with the AFC East.  Pats in a tight one. That’s how I see it.  Line up your special snacks and enjoy! The prognosticator
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NFL Week 3

Hold your nose, we’ll try again. 2-7-1 against the spread is no way to start the season for anyone.   There is usually some volatile action the first few weeks until teams settle into their roles.  And then there are those times when dumb things happen.  Take Philadelphia.  They won the game with 5:17 left.  Unfortunately Detroit insisted they play the final 5:17 and the Eagles almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  Quentin Mikaell and Asante Samual can’t look like they never played together before all season, can they? Then there was the end of the Redskin-Texan game.  I wasn’t sure anyone wanted to win that one.  Brett Favre is looking old.  One innovation I like this year is the enlarge section CBS uses on replay.  It’s a nice use of technology.  Fox’s use of an ex referee to explain controversial calls while they are being reviewed seems counter-productive.  It doesn’t help when the refs don’t seem to agree with the expert.  If I didn’t know better I’d say that guy is the same guy who writes the legal speak you get from your credit card company from time to time. There are five games I like this week.  Feel free to pick against me in your pool.  It may have been a good strategy over the past two weeks.  Remember any losses incurred from relying on this information (why would you after I can’t pick anything close to a winner) is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, it’s properties or its subsidiaries.  Here we go: Eagles (-3) over Jacksonville. Vick is the starter, and Stuart Bradley starts (whether he knows his name or not).  Jax is 7-23 ATS their last 31 games.  Need I say more?  Fly Eagles Fly…. Titans (+3) over Giants.  The Giants won a dramatic Superbowl 2 years ago with a dominating defensive front four. Now they have more holes than a county commissioner’s explanation.  The Giants have no business being a favorite after last weeks clueless performance.  Giants are 3-10 ATS their last 13.  Chiefs (+1) over  49ers.  What did you see last Monday night to make you think The 49ers are turning things around?  The Chiefs are not only 2 and 0 but they covered both weeks.  Three’s the charm.  Chiefs here. Steelers (-2 ½) over Buccaneers.  Twice I bet against Pittsburgh and twice I lost.  I’m not making that mistake again.  The Bucs are 2-12 ATS their last 12 at home.  Ugly wins count the same as pretty ones.  Steelers will have three of them when the sun sets Sunday. Redskins (-4) over the Rams.  This is one of those games the Redskins win so the haters in Philadelphia can call sports radio and gripe about the McNabb trade.  The Rams are better than ’09 but not good enough.  The Rams are 9-21 their last 30 at home.  There we are.  Enjoy your Sunday! The Prognosticator
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Oops, I laid an egg!

Not much to say after last week.  Normally when your prognosticator does well he pounds his chest and tells everyone.  Last week I laid an egg.  Going 0-4-1 is not much fun.  Many office pools consider a push (a.k.a a tie) to be a loss.  You’re thinking “thanks for nothing, guy.”    Bad weeks happen.  Being in the hole right from week one is not the best position, but we have 16 weeks and the playoffs to make up ground.  If you reach a 55% winning percentage you’ve broke even.  The season is a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s not that bad…yet. A few thoughts about last week:  I was pleasantly surprised to see a touchdown overturned in Chicago.  The rule has been if you go to the ground with the ball you and come back up you have to have the ball.  Lion’s wideout Calvin Johnson had obvious control of the ball on the way down, and that had some people miffed.  Bob Costas said on NBC’s Football Night In America the league should reconsider the rule.  I think Costas has it wrong.  The Problem with the NFL is too many rules.  Those rules are brought about by instant replay, and commentators who aren’t exactly sure what went on.  The play is rerun a half dozen times at different angles and now you’re convinced they’re right.  As the cliché goes pictures don’t lie.  But commentators can persuade you into letting the pictures argue a wrong conclusion.  Johnson leaving the ball on the ground is no different than dropping the ball 3 inches before the goal line.  It’s a mental error.  If he stayed on the ground the score would have counted.  Next time hold on to the ball when you party in the end zone, Calvin. One more thing: the fanatics who think an 18 game season is a good idea should pay attention to the dreck that was passed off as games last weekend.  Instead of three to four weeks of pretty lousy stuff, you can count on 5-6 weeks of substandard product.  Alright, on to this weeks picks.  Remember any loses incurred by relying on the following information is not the responsibility of myself, The Mountain, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, its properties or its subsidiaries.  This is just for fun. Eagles (-5 1/2)  over the Lions.  Amazing! Kevin Kolb gets a concussion and Michael Vick is announced as the starter and the line moves 3 points.  Those Kelly jerseys looked sweet, didn’t they?  Just like when I was a kid.  Unfortunately they honored the uniform by playing like they did when I was a kid.  I was born after the 1960 team won the championship.  I lived through King Hill and Steve Arrington at quarterback.  Although now that I think about it, that should make the Kolb experiment seem like cake.  It can’t be any worse than Bobby Hoying, right?  And don’t get too comfortable watching Michael Vick, either.  The team didn’t trade a franchise quarterback, a once in a generation quarterback in Donovan McNabb and sign Kolb for an additional 12 million to give up after a half.  The irony here is McNabb was traded because the press gave up on Ol’ 5 and decided he couldn’t win it all.  The same press who a few years ago said the problem with the Eagles was they scored too quickly.  That idea is so dumb I became dumber from having heard it.  The old QB is gone, the new QB got his bell rung and now after one week there’s a quarterback controversy.  The Eagles are 6-2 Against The Spread when they play teams with losing records.  The Lions on the other hand are 3-7-2 ATS their last 12 against NFC foes.   Fly eagles Fly….take the birds. Packers (-13 1/2) over the Bills.  13 and the hook is a lot to lay, especially in week 2.  Already the TV Heads are saying the Bills have a shot at going winless.  They’re that bad.  You would have thought the team could recover since trading Doug Flutie.  Looking at the Buffalo trend of 13-2 ATS in week 2 over the past 15 years is hard to ignore.  Then again, Buffalo is called the “city of no illusions” for a reason.  Those same Bills are 5-11 ATS when playing teams with winning records.  The Packers are 8-1-1 ATS over their past 10 games, 7-1-1 ATS their last 9 on grass, and 8-3 ATS their last 11 in Green Bay in September.  Pass the Brots and buy the Pack Chiefs (-1 ½) over the Browns.  The Chiefs were 4 ½ point dogs against the mighty chargers last week and more than answered the call.  The Browns on the other hand were busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Tampa.  Jake Delhomme Del-blew it with two Del-interceptions in the second half.  It has to be a real drag to live in Cleveland and know your real team is in Baltimore, who’s real team is in Indianapolis.  The NFL makes strange bedfellows.  Those Chiefs are 11-1 ATS in weeks 2 and 14-5 ATS their last 19 in September.  Yummy!   Chiefs the play here. Saints (-5 ½) over the 49ers.  The Niners were the sexy pick to win the NFC West this year.  Hey why not? They are as bad as anyone else in that division.  7-9 may win it.  The Saints flat out have too much talent.  Besides, Reggie Bush handed back his Heisman this week.  Do you think he wants to make a statement? Saints in a walk Titans (-5) over the Steelers.  Year after year Jeff Fisher turns out a winner.  When Norman Braman owned the Eagles and fired Buddy Ryan he decided to let Fisher walk so he could keep Richie Kotite.  Those in Tennessee should send Braman flowers and 60 year old scotch for his birthday.  This is the kind  of game the Steelers grind out and keep close.  Of course that’s when Roethlisberger plays. And that’s not this week.  Titans. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Enjoy the games! The Prognosticator
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Peerless Prognosticator NFL Week 1

Greetings from your Prognosticator!  It’s good to be back after a 2 year hiatus.  I’ve got my charts, data  and information banks updated an ready for a brand new season.  My pregame infrastructure is in place with  a new grill, a pantry full of snacks and  a spare fridge packed with anniversary labeled beer.  We’re more than ready here at the Prognosticator’s lair. Before we start let’s review our base strategy for the coming weeks.  There are anywhere from 13 to 16 games depending on the week.   The key is to pick 5 or 6 games you feel strongly about.   There are two different lines we read inside out crystal ball: the point spread (aka the line) and the money line. Commonly we will use the term “the line” when referring to the point spread.  Also let’s be clear I write this purely for entertainment purposes.   Consider it chewing gum for the mind of the avid sports fan, or a clue for someone playing an office pool who doesn’t care about football.   Once I worked with a woman who picked birds, animals and fish in that order and won the office pool three times.  While I am fascinated by the mechanism I do not support or condone gambling.  I do not promise results.  Any losses incurred by relying on information written here or in any future postings are not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Wilkes-Barre, Entercom Communications, its holdings or its subsidiaries.    Remember the point spread is not a prediction of the game’s outcome.  It’s a prediction of how people wager in Vegas sports parlors.  In a sports book one wagers 6 units to win 5.  The book (betting house) has no interest in who wins the game.  He wants an equal amount of money wagered on each side.  For example this Sunday the Packers are in Philadelphia for a game that is supposed to resemble a reenactment of the last Eagles’ championship 50 years ago.  If 6 units are wagered on the packers the book wants 6 units wagered on the Eagles.  If the Packers win, the book returns the 6 units from the packer wager and keeps the 6 units wagered on the Eagles.  The book then pays the packer wager 5 units from the 6 collected on the Eagles wager.  In the end the house made one unit.  If the outcome were reversed and the Eagles win, the book would return the ^ units from the Eagles wager and pay out 5 units collected from the Packers wager.  No matter who wins, the house collects one unit.  Those of you who were Sopranos fans may recall after Big Pussy got “whacked,” Christopher took over the sports book operation.  Christopher set his spreads based on his game predictions and not wager predictions and the book hemorrhaged money.  Remember the book never cares who wins.  It’s a mantra I’ll repeat countless times this year. There are two ways to read the line.  The first is to look at the schedule and make up your own line, and then compare it to the published lines.  If you predict the Packers are a 3 point favorite only to find out they are a 1 point underdog your instinct should lead you towards picking Green Bay.   The second step is to follow the line throughout the week.  If the Line opens with the Packers as a three point favorite on Monday, and by Friday the Packers are a 4 point favorite the line is shouting at you.  An imbalance of money is wagered on the Packers and the book wants to make the Eagles more a more compelling bet.  In other words the line follows the money.  Some of you may recall 1979 when the Steelers played the Cowboys in the Superbowl.  The line opened with the Cowboys as 5 point underdogs.  An overwhelming amount of money was wagered on Dallas, prompting the line two move a whopping 2 points.  When the Cowboys were only 3 point dogs a ton of money was laid down on the Steelers.  In the middle was 4 points.  The game ended with the Steelers as 35-31 victors.  If you bought the Cowboys +5 and then Steelers -3 you won both sides of the wager.  Vegas lost their shirt that Sunday.  For that reason a 1 ½ point move is a HUGE move and worthy of attention.  The money line is the one the looks like “-110.”  It means you have to wager 110 to win 100.  A line that read s“+115” means if you wager 100 you stand to win 115.  Its more commonly seen in the sports pages associated with baseball, but there is also a money line with football albeit not usually published in the average newspaper.   A lopsided money line that reads “Green Bay +90/Philadelphia +115” is a prediction of the game.  If the book is willing to pay out less for one than the opponent, that team in the eyes of the book is the true favorite.  The greater the margin, the stronger the favorite.   The money line almost never changes.  When it does it should grab you by the lapels and scream “NOTICE ME!” Let’s take a look at some opening day match-ups! FALCONS (-2 ½) over Steelers.  The Steelers need to prove they can field a reliable quarterback not named Roethlisberger.  Until Big Ben gets out of the Commissioner’s purgatory I wouldn’t hold my breath it will happen. Byron Leftwich’s injury forces the Steelers to start either unproven and untested Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch who most likely would have been cut had it not been for the Leftwich injury.  Don’t be shocked if Pittsburgh starts 0-4 this year.  The line opened with the Steelers as 1 ½ point favorites and moved a whopping 4 points.  Such a move was allowed in part because the line was set before the final preseason games were played.  That said if the line were a politician he’d be labeled a flip flopper.  Log Cabin doesn’t have enough syrup to cover that waffle.  The Falcons are 10-2 ATS (against the spread) in their last 12 opening day games.  That works for me.  EAGLES (+3) Over Packers.  The line opened with The Eagles as one point favorites.  The move is no doubt related to the inability of the Eagle Offence to score a touchdown in the preseason.  Some coaches try and win big in the preseason hoping it seeds a mindset for the season.  Chuck Knoll believed this.  Eagles coach Andy Reid does not.  An Eagles preseason is about evaluating players without giving other teams film to craft a game plan.  Kevin Kolb’s 2 consecutive 300 yard starts last season is a better indicator than the preseason.  The difference in this game is the Eagle Defense.  The Eagles are 9-2-1 ATS at home over their last 12, and 7-2 ATS against Green bay over their last nine meetings.   Sing it with me: “Fly eagles fly…” COWBOYS  (-3.5) over Redskins.   I truly believe Donovan McNabb will make the Redskins a better team, even a dark horse for a wild card spot.  I truly believe Tony Romo will be playing in another city by 2013 without ever reaching the lofty expectations of the Cowboy fan base.  Romo however plays very well in September, and the Redskins offensive line doesn’t yet have the athletes needed for Mike Shannahan’s running scheme.  The Cowboys are 9-4-1 ATS in September while the Redskins are 3-11 ATS over their last 14 at home.  Assuming the Pokes don’t mail it in at Fed Ex field they’ll be partying in Dallas Sunday night.  Take the Cowboys. 49ERS (-3) over Seahawks.  It’s becoming obvious that the 49ers are getting it together while the Seahawks are not.  The 49ers may make the playoffs because they’re in the weakest division.  That “one eyed man in the land of the blind” thing.  Cutting TJ Houshmandzadeh (yes, I googled that) says to me one big money player to this team does not a difference make.  Don’t be surprised if the fans in the “twelfth player” section are wearing bags in their heads by mid October.  The 49ers are 12-5-4 ATS over their last 21, while the Seahawks are 3-8 ATS their last 11 against the NFC.  There’s no reason to expect the Seahawks to do anything but lay an egg here, so lay the three points.  I like the 49ers. Cardinals (-4) over the Rams.  Sam Bradford my eventually be the answer in St. Louis.  But not this week.  The Rams have more problems than any one player can fix, especially a rookie quarterback.  Over the past 10 years the Rams are 1-8-1 ATS on opening day, and 7-21 ATS against the NFC.  This is not “the greatest show on turf.”   Cardinals in this one.  That’s how I see it.  Enjoy the weekend!
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Happy 4th!

While you enjoy the Prime  Cuts weekend you will undoubtedly be cued or encouraged to contemplate what it means to be an American.  This isn't a politicle essay.  2 wars and a bad economy that is too slow in recovery for anyone's comfort has produced an angry environment.  We're not tolerant of opinions that differ from our own no matter what that opinon may be.  So I'll let the Nicholas Brothers speak for me. The Nicholas Brother were grew up in early 20th century Philadelphia.  Sons of a musician father i suspect they were neither poor nor wealthy.  Like most in the middle class their comfort level and standard of living ebbed and flowed.  The Nicholas Brothers could dance.  They were part of the jazz revolution in New York and were mainstays at the Cotton Club.  If you saw David Lee Roth in his prime his stage presence was an outgrowth of the Nicholas Brothers.  Roth borrowed heavily from Peter Wolf,  who borrowed heavily from James Brown, who was the Nicholas Brothers incarnate.  I don't know if either Fayard or Harold harbored a secret ambition to be a doctor, lawyer or teacher.  When you see them dance I am sure you will agree  that no one could possiblybe that good at anything if they didn't really love it.  They had to love it in order to put the time and sweat into achieving the level of greatness they reached.  They also had to live in a place where they were free to pursue their passion.   The clip bellow is from the movie Stormy Weather.   This is what freedom looks like.  Enjoy! Happy 4th, LF[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/zBb9hTyLjfM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
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