Thursday, November 29, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 13: Lock Up, Lock Down, and Full Speed Ahead - the Playoff Brackets are starting to fill, and for some, it's now or never.

No Rightminded Fellow wasn't overdosed on Turkey but still experiencing some hardware problems for last week's incomplete postings.

This week, some teams are positioned to lock in to the playoffs, while the elite teams continue to keep homefield dominance a possibility. Such is the case with the Thursday night game where Atlanta is working hard to keep its #1 seed and New Orleans fights for its playoff life.

New Orleans @ Atlanta (-3 1/2)

"Don't let up, or else!"  Atlanta looks to lock up the South and should win in their house, but New Orleans will give them one hell of a fight. Any let up in intensity will cost Atlanta severely. Count on it.


Jacksonville @ Buffalo (-6)

Two beaten and battered teams not going anywhere compete in Buffalo. We give the Bills the slight edge.

Seattle @ Chicago (-3 1/2)

The Bears are a little beat up but should prevail at home against the pesky Seakawks.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-8)

The Packers will be anxious to bounce back after an embarassing prime time loss against the New York Giants.

Houston (-6) @ Tennessee

Another victory en route to clinching a playoff spot and likely top seed.

Carolina (-3) @ Kansas City

If there's anything the Panthers learned in their powerful win over the hapless Philadelphia Eagles they should be able to put the hurts on the plodding Chiefs.

San Francisco (-7) @ St. Louis

The 49er's can't let a QB decision distract for their play on the field. This is an important game to smack a weak opponent.

New England (-7 1/2) @ Miami

Let's hope there's no sprinkler system mishap in Miami this week. That could cause lots of hot steam if the Patriots are up to speed. They'll almost certainly dominate at the Dolphisn struggle to keep lean playoff hopes alive.

Arizona @ New York Jets (-4.5)

Oh it's so ugly for the alternate tenants of Met Life Stadium.  The Jets are a better team in this match up if they're still psychologically of playing hard.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-8)

No Ben Roethlisberger but the Ravens still have to shut down the Steelers' running game. The Steelers are in Baltimore. The crowd will be merciless. The Ravens will win.

Tampa Bay @ Denver (-8)

Denver should prevail though Tampa is fighting for its playoff possibilities.

Cincinnati (-2) @ San Diego

Does San Diego have anything left in them? These are two teams heading in different diretions right now.  If San Diego is going to put on one of its late season surges, it's probably too late for an post season or to save Norv Turner whose presence after much underachievement is hard to explain.

Cleveland  (-1) @ Oakland

Here's another one of those "toilet bowl" games. These are two bad teams but Cleveland is a team capable of rising up and playing a good game on occasion. Oakland is a mess. Cleveland wins.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-10)

The Eagles are almost certain losers.  The Cowboys could look brilliant, and here comes the Cowboys' hype again. Look at who they're playing. The Eagles could make almost any team look great at this stage of the season.

NY Giants (-2.5) @ Washington

The Giants need to keep their momentum up to work toward being a post season factor this ear.  They are not assured of anything in this game especially playing in Lanham.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 12: Thanksgiving Picks

No high impact games today, though two of them feature hot rivalries. Here's the lowdown. Men, you don't have an excuse to run from the family for the television today. None of these games are vital for the big picture this season.

Game 1:
Houston (-3) @ Detroit
Houston could be the hottest team in the NFL this year. They'll storm into the Motor City and kick butt. What's Vegas thinking with only a field goal for the spread.

Game 2:
Washington @ Dallas (-3)
Who wouldn't love to see the Redskins stomp their arch rivals, the Cowboys?  The much over-hyped Cowboys are a field goal favorite, but we're pulling for the "uspet." The "boys" just aren't that much fun.

Game 3:
New England ( -7) @ New York Jets
Umph!  You think it's ugly around the Big Apple and Joisey with the folks still suffering and getting the run around blocks away from the Meadowland.  The Jets are about to be hit by New England like Sandy whacked Staten Island.  This could get out of hand. Who's that backup quarterback with the Jets?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 36 -- And the Champion Shall Be....

Brad Keselowski starts 3rd to fire things up and hold off "Five Time" Jimmy Johnson who starts 10th in quest of the 2012 Sprint Cup Trophy. If the #2 Miller Lite Dodge finishes in 15th or better, team Penske wins its first Sprint Cup championship. The simple math is, without some substantial mishap, the race is totally in Keselowski's grasp. Johnson needs the #2 team to give something up and race a spectacular race to claim title #6.

Jimmie Johnson had the edge in round one practice charting the 16th best practice time while the "Blue Deuce" only managed to secure the 21st best time; however, if this were the end race results Sunday afternoon, Keselowski wins. Final second round "Happy Hour" practice is scheduled for 3:00 pm before the Nationwide series races for its championship with their race ready to go with a 4:30 pm green flag.

Joey Logano, who moves to Peneske next year, sits on the pole in his last race for Joe Gibbs Racing in the #20 Home Depot Toyota which will be Matt Kenseth's ride in 2013. Kenseth starts 11th.  The top 10 starters are loaded with drivers looking to salvage something from the 2012 season. Marcos Ambrose starts second once again trying to show he's got game on oval tracks. Carl Edwards is looking for some measure of pride for a dreadful, winless season starting 4th. Aric Almirola is racing for his contract for 201 in 5th.  Clint Bowyer, knocked out of 2012 championship contention by an angry Jeff Gordon starts 6th. Martin Truex Jr., the winless chaser, lines up 7th, while Kyle Busch enduring a horrible 2012 checks in at 8th. Meanwhile, on the opposite end, Denny Hamlin, who looked promising as the chase started starts in a horrible 41st position needing owners' points to make the field. Last year's champ, Tony Stewart, starts in a dreadful 35th spot. One additional ride to watch starts 27th, likely Nationwide champ, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. prepares for his sprint Cup rookie season. He'll be the 3rd Roush-Fenway driver next year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NFL 2012: Week 11 -- The Big Bad Brawl and....

First, we're sorry for missing the last two weeks due to faulty equipment. That will get your head knocked off in the NFL. Speaking of which, big injuries including concussions are a part of this week's story line while the nastiest rivalry in the business is set to do battle Sunday night.

The concussions keep piling up with last week's casualties including Jay Cutler and Michael Vick.  Finally, the NFL is getting serious about protecting its players considering how many former players have suffered dreadful consequences later in life from the pounding they took -- never let the name of former Baltimore Colts' hall-of-famer, John Mackey go unnoticed for the decades long suffering he endured before his untimely death.l

The two hottest rivals, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the roughest most old school teams in the business play in Pittsburgh Sunday night. The injury epidemic finds each team missing its leader with Ray Lewis out for the season after shoulder surgery and Ben Rothlesberger suffering a shoulder and rib injury. We predict the Steelers will go right at the Ravens with their running game challenging the Ravens who've not been very effective so far this year stopping the run.  The Ravens will pin their hopes on their beefed up offense with Joe Flacco in command but also needing a good run from Ray Rice to setup the air game.

The other big game of the week is also a nationally televised game, Monday night's battle with Chicago visiting San Francisco in what appears to be the battle for the second team with home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs as the NFC East seems to have three teams in self-destruct mode and the 4th, the Redskins, not ready for prime time yet. Suddenly, the 49ers appear well-positioned to make up for early season unexpected losses and take advantage of a Jay Cutler's status.

Here's the breakdown, game-by-game:

Miami @ Buffalo (-2.5)
Order the fish not the steak on the menu tonight.

Arizona @ Atlanta (-10)
Atlanta will be hot to shake off their first loss last week.

Green Bay (-3.5) @ Detroit
The Lions are headed back into mediocrity faster than their brief flirtation with success.

Cleveland @ Dallas (-7.5)
Nothing like a cupcake game that Dallas should win easily to get the chatter going about how "America's Team," a most undeserving distinction, is on a roll with their "great" QB leader, the matinee idol, soap opera star, Tony Romo at the helm. Dallas wins. Who cares?

Cincinnati (-3.5) @ Kansas City
Cincinnati sure looked hot against the defending champs and should beat a team that fought into overtime and lost Monday night.

New York Jets @ St. Louis (-3)
Speaking of soap operas, the Tebow haters are making noise in the New York Jets lockeroom as Mark Sanchez continues to struggle. The Jets are going nowhere and a loss to the so-so St. Louis Rams will just make it worse.

Indianapolis @ New England (-9)
Could Andrew Luck be ready for one of his first career milestones, contending with New England? Probably not, but a Colts win could certainly hasten in much power for the developing "Lick Era" but the Colts will need more than Luck to win against the ever nasty Patriots.

Philadelphia @ Washington (-3.5)
The end of the Andy Reid era appears more certain with each loss for the Eagles in 2012. He'll surely catch on somewhere else if he chooses. It's clear the Michael Vick reign can't rival Donovan McNabb's often criticized for never bringing home the post season rewards expected of them.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) @ Carolina
Cam Newton has failed miserably to live up to his first year expectations and Tampa is one team that many consider over-achievers so far this year. Without Newton returning to form, Tampa wins this game.

Jacksonville @ Houston (-15.5)
This is probably the ho-hum game of the week unless seeing one team roll over the other is what excites the fans.

New Orleans (-5) @ Oakland
Well, at least Oakland probably won't give up 55 points this week at home, but there's not much to like about the Raiders in 2012.

San Diego @ Denver (-8)
Peyton Manning continues to sharpen his grasp of the Broncos as San Diego once again proves to be competing with Dallas for the game's worst under-achievers. Does anyone think Norv Turner will survive to coach another year?  However, he's been as good as gone many times before.

Baltimore (-3.5) @ Pittsburgh
Which team is more beat up?  That's the test.  It appears the Ravens have the edge especially after a tough late win for the Steelers Monday night while the Ravens glided to score 55 points and rest some regulars late in Sunday's thumping of Oakland.

Chicago @ San Francisco (-5.5)
The 49er's should emerge as the 2nd best team in the NFC after Monday night's game. The beat up Bears will have to dominate on defense and be fortunate on offense to overcome the favorites.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 35: The Duel

Seven points and a world of difference marks the distance between the Championship contenders in the 2013 Chase for the Championship. With two races to go, the current champion of champions, the leader of all active drivers, and 3rd best historically, with five championships aiming for his sixth, Jimmie Johnson, battles the relative newcomer, Brad Keselowski, holding a seven point lead over the challenger.

Neither driver takes anything for granted as the Nationwide series showed so vividly today when that series was also a two driver duel between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliot Sadler. Sadler in the role of challenger fought his way up through the field but a late race accident with the #88 destroyed Sadler's championship hopes. Neither of the Sprint Cup competitors are poised for good luck with Keselowski starting 14th and Johnson 24th. If the unthinkable were to happen and both drivers collapse, then Clint Bowyer enters the picture for the final shootout next week in Homestead, Florida.

Kyle Busch starts from the pole trying to salvage a miserable season with a strong Toyota presence up front showing Martin Truex Jr. cellebrating his most successful season on the outside pole followed by the ill-fated chaser, Denny Hamlin in 3rd.

All eyes will be on the #48 and #2 cars as the race develops with each driver looking to leave Phoenix with a decisive advantage going into the final race.