Monthly Archives: October 2017

Week Eight…

…and let’s not waste any time:

Minnesota (-9.5) “at” Cleveland

Another London game.  I know Cleveland played Tennessee tight last week and covered.  The week before they got blasted and did not cover an even larger spread.  They are 0-7 and clearly stink…on every continent I would say.  My inclination is that they will get beat fairly big in England, so let’s just go with that.

Minnesota 27, Cleveland 9.

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-2.5)

I can’t figure these two teams out at all.  Let’s just go with the home team.

Tampa Bay 24, Carolina 21.

Chicago at New Orleans (-8.5)

I’m fairly certain that Mitchell Trubisky will have to throw more than 7 passes in this one.

New Orleans 34, Chicago 10.

Atlanta (-4.5) at New York Jets

If Atlanta loses this one, they will have lost 4 consecutive games, all against AFC East teams.  Would be pretty astounding.  I’m actually astounded that they played all their “AFC division” games all in a row.  Weird how the schedule makers drew that one up.  Anyway, Atlanta didn’t look great against the Pats last week and kind of seem in a little bit of a funk overall.  Find it hard to believe they will lose to the Jets though.

Atlanta 27, New York Jets 17.

San Francisco at Philadelphia (-12.5)

These double-digit spreads are always enticing, but dangerous.  The Niners played 5 games in a row where they lost all of them by 3 or less.  That ended last week when they got smashed by the Cowboys.  Maybe they will be able to keep this one close, based on their season as a whole thus far?  I don’t know.  Philly is rolling.  It’s in Philly, so I’m thinking blowout.

Philadelphia 34, San Francisco 13.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati (-9.5)

Hard to fathom the Bengals being favored by this much over anyone.  But the Colts are giving up points by the bushel.  And Cincy shouldn’t really be this bad.

Cincinnati 31, Indianapolis 17.

Oakland at Buffalo (-2.5)

Always tough to take a West Coast team flying to the East Coast for a 1:00 EST game.  But I think Oakland’s win 10 days ago against Kansas City may have brought some of its mojo back.  Not to mention I have a hard time seeing the Bills at 4-2 now.

Oakland 27, Buffalo 24.

Los Angeles Chargers at New England (-7.5) 

The Chargers are better than their 3-4 record really and the Pats are a little banged up, especially defensively.  Philip Rivers historically always seems to keep his team close against New England.  The Patriots looked much better last week against the Falcons, but I don’t believe all their ills are cured.  Maybe some rain for this one.  Seems like a close game to me.

New England 31, Los Angeles Chargers 27.

Houston at Seattle (-5.5)

Deshaun Watson has been awesome this year.  Not sure why the Texans even bothered with that Tommy Savage business at the start of the year.  But at Seattle this week.  Thinking a bump in the road is in order.

Seattle 34, Houston 16.  

Dallas (-2.5) at Washington

Both teams are 3-3.  They could be headed in opposite directions though.

Dallas 37, Washington 23.  

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Detroit

Lions.  Enough said.  Well that, and the Steelers seem to have righted the ship.

Pittsburgh 27, Detroit 13.

Denver at Kansas City (-7.5)

The Broncos have been absolutely putrid the last two weeks.  The Chiefs were playing over their head to start the season but have lost two in a row themselves.  Divisional battle, have to believe it ends up being a good game.

Kansas City 24, Denver 21.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread): 50-57

Season (straight up): 64-43

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Smorgasbord…

…lots to catch up on here, let’s start with the Thursday Night Football game and then dive right in:

Miami at Baltimore (-3.5)  

The Dolphins are 4-2 despite scoring only 92 points in 6 games.  They will be going with their backup QB in Matt Moore.  However, Moore may actually be better than the starter, that fraud named Jay Cutler.  Speaking of frauds…Joe Flacco everyone!  Neither team really excites me this year.  Therefore, take the points.

Miami 21, Baltimore 17.

Week (against the spread):  9-6

Week (straight up):  10-5

Season (against the spread): 50-56

Season (straight up): 64-42

Now for the rest of the Boston sports world, in no particular order:

*John Farrell is gone as the manager of the Boston Red Sox.  We have known that for a bit.  And everyone on God’s Green Earth knows how I feel about Farrell.  So no need to expound on any of those thoughts here.  Good riddance.  Buffoonery at every angle.

But…Alex Cora?  Count me among the unimpressed.  Just six years removed from the game, but more importantly, he has no managerial experience whatsoever?  Yeah, I’ve heard he managed the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic.  But who cares about that?  He was (is) a bench coach for the Houston Astros.  Doesn’t excite me either.

People are raving about him.  Maybe he has great people skills.  And actually can manage.  More importantly, maybe he can straighten out those morons in the clubhouse.  But…how do we really know?

He actually played here from 2006-2008.  Does that help?  Perhaps a little.  He knows what the demands are here in Boston.  Looks like the only player on this roster he actually played with was Dustin Pedroia…and Pedroia took his job.  People describe Pedey and Cora as close.  But I swear I remember Cora being pissed Pedroia took his job.  I don’t know, maybe Cora can also play 2b this upcoming season until Pedroia comes back…as we learned Wednesday that Dustin had knee surgery that will keep him out around seven months.  If the other options are Brock Holt, Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin, then why not?  I know, there is a whole offseason to find a better temporary 2b option.  But some local jamoke writer actually proposed those three clowns as legit (and probable) options.

Let’s also look at the hiring process.  The only three guys General Manager Dave Dombrowski thought of interviewing were Cora, Ron Gardenhire and Brad Ausmus?  THESE guys were the cream of the crop?  YIKES!

Dombrowski has some work to do on the actual roster and most certainly the clubhouse.  Let’s also see who Cora surrounds himself with on his staff.  But this hiring reminds me of a somewhat similar one for the Sox back in 1992.  A hire that a former college hallmate termed a “franchise manager”.  They had to go get him before someone else swooped him up.  Yup…Butch Hobson.  Ugh…

*The Celtics obviously took a big hit with the Gordon Hayward injury.  Just over five minutes into the season he goes down for the year…what a kick to the junk.

But you know what?  They’ll still be up there fighting for the top seed in the East.  Cleveland will probably treat the regular season as an extended preseason, similar to what they did last year.  There are other competitive teams in the East.  I suppose Milwaukee, Washington and Toronto will be in the upper tier.  But not unbeatable, even without Gordo.

Look, with only 4 of the 16 players on the roster carrying over from last year, there was going to be an adjustment period anyway.  I don’t think anyone thought the C’s were going to win the NBA Finals this year with full health.  Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum appear to have a world of talent (though I am not getting too high about their performance against the lowly Knicks on Tuesday).  But let’s remember they are 21 and 19 years old, respectively.  In fact, 7 of the 16 players are rookies, though admittedly most of those are on the back-end of the roster.

It’s a long season and anything can happen.  Barring any other unforeseen major injury, I’m still excited about watching this team develop.

*I don’t believe Jae Crowder intentionally tried to injure Hayward.  But he certainly had a hair across his arse in the opener.  Al Horford got all worked up at him at one point.  Don’t see Al react like that much.  Anyway Jae, let it go dude.

*Brown certainly looks like a different player this season.  I know summer league means squat.  But I did watch some of the games there.  Judging by how Jaylen has come out in the regular season thus far, I would have expected him to dominate the summer league.  And he was pretty unimpressive there, in my opinion.

In any event, for a guy with his talent, he seems to have a lack of touch around the rim.  Seems like he could have added several layups to this years’ total already.  But I shouldn’t complain.  He sure looks a hell of a lot better taking outside shots than he did last year.  Keep improving his finishes around the rim and of course the free throws and the sky COULD be the limit.

*I have no idea if guys like Abdel Nader, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Daniel Theis or Jabari Bird can actually play in the NBA.  But I can for damn sure tell you one thing:  I’d rather give those guys a shot than have carried over the likes of Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green, Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson into this year.  We KNOW what those guys can do…and it’s not much.  Let’s see if any of these kids can develop into something.  While playing 9th to 13th man minutes.

I’m intrigued mostly by Theis, to be honest.  Now, I don’t want him playing 30 minutes a game.  But I’d like to see him get a consistent 10-15 minutes a night to see what’s there.  Listed at 6’9″, as a center, if he can add to the mix as a rebounder, that would be a tremendous help of course.  Especially considering the fact how horrid the Celtics were in that department last year.

*Last, but not least, the Boston Bruins.  This could be a looooong year, my friends.  But you know what?  I think I am ok with it.

Say what?  Think about it.  These guys are not championship timber, by any stretch of the imagination.  Not even a player or two away.  There has been an influx of young players this year.  Started a little bit last year, but you can really see it now.  There are apparently more to come.  Don Sweeney has been talking about this for years and we MAY be starting to see the “fruits of his labor”.

We have given Donnie Hockey a little bit of a beating the last couple of years, but if this was the plan all along, and Cam Neely (also taking a beating) and ownership have been on board with it…and of course if it eventually WORKS…then the B’s could be set up for years to come.  All the while remaining at least competitive during the transition years.

There is a long way to go, but in this young season we have seen glimpses.  We’ve also been horrified at some of the play.  But with young players and inexperience, that comes with the territory.  If the future is truly bright, then can’t we deal with the ups and downs for a little longer?

*Let’s break it down a little further.  If the lines this year when everyone is healthy are…

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Spooner-Backes

Kuraly-Nash-Acciari

Chara-Carlo

Miller-McAvoy

Krug-McQuaid

…doesn’t that give you a little hope?  Specifically looking at Bjork and DeBrusk hopping right into the top six forward mix.  As well as Carlo and McAvoy making some noise on defense in their 2nd and 1st year, respectively.  Of course it would help if these guys really can play…and by all accounts they can.  It would also help if Vatrano and Spooner took their heads right out of their arses as well.  But you could always sprinkle in a Timmy Schaller…or a kid such as Danton Heinen or Austin Czarnik or I guess this Kenny Agostino dude they just brought up.  Or…

Of course, I’d rather still have Colin Miller over Kevan Miller.  Or ANYONE remaining from the Tyler Seguin trade (or someone who could play anyway…meaning…not Jimmy Hayes).  But if some of the other dudes eventually make it as well…Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Matt Grzelcyk, Rob O’Gara, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon…we could be looking at a solid young core for years to come.  We shall see…

*Lastly, I will also tell you, I would keep the kids coming.  As the trading deadline approaches and the Bruins likely at the bottom of the playoff seedings, or even slightly out of them, I would work to shop some of the vets and implement more kids.  Not everyone, mind you.  But a few.

First off, they couldn’t necessarily trade ALL the vets anyway.  Most of the higher paid ones of course have no movement clauses, thanks to former GM Peter Chiarelli…and a little by Sweens himself.

Who would I look to deal?  Tuukka Rask, top of the list.  You just don’t need a 7 million dollar a year goalie.  Especially for a team in transition.  He has a modified no-trade.  The door is open.  Zdeno Chara has had a nice career in Boston.  But he’s heading toward 41 years old.  And they are still throwing him out there for about 25 minutes a game…in OCTOBER!  Stop the insanity!  Give those minutes to someone else.  Z has a no-move, but maybe see if he will waive it to go to a contender.  I’ve heard people around here saying that they wouldn’t mind if Chara signed on for another 2 years after this year.  Once again, STOP THE INSANITY.  You still may be actually able to get something decent for him too.

Others?  Krug for sure.  3 more years at 5.25 for a defenseman that is truly an offensive specialist.  Has some no movement protection starting next year.  Move him before that goes into effect.  Backes?  Makes 6 mil for the next 4 years with a lot of no-move protection.  Likely untradeable.  Krejci?  I’d love to see him on the above line.  But injuries seem to be taking control of him.  And yes, no-move protections of course.

Just see what’s out there for some of those guys.  Can’t hurt.  Oh yeah, it’s time to just buy Matt Beleskey out.  That ship has sailed.  Actually, that ship sailed long ago…

Building Block…

…off of the surprising Oakland pick (and win) Thursday night.  Sure, they had 85 plays at the end of the game to get the winning TD.  But they will take it…and so will I.  Let’s see if we can keep the positive momentum going.

Again on the picks last week.  They were so bad, I don’t want to spend any time on reviewing them this week.  And…since the Pats barely beat the Jets last week, and got a huge break on the fumble/non-TD call by the refs on the Seferian-Jenkins play, I don’t want to talk about that either.  Well not that much anyway.  If the Jets coaches targeted Johnson Bademosi more than twice the entire game, the result may have been different.  Bademosi is a special teamer only and was forced to play all game at corner due to injuries, after not having played a SINGLE snap on defense all season.  Gotta love the J-E-T-S!!  In any event…

Tampa Bay at Buffalo (-3.5)

Jameis Winston is apparently back in the saddle.  Sadly, that means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back on the bench.  Always great to see Fitzy, especially in yet another uniform.  Still not buying into Buffalo.  And Tampa probably needs the game more.

Tampa Bay 24, Buffalo 13.

Tennessee (-6.5) at Cleveland 

I thought the Browns would at least cover the almost double-digit spread last week.  I’m not making that mistake again.

Tennessee 31, Cleveland 10.

Carolina (-3.5) at Chicago

Mitchell Trubisky still needs some time.  Carolina will have a week and a half to bounce back from their loss to the Eagles.  Feel like their D will be up for the challenge.

Carolina 27, Chicago 12.

New York Jets at Miami (-3.5)

AFC East “battle”.  I hope for both fans’ sake the game is blacked out on TV.

Miami 17, New York Jets 13.

Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

If the Adrian Peterson revival is for real, there could be a lot of points put up in this one.  Wait, there will probably be a lot of points being put up anyway.

Los Angeles Rams 37, Arizona 31.

Baltimore at Minnesota (-5.5) 

The Ravens are somehow 3-3 and they stink.  Maybe John Harbaugh will finally go away after this year.

Minnesota 24, Baltimore 16.

New Orleans (-5.5) at Green Bay

Brett Hundley?  No thanks.

New Orleans 31, Green Bay 21.

Jacksonville (-3.5) at Indianapolis

The Jags are alternating wins and losses every week this season.  This is the W week.  Nothing else to see here.

Jacksonville 34, Indianapolis 24.

Dallas (-5.5) at San Francisco

The Niners are 0-6.  They lost their first game by 20 points.  Then the next 5 each by less than 3.  I feel like that streak may end this week.  But not the way the Niners will hope.

Dallas 37, San Francisco 23.

Seattle (-6.5) at New York Giants

Does the dominant performance by the G-Men over Denver last week mean they are back on track?  I’m saying no.

Seattle 27, New York Giants 17.  

Denver at Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5)

The Broncos have been inconsistent this season.  The Chargers have been competitive.  Denver was brutal last week at home.  The Chargers are 0-3 in their new home.  So what happens?  This one may actually be a good divisional matchup.

Denver 24, Los Angeles Chargers 21.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-5.5)

I’d like to think that the Steelers win in Kansas City last week puts them back on track for the season.  I suppose you never know this year.  But against the Bengals, maybe the Steelers prove they are back.

Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 17.

Atlanta at New England (-3.5)  

“Super Bowl Rematch”  Ummmmmm, nope.  New year for one.  But for two, both teams have been extremely mediocre this year.  Hopefully when the lights are on, they can revisit the past…for one night anyway.  The Pats are down a couple of cornerbacks.  That may work against the Jets.  Doubt it will work against the Falcons.  Then again, Atlanta has lost their last two to the Dolphins and Bills at home.  So who knows?

Atlanta 37, New England 34.

Washington at Philadelphia (-5.5)  

Philly’s on a roll, but let’s not rule the ‘Skins out quite yet.  I’m not sure Philly, or anyone, is going to run away with the NFC East.  Washington lost to the Eagles at home on Opening Week.  Perhaps the tables are turned in Philadelphia this time around.

Washington 28, Philadelphia 27.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread): 42-50

Season (straight up): 55-37

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