Sunday, November 27, 2011

NFL Week 12 Picks: Is This the Week the Colts Finally Win?

On Thanksgiving I picked the Packers, Dolphins and Ravens on Twitter.


NEW YORK JETS over Buffalo

CINCINNATI over Cleveland

ATLANTA over Minnesota

ST. LOUIS over Arizona

INDIANAPOLIS over Carolina

Tampa Bay over TENNESSEE

Chicago over Oakland

SEATTLE over Washington

SAN DIEGO over Denver

New England over PHILADELPHIA

Pittsburgh over Kansas City

NEW ORLEANS over New York Giants

This Week: 2-1

Last Week: 11-3

Season: 101-60

Photo Credits.

Reggie Wayne: AP Photo/AJ Mast

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Third Kit's Mega MLS Cup Preview

Possibly the finest and most publicized season of Major League Soccer concludes today with MLS Cup. The league-best Los Angeles Galaxy take on the Houston Dynamo, underdogs but two-time Cup winners.

The Galaxy have all the names (and money): David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. The Dynamo’s best player—Brad Davis—will miss the game due to a hamstring injury. That doesn’t mean the Dynamo should be counted out though.

Check out the mega preview on Third Kit, breaking down the players to watch, how each team can win, how each team can lose and other important observations as all eyes in Hollywood are set on soccer.

NFL Week 11 Picks: Chargers To Continue Slide Against Bears

New York Jets over DENVER – I picked the Jets on Twitter Thursday.

GREEN BAY over Tampa Bay

DETROIT over Carolina

Jacksonville over CLEVELAND

Oakland over MINNESOTA

MIAMI over Buffalo –

Dallas over WASHINGTON –

BALTIMORE over Cincinnati

SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona

Seattle over ST. LOUIS

ATLANTA over Tennessee

CHICAGO over San Diego

NEW YORK GIANTS over Philadelphia

NEW ENGLAND over Kansas City

Byes: Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Houston

This Week: 0-1

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 90-57

Photo Credits.
Philip Rivers: AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NFL Week 10 Picks: Saints Will Triumph in Big Rivalry Week Game

It’s rivalry weekend in the NFL. Adding to the intensity of division battles is the fact that many of the matchups will determine who will lead the division going into next weekend. We already saw the Oakland Raiders pass the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West and we still have Saints-Falcons, Steelers-Bengals and Jets-Patriots. There’s also the Bears-Lions game, where although they both are behind the undefeated Packers they are both playing very well and are above .500.
Who do you think will win this week? Home team is in all capitals.

SAN DIEGO over Oakland – I picked the Chargers on Twitter on Thursday.

Detroit over CHICAGO – The Bears have been playing well as off late but their offensive line still leaves a lot to desire. Even Jay Cutler said the team’s outlook is a lot better when the guys in front of him allow him time to throw and he doesn’t have to pick himself up off the turf. Detroit has a very good pass defense and is fourth in the NFL in sacks.

INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville – Believe it or not, it is very difficult to lose every game in a single season. This is the Colts best chance at a victory.

Denver over KANSAS CITY – Coming into the week the Chiefs were the AFC West leaders despite dropping a game against the winless Dolphins by 28 points at home last week. That’s uninspiring. You know who is inspiring? Tim Tebow.

Pittsburgh over CINCINNATI – The Bengals have won five straight, but will this young team have what it takes to stand up against the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers, who will be looking for revenge after a disappointing loss to the Ravens last weekend? To stay in the playoff hunt the Steelers will have to knock off the Bengals.

DALLAS over Buffalo – After a hot start Buffalo has cooled down a bit lately with three losses in the past five games and is only 1-2 on the road.

New Orleans over ATLANTA – When you think of the Saints you think of Drew Brees and the passing game. But did you realize they are ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (126)? Meanwhile Atlanta, behind Michael Turner, is 13th (119). Darren Sproles may have been the best offseason pickup by any team.

CLEVELAND over St. Louis – Neither team looks good this season and this game could be very ugly, but the Browns do have home-field advantage.

MIAMI over Washington – Rex Grossman or John Beck? Flip-flopped by the hour. Even the Dolphins don’t have this kind of instability at quarterback.

Houston over TAMPA BAY – The Buccaneers are 2-4 against teams with winning records and their defense ranks 28th and 26th in passing and rushing yards allowed per game respectively. Even without Andre Johnson the Texans have taken advantage of lesser defenses lately, averaging just a shade under 32 points per game in the past three games, all victories.

Tennessee over CAROLINA – The Panthers defense isn’t very strong and Cam Newton seems to make quite a few mistakes when the game is on the line. The struggling Chris Johnson faces a good opportunity to have a good game against the 28th ranked Panthers run defense.

PHILADELPHIA over Arizona – Arizona is starting John Skelton against a very tough pass defense. Should be an easy one for the Eagles.

Baltimore over SEATTLE – Seattle has so much trouble moving the ball on offense. Against the Cleveland Browns three weeks ago Seattle managed only 137 yards and three points. What makes you think they will do any better against the much-more heralded Ravens defense?

SAN FRANCISCO over New York Giants – The 49ers are sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (137.6) while the Giants are 24th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (127.1). A good San Francisco offensive line and running attack should neutralize the New York pass rush, which has been the team’s strong point on defense.

New England over NEW YORK JETS – The Patriots defense is pretty bad, but that’s ok because the Jets offense isn’t very good either. The Pats are struggling but do you really see them losing three in a row? Can anyone remember the last time that happened? Tom Brady’s been a bit erratic lately and this just feels like a game where he’ll put the team on his shoulders, even against the Jets tough pass defense.

GREEN BAY over Minnesota – The Packers are rolling and when the teams met three weeks ago in Minnesota, Green Bay was able to pull away with the victory. Things should be even better at home.

This week: 0-1

Last Week: 8-6

Season: 80-50

Photo Credits.

Drew Brees: AP Photo/Tom Gannam

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New England Patriots: Why the Albert Haynesworth Experiment Was Always Doomed to Fail

When the New England Patriots traded a fifth round draft pick to the Washington Redskins for Albert Haynesworth, the now-waived defensive tackle reworked his contract as part of the deal. The Patriots were only on the hook for $1.5 million this season.

So the general consensus was that the move was a low-risk-high-reward move for the Patriots. He wasn’t a need, he was a luxury and if he played well that would be icing on the cake for the Patriots. However if he didn’t play well or more importantly he acted out of line the Patriots management could cut their very small losses and just get rid of him.

There is where Haynesworth was doomed from the beginning. The Patriots seemingly acquired him only with the caveat that they could easily dispose of him if and when he did not live up to the team’s expectations.

It was a self-fullfilling prophecy.

Haynesworth’s tenure with New England started off on the wrong foot both on and off the field.

The defensive tackle missed a number of practices after being traded and much of the speculation was because that he failed Bill Belichick’s conditioning test and did not come physically fit. Making it an even bigger issue was the fact that it was not the first time this had happened in Haynesworth’s career.

Off the field, Haynesworth was charged in two separate incidents and he was in the midst of taking care of both when he changed squads.

The 10-year NFL veteran was already behind the eight-ball in a number of ways. Not only was he facing his own legal and physical issues but he was not very high on the depth chart. Vince Wilfork was always going to be the starter at nose tackle, the team was high on youngsters Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick and veterans Gerard Warren and Shaun Ellis were also in better standing than Haynesworth was.

There was almost a bit of hypocrisy in Haynesworth’s situation: the team needed him to turn around his play on the field and his attitude but there weren’t going to be many opportunities for him to do so.

Things never got better for Haynesworth. He registered only three tackles and zero sacks in six games (out of the team’s eight). He was abused by the Giants offensive line in Sunday’s game, at one point on his back on three straight plays which led to an unsavory interaction with coach Pepper Johnson on the sidelines.

So with the Patriots slumping and needing to make an example Albert Haynesworth was the obvious choice. Cheap, ineffective and possibly insubordinate made him very expendable.

The heated discussion with Johnson will make more of the headlines in the coming days, but don’t be fooled. Haynesworth’s days were numbered as soon as the trade with Washington was made. It seemed like everyone was just waiting for it to happen.

This isn’t the first time the Patriots have unceremoniously dropped a player and the season will churn on for the team, experiment abandoned and just as quickly forgotten.

But for Haynesworth does his failed tenure in New England put the final stamp on his career now too?

Photo Credits.
Albert Haynesworth: AP Photo/Stew Milne

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NFL Week 9 Picks: Pittsburgh to Get its Revenge on Baltimore

KANSAS CITY over Miami


NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay

BUFFALO over New York Jets

DALLAS over Seattle

HOUSTON over Cleveland

San Francisco over WASHINGTON

Cincinnati over TENNESSEE

OAKLAND over Denver

NEW ENGLAND over New York Giants

ARIZONA over St. Louis

Green Bay over SAN DIEGO

PITTSBUGH over Baltimore


Byes: Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Jacksonville

Last week: 7-6

Season: 72-44

Photo Credits.
Ben Roethlisberger: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar