Sunday, November 25, 2012

NFL Week 12 Picks

Thursday on Twitter I picked the Texans over the Lions, the Cowboys over the Redskins and the Patriots over the Jets.

Minnesota over CHICAGO

CINCINNATI over Oakland

CLEVELAND over Pittsburgh


Denver over KANSAS CITY

MIAMI over Seattle

Atlanta over Tampa Bay

TENNESSEE over Jacksonville

Baltimore over SAN DIEGO

ARIZONA over St. Louis

NEW ORLEANS over San Francisco

Green Bay over NEW YORK GIANTS

PHILADELPHIA over Carolina

Last Week: 13-1

Season: 103-56

Friday, November 16, 2012

NFL Week 11 Picks

A tie in Week 10 between the 49ers and Rams was the first tie game in the NFL in four years. It also counts as a loss in my record, according to me, since I didn't actually pick the winner.

A lot of injured starting quarterbacks this week, especially on good teams, should make things interesting.

Who do you think will win?

Miami at Buffalo

On Thursday on Twitter I picked the Dolphins to win.

Cincinnati over KANSAS CITY

New York Jets over ST. LOUIS

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH

ATLANTA over Arizona

DALLAS over Cleveland

Green Bay over DETROIT

WASHINGTON over Philadelphia

Tampa Bay over CAROLINA

HOUSTON over Jacksonville

New Orleans over OAKLAND

DENVER over San Diego

NEW ENGLAND over Indianapolis

SAN FRANCISCO over Chicago

Bye week: Tennessee, Minnesota, New York Giants, Seattle

Week 10 record: 9-5

Season: 90-55

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lacrosse Lounge Episode 18- Mike Cerino

In episode 18 of Lacrosse Lounge, Charlotte Hounds head coach Mike Cerino joins me to talk about the first two games in team history, guys that could be breakout players, the goalie controversy in Charlotte and what his first season in MLL is like.

"Charlotte has the right weather and the right demographic, I think, and it was an event. It was an event. I think our team was a little disappointed when the score swung because we wanted to give those fans a winner so bad, we really did right out of the gate. Those guys played so hard. It was an exciting night. I know they're looking forward to getting back against Ohio and rewarding those fans for that kind of loyalty. ... The community of Charlotte is excited for lacrosse."

Episode 18 aired live on May 7, 2012.

Listen to internet radio with The Lacrosse Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lacrosse Lounge Episode 17- Face-Off Club

In episode 17 of Lacrosse Lounge I have a roundtable discussion with the guys from the Face-Off Club: Nolan Godfrey, Greg Gurenlian, John Ortolani, Craig Bunker, Coach Andy Whitley (Fairfield University), Andrew Burnett (soon to be Sacred Heart player). We talk face-offs, preparation, training and week 1 of the MLL season.

"It's always fun. One of my pet peeves is when guys hold back information just because they think it might give them an advantage whenever you face-off against them. We really don't do any of that. We're just kind of candid about what we like to do. We teach kids so our job is to make kids better. So we don't hold things back to try and get to try and get an edge on one another in games. We're pretty confident in ourselves. ... Going against each other in games actually makes it a little more light-hearted when sometimes it can be a little too dramatic out there on the field." Greg Gurenlian

Episode 17 aired live on April 30, 2012.

Listen to internet radio with The Lacrosse Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lacrosse Lounge Episode 16- Nolan Godfrey

In episode 16 of Lacrosse Lounge Ohio Machine midfielder Nolan Godfrey talks about coming back to MLL, learning face-offs in Canadian box leagues, acting in movies and doing lacrosse choreography for MTV's Teen Wolf.

"We're out. We're tangible to the community. We're meeting people. We're introducing them not just to lacrosse but who we are. I think that's such a huge plus for professional lacrosse compared to the other sports. The four major sports, people are so star struck when people are out in public, the athletes or even the coaches. It's a manic event. In the MLL people get to know us, have us in their community and serving them."

Episode 16 aired live on April 23, 2012.

Listen to internet radio with The Lacrosse Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Should the New York Red Bulls Make Mike Petke the New Head Coach?

It’s unlikely that Mike Petke is the leading candidate for the New York Red Bulls head coaching position.

It’s not impossible; he was just named interim head coach with the team not renewing Hans Backe’s contract. But history tells us the organization, whether it be with a player or the coaching staff, will go with the bigger, flashier, more expensive name.

While Backe was still the head coach names like GaryMcAllister and Harry Redknapp have been rumored by various sources to be considered the team’s head coach in 2013.

But maybe Petke, a legend to the Red Bull/MetroStars faithful, might not be a bad choice after all.

The trend in Major League Soccer is to hire former, recently retired players as new head coaches. Jason Kreis, Ben Olsen, Jay Heaps and Robin Fraser have all been hired as head coaches in the league since Kreis’ appointment at Real Salt Lake in 2007.

Olsen has brought D.C. United to the semi-finals in his second full season as coach and Kreis has won an MLS Cup championship.

The New England Revolution ownership was heavily criticized for the Heaps hire, mainly because of his lack of coaching experience.

Petke just finished his second season as one of the team’s assistant coaches, both seasons where the team made the playoffs.

Petke is also an MLS veteran. He knows the league, understands the subtleties that are necessary to be successful in this league. Once again, history shows that foreign coaches have difficulty adjusting from European leagues to MLS. It could be time for the Red Bulls to go back to an MLS savvy coach who understands how the team must work around the salary cap and how important the draft is to build a team with plenty of depth, two things Backe did not do very well with.

Finally, it’s hard to imagine that there is any person out there who is more passionate about the club and cares more about its success than Petke. He is a New York native. He played for the team in seven of his 14 seasons in the league. He was drafted by the club. He retired as a member of the franchise. He is active in the community and in connecting with the fans.

In fact, his fan friendly approach would be a welcome change of pace for the organization whose season-ticket holders can be heard griping about the lack of interest ownership shows in them outside of their payment for seats.

The fact that the team has kept him on staff while letting go of both Backe and head assistant Jan Halvor Halvorsen implies that the team has some faith in Petke’s abilities as a coach.

It might be worth a shot to let him see what he can do on a permanent basis.

Photo Credit.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

NFL Week 10 Picks

With power restored after Hurricane Sandy it’s time to post some picks on the blog.

The marquee match-up this weekend is the 7-1 Texans against the 7-1 Bears Sunday night in Chicago. Both teams have had some pretty dominating performances (except against the Packers) and it should be a tight game.

There are a couple of big divisional match-ups this weekend as well as the Eagles take on the Cowboys and the Saints take on the Falcons.

Who do you think will win this weekend?

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

On Twitter on Thursday I picked the Colts to win.

New York Giants at Cincinnati

After starting the season a surprising 3-1, the Bengals have dropped four straight games, three of which were at home.

The Giants have struggled with leads in the past three weeks, but did enough to either come back or hold on to win two of those games. It’s also a popular observation that the Eli Manning-led Giants play better on the road than at home. This year they are 3-1 on the road (including an impressive 23-point victory over the 49ers) and 3-2 at home.

Manning has reportedly talked to his brother Peyton, who just led the Broncos to victory over the Bengals last week. That is a nice edge to have.

New York Giants win.

Tennessee at Miami

Last week was the fifth time this season the Titans have lost a game by at least three touchdowns, losing to the Bears 51-20. It was also the seventh time this year the team has allowed at least 30 points, a pretty alarming number.

Week 1 starting quarterback Jake Locker makes his return from injury and he’s going up against a porous Miami pass defense that allowed a rookie single-game record 433 yards to Andrew Luck last week.

But the Dolphins biggest loss was 20 points in Week 1. They’re three other losses have been by an average of three points per game. Two of those losses happened in overtime. If nothing else, this team has been competitive all year.

The same can’t be said for the Titans.

Miami wins.

Detroit at Minnesota

After their bye week in Week 5, the Lions are 3-1. In that same time frame, the Vikings—who started the season a surprising 4-1—have lost three of their past four games.

The Vikings gave up 30 or more points in each of their past two games—both losses—and in all of their past three losses.

The Lions have the most passing yards per game in the NFL and Mikel Leshoure put together an impressive three touchdown performance last weekend, making the Lions less one-dimensional.

Christian Ponder has cooled off from his hot start. He’s completed less than 55 percent of his pass in the past three games, has thrown for fewer than 64 yards in two of his past three games and has thrown at least one interception in five consecutive games.

Detroit wins.

Buffalo at New England

The last time these two teams met was in Week 4 in Buffalo. The Bill blew a 21-7 lead, eventually losing the game 52-28. The Patriots—usually a passing offense—had not just one but two running backs rush for over 100 yards on the day.

The Bills have lost three of their next four games after that contest. The Patriots won three of their next four games.

New England wins.

Atlanta at New Orleans

Yes, the Falcons are undefeated. But after a very rough go to the beginning of the season the Saints have won three of their past games and have shown some of the offensive efficiency they’ve come to be known for, averaging 31.3 points per game in those wins. Two of those victories also came at home.

It’s extremely difficult to go undefeated for an entire NFL season and the Falcons have a hard time beating the Saints. They lost both games against New Orleans last year and are 2-10 against the Saints since 2006.

Good opportunity for an Atlanta letdown here.

New Orleans wins.

San Diego at Tampa Bay

Kudos to Greg Schiano. He’s got the Buccaneers looking like a competitive team; they are a .500 team that hasn’t lost a game by more than a touchdown.

And you can’t talk about the Bucs—winners of three of their past four games—without mentioning Doug Martin’s monster game last weekend. He had 251 yards on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns (he also caught four passes for 21 yards).

The Chargers have lost three of their past four games and four of their past six. Norv Turner’s job security is once again under question, maybe more so than ever before.

Tampa Bay wins.

Denver at Carolina

Peyton Manning may not be as good as before his injury, but he still is one of the best in the league. Manning is first in the league in quarterback rating and completion percentage, third in touchdowns and fifth in yards.

He’s clicking with Demaryius Thomas, who’s enjoying the best season of his career already with 201 more receiving yards than his previous career high and just as many touchdowns as his personal best. Also, just halfway into the season Eric Decker is only 29 yards away from his receiving yards total from last year and one touchdown away from matching his 2011 total.

Carolina does have a good pass defense. The Panthers are 12th in the league in passing yards allowed per game and tied for seventh in sacks.

The story all season however has been Cam Newton’s struggles. He’s only completing 57 percent of his passes (down from 60 percent last season), has eight interceptions to six touchdown passes for a worse touchdown-to-interception ratio than last year and already has one more fumble than last season. His quarterback rating is down 6.8 points as well.

The Panthers are fourth in the NFC and tied for 11th in the NFL in giveaways. The turnovers, much like last season, are proving to be very costly.

Denver wins.

Oakland at Baltimore

The Raiders are 2-2 at home this year and 1-3 on the road. At home they average 26.5 points per game and their margin of defeat is nine points per game. On the road they average 16.3 points per game and lose by an average of 18.7 points per game.

And they will be without both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson this week, the team’s top two running backs.

The Ravens are coming off a bye week, giving them more time to focus on the Raiders and get their defense a little bit healthier.

Baltimore wins.

New York Jets at Seattle

It’s well-known that the Seahawks play well at home. This year is no different as they are currently 4-0 at home.

The Jets are 1-2 on the road.

Both teams fare well against the pass, with the Jets ranking sixth in the league in passing yards allowed per game and the Seahawks seventh.

The Jets however are 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game while the Seahawks—with many thanks to Marshawn Lynch—are seventh in the league in rushing yards per game.

Expect the Seahawks to continue to pound the ball with Lynch and wear down the Jets defense.

Seattle wins.

Dallas at Philadelphia

Two teams with lofty expectations that have more than underwhelmed this season.

The Eagles have looked miserable lately, losing four in a row. But two of their three wins have come at home, and they did come against top teams in the Ravens and Giants.

The Cowboys have lost four of their past five games, but two of their wins have come on the road, one of which was opening night of the season against the Giants.

So what’s the edge in this one?

It could come down to turnovers and who takes advantage of the other team’s mistakes. The Eagles have been heavily criticized for the amount of turnover they have surrendered this season, but the Cowboys are actually tied for first in the NFC in takeaway with the Eagles. And the Cowboys are also dead last in the NFC (tied for second to last in the NFL) in takeaways. Will they be able to capitalize on any Philadelphia mistakes?

Philadelphia wins.

St. Louis at San Francisco

The Rams margin of defeat has increased in each of the team’s three consecutive losses, culminating in the Week 8 loss to the Patriots, 45-7.

The 49ers have owned the NFC West in recent history. This year they are 2-0 against the division. Since 2009 they are 16-4. Since 2006 they are 25-13 against the division. And they only won the division once in that time frame.

San Francisco wins.

Houston at Chicago

The biggest showdown of the week is on Sunday night when two 7-1 teams meet.

Houston and Chicago are No. 2 and 3 in points per game. The Bears are also second in the league in points per game allowed while the Texans are fourth.

The difference here will be the pass rush and the play of the offensive line.

Both teams have done a good job getting to the quarterback, tied for third in sacks with 25. But Chicago’s offensive line has done a terrible job protecting Jay Cutler.

The Bears have given up the third most sacks in the NFL with 28. The Texans are tied for the penultimate position in that category, allowing only 10 sacks all season.

J.J. Watt has been a monster all season, getting to the quarterback and disrupting passes. He should be able to get into Cutler’s psyche from the very beginning.

Houston wins.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

It doesn’t seem to matter whether Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn is quarterbacking the Chiefs, they just can’t get it done. They run the ball well—third in the NFL in rushing yards per game—but that does you no good when you’re constantly playing catch-up.

The Steelers have won three consecutive games and Ben Roethlisberger is having one of his best seasons ever.

Pittsburgh wins.

Bye week: Cleveland, Green Bay, Arizona, Washington

Week 8 record: 8-6

Season: 81-50