December 18, 2009

NFL Picks Week 15

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Brien (31-38-1)
I think going 3-2 last week was my first winning weekend in a couple months.

KANSAS CITY (-1.5) over Cleveland - I normally hate picking these bottom-barrel games, but there's not a lot of selection on the board.

SAN DIEGO (-6.5) over Cincinnati - The Bengals have failed to cover in their last 4 games, and the Chargers are on an 8 game winning streak in which they've covered 6 times.

SEATTLE (-6.5) over Tampa Bay - I have no confidence in the Seahawks -- unless they're playing an atrocious Bucs squad that has to travel cross-country.

WASHINGTON (+3) over NY Giants - Come Monday I'm going to hate myself for doing this, but the Giants are really in a slide (2-6 in their last 8 games with only 1 cover), and the Redskins seem to have found new life a few weeks ago (5 straight covers).

BALTIMORE (-11) over Chicago - Did the Ravens finally have their Come to Jesus moment last week? Can they keep it going against a horrid Bears team (1 cover in their last 9 games), or will they continue to alternate weeks? Baltimore certainly has enough to play for, as they've got a great chance to make the playoffs still.

Jason (31-39-0)

I'm going to have to go on a tear to get above .500 for the year.

BALTIMORE (-11) over Chicago - The Bears are effectively out of playoff contention. They just spent a large portion of the past 24 hours consumed with travel issues. The Ravens are hungry. This might be ugly.

NY Giants (-3) over WASHINGTON - On a positive note, the Skins' fans will be in a great mood after Vinny Cerrato was finally extinguished.

Green Bay (+2) over PITTSBURGH - Green Bay is hitting stride at the right time. This pick is not a reflection on Pittsburgh really.

Minnesota (-9) over CAROLINA - The door to home field advantage re-opened Saturday night, if only a crack.

SAN DIEGO (-7) over Cincinnati - I believe Chris Henry's death will spark Chad Ochocinco, but distract the rest of the team.

Jeremy (29-41-0)
And I've clinched a losing record with my picks. At least I'm in the Final Four in both my fantasy leagues.

Indianapolis (-3.5) over JACKSONVILLE - Jacksonville is playing for their playoff lives and Indy has nothing left to play for. I still think Indy covers, even if Manning sits out the second half.

Green Bay (+2) over PITTSBURGH - The Steelers are a completely different team without Polamalu. We all know that now. Rodgers should have a good day.

KANSAS CITY (-2) over Cleveland - The Browns have been playing a little better lately for sure, but Arrowhead in December is a tough place to win on the road.

Cincinnati (+6.5) over SAN DIEGO - I think that the Bengals will come out fired up for this one for their fallen teammate - even though I personally don't understand how Chris Henry could engender that sort of sentiment.

WASHINGTON (+3) over New York Giants - What the hell... the Redskins have burnt me three straight weeks, but I'm feeling too good about the Cerrato firing to pick against them in this game getting points at home.

Magic 8 Ball (31-39-0)

The Magic 8 Ball pulled the elusive 0-5 week last week. Odd results from the 8 Ball this week.

JACKSONVILLE (+3.5) over Indianapolis - "Signs point to yes." (Jaguars will beat the spread)
Green Bay (+2) over PITTSBURGH - "No." (Steelers won't beat the spread)
Cleveland (+2) over KANSAS CITY - "No." (Chiefs won't beat the spread)
Cincinnati (+6.5) over SAN DIEGO - "No." (Chargers won't beat the spread)
New York Giants (-3) over WASHINGTON - "No." (Redskins won't beat the spread)

Russell (29-40-1)
As tempting as it is to just copy Jeremy's picks for the next three weeks to ensure I'm not in last place, I'd like to accomplish that on my own merits. Who knows, maybe I'll end up in first!

PHILADELPHIA (-8) over San Francisco - Teams traveling east after a west coast MNF game the previous week have not fared well.

SAN DIEGO (-6.5) over Cincinnati - The Chargers are on a roll, and the bizarre Chris Henry incident will just distract, instead of motivating.

SEATTLE (-6.5) over Tampa - Long road trips are tough on young teams.

Green Bay (+2) over PITTSBURGH - Freeee Fallin'.... Freee-eeee Fallin'

Minnesota (-9) over CAROLINA - The Panthers just aren't very good, and have very little to play for.

Brien: BAL, KC, SD, SEA, WAS
Jason: BAL, GB, MIN, NYG, SD
Jeremy: CIN, GB, IND, KC, WAS
Russell: GB, MIN, PHI, SD, SEA

December 15, 2009

Tiger Woods Scandal Good for PGA Tour

While everyone is wondering how the PGA Tour can survive the absence of Tiger Woods during his indefinite leave, the underlying truth is that this scandal could be the biggest windfall for professional golf ever.

Tiger's newly famous "trangressions" have thrust him on the national media stage in a way few, if any, other golfers have ever experienced. TMZ is running a recurring "Tiger News Network" segment, and every gossip show on network TV can't get enough of this scandal. The result is that the entire country and maybe the entire world is talking about a golfer, and therefore to some extent golf. People that have never played a round of golf or have never watched the final round of a major are talking about Tiger and know every detail of his affairs.

Isn't everyone wondering how often we'll see this again?

Tiger did not retire. He didn't walk away from the game permanently, nor do I believe he'll even miss the 2010 Masters. When he does return, imagine the media circus. No matter how long he waits, every reporter will be ready, willing, and able to ask Tiger all the juiciest questions. Everyone will want to see if he still has "it" on the golf course, or if his wife has broken him. Maybe Tiger's mistresses are the equivalent of Samson's hair, take his sex away and he's got no golf game. Many of these people who are talking about the scandal will stick around to see Tiger on the course, at least in the first few weeks. And the ones who might have been interested in golf previously will stick around afterward. This is the ultimate teaser promotion. "Join our gym for free the first month, and then cancel if you don't like it." "Watch golf to see the Tiger Woods circus, keep watching if the circus isn't the only entertaining part." I'd bet this year's golf ratings after Tiger returns will be the best on record by a big margin.

In addition, there aren't many tournaments that Tiger would have played in January or February anyway. The few there are will be full of interviews with bitter-beer face Jasper Parnevik and others, ready to give their various opinions on Tiger. Golf never does that well pre-Masters, and this year won't be that much worse, if at all.

For completely different reasons, Tiger's scandal may do for the golf ratings what Cal Ripken's streak did for MLB after the strike season.