I thought I was going to have a perfect 3-0 record last week. Dallas rolled over Cleveland in the “Lock”, just as everyone on the planet expected. Oakland disposed of Denver in the “Game”, just as I called. In fact, I was only off on the final score by three points!

All I needed was for Buffalo to beat Seattle in the “Upset”, and I had the trifecta. You would think that the fact that the Bills seemingly moved the ball at will would ensure the “W”.

But NOOOOOOOO! (A little John Belushi humor!)


Once again, the NFL officiating crew assigned to the Seahawks game went out of their way to make sure Seattle won. This is getting old, folks. Yeah, I know they admitted after the game that, once again, they blew it, costing Buffalo points. Oops! Sorry!

When are we going to start seeing these inept officiating crews getting fined or suspended for their blatant disregard for the rules. Maybe it’s just ignorance of the rules, which would call for the dismissal from their jobs.

Oh well, a topic for another time. On with this week’s picks.

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (6-1).

San Francisco at Arizona.

If this isn’t a lock, I’ll admit I don’t know what is. Here we have the 1-7 49ers, winless since their week one victory over the LA Lambs, visiting the desperate 3-4-1 Cardinals, fresh off a bye week.

These two teams met in week 5 in San Francisco on a Thursday night. The bruised and battered Cardinals came to town on a short week, missing their starting quarterback, and took care of business, winning 33-21. A 49er TD with less than two minutes remaining made the score look closer than it actually was.

This time around, the game is being played in Arizona, with the Cards well-rested and hungry for a “W”. Last time, it was Gabbert leading the charge, for lack of better terms. This time, Kaepernick will give it a go for the 49ers. He’ll need to run for at least 150 yards to keep this one close, because his passing, or whatever you’d call it, is not going to do the job against this defense.

Then again, he could run for 150 yards and it won’t matter. David Johnson should approach 200+ all-purpose yards, and the AZ passing should have its best outing of the season.

Final score – Arizona 41, San Francisco 20.

Cardinals Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (3-4).

Kansas City at Carolina.

I actually had a different game picked out for this category until I saw the spread on this game and realized that the Panthers were favored in this one!

I’m not sure why. Sure, Carolina has won two games in a row, after a glorious 1-5 start, but they will quickly come to realize that this Chiefs team can do a lot more damage than the lowly Rams.

Oh, and Cam, I don’t think these guys are going to lighten up on the hits, just because you continue to wine and snivel. If you want to act like a running back, you’re going to get tackled. And if you’re going to rub the other guy’s nose in it every time you do something that you think is spectacular, like your job, you’re going to tackled real hard. Deal with it!

The Panthers are but a shell of last year’s NFC Champions. All of the offensive weapons that overachieved last season have returned to the level of mediocrity they all knew in previous years. Although Newton is still a very talented and very dangerous quarterback, he cannot do it all by himself.

Meanwhile, Andy Reid has always been tough to beat in November, both in Philadelphia and in Kansas City. They have a real shot at winning the AFC West and grabbing the #2 seed, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t have his Chiefs prepared for Carolina this week.

This may very well end up being a low scoring game, as both defenses should shine. That will be an advantage for the visiting team.

Final Score – Kansas City 20, Carolina 17.

Chiefs Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (5-1-1).

Seattle at New England.

This is the game that everyone is talking about. The best in the NFC at the best in the AFC. Carroll versus Belichick. Wilson versus Brady. Graham versus Gronk. Blah—blah-blah-blah-blah. I’ve heard enough of these ridiculous praises for the Seahawks. Anyone that has watched them play this season, and not just the highlights, but actually watched entire games, knows this team is not on the same level as the Patriots.

Yes, they have a solid defense, one of the best. They are physical and usually do a very good job keeping the score down. But their offense is another story. They have one of the worst O-lines in the league. They have no running game at all. Wilson is constantly running for his life, and since he has been dealing with dinged up ankles and knees, he is being caught and sacked like never before.

If it wasn’t for the fact that he has learned to be a decent pocket passer this season, they would never get into the end zone.

And now they are traveling across the country to face the best team in the league, led by the best quarterback in the league, and guided by the best coach in the league.

This will be an exciting game to watch, due to all of the hype. It may even stay close for the first half. But don’t be surprised if you look at the scoreboard with ten minutes left in the game and see the Patriots up by three scores.

Final Score – New England 30, Seattle 20.

Patriots Helmet

So, there you have it. Another week prepped and ready to go. There will be plenty of great football to watch and enjoy. So, fire up the grill, pop open a cold one and go and enjoy!!


Quick. What’s the first thing you thought of when you read that headline? Was it something like “this guy must have given up on the Arizona Cardinals”? I could understand it if it was. But you’d be wrong.

What I really meant was “why are all of these so-called expert talking heads crowning the Seattle Seahawks the NFC West division champions and eliminating the Cardinals from the playoff race?”

Listen, I get that the national media would jump on this bandwagon. Most of them didn’t know what city the Cards played in until last season (Glendale) and are convinced that the players ride a stagecoach along a dusty trail to practice every day. But when the local braniacs join in with the ridiculous rhetoric, I find myself turning the radio dial to the local heavy metal rock station, just to relax.


Look, I’m the first one to admit that the Red Birds haven’t played to their fullest potential this season. And a 3-4-1 record at the mid-point of the season is not what anyone expected. Many sports fans, including most of these bandwagon experts, picked Arizona to go to, if not win, the Super Bowl.

So, why are they jumping ship? Well, let’s look at their track records. In an effort to look smart, they had jumped on the Philly train back in week three, after the Eagles trounced the Steelers and were atop the league with a 3-0 record. (Please ignore the fact that their first two victories were over Cleveland and Chicago!) This team was on their way to the Super Bowl!

Hmm…… at 4-4 and in last place in the NFC East, we’d better ignore them and hope nobody remembers that we were once singing their praises. Let’s talk about Minnesota. What a Cinderella story. At 5-0, they were surely the team to beat in the NFC!

Well I guess the league thought so, too, since they proceeded to beat the Vikings each of the next three weeks.

Now they’ve jumped full board on to the Cowboy Express. And why not? At 7-1, they share the best record in the league with the Patriots and lead the NFC. Just be sure to ignore the fact that they’re playing a last place schedule, with the only opponents to date that are currently above .500 being the Redskins and Giants, and reside in a mediocre division (argue all you want – it’s the truth).

But enough about the expert’s tendencies to jump ship when their pick starts to lose. Let’s look at some of the, uh-hum, logic behind their decision to bury the Cardinals already.

Carson Palmer is having a terrible season –


Actually, he’s not having a terrible season. He’s just not having an MVP year like he did last season. And why not? Two main reasons. First, the opponent’s defensive schemes are taking away the bombs down the sidelines. Second, the receiving corps has not had their heads in the game on a routine basis. Other than Larry Fitzgerald, they are running the wrong routes and dropping passes left and right. Unfortunately, when you simply read the box scores and don’t watch the games, you don’t know that.

There are too many teams to leapfrog in order to make the playoffs –

This is just lazy reporting. Yes, there are a lot of teams knotted up at this point in time. In fact, when you take the four division leaders out of the equation, there are ten teams that are within two games of each other, battling for the two wildcard spots. Arizona is right in the middle of that pack.

But there are eight weeks remaining and all of these teams will take turns beating on each other. If the Cardinals take care of business, it doesn’t matter what any of these other teams do, they will be in the playoffs.

Seattle is just too good –

I’m sorry, but this one blows me away. I’ve never been one to blame the referees for changing the outcomes of games, but if you take away only one bad call (or no-call) from each of the Seahawks games, they would be 2-6 and spoken in the same breath as San Francisco.

Yes, they have a very good defense, but their offense is impotent, which leaves their defense on the field for 60%-65% of their games. That is a recipe for disaster over the course of sixteen games, plus the playoffs. Just look at the last three games. Their defense has been on the field nearly 2/3 of the games. Their record is 1-1-1 over those three games, but it should have been 0-3.

Now, it appears that Jimmy Graham has remembered what it is that he did in New Orleans, or maybe the Seattle brain trust has finally remembered, but he has begun to show a glimmer of hope for their offense.

But until Wilson is healthy enough to run like he has in years past, or their running backs are actually able to gain positive yardage, they will not be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Just to clarify, I am an avid fan of my hometown team, the Arizona Cardinals. But I am also a realist. This team has underachieved for the entire first half of the season. They have only scored once in the first quarter, and it took until week six against the Jets to do that. If that trend continues, this season may not be salvageable.

They still tend to go for the deep pass a lot, even when the defense has shown that they are playing deep, to take that away. Instead, the play callers need to keep handing the ball off to David Johnson and assault the “D” with a bunch of 7-10 yard passes, forcing the secondary to move back in. Only then will the deep pass be a legitimate threat.


To their credit, they have been giving the ball to DJ a lot. The second-year stud is on pace for over 2,200 yards of offense and appears to be unstoppable. Let’s hope he stays healthy and doesn’t run out of gas before the season ends.

The defensive unit, the one that everyone was worried about going into the season, has been nothing short of spectacular. The offseason acquisition of Chandler Jones has paid dividends up and down the line. Not only is Jones getting his sacks, but other guys, like Calais Campbell and Marcus Golden, just to name a few, are able to shine, since they are no longer being double teamed on every play.


As a result of the improved play of the front seven, the secondary does not need to continually blitz to pressure the quarterback. Just an occasional one to keep the opposition honest.

The net result is a top five defense. If the offense could simply play ball like they know how to do (just about everyone that scored on last year’s team is back on the roster this year), there is no reason they couldn’t go 6-2, 7-1 or, dare I say it, 8-0 over the second half of the season.

So, what do you say we don’t dig a six-foot-deep hole just yet? There’s still a lot of football to be played. The good teams still have time to rise up, just as the teams that have been over achieving have plenty of time to come back down to Earth. If the Cardinals are still hovering around .500 at week 14, I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s probably over.

But I don’t think I’ll need to!

Okay, I’m back after a self-imposed exile last week. And no, it wasn’t because I was still exhausted after that Cardinals – Seahawks battle in week seven, although that did leave me out of breath for a couple of days. We took the grandkids to the pumpkin patch for the day, and that always comes first!

But now we’re back and ready for some action. Hopefully, this season’s quota of ties has been filled and we can count on actual winners and losers throughout the schedule.

Speaking of ties, I heard a little bit of trivia after last week’s tie in London. The last time that there were two ties in the same season in the NFL, the Cleveland Indians lost the world series in seven games. Keep in mind that they were up 3-1 in the series last Sunday. I’m not superstitious, I’m just saying…..!!

Anyway, on with this week’s picks!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (5-1).

Look at the standings and then take a look at the schedule and tell me which game you’d pick. It’s a no-brainer!

Dallas at Cleveland.

Thank goodness I took last week off, because I would have picked Cleveland over the Jets in this category. They almost won that game, but came up short. So, imagine what’s gonna’ happen when they face the hottest team in the NFC.

Notice I didn’t say the best team in the NFC, just the hottest. I’m still not convinced the Cowboys will win their division, or possibly even make the playoffs, but I sure don’t see their slide beginning this week.

Granted, they are being driven by rookies on offense, but right now, they’re running (and passing) like a well-oiled machine. The Browns just don’t have the personnel to slow that down. The outcome of this game should never be in doubt.

Final score – Dallas 34, Cleveland 17.

Cowboys Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (3-3).

I was going to pick the Steelers over the Ravens until I heard that Big Ben was not coming back this week. That left only one upset left in my picks. And we’ll need to head to the great northwest to find it.

Buffalo at Seattle.

I know that a lot of the talking heads want to crown the Seahawks the NFC west champions already, and with the way Arizona has been playing lately, it’s understandable, to a point.

But everyone needs to take a breath and then take a long hard look at this Seattle team. Yes, they have a very good defense, one that is capable of stopping any roster in the league.

But someone needs to show me where in the world their offense went. Oh, wait, you don’t need to. It retired, along with Marshawn Lynch. You see, when you have a beast like that running the ball, you can overlook a weak offensive line. But when you are forced to have mere mortals running the pigskin, you’d better restore that line quickly or you will struggle to put points on the board, kind of like this year’s Seahawks.

Speaking of beast running backs, the Bills are coming to town, and they’re bringing their own resurrected monster running back in the form of LeSean McCoy. Not to mention a pretty good offensive unit all around him. Oh, and did I mention they have been devouring the NFC west this season?

This one may start out slow, but Buffalo will move the ball down the field with a bit more ease than Seattle, allowing them to pull out the W on the road.

Final Score – Buffalo 16, Seattle 13.


This week’s Game of the Week (4-1-1).

In week nine of any NFL season, you look for divisional matchups between division leaders. Although there are a couple to choose from, none will offer the excitement of this game.

Denver at Oakland.

It’s been a while since the Raiders were not mathematically eliminated from the playoff scenario by week nine, let alone actually competing for the divisional title, but here we are with the Raiders and Broncos tied at 6-2, on top of the wild west division of the AFC.

And it’s no fluke that Oakland is there. In fact, the fluke may actually be that Denver is there!

Yes, you read that right. I’m surprised that the Broncos are in this conversation. With that mediocre offense, I figured they’d be around a .500 ball club this season. But that defense of theirs has kept them alive and well so far.

Meanwhile, the Raiders took a couple of weeks to look like a cohesive unit. The first few weeks, it seemed they weren’t quite sure if they were as good as some (including me) thought they were.

But now, there is no doubt. Their offense is flying high and their defense, well it’s actually a defense! This should be a great, entertaining game for the fans, more so for the Raider fans. When the smoke clears, they should be sitting alone on top of their division.

Final Score – Oakland 27, Denver 20.


Well, there’s another one in the books. As we hit the mid-point of the season, there’s only one team in the league that is a lock for a playoff spot, while about twenty teams appear to battling for the other eleven spots. Regardless of which team you’re rooting for, there should be some great football for everyone to enjoy this week.

So, go and enjoy!!

Just when I think I’m figuring out this wonderful thing we call the National Football League, I get thrown a major curve ball. (I know, I know, great metaphor – wrong sport. Deal with it!)

Through the first four weeks of the season, I couldn’t pick an upset to save my life, even though they were occurring in about 40% of the games being played. The only thing I could count on was picking the Lock of the Week, where my record was flawless.

Enter week six. I correctly picked the Redskins in an upset win over the Eagles, making it two weeks in a row in that category. And then, not only do I get my first miss of the season for my “Lock” pick, but the Steelers get embarrassed (yet again) by a very bad Miami team.

Hopefully, we’ve left the Twilight Zone behind this week and we can get back to reality.


Then again, this is the NFL in 2016. Who knows what surprises are lurking in the shadows this week!!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (4-1).

I originally had Green Bay over Chicago as my Lock of the Week, but then I realized they were the Thursday game (I only pick Thursday games on Thanksgiving!!). So, I went with the only other game on the schedule that should be a no-brainer. Key word “should”.

Cleveland at Cincinnati.

At first glance, this pick makes perfect sense. The Browns are a serious threat to go 0-16, while the Bengals should be a playoff contender. (There’s that word again!) However, there are a couple of flaws in the theory.

First, the Bengals are not playing like a playoff contender. At 2-4, they have a lot of work to do to get back into the race. Second, and most importantly, the Browns always play the Bengals tough in at least one of their two annual matches.

So, will this be that tough match or will it come in week 14, back in the land of Cavaliers and Indians? This season, it may be both.

But in week seven, in Cincinnati, I’m going with the home team.

Final score – Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 17.


This week’s Upset of the Week (2-3).

After going winless in this category in the first quarter of the season, I’ve suddenly pulled out two in a row. Will I make it three this week? Who knows, but here’s the game I chose.

Indianapolis at Tennessee.

I know, common sense tells me to stay away from either one of these teams. But in this category, common sense hasn’t gotten me very far. It’s only when I threw all logic out the window that I began to make the right picks.

So, I’m going to ignore the fact that the Colts still have no offensive line and Mr. Luck seems to be running for his life on a daily basis. And I’m going to ignore the fact that Mr. Gore (no, not internet Al) has had to work for every yard he’s gained. And I’m going to ignore the fact that Mr. Mariota has shown glimpses of NFL quarterback abilities and is beginning to shed his college tendencies. And I’m going to ignore the fact that the game is being played in Tennessee because, let’s face it, that doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot this year.

Instead, I’m going with a gut feeling. After watching the Colts play head to head at Houston last week, leading the game all the way, even holding a 14-point lead with about seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, I think we may see that confidence carry over against a lesser Titans team.

I know Indy ended up collapsing in the final moments last week, losing the game in overtime. But I think they’ll play a full sixty minutes this week.

Final Score – Indianapolis 30, Tennessee 23.

Colts Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (4-1).

Last week, I picked Seattle to win at home against a surprisingly good Atlanta Falcons team. They managed to pull it off, but only because the referees collectively swallowed their whistles on Atlanta’s final play from scrimmage, allowing the Seahawks to escape with a mugging of Julio Jones and a victory.

Common sense would tell me to stay away from the Seahawks this week. Well, that’s never stopped me before!

Seattle at Arizona.

One thing you can always count when these two teams get together is fireworks and entertainment. Okay, that’s two things. Here are a few more…..Physical, hard-hitting football, loud and cray fans and teams that do not like each other.

What you cannot count on is any sense of home field advantage (five of the last six games have been won by the visiting team). Most importantly, you cannot count on things going according to script. No matter how hot or cold either of these teams have been in the weeks leading up to their games, nothing ever seems to carry over. The games stand on their own.

So, who am I picking and why? Well, first of all, let’s put all of the “homer” arguments to rest. I fully acknowledge that the Cardinals have been falling short of expectations this season, losing three out of their first four games. And I can see Seattle’s 4-1 record as well as anyone.

I also see that the Cardinals have a solid offensive line and, dare I say, the most dangerous running back in the league. Their receiving corps is one of the best and their defense is finally getting healthy for the first time this season.

The Seahawks offensive line is as weak as it has been in the last five years, and Wilson’s injuries have prevented him from being able to scramble like he’s done in the past. However, their passing game is vastly improved and their defense is tops in the league, bringing the Legion of Doom back to life.

Although Seattle has dominated in Arizona the past few years, don’t look for that to happen this time around. Although the game will not be decided until late in the fourth quarter, I’m very confident in picking the winner.

Final Score – Arizona 27, Seattle 23.

Cardinals Helmet

So, there you have it. Another week’s prognostications in the books. And while you may not be confident in who will the games this week, one thing is for certain. There will be some great football to be enjoyed.

So, fire up the grill, pop a cold one and go enjoy!!

Okay, so it took until week 5, but I’ve finally got my second wind. After struggling around .500 for the first few weeks, I finally picked an upset correctly and finished 3-0 for the week.

So do I feel confident that all is well and I’m finally figuring out this great entertainment machine that we call the National Football League? After all, teams that had been playing way above their talent level have begun the journey back down to Earth (Denver, Philadelphia, Baltimore), while some of those underachieving squads appear to be turning things around for the better (Seattle, Green Bay, Oakland, Buffalo).

So there should be no problem making accurate picks from this point forward, right? Riiiiiiiight!! (A little Dr. Evil humor, there!)

Dr. Evil

Just take a look at the standings and you can see that things haven’t completely returned to normal. And I’m not talking about a bruised and battered Vikings team sitting as the only remaining undefeated team in the league. They are a solid squad that I still think is a dangerous opponent on any week.

No, I’m talking about the 4-1 Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys (both of whom I’ve picked to lose this week). And on the other side of the coin, the 1-4 Carolina Panthers (who I picked to win this week).

Do I have a ton of confidence in those three picks? $%#@ no!! I guess when the time comes that I feel good about my picks of those teams, I’ll know that the league has returned to normalcy (can you say Warren Harding? – Google it). Until then, hang on for another roller coaster ride. Week six is here!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (4-0).

If there was ever a “lock” to be had, other than last week’s Patriots over the Browns pick, it’s this game.

Pittsburgh at Miami.

The Dolphins are not only lacking anyone of star quality, they are just plain lacking. Their defense is average and the offense is mediocre on a good day. They gambled on a former Pro Bowl running back that is past his prime and coming back from a season ending injury and, surprise surprise, he’s hurt again! They are 1-4 and heading down fast.

Enter the Steelers, a fully loaded scoring machine with a giant sized Pro Bowl quarterback, a top three running back (when he’s not serving a suspension) and arguably the best wide receiver in the league. They are 4-1 and getting better.

Can you say total destruction? Well, if you can’t right now, you will be able to after Sunday’s games. This could get ugly fast!

Final score – Pittsburgh 41, Miami 16.


This week’s Upset of the Week (1-3).

Well it took all the way to week five, but I finally nailed it last week. That’s one in a row. Woo-hoo!!

So are we confident in making it two straight? Uh, well, not exactly. It turns out there’s only one game that technically falls into this category this week.

Philadelphia at Washington.

Here’s a case of two average teams, playing in the same average division, hoping to grab the#4 spot so they can lose at home in the first round.

The Eagles came out flying (no pun intended – okay, maybe a little), winning their first three games, including a total massacre of the mighty Steelers in week three. So everyone started believing they were for real. I never bought it, and I still don’t. I think the only reason they’ll end up around .500 is the division they are in.

Enter the Redskins, last year’s winner of this ho-hum division, and loser at home in the first round of the playoffs. I didn’t pick them to repeat as divisional winner, and I still don’t.

However, they will protect their home field advantage against their divisional rival, and pull out the victory this week.

Final Score – Washington 27, Philadelphia 24.


This week’s Game of the Week (3-1).

If you had told me before week one that I’d be picking this game in this category in week six, I would have told you you’re nuts, with one or two more adjectives thrown in for good measure. But here we are and here’s this week’s Game of the Week.

Atlanta at Seattle.

Before the season began, I didn’t think Atlanta would win six games in the entire season. Their defense was questionable, as usual, and their offense hasn’t been healthy and fully functional in years. Which leads to the question “who are these guys?” They’ve rattled off four wins in a row, including an impressive victory at Denver last week.

Seattle began the season with a lot of question marks and an impotent offense. However, their defense us playing scary good, looking a lot like the squad that went to back to back Super Bowls not so long ago. And Wilson is injured? Yeah, sure he is. Just ask the Jets how injured he looked in week four. And then they had a bye last week? Not good news for the Falcons.

Seattle knows they need to protect the home turf if they’re going to win the NFC west. I think they’ll do just that.

Final Score – Seattle 27, Atlanta 20.

Seahawks Helmet

So there you have it. Another round of sure fire, can’t possibly lose picks. Take them to bank. Bet your mortgage on them.

Or maybe just make a friendly bet, and keep your money in your pocket! Either way, go and enjoy some football!

This has to be one of the strangest first quarters of football in NFL history. Usually the upsets begin to subside after the first two weeks, and the teams that should win begin to find ways to do just that. And in the AFC, things are playing out pretty much as expected, for the most part.

But so far this season, the games in the NFC have been anything but predictable. For proof of that, let’s take a look at the teams that are sitting on top of their divisions.

Now, there are a few teams sitting on the bottom that were fully expected to be there, like the Bears, Lions, Saints and 49ers. But the division leaders after four weeks? That’s another story.

For instance, Atlanta is holding a two game lead over Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay in the South. The Rams are tied with Seattle in the West, Philadelphia is leading Dallas by a game in the east and Minnesota, without their starting quarterback or Pro Bowl running back, is undefeated and sitting in first place in the north.

Preseason favorites Arizona and Carolina are outside looking in, each without their starting quarterback (concussion) and trying to remember how to win.

Will the second quarter see the preseason favorites turn things around, or will we continue to realize what an absolute waste of everyone’s time it is to pay attention to playoff predictions in August?

Who knows, but either way, we’ll continue to make our picks here!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (3-0).

If there is ever a time to call a game a “no-brainer”, this is the one.

New England at Cleveland.

The Browns were basement dwellers on everyone’s preseason projections. The only debate was if they indeed won a game, would they get one or two victories. And after the first four weeks, the conversation hasn’t changed all that much.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have been performing magic over the first four weeks, winning three out of four games without Brady or Gronkowski (well, three out of four for Gronk). Two and half of those games were played with the #3 quarterback calling the shots.

This week, Mr. Brady returns from his strongly contested suspension, no doubt with a monster sized chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove to the world (not to mention Roger Goodell).

This should be over quickly and will help push the Browns one step closer to that #1 pick next spring!

Final score – New England 41, Cleveland 13.

Patriots Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (0-3).

You would think, with all of the upsets we’ve seen over the first quarter of the season, that I’d have a better record in this category. This week, that all changes!

Buffalo at Los Angeles.

Anyone that has watched the Rams play this year would have to admit that they are not a good team. Yes, they have a pretty good, if not physically imposing defensive unit. But their offense is one of the worst in the league. Other than Gurley, they are all disposable.

Yet, after getting destroyed in week one by a very bad 49ers team, they have managed to hang around and pull out three victories in a row, including being handed wins over Seattle and Arizona.

Buffalo began the season with losses at Baltimore and at home to the Jets, and then literally beat up the Cardinals and Patriots. They have found their “Ryan” swagger on both sides of the line of scrimmage and have no reason to fear any team.

If McCoy continues to run like he has the past two weeks, this one will be over by halftime. I’m betting he will.

Final Score – Buffalo 27, Los Angeles 16.


This week’s Game of the Week (2-1).

Last week I picked the Giants at Minnesota for this category, and it worked out well. This week, I’m going to stay on the New York northern road trip.

N.Y. Giants at Green Bay.

The Giants were my preseason pick to win the NFC east and, believe it or not, are right where I expected them to be after four games. They are, by no means, the best team in the NFC, but I still think they’re the best in the NFC east. Unfortunately, this road trip takes them through two of the best teams in the NFC in the Vikings and Packers.

Green Bay, while winning two of their first three games, has yet to look like the Packers we’ve come to love (or hate). They lost at Minnesota and had to fight for their lives to grab wins against Jacksonville and Detroit, two teams destined for top ten draft picks.

However, after a bye in week four, I fully expect a well-rested and very talented Packer offense to go off the deep end against the Giants. This game will be exciting to watch, but won’t be as close as the final score would suggest.

Final Score – Green Bay 41, N.Y. Giants 27.

Packers Helmet

We’ll see if the boatload of upsets continues or if the NFL world begins to settle down. Either way, it’s time to fire up the grill, pop a few cold ones and enjoy some football!

Okay, I’m back after taking last week off. Given the choice of taking another crack at picking winners in a league full of upsets or spending the weekend with the oldest grandkids, it was a no-brainer.

While I was gone, several teams in the league also took the week off. Among them were three of my final four playoff teams, including both of my projected Super Bowl opponents (see I Hate Preseason Predictions ..… But Here Are Mine – 9/7/16).

But now it’s time to figure out which teams are for real, which teams are playing like manure and which teams have simply had an easy schedule so far (and are about to come crashing back down to earth).

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (2-0).

Kansas City at Pittsburgh.

Prior to last week, I would have predicted a massacre on this one. After all, KC had been playing Jeckyll & Hyde this season, while the Steelers had been taking care of business. Then last week came around and Pittsburgh was a no-show against Philadelphia, making the Eagles look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

So what can we expect this week? Well, let’s see. The Steelers are getting their Pro Bowl RB back from his latest suspension (don’t get me started on that one!), they are home for this contest, and they were embarrassed by their cross-state rivals last week. Something tells me they’ll show up this week.

Kansas City, meanwhile, has shown us that they are capable of competing at a high level for at least two quarters every game. But will that be enough this week? I don’t think so. This one may be close for the first half. Heck, it may even be close for three quarters. But look for the Steelers to play four quarters this week, pulling away for a double digit victory.

Final score – Pittsburgh 30, Kansas City 16.


This week’s Upset of the Week (0-2).

Seattle at N.Y. Jets.

I can’t believe I am even considering this one. My preseason projections had Seattle as one of the powerhouses of the NFC and the Jets trying to stay out of last place in the AFC East.

Fast forward three weeks, and we see the Seahawks struggling mightily and the Jets playing solid ball. Okay, so their records indicate otherwise (Seattle is 2-1 while New York is 1-2), but don’t be fooled by that. The Seahawks are hard pressed to move the ball on offense, and it isn’t just because Wilson is hobbling on one leg. The offensive line is hurting bad. It may very well be one of the worst in the league. And with Wilson not able to scramble like Tarkenton (Google it kids), there is no passing game.

Meanwhile, the Jets defense has been playing okay while the offense plays up to their QBs ability, meaning when Fitzpatrick plays well, so do the Jets. This week they’re coming home to take on a scary opponent at the perfect time. When they are injured and weak!

Look for a low scoring, defensive battle, with the home team pulling it out in the end.

Final Score – N.Y. Jets 20, Seattle 16.


This week’s Game of the Week (1-1).

N.Y. Giants at Minnesota.

Okay, so I struggled to decide which game to go with for this category. I had both of these teams making the playoffs. Minnesota as the dark horse, even without their starting QB. And the Giants because, well, they are in the NFC East, so let’s be real!

Now the Vikings have lost their Pro Bowl RB, possibly for the season, and have a starting QB that has yet to finish a season in the vertical position. And yet they have found a way to be one of the five remaining undefeated teams in the league. And they have gone through Green Bay and Carolina in the process!

Meanwhile the Giants have looked anything but stellar on the way to their 2-1 record, which includes a loss at home to the Redskins last week on a closing minute field goal.

The only reason I’m picking this one to finish close is because the Vikings have so many key injuries. But there’s no doubt who will win the game.

Final Score – Minnesota 20, N.Y. Giants 17.

Vikings Helmet

This is week four. Historically, by this point in the season, the upsets have subsided to a reasonable level. That means these games should be a little bit easier to pick from this point on. So there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll go 3-0 this week.

Yeah, yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket!

Tommy Flanagan

Picking winners in the first week of an NFL season is usually about as easy as guessing how many marbles can fit into a five-gallon jug. The best you can do is offer up an educated guess and hope you’re not too far off.

Well this season is no different. There were several upsets along the way, and most games came down to the final few minutes. Although I managed to pick ten out of sixteen correctly, two of the six that I missed were in last week’s featured games.

Week two is usually a little bit easier to pick, so let’s see what we’ve got for this weekend.

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (1-0).

San Francisco at Carolina.

This is a case of two teams that were involved in upsets last week. Carolina was supposed to go to Denver and get revenge for last year’s Super Bowl humiliation. They came out swinging and jumped out to a solid lead, only to get shut down after halftime and walk away 0-1.

Meanwhile, the 49ers were supposed to be outclassed by the visiting Rams. Not only did they turn the tables and win the game, but they absolutely destroyed Los Angeles, beating them solidly in every aspect of the game.

Don’t look for the same results this week. The Panthers will be playing their home opener, so you can count on the Carolina fans to bring their twelfth man attitude with them. And love him or hate him, Cam Newton will not allow his team to collapse two weeks in a row.

The 49ers will come crashing back down to earth, having to travel across three time zones to play in the home of an actual football team. Instead of leading the Lambs to slaughter, they will be this week’s easy prey.

Final score – Carolina 38, San Francisco 16.

Carolina Panthers

This week’s Upset of the Week (0-1).

Jacksonville at San Diego.

I was surprised to find that the Vegas odds-makers designated the Chargers as the favorites in this one. Okay, so they jumped out to a big early lead at Kansas City last week. But after their monster #1 wide receiver went down with a season ending injury, they completely fell apart, allowing the below average Chiefs to storm back for the win.

And yes, the Jags are 0-1 and traveling across the country to play this one. But they very easily could be 1-0, having given the Packers all they could handle last week.

This matchup involves two teams going in opposite directions. The Chargers, having lost their most potent offensive weapon, are destined to remain in the cellar of the AFC West, while the Jaguars, with a much improved defense and one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league, will compete week in and week out.

Final Score – Jacksonville 27, San Diego 17.


This week’s Game of the Week (0-1).

If you enjoy a good heavyweight championship boxing match, then you will love this one!

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh.

There were a couple of games that would fit the bill for this category in week two, but none with the intensity level that this game is sure to bring. Not only are these the top two teams in the AFC North, but they absolutely hate each other.

As you know, I picked the Steelers to represent the AFC in this season’s Super Bowl. They are loaded at every position and, even with the suspensions, are a threat to blow up the scoreboard at any time. But the home opener against their divisional rival, the team that is notorious for cheap shots and injuring key players? Don’t tell me they won’t be pumped up for this one!

Meanwhile, Cincinnati is trying to get rid of their bad reputation as a dirty team (hey I warned you about Burfect several years ago, after watching his childish outbursts and bonehead cheap shots for four years at Arizona State, but did you listen?) But there’s something about the Steelers that seems to bring the animal side out of the Bengals.

Look for a very physical game with a lot of flags thrown and possibly a player or two being carried off the field on a cart.

And in the end, look for a Steelers victory!

Final Score – Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 20.


So there you have it. Week two’s picks are locked in. So place your bets, fire up the grill and let the games begin!

I’ve decided to bring back a weekly post this season, after putting it on hold last season. Okay let’s be real, I put the entire blog on hold for the last year or so. But I’m back with new energy, and so is the “Games of the Week”.

Each week I will pick one game in three categories – Lock of the Week, Upset of the Week and Game of the Week. My goal is to pick correctly at least three out of four times each in the Lock and Game categories. If I hit .500 or better in the Upset category, I’ll be thrilled. After all, I will be going against the expert’s choices every time in that category!

Feel free to let me know when you disagree with me. But for now, let’s get to it!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week.

There were a couple of games to choose from this week, but one stands out above all others.

Miami at Seattle.

Being a Cardinals fan, I would love to be able to look at this matchup and come up with some way for the Dolphins to leave the great northwest with a victory.

Maybe Arian Foster will return to his old form and put up 150 rushing yards and a couple of TDs. Or maybe Ryan Tannehill will discover that he has an elite receiving corps and throw for 300-plus yards and a few TDs. Or maybe Ndamukong Suh will become an inspirational leader and motivate his fellow defenders to shut down Russell Wilson and partners.

Or maybe …… okay, let’s get real. None of those things are going to happen. And while everyone is pointing to Seattle’s offensive line as their big weakness, they are still loaded for bear (or dolphin) everywhere else.

This is not only a lock for a Seahawk victory, but look for PETA to stage a postgame protest, due to the mass slaughter of dolphins that is sure to take place. This should be over by halftime.

Final score – Seattle 41, Miami 13.

Seahawks Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week.

Week one upsets are very difficult to identify, let alone pick. How many times have you identified a week one victory as an upset, only to realize six weeks later that it actually was nothing of the sort. This game may very well end up falling into that category.

Buffalo at Baltimore.

This is a tale of two teams trying to become relevant again. The Bills always seem to start the season looking strong, only to crash and burn by week ten. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999. If Rex Ryan is going to turn the corner with the Bills, he needs to do it this season.

The Ravens, Super Bowl champs from as recent as four seasons ago, fell on hard times last season. Injuries were the main reason, finishing with twenty players on the injured reserve list, including eight starters from week one. Among the injured were QB Joe Flacco, RB Justin Forsett and nearly the entire receiving corps, not to mention outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

This season begins with everyone healthy, but age has become a factor. The top two receivers, Steve Smith Sr. and Mike Wallace, are both past their prime and no longer represent the deep threat that they once did. 30-year old Justin Forsett (an old man in running back years), was cut, resigned and is once again the starting running back.

As with most week one matchups, this one is not an easy one to pick. But with the younger and healthier Bills only three point underdogs, I’m picking them for this week’s upset.

Final Score – Buffalo 27, Baltimore 20.


This week’s Game of the Week.

Since I can’t go back and pick Thursday night’s Panther-Bronco matchup, I had to pick one from the remaining games. I tried everything I could to avoid picking this game so that I didn’t have to hear all of the “Cardinals Homer” jokes. But after scouring the entire schedule for week one, I would challenge anyone to come up with a better matchup for this category.

New England at Arizona.

Look at all of the story lines that come with this one. Brady’s absence due to his controversial suspension. The offseason trade that sent underachieving (Card’s argument) right guard Jonathan Cooper to the Patriots and hit-and-miss (Patriot’s argument) defensive end Chandler Jones to the Cardinals. Both teams lost last year’s conference championship games. New England’s season opener stellar record. And we haven’t even talked about the actual game yet!

The bottom line is Arizona should win this one going away. They are at home. They are relatively healthy. They are an improved version of last year’s team. Brady is out. Gronk is out. How can they possible lose, right?

Riiiiiight! (A little Dr. Evil humor there!)

Dr. Evil

Let’s not forget one minor detail. Bill Belichick is still making the calls on the Patriot’s sideline. Many have overlooked this in the past, and most have gone down in flames. If there is any way to neutralize the big red scoring machine, he will figure it out.

Having said all of that, I think this will be a close game for three quarters. But by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the Patriots will be worn down, due to the depth of the Cardinals on both sides of the ball, allowing Arizona to pull away.

Final Score – Arizona 34, New England 20.

Cardinals Helmet

There you have it. Week one’s picks are now officially in the books. It’s all downhill from here!

If you’re anything like me, congratulations. But you’re also sick to death of all of the preseason predictions for divisional winners, conference winners and even Super Bowl winners. They began pouring in just after last February’s Super Bowl, and they haven’t stopped since.

The idea that anyone, with any degree of credibility and accuracy, can predict such a thing before rosters are filled or games are played, is just nuts. Add into the mix the unknowns, such as injuries, under or over achieving performances and contract holdouts and it is purely a crap shoot.

Why anyone would waste their time figuring out wins and losses for every game of the entire season, trying to anticipate such things as overlooking a weak opponent, riding a win streak, looking at past history between two teams, time of the year, indoor versus outdoor stadiums, etc., is beyond comprehension. What an utter and complete waste of valuable time.

So here is what I came up with.

What? I just said it was a waste of time to go through all of those pains, just to come up with a prediction that rarely ever comes to fruition. I didn’t say I wasn’t going to do it anyway!

So, again, here is what I came up with. After careful analysis of draft picks, off season trades and free agent acquisitions, and a small dose of preseason football (individuals, not teams), this year’s playoff fraternity will look eerily similar to last year’s, with only a couple of exceptions.

First of all, last year’s Super Bowl champions will be vacationing in January this season. And they will be replaced in the AFC West by (hold on to your helmets) the Oakland Raiders!

Go ahead, I’ll wait until you stop laughing and get back off the floor. Because I’m dead serious. The Broncos will be relying on their defense to keep them in some very low scoring games this year, which will leave them sitting at 9-7 and just outside of the playoffs. With a much easier schedule and an offense that will shine more than usual, the Raiders will finish in first place at 11-5.

New England will win the hapless AFC-East, even with Brady sitting out the first four games. In fact, they’ll still manage to grab the #2 spot in the AFC with a 13-3 record. At 11-5, Houston will edge out Indianapolis by a game to win the AFC-South, but the Colts will grab a Wildcard spot.

Pittsburgh will return to form and dominate, even with all of the suspensions. They are simply too talented and will run (and pass) over their opponents on their way to a 14-2 record and the #1 seed in the AFC. Cincinnati will finish at 11-5, grabbing the other Wildcard spot.

Over in the NFC, due to a very weak schedule and an offense that should put up some points (if they can keep the turnovers to a minimum), the Giants will find themselves back in the playoffs, finishing atop the NFC-East at 11-5, ending the Redskins short playoff stint.

At 13-3, Carolina will once again dominate the pathetic NFC-South, although this season they will finish as the NFC’s #2 seed. Taking over the #1 spot will be Arizona, finishing at 14-2 and edging out Wildcard Seattle by a game. Ironically, I see the Cardinals and Seahawks splitting their two games, with each club winning on the road!

Green Bay and Minnesota will take the last two playoff spots, with the 13-3 Packers winning the division by a game over the Vikings. I know everyone is racing to be the first to jump off the Minnesota bandwagon, now that Bridgewater is gone, but I think they are too good of a team to go down that fast.

Before we hit the playoffs, let’s take a brief look at the bottom of the pecking order. Everyone is talking about Cleveland being the worst team ever, wondering if they will win a game at all this year. Well I happen to think that they will. In fact, I even think that there will be a team with a worse record than the Brown’s 2-14. Tennessee will limp to the end of the season with a 1-15 record and the #1 pick in next year’s draft. Joining the battle of the lamest will be Detroit at 2-14 and the 49ers at 3-13.

Now, on to the playoffs. They will be exciting, but predictable, with the favorites winning most of the games. The first round will see the Packers, Seahawks, Colts and Texans winning, only to lose on the road the following week. The Steelers will beat the Patriots for the AFC crown, while the Cardinals will taste revenge in beating the Panthers for the NFC crown.

The Super Bowl will be a smash mouth, bloody affair, with plenty of points to go around. Ultimately, Arizona will bring home their first Super Bowl victory in a high scoring shootout!

Ready to carve all of that in stone? Me neither! Look, if all teams stay healthy for the next 22 weeks, I’d feel really comfortable with my predictions. But we all know that’s not how things work in the NFL.

But for right here, right now, all things being equal, get ready to crown the Arizona Cardinals Super Bowl champions!