Category Archives: Football

NFL Geek Picks: Super Bowl 50

Let the Superb Owl take flight!

Really looking forward to this one. I think it has the potential to be one of the great classics of the game, so long as Denver shows up (unlike two years ago, when Seattle tap-danced all over them). As a storyteller, I can appreciate the various storylines here — the last ride of the Sheriff, the new face of the game, the dabbing.

Plus I’m going to make poutine. (Unless I can’t find the right cheese curds. So important.)

Anyway, without further ado, let’s break this one down and see what could happen.

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NFL GeekPicks: Conference championships

And then there were four. And for once, you can say they’re likely the best four teams in the NFL this season. No teams like the Giants squeaking into the tournament and then wreaking havoc en route to the Lombardi Trophy. Actually…that’s kind of a shame. I love it when stuff like that happens.

So when I think about the two games tomorrow, I’m torn between what I want to happen and what likely will happen. In the interest of fairness and my self-imposed duty as your geeky prognosticator, I’m going to base my picks on what likely will happen, all else being equal. I kind of hope I’m wrong on both these.

I know…I feel like the Doctor trying to explain why he can’t break time, then he goes and does it anyway. Doesn’t matter. On with the picks!  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Divisional playoffs

Well, heck, here’s something new: I got every single game right last week. Sure, there were only four games, but I still did better than the vast majority of the ESPN pickers. So I got that going for me, though let’s face it…two of those wins were tossups until the final seconds. I’m still claiming football wisdom regardless.

This week gets tougher. There’s some mighty powerful teams coming off the bench to face the wild-card upstarts, and picking this is going to be more difficult than bulls-eyeing womp rats in my T-16 back home. But I feel good about it. I’m in Los Angeles for work this week, and the city is all agog about getting the Rams back. (Interestingly, far less press has been given to the Chargers here. Unless and until the Chargers make a Super Bowl run here, it’s gonna be a Rams town.) I feel like I have some football karma on my side.

So let’s get to it.  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Wild Card Weekend

Finally! No more Netflix Games of the Week. No more watching Rex Ryan deflate just a little more each week. No more watching the Giants blow a lead in the final two minutes. (Seriously, five times in 16 games. That’s worse than the typical Scooby Doo villain. “Now I have you! No, wait. What?”) Certainly, no more Johnny Manziel on the Browns. Or in the NFL. Geez, kid. Get it together.

Nope, we got us some real games this week. Well, three real games and one that probably won’t matter. Whoever wins the Green Bay-Washington game likely will get crushed in the next round quicker than Fox cancelled Firefly.

Let’s get to it. And as there are only four games, I’ll riff a bit more on each.  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 17

Well, we got lots of things sorted out last week, which is pretty nice. The Broncos can win with Brock Osweilier (again, such a great football name that gentleman has), the Washington team is your NFC East last man standing, and Carolina will not go undefeated. In fact, I feel like if you’re not a fan of the teams playing meaningfully tomorrow, you should just shut it down and spend more time with your family or something.

Unless you live in Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you do, it’s ON. HARD CORE.

So this week I’m going to sort the picks into two categories: Important, and Not Important. I know, of course, that each team treats each match-up as important — and rightly so, given that they’re paid quite well to do so. But if you’re a fan, and you’re generally paying out of your own pocket to care (be it in time or money), know now that you can wait until the playoffs or, in most cases, next season.

On with the picks. (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 16

Usually, by week 16, you have one, maybe two really good playoff races, and everybody else is already resting their starters and thinking about January. This year, in addition to getting a new Star Wars film, we get a compelling end to the NFL season. Is it Christmas?

Oh, wait, it is.

Right now, the AFC South remains up for grabs, and the suddenly competitive AFC West could have a huge shakeup if the Chiefs win out and the Broncos stumble. And either the Chiefs or Broncos would then have to vie with the Steelers and Jets for the AFC wild card slots. (The Pats and Bengals are already in.)

The NFC, meanwhile, is a bit more settled, with Arizona and Carolina winning their divisions, the Seahawks firmly in possession of the wild card, and the Packers and Vikings battling to figure out who gets the division and who gets the wild card. And it looks like that 3-way race for the NFC East title now hinges on whether the Redskins can simply win out or not.

In any event, there are lots of games that matter this week, and not just for playoffs. There are coaches on the hot-seat and draft picks to be won by losing. So here we go with the picks. As always, winners are in italics. Games that could affect the playoffs are marked with a P, while games that could affect next year’s season via draft or coaching changes are marked with an N.

San Diego at OaklandIs this the Raiders’ last game in Oakland? Will these two teams be sharing a stadium in Los Angeles next year? All good questions, but I suppose that may not impact an otherwise meaningless game for these two. You can do better on Christmas Eve.

Washington at Philadelphia (P): Is Washington really good enough? I have doubts, especially against an Eagles team that shocked the Patriots a few weeks ago. Cheesesteaks all around.

New England at N.Y. Jets (P): This is a game New York desperately wants to win, just as desperately as Kylo Ren wants to lose the vestiges of his conscience. I’m betting neither happens.

Houston at Tennessee (P/N): The Texans need a win here to seal up the AFC South. The Titans may very well oblige, because the first pick of the 2016 draft awaits.

Cleveland at Kansas City (P/N): Same deal. The Chiefs would love nothing more than to win out and watch the Broncos stumble, while the Browncoats may want to lie down in Serenity Valley for a nice draft pick.

Indianapolis at Miami (P/N): Indy needs a win here to stay in the hunt for the division, especially with the Texans’ likely easy win. And both coaches here are looking to stay on with their respective teams.

San Francisco at DetroitAnd here’s your Netflix game of the week in the early time slot. A rewatch of the Doctor Who Christmas specials seems fitting.

Dallas at BuffaloThis ought to be one of those frozen December classics, but it’s like 70 degrees outside right now.

Carolina at Atlanta: When will Ron Rivera rest his starters? There’s no space-time wormhole to go back and change his mind if Cam Newton gets hurt.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (P): The Steelers need this win to keep up with the Chiefs and move ahead of the Jets (should they lose as expected). Baltimore would love to play spoiler, but it won’t happen.

Jacksonville at New Orleans (N): Here’s your Netflix game in the late-afternoon time slot. If you haven’t watched It’s a Wonderful Life yet this Christmas season, this is your chance — unless you’re in New Orleans, where it comes down to whether Sean Payton or Drew Brees will be back.

St. Louis at Seattle (P): This is a boring game the Seahawks will win, but it could actually matter as to whether the Seattle gets the 5th seed, and plays the NFC East winner (yay!) or the 6th seed and ends up playing the NFC North winner (less yay).

Green Bay at Arizona (P): Tough one to call. You know the Pack will go all out to win here, and Arizona has no real reason to battle. But man…Arizona is really good.

N.Y. Giants at Minnesota (P): The Giants are such an odd case this year. They’re very well coached and have incredible drive, but they’ve come up short twice after playing vastly better opponents. Why is this?!

Cincinnati at Denver (P): Andy Dalton, the Ginger Ninja of the NFL, is down with an injury, which gives the Broncos a fighting chance.

Last week’s record: Another 11-5 week. I’ll take it.

Season record: 139-85, which puts me ahead of all but four of these guys.

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 15 (Star Wars edition)

Are you going to see The Force Awakens? Of course you are. You and a billion other souls on this planet. I’m going tonight, in fact, because I’m that stoked.

But there’s still football going on this weekend, and unfortunately, the running backs won’t be carrying lightsabers. Still, the NFL remains pretty interesting at the moment. The Jets, Chiefs and Steelers are neck-and-neck for wild card spots in the AFC playoff picture, while Seattle and Minnesota need to keep winning to lock up their wild cards in the NFC.

Oh, and there are two dismal divisions — the NFC East and AFC South — in which 6-7 teams (and one 5-8 team) are vying for the division title. These divisions are like the battles between the droid army and the Gungans in Phantom Menace. They’ll be waged, and few will deem them worthy.

And now, in honor of The Force Awakens, I give you your Star Wars-themed picks. (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 14

There’s only three weeks left before the playoffs, and as with most NFL seasons, a good chunk of the playoff picture is already clear. Thankfully, there’s enough suspense to keep me from binging on old Doctor Who episodes.

Right now, the AFC playoff picture is half-clear. The Patriots, Bengals and Broncos are a lock at this point. In the AFC South, the Colts and Texans are still battling for the division at 6-6. The loser of the division will have to contend with the 7-5 Jets, Chiefs and Steelers, and maybe the 6-6 Bills, for the wild card spot.

In the NFC, the Cardinals and Panthers are in as division winners barring a massive meltdown. There’s a three-way 5-7 tie for the NFC East title, with the losers likely sitting out the playoffs altogether. The Packers and Vikings will duke it out for the NFC North title, with the loser likely joining the Seahawks as a wild card.

So with 12 slots in the playoffs, only five teams are pretty much locks. Much better than old Who episodes, frankly. And now…on with the picks. (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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NFL Geek Picks: Week 13

There have been some great football names over the years. I’m not talking about the players, I’m talking about names — the kind of names that sound like they belong to football players. I’m talking Ray Nitschke, Bart Starr, Bronko Nagurski, Red Grange, Archie Manning, Dick Butkus. These are the names that, if you were writing a novel about football players, you’d totally come up with.

Add Brock Osweiler to the list. Dammit, that’s a football name. And he’s off to a great start in place of Peyton Manning. (The “Petyon” takes away from the football-ness of the Manning surname, IMO.) Plus, he’s like nine feet tall and humble as all get out. I like it. I’m rooting for Brock.

Now, I’m not saying that Brock’s name will rise to the level of greatness that other non-football names have, such as Darth Vader, Aragorn, James T. Kirk or Horatio Hornblower. But it might. It might. And that’s why we watch the games.

On with the picks. (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 12

First off, to all the readers here in the U.S., have a happy Thanksgiving! And to those overseas…well, it’s a thing we do where we’re thankful for stuff then eat ourselves silly before sitting down to watch football. It’s what the Pilgrims would’ve wanted.

In terms of football, last weekend was much more normal than the previous week. But the playoff picture is a complete mess, with a heap of 5-5 teams poised to make a push. Honestly, it’s a good thing, though it makes prognostication difficult. I once gave Jeff Bezos a Magic-8 ball (long story), and I kind of wish I had it back.

Without further ado, on with the picks. (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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