Friday, October 23, 2009

Five for the Weekend - October 23 edition

Here are the five I am keeping an eye on this weekend:

Los Angels Angels at New York Yankees, Game 6 and 7 (if necessary)
Hey New York, has it really been 8 years since we last saw you in the Fall Classic? Personally, I wish it was more like 88 years, but they weren't the best team money can buy until the 1990's. I would love for the Angels to come back and send all that money home, but who am I kidding. Therefore, it would be nice if the Yanks would close this out on Saturday and set-up a C.C Sabathia-Cliff Lee match-up in Game 1 on Wednesday. How do you feel about that one Indian fan? After that duel in Game 1, let the balls start to fly out one after one after one in games 2-4. A Yankees-Phillies World Series should have more runs scored than some Giant-Eagle games.

Big Ten Road Tests
Iowa visits Sparty and Penn State goes to the Big House. Aside - If the University of Miami plays at Michigan, is it a home game for Miami? Back to the Big Ten - Iowa has clearly been the Big Ten's best, but as usual I have heard the "no better than 7th in the SEC talk". Sparty has things going in the right direction, but that is usually not the case for long . Better for the Big Ten nationally if Iowa keeps winning, better for the Big Ten race if State beats Iowa at home for the 6th consecutive time. Penn State needs to prove itself this week and who knows what Michigan will bring to the table. The Nittany Lions always struggle in Michigan, but I just don't like this two QB system that Michigan is using. Penn State should win and stay alive.

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
The defending champs try to slay the 6-0 Vikes a week before Favre heads back to Lambeau. It seems everyone is putting this one in the Steelers column already. Maybe if it seems that obvious, it really isn't. The Vikings sure seem to be charmed this year - easily could be 4-2 with three of those wins over Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis. But didn't Pittsburgh lose to the Bengals? Here is my main reason to pick the Steelers this week - Minnesota has not been outdoors since week 1 - and that will be enough to slow down the pass rush and allow Big Ben to find his talented receivers. I wonder if the Vikings will be on next weeks "5"?

Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals
Does anyone believe the Bengals are very good? Who would have thought Cedric Benson, a Bears cast-off, would be out-producing Matt Forte? Maybe someone should see what Rashaan Salaam or Curtis Enis is doing these days. If the world is right, the Bears should win. I hope the world is not right on Sunday.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Jim Zorn has been removed from play-calling duties. Yeah Washington, that is the problem. Maybe if you would call a couple more bubble screens and a few less slant and go's you would be 4-2 or something. Exactly. The reason Washington is below expectation is because they are a team that has hitched its wagon to a QB that just doesn't have the "it" factor and is destined to be mediocre his entire career. This commitment to the wrong QB can set a team back years. And the financial commitment that is often made makes it almost impossible to get out while there is still time. The Redskins need to move on at QB. So do the Raiders. Hey Marc Bulger, here is a giant contract and a guarantee that we are going to stink for the next 5 years. Guess what Buffalo, Trent Edwards is not going to get you to the playoffs. He does not make any plays. In Cleveland, they have two QB's who are terrible. A daily double. All these teams should have a new QB next year and several are a year late already. Will Matt Stafford be on this list in a couple years too?

Until the next one....

Fantasy Football Skill plus Luck

As we hit the midway point of the Fantasy Football regular season this weekend, I thought I would take a look at what has gone right and what has gone wrong thus far in 2009 Fantasy Football. I started with a surprises and busts list, but that is pretty easy for everyone to figure out. So I came up with the "What if I drafted this team". I will use a 12 team league, 16 rounds, and a starting line-up of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, Flex, TE, Def, K for the purposes of this article. Without further ado, if I had the 4th pick of the draft......

What if I drafted this team?
Round 1 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (I was hoping Forte would fall, just not sure how Maurice Jones-Drew will do with that full workload)
Round 2 - Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers (Love this solid, consistent player at pick 21)
Round 3 - Terrell Owens, WR, Buffalo Bills (Yes, T.O. at pick 28 - you don't always get a lock for 10 TD's at this pick)
Round 4 - Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders (My top sleeper still here at pick 45 - I can't wait to watch his home-run ability this year)
Round 5 - Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (Even with the loss of Owens, Romo at 52 seems like a no-brainer)
Round 6 - Lendale White, RB, Tennessee Titans (Slimmer and meaner and should come close to his 15 TD's from 2008)
Round 7 - Eddie Royal, WR, Denver Broncos (With all of Brandon Marshall's problems, I may have landed a #1 receiver at pick 76)
Round 8 - Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals (No way Tim Hightower hold him off - Wells is going to provide the running game Arizona needs for balance)
Round 9 - Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets (Waited on TE with all these solid RB, WR available and still got who I wanted - Keller will be Sanchez's security blanket all year and his favorite red-zone target)
Round 10 - Tennessee Titans Defense (With the Giants, Steelers, and Ravens defenses picked, I better lock-up easily the next best defense in the NFL)
Round 11 - Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta Falcons (Even with Michael Turner, Norwood should see 10-15 productive touches per game)
Round 12 - Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers (A solid, unspectacular QB - he shouldn't hurt me as a bye week replacement)
Round 13 - Joey Galloway, WR, New England Patriots (With Brady throwing and Moss and Welker getting all the attention, Galloway is going to be huge)
Round 14 - Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants (Without a proven WR, Boss is going to be Eli's main man this year)
Round 15 - Rob Bironas, K, Tennessee Titans (A perennial top 5 kicker)
Round 16 - San Diego Chargers Defense (With Merriman back, this unit is on the rise)

I did not really draft this team, but what if someone did? Or what if I had the 1st pick in the draft.....

What if I drafted this team?
Round 1 - Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (no-brainer)
Round 2 - Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (I wanted Steve Smith or Greg Jennings, I guess I will settle for Wayne - worried about all those double teams though with Harrison gone)
Round 3 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints (I feel like I am reaching with this pick, but all the WR will be gone by my next pick)
Round 4 - Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers (I wanted Derrick Ward or Larry Johnson, but they went the picks before, have to regroup at RB and take V Jack here)
Round 5 - Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans (I just read about his per game averages - I just don't think Romo or McNabb are going to be very good this year)
Round 6 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens (All the good RB's are gone - Rice should at least get yards, even if he never scores)
Round 7 - Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (At least Cedric is the unquestioned starter - really don't want him on my team)
Round 8 - Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants (At this point, I just need RB's that will get some touches)
Round 9 - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (After waiting on RB's, at least one of these last 4 has to produce this year - at least I hope)
Round 10 - Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens (I needed to solidify RB, and now I have a back-up QB on a run first team)
Round 11 - Vinsanthe Schiancoe, TE, Minnesota Vikings (I forgot about TE, Favre used to like throwing to TE's)
Round 12 - Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants (I needed one more WR - Smith should at least play)
Round 13 - Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (I do like a good Heath candy bar)
Round 14 - San Francisco 49ers Defense (waited too long on defense - there coach used ot be really good at defense)
Round 15 - Denver Broncos Defense (there is no one left!!)
Round 16 - Lawrence Tynes, K, New York Giants (Mr. Irrelevant)

I did not draft this team either, but whoever did is looking fine in 2009. I know it takes some knowledge and skill so you don't draft a T.O. or Lendale White and you are smart enough to grab a Matt Schaub or a Ray Rice. But I think there is a little luck involved. So with that, Good Luck on the 2nd half of your season!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do these annoy you too?

I admit it. I am part of the world that moves too fast. I do not yearn for the days when we all sat on our porch and "shot the breeze" for hours. There is too much to do, and too little time. Kids, spouses, work, sleep. Find a few moments for yourself? Maybe on the treadmill.

I also find I am getting more easily annoyed. Here are my current hot buttons. Hopefully you don't fit into one of these categories.

Still writes a check person

It is time to check out at the grocery store or Target. First, you get to play the pick the quickest line game. This one works out less than 50% of the time for most of us, but as long as the cashier doesn't pick up the phone, you are probably fine. You are moving along close to the line next to you, when all of a sudden, the person in front of you -- pulls out the checkbook. Really? People still write checks? Instantly I am back in the 90's. The Goo Goo Dolls start playing in my head. I smile, realizing I can go home and watch Jordan and the Bulls tonight. Then I realize its 2009. Meanwhile, the person is still writing the check or the machine is still running it through and three people have checked out in the line next to me, but my purchase was already on the conveyor so I am unable to move. I long for the little old lady finding exact change. Exact change does not need to be written in the register. Finally, it is my turn!! Zip my card through, and I am on the road, where I find....

Drives super slow in the middle lane person

I thought the rule was slow traffic, keep right. Apparently, I missed the memo that even slower traffic should be in the middle lane. I believe these cars cause traffic jams more than anything. You have the slow and merging traffic on the right. You have the speed demons on the left. So you move to the center lane and bam, everyone is flying by you on both sides. How does this happen? Just up ahead of you, there is a car going below the speed limit in the middle lane. This driver is obviously not comfortable on the highway. So they tuck themselves in the middle. No dealing with merging traffic. Or maybe they are afraid they will run the car off the road in the right lane? Whatever it is, get over to the right please, I need to get to the mall so I can get behind.....

Stops suddenly in the middle of the main mall traffic flow person

We have all been to the mall. We know how it works. There is a stream of people going on each side of the mall. One stream going one way. On the other side of the mall, the stream is going the other way. It works. It is actually fun to try and go against flow. But if you are going to be part of the flow, keep on walking. Oops, I forgot, you are the only one in the mall. Just stop whenever you want right in the middle and I will almost run over you. Or when I try to step around you, someone else runs over me. I know. We all have had something catch are eye and make us stop. Just step off to the side, so I can get out of the mall and into the mall parking lot, where I can meet.....

Goes the wrong way down an angled parking row person

The mall is busy. You are headed down or up a row of angled parking, going the correct direction, when you see it, a car turns down your row headed the wrong way. Apparently, the arrow painted at the end of the row has become just a suggestion. Your cars inch closer, and you realize there is barely enough room for two cars to pass. You get close enough to see the other driver and they seem perplexed at how this is happening. What has gone wrong? I figure out a way to get my car around them, throwing my hands up and shaking my head. I bet if I stick around long enough to watch them park, they will find a spot where they can pull-through an angled parking spot. Love that one.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Five for the Weekend - October 2nd Edition

Here are the five I am checking out this weekend, plus Monday of course:

Wisconsin Badgers at Minnesota Golden Gophers (Saturday, 11 A.M. CST)
Ten years ago today, Wisconsin traveled to the "Horseshoe" in Columbus to play the 12th ranked Buckeyes and promptly fell behind 17-0. The Badgers promptly scored 42 unanswered points behind freshman Brooks Bollinger, in his first career start, for a 42-17 victory. I remember it well because it was my wedding day and many details of that day are still vivid, including the score being 17-6 when we got in the limo. The 1999 Badgers did not lose another game that season.

Fast forward to this weekend - what if this version of the Badgers does not lose another game? Would they even be in the BCS championship discussion? I know it is foolish to even speculate - I still think this is an 8-4 team. But until they lose, we can still dream.

Major League Baseball (all weekend)
Seven of the eight playoff spots are determined, but there are still a few unfinished items. Detroit has a magic number of 2, which should at least get them to a playoff on Monday. The Twins also draw Zack Greinke one more time. It looks like Detroit will be headed to the Big Apple. In the National League, the Rockies can steal the West with a sweep of the Dodgers. There may be no advantage to winning the division. I would be gunning for the spot that avoids St. Louis. Unfortunately, home field advantage between St. Louis and Philadelphia is not determined.

New York Jets at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 12 P.M. CST)
The surprise match-up of 3-0 teams this week. The unstoppable force against the immovable object? The Saints have the obvious offensive fire-power, but there defense has been surprising. The Jets defense has been the talk, but the Jets offense has done enough to win. This appears to be the game the Jets offense will need to do more than enough. Can GQ Sanchez do it? My guess is everyday man Brees will be smiling Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos (Sunday 3:15 P.M. CST)
New England/Baltimore seemed too obvious. I want to find out if Denver is for real. Check out the Broncos schedule. We will find out very fast if they are real or impostors. It is easy to jump to the impostor conclusion, but there might be some Belichek magic on this team. I am going to hold judgement, at least for one more week.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (Monday, all day, all night)
The most-hyped week 4 game in NFL history arrives Monday. It might be the only game ever with three large fan bases - Packer fans, Viking fans, and Favre fans. Do you know what games hyped this much usually turn into? Starts with a "d" and ends in an "ud". Many will point to the Packers not playing up to expectations thus far. A closer look at the Vikings would indicate the same thing, despite the unblemished record. The Packer fan in me fears this is the game the Vikings put it all together. The Packers fan in me hopes this is the game the Packers put it all together. The realist in me thinks the former is more likely. And to add insult to injury, an un-named 3 year old told me this week he wants Favre and the Vikings to win!! Ugh!!

Lock of the Weekend: The under on Washington and Tampa Bay.
Upset of the Weekend (College): Miami over Oklahoma
Upset of the Weekend (Pro): Baltimore over New England

Until the next one...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Concert Review - Sugarland

To preface, my qualifications to write a concert review are a little sketchy. I can count the number of concerts I have now seen on one hand, and to use the whole hand I would have to include Celine Dion's no-show in Las Vegas.

My wife and I attended the Sugarland concert at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on Friday. Prior to the concert, we dined at the Historic Turner Restaurant across from the Bradley Center. The restaurant was much bigger inside than expected and had quite a crowd gathering as we arrived. We were given an accurate estimate of 20 minutes to wait for a table during which time we enjoyed a cocktail at the bar. We both selected their fish fry advertised as Milwaukee's most famous. We were greeted with 4-5 large pieces of fish, a generous amount of french fries, cole slaw and two small pieces of bread. The entire meal was excellent and would be highly recommended to anyone attending a future event at the Bradley Center.

We arrived at the concert moments before the opening act. As we found our seats, we were pleased at the location in Section 209, Row V with two seats at the end of the row. There was a gentleman seated next to our seats, and as a gentleman myself, I took the seat next to him so my wife could have the end seat. As I sat down, I noticed that this man was seated like a cowboy, with his knees spread about as far as possible, taking up about half the leg room in front of me. Based on how he was sitting, I would have sworn he was 6 foot 10, but later after seeing him he was barely 6 foot. I leaned myself in my seat the best I could and was saved by the two seats that remained empty in front of us for the entire concert.

Matt Nathanson was the opener. I did not know who he was prior to the concert. He interacted well with the crowd and was actually very funny. He made fun of Enrique Iglesias and made use of band members from Sugarland for a few songs. I had a bit of trouble understanding his songs. His last song, "Come on Get Higher", was recognizable and was my highlight of his performance.

Billy Currington followed as opener #2. Now while I know Billy Currington, my only song recollection was the duo he did with Shania Twain, who was nowhere to be found on this evening. Billy put on a nice show, though my wife knew way more of his material than I did. She was actually surprised at how much she knew, realizing that she probably does not know as much Dierks Bentley anymore who we sometimes get confused with Currington. I spent most of the time trying to figure out whether he has a perm or has naturally curly hair. I also found his songs to not be as clear as I hoped.

Sugarland finished off the night and put on an excellent show. They do not use an elaborate set, but have just enough gimmicks to make it interesting. Jennifer Nettles wore a simple ponytail with her jeans and cowboy boots and Christian Bush was in his signature hat. Nettles did also don a sequined red hat for a few songs, which included "Joey". They played all the favorites and I was pleased that I seemed to have at least heard each of there songs a few times. I was also pleased that I could understand Nettles vocals much better than Nathanson's or Currington's. The show was fun and enjoyable. I still think it is a strange to consider them a duo, and I actually wish they would give Bush a few more solo singing parts.

If you are a country music fan and get a chance to see Sugarland, I would recommend it. And if you are heading to the Bradley Center, definitely check out Turner's for a nummy fish fry!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Five for the Weekend

I will be taking in Sugarland with my beautiful wife this weekend - Here are five others to watch:

LPGA Samsung World Championships (Thursday-Sunday)
20 of the top female golfers play Torrey Pines. No Michelle Wie or Natalie Gulbis, but I enjoyed the Solheim Cup and might peak in at Paula Creamer and company this weekend.

Tennessee at Florida (2:30 P.M. CST Saturday)
How many points will Urban Meyer have his Gators put on the Kiffin family? Will Tim Tebow play the whole game? Since Tim Tebow touchdowns cure the sick, I expect a lot more healthy people come Sunday.

New Orleans at Philadelphia (12:00 P.M. CST Sunday)
Drew Brees tore up the Lions Week 1. How will Brees fair against an infinitely better defense? The bigger story is whether Donovan McNabb will give it a go. The smart guess is no, which thrusts Kevin Kolb and/or Jeff Garcia into the game. This will be a tough one for Philly and an early home loss that could prove costly later.

Sylvania 300 (1:15 P.M. CST Sunday)
The "Chase" kicks off in New Hampshire as Jimmie Johnson goes for a fourth consecutive championship to go along with his 2 Super Bowl rings and National Championship at Miami. A national radio personality asked Jeff Gordon why Jimmie Johnson seems to run under the radar. Gordon gave a political answer. The real answer is 3 words. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He is the favorite driver of like 90% of NASCAR fans. He is 21st in points this year. He has made only 3 of the 6 "Chases". He has 2 top 5's this year. Yet when the SportingNews asked various celebrity NASCAR fans who would win in the last 10 races, Junior was named several times. People probably think he is in the "Chase". Not only does Jimmie Johnson fly under the radar, every other driver in NASCAR does. Is the 15th to 20th best in any other sport its most beloved athlete in the sport? Retief Goosen is 15th in the FedEx Standings. Not him. Marin Cilic is the 15th ranked men's tennis player. Not him. Paul Pierce is about the 15th best NBA player. Not him either. Chase Utley. No. DeMarcus Ware. No.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (7:30 P.M. CST Sunday)
The game is big but will not be the biggest thing on Sunday. The Ginormatron makes its regular season debut. How many punts will hit it? How many pounds does it add to the cheerleaders? Does Jerry Jones look more or less leathery on the Humungotron? Will Tony Romo have a new blonde chippie to feature on the Colossaltron?

Survival pick of the week: Green Bay over Cincinnati
Upset of the weekend: Oregon State over Cincinnati

Hmmm. I didn't even realize the theme until I typed it.

Back with a recap of the weekend and maybe my first concert review.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fantasy Football

First of all, I am biased to one Fantasy Football league. I am sure there are a myriad of great leagues out there. But I will always think OMRFL is the best. We are playing our 20th season this year. Yes, our league pre-dates the internet. We have had one ownership change in the last 16 years. We have rules unique to our league, like the Jake Plummer rule. Owners have auction drafting styles and everyone knows them. There is no such thing as a sleeper in our draft. Ten of the twelve franchises have won championships. No owner dominates. No owner consistently stinks.

Does this make me an expert? No. But when my Fantasy magazine of choice for this year says that Roddy White is the first Atlanta Falcon receiver of fantasy relevance ever, I chuckle. Apparently the writer and editor were not playing Fantasy Football in the days of Andre Rison and Terrance Mathis.

So now I get to the free leagues out on the internet. I participate in a few ESPN and Yahoo leagues, mainly just to practice for OMRFL and see what the general opinion of players is for the year. I maintain my teams for the most part, making the playoffs in most cases and winning a few titles. ESPN now has the live drafts, which on the surface always seem like a good idea. But after every draft I am frustrated, not by my team, but by how other teams operate in the draft room. There seems to be no draft etiquette. In every draft there seems to be at least one of the following:

No-show for the draft Guy (Mr. Short Term Memory)

In an ESPN live draft, you sign up less than 15 minutes before the draft in most cases. Who signs up for a live draft when they don't have an hour set aside to participate? Does the owner forget they joined? Fortunately, after waiting one round for the entire 90 seconds, that owner is switched to autopick and eventually ends up with all the guys no one else wants.

My Team is the Best Guy (Mr. Arrogance)

There always seems to be one guy who proclaims his team is the best.....after 3 rounds. Excuse me Mr. Arrogance, but in a 10 team league, everyone looks pretty good after 3 rounds. But we continue to hear about how good your team is for the rest of the draft.

Does anyone want to Trade Guy (Mr. Anxious)

Usually about the 5th or 6th round when things are slowing down, Mr. Anxious throws out the does anyone want to trade comment. Trading is fun. And I do agree, you are at the mercy of your pick as to who is available to you in Rounds 1 and 2. But Mr. Anxious doesn't want to swap first round picks and add a couple players to even things out. He wants your first round pick for his 3rd and 5th. He downgrades your roster to try and facilitate this type of trade. And he will continue to offer such imbalanced trades as the season goes on.

Mad at the World Guy (Mr. Hostile)

Not every draft has one, but sometimes there is a guy who for some reason, and I have no idea why, is just rude to some of the other drafters. You don't know anyone you are drafting with, but it seems this owner thinks everyone is a jerk and so he should be to. Personal insults, profanity, comments that don't make sense. You hope you don't have this guy in your draft room.

Takes the Whole Time Guy (Mr. Minnesota Viking)
I can stomach the first four profiles, but this one frustrates me the most. I know they give you 90 seconds to make your pick. There is no way it should take you more than 30 seconds to make a pick. But Mr. Minnesota Viking finds a way to use 80-85 seconds each time. Even in the first few rounds, when there is a plethora of talent available and there is no need to be searching to find players, the clock ticks away. Each round I am secretly hoping he has left the draft and will be switched to autopick. Each round the pick just makes it in (o.k., so if he was truly Mr. Minnesota Viking, the pick would be late). Unfortunately, there is often two or three of these. A nice clean 30 minute draft now takes an hour.

The author of this blog would like to acknowledge that females also participate in Fantasy Football and that his use of the male version of pronouns is simply for ease in writing this blog.

Until the next one...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thoughts from the weekend in Sports

Wisconsin Badgers Football - UW has to be happy with the "W", but it appears there are too many holes to have anything more than an Alamo Bowl-type season. At least we are not Sparty today.

NASCAR - Sad to see Matt Kenseth out of the "Chase" for the Winston Cup. Without the local flavor to root for, I will hitch my ride to old man Mark Martin, the Brett Favre of NASCAR. Did Jr. make the "Chase"? Didn't think so.

Golf - O.K. Tiger, we get it. Is it clear that you are the best? Crystal.

MLB - Oh, you are still playing. Wake me up for the post-season. And hopefully the Rangers will take the only spot still up for grabs.

NFL - Q. How do you lose a game on an 87 yard TD pass with less than 20 seconds left? A. Put tiger stripes on your helmet.

If you look at the Vikings schedule, there are a lot of games where Brett Favre just needs to stay out of the way. Week 1 - mission accomplished.

Same old Lions.

U.S. Open - Serena Williams should be ashamed and embarrassed. But I am not sure she thinks she did anything wrong. At first, I was thinking I am glad this is on late and my son is not watching so I don't have to explain this. But maybe it would have been good for him to see such a gross act of poor sportsmanship. I agree Johnny Mac, the foot fault should not have been called. But that does not excuse the behavior that ensued. I was glad when Dick Enberg finally called her out. I had just mentioned to my wife that I know the Williams sisters are not bad girls, but there is something that has never endeared them to me. That opinion is now in cement. Serena has joined Alex Rodriguez and LeBron James as athletes who have lost some of my respect this year. I am glad she refused to apologize, because it would not have been sincere.

Until the next one....

Friday, September 11, 2009

NFL 2009

As I was reading my SportingNews NFL preview issue, which attempted to pick all 256 NFL games for the year, I noticed that the SportingNews writers seemed to be picking the home team at an unusually high rate. Out of curiousity, I added it all up and came up with the SportingNews having the home team win 76% of the time. A little more research of the previous four NFL seasons found this - the home team won an average of 56% of the time from 2005-2008, with a high of 59%.

I was enjoying my SportingNews subscription, but I am not sure if they were being conservative or lazy. I have the same feeling when the so-called experts pick their brackets for March Madness and think a 5 or 6 seed in the Sweet 16 is a cinderella pick. Would someone please go out on a limb? Take a chance. Call a trick play. Be innovative. Try an onside kick in the first quarter. If you lose your job, I guarantee there were other factors.

I will not pick all 256 NFL games now, but since I feel as qualified as the SportingNews, here are my 2009 NFL predictions.

AFC East
1. New England Patriots
2. New York Jets
3. Miami Dolphins
4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Baltimore Ravens (wildcard)
3. Cincinnati Bengals
4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Houston Texans (wildcard)
3. Tennessee Titans
4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West
1. San Diego Chargers
2. Oakland Raiders
3. Denver Broncos
4. Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Championship
New England over San Diego

NFC East
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. New York Giants
4. Washington Redskins

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Chicago Bears (wildcard)
3. Minnesota Vikings (wildcard)
4. Detroit Lions

NFC South
1. Carolina Panthers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Arizona Cardinals
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. St. Louis Rams

NFC Championship
Philadelphia over Green Bay

Super Bowl
New England over Philadelphia

So in the end, my Super Bowl is pretty conservative. Maybe I can work for the SportingNews.