Monday, December 28, 2009

Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk on what he enjoys most about hockey

"I enjoy the passing game the most, when you don't just take the puck, dump it and then chase it, but when you have this understanding with your partners on the ice and create a great move... Just like the old style Soviet hockey. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen."

From a now classic Puck Daddy blog interview with Pavel Datsyuk. (Part 1 and Part 2)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week XV Picks

Week 14 was my return to form. A double digit win total (10) is always impressive when picking NFL games against the spread. So I hope to keep it alive in Week 15, although it does get tougher as the season goes on. Almost makes more sense to have your pet monkey make the picks.

Colts (-6.5) vs Jaguars - Lost this one although the latest line was Colts -3 so if that was correct put one in the win column. Better question is how a 13-0 team can surrender 31 points to Jacksonville. That may not get them too far in the playoffs.

Cowboys (+7.5) vs Saints - I love the Saints. They are my team now. But can't quite get on the right side of the line with these guys lately. This is a going to be a high scoring affair but hoping the Cowboys can keep it within a touchdown.

Cardinals (+10.5) vs Lions - Will be a track meet and relay race for the Cardinals. So many injuries for the Lions and such a porous secondary. Should be brutal. And I will be there to witness it.

Bills (+7.5) vs Patriots - Where once this game was the quick and the dead, now it's the dead and the dead. Bills come through for me. You've been good to me this year.

Dolphins (-3.5) vs Titans - Dolphins got more to play for. A real chance at the playoffs and all. So if they don't win there's something wrong.

Browns (+2.5) vs Chiefs - As a Lions fan I hope the Browns win so the Lions can move into the 3rd spot for the 2010 draft.

Texans (-9.5) vs Rams - Their season now irrelevant, the Texans can now beat up on the women and children.

Falcons (+6.5) vs Jets - The Jets may win this game but they will not cover, or at least that's what I'm hoping.

Eagles (-7.5) vs 49ers - Kind of a big spread but the Eagles are now a scoring machine and the 49ers not so much although the Eagles defense is not so good either.

Chargers (-6.5) vs Bengals - The Chargers are for real and the Bengals should play well but long trip and an emotional week. RIP Chris Henry.

Broncos (+13.5) vs Raiders - This is so many points to give away to the Broncos but the Raiders will be starting their 3rd string quarterback and the Broncos have been beating up on their AFC West brethren all season.

Packers (+.5) vs Steelers - The Packers may be for real. They could run the table the rest of the year and they are only two seasons removed from their Conference Championship home loss.

Seahawks (-7.5) vs Buccaneers - Seahawks are completely non-competitive on the road yet win at home.

Vikings (-7.5) vs Panthers - Two in a row I take teams that are more than touchdown favorites. I must be crazy.

Redskins (+3.5) vs Giants - Fighting some inner compulsions here, but the Redskins got the spoiler smell about them.

Last Week: 10-6
Season: 111-97

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Touchdowns In (Week 14 Picks)

A rare Thursday night win for me. Not only did the lowly Cleveland Browns cover they beat the now reeling Steelers. I'll let that victory set the tone for my picks. Go with the underdogs.

Ravens (-13.5) vs Lions - Looks to be another dismal Sunday for the Lions. Rookie Stafford will not be playing making the game not worth watching.

Saints (-9.5) vs Falcons - This is a pretty steep line but the Falcons got smoked at home by a team that is not nearly as good as the Saints last week.

Colts (-7.5) vs Broncos - It's just never wise to bet against Indy. Can't see the Broncos able to keep up with all the scoring.

Bills (-.5) vs Chiefs - Gotta pick one team.

Jets (-3.5) vs Buccaneers - I don't think the Jets are going to the playoffs but I'm pretty sure they will have no trouble beating Tampa on the road.

Dolphins (+2.5) vs Jaguars - Dolphins are a strange team. Hope they keep their recent December winning streak alive.

Seahawks (+6.5) vs Texans - Texans are done.

Bengals (+6.5) vs Vikings - Hoping for a low scoring affair.

Panthers (+13.5) vs Patriots - New England is winning this game. Just not convinced it will be a blowout. But if it is I would not be surprised.

Rams (+12.5) vs Titans - A lot of points for the Titans. Too many.

Raiders (+1.5) vs Redskins - Gotta pick one team.

Chargers (+3.5) vs Cowboys - Tough call. Cowboys desperately need this game. But the Chargers are on cruise control.

Eagles (+.5) vs Giants - Could easily go either way on this game.

Cardinals (-3.5) vs 49ers - Taking the Cardinals because I am so disgusted the 49ers lost to Seattle last week.

Last Week: 5-11
Season: 101-91

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nuggets Visit Pistons (So We Can Witness the Ghost of What Might Have Been)

Hard to believe we're a quarter of the way through the NBA season. And we already have a pretty good idea how it will end. With Kobe and the Lakers winning the championship. The only thing we can hope to break this inevitable finish is injuries or maybe a massive SoCal earthquake.

As for the Pistons, they are a team in search of an identity. The only starter left from the 2004-2005 Finals magic time is Ben Wallace who returns after his prodigal paydays in Chicago and Cleveland. Rip Hamilton and Tashyn Prince are technically still on the roster but injuries have kept them out of the lineup. And the longer they don't play the more it makes sense to trade them. Because in the upside down world of the NBA, it makes more sense to have that season where you bottom out, get a lottery pick and hopefully also have enough salary cap room cleared to bring in a free agent. I assume since Rip Hamilton re-upped last year it could be prohibitive to trade his contract but the guy is a running around pull-up jump shot scoring machine, maybe somebody in the western conference will order that up.

More painful is Tashyn Prince. When we see Chanucey Billups at the Palace with Carmelo Anthony, Pistons fans will see what might have been if Joe Dumars picked Anthony in the 2004 draft rather than Darko. The reason for gambling on the Serbian big man was we already had Tashyn at small forward, and it did make a lot of sense at the time, but Prince seems to have worn himself out the past few years (extended playoff runs and the olympics) and more of a defensive role player than a high scoring superstar like Anthony (40 tonight in Detroit although in a losing cause.) And now he has a bad back. The beginning of the end. A career killer.

The Pistons aren't drawing fans and I have a theory for this. The continuing economic woes of Michigan is the main culprit but fans have a hard time following a team on the decline. In recent years the interest and intensity of fans for their Detroit teams has been strongest for the team on the rise; first the Red Wings, then the Pistons and then the Tigers. The Red Wings are a separate case because they have been so good, so long. And won champions four times across 12 seasons. The Tigers were so bad for so long, and then out of nowhere a World Series appearance and then an aggressive front office to get them back there. The Pistons meanwhile run on the fumes after the over-achieving mid 2000s team. And the much celebrated Joe Dumars may be over-rated. Who built a team that dominated (at times) for an impressive stretch (six straight conference championship appearances.) But now let's blow this up, bottom out and began another rise.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tigers Trade Granderson

This is why I hate major league baseball. But I suppose it's the same for all professional sports. It's as much about business as the games played. Look at the NBA. When they make a trade they don't really exchange players but dysfunctional contracts.

Yes, it's a ruthless business when you trade your most popular player to the league's most hated team. Where Curtis Granderson became a luxury the Tigers could not afford the New York Yankees see him as a low-cost solution to their need to get younger, have more speed and maintain their lefty power hitting.

In a parallel universe maybe Granderson finishes his career with the Tigers and adds his name to the greats who spent their whole careers with the team. Based on the outpouring of emotion that followed news of the trade, a lot of Tigers fans would have preferred that ending. Now Granderson gets to be a New York Yankee and spend at least the next three years chasing World Series Titles.

Mack Avenue Tigers said it best about the trade and Granderson, "...It's a bit like putting your girlfriend on a bus to Hollywood, as she leaves you to try to break it big in movies. I'm happy for him to get that opportunity, but ... he was ours, and kind of a big deal and important figure in the state of Michigan."

I live in New York City, and hate the Yankees, but to see and hear about them all the time you need to have a game within a game. Players you love to hate and players who though they may be Yankees are not so bad. It'll be nice to follow Granderson as he takes his place in the Bronx.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wings New York City Road Trip

I unfortunately missed the Wings road trip to New York this weekend. Two games in two nights is a rare occurrence in these parts and the Wings made the most of it. While they lost to the Devils in a shootout at the Prudential Center Saturday night they rebounded Sunday to beat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. So three out of a possible four points culminating with a fine Jimmy Howard performance Sunday against the Rangers. Not a bad weekend.

It's been a tough road for the Wings since that horrible night in June when they dropped game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. My heart and thoughts go out to fans of any team that makes it to a game 7 and doesn't close out the championship. You go all that way with your team only to watch another team take it all. For Detroit fans it turned out to be the second time in 4 years that not only did our teams lose a game 7 championship but came one game short of being back-to-back champions.

And things haven't improved for the Wings since then. They continue to get older and lost key players to free agency and started this season with a number of injuries to their top line forwards. Though it's still early, the Wings are on the playoff bubble at 9th place in the conference standings.

But hell it's only been five months since the Wings finished their Stanly Cup run. We still have a good 5 months before the 2009-10 season regular season is over. It's hard to get your head into hockey or basketball when football is still playing. I'll meet you there in February.

In better news, and hopefully given for what the Wings are instead of what they have been, Coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland were named #1 respectively as coach and GM of the decade by the Yahoo Puck Daddy Blog.

Mike Babcock honors include his stint with Anaheim. I know there are rumblings that the players don't like Babcock but he has picked up where Scotty Bowman left off and is a more fiery presence than the docile Dave Lewis.

Kenny Holland proved that he could win both with money swinging big trades and in the salary cap era. His moves are further proof of my own hypothesis that often the best business and monetary decisions lead to the best results on the rink. Of course it was tough to lose Marian Hossa who the Wings might have kept had they had salary cap space. But the way Holland has drafted, and the way the organization takes the time to season the prospects in juniors and the minors before they join the team has meant the Wings have not lost a competitive step the whole decade.

Sometimes You Eat the Bar and Sometimes...

Perhaps the gods sensed my sarcasm when I titled my picks post 'Lucky Week 13'. Because as it turned out I had no luck or maybe it's I got no skill. Because I'm licking my wounds after a disastrous Sunday. The secret to my fine record this season is consistency. Never doing great but slow steady results, In fact, this is only my second losing week of the season. But both have been epic. While not quite as bad as my 3 win week 8, this could turn out to be only one game better.

Analyze. Where did I go wrong? First of all I was an idiot to choose so many big favorites. Basically any team that was an 8.5 points or higher favorite did not cover and I picked all of them including the Bengals (won by 10, spread 13.5), the Bears (won by 8, spread 8.5), the Saints (won by 3, spread 8.5), the Steelers (lost by 3, spread 11.5) and the Chargers (won by 7, spread 12.5). Why I picked all the favorites with such high point spreads I'm still trying to figure out. But that's the killer right there. The difference between a good week and an epic fail.

Then I broke one of my golden rules: never bet against Indy. They easily covered 7 in beating the Titans. And then I took the Texans. Huh, did I really do that. They were done last week after blowing the lead to Indy.

Which leaves the rest of the games? The four I did win (Eagles, Broncos, Dolphins & Giants) and shoulder shrug losers Vikings to Cardinals, 49ers to Seahawks and Bucs to Panthers.

Better luck and more research next week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lucky Week 13

This is the big week where I can cross the threshold of 100 games picked correctly and get closer to that magic .500% and over line of 128. However, I find myself down a game already because as per this season I was on the wrong end of picking the correct winner/line of the NY Jets game Thursday night. I thought the Bills would come through (after they let me down and beat the Dolphins this past Sunday) but the Jets were able to win the field goal contest (4-2) and grind out a 19-13 victory.

That's ok, I'll just have to think a little harder for my Sunday picks, which are:

Cincinnati Bengals (-13.5) vs. Detroit Lions - Quite the point spread against my beloved Lions but I know we're always capable of losing big. I think the Bengals are going to let Carson Palmer air it out even more than usual and should have a career day against the Lions secondary.

Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) vs Atlanta Falcons - Back and forth on this game given the injuries to both teams. Impossible to predict how the Eagles will play from week to week. But they need to grind out a victory this week and Atlanta is without their starting quarterback and have a weak defense.

Chicago Bears (-8.5) vs St Louis Rams
- I've been picking the Rams the last couple weeks to cover and it's never come through. And with the over-rated toothless Bears on their schedule you would think's it's the week for them to do it. But I think Jay Cutler takes out the frustration of the whole season on the Rams and wins this one pretty easily.

Tennessee Titans (+ 6.5) vs Indianapolis Colts
- Finally going underdog with the Titans even if does violate my golden rule about never betting against Indy. Just want to keep the Titans winning streak alive and see Chris Johnson makes some spectacular runs.

Denver Broncos (-4.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs - Maybe in weeks past I'd go for the dog here, but Denver is a streaky team and they've had extra rest after their Thanksgiving night dismantling of the NY Giants.

New Orleans Saints (-8.5) vs Washington Redskins - Same deal here as for the dogs and the Redskins solid defense but the New Orleans appears to be on a mission this year and hopefully will be all business for this game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5) vs Carolina Panthers - One game I will not be watching. Carolina is tough to pick - for or against. But Tampa has been better in recent weeks in their covers and I expect them to come through against a divisional foe.

Houston Texans (+.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars - What is up with these half point spreads. Just make them a pick em. Hope I get the Texans on a Sunday when they're on. (I now hypothesize that the half point spreads have something to do with the ESPN software not being able to handle straight up pick -em's)

Pittsburgh Steelers (-11.5) vs Oakland Raiders - Big point spread for a team like the Steelers but they seem angry and desperate. And the Raiders are terrible (even if they did come an endzone dropped pass from covering vs the Cowboys)

Miami Dolphins (+6.5) vs New England Patriots
- Normally I'd pick the Patriots coming off a big loss to blow out their next opponent but they got beat so bad on Monday night might be tough for them to come back.

San Diego Chargers (-12.5) vs Cleveland Browns - Could be trouble with a west coast team flying east to play in the cold but the Chargers are lighting it up lately and I'll stay with the team on a good run.

San Francisco 49ers (+.5) vs Seattle Seahawks - San Fran may be a ready for a late season run and I can't help but continue to think the Seahawks suck.

NY Giants (+1.5) vs Dallas Cowboys - Another game I've been back and forth on but the NY Giants are at home on a long rest and absolutely need to win and the Cowboys and Tony Romo, with a chance to put the Giants away, will choose the hard way.

Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) vs Arizona Cardinals - This is point spread must be wrong. The Vikings are on a roll right now and can score points. Could be a shoot out but I see the Vikings getting timely stops and pressure and sacks on Kurt Warner.

Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs Baltimore Ravens - Packers another team on a good run and need to win this game to control their fortunes for a playoff spot.

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 96-80

Oh Canada

Great article in the NY Times this week about how the Canadian NHL teams are doing better financially than their U.S. counterparts with the narrowing of the exchange rate between the Canadian and U.S. Dollar since 2002.

In fact, some of the most valuable franchises are those in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which is to be expected. We're talking large global metropolises with plenty of hockey loving fans.

Of course you get into the article and the good news is tempered by the idiotic thoughts of Gary Bettman who talks of expansion. While putting franchises in Quebec City, Winnipeg and another Southern Ontario is a great idea, the league needs to contract, and give up this dream of spreading to the sun belt.

The NHL should go something like this:

Original Six

Boston Bruins
Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings
Montreal Canadians
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs

Original Expansion
Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins
Minnesota Wild (formerly North Stars)
Philadelphia Flyers
St Louis Blues
LA Kings

Canadian Teams
Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Quebec City
Ottawa Senators
Toronto (2nd Team)
Winnipeg (maybe)
Vancouver Canucks

The Rest
Colorado Avalanche
Columbus Blue Jackets (pains me to keep this franchise but it does make some sense.)
Dallas Stars (We hang on to this Red State team by virtue of their Stanley Cup championship)
San Jose Sharks
Kansas City (NY Islanders should move there. Sorry NY fans but three hockey teams in one area is too many.)
Washington Capitals
NJ Devils
Carolina (move their asses back to Hartford)

Lose Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa Bay (deserve to find new home because 2003-04 Stanley Cap Champions), Miami, Anaheim (I guess they stay too with their Stanley Cup. Damn this is tough) and Phoenix. If the old folks down in Florida want to see some hockey, let's send them the Charleston Chiefs.
Do this and then you'd have something to work with. Of course this will never happen because all the money the owners paid out (and were paid) for these expansion teams and six less teams is 120 + less professional hockey players.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I called it May 8,2009 (4 months before the season started.)

I clicked on my user name at the MLive form and found this gem from early May. If you can only be disappointed by high expectations, the Lions season is turning out pretty much as I expected.
I'll believe a Lions turnaround when I see some victories. Keep in mind that last year not only did we not win ONE game but we were completely non-competitive. The Lions have lost 23 of their last 24 games. We may have had a few close games but teams knew they could take a week off and still get a W. We are worse off than an expansion team with our culture of losing and acceptance of defeat and humiliation. Four wins would be a HUGE improvement. People who talk about 7 or 8 wins are kidding themselves.

Posted on Overhauled Lions give reason for some optimism on May 08, 2009, 11:15AM

No Joe Talk Lately

It's now been a few months since there was talk of the future of Joe Louis Arena -- home of the Detroit Red Wings. The Illitch family had been leasing the arena from the city of Detroit for many years and elected not to renew that lease earlier this year. This has caused some to speculate that they plan to build a new arena or even move north to share the Palace with the Pistons. Even Scotty Bowman recently got in on the speculation while speaking on local radio musing out loud about a potential Red Wings move to the Palace in Auburn Hills.

As much as I like the Joe, and the memories Wings fans have there of four Stanley Cups since 1997, the place has a few problems, the biggest of which (in my opinion) is its impractical location on the river front. It makes a lot more sense to use the space where the Joe sits to expand Cobo Hall and move an arena closer to where the people and action is in Detroit. A recent article in the Free Press asked architects to propose designs for an expanded Cobo Hall and Center and what they came up with appears to infringe on the current footprint of Joe Louis. That has fueled other speculation that the Illitch's gave up their lease to give the city more options in the Cobo renovations.

And, believe it or not, 30 years is an old man for an NHL arena. Apparently when the new arena opens up in Pittsburgh, the Red Wings will have the oldest arena in the NHL. So they may be due for a new one. And a lot of cities are going multi-purpose with NHL and NBA teams sharing an arena (New York, Boston, Chicago). Basically bigger cities than Detroit.

So it would kind of suck for the Red Wings to move up to the Palace but if the end result was a new arena in downtown Detroit where both the Pistons and the Wings could play I'd be all for that. And when we build a new one let's build this sucker for the next 100 years. (Kind of like Olympia. The one where the Wings made their original Stanly Cup history before being torn down to make way for Joe Louis.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Greatest Detroit Lions Moments of the 2000s

It hasn't been all famine for the Lions this decade. After these two Lions victories, fans and pundits alike were asking themselves, "Could the Lions be for real?" Sadly, in both cases, the answer was no. Also interesting to contrast this with the Red Wings (2 Stanley Cups), Pistons (Championship, Games 7 Final) and the Tigers World Series Appearance during the same period.

October 24 2004 Detroit Lions 28 New York Giants 13
Perhaps the greatest game Joey Harrington ever had as a pro, the Lions came into the Meadowlands and put the hurt to the Giants. Harrington was super efficient completing 18 of 22 passes with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions for a 141.8 passer rating. That win improved the Lions record to a respectable 4-2 and was their third consecutive road victory. They would finish the season 6-10.

November 4 2007 Detroit Lions 44 Denver Broncos 7
The Lions blow out the Denver Broncos at home and finish the first half of their season 6-2. Highlights of this game included an interception touchdown by Shaun Rogers. Since this victory, the Lions have won only three more games through parts of three seasons.

Week 12 NFL Picks

It's Thanksgiving -- that time of the year where it really becomes embarrassing to be a Lions fan. Used to be in the glory days of Lions mediocrity that they would rise to the occasion on national television and play well on Thanksgiving. Now they are just awful all the time. I don't expect this year's game to be any different than last year's blow-out.

But, before more digressive Lions talk, my picks.

Packers (-10.5) vs. Lions - It's great that the Lions beat the Browns but they didn't cover the spread. The Lions defense is horrible and the Packers should score many points. And with the likelihood of no Stafford or Johnson, the Lions won't be able to keep up.

Raiders (+13.5) vs. Cowboys - I've done well this season betting against the Cowboys. Their relatively impressive record is obscured by the fact they have not covered even when they win, which I hope is this case on Thanksgiving.

Broncos (+6.5) vs. NY Giants - After needing OT to beat the Falcons, the Giants fly out west to play a mile high in Denver and are six and half point favorites. I don't think so.

Buccaneers (+11.5) vs Falcons - Same deal. Tampa showed signs of life before last week's blow out against the Saints. For a divisional game, too many points.

Dolphins (-3.5) vs Bills
- Miami looks better without Ronnie Brown and if they want to make the playoffs they need to win this game.

Bengals (-13.5) vs. Browns - After the Bengals shit the bed in Oakland last week, I'll assume they'll want to put a big ass kicking to the sad sack Browns.

Rams (+2.5) vs Seahawks - The Rams seem to be improving (two consecutive covers at least) and the Seahawks are really bad. Marc Bulger is out for the Rams but I think this gives them a better chance to win.

Panthers (+3.5) vs Jets
- Do I get Carolina and three and half points? This is awesome. I can't believe how Vegas completely over-rates the Jets.

Redskins (+9.5) vs Eagles - Intra-divisional game so this is quite the point spread. Redskins offense may suck but the defense keeps them in games.

Colts (-3.5) vs Texans - Maybe the Texans can win this game but you got to have rules. That means no betting against the Colts especially to a team as mediocre and over-rated as the Texans.

Chiefs (+13.5) vs Chargers - The Chargers are good but a little too many points for my blood. Maybe some letdown after the ass kicking they delivered to the Broncos.

Titans (-.5) vs Cardinals - Another one of these stupid 1/2 point spreads. I'm taking the Titans to the house, hoping they can win out the rest of their schedule.

Vikings (-10.5) vs Bears
- This game should be a shoot out or a blow out. The Vikings are starting to pull away in the NFC North while the Bears are done.

Ravens (-2.5) vs Steelers - Good Sunday night matchup. Hope QB Ben plays for the Steelers otherwise this game will be a lost cause. Update: I changed this pick Saturday night. Ben will not play so the Ravens need to take this opportunity.

Patriots (+3.5) vs Saints - I love the Saints and they are my team but you need rules to live by and one of those is always take the Patriots and the points. I would love to see a close game where the Saints win but the Patriots cover.

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 88-72

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Lions 7 Keepers

There was a recent article by ESPN's NFC North beat writer Kevin Seifert about the Detroit Lions and what players on their current roster are keepers. Not surprisingly, he could only come up with 7 players. They are (in no specific order) Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Matthew Stafford, Kevin Smith, DeAndre Levy, Louis Delmas and Jason Hanson. He then named another seven worth learning more about. That list included Derrick Williams, Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Backus, Steven Peterman, Aaron Brown, Cliff Avril and Sammie Lee Hill.

So as a Lions fan, I'm basically rooting for a handful of dudes who will be here three seasons from now. Seifert also mentioned some temporary holders for the next two years that could include Larry Foote, Julian Peterson and Philip Buchanan.

It was a tough read. The Lions just do not have that much talent. Even young talent. The good news is that they have quite a few players on this list of 14 from the three most recent drafts including all their #1's (CJ, Stafford, Pettigrew, and Cherilus) although Cherilus is on the worth learning more about list with lower round picks including (Delmas, Derrick Williams, Aaron Brown, Cliff Avril and Sammie Lee Hill.)

I am a bit confused about needing to learn more about Jeff Backus (nickname Turnstile.) This guy has been with the Lions since the start of their historically bad run and I suppose a plan is out there to draft a new left tackle and move Backus to left guard and see how he'll do there. Also, Domenic Raiola is not on the learn more about list and they locked up him up (like Stephen Peterman) to a long-term contract.

In fact the confusing thing about the O-line is how pathetic it can be at times but how they have long-term contracts for the LT, Center and RG and a #1 pick from 2007 with Gosder at RT. So in the near term to improve the line all they really can do is draft a new left tackle and hope those five (new guy, Backus, Raiola, Peterman, Cherilus) gel.

The Battle for #1

I never thought I'd see the day where the Lions would be battling later in the season to be #1...or wait...this battle is for the #1 pick in the 2010 draft. Ok, that makes more sense. So the Lions can become repeat champions as far as being the worst team in the league and getting the #1 pick if they lose to the hapless Cleveland Browns.

This game promises to be painful to watch so I guess it's a good thing that not many people will be watching. (Including myself -- it would be too embarrassing to request this game at my local bar even though they are sympathetic to my plight as a Lions fan.)

Anyway, here are my picks for Sunday. (BTW picked Carolina to beat Miami. That didn't turn out so well.)

Detroit (-3.5) vs. Cleveland Browns - When you are facing a team that has lost 31 of their last 33 games and you are still the underdog, you know you suck Cleveland. Of course the Lions were favorites once before this season when they faced the win-less St. Louis Rams and the kittens lost that game. I have no reason other than false hope and the fact that everybody says the Browns are historically bad to believe the Lions can win and cover this spread. But if it wasn't for false hope with the Lions, I'd have no hope at all.

Green Bay (-6.5) vs. 49ers - After last week's thrashing of Dallas, the Packers may be ready for a late season run. The 49ers looked horrible against the Bears this past Thursday and it's getting to that point in the season where a mediocre team like the Niners fade.

Pittsburgh (-9.5) at KC Chiefs
- This is a big point spread and you will notice in a bit that I'm going for the underdog on the big spreads, and KC actually has come through for me this season in terms of covering but got to go with the Steelers.

Washington Redskins (+11.5) at. Dallas Cowboys - Ok, here is where I start to step into the crazy zone. I'm sure after their embarrassment in Green Bay last week the Cowboys are going to want to put on a good show for the home crowd, and I know Tony Romo has some crazy record in November but this is a divisional game and I like the points here.

NY Giants (-6.5) at Atlanta Falcons - What is it with the point spreads and New York teams? There must be a lot of stupid degenerate gamblers who bet on these teams. I still hurt from picking the Jets last week with a similar point spread but the NY Giants know they have to win this game and the Falcons haven't looked so good (losing to Carolina last week.)

Buffalo Bills (+8.5) at Jacksonville - The Bills are going to win it for Johnny after their coach was fired on Tuesday. They tend to play well down south (or at least that's my foolish hope.)

Indianapolis (+.5) at Baltimore - What the hell is the point of a .5 point spread. So basically if the game were to end in a tie, you would win with the Colts. Let's just make it a pick em'. I love that line.

Tampa Bay (+11.5) vs New Orleans
- New Orleans has not been covering lately and Tampa Bay has been playing well. Plus, New Orleans has New England on their schedule next week so doing that whole cliche, they'll be overlooking the Bucs'this week.

Seahawks (+11.5) at Vikings - Taking the points again, the Vikings seem to keep it close at home and they were downright sloppy against the Lions last week. Seattle is pretty pathetic though. I'm sure I'll be hating this pick around 2 pm on Sunday.

Rams (+8.5) vs Cardinals - The Cardinals are for real and will no doubt win their division. But after the Rams played New Orleans tough I feel they will do the same with the Cardinals. Who are up and down but have been playing consistently well. Probably be hating this pick too about 2 pm on Sunday.

Chargers (-2.5) vs Broncos - Time for the Chargers to avenge that loss to the Broncos earlier in the season.

Bengals (-9.5) vs Raiders - After taking the Bengals over the Steelers last week, there is no rational way I can't take the Bengals against the Raiders. Although that west coast trip does seem to mess with people. The Bengals offense would love to put up some points and this is the team to do it against.

Patriots (-10.5) vs. Jets - This is a steep point spread. I've been here before with the Patriots where they won by 10 and still didn't cover. But I will never bet the Jets again after last week's debacle.

Eagles (-3.5) at Bears - I don't know what to think about the Eagles. They're all over the place. But the Bears are about to pack it in for the season. Jay Cutler sucks. All hype and smoke and mirrors.

Titans (+4.5) vs. Texans - Gotta take the team that's on a three game win streak. I'll take Chris Johnson and the points any week.

Last Week: 9-6
Season: 80-64

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What I Learned Today

For the Lions, 16.5 points is just not enough. After watching the game, I'm amazed they came as close as they did. They continue to be pathetic in all facets of the game with the offense becoming more and more hapless each game and the defense constantly surrendering the big play. The offensive line was horrid. Our quarterback took a beating. On the other hand, the other bad teams perked up as the Redskins, Buccaneers, Chief and Rams all covered the spread and in the case of Chiefs (against Oakland - not a big deal) and Redskins (are the Bronco's done?) actually won their game.

My kicking myself pick of the week is undoubtedly taking the Jets against the Jaguars. As I wrote earlier, I am always on the wrong end of the Jets score. And I should have known they would not win today when the cover of the NY Post included a quote from their owner that said the Jets would make the playoffs this year. After today's loss that is not going to happen. They're done.

The team of the week is the Bengals. They have now beat both the Steelers and the Ravens twice this year and are atop that division at 7-2. Always nice to see a once sad sack franchise claw themselves from the bottom.

I went 3-1 in the 4 o'clock games to salvage the week. I should have known the Packers would play well -- their season would have spiraled out of control with another loss -- and the Cowboys were due to come back to Earth.

New England and Baltimore come through and I'm looking at 9-6.

UPDATE: Awesome ending for the the Colts/Patriots games. The best of all possible worlds. The Colts win and the Pats cover. And Bill Belichick makes one of the most bizarre coaching decisions of all time.

Week 10 NFL Picks

Better late than never and better right than wrong. It's my week 10 NFL picks.

Before the games even start I'm up 1 for the week after picking San Francisco to beat the Bears. It was an ugly one but the 49ers (-3.5) just covered with a 10-6 victory.

Lions (+16.5) vs. Vikings - No chance the Lions win this one but 16 and half points is too good to pass up. When you are a Lions fan a cover is a victory.

New Orleans (-13.5) vs. Rams - Can't believe the Rams are getting less points than the Lions.

Dolphins (-9.5) vs. Tampa Bay - This is a lot of points for the Dolphins but it's always bad move to hope a pathetic team like the Bucs cover.

Jets (-6.5) vs. Jaguars - Jets have killed me this year. Always on the wrong end of the score with these guys. But going to keep on with the insanity.

Titans (-6.5) vs Bills - I did have a good run with the Bills but that is over. Even coming off that bye week, don't see it happening. Trent Edwards could potentially cause some problems with the Titans crap secondary. Risk I'm willing to take.

Bengals (+6.5) vs. Steelers - Taking the Bengals and the points here though I would feel better if I got the full touchdown. Statement game for the Bengals.

Broncos (-4.5) vs. Redskins - The Broncos get no respect so they better make it happen and big today.

Panthers (+1.5) vs. Falcons - One team on it's way up, the other one on their way down. Carolina plays tough in their division.

Chiefs (+1.5) vs. Raiders - Who knows. Who cares.

Chargers (-2.5) vs. Eagles
- Another team (the Eagles_ where I am always on the wrong end of the score.

Arizona (-8.5) vs Seahawks
- The Cardinals better show up to play. Seattle is such a beatable team.

Cowboys (-2.5) vs Packers - Are the Cowboys for real now? Packers have been playing horrible. Could be an upset. But probably not.

Patriots (+2.5) vs Colts - My rules include never bet against the Patriots or the Colts but do you do when they play each other? Take the team that is getting the points.

Ravens (-10.5) vs Browns
- The Browns motto. "Hey at least we don't suck as bad the as the Lions." To which I would reply, "Yeah, how's that working out with Brady Quinn."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halfway through the Season....This Won't Hurt a Bit

Well, the Lions are halfway through their 2009 season and things are not looking good (which is about normal.) Their 1-7 record now means the Lions are 2-30 in their last 32 games. This is one of the most pathetic runs in NFL History.

At the start of the season I predicted four victories, which I thought was being conservative but of course the Lions could not even meet these lowered expectations. They even had a chance to pull a victory against the nearly as hapless St. Louis Rams but came up on the wrong end of a 4th quarter touchdown.

So even though there has been improvement, it's been extremely incremental and it's why I loved this passage from the NY Times 5th Down Blog.

The Lions, like the real estate market, are improving so slowly that it takes detailed analysis to measure their advances. Last year they allowed 8.8 yards per pass attempt; this year it’s down to 7.9. Opponents averaged 5.1 yards per rush, but the Lions have shaved that figure to 4.8. Their third down percentage has risen from 28.8 percent to 39.6 percent. Quoting these modest improvements is like cheering a 0.05 percent gain in housing values while upside-down on a half-million dollar townhouse mortgage, but Lions fans and Realtors know that bottoming out is more a process than an event. The Lions face the Vikings and host the Browns after they leave Seattle. They’ll go 1-2 over this stretch.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Things I learned Today

1. Lions vs. Seahawks: A little less man love for Matthew Stafford after he screwed me on the spread with that last interception (his 5th of the day).
2. Falcons vs. Redskins: You can safely bet against the Washington Redskins all the time. They deserve to be grouped with those other one win teams. (Even though they have won 100% more games than they should have.)
3. Cardinals vs. Bears: The Chicago Bears defense is Detroit Lions bad. Can't stop anything.
4. Ravens vs. Bengals: The Ravens are the new Houston Texans. Never know what's going to happen with these guys.
5. Colts vs Texans: The Colts are conserving energy for a deep run. Just play good enough to win.
6. Patriots vs. Dolphins: The Patriots are money but a 10 1/2 point spread is a lot of points. They win by 10 and still don't cover the spread.
7. Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Jacksonville Jaguars are really bad. You can never go wrong betting against them. Even if you lose.
8. Titans vs. 49ers: The Titans are back and the 49ers and the Titans may end the season with the same record.
9. Saints vs. Panthers: The Saints can't blow out everybody. But they have beat everybody.
10. Giants vs. Chargers: The Giants and the Chargers are better than we thought they were. Or they just both looked good playing against each other.
11. Packers vs. Bucs: The Packers are now in an official tailspin. And there is not a win-less team anymore, just a bunch of teams with one win (Rams, Browns, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Lions.) The Lions will continue to be the only 0-16 team in NFL history. Thanks Green Bay.

Record so far 6-5.

Still up Eagles vs. Cowboys. I picked the Eagles but of course it'll be a Cowboys rout.

Steelers vs. Broncos. Steelers better come to play.

Hope to win one of these and come out of this weekend with a "winning" record.

Lions Game Day

Another beautiful fall Sunday that will most likely be partially wasted watching the Detroit Lions be the living embodiment of futility and hopelessness.

Okay, maybe there is hope. Which is all you really get with the Lions having lost 29 of their last 31. Witnessing many of these games, I can tell you that they will most likely lose and do so in one of three ways.

1. The Blowout

This was the Lions specialty last year when they would quickly fall behind 21-0 early in the game (sometimes halfway through the 1st quarter) and then be on the receiving end of some ungodly score like 55-21. Blowout scores more likely to be seen in the college football. I witnesses one of these blowouts in person and the Lions were going through the motions. Like a bunch of Zombies. The Lions really haven't had a game quite this bad this year so I think they are due.

2. Keeping it sort of close

The Lions fall behind but keep it pretty close, maybe two scores or less. It sometimes appears like they'll get back in the game but it never quite happens. They just can't make that play. And then the other team, sick of letting them stick around, scores an easy touchdown on offense, or maybe the Lions make a boneheaded special tams miscue, or throw an interception. This is usually against a good team that doesn't want to tire themselves out playing the Lions.

3. The inability to close a game.

The Lions appear to be in the game the whole way. Maybe they even hold a lead for a time. But it gets later in the 4th quarter and the other team wakes up, realizes that they are losing to the Lions and decide they really need a score. At this time, the Lions defense feels no similar sense of urgency to make a stop and the winning touchdown is surrendered. And the Lions lose once again.

My prediction today for the Seahawks? Obviously I'm hoping for a win but most likely it'll be a #2. I might even be a happy with a #3 performance. But my fear is we haven't had a #1 blow out in a while and we're due.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 9 NFL Picks

So I put the disaster of last week behind me, sucked it up and promised to make better picks this week. (And hopefully the teams that I do pick will also play better this week.)

Detroit Lions (+10.5) vs Seattle Seahawks - The Lions as usual a big underdog on the road. To be expected of a team that hasn't won anywhere in more than 2 years but I think this one may be close. Because with the Lions they either get blown out or lose in the 4th quarter. I think this game will be the latter. Don't know why. No valid reasons. Seattle is so up and down not really sure what it is going on with them.

Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) vs Chicago Bears - Even though I am still hurting from the hurt Carolina put on the Cardinals last Sunday I think they'll right things in Chicago. Plus Chicago is over rated and Jay Cutler has been a turnover machine.

Atlanta Falcons (-10.5) vs Washington Redskins - My hope with this game is Atlanta is mad after two straight losses and it will take it on the lowly Redskins.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals - Getting scared now that I've taken three road teams to win or cover. But it's payback time for the Ravens. And even though it did not work out for me at all last week, picking the team that lost in the earlier division games is still my strategy.

Houston Texans (+9.5) vs. Indy Colts
- Now getting real crazy. I had the Texans getting upset by the Bills last week and got killed. Anytime I pick the Texans they either lose or don't cover. Going to give them one more chance.

New England (-10.5) vs. Miami Dolphins - Going to ride the Patriots to another/win cover. This one is high. But the Patriots do like to run up the score.

Green Bay Packers (-10.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Speaking of which, the Packers like to run up the score and play well against the weak teams. And Tampa Bay is the weakest of them all.

Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
- I know Kansas City is bad but didn't the Jaguars get blow out by the previously winless Titans last week. This is my upset pick I suppose.

Carolina Panthers (+14.5) vs. New Orleans Saints - This spread is insane. Divisional opponents. Hopefully the Panthers don't pass. And the Saint make mistakes and think 2 touchdowns is enough of a margin of victory.

San Diego Chargers (+4.5) vs. New York Giants - Oh how gamblers have been burned by the Giants this year. Please Phil Rivers west coast represent.

San Francisco (-4.5) vs. Tennessee Titans - The 49ers almost upset Indy on the road and then get this insulting spread for a home game with the one win Titans. Taking the Niners on principle alone.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys - Been doing well (for the most part) betting against Dallas this year. But they look much better now. Eagles need to win to get that stranglehold on their division.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos - Steelers are good but they do get lucky. The Broncos are good but not 7-1 good. More like 6-2 good.

Last Week: 3-10
Season: 64-52

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So that happened.

Of course. I jinx it. This was the weekend I needed to pull a George Costanza. Do my homework, make my picks and then choose the opposing team. Because the funny thing is I might even make the same picks over again. I still don't know where I went wrong. The only one that still grates on me is picking the Jets over the Dolphins. I hate the Jets. And I like the Dolphins. And the Jets have now lost both their games to Miami this season. So I don't think Rex Ryan is going to be talking Super Bowl again anytime soon. I hope the NY writers turn up the temperature on this guy. And the other New York football team did even worse getting blow out by their Philadelphia rivals. The Eagles own the the Giants who are now obviously just not a good team. And It looks as though Dallas might be the team to win that division.

Of course the most painful games was the Detroit Lions. Anytime you feel you've bottomed out with the Lions something even more horrendous happens. If the Lions were going to win 4 games this year they needed to beat the win-less and hapless St. Louis Rams today. Now four wins is wishful thinking. In typical Lions fashion when the defense actually played good enough to win the game the offense couldn't do anything but commit penalties, drop passes and kill drives. And then we basically lose the game on a fake field goal for chrissakes. A 54 yarder that even the Rams knew they could never make. Of course nobody thought to cover the guy heading towards the end zone.

I want to believe the Lions will get better. That their rookie quarterback is the guy, that their new coach is as smart as he seems and that they can start to win games they need to win. But in what had been called a "statement" game the Lions came up short. They looked bad and at times were unwatchable. The quarterback made bad throws and the coach was out coached. Just not a lot of hope right now. But much like I need to forget about my 3-9 weekend (please New Orleans come through for me tomorrow) the Lions need to forget about this one. It's possible we can beat the Seahawks next week.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Week 8 NFL Picks

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm 61-42 this year in picking games. I'm on fire. Better than all the dudes at the New York Post so far this season. And in the pigskin pick em pool on ESPN I'm in the 95% percentile. I have to tell you I've never been in the 95% percentile for anything in my life.

So probably going to jinx this week by writing out my picks and providing reasoning but here it goes.

Detroit Lions (-3.5) vs St Louis Rams - Picking the Lions even though I've done well betting against them this year. (I thought they would cover the Vikings and not cover the Steelers. Lost those two.) I heard Tom Kowalski of Booth Newspapers say on the radio that the line on this game opened at 9.5. That is crazy and I think bad information. You just can't trust journalists anymore. Especially once they have a blog. Even 3.5 points is a lot but I want and need the Lions to win big. Breakout performance by Matthew Stafford. Forward down the field. Touchdowns. Lions Victory!

Buffalo Bills (+3.5) vs Houston Texans - If there is one team I can not figure out it's the Houston Texans. They won last week but didn't cover despite being up 21-0 at the half. The Bills have been coming through for me although they do not look pretty. That game with Carolina was ugly. God Carolina sucks. Just a lot of bad football. This is the only game this weekend where the home team is an underdog. I hope the weather is bad. Gonna riding the bison for one more weekend. And the Texans are a lose one win one team so if that streak continues they lose here.

Chicago Bears (-13.5) vs. Cleveland Browns - The spread is large but if I've learned one thing this season, no matter how large the spread, never bet on a crappy team to cover. It rarely happens. (Of course, when it does, so so satisfying.) I just hope Jay Cutler will continue to prove his fraudulence as a NFL quarterback the following week.

Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks - I had the Boys losing to Atlanta last week but for the first time this season they actually looked good. Seattle may be a really bad team.

Indianapolis Colts (-12.5) vs San Francisco 49ers
- One of my rules is never bet against the Patroits even if the other team is getting 50 points (which they would have covered 2 weeks ago against the Titans.) This goes double for the Colts especially this season. Especially at home. 49ers do have a tough physical defense so this could be a lower scoring affair.

New York Jets (-3.5) vs. Miami Dolphins
- This is a toughie. I want to pick Miami but these teams already played this season and I don't think Miami is good enough to take both games. There is no way Chad Henne plays as well as he did in the previous game. But the Jets did lose to the Bills at home two weeks ago. And I've been doing well betting against the Jets though one of my more misguided picks of the season was thinking the Jets would beat the Saints in New Orleans. For this game and my strategy for this week, pick the team that lost the earlier meeting.

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos - Baltimore is due for a win (lost three straight) and Denver is about ready for a loss (6-0).

New York Giants (+2.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- Giants you screwed me last week. Fool me once...Fool me twice and I won't get fooled again.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.5) vs. Tennessee Titans - I don't know and I don't care. But I do have to pick one of the teams. It'll be interesting to see how Vince Young does as a starter.

San Diego Chargers (-16.5) vs. Oakland Raiders - This spread is horrific and I'm always on the wrong end of these Raiders point spreads. (How do they beat the Eagles and then get blow out by the Jets.) And San Diego killed me last week with their blow out of the Chiefs. I could go either way here. The Chargers did win the first meeting so my strategy was to pick the team that lost the earlier meeting. But rules are made to be broken.

Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings
- The biggest game of all times featuring the homecoming of prodigal son Brett Farve, the gun-slinger to Lambeau Field. Packers lost in Minnesota earlier this year so the rule is the Vikings don't beat the Packers twice . Of course Farve could turn in one of his legendary performances on the not quite cold enough to be frozen yet tundra. Green Bay needs to beat him for their fans (and their GM.) I did well betting against the Viking last week. Though the Minny D did look tough as the Steelers got two defensive touchdowns. Still...going with the Packers...

Arizona Cardinals (-9.5) vs. Carolina Panthers
- The Cardinals appear to be back to their Super Bowl losing form and Carolina is just pathetic. This is a lock. But of course the Cardinals will come out and play like shit.

New Orleans Saints (-9.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
- Never bet against the Patriots, the Colts and maybe you can add the Saints here. Large spread but we've seen how New Orleans can put up 40+ on anybody. So that means the Falcons have to score 30+ on an under-rated Saints defense. I'm on the Saints bandwagon until the wheels fall off.

I picked three underdogs this week (NY Giants, Buffalo and Jacksonville.) And Jacksonville is getting points against an 0-6 team. That has to piss them off.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still Looking Good for those 4 Victories

Hey everybody. Or the one person that follows this blog according to my blogger dashboard. The last time I checked in with you (all?) I said the Lions would win 4 games. With all the defensive pickups I said show me the money before any bold predictions of 8 wins. (I'm sort of glad Mlive ruined their comments threads by making them 10 per page. I waste a lot less time with the delusional and the misinformed.) And I'm won't gloat and say I told you so because I wish nothing more than a return to mediocrity for the Lions. But maybe next year. Or next decade. Which at this point is kind of the same thing.

In the meanwhile, the Lions come off their bye week with a 1-5 record. And that's progress. Best of all we face the St. Louis Rams who are shaping up to take the Lions crown as one of the most futile football teams of the modern era. The last time the Rams won Dubya was president and Obama had not yet won the election. What can you say. Hopeless cities. Hopeless football.

But there is hope for the Lions. Right now one of the biggest concerns in my life is the status of Matthew Stafford's knee. What can I say, I like this kid and he is far superior than Daunte Culpepper. Remember when that was a controversey? Yes the salad days of early September. I was lucky enough to attend the Lions/Bears game at Soldier Field earlier this month and that was a great first half he put together. When he hobbled to the sidelines with the knee injury I couldn't help but think of course. Just as he was about to have his break out game. That is so Lions. Finally a glimmer than just a gigantic punch to the gut.

But the rest of the team still sucks. Our pass defense is historically bad, breaking records year after year for futility. All I can say is we must not only beat the Rams but blow them out. Let's get up two touchdowns early and then put our boots on their throat. Even if we win this game but it goes down to the last play like the Redskins's game. that will be disappointing. I'm looking for a breakout game. In other words, I'm looking for disappointment.

In better news, I'm doing a pigskin pick em on ESPN and have a 61-42 record against the spread through 7 weeks. This is somewhat impressive but picking the games is a pretty easy this year. Just pick the favorites to cover. No matter how many points the other teams is getting. Always bet the Patriots. (though they didn't cover at Denver.) And against Carolina if they are 9.5 point favorites. They are godawful And the Saints are my team this year. That comeback last week against Miami made them very popular in Vegas.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lions Win Total Prediction - 4 Wins!!!

This is a really stupid exercise that before the start of every new season people want to predict how many games the Lions might win. There are many unknowns with this team that makes it difficult.

Some people are wildly optimistic, thinking with all the new blood they will win as many as 8 or nine games. I am not in this camp. I don't know how you could think such thoughts after last year's disaster. Their arguments run along the lines that the Lions defense is all-new (only two starters remain) so they will be a lot better. But how can we know if these guys are any better? You need to show me. An that can't happen until we play some real ball this Sunday.

I'm in the 'show me the money' camp. Our defense was awful last year and even though much of it has been replaced, I'm not too sure these guys are going to completely turn it around so quickly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lions Week 1: The New Orleans Saints

It's been a long long time coming. This football off-season took many years or at least it felt like it. I guess that's what happens when your team becomes the first to go winless for sixteen weeks. (The losing streak is now at 17 games.)

And just what happened during the off-season, not a whole lot. Just a new general manager, a new head coach, a new rookie quarterback and 32 new players on the roster not even to mention a new logo.

Even after all that, the Lions still should be pretty bad. This season will actually be considered successful if the Lions win four or five games and just show improvement and some way out of their horrible condition.

The NFL did them no favors with their schedule. And first up is the New Orleans Saints, the #1 passing offense against the absolute worst pass defense. This will be trouble.

I just hope for something competitive and something watchable, which is asking a lot when it comes to the Detroit Lions.

My prediction, no clue: New Orleans 38, Lions 24.

Looks Like They'll Make It (After All)

The Tigers are looking strong as they finish up the last month of the EXTREMELY long baseball season. I must admit, I didn't think they would pull it out. This team is pretty flawed. (Spotty hitting and nail biting relief pitching, among them.) But so are the other teams in their division. Although the Twins are still down there at 5 and half games out. We've got our magic number. 19. Like Steve Yzerman. Go Tigers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tigers Still #1 (in the AL Central)

(NOTE: It's now August 19th and I need to update my blog but as long as the Tigers continue to be in first place in the Central division the headline is still relevant.)

I'm like that book from a while back, the Underminer, the best friend who casually destroys your life.

And that life is the Detroit Tigers. (Not that anybody on their team or fans care what I think.) I fully expected them to fold their tents for the year and give the White Sox first place after their series this past weekend. While the Tiger hitters seemed to see my way of things, the pitchers kept them in the game and they did get some timely hits. So we will have to wait a bit longer for them to have that big season blow out, so I can say I told you so.

It's pretty bad the Tigers don't have a decent corner outfielder after dumping Gary Sheffeld and still paying him $15 million dollars to go away. And that makes it unlikely they will make the trade necessary at the deadline to stay in the pennant race.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summertime Sports Blues

Summer. Where the living is good and the sports are boring.

I'm just not that into the Detroit Tigers even though they are in first place after the all-star break. I'll be the last one on this bandwagon and I fully expect them to have some sort of collapse come August or early September. Although the other teams in the Central division are so atrocious that they just might hang on. And if they do, we can look forward to the top team in baseball (the Red Sox, the Yankess, the Devil Rays?) beating our brains in a five game series and then we'll be done. I know I'm fixated on the destination more than the journey, but I am a crotchety when it comes to baseball and the Tigers. How I loved it when I was a kid and now the old stadium finally torn down this year and all my baseball cards somewhere in the parent's attic and just this nostalgia that will not be satiated by the current MLB product.

Then there's the Pistons, who are a little hard to figure out. We cleared all that cap space and let our veterans move on to sign Ben Gordon and Charles Villanueva? Then word gets out that the cap number for 2010 will be around $52 million which means we have $27 million tied up in 2 shooting guards (Rip + Ben) and an undersized big man (Villa). Given that this cap space was the reason for blowing the team up mid-season last year, the reality did not live up to this fan's expectations. The NBA should be more exciting next year for a few of the top teams that added talent but the Pistons will not be one of these teams but a work in progress. They may make the playoffs only because they just have a lot of bad pro basketball teams in the NBA Eastern Conference.

And can't help myself but looking forward to the Lions breaking camp later this month. Will the Lion's start a rookie quarterback? Will their defense be able to stop anybody? It will be exciting to win a game or two this year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shooing Away the Cobwebs

With an unfortunate lull in the sports world - when my mind is forced to turn to tennis and international soccer tournaments to get me through the summer - I thought it might be a good time to do state of my thinking assessment of the Wings, Pistons, Tigers and Lions.

We'll start with the Pistons who fired their coach today. This was a necessary move as I was never going to take the Pistons seriously with Michael Curry as their coach. I'll admit much of my information on his ineptitude was second hand but it was pretty damning and the Pistons tumbled pretty far after making it to the conference championship six years in a row. I'm not sure if there is a plan in place with the Pistons - they seem be doing a lot of things as it comes, but a new coach, draft picks and some free agents should re-ignite some excitement. But still I would prefer to blow it up and start over, now that may happen anyway.

The Red Wings, after their heartbreaking game 7 loss, are in good shape. The only issues are will they have enough money to sign Marian Hossa or not and if they do who will they need to get rid of. Really, the most interesting thing about the Red Wings is they just opted out of their lease on Joe Louis Arena and could be playing in a new arena or the Palace in the next few years.

The Tigers are on a roll. Too bad I can't stand baseball. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I was such a baseball fan back in the day. But I'll get on this bandwagon soon enough, as it appears the tigers are for real with the season half over and they are still in first place.

Lastly, the Lions. Things are going to better this year, of course not saying much. I love the summer but can't wait to get to the fall and the football season. Get my bets on again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tonight They Play for Everything!

So it all comes down to game 7 for the Red Wings and though this will be a big one, I'm already starting to feel the long summer before football season starts. Because baseball hasn't done it for me since I graduated little league. I will admit that baseball does get good when the playoffs start, but by then we already have football back on the field so it doesn't deliver for those long summer months. This must be why summer reading is a big deal.

I am pretty much a homer so even though I may love the team (the Red Wings) i do hate the league. The NHL is run by a moron and it's just been a series of bad decisions for the last 15 years or so. I've written about this before but because the Wings are in the Western Conference and the NHL's scheduling is so messed up they play in the New York area once a year even though there are three teams here, it makes no sense. And last I checked Detroit was in the Eastern time zone. And it just goes on from there. Like this franchise the league wants to keep in Phoenix instead of moving to Canada where people are ready to love the team even though the bankruptcy proceedings have made public that the team has lost $300 millon in their few miserable years in the desert.

Anyway, I digress. The game 7 tonight will be a tense one and I'm feeling a bit strange being so confident that the Wings will prevail. They have two huge things on their side: the way they have dominated at home this playoffs, losing only one game and history. A home team has not last a Game 7 since something like 1971 and that was the Canadians beating the Black Hawks. The most successful and legendary franchise in NHL history beating the most unsuccessful and unlegendary franchise. But when it all comes down to one game, it all comes down to one game. Anything can happen.

So whatever happens, happens. Of course I will be ecstatic with a victory. Let's parade the Stanley Cup around the ice (which, by the way, I just found it yesterday was a tradition created by former Red Wings #7 Ted Lindsay.) Then have a real parade through the streets of Detroit. Can't wait to watch the live webstream of that moment.

And then it's the long hot summer. I guess it will be spent jonesy and hoarding any bit of information I can get about the pathetic Lions.

And then maybe the Pistons will do something to create excitement. Because after last season, and what they will be losing in terms of Rasheed and Iverson (good riddens) being free agents and gone, and how there young players took a step back this past season, and how I am not sold on the new coach, the lights could be dim there for a while. And this NBA playoffs, it hasn't done much, the Lakers not really playing well, and yet winning, and tragic the Magic - that series is over.

A rambling Friday...Tonight will be awesome....the Lord Stanley stays in Detroit!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wings go for 12

Ok, time to do a stanley cup finals preview, especially after the wings took game one from the penguins and miss cindy last night. I'll fully admit I was a bit concerned going into this game. The wings have injuries and the short rest and the three games in four days that raised the possibility of things getting out of hand in a hurry. And I'll also admit the victory was pretty ugly, a couple of strange bounces led to Wings goals and the insurance goal came from our fourth line guy who scored his first NHL goal an awesome play where he grabbed his own rebound and sent it flying past the Pen goalie Flurry. It was a gritty win. I love what a gritty team the Wings have become. And winning game 1 is huge. As I learned last night, 78% of the teams that win game one go on to win the Finals...Not much of a preview but there it is.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Obsessive Lions Thoughts Part 1

I have this awful habit of obsessively reading the comments on the Mlive Lions stories. There lives an opinionated and misguided bunch of Lions fans who are severely damaged by following such a lousy team. This is my response to a lot of what they've written about the Lions recent new general manager and head coach and the draft and everything else.

Let's start with the fired Matt Millen. Even back in 2001, William Clay Ford Sr. was at the back end of the days in pro sports when the charming but over-matched ex-jock is put in charge. While teams like the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox in baseball were hiring super smart people to create new systems and statistical models to sees things objectively and win with less or spend a lot smarter, the Lions left it up to the wisdom of Millen's mustache and gut. Millen lurched from one cascading poor decision to the next, making mistakes from the get go like firing the experienced coach he inherited and then hiring the first hugeley under-qualified coach he interviewed. He never really ever put a plan or system into place, drafted horrifically and then insisted that his coaches play those players (most famously QB Joey Harrington). After the disaster of the west coast system, they brought in the tampa two but both these systems - practiced by the respective coaches in their purest form were already passe in NFL circles. Needless to say, after Millen was fired, and the team went 0-16, we have hit a monumentally low point. Maybe the lowest point ever.

Of course they should blow it up, fire everybody, yada yada yada. But the Lions kept the promotions in-house and so far I have to say Martin Mayhew, Millen's GM replacement, is doing a good job. First this guy does not appear to have the ego of a Matt Millen. He is not putting this thing on him. He is instilling a system and a philosophy and understands this is going to be a long term rebuild. He has already swung three pretty good trades (which are rare in the NFL) kick starting the rebuilding process with a 1st and 3rd round pick from the Cowboys for Roy Williams, shipping off had it with Motown QB Jon Kitna for secondary help and trading under-performing and overpaid Cory Reding for a much needed all pro linebacker (and former Spartan!) Julian Peterson. I get the feeling that if he makes a decision or is wrong about the player, he will cut his losses and move on. I don't think Millen had this in him.

His coaching hire was top notch and not many fans have complained about Jim Schwartz. He has a bit of a southern everyman charm but I think this guy will always be thinking 3 or 4 steps ahead. Perhaps the most controversial decision was drafting Matthew Stafford #1, the potential franchise QB out of Georgia. To say Lions fans were not happy would be a bit of understatement. We've seen this movie before. (Great, we go from Joey to Matthew) But given that we are starting fresh with a new head coach and offensive coordinator, we can now build our team and system around a guy who did pretty well as a SEC quarterback. I think this has a good chance of working out. Not sure why everybody wants to call him a bust before he starts his first training camp.

We have to draft defense! That's what the angry masses post. And this is true, our defense was monumentally and historically bad last year. We started the season with three straight games of being down 21-0. In the last two years, we've given up 50 points on multiple occasions. That's Oklahoma vs. Slippery Rock stuff. So we are looking at a long term rebuild. It's like a horrible financial position, we need to let this unwind before rebuilding. We need veterans (which they have signed) to fill the immediate holes and we need to have our new coaching staff figure out if some of these young guys who did not play so well did so because they suck or poor coaching.

Rebuild the O-line I was a bit confused by the Lions 2nd selection when it happened. A tight end? I know that position has been a disastor forever for the Lions, but we have such larger needs. But we did get a "stud" here and when you think about it a tight end is an offensive lineman/receiver hybrid. So this guy can help out the line and also help out our new quarterback. Our offensive line - like our defense - is a long term rebuild. I watched some lowlights of the Lions on the NFL network and it was amazing how out of position our offensive line was to make plays. I know we know what we have with Jeff Backus and Domenic Raoila - they will need to be upgraded in the future - but for now they will have to do. Hopefully our first rounder from last year Gosder will put it together and Daniel Loper, the free agent from the Titans who followed Coach Schwartz here, will contribute in a big way. All we got was projects on the offensive line, so that's what it will be, a huge project.

Drafting Another Safety in the Second Round This was the third out the last four years in the draft that the Lions drafted a safety. We already spent high picks on a safety, why do it again? Although, again, the Lions have a lot of needs I like they are building on a strength here. The Lions drafted two young safeties who appear to be working out and now we have third. Let's build on a relative position of strength. Plus, we got the top safety in the draft and one pick after ours New England took a safety. Maybe we do know something now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Red Wings Flag Flies in the Desert

This is why hockey won't work in Phoenix, or Southern California or most points South. Because anybody who is a hockey fan and lives in Phoenix, most likely grew up somewhere else and likes the team he followed as a kid. And chances are if they did grow up in Arizona, they are not hockey fans and are not likely to follow a perennial loser like the Coyotes.

Gretzky lives in the swank Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. A sports bar not far from his house flies several sports flags from its awning.

But the Phoenix Coyotes flag is nowhere to be seen. In its place ruffles the flag of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Nobody's Taking that Stanley Cup from the Red Wings

It just feels damn good to be a Red Wings fan right now. The team is playing well and finding ways to win and getting goals from their role players. The Stanley Cup is still out there a ways in the distance but it's becoming clearer, just seven wins to keep that thing in Detroit for another season. Two consecutive decades where we've won the cup back to back. That just rocks.

This playoffs has seen the next generation of Wings players assert themselves. Hard to believe, Kirk Maltby and Chris Chelios are healthy scratches (maybe not so much for Capitain America, the dude is just old) and Kris Draper needs to be put out to pasture. Sorry, Drapes. But that is the truth. ("You see this quarter, it used to be a nickel.") They've got all these young dudes who fly. All with much more complex and foreign names to learn and pronounce (ok, Cleary and Franzen not so hard) but as long as they wear the wing wheeled of the Red Wings, it's all good.

Even though the NHL is run by a bunch of dudes who could not sell water in the desert (or at least hockey), they got themselves lucky with the original six match-up this round, the Red Wings vs. the Blackhawks. The seasoned veterans vs. the young kids from Chicago. This is storied, I heard this it was the 704th game the teams played on Sunday. A re-match of New Year's Day Winter Classic.

No predictions from me, except that the Red Wings will win. I'm pretty sure the Blackhawks are pretty happy they got as far as they have. They were not even in the playoffs for the past few seasons (maybe longer - too lazy to do research) And I don't know how you can possibly predict how many games a hockey series will go. I just hope the Red Wings don't make it close, give em' any hope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Acceptance...It's Going to be a Long Road to Mediocrity

I took a look back at the Lions schedule and realized I witnessed their last win (at home vs. Kansas City December 23, 2007 - a real uninspiring victory) and their last win on the road (against the Bears at Soldier Field on October 28, 2007.)

That's right. It is very possible, and probable, that the Lions could go two years without a victory on the road. Which, by the way, is not even close to their record. Remember they went 2001, 2002 and 2003 without wins on the road. Three seasons!

Before they lost seven of their last eight in 2007, the Lions actually won two road games. Which, if you are aware of the recent history of the Lions, is a monumental achievement. Let's take a spin in the recent way back machine.

2008 - Didn't win nothing nowhere.
2007 - 7 wins two on the road (Oakland, Chicago)
2006 - 3 Wins for the season and somehow beat Dallas on the Road
2005 - 5 wins and two road victories at Cleveland and New Orleans
2004 - 6 Wins. A Golden age for the 00s Lions on the road with wins at Chicago, Atlanta and NY Giants.
2003 - 5 wins. Lost all 8 road games
2002 - 3 Wins. Lost all 8 Road Games
2001- 2 wins. Lost all 8 Road Games.

So our road record for the past 8 seasons is 8-56. That makes the 31-97 overall record over that same span look downright respectable.

Unfortunately I have become addicted to the Mlive Lions forum and it is insane how some of these people think the Lions are going to win 6 or 8 games. Make the playoffs, etc,

Think about this. We average less than four wins per season and one win on the road in the last eight years. I know past failures don't necessarily mean we can possibly suck this bad in the future...but let's get real...we got to crawl before we can walk.

We no doubt will be improved with competent coaching and new players but we have a long ways to go. To paraphrase former Lions coach Marty Morningwhig (5-27 record over the 2001-2002 seasons) the bar is low. Let's take the wind.

Four wins would be incredible. Seriously. Expectations could not be lower.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wings was Robbed

"If it ain't rough, it ain't right."

That's what the Pistons used to say but now it's happening to the Red Wings. (BTW look at Chauncey Billips and the Nuggets making it look easy against the Mavs in the NBA playoffs.)

Last night the Wings lost game three to the Ducks and find themselves down 2 games to one. The Ducks took back the home ice "advantage" after a late Wings goal was disallowed when the referee lost sight of a clearly loose puck. So not only did the Wings lose, but they lost in a pretty demoralizing way. If that goal had been properly allowed, we'd be looking at overtime (again) and the Wings with the momentum.

To be honest, and this might be blasphemous, but this is shaping up to be a exciting series. I am looking forward to the Wings battling back and winning this thing. As nice as it was to win the Stanley Cup last year, no team ever gave them a good fight. There was only a spell in the first series with the Nashville Predators where a team threatened to take control of a series. After they put out that fire they rolled onto victory.

Since the game last night was on the west coast and started late, I fell asleep way before the ending, so I did not have that full emotional investment in the last minute debacle. But I think this will give the Wings "us against the world" attitude they will need to win this series and continue on to the Stanley Cup.

Of course all that being said, the Wings absolutely need to win this next game. It's a must win. We can't be going down 3-1. That would be really bad. But this next game will be huge and I can't wait to see how the Wings respond and win this game.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2008 Lions Calender Update

This is a repost. As a gift for Christmas 2007, I received a 2008 Lions Calendar. Thankfully this past Christmas I was spared that gift. Let's take a look at who was "featured" and where they are now.

Lions 2008 Calendar Update:

January - Jon "10 Win" Kitna Traded to Dallas March 2009
February - Kenoy Kennedy Released March 2008
March - Jeff "False Start" Backus
April - Boss Bailey Not re-signed. Signed by Denver Broncos March 2008.
May - Mike "Call Me' Furrey Released February 2009
June - Ernie "You See, the Lions Can't Mess Up All Their First Round Draft Picks" Sims
July - Dan "Are You Sure He's on the Team" Campbell Released February 2009
August - Cory "Better Step Up This Year" Redding Traded to Seattle March 2009
September - Kalimba Edwards Released March 2008
October - Kevin Jones Released March 2008
November - Fernando Bryant Released February 2008
December - Roy "Not Here Much Longer" Williams Traded to Dallas October 2008

Lions Let Their Dead Wood Float Away

I'm not sure how the Detroit Lions new free agent signings and draft picks will turn out but I do like who they are getting rid of.

The latest was Brian Calhoun, a third round draft pick in 2006. As Al pointed at the Wayne Fontes Experience, Calhoun who always seemed to be injured, finishes his 3 year career with the Lions with a grand total of 99 yards from scrimmage. He was more successful as a kick returner, with 221 yards in returns. Talk about Another One Bites the Dust. This leaves only Ernie Sims and Daniel Bullocks from the 2006 draft, though both are starters making it one of the most successful drafts in recent Lions history.

This comes after the release of 2008 free agent signing disasters CB Travis Fisher and TE Michael Gaines, who were let go after they began participation in off season workouts. Sorry guys.

And then there was the big purge on the first day the Lions could get rid of players, done went CB Leigh Bodden, TE Dan Campbell, T Jon Dunn, WR Mike Furrey, G Edwin Mulitalo, S Dwight Smith and LB Anthony Cannon. MLB Paris Lenon, DT Shaun Cody,RB Rudi Johnson, QB Dan Orlovsky and WR Shaun McDonald were not resigned. In better news, Jon Kitna was traded to Dallas and Cory Redding to Seattle for actual football players.

The way it looks now, the Lions will have at least six new starters on defense this season, (Free Safety, 2 Cornerbacks, Middle Linebacker, Strong Side Linebacker, Defensive Tackle) with the potential for more.

Also interesting was the signing of WR Steve Sanders on January 5th. It turned out after the Lions acquired free agent wide receivers Bryant Johnson and Ronald Curry and drafted Derrick Williams, he was no longer needed. He was released on May 4th.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Even More Reasons to Hate the Bears

The Jay Cutler sweepstakes turned on the Leos in a huge way. I agree that the price was too high but why the hell did he have to go to the Bears. Now we have to deal with him for the next 20-25 games we play against the Bears. Could be ugly times ahead.

But let's hope the new brain trust in Allen Park (or Ford Field) or wherever the hell it is they work concentrates on those first five picks in the draft. And they all need to be good and they all need to start right away. Let's also hope we can get something out of players from the last few years drafts and they don't turn out to be bust, like our horrifying drafts from 2002-2004, where not one player from three full years of drafts is on the team.

Basically, let's keep our eyes on the prize.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sheffield is Long Gone

This news just hitting the wires....the Tigers have released slugger Gary Sheffield. This took some general managerial balls but it's the right move. Sheffield is a has been, and has been an albatross around the last two teams he's played for, locker room poison and brings nothing but bad vibes, even when he is hitting decently. (According to the Detroit News this is stunning because the Tigers will eat his $14 million contract.)

Granted, I had a different opinion when the Tigers first acquired him after the 2006 season. As I remember it, he was crying about his contract in New York, threatening to hold out unless he received an extension. The Tigers off their magical 2006 season gladly swallowed him up in a trade, surrendering promising prospects in the process.

As we all know the last two Tigers seasons have went south and though Sheffield has hit well at times, he's mostly been injured or pissed off, or both. This is pretty much the way it went down when he was with the Yankees. He is living proof that baseball is the most individual of the team sports.

It will be much easier to pull for the Tigers this year with Sheffield gone. It's nice to know that Leyland's buddy was not cut a break (another guy who has lost much of his magic over the past two seasons.) I will say it is admirable that Sheffield never did take steroids (as far as we know) and I'm sure he'll hook up with a new team but good riddens and I'm glad the Tigers made the brave decision to move on.

With the Lions, the Draft is a Warm Gun, WIth No Safety

After the majority of early mock drafts indicated otherwise, it now turns out the "experts" think Detroit will not draft the golden boy quarterback and instead play it safe, and pick a left tackle or this can't miss linebacker prospect

They base this on the new coach Jim Schwartz being smart and thinking things through. According to Peter King of SI, ""Schwartz won't be cowed into drafting Georgia's Matthew Stafford just because he's a good quarterback...If Schwartz has sincere doubts about any aspect of Stafford's game, he'll take someone better at his position."

You would think after eight seasons of horrific drafting preceded by merely bad drafting, it would be old man Ford begging for the safe pick. Not the coach who just rode into town and needs a quarterback. The new guy can afford to gamble. If history serves, his career is over anyway.

And this whole off-season I've been driving myself crazy, silently pleading, whatever you do, just do not draft a quarterback at #1. Especially this one. The guy didn't even finish his senior year. With all due respect, he almost lost a bowl game to Michigan State in 2009. I am State fan and grad and I know that's not good.

But, little by little, I have come to accept the fact that maybe we'll draft the quarterback #1. The guy does have a rifle for an arm and it would be nice to see him thrown downfild to CJ. So whatever happens, I'm at peace.

p.s. And this just came to me. In 2008, Matt Ryan beat Michigan State in a bowl game and went on to become the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback and led them to the playoffs. Maybe now that Stafford did the same against State in 2009, he can write this same script for the Lions. Heheheh...Yeah, like that'll happen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Golden Age for the Red Wings?

As a fan of the Wings since the Dead Things era, and growing up with their rise in the 90s, I always thought the two Stanley Cup seasons of 1997 and 1998 would stand as the high water mark of recent Red Wings history. And those were special times, no doubt, as the Wings drank from the cup after a 40 year plus drought. It was a long road to respectability and to finally get there and stay there, a city went crazy in its adoration.

Then we continued to win and brought home another cup in 2002. That was awesome. Because it's great to win but it's even better to bring it back home again. This also coincided with an ever increasing payroll and some accused us of buying championships. Then we got into some early round exits and the lock out, and then the new salary cap and everybody began to think that the era of Red Wings dominance was coming to an end. But let us consider this.

  • The Wings will qualify for their 17th straight post-season, the longest current streak in professional sports

  • They will reach the 100-point mark for an NHL-record 9th consecutive season

  • And, it is probable, they will put together their 4th consecutive fifty win season, tying an NHL record held by Montreal and Boston

And let's not forget we are defending Stanley Cup Champions. It's always a hard and uncertain road to the Cup especially when you are trying to repeat, but this team may be the most talented ever. We've got Zetteberg, Hossa and Datsyk. That is one ass kicking trinity. And if we can lock up Hossa into a long-term deal, we can ride this thing way into the future.

The only problem with all this success, is we Wings fan take the regular season for granted. I'm just dusting my hat, reading about what's going on with the team because I know they will take care of business in the regular season. It's automatic. They are money. They're golden.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Could the Pistons not make the playoffs?

It's a bit hard to reconcile after six straight Eastern conference championship appearances, two Finals appearances and a championship that the Pistons may be sitting out the 2009 playoffs. But the controlled demolition of the Pistons roster this year by Joe Dumars and injuries makes this a real possibility.

To be honest, I'd rather get a lottery pick than suffer through a first round exit to the Cavaliers or the Celtics. So I am going to be the anti-fan and hope that the Pistons cast themselves out into the wilderness. That would give a huge mandate for change which is going to happen anyway with the expiring contracts of Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson.

The likely outcome is the Pistons back their way into the playoffs because Charlotte, Milwaukee and New Jersey are just too sad sack to make it happen for themselves.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Make the Best Business Decision

It's more a curse than a blessing. But the Detroit Lions have been "rewarded" for their historical 0-16 season with the first pick in the NFL draft. The question now becomes who will they draft. The top candidates are a pair of left tackles (Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe), a middle linebacker (Aaron Curry) and a quarterback (Matt Stafford). I'm not quite sure who the best player of the four is, but I think the Lions should make the best business decision and everything else will fall into place.

The #1 pick is not desirable because the team will have to pay a LOT of money for the player, much of it guaranteed. Last year's #1 pick left tackle Jake Long contract was immense (5 years @ $57.75 million with $30 million guaranteed) and the year before that quarterback JaMarcus Russell (6 years $68 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed) hit the friggin lotto.

Right from the get go you will make an unproven rookie one of the highest paid players in the league. So you need to be absolutely sure the guy is going to work out. (Which they never do for the Lions.)

Also, since you will be paying a new rookie more than $11 million a year, it needs to be at a position where teams typically pay that kind of money, which is quarterback, left tackle and maybe defensive line and #1 wide receiver. So, for instance, if the Lions draft Aaron Curry, a linebacker, they will need to pay him at least $10 million a year. The highest paid middle linebacker in the league is Brian Urlacher who is paid a bit less than that amount.

So that's the dilemma right there. The Lions need a linebacker bad but it makes more sense to draft the best player at left tackle or quarterback (given the names at the top of the board.) So, the best business decision, is to sign Jason Smith for a five or six year contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million per year with $32 million guaranteed. It will be interesting to see how my amateur opinion holds up over the next month as this deal gets done.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A New Dawn in the Jungle for the Lions

I've been seduced before. Many times. And each time I thought this time it's different. This guy is different. He will make THE difference. He's a winner. And he'll turn us all into winners. This time we won't get hurt. This time, it's our turn! Time for New Orleans.

But of course it always turns to shit. But maybe, just maybe, this time could be different. There is always that potential. And this is why I am stoked with the new head coaching hire of the Detroit Lions, Jim Schwartz.

For one, this guy falls off two of the most successful coaching trees in contemporary pro football. He worked for Bill Belichick (who said he was one of the smartest coaches he’s been around – enough said, right there) and Jeff Fisher. For another he is educated. He has a degree in economics from Georgetown and according to reports is an avid chess player. Which is a bit of switch from their two previous coaches, who were from Northern Michigan and the Marines respectively and like all Lions coaches of the past 50 or so years would do the same thing over and over again hoping for different results. As a chess player, our new hero Schwartz knows that every situation has its own uniqueness and that any move you make effects what happens in subsequent moves. This is what you need in a football coach.

Now the Lions are stinking rotting corpse but at least there is nothing to save, no tradition to uphold. Except for the losing, which like a disease, we went from lovably mediocre to completely pathetic. We could get rid of our whole roster and I wouldn't care. This is the definitive crisis opportunity.

It's that sweet spot of a time to be a Lions fan. A new coach about to be introduced to a ravenously hungry but demoralized fan base and he #1 overall draft pick and five of the first 85 draft picks to get us some new blood and identity and

Restore the Roar. Moew!!!!