Friday, October 21, 2011

Grey Ghost's Week 7 Picks

The Grey Ghost is back this week after deftly maneuvering some fugitive cows back to the pen. Just consider the Ghost a Renaissance man. Onto the picks...

Master Lock Picks of the Week:
In a bold prediction, I'm going with road favorites to cover this week.

Pittsburgh at Arizona (+4)
I think these teams are further than four points apart. Arizona doesn't seem good enough to exploit the holes in the Pitt D.

Baltimore at Jacksonville (+9)
It should be a long day for Gabbert against the seasoned Baltimore defense. I think the only way Baltimore doesn't cover is if they let up.

Chicago vs. Tampa Bay (+1)
Without Blount, I hope the Bears force Freeman to beat them through the air (which is entirely possible). Here's hoping Mike Martz doesn't try to prove everyone wrong.

Seattle at Cleveland (-3)
This one is a toss up to me, so I'll just grab the points. Seattle coming off a bye should be the difference.

Atlanta at Detroit (-4)
I can see Detroit having a let down this week, especially with the distraction from their head coach. Atlanta really needs a victory to stay in the mix.

Houston at Tennessee (-3)
Houston is better, but still has a lot of question marks with injuries. I'm going to go with the home team.

Denver at Miami (-1)
Here's hoping Miami picks up a win.

San Diego at NY Jets (+3)
I don't like the Chargers and Uncle Norv, but I think the Jets' offense is putrid right now.

Washington at Carolina (-3)
I don't know enough about John Beck to pick him yet. Let's go with Carolina.

Kansas City at Oakland (-6)
Carson Palmer or not, Oakland should take care of business at home.

St. Louis at Dallas (-14)
As loyal readers have learned, I hate these big lines. I picked St. Louis last week, so let's try again this week.

Green Bay at Minnesota (+10)
I can't pick Ponder against the champs.

Indianapolis at New Orleans (-14)
New Orleans at home against Curtis Painter. This would have been a Master Lock pick if the line was just a little lower.

Season Record: 38-33-3

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Griswold European Vacation Shouldn't Include the Chicago Bears or Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Big Ben


Buckingham Palace

Pippa Middleton

All are valid reasons to go visit jolly old London.

Watching the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not. 

These two teams are playing one of the most critical games of midseason this weekend.  Its likely this game could eliminate one of these teams from real contention for a wild card spot in the playoffs.

So why play in London?

G - R - E -E - D

Despite the overwhelming popularity of the NFL, the league wants more. 

The league wants more British pounds and Euros flowing into the coffer with this dog and pony show.  It wants to sell more and more merchandise overseas. 

The Super Bowl ratings have grown exponentially in London, and the NFL wants more and more tv revenue money.  This is critical to teams like the Bears who haven't even come close to spending up to the ceiling of the salary cap this year.  Just more profit!

And when its done whoring itself out in London, it will care for the two teams who had to go over there about as much as a john cares for a Soho prostitute.

Think about this - Two teams and their staffs have to ship everything to London.  Not only do they have to leave their normal routine, they then have to adjust to the time difference and jet lag. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have to give up a home game to play in London.  The NFL offsets some of the lost revenue and for Tampa's owner its also offset because he is one of the owners of Manchester United. 

I read today that this is just the beginning, that the league is looking to expand to more games during the regular season in London. 

Can't wait for the next frontier like Australia or Buenos Aries for kickoffs over there.

So grab your tea and crumpets and wait for the Pet Shop Boys to belt out "Are you Ready for some football". 

Should be quite a scrum!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grey Ghost's Week 6 Picks

Due to a livestock emergency, the Grey Ghost can't elaborate this week beyond quick picks. The Grey Ghost's insightful commentary will return next week.

Panthers at Falcons (-4)
Colts at Bengals (-7)
49ers at Lions (-5)
Rams at Packers (-16)
Bills at Giants (-3)
Jaguars at Steelers (-13)
Eagles at Redskins (+2)
Browns at Raiders (-7)
Texans at Ravens (-8)
Cowboys at Patriots (-7)
Saints at Bucs (+5)
Vikings at Bears (-3)
Dolphins at Jets (-7)

Season Record: 32-28-1

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grey Ghost's Picks for Week 5

After Week 4, the Grey Ghost finally moved above .500 for the season. For Week 5, I'm introducing another feature called the Master Lock picks of the week. Onto the always ghostly predictions in bold.

Master Lock Picks of the Week:

Philly at Buffalo (+3)
This is a must win for Philly. Even though the Buffalo crowd will be rockin, Philly has to right the ship here. On the other hand, a Philly free fall may finally end the Andy Reid era.

Fantasy: If Frank Gore had a stellar week last week, Fred Jackson may find similar success.

San Diego at Denver (+4)
I think this line is entirely too low. I know the game is in Denver, but San Diego should murder the Broncos.

Fantasy: This game should be an indicator of who will win the bulk of the carries the rest of the year for Denver. Keep an eye on it for the future.

Arizona at Minnesota (-3)
Another must win game. Minnesota has looked both pretty good and pretty bad in being 0-4. I like Minnesota to get their first W of the season.

Fantasy: How long is AD going to be under-utilized this year? Are they saving him for the Toilet Bowl championship this year?

The remaining slate of games:

Kansas City at Indy (-2)
This might be the Toilet Bowl championship. Does either team want to win this and risk the Andrew Luck lottery? I think Indy plays with pride today and pulls one out.

Fantasy: A rare game where Colts players might have some value.

Seattle at NY Giants (-10)
Line is just too high. Seattle is a bad road team, but I can't lay that many points.

Fantasy: Hakeem Nicks, Hakeem Nicks.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-4)
Pittsburgh in a small hole early. They can't afford to lose this game.

Fantasy: Tennessee's defense has been better than expected. I don't like a lot of points in this game.

New Orleans at Carolina (+7)
The Saints should be able to pressure Cam Newton enough to make this a blowout.

Fantasy: I see this having the potential for a blowout with a lot of points.

Cincinnati at Jacksonville (+2)
This one would be on the opposite end of the Master Lock spectrum. I really don't have a feel for either on these teams. I'd usually take the points and home team, but the Bengals should be better than the Jags.

Fantasy: No comment, I have no idea.

Oakland at Houston (-5)
In honor of Al Davis, I'll be wearing a white track suit all day. I think the Raiders play hard today and compete. Arian Foster getting healthy does worry my though, he might be the difference maker.

Fantasy: Look for Schaub to struggle until they get healthy. If Arian can take the load off of him, it might be just what the doctor ordered.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (-3)
I believe in Josh Freeman and I hope you will too.

Fantasy: As a mildly concerned Frank Gore owner, let's hope last week wasn't an abberration.

NY Jets at New England (-8)
I really think the Jets have regressed this year. Offensively, they can't do anything, but NE's defense is mediocre. I like New England at home.

Fantasy: The Grey Ghost is playing Mr. Saathoff this week. Jeff is benching Tom Brady in favor of Cam Newton. Here's hoping Brady has a great game on Jeff's bench.

Green Bay at Atlanta (+6)
Atlanta is a different team at home. I like Green Bay to win, but closer than the six.

Fantasy: How frustrating is the Packers' backfield? Is Starks the guy or is Grant? It sure would be nice if McCarthy would let us know.

Chicago at Detroit (-6)
I can't think rationally about the Bears. Plus I said I would keep picking the Lions until they disappoint.

Fantasy: I think the Lions come back to earth statistically in this game. I do like Matt Forte to continue his hot streak.

Season Record: 24-23-1

Friday, October 7, 2011

Meaningful Baseball in October - Odd to a Cub Fan

So I was a lucky recipient of a ticket to a playoff game this week in Arizona (thanks Dave).  I didn't have a rooting interest in either team, but was happy to go regardless.

It was quite the experience.  Seeing the fans chanting before the game, the sea of red shirts for the hometown team.  Fans cheering, moaning, and cursing at each close pitch even in the early innings.  The passion and emotion when the Brewers went down each inning and the volcanic explosion when the Diamondbacks answered an intentional walk with a Grand Slam. 

So why can't my team do this?  It's been almost 10 years since my beloved team has won a playoff game.  In that time the Chicago Cubs have spent

800 million to 1.1 billon dollars on failure

Not only that, the team in many years has fallen to the bottom of the manure pile so quickly that the average fan loses interest in mid-May.  The past two years the Cubs have spent almost $270 million dollars to be eliminated by June.

I was glad to go to the game, it got my baseball fever energized again.  I found myself glued to the Yankees and Tigers last night, and eager to see who wins the other game 5s today. 

I hope someday my kids can experience meaningful October baseball as well.

Lions Revenge will be Brutal on the Bears

Jay Cutler on Monday Night

So the Lions and Bears meet on Monday Night Football.  The first time the Lions have been on MNF in 9 or 10 years. 

The Bears are coming off a mixed bag win over Carolina.  They ran the ball well against a weak Carolina defense, but only passed for 100 yards.  The Bears defense is ranked 31st in the NFL in yards given up and goes against a red hot Lions team with Calvin Johnson.

This has all the makings of a MAJOR blowout. 

The Bears won't be able to handle Detroits defensive line and the Bears have no cornback who can come close holding Calvin Johnson in check.  Jay Cutler appears to be morphing into a Houston Texans version of David Carr, shell shocked, getting the ball out too early.

For the Bears to have any chance, I believe they must blitz, blitz again, and then bliz some more.  They have to get Matthew Stafford out of the game.  The Lions also have Pettigrew at Tight End and the Bears have given up a ton of yards to TE's. 

On offense, Johnny Know has to have 100+ yards and Matt Forte will again be called upon to rack up 150+ yards of total offense.

I don't see it happening Bears fans.  I see a blowout

Lions 42 - Chicago 17

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Part Piece - Stirring Jay Cutler Victories as a Bear & the State of Quarterbacks in the NFL

Franchise Quarterbacks, hard to find.  Many of them build their legacy on games that you can't get out of your minds for decades.  Dan Fouts against the Dolphins in the playoffs, Elway's "The Drive", Montana's "The Catch", etc. etc.   So I thought I'd devote the first part of this column to the couple of games that stand out in my mind as a Bears fan where I worship the fact we have Jay Cutler. 

Ok - on to Part Two of the column...

Comparing Jay Cutler to other QB's in the league.  Remember, the Bears gave up two first round draft picks to get him and signed him to big paper 3 games into his Bears career.  So let's see how he compares to the other starters in the league.  For comparison purposes, I'll use the following scoring:

Above - Rather have Cutler than this guy
Below - Rather have the other guy than Cutler
Equal - About equal to Cutler

Tom Brady - Below, plus Brady's wife is hot.

Mark Sanchez - Above - Sanchez might be on the cover of GQ, but he pretty much looks like a scared kid out there

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Equal, though trending towards below.  Need to see more of Fitzpatrick but his teammates love him

Chad Henne - Above (this goes for any other pablum that the Dolphins run out under the position of QB)

Joe Flacco - Equal.  Flacco can look awfully bad at times

Ben Roethlisberger - Below, though trending to equal.  All of those Super Bowl rings and appearances are a differentiator, even those Big Ben is a pud off the field.

Andy Dalton - Above (for now).  Dalton doesn't have enough history yet

Colt McCoy - This is a close one.  I'll go above for right now, might get some debate on this one.

Peyton Manning - Below - Enough said

Matt Schaub - Below.  Schaub has had big games, bigger than most of Cutler's that I can remember.  Of course he has Andre Johnson to throw to

Matt Hasselback - Above.  A younger Hasselback might get you some argument, and his leadership skills are probably better but not enough to tip the scales.

Blaine Gabbert - He's the Jacksonville QB in case you didn't know.  Above

Jason Campbell - Above - How this guy is still a starter remains a mystery to me

Kyle Orton - Whew, somedays I long for Orton, but not that much.  Above

Phillip Rivers - Below.  Would love to have Rivers and his fire on our side of the field.

Matt Cassell - Above.  Not sure on this, but gut tells me he's a tick better.

So let's tally up the AFC

Above = 8
Equal = 3
Below = 5


Michael Vick = Tough one, this isn't fantasy football, so I'm going to say Equal

Tony Romo = Romo is almost equivalent, I think he has more touch, but gives up the big turnover.  I say Equal

Rex Grossman - I've seen that show before, somedays though, yearn for a little Sexy Rexy.  Above

Eli Manning - Not a huge Eli fan, but he does have a Super Bowl Ring = Below

Aaron Rodgers - Not even close - Below

Matthew Stafford - Kid has memorable games, leads the team back.  Below

Donovan McNabb - Give it up Donovan - Above

Alex Smith - A touch Above

Sam Bradford - Have the Rams scored this year?  Above

Tavaris Jackson - See Jason Campbell.  Above

Kevin Kolb - Not enough book out on him yet, early returns I would say are Equal

Drew Brees - Below, on a number of different fronts

Matt Ryan - Kid isn't as good as he has been billed. Equal

Josh Freeman - If I was starting a team, I take Freeman, think the kid has more intangibles.  Below

Cam Newton - 4 games into his career, I take Newton.

Recapping the NFC

Above = 5
Equal = 4
Below = 6


Above 13
Equal 7
Below 11

So that puts Cutler at the 12-18 range in terms of QBs in the NFL in my opinion

Don't agree, please click the comment button below