Friday, October 28, 2011

NFL Week 8: The Cream is Rising. Huh-Huh... Huh-Huh...Huh-Huh...

The world must be right. Bevis and Butthead is back on TV and following last week's 3-0 shutout, yours truly is now 5 games over .500. The J-E-T-S gave us a scare, but our other two winners- the Panthers and Vikings, were pretty much non-sweats. We're taking our talents on the road to Vegas this weekend, and we're bringing our dogs with us. Ruff, ruff.

New Orleans at St.Louis(+13.5)
Ironically enough, the 62 points the Saints posted last weekend against that team Peyton Manning used to carry on his back, was also the same amount(62)of Vicodin pills that injured Saints coach Sean Payton popped during said game.

This is nothing more than a "due" play. I'm not going to try and make a case for how much I love the Rams, because they do in fact suck. How effing bad are they? Well, besides their 0-6 record, in their last 4 losses, they've scored 7,10,3, and 7 points, for a total of 27 over that span. The Saints scored 27 during halftime of their game last week, for Christ's sake.

The Saints are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 vs. a team with a losing record. They're 1-6 ATS in their last 7 as road favorites. Take the points, and don't be surprised if by some strange reason, any given Sunday, the Rams are still in this game in the 4th quarter. Rams

Jax(+10) at Houston
The Jags have been in every game they've played except one, their Week 2 ass whuppin' they took at the hands of the Jets. The Texans have lost 3 of their last 5, and even though they manhandled the Titans last week, they're 1-6 ATS in their last 7 following a SU win.

We like the Jags getting almost double digits. Their 6th ranked defense will allow no more than 20 points in this spot, and we're banking on Blaine to post 10 or 13 points for the cover. Texans win, but not by much. Jaguars

Washington(+6) at Buffalo
The Redskins are starting to resemble a MASH unit. Five offensive starters are either on IR or in the hurt locker. Mike Shanahan told reporters on Monday that its times like these when he gets inspired by Dr. Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese?, as it helps him plow through adversity.

We're not sold on the Bills. They've cooled off from their 3-0 start, having lost 2 of their last 3. And their defense is very suspect. Currently 31st, you need to look no further than the Bills last 5 games. Beginning with Week 2, the Bills have given up consecutively 35,31,23,24, and 27 points. In their last 7 as a road dog of 3.5-10 points, the Redskins are 6-1 ATS. Redskins

Last Week 3-0 ATS
YTD 14-9-2 ATS

Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Blind Mice: Shanahans Need To Explain Some Play Calls

By Judge Patrick

There is a rodent problem at Redskins Park. One mouse, the father, has a proven track record of success, both offensively and in the win column. The other mouse, the son, has Chris Simms' initials tattooed on his ankle. You want to guess which one is in charge of the offense? I'll give you a hint; he has a tattoo of another dude's initials on his ankle.

I woke up Sunday morning worried that John Beck would be the reason why the Redskins would lose to a 1-5 Panthers team. Instead, 3 coaching decisions, that I still cannot comprehend, went a long way into sending the Redskins home 3-3, and into a possible tailspin.

Some people say that you cannot mix business and pleasure, nor business and family. By doing so, you are inviting, and opening yourself up to a whole new set of problems and questions. This is what I think Mike Shanahan faces come Monday morning.

Now before I so eloquently make my point, I will state that the Redskins defense, for the second week in a row, has looked like the defense who aspired to suck into next dead last place last year. And the defense didn't exactly help the cause, when it came to yesterday's efforts. But I'd like to point out some interesting coaching decisions, that for the most part, were made well before the game got out of hand.

3 decisions, at 3 different points of the game, went a long way into determining the outcome of this game. If Mike Shanahan had final say on all 3 decisions, then his status as a "genius" needs to be re-evaluated. If he didn't have final say on these decisions, and his son Kyle did, then I'd like to know (especially if I'm Dan Snyder) just what he's getting paid $7 million dollars for. Let me explain as I go McLaughlin Group on you.

ISSUE 1!: 2nd quarter, 0:36 to play in the first half, the Redskins have the ball at their own 31 with 1 timeout. This situation gives you two ways to go in my opinion. Take a knee and go to the lockerroom tied at 6, getting the ball to start the 2nd half, or take your chances down the field, and see if you can steal some points before the half.

On 1st down, the little mouse decided to take a shot down the field, which fell incomplete. Fair enough, shot taken. On 2nd down, with even less time on the clock and still just 1 timeout, whoever is in charge of play calling decided to run a quick slant towards the middle of the field, which in this situation will net you 10-15 yards at best, and it will force you to call your last timeout. If Gaffney doesn't fumble there, what are you left with? 1st and 10 from your own 40, no timeouts and maybe 17-20 seconds left? But Gaffney did fumble, Carolina then kicked a FG to take the 9-6 halftime lead, and in my opinion a huge momentum shift.

They took a shot on first down and came up empty. At that point, you swallow your pride, take a knee, and go into the half tied 6-6, knowing that you are getting the ball to start the second half.

ISSUE 2!: Going for it on 4th and 2 from the Carolina 40, on the Redskins opening drive of the second half. Some might say that if you can't get 2 yards, you don't deserve to win. I say if your coaches can't figure out that you are only down 3 early in the 3rd quarter on the road, you have a defense you claim to be good, a guy playing QB for you that hasn't started a game since 2007, and a punter that has been all world the first 5 weeks of the season, you punt the ball and play for field position.

And if you are so inclined to go for it in this position, I'd take my chances doing the only thing that you had done consistently to this point in the game, which is run the god damn ball! I would not run back to back plays out of a shotgun formation when I only needed 2 yards. But that is exactly what somebody in charge decided to do, the second resulting in a 7 yard loss as Beck was sacked. Two plays later the Panthers scored, and the Redskins now trailed 16-6. That's now 10 points that were thrown away to end the 1st half, and start the 2nd.

ISSUE 3!: 4th quarter, 5:05 to play. With all 3 timeouts in hand, having just gone 80 yards in 10 plays in 3:08 to score a TD to make it 30-20, the idea of a onside kick was presented, and unfortunately approved. The Panthers, like the rest of the world, were caught off guard when the Redskins lined up in a onside kick formation and burned their last timeout.

At this point I said to myself, "Way to go rat face, you just made them burn their last timeout!"

Unfortunately, Shanny and Co. lined up for another onside kick, one in which Carolina was prepared for, and Carolina recovered it.

I honestly can't think of a good reason to go onside there. It's a 10 point game, there is 5 minutes left, you have all 3 timeouts and the 2 minute warning. Gano is good for a touchback. You kick it off, let them start at the 20, and try to play some defense. I realize that the defense failed to stop Carolina most of the day, but why then would you give them the ball at your own 49 with 5 minutes to play and down 10, instead of their 20 and down 10?

And spare me the "what if?" scenarios. Onside kicks are a low percentage play, and I just don't see how this situation called for that desperate of a play. It was stupid, end of story.

There certainly is an argument that the Redskins defense (or lack thereof)was the reason they lost on Sunday. But I still think those first two coaching decisions went a long way in sealing defeat. I have been a big supporter of the Shanahan regime, but I cannot give them a pass for those decisions today.

Follow us on twitter @sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Friday, October 21, 2011

NFL Week 7: Pondering Our Future

San Diego at NY Jets(PK)
Rex Ryan and Norv Turner exchanged some fightin words in the media this week. We didn't read the quotes, but we're pretty sure Ryan called Turner Pizza Face, and Turner responded by saying, "At least my feet don't smell like a fish market!"

The Jets come in having lost 3 of their last 4, and conversely, the Chargers have won 3 straight. The Jets didn't look very impressive in their MNF win against the winless Dolphins, and we guess that's why this game is just a pick, with some books having the Jets as a 1 point dog. Don't think too much about this one. Never bet on Norv, and never bet a west coast team playing on the east coast at 1pm Eastern. The Jets have covered 5 of the last 6 in which these two teams have met, including last year's divisional playoff round at San Diego. Jets

Washington at Carolina(-1)
While most people were focused this week on which Quarterback Coach Shanahan would start, backup tight end Logan Paulsen was planning a post game trip to Kings Dominion, sponsored by 94.7 Fresh FM. The plan is to go out and get their asses kicked by the Panthers, get injured in the process, and then its party time at the popular amusement park.

They say, "you are what you are", and the Redskins are a .500 football team at best. Couple the fact that we think the Redskins are the first 3-2 team in NFL history to pull their Quarterback NOT because of an injury, with the number of injuries the Redskins suffered to the left side of their offensive line last week, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The Redskins have lost 6 straight games in which they face a rookie Quarterback. The Panthers are an impressive 5-2 ATS this year, and they've scored 20 or more points in 5 of their 7 games. They've been in every game they've played in, even last week's 14 point loss to Atlanta, which in reality got out of hand late. Hey Skins fans, "Back to life, back to reality." Panthers

Green Bay at Minnesota(+9)
The Vikings have opted to bench Donovan McNabb for Christian Ponder. When asked to evaluate Head Coach Leslie Frazier's decision to do so, author John Feinstein said it sounded like code for "Sexism", since Ponder is "definitely younger and better looking."

In all seriousness, the Vikings should be 3-0 at home this year. They blew a 17 point second half lead to the Bucs, and then followed that up the next week blowing a 20 point lead to the Lions. We think the change at QB will give the Vikings a spark, and we like the home dog getting almost double digits, versus a team who is overdue to get bitch slapped. Vikings

Last Week 2-1-1 ATS
YTD 11-9-2 ATS

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who Will Be The Starting QB Next Week?

By T.F. Patton, special commentary for Sportsyackontap

This question will of course dominate sports talk and water cooler conversations all week in D.C. After listening to post-game analysis from the pundits and watching twitter remarks, from geniuses like Chad Dukes, it appears a foregone conclusion that Beck will start at Carolina next week.

However, does anyone feel a tinge of desperation in the air if they start Beck?

Yes, Grossman had a horrible day, and following Rex's fourth pick, Shanahan had no choice but to go to the pen, and try to at least allow Beck to give the team a spark. But if they give up on Grossman now, they cannot go back.

For starters, whatever confidence Grossman has left, will be all but gone if benched for next week. Secondly, and most important, all coaches are egomaniacs to some extent, and stories of Shanahan’s hubris are legendary. So if Shanny pulls the trigger on a QB change now, barring injury, he will stick with his boy wonder for the rest of the season at all cost.

Conversely, Shanahan and his son chose Grossman to start the season and they aren’t going to let four quarters of bad play (going back to the St. Louis game) and mobs of fan(atic)s on sports talk radio change their minds so easily. Now if Grossman plays like this next week against Carolina, all bets are off. Thus, it’s much easier to make a QB change at 3-3 than at 3-2, especially if Grossman plays next week like he played today.

The only viable reason to resort to Beck right now, is because of the offensive line injuries the Skins suffered today. A major part of the Skins success leading up to today, had to do with their lack of significant injuries, and today they possibly lost two offensive lineman, and Chris Cooley (who has mostly been irrelevant this season), but he is seemingly an integral part of the Skins’ two tight end set. Beck gives the Skins much more mobility at QB, and this might be reason enough.

Aside from Grossman’s performance, the Redskins weren't horrible today. The defense was outstanding in the second half, and the special teams was good all day. And people, they're still 3-2, essentially (because of a game in hand, and having beat the Giants) tied for first in their division. If they choose to bench their starter from game one, this sends a message to the entire team. It tells them that the recipe that brought them to 3-2 was not good enough, and they need to go in a new direction.

Most importantly, and the reason I think the Shanahans will not pull the trigger, is it shows EVERYONE that they made a mistake with regard to Grossman in the first place. Shanahan is probably not going to admit defeat with the benching of Grossman, when he has a winning record through 5 games.

In any case, I don’t think it’s rational to ditch Rex at this point. The Redskins are still in a good spot, in a division that appears nobody is going to run away with, and at the end of the day, Sunday was simply a loss to a desperate divisional opponent. Redskins’ fans rooting for the change should be careful for what you wish for. Pulling the trigger this week might be one week too early, a clear sign of desperation, and there would be no going beck, excuse me, back.

Follow us on twitter @sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random NFL Week 6 Thought: 'Drive' is Way More Entertaining Than 'Moneyball'

Carolina at Atlanta(-4)
The Cam Newton led Panthers are a 1/2 point from being 5-0 ATS through his first 5 NFL games. We've played against them twice so far this season, and we've come up big fat losers both times.

Matty Ice is due to step up, and Cam Newton is due to get involved in a game in which he and his team get their asses kicked. The Falcons were 13-3 last year people, 13-3!!! And as far as we can tell, they're still pretty much the same team, even adding Julio Jones to their offense.

They were just embarrassed at home for the second consecutive year, in front of a national audience, to the defending champion Packers. Trust me when I tell you, getting the Falcons here and laying well under a touchdown, is like stealing. Falcons in a romp.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati(-7)
This game's line looks too good to be true. Too "horrible" teams playing, and one of them is laying 7. You take the team getting the points, right? Wrong.

The Bengals, unbelievably, are 7-1 ATS in their last 8. Now granted, they're not usually laying a bunch of points in those games, but nonetheless, we like'm here.

The Colts are in panic mode, having not prepared for the future-errrr- drafted a QB over the last couple of years to apprentice under Peyton- and we think they're in punt formation from here forward. Their owner is on twitter way too much, and there was a report this week that they might be shopping Reggie Wayne. The Bengals are going to win this game 27-7, or some dumb blowout score like that.

Philadelphia at Washington(+1)
Andy Reid has been coaching like he's been smacking it up with his drug dealer sons. His defense is being led by their former Offensive line coach-wha,wha,what?..and the Eagles are currently dead last (tied for 32nd with the other inbred team from Pennsylvania) in the +/- turnover ratio, at (-10)

Here's the deal. We were leaning Eagles all week, but then we started thinking logically. The Eagles are a team in disarray. The before mentioned Reid has lost his team. In fact, Redskin fans can relate to whats going on up in Philly, as the Eagles are the latest team to win the offseason Super Bowl, only to have the real season results blow up in their ego infested faces.

The Eagles defense sucks. Mike Vick is getting hit on about 65% of the plays he's involved with. Shanahan getting extra week to prepare is 10-5, similar to his 13-4 season opener record. And the Redskins defense is currently 6th, a far cry from last year's 31st ranked disaster.

The Redskins will come out and punch the bewildered, much traveled Eagles right in the face. The devil's advocate says that the Eagles force the issue and make Rex throw the ball. The only problem with that, Phan Boy, is that the Eagles are 30th in rushing yards allowed, giving up over 140 per, and the Redskins are pounding the rock this year. The Eagles and their season goes down in flames here. Redskins

Buffalo at NY Giants(-3)
The Giants are coming off a bad home loss. They turned the ball over 5 times. 5 times! I don't care who you're playing, the World Champion Minnesota Lynx would've beat the Giants last week if the Giants turned the ball over that many times.

This game is real simple. Red faced Coughlin probably ripped his team a new one, and then restored order and had a good week of practice. Eli and crew will protect the ball this week. Eli is actually having a pretty good year, despite last week's meltdown. He's thrown 11 TDs and has a 102.3 passer rating.

The Bills are due for a good thumping. Somehow through 5 weeks, they've already managed to erase an 18+ point deficit, twice. This is our NFL October Game of the Month!!! Giants.

Last Week 2-1 ATS
YTD 9-8-1 ATS

Friday, October 7, 2011

Breaking the Shackles of .500

We can't seem to create any distance between ourselves and .500. Last week was looking pretty good when our lock, the home dog Arizona Cardinals, had a 10 point lead with under 4 minutes to play. Next thing we know the Giants fumbled, but didn't, then scored the go ahead touchdown, their second in less than a minute, crushing our dreams and breaking our bank.

However, we continue our torrid pace in the Junkies P1 league, where you're forced to pick every game on the board against the number. 39-25 ATS through 4 weeks, is good for T-3 out of 45 players.

New Orleans at Carolina (Under 51)
We like the under here for a couple reasons. For one, we're waiting for the rookie quarterback to play like a rookie quarterback. Through 4 weeks, Cam Newton has thrown for almost 1,400 yards (3rd in the league), has passed for 5 touchdowns, and run for 4. With Newton at the helm, the Panthers are scoring over 22 points per game, and have played in 3 of 4 OVERS already. This is the week that all comes crashing down.

Expect the Saints to score, and for the rook to turn the ball over in his attempts to keep up. We're counting on 4 weeks of game film to contribute to the Saints success in doing so. These two teams have played 8 straight UNDERS when they play in Carolina, and in 10 of their last 11 divisional games, the Saints have played UNDER.

Oakland (+6) at Houston
We think the Raiders are a lot better than people are giving them credit for. One thing we know they're doing for sure is running the ball. 1st in the entire league, at 179/game clip. That's impressive.

Also impressive is the Raiders ability to respond to defeat. Following their last 5 losses, they're 5-0 ATS the following week. Over the course of 14 losses, they're 12-2 ATS following those weeks.

We're still not sold on the Texans. They beat a beat up Steelers team last week at home, but lost to the Saints the week prior, giving up 30 points in the second half. And the Texans seem to be rotating star player injuries. After playing w/o Arian Foster the first few weeks, they're now going to be playing without Andre Johnson for possibly a month.

The Raiders can score, doing so at almost 28 points/per. And as we've mentioned, if they run the ball like they're capable of running it, this could be a moneyline win as well. Play the Raiders plus the points.

NY Jets at New England (-7.5)
The Jets are on the tail end of 3 consecutive road games. Brutal. They've lost the first two- at Oakland and at Baltimore. Brutal. They've given up 34 points in each of those losses, and they now get to face the league's #1 offense. Brutal, brutal, and brutal.

This game screams for us to play the "wounded animal" card, and take the Jets plus the big number. We're not doing it. The Jets don't scare us, and we think their foot fetish coach blew his load halfway through last year's Hard Knocks, and he doesn't scare us either. Him and his "Calvin Johnson would be the third best receiver on the Dallas Cowboys" brother, are two of the biggest blowhards in the game, and watching the Jets stumble to 7-9 this year, is going to be funny.

Bill Belichick's maligned defense will get healthy this week against Mark Sanchez' 25th ranked offense. The Jets caught the Patriots off guard in their third meeting last year in the divisional playoff round, but the previous two games between the two teams in Foxboro were brutal for the Jets; 45-3 and 31-14 losses.

The only entertaining aspect of this blowout that is eminent, is how the NY Post will opt to torch Rex Ryan come Monday morning. Patriots, big.

Last Week 2-3 ATS
YTD 7-7-1 ATS

Follow us on twitter @sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Captain Calculated: Getting the Word Out

Chris Cooley is a friggin genius. Leave it to the Redskins starting (unless you're reading Dan Graziano's blogs) Tight End, to make waves with his words the week he and his team are trying to promote a couple of his "ventures".

Make no mistake about it, the Chaotic One knew exactly what his analysis of Dallas' aspiring pro golfer Quarterback would bring to the table; attention.

Speaking the truth to Lavar and Dukes about how things went down in the Lions/Cowboys game this past Sunday, #47 has managed to become the #1 search in Google searches (via Dan Steinberg's Sportsbog), which most certainly has driven up the traffic to his website, his twitter, and everyone else's twitter sites that are associated with 47.

Cooley has parlayed his comments about the less than stable Quarterback of the hated Cowboys, into at least 6 post-Lavar/Dukes interviews we know of, including Jim Rome on Wednesday. This bodes all too well for the polarizing Redskin Tight End, who has a vested interest in bringing some attention to a couple Cooley ventures.

For starters, and most importantly, his 3rd Annual Cooley's For The Cure, which is a fund raiser for breast cancer charities, will be held this Monday, October 10th, at the Clyde's in Ashburn. According to his site, the $65/head event will include food and drink, Redskin players hanging around, and there will also be an auction. The event is scheduled from 7pm to 10pm.

The second vested interest from Cooley Inc that would benefit from a lot of attention, is a reality show that Chris' brother Tanner is trying to launch. Along with Big O (Oscar Santana), The Regulars, is about two regulars who travel around the region seeking out local hangouts. The concept seems good to us, certainly Travel Channel worthy. And maybe with a few (thousand) more eyes taking a look at their pilot episode, courtesy of Romo's play and Cooley's say, The Regulars will be coming to a TV near you.

Follow us on twitter @sportsyack @JudgePatrick

Cooley pic via Flickr (ogertkraja)

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