Monday, February 29, 2016

Five Teams or The Field: Which Way Would You Go?

The Legend and I bet on many sporting events throughout the year. We do a lot of "Foreigners vs Americans" for the golf Majors, we draft teams in all sports, once the playoffs come around, and when the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament rolls around, we usually do something there too.

Which is where we are (almost) now on the sports calendar.

What The Legend has proposed, is an even money wager which has to be decided on (and teams picked) by this Sunday, March 6th. He's allowing me to pick any 5 teams or take the field, to win the Men's Tournament.

I'm leaning towards taking the field, and having him pick the 5 teams. I'm at best a casual fan of college basketball. I definitely prefer it more to the NBA, and don't really start paying attention to it until we get to March, but the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is still one of the greatest sporting events on the calendar, every year.

The experts all think this year's tournament is wide open. I was listening to Jay Bilas the other day (which by the way, he only follows 1 person on Twitter, which is kind of weird), and he really likes Kansas. But other than them, he didn't really have any strong feelings for any of the other teams.

So which way would you go- any 5 teams or The Field?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cue Up The Racist Letters to The Editor from Overweight, Lice Infested Slobs from South Georgia: It's Cam and Carolina's Year

"I done wish he'd just flip da ball to da Ref, and not do any of dat nonsense."

Denver vs. Carolina (-5.5)
Over the course of their last two games, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers' offense put up 80 points. Those last two games just happened to be against the league's #2 and #5 ranked defenses (Seattle and Arizona). In the final game of the 2015 season, they'll face the league's number 1 defense, who is coming off back to back playoff games in which they held their opponents (Pittsburgh and New England) to 20 points or less.

Impressive resumes for both sides. But I just think this is and has been Carolina's year all season, and that freight train is not stopping until about 10:30 EST this evening.

Why might I compare them to a freight train? Well, let's see: their offense led the league in points scored, averaging over 31 points per contest. They were held to less than 20 points just once, in their pretty meaningless Week 16 loss at Atlanta. Wrapped around that Atlanta loss, going back to Week 3 vs. New Orleans, all the way to two weeks ago when they absolutely demolished a very good Arizona team, the Panthers have scored 27 points or more over that entire span........say what??

The Panthers have scored 27 or more points in 15 of their last 16 games. And they've scored 30 or more points in 8 of their last 9. That's actually absurd.

I've had some lingering doubts over the last 48 hours, but my gut has told me for the most part of the last two weeks, that this game could be a 14+ point "blowout", and that I wouldn't even consider Denver unless the line hit 7. And maybe Vegas would've gotten to 7 over the last 48 hours had they not started this line so low (and wrong, in my opinion) , making Carolina an opening (3.5) point favorite, putting themselves in a situation where going to 7 could spell financial "middle" disaster for Sin City. But in reality, I think this line should be 7.5 or 8.

The reality of Denver's last two games were this. They caught Pittsburgh with a banged up Ben Roethlisberger, no Antonio Brown, and both of Pittsburgh's backs injured. And for almost 3.5 quarters of that game, that patched up Steeler team ran circles around Denver's defense. I don't care what the final score was, I know what my eyes told me, and that was that Denver was fortunate to win that game.

And then New England comes to town a couple weeks ago, and I'll give Denver credit. They shut down Tom Brady and his healthy corp of receivers. But Tom Brady, from a mobile point of view, is no Cam Newton. And that will be the difference today when Ware and Miller apply pressure. Newton will be able to improvise with his feet and his large frame, and remind people why he was the league's Top rusher from the Quarterback position.

Finally, let's not forget that the guy under center for Denver is not a 27 year old Peyton Manning. He's a month and a half short of his 40th birthday, Peyton Manning, who has been a little banged up this season, who may or may not have ordered HGH to combat his ailing, aging body, and who barely a month ago, was not even the starter! Don't kid yourself. The whispers in the front offices in Denver between horse toothed John Elway and others, are probably similar to the whispers they had 3-4 years ago when they knew- despite the hype and miracle win against the Steelers- that Tim Tebow was going to be on the first train out of town as soon as the season was over.

I'd like the game to be competitive from a fan's point of view, and I really don't want to see Peyton go out getting the living dog shit kicked out of him, but unfortunately I think that's what will probably happen today. 33-16 Panthers.


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