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Friday, November 19, 2010

Preview of Week 11 Picks; Expanded Week-in-Review

My 4-7 win/loss record from last week is a bit misleading, and, no, I’m not doing my best Brandon Lang impression. (I may need a new reference for sleazy handicappers selling their picks with Lang having essentially disappeared.) Three of the losses came on a 5-point parlay I just sort of threw out as a crapshoot last Thursday night. I liked all of the games, and figured risking 5 points to win 30 was worth it.

In fact, last week shows why guys giving out picks without some sort of rating system are a waste of time. After Baltimore choked up my 30-point pick on the same night, I played patty-cake most of the weekend, going 3-4 for the rest of the weekend on picks under 10 points. I did go 0-3 on Sunday for -22.50 points.

Then came Monday, and I just couldn’t figure out why the Eagles were favored by just 3.5. I knew Washington was coming off of their bye, and had beaten the Eagles earlier in the season. But they are horrible, and the Eagles were red hot. So, I went for it despite having been pretty bad lately, and made the Eagles a 100-point pick – matching my biggest picks ever.

It became my biggest win ever, and gave me a +46.39-point week, as the Eagles destroyed Washington.

This week I will again be waiting to make picks until game day, so I hope you will follow me on Twitter. I hope to regroup from a slow start, losing 5 points on Miami last night. As a preview, I’m thinking about Atlanta -3, New England -4.5, and maybe the Eagles -3, though the “juice” on the Falcons and Eagles is pretty high so both will likely move to -3.5. And everybody seems to like St. Louis over Atlanta.

Eagles. Despite the above, I’m concerned about the Eagles this week. I think it could be a very telling game for this team. Isn’t this where they would lay an egg with McNabb. They’re following a much ballyhooed win, Super Bowl talk is swirling, and, hell, Michael Vick’s jersey from the last game has been requested by the Hall of Fame.

Week-in-Review:

After dipping my toe for quite a while, I jumped into the world of Twitter with both feet this week as I look to begin my dominance in sports blogging. Ok, maybe not, but hopefully readers will notice a greater range of topics being covered on this blog throughout the week and in my weekly look back on stories of the last 7 days that caught my attention.

• Michael Smith of ESPN should be getting ripped unmercifully by the media for his completely ridiculous report that Donovan McNabb had signed a contract for $88 million without mentioning the fact that it will quite possibly bw worth less than $4 million. I heard at least one mention of Smith being friendly not only with McNabb, but his parents as well. Smith has suddenly not been on Around the Horn all week when he is usually a regular on the show – not that any of the other reporters would have the guts to rip one of their own.

• After weeks, if not months, of griping, I finally have The Comcast Network on my television! I was slummin’ it in the non-HD channels, and stumbled over TCN on channel 99. I know it wasn’t there during the baseball season, so I don’t know when the Comcast gods decided to let Verizon customers in my area watch all of the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers games, but I’ll take it. Some day maybe the cable giant will actually put their beloved channel in hi-def.

• Nice call by ABC moving the Eagles game to Channel 17 locally on Monday night, so that they could air the brilliance that is Dancing with the Stars. Even if the fact that the game turned out to include a historic performance by Michael Vick is ignored, the ratings proved they made the wrong choice. Crossing Broad reported, “[Monday] night’s Eagles game received a 32.5 combined rating in Philadelphia (roughly 1 million households), as it was simulcast on both ESPN and MyPHL17- more than doubling Dancing with the Stars’ rating.”

• To no one’s surprise, Michael Vick was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after his amazing performance against the Redskins. It was the second week in a row that he won the award, and the third time this season. But the Inquirer’s Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) had the interesting tidbit that he was the first to win the award in back-to-back weeks since Randall Cunningham in 1998 with the Vikings.

• Gotta love Albert Haynesworth working hard for Daniel Snyder’s money. Check out this TwitPic that was re-tweeted by Harry Mayes (@HARRYMAYES975) from @jose3030. The video runs almost as slow as Haynesworth tries to get up during a play that was still going on during Monday’s game.

• Tweet of the Week? During the Monday night game, Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) tweeted, “How do u justify a 78 million dollar contract w/this type of performance?” referring to Donovan McNabb’s new contract that he signed before the game. Petty? Yeah. Should T.O. let it go and get a life? Uh-huh. Funny? Yep.

Of course Donnie couldn’t let it go either, “‘It’s funny he’s worried about what I’m doing,’ McNabb said. ‘When what are they, 2-6?’”

• On Tuesday’s PTI Tony Kornheiser quipped that he’d like to see McNabb injected with truth serum to get his real opinion on Owens. Michael Wilbon’s response? “I know.” Meaning, he’s been told how McNabb truly feels. Really, Mikey? Then spit it out. Otherwise, you only said that to prove you’re “in” with the professional athletes you’re supposed to be covering and have no interest in being a professional reporter. No, I don’t actually give a damn what Wilbon knows. Who doesn’t know McNabb hates Owen? But that type of cheeky, I’m-on-the-inside-and-you’re-not comment is beyond weak from a reporter. He’d be the first guy yapping about integrity if someone other than one of his boys did the same thing. If he feels better rubbing elbows with these guys, fine. Well, not really “fine,” but it’s Wilbon – we expect it from him. Don’t announce it.

• Catching up on my Sports Illustrated magazines, I just read an article from the October 6 issue on Billy Wagner. He told a story about why, if he were to be selected – which he wasn’t suggesting was likely – he would never go into the Hall of Fame as an Astro. It goes back to meeting the owner of the team, Drayton McLane, after he was drafted, and the owner saying, “I thought you’d be bigger.” He was drafted in 1993! I always thought McNabb would be the only pro athlete to be that wacky. This is what he’s talking about in a Sports Illustrated article basically celebrating his career and, at the time, the fact that he looked like he might be a key part of a World Series run for the Braves as his swan song?

• Deadspin.com posted a video of NBA commissioner David Stern on The Colbert Report. Asked if basketball would ever receive the type of reverential coverage baseball gets, he said no, adding, “Because we’re too current and movement-oriented, and attitudinally, talking to young folks.” Deadspin called it “the most diplomatic gloating ever.” I’m not sure that I agree he was gloating, simply because I’m not sure what he would be gloating about. All indications are that baseball attendance is through the roof, and basketball is talking about reducing the number of franchises.

• Dan Uggla going to the Braves seems to have some Phillies fans concerned. I’m not panicked over that specific move – not that I’m blowing it off – but Ruben Amaro needs to make some solid moves this off-season.

• It’s amazing how stupid people can be. According to Profootballtalk.com, players from the United Football League were going to boycott their games this weekend because the league planned to charge NFL teams $150,000 to sign UFL players after their season ends – which I believe is this week – if the players have UFL contracts for next season.

I can’t figure out whose dumber in this situation. Players who are so bad they’re in a league no one cares about trying to boycott the league, or the team owners of the league trying to pull this off. I’m going with the league owners, after UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue actually said, “Everybody wants something for free. . . . But you’ve got to value the fact that we brought the guys out here, we put them into playing condition, we absorbed that cost to do it and now they know that guy can play, it’s free scouting, free development. Hey, there ain’t no free lunches. It would be nice to say, ‘We want them’ and have the players available, but guess what? That’s not the way it works. . . . A lot of people are saying, why are you only charging $150,000?”

Actually, most people are saying, “What the hell is the UFL?” Then, if they care enough to grasp this issue, they’re wondering why the commissioner is so dumb as to try to eliminate the one thing that gives the league the ounce of relevance it has by having its players sign in the NFL.

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