The Not-So Rapid Reaction- Celtics Lose 120-107

Last night, after Miami put on the finishing touches of a 120-107 opening night win against my beloved Boston Celtics, I really wanted to sit down and hammer away all my thoughts on to this blog.  Truth be told, I am getting old and I fell asleep after the game.  It is likely better that way, as I have had time to organize my thoughts and not publish my patented knee jerk reaction that I am famous for.  I would like to continue this type of post but any faithful reader of NTCF knows our promises usually ring hollow.  I will simply take it game by game.  So without further adieu, here is my thoughts following last night’s game.

I will spare everyone the tired “Ray Allen is my ex-girlfriend from high school” analogy.  Whatever the case may be, he didn’t want to play in Boston anymore.  He wanted to live tax-free in Miami, play golf on his off days, and ride the coat tails of LeBron James and get another ring before he called it a career.  Boston fans have been “betrayed” before.  No doubt it stings a little bit more when a fan favorite decides to go play for your most bitter rival.  See Damon, Johnny. I admit, I had a sense of rage seeing him don a Miami Heat uniform.  I was happy that KG ignored him when he thought during the game was the perfect time to try to clear the air and get some “daps.”  Yes, it did hurt to see Ray pour in 19 points on 5-7 shooting and 2-3 from long range.What hurt more than his stats, however, were the times when the Celtics needed a bucket and couldn’t get one.  Because it was those times over the last 5 years that Doc could draw up a play to free up Ray Ray and he would bury a jump shot.   That is what I will miss most about Ray Allen.

Maybe the emotion was too much for the Celtics last night.  Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were awful for the most apart.  Garnett has been known to get himself so psyched up that he can’t produce.  Last night was one of those nights.  Maybe it was the ring ceremony prior to the game, maybe it was the national spotlight, maybe it was playing against a former brother, maybe it was everything combined but KG was largely ineffective last night.  I also believe that Jason Terry was caught up in the moment of trying to hard to be better than Ray Allen.  He was all over the floor and not in a good way.  His shots were out of rhythm and his defense was sorely lacking.  I found myself very concerned about Terry.  He is not a true point guard and  I am not sure how his game is going to translate when being asked to bring the ball up the floor, something he is not accustomed to doing.

Jeff Green was a no-show last night as well.  I am willing to give him a free pass at the start of this season though.  He is coming back from open-heart surgery.  At this point last year, he was probably thinking that he would never play again.  Believe it or not, life is more important than sports.  I think Jeff was a bit emotional last night and wasn’t able to get into the game.  I am excited to have him back this season and I look forward to having him play with a full training camp under his belt with the Celtics.  Once the chemistry is established he will be essential to the team’s success.

What I took away most from last night’s game was how much I now loathe Dwayne Wade.  Every time he takes the ball to the basket and loses it he stops and stares down the ref.  He has become the biggest (insert derogatory slang term for the female reproductive organ here) in the NBA.  He has the audacity to call Rajon Rondo a punk after the game last night.  This is the same guy who dislocated Rondo’s elbow with a cheap shot 2 years ago in the playoffs.  This is the same guy that bridged Darren Collison last season.  This is no longer the guy that had the awesome commercial, “I fall down 7 times and stand up 8.”   It also drives me crazy that refs allow him to use his off-hand to stiff arm his defender when he drives to the basket.  It was probably the most pivotal play in the playoffs last year and it happened again last night.  At this time last year, I despised LeBron James.  After what LeBron did in Game 6 last year, I…I… (gulp) respect him.  Now, my hatred, my disdain, my insurmountable intense dislike is toward Dwayne Wade.

I am really hoping Doc lets Jared Sullinger play.  My one qualm with Doc Rivers is his knack for not letting rookies play.  Sullinger will be needed this season.  He will be needed to give Garnett rest.  He will be needed in the front court.  He is a large part of the future of the Boston Celtics.  Doc played him 8 minutes last night.  I understand there may have been matchup problems for him but I sincerely hope that Doc sets aside his policy about giving rookies minutes, and he lets the kid play.

I came away from last night’s game realizing the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat rivalry has surpassed the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in my eyes.  The reason for that is two-fold.  1) The Red Sox are largely irrelevant right now and will be until they straighten out their operation. 2) LeBron has been public enemy #1 for the Celtics since the Big 3 arrived in Boston.  Now one of the members of the original Big 3 have joined forces with the enemy.  The Celtics are the only team in the NBA that have, can, and will take the Heat to 7 games in a playoff series.

Next up for the Celtics: Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis bring the Milwaukee Bucks into Boston on Friday November 2.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

NFL Week 8 Picks: Scottie vs. Matty

Once upon a time Matt was a guru when it came to NFL knowledge.  He used to drop knowledge on this blog about upcoming Patriots games with some pretty good insight. But that was a long time ago. You see, Matt reminds me of Charlie Sheen’s character, Rick Vaughn, in the Major League movies.  In the first movie, Vaughn was a bad ass.  Everyone loved him and he had his Wild Thing theme song.  In the second movie, Vaughn went Hollywood and cared more about his corporate interests.  He went to a corporate function over a kid’s birthday party! “He didn’t even have no cake!”  This is what has become of Matt.  We texted each other throughout Sunday and you could tell Matt is a beaten man.  Well, saying he is a man is giving him too much credit.  He uses smiley faces when he texts.  I don’t even know this guy…this person anymore.

I could sit here and gloat about how I only lost 2 games last week, but I’ve been there before.  I am just that good.  I am now 67-37 on the year after going 11-2 last week.  Matt went 10-3 and is now 62-42 on the year.

I used to know this guy Scottie that respected what I said because he knew I was right.  Now, this kid I supposedly know thinks he has turned into this high and mighty individual that can judge the way that others do things.  I’ll tell you something Scottie, that kid you say you used to know is alive and well my friend.  He is up in the Bean, doing things the big way.  Scottie’s right, I may not have the same amount of time that I used to have to dedicate to the Patriots, but all that knowledge is still present.  Have I been preoccupied as of late, yes.  Am I gonna back down and let Scottie think he knows anything?  Absolutely not.  LET’S DO IT…

Bucs @ Vikings

Scott: Vikings

The Vikings are coming off a win against Arizona and Adrian Peterson rushed for 153 yards against a good defense.  Peterson is getting healthier and healthier as the year goes on.  The defense has been solid and Christian Ponder is managing the game beautifully.

Matt: Bucs

Why do I even have to explain myself?  My pick should be enough to convince the fans of what will happen.  I have a feeling about this one.  Enough said.

Patriots @ Rams

Scott: Patriots

Richard attempted to blast me last week about how I don’t know anything about the Rams.  I promptly put him in his place and haven’t heard from him since.  The Patriots secondary is terrible. That is no secret.  Bradford will probably throw for a country mile in England on Sunday.  If getting into the red zone scored points the Rams would be a damn good football team.  I expect the Pats “bend but try not to break” defense will keep the Rams out of the end zone when they need to, and Brady will stay away from Cortland Finnegan and lead the Pats to victory.

Matt: Patriots

I love what NTCF fan Richard did last week.  He came in hot on the comment section and called Scottie out for the scrub that he is.  Scottie continue to bash Sam Bradford when he probably hasn’t even tuned into a Rams game all season.  If Brady were the QB for the Rams, they would be lucky to hit 9-7.  Stephen Jackson is washed up.  Their best receiver would be lucky to make the Arena Football League if he were released.  So I agree with Richard, shut up Scottie!  Pats take it.

Panthers @ Bears

Scott: Bears

It is the battle of whiny quarterbacks! I am upset with Warren Moon for saying that criticism levied at Cam Newton has racial undertones.  It is such an ignorant comment.  Jay Cutler gets the same criticisms, and to an even higher degree.  How is that racially charged? Anyways, the Bears defense is awesome. Cam Newton’s sophomore slump will continue and the Bears will get the W.

Matt: Bears

Everyone keeps waiting for Cam Newton to turn into the quarterback he was last year.  Well folks I have news for you, 7 weeks have passed in the 2012 NFL season and Cam is stuck in the sophomore slump with no signs of coming out.  DeAngelo Williams is one of the most explosive backs in the league, yet he touches the ball 10 times a game.  Something in Carolina just doesn’t make sense.  Jay Cutler sucks.  The Panthers suck more.

Chargers @ Browns

Scott: Chargers

The Trent Richardson injury really hurts the Browns.  I understand they are 1-6, but Brandon Weeden has established some chemistry with his receivers, most notably Josh Gordon. But not enough chemistry to be able to take down the Chargers.  The Chargers are coming off their bye and have had 2 weeks to prepare for a bad Browns team.

Matt: Chargers

Not picking the Browns all year.  Rivers gets it done.

Seahawks @ Lions

Scott: Lions

I truly believe the Seahawks success is directly related to their massive home field advantage.  They are 3-0 at home and 1-3 on the road, their lone road win being against the lowly Panthers.  There is no doubt the Seahawks have a great defense.  But their offense is so limited outside of Marshawn Lynch.  The Lions will be able to put up just enough points to get by Seattle this week.

Matt: Lions

The only reason I’m picking the Lions here is because I think they have the ability to outscore the Seahawks.  Seattle’s defense is good, and did a number on the Patriots offense a couple weeks back.  No defense has the answer for Calvin Johnson.  I truly believe he can’t be stopped.  Double cover him, and he runs underneath.  Triple cover him and the jumps over the defense.  Single cover him with a safety over the top and he runs by both.  Suh does a number on the Seahawks run game and the Lions win this one.

Jaguars @ Packers

Scott: Packers

The Jaguars lost MJD for at least a few weeks with a foot injury.  Rashad Jennings was only able to rush for 44 yards on 21 carries. The Jaguars stunk with MJD. Without him? I don’t think there is an adjective in the dictionary to describe how bad they are.  The Packers should be able to race out to a 3 score lead in the first half of this one.  It’s upsetting because Aaron Rodgers most likely won’t have a good fantasy day.

Matt: Packers

Similarly to the Browns, I’m not picking the Jaguars all year, unless they play the Browns.  Aaron Rodgers is heating up.  Watch out NFC.

Colts @ Titans

Scott: Titans

Chris Johnson was finally able to break out last week.  Even if it was against the horrid Bills defense, there is reason for excitement in Tennessee.  This is easily the toughest matchup to pick this week, as I can see it going either way.  I will take the Titans experience over the Andrew Luck-led Colts.

Matt: Colts

Chris Johnson got on track last week but I’d expect the Colts to load the box this week and make Matt Hasslebeck beat them on Sunday.  I don’t know about Scottie, but I don’t have much faith in Matty.  Scottie thinks Titans, so I’m going with the Colts.

Dolphins @ Jets

Scott: Dolphins

The Dolphins defense is actually pretty good. Even without Richard Marshall, their secondary has played really well this season.  Of course, you can ask Matty’s college roommates to play secondary and they would be better than the Patriots secondary.  My point being, if Mark Sanchez couldn’t lead the Jets to victory when he literally had 5 receivers open on every play, how the hell is he going to be able to beat the Dolphins?  He isn’t.

Matt: Jets

I just don’t think the Dolphins have enough offensive firepower to get past the Jets defense.  Rex Ryan will work diligently to confuse the hell out of Tannehill.  There is a lot of bad blood between these two teams.  The Jets defense wants to hurt Reggie Bush.  The Dolphins offense is gunning for Laron Landry and Aaron Maybin.  This is going to be a fun game, but I think the Jets take it.

Falcons @ Eagles

Scott: Eagles

Both teams are coming off of byes.  I don’t see the Falcons going undefeated this year. They have to lose at some point.  Why not this weak?  Their lone weakness is their defense.  I think (hope) Michael Vick got the time off he needed to get his head screwed on right and he will be able to get back to his old self against a franchise he was once the face of.

Matt: Falcons

I agree with that moron above, however I don’t think this is the week the Falcons go down.  I hope Mike Vick steps it up, because my fantasy season is all but over due to his performance thus far in 2012.  I think the Falcons defense is better than advertised and the Eagles are turnover prone.  Advantage = Falcons.

Redskins @ Steelers

Scott: Steelers

The Redskins lost a heart breaker last week to the Giants.  RG III has been better than expected.  Although the Steelers are banged on both sides of the ball, I think being at home will be a huge benefit to them this week.  I expect Big Ben will keep the game close and win it in the end because that’s just what Big Ben does.

Matt: Steelers

The Steelers are simply a more sound team that the Redskins.  I love RGIII and what he’s done this season, but the Steelers aren’t a 3-4 team.  I’m hoping that Mendenhall makes his way back to the starting lineup this week and help balance the Steelers offense.  Without Mendenhall, this game is a bit more questionable but I still think the Steelers take it.

Raiders @ Chiefs

Scott: Chiefs

Brady Quinn has had 2 weeks of practice as the new starting quarterback for the Chiefs.  I think that change will be a momentum boost.  Jamaal Charles has been the best back in the league all year.  He didn’t have his best game 2 weeks ago so I expect he will come out with purpose.  Helping the cause? The Raiders are just bad.

Matt: Raiders

Brady Quinn is starting for the Chiefs.  Enough said.  Scottie is not a Brady Quinn fan?  What a jackass.  Can’t listen to this kid anymore…he’s lost his mind.

Giants @ Cowboys

Scott: Giants

The Giants will be wanting to avenge their week one loss to the Cowboys this week.  Victor Cruz has made himself a hell of a lot of money this season by not holding out.  The Giants would be wise to sign him now before that price tag keeps going up and he is able to hit the free agent market.  The connection that Eli has established with him has really been the story of the Giants season thus far.

Matt: Giants

Cowboys won the first matchup at full strength, and now the Giants are looking for revenge.  The ‘Boys will be missing DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee, two huge keys to their team success.  The Giants on the other hand are close to full strength now that Bradshaw and Nicks have returned to the starting lineup.

Saints @ Broncos

Scott: Broncos

This has the makings of a good ole fashioned shootout.  With it being a high scoring game, I have more faith in the Broncos defense than I do the Saints, that they will be able to get a stop when its needed.  Von Miller is a beast and he has the ability to create problems for Drew Brees.  I am genuinely excited for this game come Sunday night.

Matt: Broncos

This is going to be a high scoring affair.  I have more confidence that the Broncos defense can come up with a big play before the Saints defense.  If you have either Brees or Manning on your fantasy team this week you are headed for a W.

49ers @ Cardinals 

Scott: 49ers

It’s funny.  The 49ers have an abundance of riches at the running back position.  Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have been the 2 doing the work so far this season.  Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are yet to see the field! Meanwhile Arizona has gone through Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.  They are now left with LaRod Stephens-Howling and backup quarterback John Skelton.  A horrible offense against a great defense? Yeah, the Niners win.  No brainer.

Matt: 49ers

How is this a Monday night game?  This is a miserable matchup.  Larry Fitz is going to get triple covered all game and the 49ers are going to beg John Skelton to beat them.  I’ll be surprised if the Cardinals score 10 points.  49ers all day every day.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF.  

Matt uses smiley faces in his text messages.

NFL Week 7 Picks: Scottie vs. Matty O

After destroying Matty again last week, I improved my overall record to 56-35.  Matty, meanwhile, is a lowly 52-39.  I am surprised he keeps coming back on here.  At this point he is just embarrassing himself.

Nothing to say.  Time to get going.  Let’s do it…

Seahawks @ 49ers

Scottie: 49ers

I think the 49ers will rebound after an ugly loss to the Giants.  Russell Wilson will come back down to earth now that he is facing a real defense.  I think Seattle is a much different team on the road than they are at home.  The 49ers will remind them of that.

Matty: 49ers

The 49ers are pissed after that loss to the G-Men.  The Seahawks still are on cloud 9 thinking they won the Super Bowl after beating New England last week.  The hungrier and more talented team wins in a short week.

Titans @ Bills

Scottie: Titans

Kenny Britt looks to be healthy.  I think if Hasselbeck can get him the ball now it will open up things for Chris Johnson.  The Bills defense is bad at best and I actually think the Titans will be able to show just how bad come Sunday.

Matty: Bills

I just can’t seem to convince myself to pick the Titans.  Without Chris Johnson setting rushing records, the Titans are pretty miserable to watch.  CJ Spiller is becoming more healthy every week and Tennessee’s D has been shaky.

Browns @ Colts

Scottie: Colts

Well, my 0-16 prediction was proven erroneous last week with the Browns victory over the Bengals.  I was also ready to anoint Andrew Luck as the second coming of Christ last week, and that was also proven wrong.  I still think the Colts are better than the Browns and they will ultimately win the game.

Matty: Colts

How about them Browns.  I told you Scottie, the Browns weren’t going 0-16, 1-15 is just much more likely.  Gotta listen to me once and a while kid.  Anyways, the Colts are a better team than the Browns, although if the Browns running game can repeat last weeks performance, Luck is going to need a big game for the Colts to grab a win.

Packers @ Rams

Scottie: Packers

I also finally found out what its like to have Aaron Rodgers on my fantasy team last week.  It only took him 6 weeks to show up!   Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Sam Bradford is just putrid.

Matty: Packers

I know I’ve been rolling with the Rams all season, but they just aren’t good enough to overcome the Pack, who looked to get back on track last week.  If Aaron Rodgers is on, there are very few teams in the NFL that can beat Green Bay.  Sam Bradford is a man, but Aaron Rodgers is 40…(Scottie I know you get it).

Cardinals @ Vikings

Scottie: Vikings

The Cardinals received good news when they learned Kevin Kolb will be out for 6 weeks.  His offense line can be blamed for that.  I still am high on the Vikings and think Percy Harvin is the league MVP at this point in the season.  My next bold prediction? The Vikings will win a playoff game this season.

Matty: Cardinals

I don’t know why, I just have a feeling about this one.  Kolb being out is great for Arizona.  Skelton coming in is awful for Arizona.  They just can’t win.  John Skelton has a tendency to look in Larry Fitz’s direction on every play, and honestly if I was the QB in Arizona I would do the same thing.  Larry Fitz goes off en route to a Cardinal win.

Redskins @ Giants

Scottie: Giants

RGIII was impressive in his return to the gridiron off a concussion.  He ran the last 40 yards of his 76 yard touchdown run in 4 seconds flat.  All of that is well and good, but I don’t think he can come into NY and beat the Giants in the biggest game of his young career.  With the egg that Brady laid last week, I am starting to think it might be time to move Eli into that number 1 spot amongst quarterbacks.

Matty: Giants

Scottie is right, RG3 was a man last week.  Sadly, the Giants are coming into their own and they have the athletes on their d-line to try and contain RG3.  I think the G-Men are going to come out on fire against the Redskins and bury the Skins before the game is even started.

Saints @ Bucs

Scottie: Saints

I don’t care what the Saints record is.  They will be a tough matchup all season long.  With or without Jimmy Graham, I don’t think Josh Freeman has the weapons to keep up with Brees.

Matty: Bucs

Have another feeling about this one.  I have really cooled on New Orleans over the past few weeks (probably because they have been miserable).  The Bucs looked good last week and I do think they have the weapons to keep up with the Saints, especially if Jimmy Graham is down.

Cowboys @ Panthers

Scottie: Panthers

Jason Garrett might be the dumbest coach in football.  The Cowboys had the opportunity to stun the Ravens last week and Garrett doesn’t center the ball for his kicker with time remaining on the clock for an easier kick.  It’s the little things that Garrett doesn’t do that hurts the Cowboys.  Cam has had a week to gather his thoughts and get himself together.  I think the Panthers win and Jerry Jones will be forced to give Garrett a tongue in cheek vote of confidence before firing him some time next week.

Matty: Cowboys

I think Cam has a new week, the Cowboys are just better and they are fighting to stay in the NFC East race.

Ravens @ Texans

Scottie: Texans

The Ravens were ravaged by the injury bug this week losing both Ray Lewis and Lacedarius Webb for the season.  Arian Foster and company will be foaming at the mouth in this battle of the bests in the AFC.  Flacco no longer has the luxury of one of the most fierce defenses in the league.  It’ll be on him to carry the Ravens now, and I don’t think he can shoulder that responsibility just yet.

Matty: Texans

Houston is good.  The Ravens were good.  It remains to be seen how that Ravens D performs without their leader Ray Lewis and without one of their best CBs Webb.  Supposedly Terrell Suggs is looking to return this week, however he won’t be at full tilt for a while.  JJ Watt and the Texans will smash the Ravens in the mouth.

Jets @ Patriots

Scottie: Patriots

I hate to tell y’all I told y’all so last week but yeah well I did.  I get these horrible feelings with some Patriots games and that was the case last week.  No one would listen to me because generally speaking Patriots fans are some of the most arrogant, pompous, ignorant fans on the planet.  Lucky for them, I have no such bad feeling this week, and I expect the Patriots to annihilate the Jets.

Matty: Patriots

Scottie, cut the crap.  You pulled that one straight outta your ass.  The Pats are pissed.  I’m pissed.  Scottie pissed himself.  The Jets never fail to provide bulletin board material, and I feel like this week you just do not want to mess with the Patriots.  I really hope Seattle makes a miraculous run at the Super Bowl so the Pats can hang 50 on them.

Jaguars @ Raiders

Scottie: Raiders

This will be the week Darren McFadden breaks loose and gets back to being the dynamic player he was a season ago before his injury.

Matty: Raiders

God, what an awful game.  Carson Palmer sucks.  Blaine Gabbert sucks more.  Advantage Raiders.

Steelers @ Bengals

Scottie: Steelers

I have given Andy Dalton and the Bengals too much credit over the past 2 weeks.  They have been beaten by Tannehill and Weeden.  I think Big Ben will be able to handle the Bengals.  AJ Green may have a big day against a decimated by injury Steeler secondary but I don’t think they can pull off the upset.  The Steelers will get their first road win of the season.

Matty: Steelers

Finally, I get to pick against the Bengals!  The Bengals have been the beneficiary of an extremely weak schedule, but it stops in week 7 against Pittsburgh.  Big Ben and Mendenhall (hopefully) lead the Steelers to the win.

Lions @ Bears

Scottie: Lions

I said last week that the Lions are now a motivated bunch after being called overrated.  I think Ndomakung Suh will make Jay Cutler’s life even more of a living hell than it already is.  I expect Stafford will able to connect with Calvin Johnson at will and the Lions will go into Chicago and take care of business.

Matty: Bears

How this is a Monday night game is beyond me.  Gonna be a battle of two evils.  An awful Jay Cutler and a solid Bears D against a solid Detroit offense and an awful Lions D.  I hope Suh smashes Cutler into the turf on numerous occasions, however I think the Bears D wins this one for Chicago.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF.  Matty can’t be followed because he is a follower and not a leader.

That makes sense Scottie…

Week 6 NFL Picks: Matty O vs. Scottie

Last week Scottie pulled together another strong performance by going 11-3, while I displayed a few lapses in judgement (CAM NEWTON!) and only went 9-5.  That puts Scottie further into the lead for the season at 48-29 while I’m a few games back at 45-32.  Scottie has had the slight edge up to this point, but no more fooling around.  I need that bar tab!  Let’s do it…

I am just awesome.  I win.  Often.  Matty says he suffers from lapses in judgement.  I say he just isn’t able to bring the knowledge like he once did.  He is obviously distracted by something in his life or he simply lacks what it takes to be competitive in this environment.

Steelers @ Titans

Matty: Steelers

Plain and simple on this one.  Steelers are just too talented for Tennessee to keep up with.  Locker or no Locker, Chris Johnson is the true catalyst for the Titans and he has just yet to show up in 2012.  Sorry, CV I just can’t roll with your boys.

Scottie: Steelers

The Titans are relying on Matt Hasselbeck to lead them to victory over the Steelers?  Even without Troy Polamalu the Pitt defense will be too tough for Tennessee.  Rashard Mendenhall looked impressive last Sunday against the Eagles and I expect the Steelers will soon be in the Texans, Patriots, Ravens conversation when it comes to the best of the AFC.

Colts @ Jets

Scottie: Colts

Last week was the beginning of the Andrew Luck era.  He brought his Colts back from a 21-3 deficit and beat the Green Bay Packers.  Reggie Wayne can still play as he totaled over 200 yards receiving.  The Jets are a mess and this will be the Sanchize’s last start before Tebow takes over.

Matty: Jets

The Jets are bad.  The Colts are decent.  Rex Ryan is a defensive genius.  Andrew Luck is a rookie QB.  Even without Revis, I think the Jets somehow find a way to win this one…oh and Tebow gets at least 15 snaps to start his overtaking of Mark Sanchez.

Chiefs @ Buccaneers

Matty: Chiefs

I think the Chiefs are gonna come out with their guns blazing on Sunday.  After the booing of Matt Cassel incident, the players in KC will be looking to grab a victory for their injured starting QB.  Luckily for KC, the Bucs haven’t been overly impressive as of late.

Scottie: Buccaneers

The Chiefs almost pulled the stunning upset over the Ravens last week but Matt Cassel didn’t allow that to happen.  Jamaal Charles is the best back in football right now and it’s too bad all of his talents are going for naught.  The Bucs are coming off a bye week and I love teams that come off bye weeks.  The Chiefs will get an early lead behind a motivated Brady Quinn, but then Quinn will remember who he is, and the Bucs will get the W.

Bengals @ Browns

Matty: Bengals

The trend continues!  Wanting to pick against the Bengals, but with their level of competition I just can’t do it.

Scottie: Bengals

I am holding tight to my “The Browns will go 0-16 this year” prediction even after the Bengals embarrassed me last week by losing to the Dolphins.

Lions @ Eagles

Matty: Eagles

Who knows what the hell is wrong with Mike Vick.  A couple of years ago, the dude was a machine.  Fantasy player like people dream about.  This season, he’s a turnover waiting to happen and absolutely killing my fantasy team.  That being said, I thought the Lions were going to contend this year…maybe not so fast.

Scottie: Lions

An anonymous GM made the statement that the Lions are overrated.  While I generally agree with that assertion, I must say that I expect the Lions to come out pissed off and play with some sort of pride.  It certainly helps the cause when the opposing quarterback is Michael Vick, who turns the ball over more often than not.  Vick reminds me of Matty.  Stud a few years ago. Now, well, just a disappointment.

Raiders @ Falcons

Matty: Falcons

I picked the Falcons to go down last week against RG3 and the Skins.  One RG3 concussion later and I’m licking my wounds.  The Raiders offense is pitiful.  Carson Palmer should re-retire.  Matty Ice takes this one.

Scottie: Falcons

Michael Turner showing signs of life is devastating news for the rest of the NFC.  The Falcons had a high-octane offense when he was running for 1.8 yards a carry.  Now he is actually participating? If only the Falcons defense started to get into gear as well then they would truly be firing on all cylinders.

Rams @ Dolphins

Matty: Rams

This may have to become a trend.  The more that Scottie hates the Rams, the more often I’ll have to pick them.  The Dolphins pulled off an upset of the Bengals last week but let’s be serious.  One word describes the eventual demise of the Dolphins: Tannehill.

Scottie: Dolphins

See, this is where Matty is just a damn fool.  Has he watched Tannehill these past couple weeks?  He has certainly been better than Sam Bradford ever has been in the NFL.  That is a fact. Until Jeff Fisher realizes that Sam Bradford wouldn’t be successful in the XFL let alone the NFL, the Rams will continue to lose.  Last week was a fluke.  And don’t even tell me Bradford was anything close to good because if you do, you’re lying.

Cowboys @ Ravens

Matty: Ravens

The Ravens game last week against the Chiefs was much too close for comfort.  How they won that dreadful 9-6 matchup is beyond me.  Jamaal Charles went off and the Flaccjacket was terrible.  Baltimore poses a great test for the soft Boys.  I just don’t believe Dallas has enough on offense to win this one.

Scottie: Ravens

Matty is right for once.  The Cowgirls are softer than my toilet paper.  The Ravens still feature that smash-mouth type football that everyone loves.  When Flacco doesn’t have it going, the Ravens still have a great defense and Ray Rice can run the ball as well as any back in the League.

Bills @ Cardinals

Matty: Bills

The Cardinals were exposed last week against my boy Bradford.  Everyone was ready to crown Arizona as the next hot team and look at that, the Rams take them out.  With Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells on the shelf, the burden falls on Kolb.  Burden falling on Kolb = Bills victory.

Scottie: Bills

The Bills have been embarrassed the past 2 weeks giving up the most yards of any franchise in 2 consecutive games since 1950.  The Bills will be thrilled to see Kevin Kolb under center come Sunday.  I think the Bills can throw up at least 17 points this week.  That’ll be more than enough to beat the punchless Cardinals.

Patriots @ Seahawks

Matty: Patriots

The Pats seemed to get back on track last week despite Peyton Manning having his best game of the season.  I just think the Pats have too much firepower for the Seahawks defense.  I will be interested to see how well the Pats can stop Lynch up the middle.  That dude is a beast!

Scottie: Seahawks

Yes, I am going to be the most unpopular guy in New England after picking this upset.  I don’t see the Patriots hurry up offense working in a stadium as loud as Seattle’s.  Brady is going to have trouble communicating audibles all game and the Seahawks have the best statistical defense in the league, including a tremendous front 4.  I think they stop the Patriots offense.  I think Marshawn Lynch will have a big game on the ground, and Seattle will come away with the upset of the week.

Giants @ 49ers

Matty: 49ers

The 49ers are in it for revenge against the Giants.  Avenging that loss in last year’s NFC championship game.  I’m not sold on the G-Men, nor will I ever be.  Alex Smith is just good enough to get the victory.

Scottie: 49ers

I love what Harbaugh has done with Collin Kaepernick and the WildKaep offense.  The Giants are banged up and the 49ers are fully healthy.  I have a feeling Manningham torches his old mates and the 49ers avenge their NFC title loss from a year ago.

Vikings @ Redskins

Matty: Redskins

The problem with finishing up these picks on Wednesday is that right now I have no idea if RG3 is going to play or not.  I’m putting my money on the fact that RG3 plays on Sunday, and brings the expectations in Minnesota a little closer to reality.

Scottie: Vikings

Percy Harvin is the best playmaker in the NFL.  He juked the whole Tennessee defense last week en route to a touchdown.  Ponder continues to look good as well.  Suddenly the Vikings look like a favorite to come out of their division this season.  With or without RG3 the Vikings win this game.

Packers @ Texans

Matty: Packers

Hopefully everyone has seen the replay of the play that Brian Cushing got hurt on.  Dirty move right there.  A lot of players around the league are making a good point.  It seems like the NFL is putting a ton of emphasis on protecting the offensive players while leaving defensive players out of the mix.  Those are the types of plays that need to be removed from professional football.  That being said, Rodgers gets the Pack back on track…it’s the return of the Mack (yesss!).

Scottie: Texans

For my fantasy football sanity I hope the Packers win and Aaron Rodgers goes off.  But it just doesn’t feel like that is going to happen.  Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley have been hurt, Jordy Nelson has been invisible, and the offensive line can’t protect Rodgers with heavy artillery.  Imagine what JJ Watt is going to do on Sunday!

Broncos @ Chargers

Matty: Broncos

The Chargers really surprised me last week by going down against the Saints.  I thought San Diego was ready to run away with the AFC West, but apparently I was mistaken.  As I mentioned previously, Peyton had the best game of the season last week and I expect him to put up similar numbers on Monday night in San Diego.

Scottie: Broncos

Peyton Manning looks healthy to me.  I am getting close to anointing Demaryius Thomas as the 2nd best wide receiver in the NFL behind Calvin Johnson.  If McGahee didn’t kill the Broncos on 2 drives last week, it is entirely possible that everyone would be talking about the Denver Broncos.  Ryan Mathews looked good for San Diego last week, but he isn’t good enough to win a game single-handedly.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF.  If Matty had Twitter you wouldn’t follow him anyway.

2012 Boston Red Sox Offseason Blueprint

The Boston Red Sox went 69-93 in the 2012 season.  Their worst record since 1965.  Like most Red Sox fans, I was miserable all summer.  In fact, I was miserable since late November, when the Red Sox brass inexplicably decided to hire the worst man possible for the job in Bobby Valentine.  This wasn’t just hindsight being 20/20. If you comb our archives, there is a post I wrote on November 4, 2011 titled “The Search for a Manager” after Terry Francona left Boston. The basic gist of that post was making sure the Red Sox hired anyone but Bobby V.

11 months later, I am here at my laptop, and the Red Sox are again without a manager. A lot has changed in Boston though.  Adrian Gonzalez, who was supposed to remind us of Manny Ramirez, is out in LA along with Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.  There are more holes in the lineup card that accompany the vacancy on the top step of the dugout.  Will they give David Ortiz the contract he wants? Will they re-sign Cody Ross?  Are they going to go into an all out youth movement?  Will they explore trading Jacoby Ellsbury?

The manager search doesn’t really concern me much because Bobby V is no longer available.  Dave Martinez, Sandy Alomar, and Bill Mueller are all guys that I would really like to see manage the Sox.  John Farrell and Mike Scioscia will either have to get fired or the Red Sox would have to trade for them. I can’t really think of any candidates that I absolutely don’t want like Bobby V last season.  I trust that the franchise is okay this time around with whomever they decide to hire.

Midway through the 2012 season, I started to think the Red Sox should give David Ortiz a Kevin Garnett like contract.  3 years $30 million would shut Ortiz up for a while, it would allow him to retire a Red Sox, and at the time he was performing at a high enough level to warrant that type of offer.  Then he injured his Achilles running the bases and was essentially out for the season.  This injury changed my mindset on Ortiz.  He is only asked to DH and he can’t stay on the field.  I would offer him a 2 year deal for $18 million.  I only offer him the multi-year deal because of what he has meant to the Red Sox organization the last 10 years.  The Red Sox are wise enough to know there isn’t much of a market for Ortiz being jus a DH.  The fact that he wasn’t able to play a whole season also plays into the Red Sox favor when they sit down at the contract table.

If Ortiz digs his heels in and proves difficult to re-sign, the Red Sox do have fall back options.  There have been numerous reports out of Arizona that GM Kevin Towers will explore the trade market for Justin Upton.  The 2005 first overall pick is just 25 years old.  He is a five tool player.  Put Upton in right field. This would allow you to move Cody Ross to left once you re-sign him, or he could even become your DH.  Because Upton is just 25 years old I feel its ok to give up your prospects.  Upton would be a part of the youth movement.  In my eyes only Matt Barnes is your truly untouchable prospect.  Go ahead and trade Xander Bogearts, Jackie Bradley, Allen Webster, and Bryce Brentz.  I believe the return you are getting here is much more valuable than question marks that are in the farm system.

It was no secret the Red Sox pitching this season was terrible at best.  The staff ERA was over 5.  In fact the staff was so bad, there were people actually excited that John Lackey was coming back next season.  As it stands right now the Red Sox will head into Spring Training with a rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, and Franklin Morales.  The nice thing about that last sentence is it didn’t include the name Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Daniel Bard will have the entire winter to get over his mental breakdown in 2012.  It is my hope that whoever manages the Red Sox will keep Bard in the 8th inning to set up Andrew Bailey where he belongs.  Morales will be in the rotation depending on the development of Rubby De La Rosa.

Zack Grenike is available in free agency and the Red Sox should avoid him like the plague.  Greinke’s mental health issues are well documented and we have seen many players come through Boston and show they could not handle the environment.  Imagine what will happen to Grenike?  The only free agent pitcher that genuinely interests me would be Dan Haren but I fear his price tag will be a bit exorbitant.  As far as trade targets, a guy I have wanted for years might be available in Matt Garza.  Garza proved when he was with the Rays that he can pitch in the toughest division in baseball.  Garza is just 28, so he might command a similar package to that which would be required to land Justin Upton. The other interesting trade target is Josh Johnson.  My problem with him, however, is the man just can’t stay healthy.  I have real reservations sending away top prospects for someone who isn’t reliable.

While there is a part of me to see Adrian Gonzalez gone, I have to be realistic and acknowledge his departure leaves a rather large hole in the lineup and at first base. James Loney came to Boston as a part of the AGone deal and in 30 games he just .230. with 2 home runs and 8 RBI.  His best season was in 2008 when he hit .289 with 13 home runs and 90 RBI.  There isn’t much else out there in the first baseman market.  I am not excited about James Loney coming back to Boston, but I think the Red Sox can get him back dirt cheap and he will be serviceable for them.  I’d say sign Mike Napoli to play first base just so the Sox don’t have to oppose him any longer but that theory proved wrong with Carl Crawford. He also suffered a major regression the second half of the season. The other options are Adam LaRoche (who will be overpaid by someone this winter) and Nick Swisher. Truth be told, I would love to see Swisher in a Red Sox uniform but I know that won’t happen.

I hope the Red Sox don’t get involved in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes.  I don’t care about his history and all that jazz.  I am more concerned about paying someone top dollar from the ages of 35 and on.  Alex Rodriguez is a prime example of why not to give massive contracts to athletes in the twilight of their careers.  Hamilton will turn 32 next season and he figures to command at least an 8 year contract in the neighborhood of $175 million.

Lastly, the Red Sox will need to figure out what they want to do at shortstop.  I would like to see them give Jose Iglesias the nod in 2013.  I can probably hit better than him but his defense is outstanding.  I believe in run prevention and Iglesias in my opinion could help out that starting rotation quite a bit.  He gets to balls that he has no business getting to.  I’ll tolerate the .200 batting average if it means outstanding defense.  Bat him ninth, let him sacrifice bunt whenever he can, and let him learn how to hit big league pitching on the job.  There is no one really available via free agency either.

I expect this offseason to be interesting for the Red Sox.  I am hoping management is just as sick of losing as the fan base is.  I miss the days of 2004 and 2007.  The Red Sox have not made the playoffs since 2009 and in that year they were swept by the Angels.  I sincerely hope that the Boston Red Sox are at rock bottom right now because I can’t imagine it being any worse.

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Week 5 NFL Picks: Matty O vs. Scottie

I got things back to normal last week going 11-5. Matty also went 11-5.  This leaves him still one game behind me on the year.  I am 37-26 an Matty is 36-27.  Hey Matty, through 4 weeks, how’s my ass taste?

Relax, Scottie.  I’m taking the lead this week.  Let’s do it…

Cardinals @ Rams

Scottie: Cardinals

Matty’s binkie Sam Bradford is sure to get demolished Thursday night by the stifling Arizona defense.  There is a large part of me that wants to pick the Rams here, hell I know they are going to win, but I can’t in good faith pull the trigger.  Bradford sucks and so does Matty.

Matty: Rams

Scottie sucks, so I’m going with my boy Bradford.

Dolphins @ Bengals

Scottie: Bengals

The Bengals have been the beneficiary of a very weak schedule early on.  That trend continues here as they get the Dolphins at home.  I really what Andy Dalton has done for the Bengals this year.  The Bengals will win the games they should and lose the games they should this year.

Matty: Bengals

I keep saying week after week that I want to pick against the Bengals.  Sadly, the keep playing the Scottie’s of the league and beating bad competition.  Dalton beats Tannehill 10 times out of 10.

Packers @ Colts

Scottie: Packers

The Packers were able to rebound from the Monday Night Mayhem to squeak by the Saints 28-27 this year.  They are a Garrett Hartley missed field goal away from being 1-3.  I think that is the game the Packers can build off of and get back to being the Green Bay of old.  I think the Packers blow out Indy.

Matty: Packers

The Pack’s offense got back on track against the Saints last Sunday.  Against the Colts, the Packers D will look to get back on track.  RG3 is getting a lot of the press early in the season as the “Rookie Sensation” but Andrew Luck is performing pretty well in Indy for a guy leading a mediocrely talented team.  That being said, Charles Woodson loves playing rookie quarterbacks.

Ravens @ Chiefs

Scottie: Ravens

It was reported earlier this week that the Chiefs are losing confidence in Matt Cassel.  That shouldn’t be news.  Since Cassel has left New England he hasn’t established himself as a quarterback worthy of starting for an NFL team.  The problem with KC is their other options are Ricky Stanzi and Brady Quinn.  The Ravens get another layup after last week’s victory over Cleveland.

Matty: Ravens

KC > Cleveland.  Baltimore > KC.  In accordance with the man above, Cassel isn’t really getting the job done in KC.  On the other hand, Flacco is being appointed at the next coming on Montana in Baltimore.  I think Flacco is serviceable, but as you could tell from my QB ratings posted last week, I’m not as high on Flacco as everyone else.  The Ravens win this game with Scottie under center.

Browns @ Giants

Scottie: Giants

I said last week that I think the Browns will go 0-16 this year.  I have no reason to stray from that opinion.  While the Giants should be concerned about Hakeem Nicks’ injury,  (The guy reminds me of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Unbreakable) Ramses Barden has shown he has the ability to step up in Nicks’ place.

Matty: Giants

Gotta disagree with Scottie on this one.  I believe the Browns will go 1-15 this year.  It’s just so damn hard to go 0-16.  The Giants benefit from an easy one this week.  Although, I still hate Tuck and Eli.

Eagles @ Steelers

Scottie: Steelers

This is the hardest game to pick this week.  The Steelers are coming off a bye week and have had time to prepare for Mike Vick and the Eagles.  The Eagles are fresh off a huge Sunday night win against division rival Giants.  I take preparation over momentum.

Matty: Steelers

I correctly picked an Eagles victory last week.  I think Philly has been living too close to the edge to pull one out in Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh on the other hand, hasn’t looked as sharp as everyone expected.  With Mendenhall returning this week, the Steelers ground game will get on track and Pittsburgh wins this one at home.

Falcons @ Redskins

Scottie: Falcons

I have said it many times and it is finally coming to fruition.  Matty Ice is approaching upper echelon status in the quarterback pantheon.  Did anyone doubt he wouldn’t come back and beat the Panthers with 2 minutes left last week?  Julio Jones’ hand injury is of concern but the Falcons still have Roddy White doing work and Michael Turner made a guest appearance last week.

Matty: Redskins

I don’t know why, I just have a feeling about this one.  I think RG3 takes advantage of a questionable defense in Atlanta.  Matt Ryan does everything he can, but the Redskins win in a shootout.

Seahawks @ Panthers

Scottie: Seahawks

The Seahawks defense will give Cam Newton fits on Sunday.  He is becoming the next Jay Cutler with his ability to sulk, whine, and be moody.  While he is crying on the bench, Marshawn Lynch is going to trample the anemic Panthers run defense to the tune of over 200 yards and lead the Seahawks to victory.

Matty: Panthers

With all the negative criticism surrounding Cam Newton, I think he comes out with something to prove against the Seahawks.  Seattle’s D has been a force to be reckoned with so far this season, but Cam Newton may be just elusive enough to cause them some issues.

Bears @ Jaguars

Scottie: Bears

The Bears were able to pick off Tony Romo 5 times Monday night.  I am afraid to think of what they are going to do to Blaine Gabbert.  Fortunately Gabbert starting looking toward Justin Blackmon last week (10 targets, 6 catches, 48 yards).  That is a connection that must be made if the Jaguars ever want to taste something that could be considered success.

Matty: Bears

I don’t like siding with Jay Cutler and the Bears most of the time.  I don’t like siding with Blaine Gabbert…ever.  The Bears D will limit MJD, and Gabbert has no shot of winning one for the Jags.

Broncos @ Patriots

Scottie: Patriots

I am quick to bask Devin McCourty on my Twitter feed every Sunday.  But I will give credit where credit is due, he actually played well on Sunday.  The Patriots are slowly developing an opportunistic defense behind Vince Wilfork, Brandon Spikes, and Chandler Jones.  I think they will cause problems for Peyton Manning on Sunday.  Manning has the ability to pick apart a defense, but I don’t know if he is physically able to do what he wants after his surgeries.  I think the Pats protect their home turf and leave Sunday with a W.

Matty: Patriots

Peyton Manning seems to be getting better since that disastrous performance against the Falcons.  The Patriots seem to be getting better since that disastrous performance against the Cardinals.  The only thing that scares me about this game is the potential for the Broncos to put consistent pressure on Brady with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.  I still think the Pats pull this one out.

Titans @ Vikings

Scottie: Vikings

I really don’t want to say the Vikings are for real just yet.  But Christian Ponder has been a more than serviceable quarterback, Percy Harvin is one of the best playmakers in the NFL, the defense is playing great, and oh yeah they have Adrian Peterson.  Jake Locker won’t play for the Titans Sunday, and I don’t think Matt Hasselbeck has it in him to lead the Titans to a win.  Will Matty share my point of View? (see what I did there?)

Matty: Vikings

I don’t really know who is better for the Titans, Matt Hassleback or Jake “the Locksmith” Locker.  I this game I’m not really sure if it matters.  The Vikings have been a surprise team this season and I think it will continue on Sunday.  I agree with Scottie.  Percy Harvin is a big time playmaker and AP will deliver.

Bills @ 49ers

Scottie: 49ers

The 49ers are fresh off shellacking the Jets 34-0.  The Bills are fresh off of getting smashed by the Patriots.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown that he can be forced into throwing a fair amount of interceptions.  I think Patrick Willis will make his life a living hell on Sunday and the 49ers will coast to a 10 point win.

Matty: 49ers

This one is pretty simple.  The Bills allowed 52 points to the Pats and mustered up only 28 points.  The 49ers D is much more stout than the Pats, so I don’t expect this one to be much of a challenge.  Plus with a banged up Spiller and Jackon, the Bills will have even more difficulty scoring points.

Chargers @ Saints

Scottie: Saints

I just can’t see Drew Brees allowing his Saints to lose 5 games in a row.  He threw for over 400 yards last week trying to prevent his team from going 0-4.  I think he will throw for a mile on Sunday Night.  What concerns me is the Saints inability to stop a nose bleed without the incentive to get $10,000 on defense.  I think Brees is always motivated to matchup against his former team.  i believe in Brees.

Matty: Chargers

I said what Scottie said about 2 weeks ago.  I can’t see the Saints going 0 – whatever.  Guess what Scottie, the Saints are 0-4 and they are meeting YOUR new favorite team and quarterback Phillip Rivers.  Yes, I’m sure Drew Brees will throw for 2600 yards in this game alone, but the rest of the Saints team is such a mess I don’t think it matters.  Stick with your team Scottie!

Texans @ Jets

Scottie: Texans

The Jets are now a bigger mess than a college dorm on a Saturday morning.  Revis: out for season.  Holmes: out for season.  Owner wants Tebow to start.  Rex says Sanchez is his guy.  At this point does it even matter who the quarterback is?  The Jets might have the least amount of talent on their roster in the NFL.  Christmas hath come early for the Texans.  I expect to Texans to feast on the weak and annihilate the Jets.

Matty: Texans

The Houston Texans may be the best team in the NFL.  Who ever thought those words would be uttered when David Carr was under center?  The Jets just lost Santonio Holmes for the season with a Lisfranc injury (and yes, I know what that is), but I don’t think it really would have mattered.  The Jets are a ticking time bomb and Tebow will be in there soon.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF.  Matty reads Vogue.