Week 17 NFL Picks: The Final Showdown Matt vs. Scottie

Last week, I stepped up to the plate once again.  Scottie put up a good effort by going 11-5, bringing his overall record to 155-84-1.  However, I was a little better than Scottie last week by going 12-4, bringing my overall record to 156-83-1.  You can’t ask for a much closer battle than this.  Let’s do it…

Down by 1 going into the last week of the season.  What really sucks is the last games for teams that are completely out of it are a crapshoot to pick.  This is for all the marbles.  Here we go.

Bucs @ FalconsUnknown

Scott: Falcons

Josh Freeman has been terrible the last month or so.  The Falcons will likely rest their starters but I still think they are better than the Bucs.

Matt: Falcons

The Falcons top off the best season in the history or the franchise with a win at home against a struggling Bucs team who’s offense has unraveled over the past few weeks.

Jets @ Bills

Scott: Jets

I think Rex can draw up a defense that will force Fitzpatrick to turn the ball over.  Sanchez is pretty much playing for his job.  I don’t have much faith in Sanchez but I think he can pull this one out.

Matt: Bills

The Jets are a disaster.  Sanchez is supposedly back in as the starter, but the media circus surrounding the Tim Tebow controversy has to distract the Jets.

Ravens @ Bengalsimages

Scott: Bengals

Baltimore is sitting Ray Rice.  I think the Bengals can take advantage of this and get the win at home.

Matt: Ravens

I think that the Ravens build on a big win last week in Cincinnati against the Bengals.  Both teams are in the playoffs, so I expect hurting players to be rested and for offense and defensive playbooks kept relatively simple.  The Ravens are more talented, that decides this one.

Bears @ Lions

Scott: Bears

Just read a report that the Lions are thinking of axing Jim Schwartz.  I thought it was a certainty.  If the Lions don’t axe Schwartz it’ll be one of the biggest mistakes in franchise history.

Matt: Bears

The Lions just continually beat themselves, while the Bears are battling for a playoff spot.

Jaguars @ Titans

Scott: Titans

Another game that is meaningless.  Henne doesn’t have Cecil Shorts and MJD is out again.  The Jaguars are punchless.  I’ll take Locker and Chris Johnson over a pathetic Jaguars squad any day.

Matt: Titans

Who cares?  The Jags put up a fight against the Pats, but in Tennessee I’m going with the Locksmith.

Texans @ ColtsUnknown-1

Scott: Colts

The first game that means anything in this list of games.  I said three weeks ago the Colts and Texans would split their season series.  I am sticking to my word.  The Texans are overrated.  They shall be exposed within the next 2 weeks with an early exit from the playoffs.

Matt: Texans

As much as I want the Texans to lose this game and for the Pats to grab a 1st round bye, but I just don’t see it.  Andrew Luck is a good young player, but Wade Phillips and the Texans D will do a number on the rookie quarterback.

Panthers @ Saints

Scott: Saints

The final score of this one could be in the 50’s for each team.  Another meaningless game.  I am taking Nawlins at home.

Matt: Saints

The Saints and the Panthers are both on fire as of late.  In New Orleans, I’m sticking with the Saints.

Eagles @ Giantsimages-1

Scott: Giants

I am plenty tempted to take the Eagles here.  This is an audition for Mike Vick as it looks like the Eagles are going to let him go.  The Giants are due to pass their annual horseshoe and sneak into the playoffs somehow.  It starts with a win here.

Matt: Giants

The Giants will make a last ditch effort to sneak into the playoffs with a win at home against the re-Michael-Vick-led Eagles, but it won’t be enough.  The Pats chances at a Super Bowl run just got better.

Browns @ Steelers

Scott: Steelers

Browns are without T-Rich, their only offensive threat.  Steelers are playing at home.  I’ll go with the Steelers in another meaningless game.

Matt: Steelers

Browns are cleaning house and the Steelers are reassessing their entire team.  Steelers are at home and more talented.

Raiders @ Chargers

Scott: Chargers

Chargers are the more talented team.  And again, another meaningless game.

Matt: Chargers

Norv Turner is on his way out.  Terrell Pryor is making his 1st career start.  The Chargers finish off a bad season with a win.

Cardinals @ 49ersUnknown-2

Scott: 49ers

49ers have something to play for.  The Cardinals are still a mess.  I still think the 49ers are destined to play the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Matt: 49ers

Even though I’m pulling for Brian Hoyer in his 1st career start for the Cardinals, they just don’t have enough to get it done against the 49ers (who are still battling for playoff position).

Rams @ Seahawks

Scott: Seahawks

I hate Bradford everywhere.  The Law of Scottie 2012: Seattle doesn’t lose at home.

Matt: Seahawks

I love Bradford, but not in Seattle.

Packers @ Vikings

Scott: Packers

Another tempting pick to take the Vikings.  Ultimately Ponder throws away the game.  Packers win and secure the 2 seed.

Matt: Packers

AP is going for the record.  The Vikings need a win for a possible playoff position.  The Packers are the better team and will prove it.

Dolphins @ Patriotsimages-2

Scott: Patriots

The Dolphins aren’t going to be the walk in the park everyone thinks they are.  But I still think TB12 guts a weak secondary and the Pats put themselves in position to get a first round bye with help.

Matt: Patriots

There are talks that the Patriots might tank the game for playoff seeding purposes or rest some players leading into the playoffs.  In my opinion, the Pats could throw out the 2nd team against the Dolphins and I’m still picking the Pats.

Chiefs @ Broncos

Scott: Broncos

Peyton is going to take care of business against the most disappointing team in the NFL.

Matt: Broncos

Again, as much as I want a Chiefs win for the Pats seeding in the playoffs, the Chiefs aren’t getting it done.

Cowboys @ RedskinsUnknown-3

Scott: Redskins

Tony Romo can’t win in week 17.  RG3 leads the Redskins into the playoffs.

Matt: Redskins

Like I’ve said many times before, I have absolutely no confidence in Tony Romo in clutch time.  The dude just doesn’t get the job done in clutch situations.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

After a year long lead, Matt may swoop in and take the crown.

Celtics Provide a Merry Christmas

I last wrote about the Boston Celtics 1 month ago.  At that time, I was writing about them every game and it began to get monotonous. The Celtics had been going through the motions the first 2 months of the season.  My stories were all pretty much the same but with different words.  Rondo was great, Pierce and Garnett still got it, Jeff Green is frustrating, etc.  I also kept saying the regular season was an 82 game audition.  After watching today’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, I finally have something worth while to write about.  The pre-season is over and the regular season began today for the Boston Celtics.images

The Celtics were playing.500 ball heading into today’s Christmas tilt with a new division rival, the Brooklyn Nets.  They played the  Nets even through the first quarter but came out blazing in the second quarter.  Today’s game was won by the bench.  They outscored the Nets bench 43-21, led by Jared Sullinger’s 16 points and Jeff Green’s 15.  The bench, which was supposed to be a strength for the Celtics coming into the season, finally played like it.

Rajon Rondo lead the Celtics with 19 points.  Paul Pierce, the only NBA player in history not named Michael Jordan to pour 35 points in 2 consecutive games at the age of 35, decided he wanted to be a distributor and handed out 10 assists.  While the bench play was most encouraging, the Celtics returned to playing at least a semblance of team defense.  It is no secret the Celtics are at their best when they are playing solid defense.  Today was one of those days as they held the Nets to just 79 points.

There has been a lot of trade rumors floating around because of nervous Celtics fans that think an NBA title is won in November.  Names like Varejao and Cousins have been discussed because the Celtics need another big man.  While I agree the Celtics need a big man, I am not in agreement that said big man should be acquired via trade.

I am not at all interested in trading Jared Sullinger or Avery Bradley.  I admit that when he was in college I thought he would be a jared-sullinger-andray-blatchecolossal bust in the NBA.  My buddy Q is allowed to rag on me for years to come because I was wrong.
Sullinger showed why he was a pre-draft consensus top 5 pick.  The kid had 16 points and 7 rebounds.  He showed he has range on his jumper.  He has a nose for the ball.  He was +21, highest of the Celtics.  Trading this kid would be a mistake.

Remember the spark Avery Bradley provided the Celtics throughout the second half of the season last year.  He and Rondo have undeniable chemistry.  Bradley is also a pest on defense forcing opposing teams to start their offense with 14 seconds left on the shot clock most possessions.  I am not saying Bradley is going to be the savior when he returns to the floor January 2 against the Grizzlies but I know he will make the Celtics better.

I am concerned and curious why Leandro Barbosa has fallen out of Doc’s rotation.  He was providing instant offense off the bench for the Celtics.  He has now racked up a few DNP-Coach’s Decision over the last week. I believe he should provide Courtney Lee some competition for minutes when Bradley gets back.  It seems Doc disagrees with me.

The Christmas game was encouraging.  I think the Celtics are ready to put a streak together.  No matter how tough their division has become, I still believe they are the 2nd best team in the East and will ultimately be the only team that can cool down the Heat.

The Celtics continue this 4 game road trip out west against the Clippers on Thursday night at 10:30.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Week 16 NFL Picks: Scottie vs. Matt

Scottie’s so-called “undivided attention” brought him a 10-6 record last week, which means he is 144-79-1 on the season.  As promised, I continue grinding en route to a victory for the season.  I posted an 11-5 record last week, giving me a 144-79-1 record on the season.  It’s all tied up baby!  You can’t ask for much more than this.  Scottie and I are tied heading into week 16.  Every pick is crucial from here on out.  Honestly, I just can’t wait for those victorious free beverages!  Let’s do it…

My big mouth came back to bite me.  I should of just kept doing my thing but I got cocky.  Now I am paying for it.

Falcons @ LionsUnknown

Scottie: Falcons

The Falcons are going to lock up the all important home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Lions.  Calvin Johnson is 182 yards shy of Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record.  Should I make a bold statement and say he breaks that record tonight?  All my other predictions have floundered over the past few weeks, why not add another one?

Matt: Falcons

Talk about a statement.  The Falcons answered the call last week to show that they were a legitimate contender in the NFC with a beat down of the defending champion Giants.  I’m not sure if it was more impressive for Atlanta, or concerning for the G-Men, but either way the Falcons did work!

Patriots @ Jaguars

Scottie: Patriots

The Patriots will not lose to the Jaguars.  As a Patriots fan, I am holding out hope either Houston or Denver loses so the Pats can get their bye.  Truth be told, I am not afraid of any team in the AFC.  The Patriots should get to the Super Bowl no matter the road they will have to take.

Matt: Patriots

The conspiracy theories need to stop.  The Pats aren’t tanking.  Even if they tried, I’d still bet on a Pats win.

Saints @ CowboysUnknown-1

Scottie: Saints

Like Matt, I have no confidence in Tony Romo.  And I certainly don’t believe he has the ability to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints.  It amazes me the Cowboys are still in the playoff conversation.  Come Monday morning, they will be out of that conversation.

Matt: Saints

Tony Romo and the Cowboys just can’t get it done in crunch time.  They could have easily lost two or three games over their last 6 contests, however they somehow squeaked out victories.  The Saints laid the smack down on the Bucs last week, and their confidence seems to continue to grow.  Until Romo and the ‘Boys get it done in crunch time, I’m not on board.

Titans @ Packers

Scottie: Packers

The Titans don’t have the horses to keep up with Green Bay.  This week they do not have the luxury of facing Mark Sanchez.  Instead, they oppose Aaron Rodgers.  The Titans are light years away from being contenders.  Sorry CV.

Matt: Packers

The Titans beat the Jets on Monday night football this past week, but in Week 16 they run into a real opponent.  Jake Locker in Lambeau Field in December stands no chance.

Colts @ ChiefsUnknown-2

Scottie: Colts

Ricky Stanzi might start on Sunday vs. the Colts.  The truth is, the Chiefs could bring back Joe Montana and I am still picking the Colts.  The Chiefs have such a talented roster (outside of quarterback), it legit baffles me they are as bad as they are. With rumors of Dwayne Bowe leaving KC, and the Patriots having to make a decision on Welker, is Bowe a future Patriot?

Matt: Colts

Many New England fans are hoping that the Pats can somehow match up against the Colts in the 1st round of the playoffs instead of the Steelers, but this kid Luck is legit.  Yes, he makes some mistakes.  Yes, he’s thrown a lot of picks.  But, this was the worst team in the NFL last season!  Andrew Luck is a winner, plain and simple.  Plus, they have Pagano power behind them.  This team is dangerous.

Bills @ Dolphins

Scottie: Bills

Matt says Dolphins? I’ll say Bills for the hell of it.

Matt: Dolphins

Bad quarterback vs. bad quarterback.  In an ugly game like this, home team wins.  If I’m a fan of either team, I’m hoping for a loss to better my draft position.

Chargers @ Jets

Scottie: Chargers

Both franchises are going to be happy when this season is over.  The Chargers will hire Andy Reid after they fire Norv Turner.  The Jets will go get Michael Vick to play under center in 2013.  As far as the here and now, Greg McElroy is not the answer for the Jets. The Jets won’t move the ball and the Chargers will leave NY with a win.

Matt: ChargersUnknown-3

McElroy?  Seriously Rex?  I think I understand the logic.  If you throw Tebow in there, you sign yourself up for a media firestorm with an already shaky locker room.  But guess what Rexy, because Tebow was passed over, you have a media firestorm in New York!  Why did they trade for this kid if they aren’t going to play him.  Last I check Tebow went 7-4 as a starter last year.  Much better than Sanchez this year.  Give Tebow a chance!  I really hope the Pats pick up Tebow next season and show the Jets how to utilize this dude.

Redskins @ Eagles

Scottie: Redskins

The Redskins have to be ecstatic with the play of Kirk Cousins.  They should flip him for either a high round draft pick or multiple draft picks.  Some desperate franchise will bite.  And after the draft the Skins had this year (RG3, Cousins, Morris) I have to believe the Redskins will be a force for years to come in the NFC East.  The Eagles are headed in the exact opposite of Washington.

Matt: Redskins

RGIII is back in action and will keep the dream alive in Washington.  As late as week 9 this season the Redskins were in last place in the NFC East.  That’s insane considering they now control their own destiny in terms of getting a playoff spot.  The Eagles are a broken team.

Bengals @ Steelers

Scottie: Steelers

I have to take experience here.  Tomlin and his boys have been here before and tasted success.  Marvin Lewis always seems to fail in these games.  Big Ben has the “it” factor.  He wins the biggest games.  No reason to ignore track records. Steelers take it.

Matt: Steelers

Big Ben and the Steelers aren’t going to roll over and die like Cincinatti is hoping.  The Steelers will make the playoffs this season and that starts now.  By the way, reports have surfaced that Mike Tomlin is losing the locker room.  Who would cross this guy?  If the Pats didn’t have Belichick, Tomlin is the guy I would want.  He’s a man.  Dude is 40!

Rams @ Buccaneers

Scottie: Bucs

No comment necessary.

Matt: Buccaneers 

At home, I go with my boy Bradford.  On the road, I’m not sold on the Rams.  The Bucs got spanked last week against the Saints, and I think they come out in Week 16 looking to make a statement.

Raiders @ Panthers

Scottie: Panthers

Cam Newton finally broke out of his sophomore slump.  The Raiders are bad.  I don’t see any way the Raiders stop the Panthers Sunday.

Matt: Panthers

After starting off the season miserably, Cam Newton has turned his game around over the past few weeks.  With that being said, I’m not sure if it will be enough to save Ron Rivera’s job, and they are killing their draft position.

Vikings @ TexansUnknown-4

Scottie: Texans

I am so close to picking the Vikings here.  I can’t bring myself to do it.  As awesome as Adrian Peterson has been, Christian Ponder has been just as terrible.  Peterson actually has more yards than Ponder.  The Texans have a fluid offense.  I expect them to get up early forcing the Vikings to throw the ball, something the Vikings can’t do.

Matt: Texans

Texans are into the playoffs.  Vikings are still fighting for a playoff spot.  Their are few teams with the ability to slow down Adrian Peterson.  I believe that JJ Watt and the Texans are one of those teams.  The Texans can score enough offensively to out duel Adrian Peterson.  Also, as I have been saying over the past few weeks, Christian Ponder without Percy Harvin doesn’t scare me at all.

Browns @ Broncos

Scottie: Broncos

When it’s all said and done, the Broncos will be the #1 seed in the AFC.  Peyton gets comeback player of the year and MVP?

Matt: Broncos

I’m hoping the Browns pull something out of their ass in Denver to help out the Pats, who are looking to somehow get that #2 seed.  However, I don’t see it happening.

Bears @ Cardinals

Scottie: Bears

Remember when the Cardinals were 4-0?  Remember when I was smoking Matt in this little competition of ours?  Well, both of those are distant memories.  It always pains me to pick Cutler but I that’s what I have to do here.

Matt: Bears

The Bears have turned into the Browns and Jags, I’m simply not picking them.  Scottie hasn’t been called to come in and QB yet, so I still have no confidence in the Cardinals offense.

Giants @ RavensUnknown-5

Scottie: Giants

Here comes the start of the Giants annual mad dash to the Super Bowl.  Both teams are struggling right now.  Both teams are banged up.  I think the Giants D is going to give Flacco fits.  Jim Caldwell’s first game as an offensive coordinator didn’t go so well against Denver.  I think the Giants know they have to win out to get to the playoffs.  They go into Baltimore and grab a win.

Matt: Ravens

It is time for the Ravens to put up or shut up.  They have lost three games in a row for the first time since Scottie has been a valuable member of society.  On the other hand, the G-Men have been struggling, and are licking their wounds after being smoked in Atlanta last week.  Joe Flacco can make or break his career in this one.

49ers @ SeahawksUnknown-6

Scottie: Seahawks

Unlike Matt, I am a man of my word.  The Seahawks are going undefeated at home this year.  The 49ers are due for a let down after Monday Night’s classic in Foxboro.  I don’t expect the Seahawks to throw up 50+ on Monday.  But I think their defense will bother Kaepernick just enough to allow Seattle to protect its turf.

Matt: 49ers

I was with Scottie earlier this season thinking the Seahawks wouldn’t lose at home this year.  Well, the 49ers are coming to town and I’m going against Scottie.  The 49ers impressed me last week against the Pats with the composure after the Pats tied the game at 31-31.  In regards to the Seahawks, Sherman is dealing with an injury and they don’t have that championship look like the 49ers do.  This game will be a good one though.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Matt is who I thought he was, and I left him off the hook!

NFL Week 15 Picks: Scottie vs. Matt

And the comeback begins!  Scottie, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.  A few weeks bad, you stumbled upon a sizeable lead and sure enough you started running your mouth.  I warned you, don’t wake the animal Scottie!  After refocusing and paying closer attention to all 32 NFL teams, I have made a hell of a comeback and now am only 1 game behind Scottie on the season.  Don’t shit your pants just yet Scottie.  I won’t run up the bar tab too high.  Maybe a $200 max?  Scottie went 9-7 last week and overall sits at 134-73-1.  I went 10-6 last week and have a 133-74-1 overall record.  By the way Scottie, how do we stack up against the experts?  Let’s do it…Unknown

I am going to ignore Matt’s ranting and raving.  Truth is, I didn’t think I had much competition after building a 7 game lead and I became a bit bored with the task of making sure I had my picks in every week.  Well, now y’all have my undivided attention.  Week 15 looks to be an awesome week for football.  There are three games off the top of my head that are potential playoff previews including a Super Bowl preview.  There is no better time to swat away the annoying gnat Matt has become with the competition at its greatest and the stakes at their highest…Let’s go!

Bengals @ Eagles

Scottie: Bengals

The Eagles threw everyone for a loop last week shocking the Bucs.  The Bengals choked away a game in Dallas.  At the end of the day, I think the Bengals are better than the Eagles.  Couple that with the Bengals are playing for the playoffs and the Eagles are playing for draft position, I am taking the Bengals.

Matt: Bengals

I think the motivating factor for Cincinnati in this one is the opportunity to make the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive season.  They know they missed a huge opportunity to gain some ground in the standings last week after Baltimore and Pittsburgh lost, but blew that opportunity.  This week, the Ravens and the Steelers have two tough games, so Cincy needs to capitalize.

Packers @ Bears

Scottie: Packers

All season long I have said the Bears are not as good as what their record says. After losing 2 in a row they are now 8-5 and welcome the Packers to town.  Aaron Rodgers is due for a huge game.  I would know, he is my fantasy quarterback.  A win for the Packers gives them the division title.  I expect to Packers to beat the fraudulent Bears.

Matt: Packers

The Bears are done.  Jay Cutler is one more huge shot away from injured reserve.  Urlacher is out for the year.  Forte looks unmotivated.  On the other side of the ball, the Packers are looking like last years version of the Giants.  They are heating up at just the right time.  Aaron Rodgers is looking like the Rodgers of old, Matthews and Woodson should return this week, and Jennings is inserting himself back into the offensive game plan.  Clay Matthews takes this game over en route to a Packers win.

Colts @ Texans

Scottie: Texans

I expect these teams to split their matchup this season.  The Texans were embarrassed on national television by Tom Terrific.  The Texans aren’t as good as what everyone thinks they are but they aren’t as bad as they were Monday night.  They will bounce back and beat the Colts on their home turf.  For the rest of the season, every game will be the biggest game of Andrew Luck’s career.  The roided up JJ Watt will be pissed after Monday and take out his rage on Luck.Unknown-1

Matt: Texans

The Colts are hot and the Texans are coming off of a Monday night blowout against the Pats.  I think this week will be very telling about what kind of team the Texans are.  A resilient, playoff ready team would bounce back and lay it on the Colts.  A soft, not yet ready team would lick their wounds and let the Pats loss hurt them for 2 or 3 weeks.  In Indy, I’m taking the Colts.  In Houston, I have to go with the Texans.

Broncos @ Ravens

Scottie: Broncos

Peyton Manning is going into Baltimore to pick apart the Ravens.  This is one of those games I mentioned in my little introduction.  Ultimately, I think the Broncos have the better defense.  Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil will bottle up Ray Rice leaving Joe Flacco to live up to his self-proclaimed title of “elite.”  I don’t think he will live up to the high opinion he has of himself.

Matt: Ravens

The Broncos may be the hottest team in football, I just can’t see the Ravens losing three games in a row.  From what I’ve been hearing, the Cam Cameron firing was something that has been considered for a long time.  Caldwell has never called plays on the NFL level, however I think that is a good thing for Baltimore.  Harbaugh will tell Caldwell what he wants (give Ray Rice the ball on nearly every play) and Caldwell will do it.  Ray Lewis returns, Baltimore is electric, and the Ravens squeak this one out.

Jaguars @ Dolphins

Scottie: Jaguars

Pretty sure only Floridians care about this game.  Actually, they probably don’t care either.  Maybe only Chad Henne cares.  Because of that, I am going with the Jags.  Henne must be foaming at the mouth for this opportunity to light up his former team on their own turf.  Cecil Shorts should be coming back fully healthy off of the concussion he suffered 2 weeks ago.  Go Henne.

Matt: Dolphins

Who cares? Not me.  Home team wins.  Jags need Tebow.

Redskins @ Browns

Scottie: Redskins

With RGIII the Redskins win rather easily.  Judging by the fact Matt picks the Browns if there was no RGIII he has never heard of the Ewing Theory.  I am going all in on the Redskins here no matter what.  It’d be hilarious to hear talk radio blow up with quarterback controversy in Washington nonsense if Kirk Cousins starts and wins on Sunday.

Matt: RedskinsUnknown-2

The Browns are 5-8.  How the F*** did that happen?  I guess if you’re a Browns fan that is a pretty terrible thing.  If I’m in Cleveland, I want another top pick in the draft.  Give me Te’o baby!  The thing that sucks about implementing our picks on Thursday is that injured players haven’t been ruled out yet.  Will RGIII play?  I have no idea.  If he plays, the Redskins win.  If he doesn’t, the Browns win.  It looks like RGIII plans to start on Sunday, so I’m going with the ‘Skins.

Vikings @ Rams

Scottie: Vikings

Do I even need to say anything here?  Bradford bobs apples from the toilet and Matty likes it.

Matt: Rams

Bradford has taken me this far, and I’m not abandoning him now baby!  AP is a man, but I think the Rams stack the box and make Ponder beat them.  I’m taking Bradford over Ponder.  Let’s go Scottie!!!

Buccaneers @ Saints

Scottie: Saints

I honestly have no idea who to pick in this game.  Both teams have repeatedly screwed me over all season long.  Jimmy Graham has been on the side of a milk carton the past month which has been frustrating to deal with as a fantasy football owner.  I am taking the Saints in a shootout because they’re playing on their turf.

Matt: Saints

The Bucs fought this year, you have to say that.  The Saints started off horribly, but have rebounded a bit and at least have made their season somewhat respectable.  At home, the Saints are a tough team to beat.

Giants @ Falcons

Scottie: Falcons

Atlanta hasn’t played a game that’s meant anything all year.  The Giants are back to their Jekyll and Hyde ways.  I think Matty Ice gets his boys amped up for this one.  I am taking the Falcons here just to spite my co-workers.

Matt: Falconsimages

Statement game.  Enough said.  The Falcons need to come out and prove something against the defending champion Giants.  The Panthers punched Atlanta in the mouth last week, which doesn’t really bother me, every team gets trapped once in a while.  Sunday’s game is a game to get pumped for.  Matt Ryan needs to make a statement.  The Giants are trending downwards (even though they smoked the Saints last week).  I’m not sold on the G-Men…but I may never be.

Seahawks @ Bills

Scottie: Seahawks

The Seahawks defense may have scored the most points in fantasy football history last week against the worst offense in the history of sports.  While I expect the Bills to put up a better fight than the Cardinals did, I am still taking the Seahawks here.

Matt: Seahawks

Bills are a disaster.  Seahawks aren’t very good on the road, but are good enough to beat the Bills.

Panthers @ Chargers

Scottie: Chargers

Could care less about this game.  I don’t like either team.  Both quarterbacks are babies.  There is no one really to like on either team and they are playing for draft position.  I’m taking San Diego because Matt took the Panthers.

Matt: Panthers

Cam Newton has been a man lately!  This is the player that all of those stupid fantasy owners thought they were getting when they took Cam in the 1st round over the summer.  The Panthers have been playing well lately while the Chargers can’t wait for 2012 to be over.  Philip Rivers is done with Norv Turner, and I don’t blame him.

Lions @ CardinalsUnknown-3

Scottie: Lions

If Jim Schwartz can’t win this one, the Schwartz is not definitely not with him.

Matt: Lions

There is a 100% chance that I won’t pick the Cardinals for the rest of the season.  The Cards are done.  They’ve hung up the cleats.  Larry Fitz is trying to avoid injury, and will hopefully look for a trade after this season is over.

Chiefs @ Raiders

Scottie: Chiefs

Hate the Raiders.  Going with the Chiefs because there is no way on God’s green earth the Raiders can stop Jamal Charles.

Matt: Raiders

I put my faith in the Chiefs last week and they slapped me in the face by getting blown out by the Browns.  The Raiders have sputtered down the stretch, however they are better than the Chiefs.

Steelers @ Cowboys

Scottie: Steelers

Remember earlier in the season when I had my “if you had to win one game post…?” Well I ranked Big Ben pretty high because he wins big games.  it may not be pretty but he wins.  Dez Bryant’s hand injury also bothers me.  Romo will find a way to flub this one up and the Steelers will find themselves in playoff position.

Matt: Steelers

Hell of a game!  This is what December football is all about.  Two times fighting for their playoff spot, knowing that a loss could mean the end of their playoff aspirations.  Who do I put my faith in?  Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin.  How can you not?  These two have done it time and time again.  If you have more faith in Garrett and Romo, then you might as well be friends with Scottie because you’re a joke.  The Steelers get the job done in Big D.

49ers @ Patriotsimages-1

Scottie: Patriots

This is a preview of the Super Bowl.  I am 10 times more nervous about this game than I was the Texans matchup.  I believe the 49ers have a great defense.  They also have weapons on offense.  Brady isn’t going to be able to gash the Niners like he did the Texans.  I am interested to see how Bill defends Kaepernick.  This has all the makings of the game of the year.  Patriots have the home field advantage and the GOAT Tom Brady.

Matt: Patriots

I’m not sure how many predicted a blowout last Monday against the Texans, but the Pats certainly cemented their spot as the best team in the AFC, while Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork threw their names into the MVP and defensive player of the year races respectively.  I think the 49ers will stop Ridley in his tracks, so Belichick and company won’t even try to establish the run.  They will throw the ball all over the field, while defensively they will confuse the hell out of Kaepernick.

Jets @ Titans

Scottie: Titans

I’ll go with the Titans to make CV and my future father-in-law happy.  He HATES the Jets more than anyone I know.  Credit me for trying to score points here at least.

Matt: Titans

Who cares? Not me.  Gotta flex this game.  Make the Pats-49ers the Monday night game.  Can’t have the Jets and Titans battling for absolutely nothing on national TV.  Titans are the home team.  They win.

Scottie is shitting his pants.  Where am I drinking for free Scottie?  Tavern 12? Fat Belly’s?  Wherever we decide, I can’t wait to get drunk on your dime.

Matt will be getting O’Douls all night wherever we go no matter whose tab it’s on.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

The Boston Red Sox Culture Change

One week has gone by since the Boston Red Sox started building their 2013 roster.  Their first big move was signing Mike Napoli images-1
to a 3 year $39 million deal.  Two days later, they signed Shane Victorino to the exact same contract.  Many Red Sox fans have been upset with these deals.  Napoli is coming of a year in which he hit .227 with 24 home runs and 56 RBI.  Victorino is coming of a season in which he hit .251 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI.  Neither of these signings are what one would call “sexy.”

The Boston Red Sox aren’t currently in a position to make the “sexy” signings they once made.  The Red Sox desperately need to reinvent their brand and win back their fan base.  The idea behind the signings of Napoli and Victorino center more around what they will do for the clubhouse rather than on the field.  Coming off of the second straight disappointing season, the Red Sox need to change the culture of their clubhouse.  The dominos started to fall in August when they dumped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett on the Dodgers for a few prospects.  Not only did they get rid of a fortune in salary, they got rid of a diva in Adrian Gonzalez, the perennially grumpy Josh Beckett, and a lost Carl Crawford.

I will be the first to admit, I wasn’t thrilled when the Red Sox signed Victorino.  His stats are clearly on the decline over the last three years.  I then followed the Flyin’ Hawaiian on Twitter and in a short time it became painfully apparent to me that Victorino WANTS to play in Boston.  After dealing with the surly Beckett the past few years, I found this refreshing that someone was genuinely excited to play baseball for the Red Sox.  The past two years the Red Sox have dealt with the chicken and beer fiasco followed by the Bobby Valentine disaster.  I think it will be nice to have coverage of guys having fun playing the game.

Johnny Gomes falls into the category of someone who will help pick up the clubhouse atmosphere.  He may be limited defensively imagesand unable to hit right-handed pitching but he mashes lefties and will remind Red Sox fans of Kevin Millar.  Gomes was a spirited leader on an Oakland team that made an improbable run to the playoffs winning the AL West on the last day of the season in 2012.   There was nothing about the 2012 Oakland Athletics roster that on paper wowed anyone.  I am hopeful the same thing will happen with the 2013 Red Sox.

Last season, I remember asking myself if I was willing for the Red Sox to completely start over in hopes of righting the sinking ship.  Going into 2013, the Red Sox are sure to be in the basement of the AL East in everyone’s preseason rankings.  I think I am ok with that.  I can’t deal with the disappointment the Red Sox were the past 2 years.  I rather they rebuild and get on track toward being a World Series contender again.  The signings they have made so far have done nothing to stop that process.  The Victorino signing allows roster flexibility and buys time for top prospects Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz to develop in the minor leagues.  Mike Napoli will be a power bat in the Red Sox lineup that will hit 30 home runs easily if he is able to remain healthy.  He absolutely rakes at Fenway. The other plus? The Red Sox don’t have to face him for 3 years.

The Red Sox will next have to look at what to do with their pitching rotation.  There are two spots to be filled behind Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and (gulp) John Lackey.  The Red Sox could potentially pony up big money for Anibal Sanchez or could make lesser moves in going after Kyle Lohse or Ryan Dempster.  Otherwise, their in-house options are Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves.

The off-season has just begun and I am sure the Red Sox are far from done building their 2013 roster.  The Red Sox brass has assured its fan base at least one thing.  There will be a drastic culture change in the clubhouse come April.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

NFL Week 14 Picks: Scottie vs. Matt

Last week, Scottie’s gloating led to a 7-9 performance and an 125-66-1 record overall.  I stepped up a bit and posted a 10-6 record, and pulled a little closer to Scottie with a 123-68-1 overall record and now 2 games back on the season.  This week is pretty much make or break.  It’s tough to make up 2 or 3 games in one week.  I need to pull it close this week and then grab the victory in the last couple weeks of the season.  Let’s do it…

I may have blacked out last week. Not my best performance.  Time to make up for it and put Matty away.

Broncos @ Raiders220px-Peyton_Manning_(cropped)

Scottie: Broncos

Having won 7 in a row, the Broncos are the hottest team in football.  Once again the MVP debate will come down to Brady vs. Manning.  If the season were to end today, the first round matchup in the AFC? You guessed it.  Manning vs. his former squad, the Indianapolis Colts.  Tell me the NFL isn’t salivating to have that matchup.  Oh yeah, about this game.  The Raiders welcome Darren McFadden back but he is not enough to stop the Broncos win streak.  Broncos win easy.

Matt: Broncos

The Broncos are on absolute fire.  Peyton looks better than he has in years, or maybe he just has a decent team around him.  I really thought the McGahee injury would hurt the Broncos, but they haven’t really missed a beat without him.

Rams @ Bills

Scottie: Bills

There is nothing more enjoyable than bashing my buddy Lyden’s chops about how bad his Bills are every year.  Dating back to the early 90’s when they lost 4 Super Bowls in a row, to the Music City Miracle, and then the decision to start Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie, I have had an array of ammunition.  But I hate Bradford, who was dumb lucky last week.  Go Bills.

Matt: Rams

Well Scottie, last week my boy Bradford took out your 49ers like 3 day old trash.  The “next coming” in Colin Kaepernick looked like a JV quarterback compared to my boy Bradford.  He is throwing to complete scrubs and still getting the job done.  Time to give Bradford some credit Scottie.

Cowboys @ Bengals

Scottie: Bengals

I have to stay consistent with my picks.  Benjarvus Green-Ellis has added a dimension of consistency to the Bengals offense.  On the surface it looks like its just Andy Dalton to AJ Green all day.  The Law Firm has rushed for 885 yards so far this season and has been a valuable asset to the Bengals.

Matt: Bengals

To be completely honest, I have no idea who will win this game.  The Cowboys are the most inconsistent team in football, but my gut tells me to go with Dallas.  Every time I pick against the Bengals, I end up losing.  I’m going with the home team in this one.

Chiefs @ Browns

Scottie: Browns

After last week’s tragedy I wanted to change my pick to the Chiefs to beat the Panthers.  I just had that feeling in the wake of tragedy they would sneak out a victory because that seems to always happen in sports.  The Browns had a tragedy of their own last week as a team employee committed suicide at their practice facility.  I think the Browns are a better team and they are at home.

Matt: Chiefs

I’m going with the Chiefs for no other reason that I have no desire to pick the Browns to win a game all year.  The Chiefs may carry some inspiration over from last week’s emotional victory.

Titans @ Coltsimages

Scottie: Colts

CV knows his Titans have next to no chance in this one.  The Colts are riding high on Luck.  With head coach Chuck Pagano sidelined battling leukemia, the Colts improbable playoff run has been the best story in the NFL this season.  The Titans will do nothing to get in the way of that.

Matt: Colts

If you asked me prior to the start of this season what the percentage was that the Colts make the playoffs I would have said 0%.  Honestly, this kid Andrew Luck is better than advertised, and he was being compared to Elway.  That game last week against Detroit sealed it for me.  Luck is the next big thing for the NFL.

Bears @ Vikings

Scottie: Bears

I made the mistake of picking the Vikings 2 weeks ago at the request of my good friend Marc.  I saw Marc last night and I told him that I don’t care how much bigger he is than me, he will no longer intimidate me into picking his upset specials.  Adrian Peterson has been playing out of his mind in recent weeks but he can’t alone win you a football game.  Percy Harvin is out.  Christian Ponder is busy getting engaged to Samantha Steele.  Jay Cutler throws to Brandon Marshall, and wins football games.

Matt: Vikings

The Bears look like they will be missing Urlacher for a few weeks and they looked horrible last week against Seattle.  The Seahawks kept giving the Bears chances to put the game away and they just couldn’t get it done.  Meanwhile, the Vikings are adapting to life without Percy Harvin by letting AP run all over the field and feeding the ball to Kyle Rudolph.  At home, the Vikings get it done.

Eagles @ Bucs

Scottie: Bucs

This is as close to a no-brainer as it gets.  The Eagles are putrid.  I am hoping Josh Freeman has a field day throwing to Vincent Jackson. I need points out of VJ to get through my first round of the fantasy football playoffs.  The only plus in Philly is Bryce Brown.  He has rushed for over 150 yards in both of his games with LeSean McCoy out.  Bucs win easy.

Matt: Bucs

The Eagles are a disaster.  Andy Reid has one foot out of the door.  He’s making his way to either San Diego or Dallas next year.  The Bucs are still fighting for a playoff spot.  They have something to play for.

Ravens @ Redskinsimages-1

Scottie: Redskins

G Knott will be happy to see that I am coming off the Ravens bandwagon this week.  The truth is they have played so poorly over the last month, it is truly a wonder they are 9-3.  I think RGIII lights up the Ravens on his home turf today.

Matt: Ravens

After losing to the Roethlisbergerless Steelers last week, the Ravens are out for blood.  On the other hand, RGIII and the Redskins are flying high after beating the Giants last Monday night.  RGIII now faces one of the league’s toughest defenses.  Joe Flacco is due for a breakout game, and the Redskins secondary loves giving up huge gains in the passing game.

Falcons @ Panthers

Scottie: Falcons

Last week I said the Panthers can beat bad football teams.  They promptly went out and lost to the Chiefs.  I don’t see Cam and his boys coming out of Atlanta with a W.  The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through Atlanta after they win today.

Matt: Falcons

The rest of the 2012 regular season doesn’t matter for Atlanta.  Success will now be measured solely on playoff success.  The fans in Atlanta are desperate for a playoff run, and I’m interested to see if Matty Ryan and the Falcons can get it done.

Jets @ JaguarsUnknown

Scottie: Jets

The Jaguars are without their top receiver Cecil shorts. I just saw Tebow is active and Greg McElroy is inactive today.  I think Tebow starts over Sanchez and does what he does.  This will be an audition for Tebow as he will surely request a trade in the offseason. The Jets will win ugly today.

Matt: Jets

I really don’t know about this one.  The Jets with Sanchez are bad.  The Jags with anyone are bad.  Isn’t it interesting that the week Rex decided to pull Sanchez, Tebow was hurt.  Seems like ol’ Rex knows that the Tebow trade created a mediafirestorm that his team (and emotionally fragile quarterback) wasn’t ready to deal with.

Chargers @ Steelers

Scottie: Steelers

I bashed Charlie Batch last week basically comparing him to Betty White.  Then he goes out and lights up the Ravens.  Last week really was a bad week for me.  My apologies to Charlie Batch.  This week, the Steelers have Big Ben back and they will beat the Chargers at home.  I am so glad San Diego has finally decided to fire Norv Turner.  It was a decision made 6 years too late.

Matt: Steelers

Roethlisberger is back, but as usually happens he wasn’t really missed.  Charlie Batch gets the job done.  It’s not statistically good, visually attractive, and amazing football, but it is successful.  The Chargers on the other hand are a disaster.

Dolphins @ 49ers

Scottie: 49ers

The Dolphins have been victimized by the injury bug.  It is also fair to say they had overachieved in the early part of the season.  Kaepernick had a hiccup last week.  He will get back on track this week and the 49ers will swim past the Dolphins.

Matt: 49ers

Tough loss for the 49ers last week against my boy Bradford.  They rebound easily at home against a Dolphins team that is falling apart quickly.

Cardinals @ Seahawks

Scottie: Seahawks

The Cardinals are terrible, losing 8 in a row.  The Seahawks are playing at home.  Every week, I remind you guys that the Seahawks will be undefeated at home this year.  Now is not the time to abandon that prediction.

Matt: Seahawks

Scottie may be right on this one, the Seahawks are tough at home.  Even with one of their starting corners out on suspension, Seattle shouldn’t have an issue taking out the Cards.  I honestly don’t even know who’s playing quarterback for the Cards these days.  I do know that he isn’t getting the ball to Larry Fitz and yet I can’t bring myself to put him on the bench on my fantasy team.

Saints @ Giantsimages-2

Scottie: Saints

The vast majority of my co-workers are Giants fans.  They had a complete meltdown after losing to the Redskins last week.  The Giants fans are like Chicken Little. “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”  I found myself talking them off the ledge citing Tom Coughlin’s knack for going through a midseason soon and then getting to the Super Bowl. But because it was so much fun to see how upset they were, I am picking the Saints here in hopes of a fun week at work.

Matt: Giants

The G-Men need a win after a tough loss to the Redskins on Monday night.  In New Orleans, I may go with the Saints.  However, with the Giants at home I think they get the job done.

Lions @ Packers

Scottie: Packers

How does Jim Schwartz still have a job?  In the last two weeks, he has cost his Lions 2 games.  Now, the Lions are going to Green Bay pretty much out of the playoffs.  Today is the reason why Aaron Rodgers was drafted with top picks in fantasy drafts.  I expect him to throw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Anything less will be a massive disappointment.

Matt: Packers

No team finds more ways to lose than the Detroit Lions.  They had that game last week in the bag, and they let Luck drive down the field, playing lackadaisical defense, and allow the Colts to pull out the win.  Many, including myself, were expecting the Lions to be a force in the NFC this year.  Sorry Detroit fans, it looks like you’ll be waiting until 2013.

Texans @ Patriotsimages-4

Scottie: Patriots

Nationally televised game in December.  Tom Brady time.  My only wish was for some snow and ice cold temperatures.  Then Houston would truly have no shot.  Yes, the Texans have the best record in the AFC.  They have also played the weakest schedule in all of football.  Don’t be surprised if the Texans slip all the way down to a 3 seed come playoff time.  Also, JJ Watt needs to be drug tested.  He suffers from roid rage and uses a knee brace for his elbow. Pretty suspicious.  Lets go Pats.

Matt: Patriots

Statement game time!  I’m fired up just thinking about it.  Gronk being out kills the Pats.  He creates matchup nightmares for every team in the NFL.  With that being said, the Pats know what’s on the line in this one.  Home field advantage.  The Patriots covet home field advantage.  In Houston, I’m going with the Texans.  At Foxboro, I’m going with the Pats.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Matt is a baby.