Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ryders on the Storm

Every two years, we are treated to what is in my opinion the greatest athletic spectacle in all of sports.  Some might argue that the World Cup or the Olympics surpass this, but in those events there is often a great disparity of talent.  Others might argue the Super Bowl or the World Series, but in those there is no pride for country involved.  In the Ryder Cup, you have players who play as individuals all season long coming together and playing for team and country.  Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and it is almost always a close and spirited match.  There is really no other game like golf, and there is really no other spectacle like the Ryder Cup.

This year the Ryder Cup returns to the United States at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.  Keeping with tradition, home Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has been able to alter the course setup to his liking, and this year it will favor the bombers.  The rough has been cut way down to maximize distance, giving guys like Tiger, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Phil and Keegan Bradley some added distance over the relatively shorter, with the exception of Rory and Nicolas Colsaerts, Euros.  Suffice it to say there are going to be a lot of low scores out there this weekend.  As usual, it is anybody's game.  Let's take a look at each player on both squads.

USA

Jimmy Furyk: Furyk has been a lousy fourball (two guys from each squad play against each other in best ball match play) throughout his Ryder Cup career, but is a vet and should hold his own.  You can't not pick Jim Furyk for your team.

Tiger Woods: Tiger has a losing record overall in the Ryder Cup, but I like him to come back strong this year, especially on a course he has dominated throughout his career.  It would be great to see him paired up against Sergio Garcia for a throwback to Medinah in '99.

Bubba Watson: I'm a little worried about Bubba.  He hasn't been playing great golf lately, and is not a great putter overall.  He will be helped by the course conditions though.  

Keegan Bradley:  Keegan is made for this type of thing.  A fierce competitor with the ability to take opponents out of their game.  I expect big things for him.  RAT just shuddered at that picture.

Phil Mickelson: Apparently Phil is going to pair up with Keegan out there.  I like what that team brings to the table. 

Jason Dufner: Great demeanor for this.  Calm and steady.  If he gets nervous, he'll just throw in another bomber.

Brandt Snedeker: Another rookie I really like for Ryder Cups.  GREAT putter. 

Dustin Johnson: Another guy I worry about.  He wilts under pressure pretty easily, and isn't the greatest putter.  On the plus side, he can mash the ball though.  A Dustin and Bubba combination could win 9&8 one day, and lose 9&8 the next.

Zach Johnson:  Zach is another good putter that I am not worried about at all.  He will succeed this year.

Matt Kuchar: Kuchar was kind of MIA in the second half of the year.  Not sure what to expect from him.

Webb Simpson: Old Webb kind of comes off like a pussy, but I don't think he will back down an inch from these Europeans.  Solid game all around. 

Steve Stricker: Strick Daddy and Tiger are going to pick up where they left off and smoke fools this year. 


EUROPE

Rory McIlroy: Clearly playing the best golf in the world right now.  He and Graeme McDowell also make a nightmare team in group play.

Graeme McDowell: Not playing his best, but he is a stone cold killer on the greens.  A halved match is a win against whatever team he is on. 

Ian Poulter: What Graeme is to team play, Poulter is to singles.  Again, a halve is a win in a match against him. 

Lee Westwood: Historically a good Ryder Cupper, I think his best years are behind him.  I also miss fat Lee Westwood.

Segio Garcia: Undefeated in foursomes.  I was hoping he would never come back to the Ryder Cup.

Luke Donald: Another guy undefeated in foursome play.  I personally don't think he is that good of a player.  I also think he is crazy if he thinks the crowd is going to go easy on him because he resides in Chicago. 

Justin Rose: Another Ryder Cup resurgent.  He will make a good teammate with another limey, but won't play well in singles.

Francesco Molinari: Dave Rattner was the worst player on the 2010 squad, and doesn't have his brother there to protect him this time around. 

Nicolas Colsaerts: The Belgian Bomber is a long hitter, but hasn't played much on American soil.  I don't think he will be that great.

Paul Lawrie: Lawrie made his way into this by winning a bunch of European events.  He hasn't played in a Ryder Cup since 1999.  Don't expect much from him. 

Martin Kaymer: Former #1 in the world, former feared player.  The Machine has fallen way off in the last two years.  He did inspire me to buy a neckerchief though.

Peter Hanson: Speaking of wilting under pressure, the second this guy realized he had the Masters lead he went straight butt zone for the rest of the tournament.  He was also 1-2 in the 2010 Ryder Cup.  I could be thinking of his brother Soren Hansen though.


On paper, I think the U.S. has a lot better players.  The Ryder Cup is not played on paper though.  Europe will certainly play better in foursomes and fourball with their killer teams of McDowell/McIlroy and Westwood/Poulter and Rose/Donald.  However, I think the margin of defeat won't be as great as it has been in years past.  In singles play on Sunday, I think the United States shows their strength and takes the Cup.  U.S. wins 15.5 to 12.5 and brings the Ryder Cup back where it belongs on American soil.  Now everybody leave me alone for the next three days. 




Moose's Weekly Picks

Call me Jim Cramer because I am getting back to even!  With a little help from the zebras on Monday night, Moose was able to go 8-7 last week, returning to .500 on the year.  With each passing week, the true talent is rising to the top, and the spreads become a bit more cut and dry in terms of favorites and underdogs.  With that said, let's get into week 3 of MWP.

Cleveland (+12) at Baltimore
PICK: Cleveland.  Cleveland has only lost by 10 at the most this year, and the Ravens are on very short rest coming off of the Sunday night game.  The Brownies can keep it under 12 in the Modell Bowl.

NEP (-4) at Buffalo
PICK: NEP.  3 losses in a row for BB and the NEP?  I am afraid to even think about that.  These New England-Buffalo games are usually pretty wild though.

Minnesota (+5) at Detroit
PICK: Minnesota.  Minnesota, fresh off of ruining another No Doubter for me, looks tough.  Detroit does not.  The Vikes take one on the road.

Carolina (+7) at Atlanta
PICK: Atlanta.  Atlanta seems like the real deal, and the dome will be rocking.

San Francisco (-4) at NYJ
PICK: San Francisco.  No Revis could mean trouble for the Jets.  I like the 49ers to regain momentum after a bad loss.

San Diego (+1) at Kansas City
PICK: San Diego.  Another baffling spread.  Possibly an overreaction to the Bolts getting blown out at home by Atlanta.

Tennessee (+12) at Houston
PICK: Tennessee.  Houston has been straight rolling teams, but Matt Schaub can only have like 8 brain cells left after last week.  They are due for a stinker, but still win.

Seattle (-2.5) at St. Louis
PICK: Seattle.  This should be a good game between two up and coming teams.  Seattle's defense will make the difference though.

Miami (+6.5) at Arizona
PICK: Arizona.  This defense does not allow touchdowns.  It's scary son.

Oakland (+6.5) at Denver
PICK: Oakland.  That wobbly Manning arm has me concerned.  I'll take a fat Janikowski leg over it any day.

Cincinnati (-2.5) at Jacksonville
PICK: Bengals.  This game will probably suck.

New Orleans (+7.5) at Green Bay
PICK: Green Bay.  Tough game for the Saints to break the streak.  I'll take the Pack to take out their frustration from the refs on the hapless New Orleans defense.

Washington (+3) at Tampa Bay
PICK: Tampa Bay.  Legbreaker Schiano's defense should be able to put a lid on Robert Griffin III, while Josh Freeman scores enough points on the 'Skins defense sans All-Pro Linebacker Brian Orakpo.

NYG (+1.5) at Philadelphia
PICK: NYG.  And guess what, it's my NO DOUBTER OF THE WEEK!  Giants fans may think I am just trying to put the curse on them right now, but the Eagles offensive line is a mess.  I see the Giants' apes running wild and helping ring in the Nick Foles era by decapitating Michael Vick.

Chicago (+3.5) at Dallas
PICK: Dallas.  Chicago's offense is really sucky.  Dallas' defense is pretty good. 


LAST WEEK: 8-7
SEASON RECORD: 14-14-2
NO DOUBTERS: 0-2

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Moose's Weekly Picks

Welcome back to another edition of Moose's Weekly Picks.  After my first week, I am just a smidgeon under the .500 mark at 6-7-2.  I will try to improve upon that mark this week and get myself back to even.  Unfortunately I can't make a call on the Giants/Panthers game because Koey couldn't put down his wingies and text me the spread in time.  So we will start with the Sunday games once again this week.  Here we go:

St. Louis (+7.5) at Chicago
PICK: St. Louis.  The Bears were my pre-season NFC Super Bowl pick in the annual Sack Lodge fantasy football predictions board.  I must have forgotten that they have Jay Cutler.  Dude is a coach killer.  Rams win this one on the road.

Tampa Bay (+7.5) at Dallas
PICK: Tampa.  Dallas looked good, then shitty.  This week they will be somewhere in between and win a close game against legbreaker Schiano.

San Francisco (-6.5) at Minnesota
PICK: San Francisco.  I can't believe the Niners are only giving 6.5 in this one.  I like them to win big.  As a matter of fact, I will make this my NO DOUBTER OF THE WEEK.  We all saw how that turned out last week though.

Detroit (-3.5) at Tennessee
PICK: Detroit.  I'm picking a lot of road teams this week.  Add Detroit to the list. 

Cincinnati (+3) at Washington
PICK: Cincinnati.  I don't think the 'Skins are as good as everyone else thinks.  Plus they just lost Geico spokesman All-Pro linebacker Brian Orakpo for the season. 

NY Jets (-2.5) at Miami
PICK: Miami.  Tannehill earned his stripes last week after I potshat him.  Miami's defense will stifle the Sanchize and get the W.

Kansas City (+9) at New Orleans
PICK: New Orleans.  This is a tough call.  The Saints have looked terrible in two games.  I think they pull it together for this game at home.

Buffalo (+3) at Cleveland
PICK: Buffalo.  Cleveland has gotten better, but I think Buffalo showed what they are made of last week.  Their offense will overpower the Brownies.

Jacksonville (+3) at Indy
PICK: Indy.  The Jaguars can't throw the ball.  The Colts can.  I like Andy Luck to build on his first win with another W at home.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Arizona
PICK: Arizona.  Everybody knows the Iggs only win by one!

Atlanta (+3) at San Diego
PICK: Atlanta.  I don't know who came up with this line, but I'll take the Falcons in a battle of undefeateds.

Houston (-2) at Denver
PICK: Houston.  Peyton Manning will play better, but I don't know if anyone can stop this high-powered Texans offense.

Pittsburgh (-4) at Oakland
PICK: Pittsburgh.  Oakland has looked terrible the first two weeks.  I don't know what happened to Carson Palmer, but I'll take the Steelers to pick apart the mistake prone Raiders.

New England (+3) at Baltimore
PICK: NEP.  I don't know what the hell happened to the Pats last week, but I can't see it happening two weeks in a row.  They also are not subject to the TPLIYP No Doubter curse this week.

Green Bay (-3) at Seattle
PICK: Seattle. An NFC West clean sweep!  I think the NFC West, led by San Francisco is a super tough division.  I'll take Seattle in a bit of an upset at home.


LAST WEEK: 6-7-2
SEASON RECORD: 6-7-2
NO DOUBTER RECORD: 0-1

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Moose's Weekly Picks

This might be an effort to stay more active with good old TPLIYP.  It might be an effort to see just how well I can forecast games.  Or it might just be a cheap copy of a lot of other websites.  All of that said, I wanted to test my football knowledge by keeping track of my football picks with the spread over the course of an entire season (skipping week 1 and the Thursday night game of course).  Each week, I will endeavor to forecast each game against the spread and check my progress each week.  Sound good?  Let's do it!

WEEK 2:

Tampa Bay (+7) at NY Giants
PICK: Tampa.  This should be a slobberknocker of a game, to quote the great JR.  I like the Giants to win, but not by more than 6. 

Arizona (+13.5) at NEP
PICK: Gotta go NEP.  Kevin Kolb starting for the Cardinals at Gillette Stadium where Brady is 35-1 in his last 36 regular season starts?  This has all the makings of a blowout.  Consider this my "No Doubter" of the week.  Yep, that's what we're gonna go with.

Minnesota (-3) at Indianapolis
PICK: Indy.  I think the Colts can win this game, and Lukas Oil Stadium is always a tough place to play.

New Orleans (-2.5) at Carolina
Pick: Carolina.  New Orleans is still reeling from the whole bounty scandal fiasco, and Scam Newton is looking to rebound at home after a tough start.  I think Carolina will win fairly convincingly.

Kansas City (+3) at Buffalo
PICK: Buffalo.  Buffalo looked awful last week.  This week they will prove that they are not that bad.

Baltimore (+2.5) at Philadelphia
PICK: Baltimore.  Despite several analysts predicting that Vick will have a bounce back game, I gotta go with the Ravens.  The possibility of no Desean Jackson and no Jeremy Maclin could lead to a Ravens blowout.

Oakland (-2.5) at Miami
PICK: Oakland.  Ryan Tannehill looks like one of those quarterbacks that is just not ready to start in the NFL.  The Raiders should win this game by at least 3.

Cleveland (+7) at Cincinnati
PICK: Cincinnati.  Cincy will benefit from the Joe Haden suspension, and Brandon Weeden doesn't just look like, he IS, one of those qbs that is not ready to start in the NFL.  He looks like Ben Roethlisberger though, so that's a plus.

Houston (-7) at Jacksonville
PICK: Houston.  Houston is one of the best teams in the NFL.  I like them to win by double digits.

Dallas (-3) at Seattle
PICK: Dallas.  This will be a test to see if Dallas is for real or not.  I think they will win in a close one.

Washington (-3.5) at St. Louis
PICK: Washington.  Robert Griffin III will have one more good week.  Then he will come back to earth.

NY Jets (+5) at Pittsburgh
PICK: NY Jets.  Not sure what to make of Pittsburgh this year.  They keep losing play makers and I think it is starting to catch up with them.  I guess we'll find out.

Tennessee (+6.5) at San Diego
PICK: Tennessee.  This seems like a let down game for the Chargers, who usually stink in the beginning of the season.

Detroit (+7) at San Francisco
PICK: San Francisco.  The 49ers look like one of the toughest teams in the NFL.  Detroit will test their defense, but I like San Fran to dominate.

Denver (+3) at Atlanta
PICK: Denver.  The Broncos could be one of the best teams in the NFL this year.  With Peyton Manning's offense complimenting their relentless pass rush, they are going to upend the Falcons at home. 


I have a feeling that this is going to be quite a bit harder than I think.  But I am excited to test my skills.  Here goes nothing!

SEASON RECORD: 0-0