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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Third 'dog's a charm

Here are the lines for this weekend in our charity pro football underdog game. Houston-Denver is a pick-'em, which by rule means it's off the board:

9 ST. LOUIS at Chicago
9 KANSAS CITY at New Orleans
7 MINNESOTA vs. San Francisco
7 TAMPA BAY at Dallas
4.5 OAKLAND vs. Pittsburgh
4 ARIZONA vs. Philadelphia
3.5 CINCINNATI at Washington
3.5 SEATTLE vs. Green Bay (Monday, pick still due Sunday)
3 TENNESSEE vs. Detroit
3 ATLANTA at San Diego
3 MIAMI vs. New York Jets
3 NEW ENGLAND at Baltimore
3 CLEVELAND vs. Buffalo
2.5 JACKSONVILLE at Indianapolis
1 CAROLINA vs. New York Giants (Thursday 5:20 PM Pacific)

Players must have their entries to underdog central by 10 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday (unless picking Carolina, in which case the deadline is kickoff time Thursday). Please be sure you receive your confirmation email shortly after you submit your pick.

The horses of Denver did not prevail last night, and so our standings remain where they were Sunday night. Only one player scored this past weekend, for 3 points.

On a happier note, it's time to talk prizes. We have 42 entries in the game, for a charity pot of $840. It will be split as follows:

First prize: $475 to player's favorite charity
Second prize: $150 to player's favorite charity
Third prize: $100 to player's favorite charity
Fourth prize: $70 to player's favorite charity
Fifth prize: $45 to player's favorite charity

All charities designated must be entities recognized as tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations.

We also have a generous sponsor who will add $500 to the pot, but on the condition that her match go only to charities whose primary function is to provide "food, school, or medicine." If all five top finishers designate charities that fit within that description, the combined prizes would be as follows:

First prize: $760 to charity
Second prize: $240 to charity
Third prize: $160 to charity
Fourth prize: $110 to charity
Fifth prize: $70 to charity

If only some of the winners' charities meet the "food, school, or medicine" description, the $500 will be reshuffled among the players whose charities do fit that bill. In all, $1,340 will go to charities as a result of the game this year. And that ain't hay. So get pickin', players!

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A moment of silence for a man who helped make our experiences of the NFL unforgettable:

Steve Sabol helped turn NFL Films into a Super Bowl champion

Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday at age 69, was an art major who become one of the most celebrated sports filmmakers of his time. NFL Films helped shape the way many football fans have watched the game.

How NFL Films transformed football

Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, is presented by NFL Films president and his son, Steve Sabol, for his enshrinement as a member of the Hall of Fame class of 2011 (10:12)

Gotta like this player -- http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/redskins-rookie-alfred-morris-still-driving-1991-mazda-212015811--nfl.html

Mojo's Best Bets, tomorrow. Rams look like a very tantalizing "Gamblers' Special"! Stay tuned.

Mojo's Best Bets
Equinox Edition

ATLANTA (+3) at San Diego -- While the Chargers defense has started off the the season stout and stuffing the run against the talented Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden, that was as much a result of poor offensive line play by the Titans and the Raiders as it was play-making by the Chargers DL and LBs. The Falcons should be able to get their premier back, Michael Turner, some open holes to make some good runs at key times, while QB Matt Ryan gets the ball out to Julius Jones and TE Tony Gonzalez. Turner should be extra-motivated after his DUI episode earlier this week.

NEW ENGLAND (+3) at Baltimore -- The Ravens' defense isn't what it used to be, especially with LB Terrell Suggs out. Baltimore gave up almost 500 yards in total offense to the Eagles last week. The Patriots are a confident road team. The Patriots will have a good defensive game plan to control the Ravens dangerous RB Ray Rice, while on offense, QB Tom Brady will carve up these birds. Look for WR Wes Welker to bust out of Belichick's doghouse in spectacular fashion.

Upset Special

SEATTLE (+3.5) vs. Green Bay -- Could be a great national coming out party for Seahawks' rookie QB sensation, Russell Wilson. The Seahawks lead the NFL in Monday Night Football game winning percentage. They're 17-8 and have won their last five appearances in a row, featuring 3 shutouts and a 24-14 win over Green Bay. The key to this game is that the Packers' defense is ranked 26th against the rush. Seattle should be able to control the ball, with their superb RB Marshawn Lynch getting well over 100 yards, and Wilson picking up some key 3rd downs with his own excellent running skills.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks' running game in high gear
After he asked for help midway through last season, Marshawn Lynch has given the Seahawks a solid running game. Lynch has run for at least 100 yards in seven of the past 11 regular-season games
By Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times staff reporter (September 21, 2012)

Picking up an extra half-point could be a difference-maker in the standings at the end of this charity game, too.

Gamblers' Corner

ST. LOUIS (+9) at Chicago -- The line on this game is down to 7 pts now. With both teams' top RBs hurting and uncertain to play or play much at all, it will come down to QBs Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford. Cutler is a sadly disintegrating disaster in progress, while Bradford is a rising NFL star, last week going 26 of 35 for 310 yards and 3 TDs in upsetting Washington.

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