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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

'Dogs of Week 7 already up and at 'em

And so we might as well post 'em (in caps) for the contestants in our charity underdog game:

10.5 NEW YORK JETS at New England
7.5 SEATTLE at San Francisco (Thursday 5:20 Pacific)
6.5 WASHINGTON at New York Giants
6 ARIZONA at Minnesota
6 BALTIMORE at Houston
5 ST. LOUIS vs. Green Bay
5 DETROIT at Chicago (Monday, pick still due Sunday morning)
3 CLEVELAND at Indianapolis
3 TENNESSEE at Buffalo
2.5 TAMPA BAY vs. New Orleans
1 CAROLINA vs. Dallas
1 CINCINNATI vs. Pittsburgh

If you're going with Seattle (and that's an intriguing line), your pick is due by kickoff time Thursday afternoon. Everybody else, we're talking 10 a.m. Sunday. Good luck, players.

Comments (7)

Philadelphia Eagles' Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo Falls on Sword for Andy Reid: Fan Reaction
By Pete Lieber – 19 hours ago

Notable excerpt:

It's looking more and more like a Dust Bowl is heading toward Philadelphia sometime soon after the 2012 NFL football season. Tuesday, the winds began to kick up, as the Philadelphia Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo after just a season and six games in the position. Secondary coach Todd Bowles will take over coordinator duties for head coach Andy Reid, who removed Castillo after his team blew a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter at home against an undisciplined and unimpressive Detroit Lions team.

There are a couple of key words being uttered around the Delaware Valley amongst fans this Tuesday. Scapegoat seems to be the predominant term. Reid intimated that the move was solely his decision. Fans, via Twitter and article comment sections, seem to want to know if it's possible for Reid to fire himself. Of course, that is tongue in cheek, but this move is a scathing indication that Reid knows finally that he's in a battle to save his own skin.

Reid said that at 3-3, the team's record indicates that they are an average team. He believes they are better than their record indicates. Are they? This team could easily be 0-6. Of course, this team could easily be 5-1 as well. The question is whether or not late wins over the hapless Cleveland Browns and good teams like the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens are an indication of what they are capable of, or are they the team that squandered the opportunity to steal a win on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and couldn't finish the job against an underachieving Lions team. The answer is probably clearer than we'd like it to be. This team is simply average. We've heard it a lot lately -- you are what your record says you are.

Reid, as the proverbial broken record often heralds, took full responsibility for all the ills of his football team. He took full responsibility for the hiring of Castillo, a former offensive line coach that hadn't coached defensively in more than 15 seasons, as defensive coordinator. Castillo has been a coach under Reid for all 14 seasons of his tenure as the head man in Philly. They are, or were, as close off the field as they were on it. The hiring of Castillo had to have been born of Castillo's falsely believing he could do the job and selling his friend Reid that bill of goods. Reid's job is to be intelligent enough to be able to talk a friend down off the ledge when he knows he's in over his head. To his own detriment, Reid allowed Castillo to dive off the high dive into the deep end, and he had to have some idea that there was a good chance Castillo wouldn't be able to swim. The hire was a massive risk. Now, with his own hide all too close to the branding iron, he's drowned his buddy.

I really dig the Seahawks team this year, and had picked them over New England at home as the "Upset Special" last week -- but, I just can't see their rookie QB on the road overcoming SF's defense, especially catching the 49ers the week after they got beat at home by the Giants. Certainly a "Gamblers' Corner"-type pick, but in gambling on picking up a big bag of points, I think the Jets have a better chance at surprising the ever-more-mortal and banged-up Patriots.

QB Tom Brady (Probable-Head) ~ Sources close to the Patriots state that Brady's head injury will be monitored all week. They also went on to say that they will monitor his organic Vanilla Bean Almond moisturizer exfoliate and his stack of GQ magazines as well. -- Joshua Caudill, CraveOnline (10/17/12)

P.S.: Funny bit, too, by Caudill about the Arizona Cardinals QB situation:

Apparently the Cardinals are having fan tryouts for the QB position this week. Auditions are to take place in the parking lot of Applebees.

Can't see them beating the Vikes in Minnesota this week, regardless.

Sorry Mojo, I've been tempted and bitten down on the Jets bait twice this season, and I got my mouth burned both times. No more Jets mouth blisters...especially with the Jets against the Pats at home. My bet is that The Hood (a.k.a the High Priest of Whatever it Takes) will ratchet things down this week, and Tommy Boy will serve communion to the faithful in Foxboro and slice and dice the NY Party Boys into little pieces with laser point thread the needle throws to his vast array of talented receivers and tight ends. Prediction…Pretty Boy Tom (a.k.a. Don’t Hate Me For What My Momma Gave Me!) will throw at least 4 TD's probably 6. Meanwhile, M. Sanchez (a.k.a. Where’s The Hot Dog Vendor?) will get picked at least once, probably twice, and get sacked even more than that if he doesn't manage to fumble or intentionally ground a few times. If Brady has to sit the game for some strange reason (he wasn’t taken out of the Seattle game) then I still think The Hood and the Foxboro faithful will nevertheless will the Pats to victory because the Jets suck.
The Seahawks and the 12th man are no joke at home this year no matter who they face. They scraped out a tough victory at home against the Pats in the rain. It's a tough haul to fly 3 time zones from home into an environment like that and expect a cake walk...no matter how good you are. ..especially against one of the top defenses in the league. The Pats loss to the Hawks in their own house was not an upset by any stretch of the imagination.
The Hawks deserve way more respect than a 7.5 spread against an over-rated 49'ers squad. (The 49'ers only managed 3 points at home last week against the 3-2 Giants squad that traveled 3 time zones. They only scored 3 points at home against an east coast team and people still think they are all that and a bag of chips…OVER RATED!) I think there’s a reasonable probability that the Hawks have shaken out their early season road jitters as evidenced by a victory back east against Cam Newton and Carolina a few weeks back. The defensive parity between these two will be outweighed by the fearless scrambling rookie QB R. Wilson and his newly founded crushing long bomb passing attack… provided that the Hawks can pressure A. Smith and cause him to become a predictable one dimensional ground battle drone. They definitely need an answer to S.F running back Gore who has had blow up games against the Hawks in the past. S.F. has a major injury on their offensive line so-you-never-know. M. Lynch has torn up S.F. in his own right as well, so that could be a game changer if he catches fire. Also, there is bad blood from the Hawks' loss to S.F. earlier this year, and Pete Carol and J. Harbaugh apparently hate each other from way back in their college coaching days. My bet is that the hard hitting nasty factor will be high...especially on defense. It should be a good game no matter who ends up with the W.
(B.T.W. this post was written on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m., and I will wait to post it on Bojack.net after the game starts to avoid tipping my hand to the rest of the pool.)

Mojo's Best Bets
Spiced Apple Cider Edition

Best Bets

TENNESSEE (+3) at Buffalo -- The Buffalo Bills are one of the major disappointments so far this NFL season. While the Titans are hobbled with some key injuries (QB Jake Locker, LB Colin McCarthy), they have been coming together as team overcoming adversity, and energized with confidence after shocking the Steelers last week. Meanwhile, the Bills continue to disintegrate and underperform, not stretching the field as they did last year, tossing mostly short crossing patterns and screens. Fitzpatrick has 8 INTs so far this year. Add to that, the Bills' poor run defense and this stacks up as a potential monster day by the Titans' excellent RB, Chris Johnson. Watch for Titan's superb kick returner to go wild against the Bills' lousy kick coverages, too.

Upset Special

ST. LOUIS (+5) vs. Green Bay -- This game should be fun to watch. Good QB match-up, with St. Louis' secondary much better than GB's and likely to give the Packers the same kind of problems that the Seahawks did. St. Louis has a much better running game, but the Packers' LB Clay Matthews is on track to break the NFL single-season sack record. The key matchup in this game will be how Jeff Fisher and the Rams deal with Matthews against their backup RT, 2nd-year man Joe Barksdale. Fisher is one of the smartest coaches in the NFL and will have some tricks up his sleeve to provide the Rams' offense with good counters to the Packers' predictable defensive schemes. For example:

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has been terrorizing opponents for the past three seasons. So much so that it’s led to three Pro Bowls and a Defensive Player of the Year Award. It’s tough to argue that anyone is better at his position right now, which is why Fisher wants the Rams to be as prepared as possible for Matthews....Fisher had practice squad players wear blonde wigs this week to help his team get used to where Matthews might be on the field at any given time.

Fisher had Rams linebacker Sammy Brown don the luscious locks while the offense ran plays on Wednesday, but it’s not the first time that Fisher has used the tactic to prepare for an elite opponent. As coach of the Tennessee Titans, he used black wigs to help get his team prepared for Troy Polamalu and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

St. Louis Worried About Clay Matthews
Coach Jeff Fisher is taking interesting measures to prepare the Rams for Sunday’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers

Gamblers' Corner

NY JETS (+10.5) at New England -- The year's first match-up of these two AFC East division teams with one of the NFL's most intense rivalries. Remember Tapegate? Anyway, this is why it's called "gambling." Here's an actual chance to pick up a rare 10 pts. well into the season. While the Patriots are banged up and struggling to beat average teams, the Jets are missing quality receivers and their top DB, Darrelle Revis, among other missing pieces. CB Antonio Cromartie has elevated his play since the loss of Revis and making an major impact. "Cromartie limited elite Texans receiver Andre Johnson to just one catch for 15 yards in Week 5, with the lone reception coming when Cromartie was not covering him." (Seth Walder, NY Daily News).

This game will come down to how well Sanchez, RB Shonn Green and St. Tebow perform on offense, and perhaps the benefit of some key special teams plays and turnovers. I look for episodes of no-huddle wildcat and Sanchez sometimes using Tebow as a receiver at other points early in the game. I wouldn't bet my lunch money on this one, but crazier things than a Jets win this week do happen regularly in the NFL.

Oops, forgot to update & post my record last week and for the season:

Best Bets: Last week 0-2; Overall 4-4 (.500);
Upset Special: Last week 1-0; Overall 3-3 (.500);
Gamblers' Corner: Last week 1-0; Overall 2-3 (.400).

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