Thursday, December 28, 2006

zoom zoom zoom

Went to the Raptors game against the Timberwolves last night, took some pictures with my new camera. Great game, good crowd, pizza was decent, Raptors won without Bosh, Mark Blount can shoot from 5 feet away at the most.

Just to give some perspective of how much zoom my camera has, here's a pic that I took without a zoom from my seat.

Here's a pic of the T-Wolves with standard 3x zooming.

And finally, here's a pic of the new kid (and boy did he get a loud ovation when he came in off the bench) Bargnani.

I'm seriously fighting off the urge to post pics of any and everything. Here's my desk, and there's my phone, and there's a door, and look at that staple, look how far I can zoom in on that thumbtack. I feel like that kid in American Beauty, which I just get now. It's not that he found beauty in meaningless things like a plastic bag in the wind, it's that he was in love with his camera and would take pictures or video of anything. I bet you a few months later he was totally in love with his ipod or psp or something. We have such short attention spans these days. What was I talking about again? Oh yes, words.

anhedonia noun : a psychological condition characterized by inability to experience pleasure in normally pleasurable acts
an·he·don·ic adjective

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

shotgun bang, what's up with that thang

I have a little thing I do, run weekly football picks pool with a few friends. This week, in making my report, I stumbled on to something which I think might make sense. It's about the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants. Vince Young and Jeff Fisher. Shotgun formation.

What contributed to the Titans incredible comeback, down 21 points in the 4th quarter? Here is what I wrote.

Sandy won, and he could give credit to Mathias Kiwanuka, the rookie defensive end from Boston College (1st round 32 overall) on the New York football Giants, who (for some reason I'm pretty sure even he doesn't understand) let up half way through a sack on Vince Young. This was on a 4th and 10 play in the 4th quarter with the Titans on their own 24 yard line, down by a touchdown and just over 2 minutes to play. Basically a play which could have ended the game but instead Young ended up gaining 19 yards on it and ended up leading the Titans on a game-tying touchdown drive. Some of you (especially Pat) might know of this play, but what might be lost is that on the play before, on 3rd down, Kiwanuka dropped into coverage and made a great stop by knocking down a pass setting up the 4th and long.

Watching that drive, and looking up some facts (you didn't actually think I knew what Kiwanuka's draft history was off the top of my head did you?) it got me thinking. What changed, what happened to allow the Titans to mount such a comeback in the 4th quarter? The answer, might be in the offensive formations used by the Titans. Here is something I guarantee you won't find anywhere else (at least not presented to you on a platter like this, maybe someone else is on to it, but they're probably in Tennessee).

Last year on the Longhorns, Vince Young, in the championship game against USC, he engineered a game winning touchdown drive with plays that were mainly from the shotgun formation. Those (and traditionally all) shotgun formation plays allowed Young to be more mobile. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he primarily worked out of the shotgun formation in his college career. One way for me to verify this is to examine the Longhorns playbook in NCAA football, but I don't know if I need to because some facts here speak for themselves. Below is a table of the Titans yards gained by formation in their game agains the Giants. The first column is with Young under centre, the second is with him out of shotgun. It is further broken down by half, because there is a big difference in what happened in the two halves of that game.

1st Half Under Centre Shotgun
Plays 17 8
Yards 68 54
Avg. 4 6.75
2nd Half

plays 7 27
Yards 24 185
Avg. 3.43 6.85

plays 24 35
Yards 92 239
Avg. 3.83 6.83

Included in that table is the drive in the 4th quarter which led to the first Titans touchdown, a drive that consisted solely of plays out of the shotgun formation.

Yeah, so lots of things came into play for that remarkable comeback, but consistent difference in average yards gained between the formations is striking.

I'm thinking that we might see Jeff Fisher employ the shotgun formation more frequently in Titan games in the future.

Putative: adj 1 : commonly accepted or supposed
2 : assumed to exist or to have existed

Thursday, November 16, 2006

a note on the san antonio spurs

They are the best team in the NBA. Barring injury, they will win the NBA western conference and possibly the NBA title, if not for the Toronto Raptors (blind faith baby, blind faith). The only team that can beat the Spurs is....... the Spurs.

Seriously, they're that good.

Anyone who thinks Houston is better, did not see the (capital I) Incredible comeback that the Spurs made in Houston to beat them. That was a healthy Rockets team which showed its weakness (depth) as opposed to San Antonio's strength (depth). Unless that weakness is addressed a.s.a.p., this current Rockets team can not beat the Spurs in a seven game series, even with (boo) Tracy McGrady (boo) firing on all cylinders. The Spurs were down by 19 at one point in the third quarter of that game and out scored the Rockets 21-9 in the 4th quarter to win by 8. Yes it was one game but I'm willing to make my stand based on one game. Am I jumping to conclusions? Fo' shoggy my doggy, but I ain't gonna stand down on it.

Of course, it's only November, and there will be trades and injuries and etc. And yes, I know that there are other teams in the West, and yes, I know that the Spurs lost at home to the Bobcats last night, but they shot 3-12 in overtime compared to Charlotte's 5-7 and ended up loosing by 3. The fact the game went to overtime was a statement, because the Spurs were down by 8 with just over 2 minutes to play. This team just does not die.

ameliorate v Etymology: alteration of meliorate
transitive verb : to make better or more tolerable
intransitive verb : to grow better

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

a point on points

Disclaimer - I know this is not an original argument, but I had to vent. It’s only November, but this argument will be raised as the NHL season goes on (especially close to the end) and I just want to be a part of the collective voice supporting it.

I’ve been trying to get my head around this, and for the life of me, I can’t figure the logic behind why some games in the NHL are ending with 3 points being allocated to the participants, and some others are ending only having 2 points allocated to one team? Is it because some games are worth more than others? If so, why don’t they tell the viewers before hand, so I can plan to watch the more valuable 3 point games?

In the NHL, regular season standings are determined by how many points a team has gained throughout the season. Points are allocated thusly:

2 points for a win
1 point for a loss in overtime or in shootout.
0 points for a loss in regulation.

Based on those standings the top 8 teams from each conference (all teams being divided into two conferences) make the playoffs and chase the Stanley Cup. So even though the regular season is quite long, it does have some importance to it. My beloved Maple Leafs, missed out on the playoffs last year, despite gaining 90 points in 82 games.

The answer to my own questions lies in the fact that the NHL wanted to stop having games being ended in a tie, and therefore started to allocate a ‘bonus point’ to a winning side in overtime or shootout, and at the same time, didn’t want to penalize a team for loosing in overtime or a shootout and so it let them gain one point. But this has created a situation where teams (especially those playing games against teams outside their conference) perhaps are playing with the goal to get to overtime and the safe point; making the objective of the participating squads to tie, not to win. Once you lower the standards of competition to a tie, the level of play deteriorates. You have teams sitting back and waiting for other teams to make mistakes. Offensive chances go down at the ending of games with teams sitting back waiting for mistakes. I don’t need stats to tell me that the last 10 minutes of regulation time in games that are tied see a noticeable decline in offensive chances being taken by either squad.

Quite frankly, that’s fine by me. Strategy is strategy. You can’t plan excitement. What you can plan is an even schedule slowly building to a crescendo as playoffs arise. Late in the season, games take on a little extra intensity as teams in the playoff hunt are playing for a shot to go for the cup.

But if you make wins in regulation time worth 2 points, and still give some teams one point in overtime loses, you create an unequal playing field. It becomes incredibly hard for any playoff races to actually develop. If you’re crediting a losing squad in overtime or shootout, you’re devaluating the winning squad, but by giving the winning squads the same amount of points (in overtime, shootout or regulation) you’re also devaluating the team that wins in regulation. How can some games be worth more than others?

Why doesn’t the NHL see this inconsistency? A simple solution would be to allocate 3 points to a team winning in regulation, therefore equalizing the point distribution. The concept of a ‘bonus point’ has gotten out of hand.

Mercurial n 1 : of, relating to, or born under the planet Mercury
2 : having qualities of eloquence, ingenuity, or thievishness attributed to the god Mercury or to the influence of the planet Mercury
3 : characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood [a mercurial temper]
4 : of, relating to, containing, or caused by mercury
synonym see INCONSTANT

Saturday, November 11, 2006

to get to the other side

Is it a joke, or a incredibly philosophical debate? Why did the chicken cross the road? It was at a cross road in life, and it had to make a decision. Only to someone who is incredibly afraid, say a chicken, would crossing the road be considered a big decision. And yet, we all have our roads to cross, be we chickens, hamsters, raccoons, or humans. But we are what we are, and we will cross our roads each, individually (asides from those of us helping old ladies cross), in order to get to the other side. Just like it was a big decision for the chicken, and i admire him for making it, it is a big decision for each of us as we approach the road that we have to cross.

But you, apperantly, have had your arrival coincide with an awakening of the senses, or something to that ilk. You are either amazed by the enormity of the road ahead, or decidedly happy that it seems nothing more than a short juant. Perhaps you are blinded by the commotion on said road and are wondering where in the heck there is an opening for you to cross. You look up, there's no traffic signals to help forge an opening for you. To your front you see people and things moving so quickly and you wonder how you can enter such a fray without damaging yourself by being hit. Hard now doubly so because of your vision imperment due to the commotion.

To your left and right are other people who have yet to cross the road. Everyone has something different on the other side, but like you, they cannot see it through the fray of traffic. Some are just arriving, some have been here for a while. One gentleman in particular you notice, he seems to have a crowd around him, and he is speaking loudly, mostly to be heard over the noise from the road traffic. "Oh yeah, I'm going today." He shouts. "No need to worry about the traffic, I've scouted it out and I'm making my move today." He's been saying that for days, but others like you, who have just arrived, believe him upon hearing him this first time.

Others you see walk up to the road and upon rationalizing turn and walk back, deciding to cross the road at another time. And yet others, walk up and don't even pause before they decide to cross and enter the traffic.

The final group of people are those who are exiting the street onto your side. You walk up to one and ask them how it was. "No big deal," they reply. "Just a matter of getting your feet moving." And they walk away. Knowing that there will be another road for them to cross, but crossing the first is the hardest, or so it would seem.

And so you look down at your feet. Move your glance up to the road. Look down once again at your feet, and get them going.

happy trails.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

damaged goods

So I'm flipping channels late last night and I catch The Score, to find out some hockey scores. For some reason Centre Ice and NBA pass weren't working last night, so I didn't get to see most of the games. Anyways, The Score had WWE Raw on, and they were doing something, I don't know, I was reading their ticker at the bottom of the screen. Then I hear Jim Ross or Jerry the King Lawler start yelling about somebody coming down the ramp to interfere with a match, I think one of them said "What's K-Fed doing here?" My ears perked up, I looked at the screen and low and behold, Kevin Federline was attacking John Cena. "Weird", I thought.

And then just now I read this. Coincidence?

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A court spokeswoman says Britney Spears has filed for divorce from rapper-dancer Kevin Federline, citing irreconcilable differences.

eponym n 1 : one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named
2 : a name (as of a drug or a disease) based on or derived from an eponym

Friday, November 03, 2006

how do i get started?

…said the brochure. Was it speaking as me or was it speaking to me?

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I mean, go up to a guy who’s standing on a soapbox and ask him “what would you do if you had nothing to say?”

Maybe he’d answer, “I’d talk about how I have nothing to say.”

This is pretty much what I’m doing right about now.

Just finished reading the curious incident of the dog in the night time by Mark Haddon, again.

Didn’t remember most of it, probably because it was an easy read and then after a while I thought maybe it was because I had a train of thought similar to what Haddon was describing at times and then I realized that I don’t remember most of my thoughts and I thought perhaps that my thoughts thought that what Haddon wrote were my thoughts and that’s why I forgot most of what happened in the book.

I really do what to read more, and I really want to say that less.

Here’s something I haven’t done in a while. Get back to basics.

Pith (noun) 1 a : a usually continuous central strand of spongy tissue in the stems of most vascular plants that probably functions chiefly in storage b : any of various loose spongy plant tissues that resemble true pith c : the soft or spongy interior of a part of the body
2 a : the essential part : core b : substantial quality (as of meaning)
3 : importance

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

you get vaseline

i'm pretty sure this is a parody of oprah.

but i gotta admit tyra banks does do a good interpretation of crazy, perhaps a little too well.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

look at me, i'm so great

Leafs are doing well. Who could have seen this coming?


A wise man once asked (September 11, 2006), where are the Leafs goals going to come from this year? Yours truly posted a comment saying that I have an idea (scroll to the bottom for my comment). You know, just a hunch.

Fast forward a month and a half later. What team leads the NHL in shots? The Toronto Maple Leafs. Tonight they play the Colorado Avalanche, who rank 4th in Shots per game. Git ready boyz, it's gonna be a shootout at the AC corral.

Friday, October 06, 2006

running with remote controls

Dear Diary,

Last night, as I got home from work, I decided to keep a running log of events that passed as I was watching the Leafs-Sens game. Yes, I know this is straight stealing of an idea from Bill Simmons, and yes, I realize that using the internet to talk about television is slightly, well, lets just say that the internet has better uses.

Anyways, I had my pad thai, Leafs were up 2-0 after one, the digital clock had just struck 8 and I started.

8:00 First thing was to notice the new addition to the Centre Ice package this year, HD sports channels. To wit, not only was the Leafs – Sens game on CBC HD, I had game two of the NLDS between L.A. and New York on HD, and as a bonus surprise I got Philadelphia at Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is up 2-0.

8:09 I’m really excited for the Leafs this year. Thoughts on last night’s game (that the Leafs lost 4-1) were;
-Leafs skated well
-Bates Battaglia was a great surprise. My friend Blake reminded me last night that this was the same Battaglia that was pretty darn good in the Toronto-Carolina playoff match up of a few years ago.
-There are a lot of AHL guys from last year on the Leafs roster this year, and it’s going to take a while for the team to gel. But there’s a big, if not huge, difference (and I think it’s a good one) between this year and last that results from this fact. These guys (former Marlies) are hungry. The old guard of players had their best years behind them, and on some nights, seem to be resting on their laurels. Not these guys. And quite frankly, I think with the new rules, it’s easier for AHL forwards to adapt to the NHL than it is for the defencemen. I think this is why Ferguson went after defencemen in the free agent market this past off-season and only signed Peca for the forwards.
-Martin Gerber saved Ottawa. I still contend had the Leafs scored on their first shift last night, they would have walked away with a win. Once Gerber got into his groove, it was a large uphill battle for the Leafs.

8:11 Just flipped to Washington at the New York Rangers. Kolzig looks solid on one save. Flipped to Chicago at Nashville, and J.P. Dumont has scored for Nashville just 41 seconds into the game.

8:13 2nd period about to start in Ottawa. Another point about last nights game, I am not a fan of the people (note: not fans) who attend Toronto Maple Leaf games. Not only do they miss most of the beginnings of the second and third periods, but last night, with just under five minutes to go and only down by two goals, Gord Miller (the TSN announcer) was commenting that fans were starting to leave. Geez guys, it’s the first game of the season, you think you could show some support to your team and stick around? I’m a huge believer in positive energy and all that karma sutra stuff and home ice/field advantages and here in Toronto the Leafs basically don’t have it. Of course this is offset by the huge amount of Leaf fans throughout the world making lots and lots of noise when the Leafs go on the road. So I guess it balances out.

8:15 Review of the two Leaf goals so far. Kilger seems to always be rushing down the left wing and unleashing a slapshot. If he can harness that, we could see a fantastic goal production out of him. Kilger is one of the guys who might step up, and will have to, if the Leafs are to have a good season.

8:16 Flipped to Baseball. The L.A. starter apparently has one career win. Glavine has what, twenty something career playoff wins? Hmm… one career win is not exactly the kind of guy you want starting game 2 of your playoffs. I thought Maddux was starting for L.A. tonight? Back to Hockey and Belak and McGratton are fighting, or should I say throwing jersey jabs. Thats where you grab the opponent by the neck of their jersey, lean away, and jab. It’s highly affective if you have a reach advantage (which Belak has on McGratton) but it also tires you out. Not a single real punch connects. Don’t worry fellas; you got two more meetings in the next three weeks to get it on.

8:19 When Jeff O’Neill gets into shape, I’d like to see him with Sundin and Wellwood. This in no way is because I have him in my pool. Well, maybe a little way. Ok, ok, a big way. O’Neill would play well with Sundin. I’m just saying.

8:22 3-0 Toronto. Yep, definitely pumped.

8:25 FSN Pittsburgh is commenting on the Pittsburgh fans. Yes they are making noise, and yes it does seem like there are quite a few of them. But it is game #1. Think they’re concerned about a Canadian buying the team? I would be if I were them

8:28 Not a fan of the way Chris Neil shoves our players into our goalies. Good thing he got a penalty for this, after last year I’d think the NHL would do its utmost to protect the goalies.

8:29 Nashville-Chicago tied at two goals apiece ten minutes into the game? Wow, that’s some offense.

8:30 Tucker scores, 4-0 Toronto! This is great; I hope we kick their ass. I HATE OTTAWA. This goal is the epitome of how simple of a game it can be. Skate, shoot on net go to net. Good things happen. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime during those past few years I spent in Ottawa, a venomous seed of hate for the Sens was planted. Maybe it has something to do with Ottawa fans having perhaps the biggest inferiority complex in the world. To wit; in Ottawa, if the Leafs and Sens are playing at the same time, if you go to a bar (as I did on many occasions) the Sens fans cheer louder for the team that scores against the Leafs then they do for their own team scoring a goal.

8:33 3-2 for Chicago over Nashville?! What is going on? Mental note, bet the over the next time these two teams play.

8:37 This Leaf team is going to earn it this year. And they look like they have the hunger to own it. I’m gushing with anticipation.

8:41 Got a phone call. Diary shall be cut short; I am going out to watch the third period.

8:47 Wow! What a Goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky. I actually jumped out of my chair for that one. 5-0 Leafs.

10:43 8-6 Chicago over Nashville. Wow.


Last week 6-7. Overall 27-31.

My picks for this week (5).

Tennessee +18.5
At NY Giants -4.5
At Minnesota -6.5
At New Orleans -6.5
At Green Bay +3
Miami +10
Buffalo +10
At Carolina -8.5
At Jacksonville -7
At Arizona +3.5
At San Francisco -3
At Philadelphia -1.5
At San Diego -3.5
At Denver -4 Final score: 20-14

Friday, September 29, 2006

everybody wang chung tonite

Dear Diary,

As I watch the Cardinals possibly choke away an 8 ½ game lead with 12 games to play, I wonder if this choke (if it happens) is worse than the Yankees choke against Boston in the 2004 LCS?

You know what’s really cool? Event Horizons. That’s the surface on the edge of a black hole.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing NCAA football 2007 this past week, I think I’m going to read two books this weekend, and see that Pirates movie. Well, one and a half books, I’m already half way through The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities by Stephen Jay Gould and I think I’m going to read In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat by John Gribbin.

You see, I’m quite a fool, and keeping my head in the clouds and deep space might distract me from my incompetent betting on football. You, you go party and have a good time, I’m gonna work on my personality.

My football picks for week 4 (Overall 21-25)

Indianapolis -9.5 At NY Jets

San Diego -2 At Baltimore
San Diego

At Buffalo -1.5 Minnesota

Dallas -9.5 At Tennessee

At Kansas City -7 San Francisco
Kansas City

At Carolina -7.5 New Orleans
New Orleans

At Atlanta -7.5 Arizona

Miami -4 At Houston

At St. Louis -6 Detroit
St. Louis

At Cincinnati -6 New England

Jacksonville -2.5 At Washington

Cleveland -3 At Oakland

At Chicago -3.5 Seattle

At Philadelphia -11 Green Bay
Philadelphia 28-21

Thursday, September 21, 2006

so far i'm even steven

Two weeks in, and my record is 16-16 at this, so lets go for round three, this time on a Thursday.

I was watching Two and a Half Men (the west coast broadcast that starts at midnight Eastern) on Monday before I switched to the Dodgers-Padres game. I don’t care much for the show, but gosh darn it; that intro song has some of the best lyrics to any television theme song, like, ever. So, today I’m going do my manly football predictions for NFL week 3.

@ Buffalo -6 NY Jets
Man, was I wrong about J.P. Losman. Man, was I wrong about Chad Pennington. Buffalo’s home opener should be a good one for the Bills faithful. Bills defense might be better than New England’s, and considering what the Jets could muster at home last week against the Patriots, this one could be a shutout for the Bills. Now that I’ve dropped all the Jets’ running backs on my fantasy team (Cedric Houston, who’s been inactive on the Jets even though he’s healthy this season) (my fantasy team really, really sucks) I’m thinking the Jets really, really suck. Eli Manning, you may have to battle Brady Quinn for King QB in New York Status pretty soon.
My pick: Buffalo.

@ Pittsburgh -2 Cincinnati
Man can that Jacksonville team play some defense. Pittsburgh, for some reason unbeknownst to me, decided to go with an air attack, thinking possibly, that Jacksonville would expect Pittsburgh to run. But as the game went on, a few things became evident;

  1. Pittsburgh was going to continue to pass thinking that Jacksonville was thinking that Pittsburgh would run, because heck, that’s what the Steelers have always done.
  2. Jacksonville was going to continue to play their fast defense focusing on the run and Hines Ward.
  3. Ben Rothlesberger may not have been 100% healthy.
  4. I was not going to win QB1 because Pittsburgh was choosing not to run.

Jacksonville only came up with 9 points at home. No touchdowns. Last time a team beat a good team without scoring a touchdown this season was St. Louis versus Denver in week one (thanks to Mike for pointing that one out). Week two, on the road in San Francisco, St. Louis lost. Basically, the only thing that can salvage not scoring a touchdown at home is shutting the other team out.

Here are some fun facts about the Pittsburgh Steelers and why they should run even though everyone knows they are going to run.


Rushing Attempts (NFL rank)

Passing Attempts (NFL Rank)



549 (1)

379 (32)

11-5 Super bowl win


618 (1)

358 (32)



446 (17)

532 (10)


Yes, Ben Rothlesberger has been their quarterback savior the last two seasons, but really, it’s their running game that has taken them to such great heights. On Monday, the Steelers ran 14 times, passed 32 times. In the first week against Miami they ran 38 times and passed 25. I’m not saying they should run the ball or anything. But they should really run the ball.
My pick: Pittsburgh.

@ Indianapolis -7 Jacksonville
Imagine you’re the Jaguars. You’ve just shutout the defending Super Bowl Champs on Monday night. Now you’re facing the Colts. As much prime time attentions as New England-Denver and Atlanta-New Orleans are getting this is the game of the week. Are the Jag’s for real? Last year, the Jags would have won their home match against the Colts except the Colts had the refs in their back pockets. 7 points is a lot, but if Indy wins, it will be by a touchdown. Jacksonville might be 3-0, but they play up to their opponents, and will lose to a sub-500 team somewhere down the line after beating up some of the big boys. It’s a push.
My pick: Indianapolis.

@ Miami -11 Tennessee
Tennessee. Tennessee
T-T-Tennessee Tennessee
Tennessee. Tennessee
T-T-Tennessee Tennessee
Lord I've really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am oh and two
Problems got me pessimistic
QB’s and defense keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My McNair’s past, my Marino’s gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire (home)
But Nick I ask you (home)
To be my guiding force and truth (home)
For some strange reason it had to be (home)
He guided me to Tennessee (home)

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan
My pick: Miami.

Washington -4 @ Houston
This is what happens when teams like Indianapolis and Jacksonville square off, we’re left with the Redskins and the Texans. So, um….yeah. Is Portis healthy? I think so. Even though odds dictate that someone will be a winner, I can guarantee that the fans in Washington and Houston aren’t going to be the ones.
My pick: Washington.

Chicago -3.5 @ Minnesota
Holy smokes is Chicago getting no respect or what? I think I’m going to have to bet on this game on the side. Put me down for a 5-spot on the Norris Division champs.
My pick: Da Bears.

Carolina -3 @ Tampa Bay
Holy smokes. I just put another 5 spot on Carolina. Simply because Tampa has scored only 3 points so far this year and Carolina can’t go 0-3, can they? Seriously? Well, it’s not called gambling because it’s safe now is it?
My pick: Carolina.

@ Detroit -6.5 Green Bay
Speaking of men, did you know that they might also have a reason to have children at a younger age? Brett Favre has probably read this (because all sports figures read my insightful insights into life) and has now impregnated half of Wisconsin. Due to his exhaustion, he will be inactive this week, making the job a little easier for the Lions.
My pick: Detroit.

Baltimore -6.5 @ Cleveland
I hate this. Cleveland might totally win this game, although they have no reason to do so. Football does that, they present these totally unfair match ups, you bet your mortgage on them, and then Cleveland comes out and wins. In case you’re wondering, I think this game should be a cakewalk for Baltimore, which means Cleveland will win.
My pick: Baltimore.

@ Arizona -4.5 St. Louis
If Arizona is going to be an 8-8 team, they’re going to win home games against mediocre teams like St. Louis. If St. Louis is going to be an 8-8 team, they’re going to win games on the road against mediocre teams like Arizona. As you can see, this analysis creates quite a dilemma. Dilemma in football betting terms = take the points.
My pick: St. Louis.

@ Seattle -3.5 NY Giants
Giants should be 0-2. Seattle should play a full 60 minute game (unlike some other NFC team last week). Eli Manning should come back down to earth. In 5 years we should see Shaun Alexander on Dancing with the Stars.
My pick: Seattle.

Philadelphia -6 @ San Francisco
I saw this TV show last night on CBS called Jericho. It was about this town that sees a mushroom cloud off in the distance. In the show, this is explained by the fact that either a nuclear bomb went off or America was under attack (ten years ago it would have been aliens, now it’s terrorists). I watched because they started the show off with a song by the Killers called All these things that I’ve done. This tangent relates to this game in two ways.

First, I actually watched a one hour non-sports television show that wasn’t named back-to back episodes of South Park.

Secondly, I think we were witness to a unique events this past week (the fact that I was on the loosing betting end of both of them doesn’t matter; I’m pretty numb to emotions these days). On Sunday, the Eagles fans suffered a medium grade stomach punch (according to Bill Simmons levels of loosing). Not only did they blow a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter at home to a division rival, but they also lost their best defensive end in Jevon Kearse, a guy who was on pace to have one hell of a sack season (3 and a half in almost 2 games). On Monday, Padre fans also suffered a level two grade stomach punch game after loosing the division lead in the very improbable fashion of giving up four home runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and then loosing in the bottom of the tenth by giving up a home run. But the Padres will go on easier than the Eagles, because baseball is an everyday sport.

The Eagles, well, they are on some really thin ice right now. If they lose this game to a crappy San Francisco team, they’re done for the season. Done like dinner. However, San Francisco’s only chance of making the playoffs this year is if San Francisco turns into Jericho and every other city in America is blown up by a mushroom cloud (was it Aliens, was it Terrorists? Will we ever find out? No we won’t. Just like the television show Lost, we’ll never know, but people will keep watching because they are starved for drama). So far the Eagles schedule has looked mighty light this season.
My pick: Philadelphia.

@ New England -6.5 Denver
Let us just go ahead and say that both of these teams won’t make the playoffs this year. Wait... I read a book this summer about Bill Belichik, and sorry people, I’m convinced. Bill Belichick is a genius. He is really, really smart. He’s not infallible or anything, but he is really, really smart. Denver could only score 9 points last week. Things do not look good for Stan, Eric, Kenny and Kyle's favourite team, even two games hath not a season make.
My pick: New England.

Atlanta -4 @ New Orleans
It’s nice to see the NFL back in New Orleans. The winners, no matter the outcome, are the New Orleans Saints fans. Hey, I got an idea! How about the Saints run off a magical season and make the playoffs on the backs of some emotional fan support? Sound good? Then they have to win this week.
My heartwarming pick: New Orleans 24-21.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

do not go gentle into that good night

Last night I was at a drinking establishment with my friend Kenny, playing QB1 while watching the Monday Night Football game between the Jaguars and the Steelers. As conversations go, we came upon the topic of what we would be doing with our lives if we didn’t follow sport?

His conclusion was that he would have gone down one of two paths; he would either be some sort of great social worker/philanthropist making the world a better place, or he would be a completely lost soul who spent most of his time questioning ‘why?’ and wallowing in the futility of existence on his sofa. I figured I’d probably have a greater social life, and perhaps, instead of going out to watch football with the buddies, I’d be a regular Don Juan. Alas, in my case the female race got off to a slow start versus sport, and now I use words like “love” and “marriage” to best describe my emotional attachment to my pool teams and the Maple Leafs. And yes, I do realize that I’ve just come across as a character in a Nick Hornby novel. But I also like to read, and I find that there is a parallel beauty that exists in the written word and the physical playing field, as was evident last night at Chavez Ravine.

The fact does remain that I do have time at night, especially at late night. And instead of making sweet, sweet love, I use that time to watch the west-coast games (although the word “instead” implies options exist, so I should use an antonym for it instead) (I just used instead again, perhaps I should have stated rather than) (this is a slippery slope, this instead, perhaps, rather than use of, I could do this for hours).

So that brings me to last night. I do live in Toronto, Ontario Canada. And I have never been to Dodger Stadium (although I have gone to see live the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California of U.S.A. of North America, Earth, Milky Way, the Universe). And in 1989, I was 11 years old and not yet old enough to have stayed up to see Kirk Gibson hit the homerun off Dennis Eckersley.

So now, as a young man, I embraced my liberty from the parental oppression of curfew by staying up last night to watch the Padres – Dodgers game ending. I started watching in the seventh inning, when the game was tied at 4. I figured it would be over by 1 am at the latest but it ended up being closer to 2 am Eastern.

It was being broadcast by the Dodgers, who have one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time in Vin Scully doing the play-by-play. Vin Scully is so good that he does the games by himself, with no colour commentator. Last night, the majesty of the one-man crew (popularized by soccer) blossomed under the spectacle of one of the greatest baseball (if not greatest regular season) games of all time. If you want to hear how sport should be portrayed in audio, listen no further than Vin Scully.

I did have a financial interest in the game. Not directly, but indirectly. I made a small bet for the Padres to win the National League West. So I was following the Padres to see if they could perhaps win the National League. Considering that the Dodgers were their main opponent in that quest, I had considerable interest in the outcome of the game.

If I could have been someone else, someplace else last night, it would have been a Dodger fan at Dodger Stadium. If you asked one those fans what they would do without sports and they would answer, I would not have had this. Eric Neel would not have had this.

If you don’t know what happened, I’ll sum up briefly. Trailing 9-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers hit 4 straight homeruns (a feat that had only been done 3 times before in the history of baseball, never been done before in the 9th inning) to tie the game. The bottom of the next inning, again trailing by a run, Nomar Garciaparra hit a two run home run to win the game.

I write this post because Vin Scully did two things. One, after the game was over he stated that “at a time like this, words are not necessary and the images speak for themselves” which is not only completely true, but also very modest of him to be quiet and let the fans and the scene speak for itself. And two, his final words were along the lines of saying that “there was a poem about not going quietly into the night, and on this night that is exactly what the Dodgers did, not go quietly into the night.”

As it is one of my most famous poems, for Vin Scully, for all the fans in Dodger Blue I present to you, the words of the great Dylan Thomas.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Monday, September 18, 2006

on the first part of the journey

Points to ponder

  1. I have less time than I think.
  2. Women have an innate ability to move with extreme stealth. They know how to be seen and heard, and they also understand how not to be seen. Seriously, put a woman in socks and on a carpet, close your eyes, and you’ll never know where she is.
  3. I walk with heavy feet (i.e. loudly)
  4. I don’t know what this says about me as a person (probably not good) but I’ve noticed that there is a particular phrase that I mutter to myself with more frequently. That phrase is “I’m going to hell.”
  5. If you’re a professional football team and you blow a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter and at home then no one will ever bet on you again.
  6. If everyone could come up with just one good idea, we’d have a lot of good ideas.
  7. I’ve just read that Jevon Kearse is out for the season. I have a lot invested in the Philadelphia Eagles, and their loss combined with this piece of news, to put the situation bluntly, does not help my mental stability. Argh, this is going to cost me dollars. Lots and lots of dollars.
  8. I hate grey Mondays. When I woke up a black cat was outside my window, one that I’ve never seen before. I’m thinking of getting home from work and just going to bed so I can end this day quickly.
  9. If the band America is right, and the ocean is a desert with its life underground, then perhaps there is life on Mars.

Friday, September 15, 2006

tick tick tick

So last week I went 8-8, but I was a perfect 4-0 for the primetime games (Pittsburgh, Indy, Minnesota and San Diego). What does that mean? What does any of it mean? We’re just cosmic dust in a vast and unforgiving universe. Life has moments, some which last, some which enflame our senses. We all have our moments, and those things are tangible, actual things to each and every one of us. But just contemplating the finite moments that we are given, the cruel way in which they can be taken from us by people who we don’t even know, it’s enough to make a grown man cry. Instead of talking about the games, I’m going to talk about something else.

@ Baltimore -11.5 Oakland

This is probably why I follow sports so earnestly. I need to spend time thinking that I am a part of something bigger than myself, something that I can explain. I am a part of the millions of Toronto Maple Leaf fans who have never seen the Stanley Cup raised by a Leaf. There is a chance that I might never see it. But I accept that cost, for the anticipation is part of the journey. I might never see it happen, but I will have traveled along the same path other Leaf fans, and fans of other teams who have also not lived to see a championship.

My pick Oakland.

@ Indianapolis -13.5 Houston

I was watching PBS last night, some universe explaining show about how life can be formed and how random our existence is (that is, for those who perhaps don’t subscribe to a weekly religious news letter). Stars always make me contemplative, and my attention drifted from the show to events of this past week.

My pick Indianapolis

@ Cincinnati -10.5 Cleveland

Which is worse; violence in the name of a Supreme Being or religious cause, or violence in the name of the random cruelty that is exhibited by humans to each other? Holy wars or school shootings?

My pick Cincinnati.

@ Miami -6.5 Buffalo

Killer whales eating baby sea lions, we call that nature, we call that the circle of life. When a young man, disturbed by what has happened to him, lashes out on us and takes an arbitrary life, is that not the cruel random circle of life? Random because although there were signs as to what could take place, we could not predict what was taking place Wednesday afternoon in Montreal. Circle of life because a life was taken, and just like the baby sea lion who was randomly killed for food by the whale, a young girl was randomly killed for….? I don’t know. What possessed that man to do what he did? He didn’t wake up and decide he was going to do that, it was the result certain events. Why did he own a machine gun? How did he buy it? There are so many layers, it is impossible to lay it out in simple cause-effect terms (unlike the whale-sea lion scenario which could be built upon the foundation of the whale’s hunger).

My pick Buffalo.

@ Chicago -8.5 Detroit

It was not because the incident had never occurred; in fact many such instances have occurred. It is because somewhere along the line, for that young man, he seized to be a part of what was going on around him. Things added up for him (in some perverse math) the product of which was a machine gun in one of our schools.

My pick Detroit.

Carolina -2 @ Minnesota

I think it is important to take ownership of the situation. To borrow a phrase from Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes) “we only think these kinds of things happen to other people but we don’t realize that we are all other people to someone else.”

My pick Carolina.

@ Philadelphia -3 NY Giants

Everything we do, and I emphasize everything, has some reaction somewhere, somehow. Little things add up (the origin of the term ‘going postal’ comes to mind). Even for those who do not subscribe to a religious affiliation, there is no denying that the smallest action of taking a breath has the affect of sustaining life.

My pick Philly.

@ Atlanta -5.5 Tampa Bay

Things tend to balance out, in sports and in life. The difference is this; if a pitcher throws a ball, and then throws another ball, odds are he’s going to try to throw a strike with his next pitch. The hitter knows this, the pitcher knows this, and the catcher knows this. The hitter, if he makes good contact with that 2-0 fastball, which is the product of the two balls thrown previously in that at-bat, could hit a homerun. The price for those two balls to the pitcher could be a homerun. But he can live with that, his teammates can live with that, and his fans can live with that. Sure there might be some anger, but it is small and isolated to the incident on the field.

My pick Tampa Bay

New Orleans -2 @ Green Bay

The game ends. There will be another game another day, another chance at that batter, another chance at redemption.

My pick Green Bay

St. Louis -3 @ San Francisco

So we follow our teams, our athletes, every finite season, in the quest to be the best. We feel connected. My friend Matt pointed out to me this past week that beyond the stats and the inculcation of sports at a very young age, perhaps I follow sports for the story. Buster Olney at, said this very thing yesterday. That his following of sports was not the same day-to-day.

My pick St. Louis

@ Seattle -7 Arizona

Yesterday, Buster wrote in his blog;

Yesterday morning, I went back to my old high school to talk to English students about writing and baseball, and one of the students asked a question about how it was to write about the same general subject, day after day.

It really isn't the same on a daily basis, I responded, because the context changes constantly and there are always fascinating story lines developing and evolving day after day. That's what you root for as a reporter -- not a team, but interesting stories. For instance, I said, the Minnesota Twins, who have a budget equivalent to that of three or four Yankee stars, are getting back a young star pitcher from injury this afternoon, and if he is OK, then the Twins could turn out to be an extremely dangerous team in the playoffs. And that would be fascinating to watch.

My pick Seattle.

New England -6 @ NY Jets

And that’s what we do. We follow the story. That is what humans have always done, follow the story. Hieroglyphics, myths, Survivor. They are all stories for us to follow, something that we do. Perhaps we follow stories because it makes it easier for us to comprehend our own life story. Perhaps it allows us to put our own stories in perspective, give some semblance to our too short existence in the vast, unforgiving universe.

My pick New England

@ San Diego -11.5 Tennessee

This could explain why I spend some time chronicling the random flashes of thought which pass through my head on this website. Why blog? Well, because I write anyways, my hand writing is slightly intelligible, and because I am so immodest as to feel free to share my opinions with the randomness that is the internet. I use this as a vehicle to say something, to try to put words in a combination that may not have been before tried. I could be anywhere writing this, but it would not change what is actually read by others. By that I mean I could be writing this in a cubicle in an office, I could be in a basement, I could be in a library, I could be in a computer lab, I could be at a strangers house, one which I’ve randomly walked into and decided to use their internet. The latter may not be the smartest of decisions, but it does not change the fact that I have written something, I have tried to do something, I have done more than just cite a problem, and I have opened myself up for criticism.

My pick San Diego.

@ Denver -10.5 Kansas City

But most importantly, I do this because I know that my mind is capable of only a finite amount of mind stuff. That is, if I do not put this down now, I may not properly remember it. That is important, I have a limited amount of memory storage space, and I will go back to this and I will read what I have written, and it will be almost new to me. In that sense, I’m almost like the character in Memento. This will to me be as if someone else had written it.

My pick Kansas City.

@ Dallas -6 Washington

It is the great human tragedy, the capacity to forget. I was extremely riled up recently in a conversation with my roommate. She was questioning the validity of “history repeating itself.” She did not believe that it happened. Being a history student, I was quietly enraged. I could not believe that someone had the audacity to think that history will not repeat itself. But I had to give up; I couldn’t get through to her. The fact that she was ignorant of history and then justified her own ignorance by basically stating that what she doesn’t know isn’t important anyways; was completely and totally frustrating.

My pick Dallas.

Pittsburgh -1.5 @ Jacksonville

So I feel that I’ve vented/preached/rambled on long enough. I was deeply disturbed by the actions in Montreal, and am more and more disturbed by the words used by some people to spew out hatred towards others. We only have a finite time, and we’re not getting any more of it.

My pick Pittsburgh, 20-10.

Friday, September 08, 2006

my weekly football pool picks

I'm in a football pool where we have to pick teams against the spread. I won last year, and what comes with winning is an inflated ego and sense of self. To that extent I am making my picks publicly with some thoughts thrown in. Our tie-breaker is total number of points scored on Monday night, and not only am I going to list the points, I'm going to list the score.

I know this means that I'm most likely going to finish out of the money, but the odds of repeating were slim anyways.



@ St. Louis

Quite frankly, when Mike Martz threw the coach’s challenge flag last year on the opening kickoff of the opening game, I busted a gut. I’m going to miss his avant-garde coaching. Maybe Detroit will let him throw one for old time’s sake. St. Louis probably won’t be better off without him, even with the coach’s challenges. St. Louis, welcome to 5-11 country. My pick: Denver



NY Jets

The must see match up of the week. To paraphrase Sir Elton, T-t-t-tenny and the Jets. Seriously though, if you have any players from any of these teams in your fantasy pool, you probably still should have this game as the last on your Sunday Ticket rotation. Also, if any of those players are starting on your fantasy team and your league is not 20 teams deep, you should consider following the NFL before entering a league and throwing your money away. That being said, I drafted both Curtis Martin and Cedric Houston on my fantasy team, without the knowledge that Kevan Barlow was signed by the Jets. I hate my fantasy team; it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Tennessee might win a couple of games this year, but by this time next year Brady Quinn should be starting for the Jets. My pick: Tennessee.

New England



Did I say the Jets were getting Quinn? Buffalo might, but they’ll pull a Detroit/Houston on him and take a defensive player. You see, they have this weird infatuation with J.P. Losman in Buffalo. They find this scrambling quarterback, give him the number 7, and watch their team defense improve and offense regress. Quick name game to prove my point; of Peyton Manning, Kelly Holcomb, Mark Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tom Brady, Ben Rothlisberger, who had the best completion rating last year?

That’s right, second in the league (behind Carson Palmer) was Kelly Holcomb. And J.P. Losman is the starter this year.

That being said, I’m tired of picking favourites, and 9.5 points is quite a lot to give a team with a great quarterback and no wide receivers. My pick: Buffalo.

@ Tampa Bay



McNair-Mason, it’s the early 21st century Tennessee Titans. This remake sounds more along the lines of an Indiana Jones sequel than a Wild Things sequel (I think they’re up to Wild Things 3 now, really pushing the creative limits of a murder-plot-twist-with-a-token-lesbian-scene movie, which coincidently, always seems to have water involved. They should just name the whole series Attack of the Wet Lesbian Killers). Anyways, back to Mason and McNair, these guys have something cerebral going on. Just like Andrew Cassels and Geoff Sanderson did in Columbus, Mason and McNair they’re going to get together for one last good stats season. FYI, Geoff Sanderson without Andrew Cassels, goals per game (career) 0.25. With Cassels, Sanderson scored at a 0.40 clip (translated into a season, he was a 20 goal scorer without Cassels and a 35 goal scorer with). What does that mean for this game? AFC is better than NFC. No connection to what I’ve said at all whatsoever. My pick: Baltimore.

@ Kansas City



Did you know Trent Green is 36? Did you know that Carson Palmer is 26? The question I have, is can Cincinnati stop Larry Johnson? Their secondary is great, but if Johnson is being tackled by Cincinnati’s secondary, it’s going to be a long day for the Bengals. I’m going to go with the home team here, and say that Larry Johnson has the kind of fantasy day that a first overall selection would. My pick: Kansas City.



@ Detroit

Curse bowl 2006. I hate Matt Millen. As my friend Whiting has stated on numerous occasions, and a thought echoed by lots of people, perhaps the Lions, who probably aren’t going to contend for the playoffs this year, could have used their first round selection on something they haven’t had in ages, and something that sorta helps a playoff cause, like a franchise quarterback. No, they decided that a linebacker was due. All due respect to Mr. Sims, but Matt Leinart could be the next Carson Palmer. The curse of Millen will overcome the curse of Madden/Super Bowl losers/official blamers. Someone has to do some investigative research and find out what pictures Millen has, specifically the kind that would grant him a 5 year extension. I hate Millen so much that I’ve now re-written history in my mind and decided the reason Barry Sanders quit was Matt Millen. My pick: Seattle.

@ Carolina


Oh Carolina, ba baa, ba ba baaa. Oh Carolina ba baa, ba ba baa. Oh Carolina something something, you make me lose my something, ba ba baa. Wouldn’t it be something, if Michael Vick finally got comfortable with the west coast offense, if Ashlie Lelie came in and added some quality presence in the locker room and a viable 2nd target, if Atlanta, in their first series, saw nothing but three-step drops from Vick and then him using his blessed arm to fire rockets to Crumpler? It would spread out the Carolina secondary, allowing Dunn to run free past the Carolina linebackers? Alas, Carolina will probably have a linebacker spying on Vick and waiting to meet him 2 yards from the line of scrimmage. Although 5.5 is a lot of points. I’m thinking this game is coming down to a field goal. My pick: Atlanta.



@ Houston

Philadelphia is going to kill Houston. Absolutely destroy them. As my football prospectus says “Imagine you were a Texans fan and were thinking you could get Reggie Bush as your starting running back and you ended up with Wali Lundy. That would be like dreaming of getting an Xbox 360 for Christmas and waking up with a broken Atari in your stocking.” That being said, defensive ends have a longer career lifespan than running backs, even if Reggie Bush might not only have been Houston’s best running back, but possibly challenged Andre Johnson for top receiver status. Does anyone else see Houston’s move of putting Dominick Davis on the IR as simply a way of preventing him from getting seriously injured because they’ve already thrown in the towel for 2006? My pick: Philadelphia.

@ Cleveland


New Orleans

Torture-Bowl 2006. Even if they lose at least Cleveland fans can say they’ve seen Reggie Bush before anyone else. Again, going with the fact that AFC is better than the NFC and taking the Browns, but not betting on this game. I hate first week games, I should point that out. Because anybody can win, and it doesn’t dictate what is going to happen at all. Did I say Cleveland was going to win? Because I think New Orleans could surprise people this year, just like they could last year, pulling together as a team for the City of New Orleans and playing over their heads (they should have been 2-14 last year and gotten Reggie Bush fair and square). My pick: New Cleveland.

@ Jacksonville



TO always has one good season (usually his first) with a team. Dallas should win, Jacksonville is home. I hate the first week. Speaking of Texas, Chris Bosh (who is from Texas I believe) was in the latest issue of ESPN the magazine, and I was afraid. I thought the article was about how Chris Bosh is the best unknown player from that 2003 draft, and how he’s about to get known by moving to another team. But then the facts kicked in, he was just signed to an extension, even thought the Raptors didn’t pick up Aldridge, they did grab his buddy T.J. Ford, and Nesterovic allows Bosh to stop playing the 5, and go to the 4. Things look good for the Raptors. Maybe not playoffs good, but maybe. My pick: Dallas.



@ Green Bay

Seriously? Only 3.5 points? Screw it; I’m going to use this space to officially state that the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp starts in less than a week (September 14th) and that I’m officially excited about the upcoming hockey season. Leafs are going to win their division. Everyone who isn’t a Leaf fan is going to hate the Leaf fans (and I won’t be proud of the parades after winning one playoff round). The Leafs fans are like the Yankees fans. There are tons of us everywhere, and that means there are more stupid ones. We’re back baby, and more obnoxious than ever. Suck it. I’m going to Constanza this pick, and go against my instinct. My pick: Green Bay.

@ Arizona


San Francisco

Doing analysis for all the games is a lot more work than I previously thought. I’m probably going to keep the commentary to a minimum. Quick fact, Kurt Warner only started 10 games last year (missing all of October), and lead NFL qb’s in 300 yard games with 5 (he had a 6th with 285) and averaged 271 yards thrown per start. He also averaged 37.5 pass attempts a game. I think the addition of a running back might bring those numbers back down to earth a bit. My pick: Arizona.



@ NY Giants

Manning Bowl. Blah blah blah. Did you know that the Manning bowl is on this Sunday night on NBC? Who will Mrs. Manning cheer for? Who cares? If the Giants win, Peyton won’t speak to Eli until next year, at the earliest. That being said, Indy might win their first 13 games again this year, and this will be the smallest spread they get. My pick: Indianapolis.

Monday Night



If this was the Nationals versus the Twins, who would you take? If this was the Timberwolves versus the Wizards, who would you take? If this was the Capitals versus the Wild, who would you take? Twins and Wild make it 2-1 for Minnesota for me. My pick: Minnesota, 24-17.

San Diego


@ Oakland

This game starts past 10 pm eastern standard time. It might not end until past 1:30. And yet, I’ll be in bed, dozing off until San Diego puts up a two touchdown lead with under 2 minutes to play. And then, and only when they start taking knees because Art Shell used all his timeouts in the third quarter, will I fall asleep. Because a few years ago I missed the Colts comeback against the Buccaneers, and will sacrifice Tuesday morning productivity in order to never again miss a great late comeback. My pick: San Diego, 35-21.