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The Profit

For those of you who called for my immediate resignation this week upon going 0-4 a week ago, I have some news for you that may come as a bit of a surprise - I didn't lose even one cent on my picks last week.

This may sound crazy, but I never play any pools or bets or anything during playoffs. To me, they're exciting enough on their own that I don't feel the need to add an outside monetary benefit to them. This past weekend proved that. I was able to watch the Steelers incredible win over the Colts without being annoyed in the back of my mind by the fact that I was losing money because of it. I simply enjoyed it for the classic game it was.

In fact, my picks last week were intentionally wrong. I figured that most of you presume that I'm a complete fool by this point, and were going to take the opposite of whatever I say. So I figured I'd hook you all up and give you the loser picks. This way, you could go against me in a big way (specifically against the Colts) and make out like bandits.

And if you believe that, then you also believe that Champ Bailey simply "ran out of gas" at the end of his run, and that Peyton Manning really is a good teammate.

Now of course I'm joking about picking the wrong games on purpose. I simply had a terrible week at the worst of times. About my only saving grace is that the people who are still reading my articles clearly have mental deficiencies and are amongst the most masochistic people on the planet. So for you guys, it's probably been great. Still, I do feel badly about performing so poorly in the postseason. A few people have wondered how it's possible to even go 1-7 in the first two rounds and write for a football site. After all, just simply flipping a coin should yield a 50% success rate. Of course, at this point I would flip the coin and Phil Luckett would be the one who has to determine if it was heads or tails. I've had such a terrible run dating back to the last few weeks of the season that I've determined there is really only one just punishment for my heinous crimes.

I have to go see Big Momma's House 2.

It's really the only thing I can think of that would really drive home the point that I've been such a loser. Putting myself through such a trial and ordeal as sitting through not JUST a Martin Lawrence movie but BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2??? That, my friends, is true punishment. Hopefully, that will suffice for those of you who were hoping my column would be retired. This, in my opinion, is a far worse fate. I will try and learn from this, and vow to come back with a vengeance in 2006. If I don't come back strong, well…I still haven't seen the Dukes Of Hazzard yet…I'll save that in case I really need a good mental ass-kicking.

On to the picks…


In lieu of real analysis for the game, let's revisit what happened last week first.

OK, first it appeared that Denver and New England were going to play a close game. Then Denver kicked their ass. Next, the Steelers and Colts never got to "close game" territory until the waning moments, when it was already obvious that Pittsburgh was going to cover. And then I was 0-3. Still, you might be amazed to hear the precision I displayed in predicting outcomes of the games mere moments in advance. See, the problem I've been having has been that I'm picking the games far too early. I think I should submit this article about 10-15 minutes before halftime. Or better yet, maybe early fourth quarter. Check out some of these gems from me Sunday afternoon:

Pre-game (a.k.a. last time I was wrong all day): Colts are gonna kick their butts

(Following Pittsburgh's opening drive): I don't care what I said pre-game. The Steelers are DEFINITELY going to win this game. They just did something I never would have thought they could do against this defense, and did it real easily. I'm telling you, they're gonna win.

(Pittsburgh, with a 14-0 lead, punts the ball away and pins the Colts at their own 1. All momentum seems to be with Pitt): The Colts are scoring on this drive, guaranteed. Sometimes all a team like this needs is a real challenge. Can't get much more difficult than a 99-yard drive. If they don't score a TD though, it's a big win for Pittsburgh.

(Just prior to the first play of the fourth quarter): We're in for a fun quarter. I still think Pitt will hold on, but I have a feeling some crazy (stuff) is gonna happen. Teams like the Colts won't just roll over and die, and since it's the Steelers we're talking about, they have to be involved in something wacky here.

Now, I'm not saying these were insanely hard to see coming on a case-by-case basis. But putting them all together, one would get the sense that I have a good feel for these games. Alas, I'll remind you in case you forgot: 1-7.

This week, I really like Pittsburgh which means you should now go out and bet everything you've got on Denver. Although now that I've advised you to bet on Denver, does that counteract the doom of the initial Steelers suggestion and now put the hex on the Broncos? Or does my acknowledging it counteract the entire thing and doom both teams? Somehow, this game will find a way to end without a winner. Perhaps they'll lock up in a game featuring infinity overtimes and the two of them will continue playing until Jake Plummer and Ben Roethlisberger's beards have overtaken them - and then, the world. PICK: Steelers

So if the line is holding steady all week, then why does it seem like everyone I talk to loves Carolina? Seattle backers, you out there? Didn't think so.

Anyway, I'm not amongst the people who think Steve Smith simply cannot be covered. The problem is that teams who have a "shutdown corner" think they can throw that guy on Smith and take him out of the game. The problem with that line of thinking is that it's stupid. He's a far better receiver than any CB is at playing CB, so you need to give help. Seattle will (should) recognize this, and are actually at a bit of an advantage in that none of their cornerbacks are good enough that they'd even think for one moment that they can hang with Smith for an entire game. Still, rolling coverage over onto him will open up others. And I think the Carolina defense should be able to do enough to overcome Shaun Alexander and Carolina's own lack of a breakaway run threat.

Speaking of Alexander, I'm sure I'll catch heat for this and I know I'm not the first to say it, but…how is he the most valuable when he gets hurt and his team still wins a playoff game by double digits? Tiki Barber proved that he was the most valuable in a loss by showing his true value - how he goes, so goes the team. That is the very definition of valuable, is it not? OK debate time is over. I'll go crawl back to my cave now.

OK so like I said above, my real hard "analysis" of these games is legitimate and I like to think professional, but you know what? It is also fairly meaningless, or at least has been lately. If this were the middle of the season, I might be inclined to stick with it and work through the problem. I might think it was simply a rut I was in and that it'd run its course. However, seeing as how this is the playoffs, I've decided that I don't feel like providing you with statistical analysis or any kind of logic. It hasn't helped much to this point - why would it suddenly start now? For next week's article, my final one of the year (try to hold back the tears, I know), perhaps I'll just review a couple of movies I've seen lately. Maybe tell you what's been going on with Mike lately. Crack a few jokes here and there. You know, just shoot the breeze. There's a good chance the article will have no rhyme or reason, and will seemingly be headed nowhere. And then out of the blue, I'll just hit you with my pick like this -- WHAM! PICK: Panthers

LOCK OF THE WEEK: Carolina Panthers


  • Never happened

SEASON TOTALS (Includes playoffs)

  • OVERALL: 120-137-7 (46.7%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 8-11 (42.1%)
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