Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Awards

Photo from clintsalter.com
Ah, we've reached the end of 2013. Finally. After 12 long months. 365 grueling days of failure and triumph, winning and losing. It's been quite the ride in the world of sports this year, and it's time to look back on the best, and the worst moments and performances over the past calendar year in the world of sports.

Let's begin with some of the smaller awards.

Worst Team
  • Houston Texans. Everything just fell apart for this team which looked like a Super Bowl contender in the preseason. Matt Schaub regressed mightily, and the team had to eventually bench him for undrafted Case Keenum. After starting 2-0, they lost 14 straight, even having to fire their coach, Gary Kubiak after their Week 14 loss. 
  • Charlotte Bobcats. They didn't have the worst record in the 2012-13 NBA season, but they certainly were less talented than the Orlando Magic. They were just bad; there wasn't much talent, at least before Al Jefferson showed up, and the pieces didn't fit well at all. Fun times. 
  • Florida Panthers. Awful goaltending and defense and, outside of Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky, and Jonathan Huberdeau, inept offense led to the Panthers having the fewest points in last year's lockout shortened NHL season. 
  • Houston Astros. Wow, tough year for Houston! Not only did their football team fall apart at the seams, their baseball team was far and away the worst. But at least there's a direction for this franchise...
And the winner is...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 17

Receivers Brandon Marshall (FANTASY TEAM ALERT!) and Alshon Jeffery (FANTASY TEAM ALERT!) will help the Bears surprise the returning Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Chicago this week, propelling them into the playoffs. Photo from philadelphiaeagles.com 
So, I picked the Dolphins last week in Buffalo. I had a bit of trepidation as I was writing that, but, I felt better about them than taking the Bills to cover. So what do you know? They decided to score 0 points. Thanks.

In usual Cowboys fashion, they won, but figured out a way not to cover against an awful Washington team.

I came out with a one point win in Carolina, which also propelled them to the second seed in the NFC playoffs. Once again, rolling with the Jaguars had great results for me, as they got me a one point victory as well.

I'm so incredibly done with the 2013 Lions. At least the Cowboys have a chance to salvage their season, and they didn't benefit from having the starting quarterbacks of both the Giants and Eagles get hurt for a good amount of the stretch run (well, Eli Manning may as well be hurt the way he's playing). Jim Schwartz should never get another head coaching job in the NFL. It's a disgrace that this Lions team, with all of its offensive talent, and one of the best defensive lines in football, should be 7-8. With their playoff hopes on the line, they lost in the Giants. Wow.

I'm not saying I called the Cardinals beating the Seahawks in Seattle last week, but I did say that they should keep it close. And that deserves some credit, right?

Speaking of keeping it close, the Ravens didn't against the Patriots. Unfortunately, I picked the Ravens in that contest. But, to balance it out, I picked the Eagles in what turned out to be a complete blowout.

I went 8-8 last week, putting me at 123-112-5 on the season. Let's end the year on a high note, and send it into the playoffs with some momentum!

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Week 17 Preview: Jets at Dolphins, Second of Many, Eh This Team is Fine Articles

Geno Smith will have a good day for the Jets, but in the end, they will fall to the Dolphins. Photo from fancloud.com
Jets: None.

Dolphins: None.

Jets: None.

Dolphins: None.

Jets: DB Ellis Lankster (jaw)

Dolphins: RB Daniel Thomas (ankle)

Jets: One final time this year, the Jets have listed an ungodly number of players as probable. They're all playing. Whatever.

Dolphins: S Chris Clemons (knee/hamstring), WR Brian Hartline (knee), S Don Jones (elbow/abdomen), LB Koa Misi (triceps), WR Marlon Moore (wrist), DT Jared Odrick (wrist), DT Paul Soliai (ankle), QB Ryan Tannehill (knee), CB Jamar Taylor (hamstring)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Potential Trades for the Mets

Now that the free agency period has certainly died down a bit, it's time for fans to sit around and hope that their team makes a splash with a trade. As for the Mets, they have a very weird roster construction. There are a lot of changes that can be made, but it will take a lot of savvy for Sandy Alderson to pull them off. Here are some of the rumored possibilities, along with my own suggestions that I feel can help the team, and of course, my thoughts on all of these potential moves.

Week 16 Preview: Browns at Jets, Second of Many, The Carnage!!! Articles

Will Antonio Cromartie step it up and slow down standout receiver Josh Gordon today? Photo from ocnnreport.com
Browns: WR Davone Bess (not injury related), TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), OL John Greco (knee), TE Andre Smith (calf)

Jets: None

Browns: None

Jets: None

Browns: CB Joe Haden (hip)

Jets: None

Browns: LB Tank Carder (shoulder), P Spencer Lanning (knee), LB Eric Martin (illness), RB Willis McGahee (concussion/knee), DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf), OL Mitchell Schwartz (toe), T Joe Thomas (back), DB T.J. Ward (shoulder)

Jets: Everyone. The Jets are fighting to the end on this injury report nonsense

NFL Picks: Week 16

After beating the Bears tonight, Eagles coach Chip Kelly can let his team snack on some well deserved cookies. Photo from fishduck.com
I went 9-7 last week, which may have been one of the weirdest that I have experienced in terms of my picks.

First of all, the Broncos losing outright to the Chargers in Denver is pretty weird, and impossible to predict. Then, in what I thought was a pretty easy game to call, the Patriots lost to the Dolphins. I understood why the Dolphins were favored, because, the Pats aren't as great without Rob Gronkowski, but at the same time, I didn't expect the Patriots to lose. By the way, how 'bout them Dolphins possibly making the playoffs?

Of course, one of the weirdest results ever took place in Minnesota, with Matt Cassel throwing for 382 yards, while third string running back Matt Asiata scored thrice, despite averaging only 1.7 yards per carry. Now, tell me, what the hell was this? The Vikings, whose quarterback situation has been about as stable as 2011 Charlie Sheen, and were missing their top two running backs, one of whom being reigning MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and someone who is in the discussion for the most unstoppable force in the history of the league, and literally the only player on the offense that scares other teams: Adrian Peterson. And somehow they 48 on, albeit a bad Eagles defense. I don't understand that, and there's not much more I can say about that game other than the fact that apparently logic was too lazy to make its way to Minnesota on Sunday.

The Saints game wasn't shocking, but certainly unexpected. The Rams are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league, and the Saints are simply a worse team when they play away from New Orleans. Then, Andy Dalton turned into Bad Andy Dalton and the Bengals were down big early on Sunday night against the Steelers. That was another pretty unexpected loss, but again, not shocking.

Geno Smith played horribly, and the Jets somehow pulled out a nonsensical backdoor cover. It still doesn't make sense to me how they put up 20 points in Carolina with Geno playing so poorly. But whatever, I'll take it, especially after what happened in Dallas...

This was a disgraceful performance by the Cowboys in the second half. I know you've heard it all week, but there's no reason why, with star running back Demarco Murray averaging 7.4 yards per carry, and a 23 point lead on Matt Flynn and the Packers, the Cowboys stopped running the ball. This isn't an issue of trusting Tony Romo or not, but rather, common sense and clock management. Then there's Monte Kiffin's defense. What a joke that has been this year, culminating in allowing Matt Flynn to put up 34 points in the second half. That may have been the most disappointing 30 minutes in recent football history, and Dallas should be embarrassed by that display. The team is too talented to be so mediocre, and the only person to thank for that is Jerry Jones. Jason Garrett is done after this season. That is, if Jones were smart enough to get rid of his guy. But don't put anything past Jerry.

There was so Thursday night game this week, so I'll jump straight into the Week 16 slate. Currently, I stand at 115-104-5 on the season. I'm well on my way to a +.500 year, which is pretty good. Shall we?

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 15 Preview: Jets at Panthers, The First and Probably Last, "Yes, Encouragement!" Articles

I expected the Jets to control the game last week, and the fact that they did was a great sign for the rest of the year and their future. Geno Smith still made some horrible throws, but at the same time looked like not only an NFL quarterback, but a pretty good one, for most of the game. It was great to see him shake off whatever had been plaguing him the last few weeks and pull out a performance like that. He showcased all of his skills: his deep throw ability, his accuracy, and his mobility. That doesn't necessarily mean that he won't fall into another slump this week, but rather that he has the bounce back ability that an NFL quarterback requires. He regained his confidence, and it showed.

Geno leads his Jets into a very tough matchup in Carolina this week, against the second best run defense in the league, and a team that forces a lot of turnovers. That doesn't bode well for the Jets, because that means that Geno Smith will have to play great to have a chance in this one.

As for the Panthers side of the ball, the Jets have the best run defense in the league and it's not very close. Credit Rex Ryan for putting together such a dominant defensive line to give his team a major strength. They do at least one thing at an elite level, which is more than can be said about most teams. Luckily, that strength will be in full force today because the Panthers are better when they are running the ball. Cam Newton is great at both passing and running, but outside of Greg Olsen and Steve Smith, who has been pretty inconsistent this year, he doesn't have much by way of weapons. Certainly, he has big play ability, and as I've said, the Jets are vulnerable in that area, but there's no guarantee.

Overall, the Panthers are one of the best teams in the NFL. But, as for today, the Jets have the ability to stop the run better than anyone else, creating a bad matchup for the Panthers. This will be closer than you think, but still a Carolina victory.

Jets (+10.5) over PANTHERS.

Panthers 24, Jets 17

NFL Picks: Week 15

I have a lot of work to get done before Winter Break, so, Super-Duper Quick Picks this week, starting with Thursday night:
Naturally, I start off the week with an outright loss. that puts me at 10-7 on Thursdays, and 106-98-5 on the season. Let's get on with it.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 14 Preview: Raiders at Jets, The First of Many, The Carnage!!! Articles

Can Geno Smith get the ship righted today against the Raiders? Photo from nydailynews.com
Raiders: G Mike Brisiel (ankle/knee), LB Kaluka Maivia (ribs/calf), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), WR Denarius Moore (shoulder), RB Jeremy Stewart (ankle/knee), FS Usama Young (neck)

Jets: None.

Raiders: None.

Jets: None.

Raiders: SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), LB Miles Burris (toe), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion)

Jets: WR Stephen Hill (knee)

Raiders: DE Jason Hunter (foot), T Menelik Watson (illness)

Jets: I'm not falling for your shenanigans Rex Ryan.

NFL Picks: Week 14

In what should be a great game, Colin Kaepernick and the home team Niners should pull out the tough victory. Photo from king5.com
Before I start, let me just gloat for a little bit. Like any normal football fan, I play fantasy football. I'm in a 10 team league with some guys from my school. Last year I came in third, and I'm the third seed in the playoffs again this year. Had I lost last week, I would have been the fourth seed, and looking at a first round exit thanks to league champion, and juggernaut, my friend Dave. But I won, and it's because of this:
Just wanted to tell the world (at least the .00000000001% that is reading this) that I got 97 points from two players last week. It's a PPR league, so that inflates the numbers, but still. Keep looking at that. Feast your eyes on the glory.

As you can see, despite the performances of Gordon and Jeffery, their teams lost. I got the Browns game right, because I knew to avoid the Stench of Wheeds. As for the Bears...I don't know what to do with them.

Speaking of not knowing what the do, my Jets are disgusting right now, and have a quarterback controversy. Again.

I got a bit too cute picking the Rams to cover in San Francisco. Oh well, they're so inconsistent that it was certainly possible.

On Thursday night, I made my pick for what may be the worst game of the season. I didn't bother to turn of my TV to watch two of the worst teams in the league have at each other on a Thursday, which has been notorious over the last two years of producing lower quality games. Count me out. Yet, I still had my make my pick:

Turns out, I was right. With some help from the Case Keenum-Matt Schaub combo,  the Jags won. Unfortunately, that win seemed to take them out of the running for the first pick in the draft, having swept Houston this season. They're too bad to not go all out tank mode for Teddy Bridgewater.

That win brings me to 10-6 on Thursdays, and 99-89-5 on the season. At least I'm not losing ground, but it's time to make a run.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best Met of All-Time

The greatest position player in Mets history, next to the greatest pitcher in Mets history. Photo from zimbio.com
Now, this is a loaded question that I'm grappling with in this article. The best Met of all time... What exactly does that mean? Is the best player ever to have played for the Mets? I don't think so, but that answer would be Willie Mays. Is it the most talented player to don a Mets uniform? In which case, despite going downhill so quickly, you could say it's Doc Gooden. Should the player have spent all of their career with the Mets? Because, well, then that takes away most options, leaving us with David Wright and Ed Kranepool.

So my definition that I'm working with, is, a player who played a significant amount of time with the Mets (seven years sounds about right), and had a great impact on the team's success.  So, that rules out the late great Gary Carter, as well as Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, and of course, Bartolome Fortunato. But it does leave Bill Buckner, as he was the single most important part of the Mets second championship. Thanks Billy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week 13 Preview: Dolphins at Jets, Second of Many I Don't Know Anymore Articles

Photo from nbcnewyork.com
Dolphins: T Jonathan Martin (illness), CB Dimitri Patterson (groin), CB Jamar Taylor (hamstring), RB Daniel Thomas (ankle)

Jets: None.

Dolphins: None.

Jets: None.

Dolphins: S Chris Clemons (knee/hamstring)

Jets: DB Antonio Allen (illness),DB Antonio Cromartie (hip, WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), WR Jeremy Kerley, LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)

Dolphins: G Sam Brenner (knee), WR Rishard Matthews (back), LB Koa Misi (knee) practiced in full
WR Marlon Moore (hamstring), DL Jared Odrick (knee), RB Marcus Thigpen (wrist), S Jimmy Wilson (abdomen)

Jets: OL Willie Colon (calf), DL Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Stephen Hill (knee), RB Chris Ivory (ankle), OL Nick Mangold (wrist), CB Dee Milliner (wrist), WR Greg Salas (finger), DE Mo Wilkerson (wrist), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

NFL Picks: Week 13

What the hell is he thinking with that mustache? Hopefully he's shaved that thing off since last week, but either way, I say that he leads his Cardinals to an upset victory in Philadelphia today. Oh my God Carson. Movember is over as of today, so you have no excuse. Scroll down immediately. Ew. Photo from cbssports.com

So, I started off pretty poorly last week, whiffing on my Bears, Jets, and Browns picks. But, to be fair, Brandon Weeden played for the Browns. In fact, I posted that on the facebook page, the Return of the Wheeds shouldn't count against me. Why should I be penalized because no matter what the Browns do, the Stench of Wheeds always comes back to infect their games?

He's so bad. But you know what isn't bad? My Thanksgiving picks! As I do with all Thursday games, I tweeted my picks. I even made tiny little comments for each one, my little treat. Here they are:

They surely showed that inconsistency on Thursday. They were down early, but ripped off 37 straight points to win the game, and more importantly, give me the victory.

A legendary backdoor cover here. They started off great, and held a 21-7 lead until the last 10 seconds of the first half. From there, Oakland fell apart, and fell behind by 10, with 1:56 left, which would have been a heartbreaking defeat. But then, Sea Bass saved the day with a 45 yard field goal. They needed a touchdown, an onside kick, and a field goal to tie, and while they only got one of those three things, the Raiders will live on in my hearts for that incredibly clutch cover. All hail the kicker taken in the first round!

Flacco played pretty well, but of course, I lost. By half a point. Come on, back in Week 7, the Ravens lost by 3 to the Steelers, failing to cover the spread by.....half a point. So in two Ravens-Steelers games this year, I'm 0-2 because of a combined 1 point. Awesome.

This puts me at 9-6 is Thursday games, and 93-82-4 on the year after a .500 Week 12, in which I went 7-7. I'm now safely over .500 for the year, but don't get too confident, there's still a way I can mess it up.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Other Chris Young Comes to Flushing

On Tuesday, the Mets officially signed outfielder Chris Young. My first thought was: "Oh dear God...not the other Chris Young." You know, the pitcher who, as I described before, but can't find: gives you six innings of one hit ball, and it out for the next two months. When he was on the Mets in 2012, he lived up to that description pretty well.

So, I looked again and found that it was the outfielder. Unfortunately, my reaction wasn't much different. As much as I have hated on Eric Young Jr., I'd rather he start in the outfield over Chris Young. Young was touted as a five-tool prospect, but that was a different time. That was back before he debuted in 2006. He's now 30 years old, and hasn't lived up to that potential throughout his career. Generally, he has been decent at best, with a career .746 OPS. His OBP isn't too inspiring, at .315 for his career, but it's alright because his power has seemed to make up for it generally.

He's coming off of the worst year of his career, with a really bad .280/.379/.659 OBP/SLG/OPS slash line. Of course, that OPS is 14 points higher than that of Eric Young. After Chris Young's bad season, he somehow parlayed that into $7.25 million from the Mets. And that may be my biggest problem with this deal. The way the market is in the MLB, it's hard to predict any contract anymore when Ricky Nolasco signed for 4 years/$49 million, but I still think that this is too much money to give a fourth outfielder who was pretty much worthless this year.

I don't know exactly what the Mets are trying to do in 2014. I personally feel that they should tank, as I wrote about back in August. If that is in fact the organization's plan, then this move makes sense, I guess. He's not very good, so starting him in the outfield will help the team lose.

If they are trying to win in 2014, well then, this is a confusing one. They already have a fourth outfielder named Young on their roster, and getting another doesn't make any sense. They still need to go out and get two more outfielders to start on either side of Juan Lagares, so Chris Young hasn't affected anything. He's just going to sit and be maybe the third guy off the bench after Satin/Davis/Duda pinch hits and Eric Young pinch runs. Sure that's a pretty valuable position, but it certainly isn't a priority.

And in either scenario, the cost is too much. When tanking, much like the Astros, the point is to pay as little money as possible to a bunch of players who shouldn't be in the lineup. We've got the bad player part down, but he's making too much money. If the plan is to win now, well, a backup outfielder should not be making this much money.

Overall, this move is pretty confusing due to the amount of money that he's making, and it makes it even harder to tell what the goal of this season is for the Mets.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 12 Preview: Jets at Ravens, First of Many I Don't Know Anymore Articles

Jets: None.

Ravens: None.

Jets: WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)

Ravens: None.

Jets: None.

Ravens: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)

Jets: Everyone.

Ravens: WR Marlon Brown (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

NFL Picks: Week 12

Yet another Manning-Brady Classic is a tough one to predict. Photo from sportsinvasion.net
I did pretty well on my picks last week, despite being so far off on the Jets game. Thanks a lot Geno...

I started off this week by making my Thursday night pick on Twitter (@WilliamBotchway) as I always do:

 The Saints still got the win, but played pretty poorly, and failed to cover the spread. That means that I'm 7-5 on Thursday night games headed into the Thanksgiving triple-header next week. After an 8-5-2 Week 11, I'm 84-75-4 on the whole season.

This is the last week that any teams will be on bye, as the playoff races are really heating up. Let's get on with it.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ike Davis or Lucas Duda?

The Mets face a tough decision in the coming months. Which first baseman should they keep? Is there a third person involved in this conundrum? Photo from newsday.com

In an argument that have ramifications not only for my Mets, but for baseball in general, it's unclear who the Mets should stick with at first base: either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. Two young, struggling players who have a lot of potential, but haven't been able to figure it out thus far.

Davis has gone through notorious slumps to begin each of the last two seasons. In fact, they were eerily similar, which isn't a good thing. I looked at his stats in 2012 from Opening Day until his batting average reached its lowest point of the season, .158 on June 8. Usually I wouldn't look at batting average, but Ike was obviously swinging at everything, and whiffing. It was painful to watch. In that span, he started 49 games while appearing in 56 of them. He posted an abysmal .234/.273/.507 OBP/SLG/OPS slash line. He also managed to strike out 59 times in 56 games. And yet, he kept playing, and he seemed to turn it around, relatively of course, through the end of the year. From June 9, 2012 on, Davis looked not only like an actual major leaguer, but a great one. He started 88 games, and played in 100 in total, and was so much better overall. His slash line became.347/.565/.913 and he cut down the strikeouts significantly, only striking out 82 times. That gave Mets fans a lot of hope coming into 2013 about Davis's prospects.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 11

So, the Colts may have cemented themselves as the weirdest football team in the history of the NFL. They beat the 8-1 Broncos, 9-1 Seahawks, and inexplicably (at the time) dominated the 6-3 49ers on the road. Then last week, they got pummeled, at home, by Kellen Clemens and the 4-6 Rams, who seem to be worse than their record suggests.

Jake Locker got hurt and Ryan Fitzpatrick decided to only further cement himself as a bad quarterback, somehow losing to the Jaguars.

Speaking of the Colts and Titans, they played on Thursday Night. As always, I made my pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway)

Chalk that up as a half point W for me, giving me a 7-4 record on these usually hard to predict Thursday night games. It also means that I'm 76-69-2 this year.

Quick Picks this week! I won't explain anything, just trust that I'm wrong.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Week 11 Preview: Jets at Bills, The First of Not Very Many, "Easy Win" Predictions

Coming off a bye week, Geno Smith and the Jets roll into Buffalo with a chance to basically secure themselves a playoff spot. Since the last time they played, the Titans lost twice, the Chargers lost to the Broncos, kicking off the toughest part of their schedule, and the Dolphins knocked themselves out with a loss to the lowly Buccaneers.
So now, the Jets have a chance to take a firm grasp on that 6 seed with a win. How exactly will that happen?
The Bills pass defense is struggling, which means that returning wide receiver Santonio Holmes, along with the rest of the Jets pass catchers should have some success. In Week 3 against the Bills, Geno Smith threw for 331 yards and got a QBR of 85.8. Basically, Buffalo's paltry defense should allow Geno to show more good than bad. 
The running game should be on point, because the Bills aren't great at defending that either. Whoever the hot hand may be, they should have some success on the ground. 
E.J. Manuel really struggled last week against a Pittsburgh defense that allowed 55 points the week prior to a Impostor Tom Brady and the Patriots. I don't know whether it's because of his injury, or because of his talent level, but it wasn't pretty. It won't get any prettier this week against the Sons of Anarchy and the rest of the Jets defense. 
It will obviously be hard to run the ball, because the Jets are so great at defending the run. Without Buffalo's top two receivers, throwing the ball will be quite the challenge. Overall, this is not going to end well for the Bills. 
This should enter the blowout zone. 
Jets (-1.5) over BILLS.
Jets 31, Bills 10

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ed Reed's Impact on the Jets

Will the Rex Ryan-Homeless Ed Reed combo relive their Baltimore magic? Photo from nydailynews.com
This week, the New York Jets signed longtime Ravens safety Homeless Ed Reed, who was cut by the Texans just two days prior. Reed, who in addition to being probably the greatest safety ever, has a special place in English language, as you can find his picture next to the definition of the word "homeless."

And now, he's on my team. But what exactly does it mean? Is there going to be an Homeless Ed Reed Renaissance? Is he going back to his old ways and help improve the struggling secondary?

Well, not really...Last season, Homeless Ed Reed was not that great in coverage. Don't believe me?

I asked my friend Phil, a diehard Ravens fan, who watches every game online because he lives in New York, to describe how he feels about Reed's play last year. He told me the exact same thing, and added, "He just wasn't able to get there and make a play like he used to." And at 35 years old, you can't blame him. People age, and football players age fast.

Yes, Reed had his greatest years when Rex Ryan was the defensive coordinator from 2005 through 2008. But as you can see from those dates, that was a long time ago. Just because there's a connection between these two doesn't turn Reed into a 30 year old again. 

His athletic ability is pretty much gone, so he can't be relied upon to stay with receivers downfield. So what is he going to do in a Jets uniform? I'd say stand there and look pretty, but, well...this is how he looks in green. He can provide some veteran leadership, and possibly mentor struggling DBs such as Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson. On the field, he won't matter. 

In fact, he should have gone out on top with Ray Lewis in February, the right way, winning his first Super Bowl. But alas, like many other great athletes before him, he hung on too long, and will be relegated to "player"-coach mode on the Jets. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 10

While I believe that they lose this game, Cam Newton and the Panthers will put up a fight and earn respect from fans around the league. Photo from betdsi.com

Seneca Wallace gift-wrapped me a win with my Bears pick, but he also caused me emotional pain. I ahve Jordy Nelson on my fantasy team, and because of Wallace's incompetence, I lost my matchup by .9 points. Thanks Seneca.

I have no idea how I lost my Seahawks pick. Look back at that matchup again and tell me why they didn't cover the 15 point spread. Even after they were down 21-0, it still didn't make sense how they wouldn't beat the Buccaneers 37-21. They won the game, but not by enough.

You'd think that the Raiders game would be the furthest off I ever would have been on a game, as I picked them to cover the spread of 2.5, before they ended up losing by 29 thanks to Nick Foles. But of course, that would mean that you're ignoring when I picked the Cardinals +10 over the Seahawks last year...before they lost 58-0.

Keeping with the spirit of losing, let's get to the Thursday night pick!

So yeah, that was wrong, putting me at 6-4 overall on Thursday night games.  It also makes me 70-63-2 on the season. Not bad, but there's room for improvement. And that improvement starts now.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

2013-14 NBA Preview: Road to the Championship vs. Diggin' for Wiggins

How will Derrick Rose's return affect the playoff race? Photo from cardinalsportszone.com

What team will complete their goal of Diggin' for Wiggins? Photo from yodonbleekraps.com

It's that time of year again, eight months of basketball are on the horizon, and it's going to be pretty fun. The biggest question of the year, is whether the tanktastic seasons ahead for the league's bottom feeders will become a bigger score than the playoffs themselves? It could be very possible, as I see many teams begin completely awful in an attempt to increase their chances of winning the lottery. 

After the wild summer, some teams have changed dramatically. Some have gotten a lot better, and others, a lot worse. In preparation for the season, I'm going to tell you show I think things will shake out. I'll give you the division standings, with comments about each team, as well as a playoff preview and awards. This is what you've all been waiting for.

Atlantic Division
  1. New York Knicks
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Boston Celtics
  5. Philadelphia 76ers
Yes, I still think that the Knicks are better than the Nets. Both teams have major potential for implosion, but the Knicks are the younger team, and they have chemistry. They didn't really lose much, and added some nice pieces. Also, they will have Shumpert at full strength for the whole year, which is really important. This was a 54 win team last year, and they didn't get much worse.

I am afraid of the Nets. I think that they are a very deep and versatile team; that is, if they can put everything together and Pierce and Garnett do not decline. It will take a while for them to figure out how to fit all the new pieces together, because as we've seen with the 2010 Miami Heat and last year's Lakers, it takes time for teams to find out everyone's role. By the time that happens, maybe Pierce and Garnett's skills have severely diminished. It's very possible, and that takes them out of the conversation for a title contender. But, even if they play poorly, the rest of the team is good enough to get a top 5 seed in the East. I like them a lot better than last year.

Enter Masai Ujiri. Maybe the best GM in the league, he's ready to build a contender out of this team. They probably won't make the playoffs this year, but they'll be in the hunt. People are once again talking about trading Rudy Gay, but having him for most of the year makes them at least a low end playoff contender.

This is rebuilding done right. I don't know whether or not they are trading Rondo, but I do think that he is certainly someone who they can build around. As for this year...they are not nearly the worst team in the league, but they probably won't be sniffing the playoffs.

Everybody needs to calm down. This isn't the worst team in the NBA, we'll get to them later. But this is the second worst team in the NBA. Go crazy Philadelphia. I see some decent pieces here, but they traded their best player in an effort to tank. And boy will they tank. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Are the Jets Primed for a Playoff Spot?

Will QB Geno Smith and unsung hero, Snacks Harrison propel the Jets to the playoffs? Photo from espn.com

Heading into their bye week at 5-4, the New York Jets, yeah, those New York Jets. My New York Jets. The same New York Jets that I predicted would win at most six games, before settling on four. So that's working out beautifully for me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 9

I only picked one underdog last week, and they won. By far the weirdest thing about last week was the fact that Kellen Clemens covered against the Seahawks. Then of course, because he's Kellen Clemens, he failed when they had a chance to win at the end of the game.

As for this week, as always, I made my Thursday Night pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway):

Well thanks to Giovani Bernard in the fourth quarter (FANTASY TEAM ALERT!), the Bengals had a real chance to cover as long as they scored a touchdown in overtime. But of course, Andy Dalton got sacked in the end zone by Cameron Wake, and the Bengals not only failed to cover, but failed to win. In the process, Geno Atkins tore his ACL, all but killing their chances of winning the AFC.

This makes be 0-1 on the week, 6-3 on Thursday night games, and 62-58-2 on the season. I have a lot of things to do, so just picks this week.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 8 Preview: Jets at Bengals, The First of Many Eh, This Team is Fine Articles

Photo from newsday.com
Jets: WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring)

Bengals: CB Leon Hall (Achilles), DT Devon Still (elbow)

Jets: None.

Bengals: None.

Jets: C Nick Mangold (ribs), WR Greg Salas (knee)

Bengals: RB Rex Burkhead (calf)

Jets: 13 guys listed, my limit is 10. 13 happens to be greater than 10. So, I'm not typing all those names out when their gam status was never really in doubt.

Bengals: DE Wallace Gilbert (knee), WR Marvin Jones (shoulder), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring), CB Terence Newman (ankle)

NFL Picks: Week 8

The Rams called Brett Favre this week, and after he turned them down, the decided to go with Kellen Clemens on Monday night. 2008 Jets throwback! I'm sure Brett Ratliff (5) is be better than Clemens. Photo from nj.com
What an annoying week for me. I lost the my Buccaneers pick by 1 point, and I lost my Ravens pick by half a point. And if that weren't enough, Jay Cutler got injured in the first quarter, and Josh McCown actually played well, giving me hope that I would get my pick right. Then of course, Roy Helu scored a touchdown with 45 seconds left to win the game and hand me a loss. So thanks for the false hope Josh, if you had played terribly that would have been my excuse. Also, I started Cutler over King Kaepernick on my fantasy team, and I still won with my -1 points from the QB spot.

Speaking of last second losses, Brandon Weeden had the ball with 1st and Goal on the Packers 7 yard line, down by 18. The line just so happened to be 11, so if he was able to punch it in, then I would have mercifully escaped with a push. So what does Weeden do? Turnover on downs of course! And so ends the Brandon Weeden era, because he was officially benched this week. I will not miss him.

My inconsistent Jets decided to show up last week. Which I should have expected, because they have alternated good and bad games all year. It's so hard to anticipate what they are going to do in any particular game.

Boy was Josh Freeman awful. That was Gabbert + Weeden level bad. Yeah, he played like the disgusting combination of those two useless quarterbacks. Blaindon Gabben? That's how bad Josh Freeman was. And I'm still not breaking up with him. I can't take the pain that comes with the 0.37% chance that he returns to form and becomes good again.

Onto this week, where I can take solace in the fact that I got my Thursday night pick correct.

Well I felt pretty damn good about it pretty much as soon as the game started. The Panthers are good because their defense is so great. Specifically, it is their front seven being so good, and therefore having the ability to mask the weaknesses present in the secondary. It's working, and the Panthers have a shot at the playoffs this year.

So I'm 6-2 on Thursday night games, and 55-52-2 on the season. I have no idea how I'm still over .500 with the awful streak I've been on lately. Let's do this!

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 7

Heeeeeee's BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK. Photo from cbssports.com

Thad Lewis looked good last week. And of course, he got hurt. So what did the Bills do just in case? They signed Matt Flynn! Yeah, that Matt Flynn. Jeff Tuel is off in a corner somewhere deep in the depths of Buffalo's training facility because he knows that they hate him so much. Anyway, it is because Lewis was much better than anyone expected, that I lost my pick of the Bengals, which looked really easy when I made it.

The Jets...wow was that a bad loss.

The Broncos played an awful game (by their standards)...and they still won by 16. Unfortunately, they were supposed to win by at least 26 for me to get a push, but we can't have that now can we? I'm officially never falling for a line that big again. Until of course clearly the best team in the league, with an unstoppable offense that is hanging up 44.2 points per game (including this "letdown") is facing the worst team in the league, with a gruesome defense..at home! Forget 26, how did they not win by 126?

The inconsistent Chargers struck again, beating the Colts for seemingly no reason on Monday night. Good job San Diego, thanks for being absolutely impossible to predict.

As for this week, I'm off to a good start after making this pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway) on Thursday night:

Seahawks (-4) over CARDINALS. 

And boy was I worried about that one. The Cards have been decent so far, and playing at home gave me some pause at to who to pick. Not to long after I made the pick, the line went up to 5 or 5.5 depending on where you looked. I very well could have been sucked into taking the Cardinals had I seen that. Either way, I'm now 5-2 on Thursday night games, and after a mediocre Week 6 record (I went 7-8), I'm sitting at 50-43-2 on the year. I consider that to be pretty impressive after two bad weeks in a row.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS

Week 7 Preview: Patriots at Jets, The Fifth of Many Bitter, Rambling Jets Articles

Rob Gronkowski's return creates a matchup problem for the Jets. Photo from profootballrosters.com
Patriots: WR Danny Amendola (concussion. Get well soon! -Anxious Fantasy Owner Who Thought You Were A Steal In The Fifth Round Of A PPR League), DT Tommy Kelly (knee), RB Leon Washington (ankle)

Jets: WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), WR Greg Salas (knee)

Patriots: CB Aqib Talib (hip)

Jets: None

Patriots: RB Brandon Bolden (knee), OL Marcus Cannon (shoulder), OL Dan Connolly (concussion), WR Julian Edelman (thigh), TE Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (knee. Oh my God, I spelled it correctly...from memory!), WR Matthew Slater (wrist), DB Tavon Wilson (hamstring)

Jets: None

Patriots: CB Kyle Arrington (groin), DB Devin McCourty (shoulder), DL Rob Ninkovich (groin), OT Nate Solder (back)

Jets: More frustration. Eleven guys are listed, I'm setting the limit at ten. Rex is trying to Out-Belichick Belichick. CB Dee Milliner (hamstring) is back.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Knicks Bench Mob

J.R. Smith is just one of many important players on New York's bench. Photo from siphotos.tumblr.com
There are so many key components for every quality basketball team. There's the star player. The go-to guy who will always be relied upon to get a key bucket late in a game, and should be able to do everything else on the court. Then there are the various role players who can each do different things that help the team. There's the facilitator, who creates open looks for everyone else. There's the scorer who provides a quick spark off the bench and maybe he can even take over for a while. The lockdown defender is supposed to stick on the opposing team's best scorer and shut him down. The defensive big man should be able to clog up the paint, alter shots, and grab boards. There are so many pieces that go into the creation of a quality basketball team, and the Knicks have all of them.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 6

After the news of the past few days, I expect a pissed off Peterson to have a great game. Photo from sports-kings.com

Thank you to the Detroit Lions for deciding to wait until after I posted my picks to decide that Calvin Johnson wouldn't be able to play. I really appreciate that. I also really appreciate the fact that the Lions are completely worthless without him.

I'm seriously wondering if the Jaguars should remain an NFL team. They failed to cover a 12.5 point spread against Sam Bradford and the Rams. May I remind you that these are the same Rams who were dominated for the first half in Week 2 (before a comeback that didn't really have a chance) by the otherwise winless Atlanta Falcons. These are also the same Rams who were blasted by the Cowboys and 49ers in the next two weeks. Just demote them to the CFL, or the SEC. Shouldn't they just forfeit every game (especially this week, we'll get to that) so that their fans don't have to watch them and TV stations don't need to apologize for broadcasting them...in Florida.

But of course, my favorite part of last week is that one of the few games I got right involved my Jets. I don't know how they did it, but they won. They beat the Falcons in Atlanta thanks to a beautiful drive by Geno Smith at the end of the game.

Unfortunately, Julio Jones is on my fantasy team...

Now onto this week...and well I ended my four game streak of winning Thursday night picks after ending my nine week stretch of having a .500+ record. This isn't fun. Here was my pick, which I made on twitter as usual (@WilliamBotchway):

BEARS (-8) over Giants. 

In fact, read the whole tweet.

I was wrong not only on the game, but in saying that the Bears are good. They have a lot of holes that were shown off on Thursday. And while they still won because they were facing a bad football team, but they have an inconsistent defense that can only do well if they are causing turnovers. And they were causing turnovers here, but they still failed to cover this spread.

So now I'm 0-1 on the week and 41-35-2 on the season after a bad 5-9 week that looked even more abysmal at around 7:30 PM last week when it was sitting at  3-8. Thank you to the 49ers and Jets for saving me.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS 

Week 6 Preview: Steelers at Jets, The First of Not Very Many Glowing, Giddy Jets Articles

Photo from northjersey.com
Steelers: WR Markus Wheaton (finger)

Jets: WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring)

Steelers: None

Jets: None

Steelers: None

Jets: OL Oday Aboushi (knee), CB Antonio Cromartie (questionable)

Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger (right finger)

Jets: Everyone on this team is probable. Just stop it Rex.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 5 Preview: Jets at Falcons, The Fourth of Many Bitter, Rambling Jets Articles

Conerback Darrin Walls will be a key in tonight's game, going up against either Julio Jones or Roddy White for four quarters. Photo from jetnation.com

Jets: OL Oday Aboushi (knee), WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring)

Falcons: T Sam Baker (knee), LB Akeem Dent (ankle), RB Steven Jackson (hamstring)

Jets: None

Falcons: None

Jets: WR Clyde Gates (knee), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

Falcons: TE Chase Coffman (knee), WR Julio Jones (knee), CB Asante Samuel (thigh), WR Roddy White (ankle), LB Paul Worrilow (knee)

Jets: Another game, another unneccesary amount of Jets listed as probable. The only two that you care about, WR Stephen Hill (concussion), and QB Geno Smith (ankle)

Falcons: DT Jonathan Babineaux (foot), WR Drew Davis (ankle)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 5

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will feel as cool as Wilson in this sweater after today's game. Photo from gq.com

I started off pretty well last week, with the Seahawks coming back from a 20-3 deficit and beating the Texans in overtime on the road to make me happy, and cause all those who picked the Texans to curl up into a ball and cry. I ended up with a 9-6 record, which is pretty good, and keeps my streak of weeks without a sub-.500 finish at nine straight dating back to Week 16 of last year, including the playoffs, and excluding the Super Bowl.

So far, I'm continuing my run of success with a weird win on Thursday night. First of all, I made my pick a bit late, after the game had already started, but I had yet to check the score. I tweeted it, as per usual, (@WilliamBotchway):

BROWNS (-3.5) over Bills. 

I immediately checked what was going on and found...the Bills were up 7-0. I still had confidence in Brian Hoyer and the Browns being able to come back. Then I realized why Jordan Cameron was doing absolutely nothing in my fantasy lineup...oh no...:

So bad they didn't bother to correct the mistake. Little did Upper Deck know that this card would be a future gem for all the wrong reasons. Photo form upperdeckblog.com/
Hoyer tore his ACL, and he's out for the year, which means that Weeden has appeared to make my fantasy team's two hidden gems (Cameron and Josh Gordon) into nothing again. I was quite worried about my pick, but then EJ Manuel got hurt and...oh no...:
Photo from phillyburbs.com
Jeff Tuel brought his 4-22 college record into the game and got outplayed by Brandon Weeden. Those are the saddest five words ever written. Thanks to Tuel being bad, I snuck away from that game with a victory. Shoutout to Kiko Alonso for being ridiculously impressive in each of his first five games. 

Thank God I decided not to watch this abomination of quarterbacking. 

Let's move on. 


I'm now 4-1 on Thursday night games, and 37-25-2 on the season. Let's continue the run!

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Hoem team in CAPS.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MLB Postseason Preview 2013

Partying like it's 2011. Photo from nytimes.com
The regular season has come to a close, and it's time for an exciting month of winners, losers, heroes and zeroes. Admittedly, my seven weeks in Ghana caused me to be largely out of the loop of this baseball season, but I think I've caught up pretty well. There have been some surprises this year, such as the Royals being in contention and the Nationals falling apart. The Pirates are in the playoffs, as are the Indians. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees missed the playoffs. There were PED suspensions galore, and somehow, despite getting the largest suspension, Alex Rodriguez managed to play through the end of the season.

Mike Trout had a better year than his MVP season in 2012. Miguel Cabrera had a better season than his MVP* season in 2012. It will be interesting to see how the voting shakes out. I don't expect Trout to win, but he has a chance.

As for the playoffs, here's what will go down, courtesy of me:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 4 Preview: Jets at Titans, First of Many Slightly More Bitter, Rambling Articles

Photo from si.com

Jets: OL Oday Aboushi (knee), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), CB Dee Milliner (hamstring)

Titans: RB Shonn Greene (knee), DT Sammie Lee Hill (ankle)

Jets: None

Titans: None

Jets: None

Titans: LB Patrick Bailey (hamstring), WR Kenny Britt (neck/ribs), TE Delanie Walker (toe), CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring)

Jets: It looks like this is going to be a recurring theme as the Jets listed 11 players as probable. I'll just give you the highlights and not waste your time, DT Kenrick Ellis (back). The rest are people who you probably haven't been concerned about this week. Even Geno Smith is on the injury report. Give it up for Rex "Belichick" Ryan.

Titans: LB Moises Fokou (neck), LB Zaviar Gooden (ankle), OT David Stewart (calf)

NFL Picks: Week 4

*Sniff* Photo from thepewterplank.com

I'm not too happy with the people in this world who bet. When I made my pick for the Monday night game, the line was Broncos -16. By kickoff, the line had crept up to Broncos-16.5. So, naturally, I picked the Raiders to cover the 16 point spread, and they lost by...16. So I really could have used that extra half point. Thanks a lot.

Coming off of a blazing Week 3, and on Thursday night, I continued by run of success . As always, I tweeted my pick (@WilliamBotchway):

49ers (-3) over RAMS.

As you may already know, the Niners got back on track after an awful showing against the Colts by walloping the Rams 35-11. And it wasn't even that close. The Niners are fine, but the Rams look like they're in trouble.

Anyway, I'm now 3-1 on Thursday night games, and 28-19-2 on the year after a great 11-4-1 Week 3. Hopefully my good luck continues.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 3 Preview: Bills at Jets, First of Many Not as Bitter, Rambling Jets Articles

Photo from jetnation.com

I did not do a preview for last week's game because I had way too much work, and it would have been impossible for me to write it on a Thursday.

Sue me.

Bills: CB Ron Brooks (foot), CB Stephon Gilmore (wrist), WR Marquise Goodwin (hand), K Dustin Hopkins (groin), G Doug Legursky (knee)

Jets: T Oday Aboushi (knee)

Bills: None

Jets: None

Bills: S Jairus Byrd (foot)

Jets: None

Bills: None

Jets: Once again, the Jets listed a ridiculous amount of people as probable, and I'm not going to bother myself and all of you with all of those names. Here are the important ones: DE Quinton Coples (ankle), DT Kenrick Ellis (back), DT Sheldon Richardson (shoulder), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)

NFL Picks: Week 3

Photo from sbnation.com

The Rams almost pulled off one of the most miraculous backdoor covers in history. Down 24-3 at halftime, they ended up losing 31-24 in a game in which the spread was 6 points. 

That was balanced out by the fact that the Ravens, who struggled mightily all day, and were down 6-0 at halftime, somehow covered the 7 point spread that they had no business covering. They played horribly, but then again, they were facing Brandon Weeden. 

As for this week, I'm already off to a roaring start after I tweeted by Thursday Night pick (@WilliamBotchway) just before the game:

Chiefs (+3.5) over EAGLES. 

For the third straight week, I found myself backing the Chiefs, as well as taking the Thursday night underdog for the third straight week. I'm now 2-1 in both cases. This puts me at 17-15-1 on the year. I'm treading water...

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Letter to Matt Harvey

Photo from usatoday.com
So this week, Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey decided that he would not have Tommy John surgery and instead try a six to eight week throwing program before revisiting this possibility.

Read the story on espn.com, I'll wait.

No, seriously, I don't want to waste too much time re-telling the story.

Okay, you're done?

Welcome back.

Let's get on with it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 2

That is in fact, Josh Freeman attempting to re-create the cover of "Thriller." Photo from espn.com
I'm still quite angry that the Texans failed to cover the spread. I missed that one by half a point. Well, you win some, you lose some.

Speaking of losing some, the Jets opening this week in Foxborough and despite their loss, secured me a victory with my pick. I made my pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway) before the game:

Jets (+13) over PATRIOTS. 

That one was pretty easy for me. As soon as Danny Amendola was ruled out of the game, I still felt that the Pats would win, but my Jets, despite having a completely inept offense, should cover the spread. I don't know what the spread was on Monday before Vereen and Amendola were listed as out, but I would have hoped that there was a lot of action on the Jets.

Anyway, that puts me at 1-1 on Thursday games and 9-7-1 on the year.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Obnoxiously Early Breakdown of Geno Smith

Photo from http://isportsweb.com
We're two games into the New York Jets season, and therefore, we're two games into the career of Geno Smith. Drafted 39th overall and the 7th pick in the second round of this year's draft, the Jets drafted him to be their franchise quarterback. Maybe not immediately, but a few years down the road. At the very least, they wanted to get him some in-game reps throughout the year and see what they have.

He was "competing" for the starting job in training camp, but was officially handed the role when Mark Sanchez got hurt. Personally, I think that in reality, Smith would have gotten the starting role even if Sanchez were healthy. 

After two games, I believe that he certainly is an interesting talent. 

He can move pretty well in the pocket, and he's been great at picking his spots in terms of scrambling for positive yardage when the coverage doesn't allow him to make a play downfield. 

He also has shown pretty nice poise in the pocket. In the preseason game against the Giants, he collapsed under pressure and sometimes he panicked. 

As for throwing, he needs work, but at his best, he can make very strong and accurate throws. However, that isn't the norm for him. Especially on Thursday night against the Patriots, Smith was overthrowing receivers, underthrowing receivers, and occasionally it looked like he was attempting to target the defender. He missed quite a few throws that should have been easy. He played bad. 

So why do I think he's so interesting? Because, he's only a rookie. While a lot "rookie mistakes" become simply mistakes, I still think that he can improve greatly and be much more consistent. That's the key word, consistency. That has always been the biggest issue with rookies in the NFL. They show flashes of brilliance, then follow it up with an "I don't belong here" play. Geno has been doing that. 

I think that he has the potential to be among to the top ten quarterbacks in the league in a few years, which will be good enough to lead a team to glory given that the surrounding parts are good. 

Throughout this season, he will continue to make better decisions, and gradually, his accuracy will improve. 

It will take some time, but this project is probably going to work out well for the Jets.

I think they're onto something. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 1

Photo from sportsgrid.com
It's that time of year again folks! Time for me to incorrectly predict some football games! I'm already off to a roaring start, because on Thursday Night, as I did last year with all Thursday Night games, I tweeted my pick. (Follow me, @WilliamBotchway, for that and much more.) I picked:
Ravens (+7.5) over BRONCOS. 
Oh you think that was enough? In 140 characters, I not only found a way to call out the oddsmakers for the line being so large in favor of the Broncos. It doesn't stop there, I followed it up with this. Not even the worst of my problems, as Julius Thomas put up 28 points on my fantasy bench.

Not a banner night for me.

But hey, after a pretty bad 125-133-4* record, compounded by the fact that I apparently can't count, seeing as I have 6 more games on my record than there are in an NFL regular season, it can't get that much worse, right? Remember, the Week 3 Fail Mary cost me a game and I'm only going to let go of that grudge now. Mostly because there's no reason for me to ever bring up my 2012 record again.

Onwards and upwards!

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS

Week 1 Preview: Buccaneers at Jets, The Third of Many Bitter, Rambling Jets Articles

Image from espn.com

Buccaneers: TE Tom Crabtree (ankle), G Carl Nicks (foot)

Jets: DE/OLB Quinton Coples (ankle), QB Mark Sanchez (right shoulder)

Buccaneers: CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring)

Jets: None

Buccaneers: RB Mike James (eye), RB Erik Lorig (calf)

Jets: DT Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Santonio Holmes (foot)

Buccaneers: T Demar Dotson (back), CB Darrelle Revis (knee)

Jets: No, the Jets listen 17 players as probable. I'm not going to listen them. That's completely ridiculous. Just know, everyone other than the above Jets are definitely active today. I'm already angry at them...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Spreading Them Wings Even Further

I mentioned back in April that I am now a writer for the popular website New York Knicks Memes. Well since I've returned from Ghana, I have accepted roles as a contributor to New York Sports Hub, and as an editor/senior writer at SportsDorks, which was founded by my boy Charlie Fogg. Check out all the other content on both websites, there are a lot of great writers contributing there.

All this means is that pretty much everything I post here will be seen elsewhere. I shan't abandon you all. This will become a little more of an index of my work than my only project.

Anyway, thank you for the support, thank you to Charlie (from SportsDorks) and Ankit Mehra (from New York Sports Hub) for the new positions, and I look forward to big things in the future.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 NFL Preview Extravaganza, Part 2: The Kitchen Sink

Photo from politico.com

Read Part 1, the Power Rankings, here.

My second year doing this, after mixed results last year. After pegging the Vikings at 1-15, Adrian Peterson decided to put the team, and especially Christian Ponder's carcas on his back doeee and lead them to the playoffs. If you had listened to me, you would have been completely shocked when the 10-6 Buffalo Bills and (division winning) Kansas City Chiefs were not in the hunt come playoff time. Instead, the Bills finished with the inverse of that record and the Chiefs had the first pick in the draft. Well then...

I also, however, was one of the few people to correctly predict that the Saints would be average without Sean Payton, and I was fairly close with the Steelers. Trust me, I will never stop talking about this one, I correctly referred to Colin Kaepernick as the "best QB on his team" and that "for the sake of the Bay Area, I hope [he takes over as starter] this year." That brings me to the part where I picked the Ravens to be in the Super Bowl. Don't forget me picking my boy Luke Kuechly to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

But fear not! I have returned to redeem myself and make a few hideously bad picks, a few unnecessarily bold ones that will make me look stupid, and a few great ones. Let's start with the division standings (by the way, because I needed to pick every game in the season with a schedule grid, the tiebreakers aren't completely indicative of my thoughts, it's just used for clarification) :

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 NFL Preview Extravaganza, Part 1: Power Rankings

I'll have the full division and conference playoff standings tomorrow. Along with the playoff predictions, Super Bowl predictions, and award predictions. All of that will be coming in Part 2.

But for now, I have a list of each and every one of the 32 NFL teams. I'm going to now take that list, and order it from 1 to 32, from the best team in the league, to the worst team. The records that you see tomorrow will not be fully indicative of what I think about each of these teams, because when it came to filling out the schedule grid, factors such as strength of schedule came into play and may have skewed some records.

Anyway, here it is, your preseason Power Rankings!:

2013 New York Jets Season Preview: Second of Many Bitter, Rambling Jets Articles

Photo from newjerseyhills.com

2011 Record: 6-10

Key Acquisitions: OL Willie Colon, RB Mike Goodson, RB Chris Ivory, S Dawan Landry, CB Dee Milliner, DL Sheldon Richardson, QB Geno Smith, TE Kellen Winslow, G Brian Winters
Key Departures: DL Mike DeVito, RB Shonn Greene, TE Dustin Keller, S LaRon Landry, G Brandon Moore, DT Sione Pouha, CB Darrelle Revis, LB Bart Scott, G Matt Slauson, "PROFESSIONAL WINNER" Tim Tebow (thank God he's gone), DE/OLB Bryan Thomas

Well, it's that time again, for my damned Jets to take the field again. I've already written once about how it feels to be a Jets fan in 2013, and let's just say it's not fun.This team is not going to be very good, but somehow they're going to stay in the national spotlight for the whole season despite being worthless. I actually think Rex Ryan is a very good coach, because now it seems that Mark Sanchez is putrid, which means that Ryan took a putrid QB to the AFC Championship Game twice. It's not his fault that Mike Tannenbaum did not even try to make it look like he cared about keeping the roster together past the year 2012. And well, look what happened. Anyway, Ryan is going to be fired at the end of this year, and frankly, I don't think he cares. Teams are going to be lining up to lure him to be their head coach in some cases, or if he wants to join a winner, say the Green Bay Packers, he can catch on as their defensive coordinator. It will be a mistake if the Jets let Ryan go, but it's going to happen. Oh well, you can't win every battle. Speaking of which, let's talk about the team that won't win many battles. At all.

The QB situation isn't much to talk about here. Geno Smith should be the starter, and I don't think he's going to be all that great this year. He's a rookie, he's going to go through a lot of struggles, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm interested in seeing how he performs this year, but don't expect too much.  The advanced defensive schemes might be too much for him to handle, and his complete lack of weapons will hinder him. The best hope is that he gradually gets better as the year goes along, and figures out what he needs to improve upon for the next year. If Smith ends up being flat out horrible, or if he gets hurt. I do think that Matt Simms has some potential. As for Mark Sanchez, he's going to be a total non-factor. Even if Smith gets hurt I doubt Sanchez is getting a chance to start. The team knows it's not going to work out with him. He's pretty much going to be the fourth guy on the depth chart. Fourth? What happened to third? Brady Quinn happened.

(Rolling my eyes)

Let's move on.

As for the running backs, nothing here inspires me that much. Chris Ivory has some talent but injuries have been a major issue since he's come into the league. I don't know what to make of him, maybe he won't even be good when healthy. Bilal Powell is nothing special. The most intriguing player here is Mike Goodson. Once he comes back from suspension, he might finally realize his potential that people have been speaking of for years.

Not that I think Kellen Winslow has that much left in the tank, but I think he's going to be a crucial part of this offense. Geno Smith is going to need a security blanket to throw short check down passes to, and the tight end is usually the one to fill that role. Konrad Reuland may develop into a decent guy.

As for the offensive line, the most important player is Brian Winters. As we've seen in the past, most notably Wayne Hunter, one weak link on an offensive line can cause the whole line to look awful. Third round pick Winters looked decent this preseason, so if he can continue this success in the regular season, he will make Geno Smith's life a lot easier.

I really like this defensive line. Mo Wilkerson developed into a really good run defender last year, one of the best at his position. He needs to work a little more on his pass rushing, which would turn him into an elite player, but I like him as it is. That's because Sheldon Richardson will be really good in both pass and run defense this year, no matter where he plays, on the interior or on the edge. Kenrick Ellis is also a pretty good run defender. I've enjoyed Leger Douzable this preseason, he has a high motor and was almost always near the quarterback.

Quinton Coples is going to see some time with his hand on the ground and playing as a rush linebacker, and either way he should do a pretty nice job at getting to the QB. The best part is that all of these guys are pretty young, meaning that at least the front of this defense will be interesting for years to come.

David Harris used to be a great linebacker, but his play has significantly dropped off recently. I don't know what to make of him coming into this year. Demario Davis is a young player who should improve, I guess. There's really nothing else of note here. God this is painful.

With Darrelle Revis gone, the Jets decided to take his heir apparent in the first round in Dee Milliner. I like his tools, and time will tell if he's a good NFL player or not, but I think he will be. Obviously he will not be the historically great Revis, but I think he can be a really good #1 corner. For now, he only has to focus on the second best receiver on each team because Antonio Cromartie has been really good. He stepped up nicely when Revis went down. They will form a pretty nice 1-2 punch.

Other than that, the secondary is completely average. Kyle Wilson is in my doghouse, and this is his last chance. Isaiah Trufant and Darrin Walls have some potential, but I don't know if they're going to do much this year. Safety Antonio Allen is terrible, and he's going to soon lose his job to Jaiquawn Jarrett (I still can't spell his first name). Dawan Landry is a pretty good safety, but again, nothing special.

Special Teams
They stupidly cut Dan Carpenter and allowed Nick Folk to keep swinging his inconsistent leg around New York this year. Whatever. Robert Malone is a punter. Well, that's pretty much all my analysis, he was the definition of average last year. An average punter, could there be a less interesting player in the NFL?

Jeremy Kerley is a pretty nice punt returner, and now that Joe McKnight is gone, it seems that Clyde Gates will be the one returning kicks. He's really fast, so I'll be interesting in seeing what he can do.

Look, the defense is fine. They will be fine at worst, and if everything breaks well, they may creep up into the top 7-10 in the league. That's cool and all, but where are the points coming from? Other than Cromartie pick 6s, Kerley punt returns, and causing safties, I don't understand how this team will score. They face the Raiders at home on December 8, which is the second time in my life they've played the Raiders on the week of my birthday, the first time in 2005. The starters? Brooks Bollinger for the Jets and Marques Tuiasosopo for Oakland. Worst part, I went to that game. Guess what? We're back to that point, they both stink. (To be fair, due to injuries, the Jets played 5 different QBs in that awful 2005 season). That's a win, and Buffalo will hand them a game at home. I see them scrapping out at most four other games throughout the season, but even that is wishful thinking.

4-12, 3rd in the AFC East