Sunday, September 21, 2014

Football Predictions: Week Three


Boy, how it makes me happy to be posting a Philadelphia Eagle this morning. The boys in Green and White are 2-0, and are facing a 1-1 Redskins team without RG3. This could be interesting. It could also be a chance to see if Nick Foles has the elite potential we've all been hoping he has.

For now, let's predict the rest of the match ups.

1 PM GAMES:

Chargers vs. Bills:
Who Should Win: Chargers. Logistically speaking, this is the better team. You have a better quarterback, stronger, more tested running backs, and a better overall reputation. Philip Rivers is still coming off of his really nice 2013 season, and he'd like to keep the momentum going.
Who Will Win: Bills. Sadly, Rivers' dream probably won't happen here. I don't exactly know how the Bills have done it, but they've come out on top so far this season. This is even after losing Steve Johnson to San Francisco (I think. I could be wrong). So, inexplicably, the Bills could end up winning today, on the merits of Fred Jackson and E.J. Manuel alone, plus with a few other additions by some players whose names have thus far escaped me. Bottom line, I don't know how, but the Bills are going to win today.
Overall: Bills over Chargers, though it will be close.

Cowboys vs. Rams:
Who Should Win: Cowboys. I have no idea how to predict this game, because both of these teams aren't especially...good this season. I mean, they've each got a 1-1 record, but it's a pretty harsh 1-1. Like, the Cowboys are a little depleted this season, especially by Cowboys standards, and the Rams are once again without Bradford, and really without anyone who's anywhere decent at playing quarterback. The Cowboys have Romo, and he's an interception machine, but at least he's a veteran, somewhat-close-to-elite quarterback. I guess they're the favorite?
Who Will Win: Cowboys. Part of me thinks they should play Michael Sam just so he can go "HA-HA! YOU GAVE ME UP, AND I'M KICKING YOUR RESPECTIVE REARS!" And also for the obvious reasons.
Overall: Somehow, Cowboys over Rams. Wide margin?

Redskins vs. Eagles:
Who Should Win: Eagles. We may be talking about one of the most impressive Eagles rosters since 2004, and you all know what we almost did in 2004. But the funny thing is that back then, it was basically the Terrell Owens show, when here we have two players, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy, who are already fueling plenty of talk around the league. Also, neither of them are as awful as T.O. (regardless of what the waiters of Philadelphia want you to think), and both of them are getting along pretty well with Nick Foles. Today, they're against a severely ailing Redskins team, and I think they might do really well.
Who Will Win: Eagles. Unless something unbelievably awful happens today, the Iggies have this one wrapped up. If RG3 was there, there might be a chance of it being a little closer than it will, and it could still be pretty close. I just see the Eagles absolutely rocking it today.
Overall: Eagles over Redskins. No contest.

Texans vs. Giants:
Who Should Win: Giants. Even though they're 0-2, they're still the Giants, and they deserve better. They do have a few pretty good players left, and Eli is still Eli, so that's pretty good. Plus, they're playing a surprisingly revitalized Texans team. They should be the favorite.
Who Will Win: Texans. For the third week in a row, Houston will be the sleeper hit, even without JaDeveon Clowney. Fitzpatrick is doing a great job, as per usual, as QB, and he will likely lead them to another win, defying the odds yet again, which is nice. They could be an 3-0 team. They're very close to winning more games than they won last year by week 3. You never know, though.
Overall: Texans over Giants. Embarrassingly.

Vikings vs. Saints:
Who Should Win: Saints. These guys have had two really sucky weeks, and it's a shame, because they're a really good team, and they deserve better than they're getting. Besides, they are playing a really, really barren Vikings team this week, and if you can't win against that, then who can you win against. Matt Cassel is QBing, and that has never, ever, EVER been a good sign. Seriously, I think you can call him the Worst Elite QB of All Time. Brees could be a Hall of Famer, by comparison.
Who Will Win: Saints. I don't care if this doesn't happen. I really want them to. The Saints are a great team, and they are too good for an 0-2 start. So PLEASE. WIN TODAY.
Overall: Saints over Vikings. I hope.

Titans vs. Bengals:
Who Should Win: Bengals. Look at them, right? They're 2-0. This almost never happens. Especially for a Bengals team. I'm really happy for those guys, especially Andy Dalton, because he deserves something this good. Here, they're playing the Titans, whose reputation forces them to be generally meh most of the time. This should be simple.
Who Will Win: Bengals. The Titans, as per usual, have the potential to be the spoiler here, and could easily stomach a win, especially in a game this seemingly obvious. However, I doubt it will happen here.
Overall: Bengals over Titans.

Ravens vs. Browns:
Who Should Win: Ravens.
Who Will Win: Ravens. I know I should be a bit harsher here, but this is a perfectly good Ravens team going up against a perfectly normal Browns team. I'm expecting the expected here.
Overall: Ravens over Browns.

Packers vs. Lions:
Who Should Win: Packers. I have a feeling this game will be the closest of the one PM match ups, because both of these teams are generally pretty good. The Packers have a strong offense, a rebuilding defense, and Aaron Rodgers. The Lions have engineered one of the faster turnarounds in NFL history, going from a subpar team for most of a decade to a force to be reckoned with. However, I'm giving it to Green Bay here because I think that, Seattle loss notwithstanding, they're still one of the best teams in the league.
Who Should Win: Packers. This is going to be a high scoring game, and it's going to be decided early in the fourth quarter. The Lions are probably going to dominate most of this game, and the Packers will dominate the second half. I'm only saying they'll win out of habit, but it could go either way.
Overall: Packers over Lions, barely.

Colts vs. Jaguars:
Who Should Win: Colts
Who Will Win: Colts. Again, you have a really, really good team in the Colts, facing a subpar one like Jacksonville. No contest.
Overall: Colts over Jaguars, excruciatingly.

Raiders vs. Patriots:
(DISCLAIMER: The following prediction is not what I think will happen, but what I so desperately want to happen. Plausibility? P'shaw.)
Who Should Win: Raiders.
Who Will Win: Raiders. I want the Patriots to absolutely fall on their face today, and the Raiders to absolutely kick their asses.
Overall: Raiders over Patriots, by a wide margin.
(in reality, Patriots over Raiders. Fifty Billion to Zip.)

4 PM GAMES

49ers vs. Cardinals:
Who Should Win: Cardinals. I don't know how, but they've come out on top thus far, even without Carson Palmer. They're 2-0, and they've got a better record than the Niners, which is so hard to believe. Hell, they've got a better record than Seattle, and they won the damn thing last year. This is basically a Twilight Zone episode.
Who Will Win: 49ers. Yeah, they're gonna balance this thing out this week, and it's gonna be sane again. The Niners are still a great team, and they're better than the Cards here, so I think they'll take it back.
Overall: Niners over Cardinals.

Broncos vs. Seahawks:
(double-takes)
...haven't...haven't we seen this one before?
...
NAW, must just be a coincidence.
Who Should Win: Broncos. Once again, they've come out on top this season, and have added twenty-ish more awesome elements to their team, and have built themselves up to be an unstoppable force just so they WON'T fall flat on their ass if they make it to the Super Bowl again. Well, this is kind of the same thing. The statisticians are gonna say the Broncos will come out on top here.
Who Will Win: Seahawks. It would be so great if they won this again. I don't care if it's been done, it would make me happy, and it would throw a loss at a team like Denver early in the season.
Overall: Hawks over Broncos.

Chiefs vs. Miami:
Who Should Win: Chiefs, because Andy Reid still seems to think it's 2013.
Who Will Win: Dolphins, because it isn't.
Overall: Dolphins over Chiefs, though it'll likely be close.

Steelers vs. Panthers:
Who Should Win: Panthers
Who Will Win: Panthers. Something tells me they're gonna be huge this year, and this game will cement that.
Overall: Panthers over Steelers.

(I will fill in the Monday night game tomorrow)

So, those are my predictions. Let's see how they do.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Miller Edition


So, this is what it's come to.

It's September. And you know what that means. It's time for the Cardinals to inexplicably become really, really good at baseball!

Brewers have it this year? Pirates surging? Their 2013 was better? Who cares?! Certainly not the Cardinals. They're just gonna run up to the playoffs anyway, even if it's not their year, even if the pitching staff isn't as good as last year, even if it's absolutely unexpected and spontaneous.

Before I get myself killed here, yes, they have a pretty talented team, and they have some really nice players. But I don't get the part where they wait until the last two months of the season to actually make an impact. Did they MEAN to let the Brewers and Pirates have the division for a few months, just so they could get warmed up? Like, usually how you do it is start commanding the league a couple months before the race gets heated up. Because, I kind of thought the Brewers or Pirates would take this one, so it surprised me that the Cardinals are in front. It'd be like if the Tour de France was won by a guy who was in the middle of the pack for half the race. Not really unexpected.

I mean, look at the Dodgers. They're ahead, and they've been ahead for most of the year. Look at the Orioles. They've been leading the league since about June. Look at the Athlet...bad example.

Bottom line is that the way the Cardinals go about their last few seasons...is not the way most people play baseball. And I understand that the first time they did it, they played the underdog card, and people rooted for them, and it was cool. Well, that doesn't work the next three times. Then you're not the underdog, you're just trying too hard.

I honestly hope that the team who eliminates the Cardinals doesn't do so in the World Series.

Coming Tomorrow- Speaking of the Athletics, the guy they hired to hit...who isn't really hitting at the moment.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Haren Edition

Well, it looks like the Dodgers will be taking the NL West again...which is pretty nice, because it's been a rather unsuspenseful year for that division.

I mean, with the exception of early early on, the Dodgers have always been on top, and the Giants have been too far behind to be a threat, with the exception of one or two points in the season.

Plus, I believe the Dodgers have had the most consistent pitching staff in baseball this year. First of all, their top two aces have been on all year (Kershaw had his injury early, but after that he was golden), and Ryu and Haren have been relatively smooth alongside them. Plus, the revolving door of Josh Beckett, Roberto Hernandez, and Kevin Correia has allowed for a smooth enough fifth man. Though to be honest, if the fifth rotation spot is your only fault, you're doing things right.

The Dodgers are probably already a lock for the postseason. If it's not official yet, it will be. In terms of how far they'll get, one never knows, though I'd like them to go pretty far.

Coming Tonight- I've got a lot to choose from, so I'll throw something down. Probably a Cardinal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Weaver Edition

And it looks like the Angels are definitely heading to the postseason.

It's kind of weird, because they began the season, like usual, as a punchline. Hamilton wasn't hitting, the pitchers were slumping, and the only person actually doing any damage was Mike Trout. But as the season went on, and as the Athletics slipped more and more, the Angels got better and better, stronger and stronger. The pitching staff improved, they got Huston Street and Gordon Beckham, and by September, they had a playoff team on their hands.

So, really, way to go Mike Scioscia for getting his crap together over the course of a single MLB season. And kudos to Ron Washington for letting his team implode like that.

Jered Weaver, after a mostly disappointing 2013, finally has another good season, piling up wins and dozing down batters. Him, Matt Shoemaker, Garrett Richards and CJ Wilson are all doing pretty well this year, and are one of the reasons the youth-led roster is doing so well.

I have no idea how the postseason will go for them, but I imagine they'll go very far.

Coming Tomorrow- A Dodger.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Soler Edition

The Cubs are no longer in contention for the playoffs. Over the course of the season, they traded away the one person that was actually playing well in the first half of the season. But you shouldn't take that away from this season.

You should take away the fact that the Cubs brought up a bunch of really nice rookies with the soul purpose of saving the team. Jorge Soler is one of these rookies. And, judging by his first month in the bigs, he's going to make an impact.

Soler was one of my late-season fantasy pickups, and he certainly made me happy about that decision, blasting home runs and hits all over the place, edging out Javier Baez in the 'making contact with the ball' category.

I don't really know if this will amount to anything next year, because we all thought Kosuke Fukudome would lead them to a championship, and they led them...to the NLDS. So it could just be potential, but he's a great hitter, so I'm going for that.

Coming Tomorrow- The Dodgers' pitchers have all been customized this season, save for one. Here is his custom.

Box Break: 2014 Panini Elite Football


...hey

..hey guys!

...I think we've got a good one!

Last Year, I broke a box of Elite, and was very, very impressed. Not just with the base set. I was impressed with the EFFORT. Panini could have brought back a treasured Donruss product and severely screwed it up. They could have totally mailed it in. But they didn't. They made it exactly like what an Elite set would be like if Donruss was still making it.

My mystery contact heard I liked Elite. They gave me another box. How very, very kind of them.

20 packs. 5 cards for pack. Relics should be abound.

Pack One. No real star power, save for maybe Schaub. The silly thing is they gave Schaub a new uniform, while Jared Allen's still in his old uniform with a new team next to his name.

You get to see the base set here, and I'll be honest in saying I don't like it as much as last year's. It's still pretty sleek though, and does have the kind of Elite quality, or at least a 2004-2005 Elite quality. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Antonio Brown is our insert here, which is an Elite Series insert. They look pretty cool. Nice use of color and foil.

Pack Two- Cam Newton and Drew Brees are the stars here. I rather wish I didn't pull the second from the left, especially this week.

Two packs, two Steelers inserts. This one's a rookie parallel of Dre Archer, numbered to 299, I believe.

Pack Three. Jackson, Wayne and Bush are all really nice pulls, though Jackson missed the meeting where the other three decided to lean to their right.

This is a Face 2 Face insert. Tony Romo and Eli Manning are indeed in a division standoff. Not exactly sure if it's going to be one that matters this season, but oh well.

Pack Four: Wow, this is cool. The two teams who played in Super Bowl I on the left. The two who played in the last Super Bowl on the right. Kind of cool. Lacy is also a very nice pull, as is Manning.

...this is one of the coolest inserts I've ever pulled. Even if it's of Gronk. I do not care. This card is literally transparent. And it's a freaking brick.

You can see my stacks of cards from through this card. It is that clear.

...only sucky part is that I can't fit it into a binder page very easily.

Pack 5- Boldin, Brown and Welker are all great pulls. Welker also didn't get the 'lean to the left' memo. I understand, it may have to do with his suspension.

This is another cool insert set, Legends of the Fall, and here's a black-and-white Vincent Jackson.

Hang on...there's something else in this pack...

This is a game-used card of A.J. McCarron, who was a pretty big deal in college ball, now the backup QB for the Bengals. That's a pretty good cut of jersey, first of all. I like that. Second of all, it looks like McCarron's going to be their Matt Barkely this season, basically taking a bench job for shoulder soreness, and because the Bengals seem to think that Jason Campbell is a good idea for a backup. I hope he gets playing time somewhere.

Pack Six: Marshall, Ivory, Smith and Gronk are all really good pulls. Ivory especially, after his awesome Sunday.

Passing the Torch is a returning insert set from last year. On the front is the legend, in this case Marshall Faulk...
And on the back is the guy they're comparing him to, in this case Zac Stacy. Good concept, decent enough execution.

Pack 7: Luck, Tannehill and Jones are the highlights here. Julio Jones must have lost his ball.

Our insert is an Elite Series of Colin Kaepernick. Hopefully he'll have another nice season.

Pack 8- Murray and Fitzgerald are the stars here.

Our parallel is a Michael Campanero, numbered to...I believe 999? I can't see that far in.
This is a Turn of the Century parallel, and those are #d to 199. Deone Bucannon is our guy here.


Pack 9- Jordy Nelson is really the only standout here, as the other three aren't household names. Then again, neither really is Jordy. Unless it's my household, I guess.

Face 2 Face insert of Steve Smith and Aqib Talib. And yet evidently Smith was good enough to warrant the photoshop job, while Talib wasn't.

Pack 10- Ooh, good, they decided to piss me off and throw a Redskins uniform on DeSean. Man, Panini is just trying to piss me off, aren't they.

This is another Turn of the Century insert of Steve Johnson, who missed the cutoff for a Photoshop job. Numbered to 199. Pretty nice, I think.

...one more card in the pack...

...by golly, is this a relic of someone I've actually heard of???

...someone from a team that doesn't piss me off?

Someone that's actually a really nice player??

This is a Gridiron Kings relic of Derrick Johnson. Even better, that is a big 'ol red swatch of jersey, which is a nice one. Johnson is sadly injured right now, but he's a great player, and this is a nice pull, especially considering the rookies I usually end up pulling from this.

Pack 11- Wow, this is a really nice one. Two of the greats of the league...and two players whose rookie cards were really big in 2010.

Speaking of Calvin Johnson, here he is again, on a Face 2 Face insert...with a guy he's not even in the same division as. Ah well, at least the thought was there.

Pack 12- Jimmy Graham and AJ Green are the heavy hitters here.

What box I open wouldn't be complete without me pulling a numbered card of a Cowboy. Jeez, they must get tons of Eagles hits down in Dallas.

NOW WE'RE F--KING TALKING!
Pack 13 features two of my favorite Philadelphia Eagles, and one of my favorite former Packers. THAT is how you rebound from a Cowboys relic.

And there's a Legends of the Fall insert of Mike Wallace, who seems to have found his footing in Miami.

...This is relatively nice, I guess. Chris Smith of the Jags auto. You know, this would be a lot nicer if they didn't just cut the guy a few hours ago. Man, it's like they were waiting for me to write the post in order to cut him. Man.

Pack 14- Doug Martin is the headliner here.

FINALLY we get an ON-CARD AUTO! That's very nice. I appreciate when Panini has on-card autos. This guy is supposedly going to be used as a WR/RB hybrid for Kansas City, which sort of bodes well. He's also hurt this week, but he's expected to get playing time. Cool. Man, my only good hits in this box have been Chiefs.

Pack 15- Foster and Charles are the biggest stars here. Again, this set is pretty nice, as the photos are crisp.

Well, there goes all my shit-talking. I finally got an insert card of one of my favorite players, Shady McCoy. Well done, Panini.

Pack 16- There are three Quarterbacks on this page. Only two of them are any good.

Our passing the torch insert is of Drew Brees. I believe Peyton Manning is on the back. I forgot to scan the back.

Pack 17- Dalton, McFadden and Colston are all great.

Face 2 Face of Marshawn Lynch and NaVarro Bowman. My, that's quite a coincidence. You see, these two guys actually pl...nevermind, it's too meta.

Pack 18- Manuel and Cruz are great. Moreno just got hurt.

This is another really awesome insert of Cam Newton, it's a Profiles insert. The helmet portion has been stamped out like a netting. It's really, really cool.

Pack 19- Two of the best QBs in the game right now in the same pack. That's not to say Bowe and Austin aren't also awesome.

Here's a Legends of the Fall insert of Peyton Manning, one of the best Quarterbacks of my generation.

Pack 20- Johnson and Sherman should be the bigger names here.

This is an Aspirations die-cut parallel of Julio Jones, numbered to 89, which is a pretty nice pull.

Overall: Not as good as the 2013 release, but I was still very impressed. Very well done, Panini. This box made me regain my respect for you.

Grade: B