Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Tonight, the very first playoff matchup of the year takes place, between two really, really fun teams, the Royals and the Athletics. Both used to be leading their division. Only one can advance.

James Shields will be the starting pitcher tonight, as he has gradually become the ace in Kansas City.

Meanwhile, Jon Lester will start for Oakland, as he's used his move to Oakland as an opportunity to become one of the best pitchers in the league. Also, he's used to the pressure of the playoffs, as he was literally just there last year.

I'll be honest, I have no idea who is going to win tonight. I feel like I don't want either team to lose, because I want both of them to advance. Can't we just trade one of them for Detroit? They've been in the postseason a billion times lately. Argh, but that can't happen.

I do love both teams, and while I think that the Royals have the most fun team of the two...

The A's are going to win. Again, I could be wrong, but it looks like they have the more powerful team, and they have the better chances of advancing. But it could go either way.

Hopefully tonight's game will be a lot of fun, and not infuriating, or marred by an infield fly.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Now What?

And just like that, the 2014 Regular Season has come to a close. My, that was a quick one, wasn't it?

I bring up Dustin Ackley on a day like this because Ackley's Mariners came ever-so-close to clinching a wild card spot, which is more than anyone could have predicted, before falling back and giving it to the Athletics. I think the Mariners had a really nice season, and for a while I was actually hoping they would make it to the playoffs.

But now we have a playoffs full of a bunch of fun teams, which is great, because the two teams who ended up making it all the way last year were a bit more infuriating than fun. Now we have a good Royals team, a fun Pirates team, that A's team, and a surging Orioles team, and I could root for any of these guys. That's not even mentioning the fact that I appreciate the Nationals, Dodgers and Angels as well.

These playoffs look like they're going to be a lot of fun if they're handled the right way. If it ends up being Cardinals-Tigers, than it will have missed the point. The whole point is that a bunch of elsewhere-unlikely teams have made it to the playoffs. The Tigers, Cardinals and Giants have made it to a lot of World Series' in the past few years. If they get there, the whole season might be seen as anticlimactic.

I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking it. But it looks like it's going to be a fun playoffs.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Football Predictions: Week Four

Four weeks in, we've already got some upsets, some undefeated teams, and some huge victories over strong teams. But still, this is week four, and it's a completely different ballgame this week.

Last week, for the most part, I did pretty well in my predictions, but I could still mess up big time this week. Let's see how I do:


Packers vs. Da Bears:
Who Should Win: Packers. I know they haven't had the greatest last few weeks, but they're still a decent team, and Rodgers is still having a pretty nice season. Besides, this week they're against a not-as-confident-as-Detroit-is Bears team, so they could have an easier time. Only problem is that both of these teams are in the middle of the NFC North, and neither one is particularly impressive this year. I'm saying the Packers are the potential favorite because of their past wins.
Who Will Win: Packers. I think this game will be very close, and I think Chicago will start the game with a huge lead, and the Packers will pull something together in the fourth. This rivalry provides for a lot of close games like that. Hopefully, this one is a Packer victory, though it could go either way.
Overall: Packers over Bears.

Bills vs. Texans:
Who Should Win: Bills. These are two perplexing, middle of the pack teams, that are playing each other this week. Both have won and lost games, and can be perceived as loose cannons in surefire spots. I'm going to say that EJ Manuel is currently playing slightly better than Ryan Fitzpatrick, which isn't to say that Fitz is a bad QB. Also, I feel like this is a Bills squad that could go somewhere big in the division this year. I don't know if it will, but it could.
Who Will Win: Bills. Texans will fight hard, but they're missing a lot of their key players, and it's going to show. Bills have a lot of youth that will likely do some damage this year.
Overall: Bills over Texans.

Titans vs. Colts:
Who Should Win: Colts. I have a feeling that this Colts squad is going to do a lot of really good things this year, and by that I mean they're going to get further than the first round of the playoffs. They have that kind of potential, to not just be a modest team, but a great team. Plus, I like Andrew Luck. He's good for the team. The Titans are starting Charlie Whitehurst instead of Jake Locker, which is an "ABOUT DAMN TIME" moment for the team, as Locker's been disappointing since his call up. While the Titans have a few stragglers, and a few players that are alright, they don't have the foundation that Indianapolis has.
Who Will Win: Colts. It might not be too close, and it might not be that much of a high-scoring game, but either way, this should be an easy victory for the Colts.
Overall: Colts over Titans

Panthers vs. Ravens:
Who Should Win: Ravens. Both teams are strong, but the Panthers have been losing a lot of strong pieces, as Cam Newton has been on-and-off, and they've lost a lot of momentum that they had last year. Meanwhile, the Ravens have gained so much more momentum after their comparatively down year last year, gaining a lot of players who still know what they're doing. Flacco has been consistent this year, too. Besides, the Ravens lost one of their best players to scandal, and unlike the Dolphins, they're still battling on through it all, and winning a lot of crucial matches.
Who Will Win: Ravens. Here, it looks like the Ravens are the better team, though the Panthers have a chance of defying my expectations and squeezing in. The game will likely be close for a while, and the Ravens will likely pull out halfway through.
Overall: Ravens over Panthers.

Lions vs. Jets:
Okay, funny story, first. I'm going to college in Westchester, NY, which is basically Giants-Jets territory, and they're all diehard about it. My history professor came in Monday with a Jets tie, and ended class five minute early because he needed to get home, as "the Jets are playing Monday Night tonight".
Who Should Win: Lions. Unless the Packers divvie up some kind of late rally, like last year, the Lions will be dominating the North this year, and they have the exact right squad for it, even without Ndamukong Suh, who is likely leaving after this week. They have a monster squad, and Matt Stafford is FINALLY playing like an Elite QB, which is fantastic. This week they're facing a subpar Jets roster. No contest.
Who Will Win: Jets. I wonder if the Jets will get so desperate that they'll have to bring in Michael Vick. And then they'll probably get so desperate that they'll wish they still had Tim Tebow.
Overall: Lions over Jets.

Buccaneers vs. Steelers:
If you guys want proof that the NFL just gave the Steelers the easiest schedule in the world, look no further than this matchup, as well as the last couple. Man, oh man.
Who Should Win: Steelers.
Who Will Win: Steelers. Josh McCown is gonna face palm so hard.
Overall: Steelers over Bucs. It's gonna be so embarrassing.

Dolphins vs. Raiders:
Who Should Win: Raiders. I really don't know how else to say this, but POOR OAKLAND. So many years of having a good roster, and then everything just crashing and burning immediately out of the gate. This year...my gosh. It just keeps getting worse. Not even Khalil Mack and Derek Carr could help. However, unlike last week, this is not an unbeatable team. The Dolphins have some flaws, and Tannehill is not looking too great. So, this looks like it could happen.
Who Will Win: Dolphins. Which is why it probably won't.
Overall: Dolphins over Raiders.


Jaguars vs. Chargers:
I mean...did they even mean to make this remotely close??
Who Should Win: Chargers
Who Will Win: Chargers. When the Chargers end up getting the Wild Card again, look to easy games like these.
Overall: Chargers over Jags.

Falcons vs. Vikings:
Who Should Win: Falcons. All they needed was a splash of youth, and the Falcons are back at it. Matt Ryan is playing well again, the rookies are working, and the acquisitions are definitely helping. It may have just been the Hard Knocks stint that revitalized these guys. Either way, they're back, and they're killing it.
Who Will Win: Falcons. This shouldn't be too difficult. Vikings have already had to resort to Teddy Bridgewater, after discovering the shocking fact that Matt Cassel isn't a very reliable QB. The Vikes are falling apart, especially with the whole AP thing. The Falcons will definitely take advantage of this.
Overall: Falcons over Vikings.

Eagles vs. 49ers:
....oh, crap.
Who Should Win: Niners. Yeah, this game is going to be painful. The Niners are still a strong team, and Kaepernick is still throwing bombs out there. The Eagles, by comparison, aren't very well developed, and are a bit weak. I have a feeling the first quarter is going to be vicious, and the Niners will put up a good 21 points right off the bat. And it's going to suck for all of the Eagles fans.
Who Will Win: Eagles. Now...it may take a while, but the Eagles might be able to break through. The Niners have lost some games this year. They're not as strong as they were in 2012. The Eagles, on the other hand, are stronger than ever. I'm not just saying this because I'm an Eagles fan. I'm saying this because I mean it. This game is going to be close, but the Eagles are going to win, somehow.
Overall: Eagles over Niners.

Saints vs. Cowboys:
...oh, come on now.
Who Should Win: Saints
Who Will Win: Saints
Overall: Saints over Cowboys.
(UPDATE: Well, that's what I get for giving a four-word kiss-off to a matchup that I thought was self-explanatory. Sorry if I pissed off any Cowboys fans.)

I'll fill in the Monday night matchup later.

Those are some bold predictions, and let's see them hit the wall.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Price Edition

...hang on. This Price doesn't look right.

(entire audience face palms)

No, not just because of the team change. I feel like David Price hasn't been pitching like David Price ever since he left Tampa. Like, he joined the team to make a super-rotation with Scherzer, Verlander and Porcello. Now...he's not as good as he was.

Still, even if he's not doing great by Price standards, he's still pitching some nice games. But then every once and a while, he'll do something inhuman and give up some runs. And then people will notice and ask what's wrong. I'm personally hoping that this season's just a fluke, and he goes back to dominating next season, but you can never tell. Maybe the move to Detroit wasn't such a great idea. I don't know.

Bottom line is he'll be pitching in the postseason, alongside those other three guys, and hopefully he'll be red-hot.

Coming Tomorrow- The Mariners were so close to the playoffs, but just missed. Here's one of their comeback heroes.

Saying Goodbye is Hard

It's hard for me to believe that after this month, somebody else will have to play shortstop for my team.

For as long as I can remember, it's been Derek Jeter. For as long as I can remember he's been a consistently solid, all-American hero of a ballplayer. Which is why it's crushing me that he's down to his last few games.

I still have my Jeter jersey from five years ago, when they won the whole thing. The sleeve still has the 'Champs '09' emblem on it. I wear it proudly now that I'm in Yankee territory. And, of course, I'll be wearing it Sunday, when he plays his final game ever, which is also gonna be really sad.

I'm glad Jeter had a great night last night, knocking in a game-winning run against the Orioles, and being the hero in the Bronx one last time. He deserved it. People can talk all they want about how they think David Robertson fudged it for him. I don't care. I'm just glad he had the hit anyway. That's the way you want to end your career at home.

I'm kind of pissed they didn't make the playoffs, but it's fine. Jeter's been in enough playoff races that he earned another year off. It would have been heartbreaking if they made it to the Wild Card round and lost. That wouldn't have been the greatest sendoff for Jeter.

I guess I'll end the post the only way I can. I saw Cal Ripken play at Camden Yards in his last season. I saw Jim Thome play for the Phillies in his prime. I saw Mariano Rivera save a game. But all of those guys mean nothing to the fact that every time I went to Yankee stadium, I saw Derek Jeter play, and he was fantastic.

Well done, Derek. New York will never forget you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Panini for a Wednesday: 2014 Panini Rookies and Stars

After my Donruss disaster, I needed something that I hadn't opened, but still made me feel better than the Donruss did. So luckily, there was a fat pack of Rookies and Stars lying around, and it was worth a look.

The design might be a little too simple for my tastes, but it's a generally cool set. Subtle enough use of foil. Backs aren't too cluttered. It's a simple enough set that is probably going to be labeled too plain by other bloggers. It's not as good as Prestige in my book, but it's good.

64- Eli Manning. His Giants aren't off to the greatest start.
55- Kendall Wright, who's doing pretty damn well in Tennessee
98- Percy Harvin. Where would the Seahawks be without him?
96- Zac Stacy
93- Andre Ellington
89- Jimmy Graham, one of the best defensive players in the NFL right now.
84- Steven Jackson
78- Eddie Lacy, for my Packers.
71- Pierre Garcon, the only person on the Redskins who seems to be doing anything right.
63- Henry Melton
54- Jake Locker...who's still pretty bad.
45- Ben Roethlisberger, who's having something resembling a comeback season here.
95- Tavon Austin, one of the top picks of 2013.
92- Larry Fitzgerald
88- Drew Brees, a fantastic QB
83- Julio Jones, whose Falcons are doing pretty well.
77- Jordy Nelson, sporting a Packers throwback
70- Robert Griffin III, in his second-straight injury-plagued season
62- DeMarco Murray
53- Justin Blackmon
44- Dennis Pitta
36- Tom Brady, whose Pats are seeming human this year
91- Carson Palmer, who is already injured, and has been replaced with Drew Stanton
87- Luke Kuechly
82- Matt Ryan, the comeback kid in Atlanta
76- Aaron Rodgers, one of the best QBs in the league
193- Tom Savage RC
Pro Bowl insert of Patrick Peterson
126- Davante Adams
120- Chris Borland
115- Bruce Ellington
173- Yep, that's my third Michael Sam rookie of the year. It sucks that he's not on the Rams anymore, but it's great that I keep pulling cards of him.
166- Louis Nix III
158- Khalil Mack
151- Jerick McKinnon
142- Nice, another Jadeveon Clowney rookie
134- Dri Archer
127- David Fales
121- Cody Latimer
200- Zack Martin

Nice enough product, but not nearly as memorable as I'd like.

Panini for a Wednesday: 2014 Donruss Series 2

That is a very good question. Why exactly DO I torture myself like this?

You may call me crazy for buying a fat pack of Series 2 of the most disappointing product of 2014 (unless you count anything Topps has put out this year that isn't Heritage).

And yes, Donruss is a flawed product this year. Though really, it has no real choice but to be flawed. The one problem that people have with this set, the lack of logos or team names, is something that Panini is TRYING to work with, but ultimately can't help. If MLB ever gives Panini a full-fledged MLB license (something I really want to happen, even if it's not exactly plausible), then maybe we'll FINALLY get over this problem.

But still, aside from the license, there still are some major flaws with the product, and the fact that an unnecessary Series 2 has been prodded out this late is just the proof we need.

However, is there any saving grace with this product? Let's find out:

297- Greg Holland, one of the best closers in the AL.
289- Nolan Arenado
282- Joey Votto, who is injured right now.
276- Alejandro De Aza
271- David Ortiz, who also has a card in Series One...which kind of defeats the purpose of having a Series 2.
267- Chris Tillman, who has become the unofficial ace for Baltimore.
320- Sonny Gray, who came onto the Oakland scene at the exact right time.
311- Ryan Braun. BOOOOOOOO!
302- Tyler Skaggs, who wasn't really effortly PSd into an Angels uniform.
294- Miguel Cabrera
349- Leonys Martin
345- Evan Longoria.
315- Oswaldo Arcia SILVER PARALLEL NUMBERED TO 400! That's actually pretty nice.
31- The Rookies Insert of Christian Bethancourt
214- Diamond Kings insert of Mark Trumbo
272- Grady Sizemore...who isn't even on the Red Sox anymore.
268- Jonathan Schoop rookie...which is actually pretty nice.
323- Ryan Howard
315- Oswaldo Arcia
306- Adeiny Hechavarria
303- Dee Gordon, who's having a great 2014.
353- Jose Bautista, who's doing the same things he does every year.
350- Shin-Soo Choo
356- Yunel Escobar
341- Yadier Molina
328- Jedd Gyorko
Studio insert of Felix Hernandez, which actually looks pretty cool.
Annnnd...I pulled a Jersey Card. A Jersey Kings one of Russell Martin, which, given the circumstances, is a pretty decent pull, especially out of a Target pack.
Elite insert of Jason Kipnis. These look really good.
250- Jake Marsinick, one team ago, rookie

The set, yeah, is pretty flawed, but there are great things in the inserts, and the authenticity to Donruss. It's just...not great.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Martin Edition

Wow. Did you think this would be the face of one of the best catchers in the NL.

I mean, not while he was with the Dodgers. While he was with the Yankees. Did you think he'd get back to the top? I certainly didn't. And now here he is, one of the surprisingly consistent anchors of a vengeful Pirates team, fighting to get back to the top.

I've always had a soft spot for these Pirates teams, the McCutchen led ones, because I think he's a great player, and because the teams are always a lot of fun. Martin is just adding the fun in. I didn't really like him as a Yankee (neither did anyone else), but I think I like him again.

I want the Pirates to get far in the playoffs. I'm not exactly sure that they will, but I want them to. I want somebody to root for this year.

Coming Tonight- One of the best pitchers in the AL, on the exact team that nobody wants him to be on.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Castillo Edition

This will likely be my last post until December/November of someone who is not in contention for the playoffs. So, sorry Teixeira and Betances. You guys will have to wait.

Now, let's talk about Rusney Castillo. The Sox signed Castillo LITERALLY A MONTH AGO, and now he's playing center field for them. I don't know if that means Castillo is really good, or just that the Sox are really desperate right now. You can tell they're desperate because their starting right fielder is Daniel Nava. If he were on any other team, he'd be out of the league by now.

Speaking of Nava, if you took him out of the equation, you'd have an all-Cuban Boston outfield, with Castillo and Cespedes. All they need is someone to play right field that's also from Cuba, and BOOM. That's one unstoppable outfield.

Wait...I'm giving the Red Sox ideas...

I take that back.

Coming Tomorrow/Tonight: Does this guy only play well when he's in the NL? Or is he allergic to pinstripes? Either way, he's the Pirates' catcher.

Custom Card of the Day: LaRoche Edition

Adam LaRoche has played for eleven seasons. He's played on pennant-winning Braves teams, slumping Pirates teams, a surprisingly alright Diamondbacks squad, and has been a durable, efficient first baseman.

Yet he's getting tons of praise for being the anchor in Washington, and he deserves every bit of it. After all of those years of being underrated, and overlooked, he's finally a grade-A first baseman on a playoff team. Not only that, but he's part of the mega-infield that includes Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Ryan Zimmerman.

I'm happy he's hitting so well too, because he's putting up quite a few home runs this season, and he's playing really well, which I'm happy for. The guy's 34 and he's finally having the season he deserves.

The Nats are playing just as well, which is great. I hope they keep it up.

Coming Tonight: A rookie I just need to get out of the way.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Custom Card of the Day: Dunn Edition

Some sights you don't think you're gonna see. Adam Dunn in an A's Uniform is one of them.

I'm generally used to seeing this guy rocking the middle of the country. So it was a bit of a shock when the A's grabbed him at the cusp of waiver season. I understand why they got him, as they were still reeling from giving up Yoenis Cespedes (and who wouldn't be?), and I guess Dunn is doing as well as he can. He's not perfect, but he can hit sometimes.

Dunn has said that this might be his last season, and this would be the end to his sixteen-year career. I don't know if he's a Hall of Famer though. Like, he had some good seasons, but he was never exactly elite. If anything, he's in the Hall of Very Good. You never know how the sportswriters will twist it though.

As for the A's, I hope they make it back to the playoffs. They're too good to miss out.

Coming Tomorrow (?)- The Nationals are huge this season, and here's their beloved first baseman.

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.


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.)


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:
...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 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.

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