Week 11 NFL Picks, World Cup Qualifying and the Console Wars

This week’s picks are brought to you by the next gen console wars! Next gen? New gen? I’m not sure what we should call this generation that begins with the Playstation 4 that launched this past Friday and continues with the Xbox One next Friday.1

I picked up a Playstation 4. Amazon delivered it to me, so I didn’t have to go through any safety measures to get it home, plugged in and set up. I was, however, forced to exercise patience. The Playstation Network got hit pretty hard, leading to lots of complaints on video game blog comment sections and twitter. It also led to lots of holier than thou types pointing out things like “and this is why you never buy a console the day it comes out.” Because wow, what a great idea. Let’s just all decide to not buy a new thing just because it might not work perfectly the day it comes out. If we all do that, all we’ll end up with are Sega Dreamcasts. We’ll look fondly back at the Playstation 4 that we were all so wise to not purchase and retrospectively declare it the best console that never succeeded. The same comment jockeys who refused to invest in the Playstation’s future will now talk up how much potential that system had if only Sony had gotten it right. Continue reading

  1. Yes, I am willfully ignoring the Wii U. Not out of spite! Nintendo just marches to their own beat. They don’t fit in easy generational paradigms. Don’t squeeze them into one and stick to appreciating them for what they can do on their own. []

Week 10 NFL Picks

Another 5–7 performance for my picks last week. The coin toss flipped that and got 7 right, which leaves the season at:

Me: 49–59–1
Coin: 59–49–1

My comeback chances are looking slim, huh?

Those numbers don’t include my last minute decision to drop a pick down on Thursday night’s Redskins @ Vikings game, which I not only got right, but almost picked the exact score (I guess Vikings 35 over the Redskins 27; the Vikings only scored 34), so there’s at least something I can applaud myself for.

Anyways, here are my picks for the week 10 action. Switched up the formatting a little on my picks below, so home team is in caps. Continue reading

Jerome Felton, Adrian Peterson, Kyle Wilber, Jeff Heath

Peerless Adrian Peterson

I was taking a peek at Adrian Peterson’s stats for the year and something odd jumped out at me: He had the most ludicrous half a season imaginable last year. Somehow I had completely forgotten that he started off 2012 looking merely mortal instead of the running back god he’s been since he came into the NFL.

For the past few weeks he’d been pretty mortal again. Granted, you have to imagine it’s been a pretty awful season for him on a personal level, but you don’t expect to see a stat line like that week 7 debacle against the Giants provided: 13 rushes for 28 yards. Again, that was the Freeman game, where Leslie Frazier and the Vikings thought it was a good idea to toss a brand new QB into the lineup with less than a fortnight to prepare. To exacerbate the problem, the Vikings resorted to letting Freeman throw the ball 53 times, an astonishing number of which were overthrown and/or fundamentally uncatchable.

That game was the pits. The kind of game that makes you hate football, sport and the very idea of competition. If you were a father sitting down to watch a game with your son for the very first time and had to sit through that? There’s a good chance your son will never watch the sport again, opting instead to eat brussel sprouts, go to bed or do homework.1

But I digress! Let’s take a peek at Peterson’s rushing stats: Continue reading

  1. Actually, that could end up being a positive in the end! []

Look What Happens When You Try To Do Something Nice

From Giant Bomb, a fascinating story of what went wrong when Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games tried to give away free copies of a game:

“At that point, I had been up all night the night before dealing with all this crap, and it was getting late in the day,” he said. “I was absolutely exhausted. [laughs] That was as far as I was willing to go for a freebie, so I asked BMT, I said ‘you know what, just cancel everything, revert it, just stop the whole thing.’ And they did. And I went to bed. I thought that was the end of it.”

When Gilbert went to sleep, he was sitting on 30,000 keys. In the morning, they were all gone.


Steady Framerates

Pretty rough day for Call of Duty: Ghosts over at Polygon.

An interesting tidbit from the review:

Much has been said about the fact that the PlayStation 4 version of the game runs at a native 1080p, and while that may be true, the game did struggle to maintain a steady framerate, especially in hectic multiplayer matches. The PS3 version of the game ran into similar problems, whereas the Xbox 360 version maintained a steady 60 frames per second.

Really curious to find out if the drop to 720p on the Xbox One is going to lead to a smoother 60fps experience. 1080p just isn't worth it if the game doesn't perform well with the extra pixels in place.

Week 9 NFL Picks

Last week I went 5–7, just losing to the coin’s 6–6. A decidedly middling performance for both of us – but more so for myself.

On the season:

Me: 44–52–1
Coin: 52–44–1

Look at that! We’re mirror images.

Falcons @ Panthers (–7.5)

The Falcons’ first game after their bye has retrospectively told us more about Tampa Bay than it did Atlanta. Last week’s visit to Arizona is probably more indicative of what we can expect out of this Atlanta team.

This game? I just don’t see how Atlanta scores outside of some garbage time tosses while they’re down double digits. Matt Ryan’s lack of any real weaponry to play with will be this team’s undoing and their abysmal defense will seal them in. It’s going to be a long season in Atlanta. Panthers.

Coin: Falcons

Vikings @ Cowboys (–9.5)

The Vikings aren’t good, but I think they’re better than this spread suggests. Would it really surprise anyone if Adrian Peterson went out and amassed 150 yards and 3 scores in this contest? In a straight up pick em I’d take the Cowboys, but I’m grabbing the points here. Vikings.

Coin: Vikings

Saints (–6.5) @ Jets

The Saints really put the fire to my beloved-in–2013 Bills last week. That surprised me a lot. I wasn’t nearly as surprised to see the Bengals beat up on the Jets in week 8, but to say I had any suspicion it would as thorough a massacre as what happened would be a total lie. I don’t think Thursday night’s Bengals loss does much to diminish what happened to the Jets last week, either. The Jets have been coasting by with a world beating run defense and some surprising (and inconsistent) play from Geno Smith and their running back of the week. None of that gives me any confidence they come in sniffing distance of this spread against a hot Saints team. You could probably double that spread and I’d still pick the Saints.

Coin: Jets

Titans (–3) @ Rams

It’s really tempting to grab the points and take the Rams here when I reflect back on Monday night and how they almost beat the Seahawks. I mean, they came astonishingly close. Zuerlein kicks true from 50 yards out with 8:33 left in the 4th and this game plays out different. And don’t even get me started on the playcalling down at the goal line to end the game. After punishing the vaunted Seattle D on the ground to the tune of 200 yards, the game ends with a floaty turd of a pass to no one in particular. Game over. Sad stuff. Sure, the right team won… but it was too close. Then again, Zac Stacy (who looked incredible) was out of the game by the time that last drive came to its conclusion and he’s questionable for this matchup.

Meanwhile, the Titans are sneaky good. Their 4 losses come at the hands of Houston-When-We-Thought-They-Were-Good (in overtime!), Kansas City (with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm), Seattle (ditto) and San Francisco (Locker’s back here, but there were some cobwebs – he looked a lot better in the second half). It really feels like they’re on the verge of going on a tear here and I think they win this one comfortably. I’m going with the Titans.

Coin: Titans

Chiefs (–3.5) @ Bills

The Chiefs have played it too close the past few weeks and I just like the Bills too much. Then again, the Bills have health issues at QB. EJ Manuel is still out and Thad Lewis is looking like he’ll need to sit this one out. That means we’ll see either undrafted Jeff Tuel or MATT FLYNN. Matt. Flynn. Can I really grab the points with Matt Flynn running the offense?



I’ll take the risk. Bills.

Coin: Bills

Chargers @ Redskins (–1)

How is this line so close? Did I miss something? The Chargers, rested up and coming off their bye against a possibly re-hobbled RGIII and whatever it is the Skins call a defense? And I’m getting a point? Chargers.

Coin: Redskins

Eagles @ Raiders (–1.5)

Fun fact: The Eagles have only won on the road this year. Huh? That can’t be right. (Double checks.) Yep, it’s true.

Wait, who did those wins come against?

Week 1: In DC with that magnificent first half of offensive football.

Week 5: Against the Giants. I could try to come up with a quip here about it, but it would be too depressing.

Week 6: Tampa. Bay. Buccaneers. ’Nuff said.

That does lead to a good point: Will we see the Nick Foles we saw against Tampa Bay? Or will the guy who played Dallas at home and completed 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards before being knocked with a concussion show up?

I went risky with that Bills pick. I’m playing it safer here and picking the Raiders.1

Coin: Raiders

Buccaneers @ Seahawks (–14)

I’m growing increasingly suspicious of big spreads like this, but I can’t imagine writing the Buccaneers down in bold text after this sentence. Seahawks.

Coin: Seahawks

Ravens (–2) @ Browns

Hey, Jason Campbell didn’t look half bad! Maybe that was a fluke? Probably. But the Ravens have been pretty meh all year and I don’t see that changing this year. I’ll grab the points at home. Browns.2

Coin: Browns

Steelers @ Patriots (–6)

Once upon a time this matchup would have been exciting. I see a lousy challenge from Tomlin leading to a wasted time out the Steelers will need to pull out a close win they won’t get. But the key word there is “close”. I’m not giving this Patriots team 6 points against anyone unless they’re (a) from Florida and (b) not named after a fish. Steelers.

Coin: Patriots

Colts (–2) @ Texans

I’m not fooled by Case Keenum’s competent performance against the Chiefs two weeks ago. The Texans still lost that one, though it was close. This shouldn’t be. Colts.

Coin: Texans

Bears @ Packers (–10)

Three weeks ago I would have taken the Bears without a second thought. Of course, three weeks ago Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman were healthy, so this spread never gets that wide. Josh McCown looked competent enough taking over for Cutler against the Skins to suggest their offense could continue rolling at a decent enough level, but the Packers are playing really well despite their own injury problems. I just can’t bring myself to grab those points, so here goes: Packers.

Coin: Bears

  1. Before the season, I couldn’t have imagined a scenario where I said “safe” and “the Raiders” in a same sentence. And yet, here we are. Football is weird. []
  2. I’m picking the Browns over last year’s Super Bowl winners while they’re only getting 2 points. Did I mention football is weird? []

Week 8 NFL Picks

Last week I managed to pick a paltry 6 games correctly, while that damn coin toss trounced me again with 8. On the season:

Me: 39-45-1
Coin: 46-38-1

I hate that damn coin.

Anyways, let’s get down to business for week 8′s picks:

49ers (-15) vs Jaguars

London games seem to be bringing out the best in poor teams, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Jags can cover this big spread. Add to that the fact that running games seem to perform very well over at Wembley and it’s hard to see how the 49ers don’t cover this spread and more. 49ers.

Coin: Jaguars

Cowboys @ Lions (-3)

Last week’s Cowboys v Eagles matchup was supposed to be a shootout and it disappointed. I don’t see that happening again. Both teams are poor against the pass and both teams excel at passing. Look for a lot of points, but I’ll grab the home team here. Lions.

Coin: Cowboys

Giants @ Eagles (-5.5)

The Giants are back, baby!

I kid. Sure, they kind of beat up on the Freeman led Vikings last week, but I can’t imagine Chip Kelly’s offense in Philly is going to stumble two weeks in a row. Look for the Eagles to cover.

Coin: Eagles

Browns @ Chiefs (-7)

After what happened at the end of last week’s Texans v Chiefs match, I’m loath to give up anything when it comes to the Chiefs, but it’s hard to see how Jason Campbell takes the reigns for Cleveland and doesn’t screw this up immensely. Maybe I’ll sing a different tune tomorrow, but for now you’ve got to pick the Chiefs.

Coin: Browns

Bills @ Saints (-10.5)

I love the Bills this year. Their defense is absolutely fantastic and everyone really seems to be asleep on them this year. They’re a model of consistency both in scoring and allowed points (every game has fallen into the 20 to 27 point range on both sides of the ball, minus the Thursday night outlier against the Browns where they gave up 37). That last parenthetical might give you a pause, but I’m still rolling with the Bills given that massive spread.

Coin: Saints

Dolphins @ Patriots (-6)

I think both of these teams are on the decline, but I have no trouble seeing the Patriots cover at home, especially after last week’s loss to the Jets.

Coin: Patriots

Jets @ Bengals (-5.5)

I don’t want to go and jinx Andy Dalton, but he’s put together a pretty sweet couple of games (over 700 yards passing in the past two weeks with 6 TDs to 1 INT). The Jets are tough against the run, but their secondary gets regularly chewed up by passing. Add to that a hungry Bengals D facing a turnover prone rookie QB and I have no doubt the Bengals cover this spread.

Coin: Jets

Steelers (-2.5) @ Raiders

The Steelers are starting to look like the Steelers again. Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders tend to do some pretty unexpected things, but I’ll take the Steelers to cover less than a field goal for sure.

Coin: Steelers

Redskins @ Broncos (-10.5)

Another potential shootout! This one shouldn’t disappoint. Given how strong the Redskins looked on offense last week (RGIII is back, or so it would seem) I have little doubt they’ll cover this wide a spread, even with Peyton Manning in revenge mode. The Broncos D needs to stop letting points through if I’m going to ever pick them to cover this big a spread again. Redskins.

Coin: Redskins

Falcons @ Cardinals (-2.5)

I’m still not ready to believe in the Falcons. Sure, they dismantled a Buccaneers team that looked decent on paper to be a nightmare match up for them, but the Thursday night game revealed just how bad the Bucs are this year, which makes the Falcons look less impressive.

Then again, there’s the Seahawks Hangover: No one yet has a won a game the week after facing the Seahawks this year. That said, last week’s game was a Thursday night game, so the Cardinals should ideally have had time to recover. I’m not saying they’ll win this week, but if they lose it’ll be by one point. Cardinals to cover.

Coin: Cardinals

Packers (-7.5) @ Vikings

After what the Vikings threw up last week, how is this spread so low? Do people really believe that much in the return of Christian Ponder? At the very least, the Vikings should put Adrian Peterson to work, which means anything could happen, but I also don’t see how the Vikings secondary stops even a depleted Packers receiving core with Aaron Rodgers throwing the passes. Packers should comfortably cover.

Coin: Vikings

Seahawks (-11.5) @ Rams

After scoffing at big, obvious spreads a couple weeks ago I’m loathe to do it again, but the Seahawks should feast on the Kellen Clemens (or Brady Quinn, should he get the start). Really having a hard time imagining a scenario where this turns out any other way than a big Seahawks win, even giving up 11.5 points.

Coin: Rams

Week 7 Picks

Last week for me: 5-9 (season total: 33-37-1)
Last week’s coin toss: 7-7 (season total: 38-32-1)

Patriots (-3.5) @ Jets

No matter how hard I try to put together two sentences about this match up, I just can’t do it. All I want to know is what Tom Brady will wear this week for the post game conference.

Will Ernst Stavro Blofeld show up?


Or will it be, as this wonderful tweet suggests, Vince Clarke from Erasure?


Whatever happens, I just hope something like this happens:


Seriously, Brady is probably thrilled to have Gronk back. Gronk’s not the kind of guy to leave a bro hanging!




I’m taking the Patriots.

Coin: Jets

Chargers (-7) @ Jaguars

I dismissed the Jags unfairly last week with a snarky “LOL”. I never say LOL! Seriously, it might be the first time I said it in a non-mocking way.

Not that I’m giving myself any credit for the Jags’ gusto of a game as they attempted to topple the Tower of Manning. The Jags did some things last week! They’re still not not terrible, but they might be less terrible with Justin Blackmon catching passes from guys not named Blaine Gabbert. They could win a game! It probably won’t be this game, but I do think they’ll cover. Jaguars, all the way.

Coin: Jaguars

Bengals @ Lions (-2)

This Bengals team confuses me. They’re solid on defense and show flashes of brilliance on offense, but I can’t find a way to feel confident in them, even getting under a field goal. I think the Lions take this one pretty comfortably.

Coin: Lions

Bills @ Dolphins (-7)

Did you know there are only two teams through 6 weeks who have scored at least 20 points in every game? Can you guess which of those two teams isn’t quarterbacked by Peyton Manning?

That’s right, it’s the Bills! They’re a genuine surprise this year and I think they’re better than their 2-4 record shows. Meanwhile, I don’t believe in this Dolpins team at all, chiefly because they’re getting decimated with injuries on defense. Maybe the bye week helps them get a bit healthier, but there’s no way I’m not taking those points. Bills all the way.

Coin: Bills

Bears (-1) @ Redskins

The Bears haven’t beat a really good team this year but that doesn’t really matter since they’ll take on the Redskins, who have been anything but good. I wouldn’t take the Skins plus a touchdown; there’s no way I’m not picking the Bears.

Coin: Redskins

Cowboys @ Eagles (-2.5)

Someone’s going to take sole possession of the NFC East (and with +.500 record!), but who? Fun fact: The Eagles wins have come against teams combining for a 1-15 record, while the Cowboys wins come against teams combining for 4-13. Both have played the Redskins and Giants, while the Cowboys came up with a win against the schizofrenic Rams; the Eagles took out the Buccaneers.

Another fun fact: Both teams 3 losses came against the outrageous AFC West, losing to the Chargers, Broncos and Chiefs. I’ve had a lot of fun goofing on how horrible the NFC East has been, but that’s a brutal schedule, especially considering the new look Chargers and Phillip Rivers 2.0.

This ought to be a shootout, but I think the Cowboys come out on top here.

Coin: Eagles

Rams @ Panthers (-7)

The Panthers are underperforming like crazy. Ron Rivera seems to have committed himself to aggressive play and it should pay off. I’m pretty sure they cover that spread with a little room to spare. Panthers.

Coin: Panthers

Buccaneers @ Falcons (-6.5)

How are the Falcons giving up this many points? How will they score, especially against a stout Bucs D? The Matt Ryan and Harry Douglas show might squeak out a win, but I’ll happily take the points the Buccaneers are getting.

Coin: Falcons

49ers (-3) @ Titans

I was dismissive of Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. I’ll continue to be dismissive of him, just with a little less gusto. Jake Locker can’t come back soon enough. 49ers.

Coin: 49ers

Texans @ Chiefs (-6)

Speaking of being dismissive, Case Keenum makes for a potentially easy target, but mostly I just feel bad for him. This is a rough way to start an NFL career, taking on this ridiculous Chiefs defense. If he can avoid throwing a pick six, he’ll be an instant hero, but it won’t be enough. Chiefs.

Coin: Chiefs

Browns @ Packers (-9.5)

Too high! Packers should win, but I’m not giving up over 9 points. Browns.

Coin: Packers

Ravens @ Steelers (-2.5)

Recent years would tell you this should be a good game. But not this year! I don’t really know what to make of these decidedly uninspiring teams, so I’m taking the Steelers simply cause they’re at home.

Coin: Ravens

Broncos (-6) @ Colts

I love the Colts this year, though last Monday’s loss to the Chargers was pretty shameful. Maybe it was the trip out west, but the whole team looked lethargic and disjointed. Too much is on the line here for that to happen again and the Colts won’t have a chance to goof around and try to “establish the run” this week with their 3 YPC specialist. Should be a high scoring affair. The Andrew Luck Statement Game. Colts outright (but happy to take the points, too).

Coin: Colts

Vikings @ Giants (-3.5)

That this turd of a game is on Monday Night is an affront to football. The Giants are BAD. But they’re actually favored! How can that be! Oh yeah, they’re playing the mighty Vikings, starting the Scourge of Tampa Bay at QB.

Josh Freeman is the only reasonable explanation for why the Giants should be giving up over a field goal here. I just can’t see this working in the G-men’s favor. Adrian Peterson runs all over them, Freeman puts in a totally unremarkable performance and Eli finds a way to make the Vikings D look good. Vikings.

Coin: Vikings

Grand Theft Auto V: Magisto Style

I recorded some footage from Grand Theft Auto V, just running around, causing general mayhem. Made a few Magisto movies from the footage. You can check out the whole album, but the one above is my favorite.

Also, it’s a public album, so feel free to add your own GTA magisto movies!

Week 6 Picks

Last week for me: 4-9 (season total: 28-28-1)
Last week’s coin toss: 7-6 (season total: 31-25-1)

On to the week 6 picks!

Raiders @ Chiefs (-8)

Like most everyone on earth, I’m taking the Chiefs. The Raiders have surprised everyone as a result of Terrelle Pryor’s play, but I just can’t see the Raiders covering this spread in Kansas City.

Coin: Chiefs

Eagles (-2.5) @ Buccaneers

This is a tough one to call. The immediate reaction is to say the seemingly woeful Bucs couldn’t possibly pull off a win, even as underdogs at home. But that ignores the fact the Buccaneers’ defense has been incredibly solid through 4 games (Football Outsiders has them ranked as the 2nd most efficient defense, while the Eagles rank 29th. Those rankings flip drastically at offense, though, with the Eagles ranked 6th while the Bucs hang uncomfortably above only Jacksonville at 31st.

The game will hinge largely on how well Nick Foles plays; he looked good coming in for injured Michael Vick last week, so I’m going to take a chance on him this week and pick the Eagles. It won’t be easy for them, but I can definitely see them winning by a field goal.

Coin: Eagles

Packers (-3) @ Ravens

The Ravens defense hasn’t been particularly terrific this year, thought they’ve done a good job against the run. Unfortunately, with the Packers in town the game could easily turn into a shootout (especially since the Packers D has been incredibly poor against the pass). I’m going to take the points and pick the Ravens.

Coin: Ravens

Lions (-2.5) @ Browns

Last week I picked the Lions and not 5 minutes later found out Calvin Johnson was out. The results were a disaster. As a result, I’ve been delaying a bit on making this pick, but seeing that Megatron is active today gives me a bit of hope. That said, he’s likely still nursing that knee and will be catching passes against a tough Browns defense.

Still, nothing can change the fact the Browns are back to Brandon Wheeden. I’ll happily give up less than a field goal to take the Lions in this contest.

Coin: Browns

Panthers @ Vikings (-1)

Poor as the Vikings might be this year, I just can’t roll with the Panthers until I see them win a close game. This could be that week, but I’m sticking going to play it relatively safe and take the Vikings at home.

Coin: Panthers

Rams @ Texans (-7.5)

Will the Rams be able to extend Matt Schaub’s ignominious TAINT streak to a ludicrous 5 games? Maybe. But I still think this is the Schaub bounce back game. If he can’t lead the Texans to victory (or at least avoid giving the game away), he’s basically done for in Houston. I can’t see that happening against a weak Rams team. I’m riding the Texans, even with them giving up over a touchdown.

Coin: Rams

Steelers @ Jets (-1)

Before the season started, is there anyone in the world who would have guessed the Jets would be favorites against the Steelers, regardless of geography? Maybe Rex Ryan, but the list pretty much stops there. I think this game is too important for the Steelers and despite their inability to force turnovers on defense (seriously, ZERO turnovers in 4 games), the Jets are just too prone to turning the ball over to avoid it here. Steelers should get their first couple of turnovers today and it’ll help them win. I’m taking the Steelers.

Coin: Steelers

Bengals (-6) @ Bills

An EJ Manuel led Bills team would have been my pick with that spread. Now, I’m not so sure. I’ll give the points and ride with the Bengals on the strength of their defense alone.

Coin: Bengals

Titans @ Seahawks (-13)

Ryan Fitzpatrick in Seattle? Hahahahahaha. Seahawks.

Coin: Seahawks

Jaguars @ Broncos (-26)

LOL. Broncos.

Coin: Broncos

Cardinals @ 49ers (-10)

The Cardinals defense has just been way too strong. Similar to how the Eagles v Bucs game play out, these two teams’ strengths and weaknesses just line up too well. A strong rush defense (Cardinals) against an offense that relies heavily on the rush (49ers)? I don’t see the Cardinals winning, but I’m grabbing those ten points. Cardinals.

Coin: Cardinals

Saints @ Patriots (-2.5)

I don’t believe in the Patriots this year, so there’s no way I’m not grabbing those points with the Saints in town. Saints.

Coin: Saints

Redskins @ Cowboys (-5.5)

This should be a heck of a shootout. I’m taking the points and going with the Redskins.

Coin: Cowboys

Colts (-1) @ Chargers

The Colts have been consistently strong this year and I see no reason why this should stop with a trip to San DIego. I really feel like the Colts should be giving up more than a single point, so I’m taking the Colts without question.

Coin: Colts