Moving Out…

February 1, 2010

Hello Readers:

As of today all new content from Pints in the Paint can be found over at a Fox Sports subsidiary known as Yardbarker. This old site will remain, but all the content can be found on the new one as well. Thank you all for reading these last nine months; with Yardbarker’s ability to run ads on the side panels and wide-ranging sports network, this is a step up for Pints in the Paint. We’ll see where it all goes but for those who have been along for the ride since day one I hope you enjoyed and will keep reading over at the new site.

Link to the new site: Pints In The Paint on Yardbarker

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Movie Matchup: Christmas Vacation vs A Christmas Story

December 22, 2009

Everyone loves a great rivalry: Russell vs Wilt, Ali vs Frazier, Bird vs Magic, Manning vs Brady and the list goes on.  Who’s better than who and for what reasons?  Some of my favorite sports columns and books ever are based on these matchups.  But when it comes to the Holiday season we all celebrate our own way: the egg nog is poured, pies, cookies and gingerbread is baked, presents are opened, and, for many, a Christmas movie is viewed.  As the years have gone on we’ve had one underlooked great rivalry emerge before our eyes…a polarizing debate as to what movie is better this time of year: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or A Christmas Story.

We all know these movies inside and out.  In Christmas Vacation we have Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, a human verison of Homer Simpson looking out for the good of his family but hoping his shortsighted goofiness doesn’t stand in the way.  In A Christmas Story we have Peter Billingsly as Ralphie Parker an elementary school kid who’s entire Christmas is riding on the hopes of a cherished Red Ryder carbine-action 200 range model air rifle, more commonly known as a BB gun.  While most of us hold a preference over the other few will change the channel if the one pops on the television this time of year but the question remains: Which movie is better?  I’m here to provide you an answer after we break this down using 6 key categories: Cast, Quotes, Memorable Scenes, Key Props, Mass Appeal and Rewatchability.  I’m borrowing the matchup breakdown method first made famous by legendary NBA Coach and commentator Dr. Jack Ramsay but you may also recognize it from recently minted New York Times #1 bestselling author Bill Simmons.  Onto the breakdown.

Cousin Eddie proves to be a valuable role player

Cast: The key element to this particular category is not judging on if this movie was a launching point for anyone’s career or which movie had more famous people in it, but rather how the main ensemble worked off each other in these particular films.  In Christmas Vacation we had Chevy Chase still consistently hitting the 90s with his fastball bringing the laughs as Clark Griswold.  The Griswold family is rounded out by Ellen Griswold (Beverly D’Angelo), Audrey Griswold (Juilette Lewis) and Rusty Griswold (John Galeki).  In Christmas Vacation the Griswold’s play host to their eclectic family members in commonly used Christmas movie storyline where dysfunctional in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles lead to hilarity as the movie plays out.  What’s working for Christmas Vacation in this catagory is that even though they went down a road commonly traveled they hit it out of the park.  Family dysfunction can often lead to monotony when it comes to movies but for every Clark Griswold classic scene we continue to laugh at Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and Clark and Beverly’s parents as well.  If this cast was an NBA Team we’d have Clark as the alpha dog/team leader/superstar (think Lebron James) and he’d be surrounded by a team that fell in line and delivered when they were called upon.  Lebron is going to lead a team of garbage to 60 wins this season–now try to imagine Lebron this season if he had halfway decent teammates around him.  Pretty scary right?  That’s the Griswold cast for you: Clark is Lebron and everyone else is playing key roles contributing to victory.

Conversely to the Lebron James/Clark Griswald analogy in A Christmas Story we have a cast of no-names that still work brilliantly as an ensemble.  Darren McGavin ends up stealing the movie as Mr. Parker (Ralphie’s Dad, commonly referred to “The Old Man” by the narrator).  So if Christmas Vacation is a cast of Lebron and a bunch of above average teammates think of A Christmas Story as the 2004 Pistons, no one is going to stand out consistently but everyone is going to have their moments.  It was a different hero every night in 2004 for Detroit and the same goes for A Christmas Story.  Each castmember steals a scene here and there: Ralphie’s brother Randy falling down in the full body snow suit, Ralphie dropping an F-Bomb when changing the tire with his Old Man, the Old Man beaming with pride over his lamp, Ralphie’s teacher in his daydream about her reading his paper, Flick when his tongue gets stuck to the pole…the list goes on and on and on.  A Christmas Story didn’t need a star to become a Holiday classic which leads me to conclude that this ensemble cast outplayed those in Christmas VacationSlight Edge: A Christmas Story

Quotes: If I were to transcribe all of of Christmas Vacation we could excavate hundreds of classic lines.  I have two personal favorites: Uncle Eddie’s delivery on “The sh*tter was full!” and the emotional and jubilant Clark after his Christmas lights finally come on and he throws his arm around his dad then exclaims “You taught me everything I know about exterior illumination!”  Kills me everytime.  But as I said there are hundreds of lines, for a solid list here’s a link to IMDB’s memorable quotes for Christmas Vacation page.

A Christmas Story brings us a line that is muttered at least 75% of the time a BB Gun is purchased in America and that’s: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”  Ralphie hears this from his Mother, teacher and even Santa Claus himself.  This line holds more pop culture significance than anything said in Christmas Vacation but the depth of quotes muttered by the Griswold clan takes the cake.  Edge: Christmas Vacation

Memorable Scenes: Quick test, name your favorite Christmas Vacation scene…got it?  If you said the greased up saucer sled we’re on the same page but it doesn’t end there.  Perhaps you cited the arrival of Uncle Eddie, Clark in a department store unloading several Freudian slips to an attractive saleswoman behind the counter, Clark cutting into the Turkey, Clark lighting the Christmas lights and blinding the neighbors, Clark in the attic or the cat getting electrocuted.  Regardless, the list is plentiful.

The dreaded Triple Dog Dare

Same test but change movies.  What did you say?  I always go back to Ralphie beating the red headed bully and unloading an expletive lased tirade as he does so.  How do you pick just one here though?  We have the aforementioned tire changing scene and swear word brought to life brilliantly by the narrartor, the dogs assaulting the turkey leading to “fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra”, Flick’s tounge, Ralphie visiting Santa, Ralphie in the pink PJs, the Old Man and the furnace, The “Little Orphan Annie” decoder ring, the arrival of the lamp, the lamp breaking…again we have a swollen list.

How do we possibly give an edge here?  Here’s my tiebreaker of these two movies: think of your favorite scene, which one sends you into a more uncontrollable fit of laughter?  I love all of the scenes I listed but the Clark Griswold saucer sled scene puts me in stitches every year.  When the race is this tight you have to fault back on this question:  If you could only watch one scene from either movie once a year for the rest of your life what do you pick?  I’m going saucer sled.  Slight Edge: Christmas Vacation

The Leg Lamp remains one of the most memorable props in movie history

Key Prop: In Christmas Vacation we’re introduced to the key prop less then 10 minutes in and that is the Griswold Family Christmas tree.  This tree produces hilarity when its found, untied in the Griswold home and when its lights are plugged in leading to a cat electrocution.  I’ve been known to mutter “I Give you…the Griswold family Christmas tree” around this time of year many times but come on…we all know where this is going.

In the history of cinema the lamp that Mr. Parker wins much to his wife’s chagrin stands alone.  A simple google search of “Leg Lamp” will lead you to plenty of options to purchase your own (full size or mini).  If you’re a PTI viewer you can see the mini version behind Kornheiser this time of year.  Even the opening of the box leads to that classic: “Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian” line.  The subsequent breaking of the lamp and the Old Man’s attempts to glue it back together all add to the Leg Lamp’s legend.  While the Griswold family Christmas tree is always good for a laugh the Leg Lamp has carved out its own place in the Pop Culture hall of fame.  Major Edge: A Christmas Story

Mass Appeal: Christmas Vacation is ultimately a dysfunctional but altogether hilarious family drama.  Many of the film’s key jokes are geared towards the older audience (Clark’s professional life outside of home, his fantasies of the pool, etc).  It does carry the PG-13 rating thanks to some foul language but if you see the saucer scene as a kid along with the other physical humor you’ll still laugh.  Some of the jokes will go over some people’s heads until they reach adolescence but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  A Christmas Story works for all ages: when viewed as a kid you sympathize greatly with Ralphie’s quest for that one Christmas gift.  When viewed as an adult you can’t help but admire the wonder the narrator creates with Ralphie’s wild imagination.  There is also a Pixarian quality to A Christmas Story in the sense that if you watch it as an adult you’ll “get” some little nuggets and jokes that you totally missed as a kid.  So if we’re talking in terms of the masses A Christmas Story can be viewed at any age and still hit home while Christmas Vacation remains slanted towards to adult demographic which slightly isolates Santa’s biggest believers: the kids.  Edge: A Christmas Story

Rewatchability: Don’t get me wrong I make it a point to watch both of these movies every Christmas season but this matchup focuses more on which one I would choose if I had to watch only one.  Christmas Vacation has one fatal flaw when it comes to this matchup and that’s that it remains an 80’s movie.  There are certain scenes that cannot hide this (The Chester’s ridiculous 80’s jogging suits along with their “upscale” stereo system and new wave decor in their place).  A Christmas Story was made in 1983 but set in the 60’s.  As viewers we do not have to cringe at any of the outfits, cars, or new wave electronics.  By making this a period piece its helps the movie hold up–the 60’s had already happened and we knew what came out of the decade.  The 80’s were winding down in Christmas Vacation but as viewers we are expected to think the Chesters are this upscale and modern family but now it just comes across as 80’s cheese.

As time has gone on the 60’s are looked back upon as a great time to be alive; you had JFK starting the decade, Beatlemania infusing it with life, the Summer of Love and a Moon landing.  The 80’s gave us big hair, glam, synthesizer infused Rock music and MTV.  The Parkers bring out the innocence and joy of Christmas spirit…things just seemed simpler in Ralphie’s world.  The Griswolds give us laughter but are stuck at the end of a lame decade.  Both movies convey messages of trying to achieve the best Christmas ever, only I’d much rather see the world through the eyes of Ralphie than Clark.  Edge: A Christmas Story

There you have it, a 4-2 victory for A Christmas Story.  So when you settle in with the nog, cookies and stockings hung on the chimney with care, check the guide or your on demand service for A Christmas Story and don’t shoot your eye out.  Happy Holidays everyone.



Guess the Athlete Poll #1

December 21, 2009

Welcome to a new tradition, every now and then a sports story or athlete involved in that story sticks out in my brain and I play the: “If this wasn’t ______ the fallout would be much more tremendous.”  So here’s installment #1:

This athlete has had a crazy last 2 years in which he was responsible for a turnover that cost his team a shot at the Superbowl, was a non stop drama queen in the offseason about where his head was at these last two summers, then ripped the hearts out of his loyal fanbase beyond the point of repair and very recently threw his head coach under the bus after his team got dismantled in a road loss.

Pretty amazing when you take away the “he’s just a wrangler wearing kid out there having fun” element and focus on how he’s been far from a team player since his will he/won’t he retirement saga started earlier this decade.


Week 15 NFL Picks

December 18, 2009

Its hard to believe there are only three weeks left in the NFL Season in a season rich with storylines that continued last night when Peyton Manning led the Colts to an NFL Record 7th comeback win in the 4th quarter during the regular season.  This year’s Colts are basically zombies at this point: they cannot be killed no matter how hard you try.  In case you are one of the unlucky viewers who remain dark on the NFL Network because of your Cable company there was really only one other place to turn last night in primetime and that was to MTV’s Jersey Shore.

For the third straight week this show brought an A++ fastball into our living rooms culminating the dramatic seen where some colossal d-bag with extraordinary low self esteem wound up and clocked Snooki (a female cast member) square in the face.  MTV decided not to show the impact of the punch but the dude was promptly arrested and we were left with a cliffhanger for next week (For a slow-mo .gif of the punch, click here).  Snooki appears like she is fine as these house members continue to soak up their new found fame.  Just last week Snooki, The Situation and Pauly took to the late night circuit for a sit down with Conan on the Tonight Show and recreated the story of the three wise men on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  For those of you who wrote Santa this year looking for a nickname as good as “The Situation” or “Snooki,” I have good news for you.  As part of the phenomenon this show has become, you can now receive your own Jersey Shore nickname by clicking here. My nickname: “The Tan-gent.”  In the spirit of my new favorite television show I figured it is my duty to live up to this name the best I can time for a couple tangential rants before we get into the Week 15 Picks.

-I can’t remember a free agent signing that has excited me less than John Lackey signing with my beloved Red Sox.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a good signing, especially now that he will be going against other teams’ #3 starters consistently when he was good enough to be the Ace of a playoff pitching staff in Anaheim last year.  It just lacks spark. Lackey is a guy who I never feared…he doesn’t bring thoughts like: “Oh man, we’re screwed..Lackey is pitching tonight” if you’re the opposing team.  But then again neither does A.J. Burnett and he makes just as much money.  My ultimate hope is that this move is a precursor to a big splash for Adrian Gonzalez to spice up the offense because quite frankly a lineup of Pedroia, Youkilis, the corpse of Big Papi, JD Drew’s contract, Mike Cameron, Marco Scuturo and others isn’t doing it for me right now.  I know I sound like an insufferable Yankee fan when talking about these moves but hey, that’s the hand baseball dealt me.

-I get the sense that everyone is going to be scratching their heads about Philadelphia landing Roy Halladay up until the beginning of next season, especially considering what they gave up.  But then the season will start and Halladay will have 15 wins and have thrown a no hitter by the time the all star break rolls around.  This was the most dominant pitcher in the AL and mowed through the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees consistently the last three years (the last three AL Champs).  Now he moves over to a league where CC Sabathia (in Milwaukee) and Cliff Lee (in Philadelphia) looked like Cy Young and Sandy Koufax that last two seasons.  Get ready for some dominant pitching performances in Philly.

-I really am starting to care less and less about Tiger’s tribulations.  I get it…he is a womanizer with an unquenchable thirst for more.  Not a good dude or a family man.  I fully expect his wife to leave him and he’ll pick up the pieces and be playing golf in Augusta this April.  It remains shocking considering the wall he built around him but is there really much of a difference between floozies 1-15 and the rest that will surely come forward?  I say no.  I will say that I think there is at least 1 more bombshell coming–if what these porn stars and loose ladies of the night are saying holds true there is not a chance that hard drugs weren’t involved somewhere in that scene as well.  I’m not saying that I think Tiger partook but he was running with a rough crowd.  I think we should rename him Icarus Woods because he flew way too close to the sun and has violently plummeted back down to earth.

-Last Saturday night helped confirm why I don’t get too invested in college football.  The best player in the country (Ndamukong Suh) wasn’t recognized as such with a Heisman Trophy and the only “good” reason anyone could come up with was because “No one on defense wins that award.”  Really?  So the best player in the game won’t get recognized with the most prestigious award because he plays defense?  That’s sound logic right there.  So if we’re looking to sum up the 2009 college football season we can just say: “This was the year that the best player in the country didn’t win the Heisman because he plays defense and we had no idea who the best team was because there were 4 undefeated teams that played each other in their bowl games, assuring us there will be 2 unbeaten teams with absolutely no resolution.”  Awesome job all around by the brain trusts involved in botching this.  I knew it was fishy when Pete Carroll was such a resounding success in this sport after watching him drive the Patriots 6 feet into the ground in just 3 seasons at the end of the 90s.

A couple things that made me laugh:  My Alma mater’s library embracing a rager during Finals week.  Nice job Marquette!  Here’s a photo gallery of the year’s best mugshots, some high comedy in there for you.

Finally, for my last “Tan-gent,” click here for McGinn and I’s week 15 NFL podcast to hear me go bonkers on a rude Chicago Florist in regards to my wedding planning.  Email me if you want his name, I will gladly reveal his identity if it means it will cost this a-hole business.

Onto the Week 15 Picks, Winners are in bold.

McGinn:

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Dallas at New Orleans
Cleveland at Kansas City
Houston at St. Louis
Atlanta at New York Jets
Miami at Tennessee
San Francisco at Philadelphia
New England at Buffalo
Arizona at Detroit
Chicago at Baltimore
Oakland at Denver
Cincinnati at San Diego
Tampa Bay at Seattle
Green Bay at Pittsburgh
Minnesota at Carolina
New York Giants at Washington

Last Week: 11-5
Overall: 124-70*

*Didn’t Pick Week 5

Hugh:

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Dallas at New Orleans
Cleveland at Kansas City
Houston at St. Louis
Atlanta at New York Jets
Miami at Tennessee
San Francisco at Philadelphia
New England at Buffalo
Arizona at Detroit
Chicago at Baltimore
Oakland at Denver
Cincinnati at San Diego
Tampa Bay at Seattle
Green Bay at Pittsburgh
Minnesota at Carolina
New York Giants at Washington

Last Week: 11-5
Overall: 141-67

Hugh’s Picks vs the Spread: Jags (+6.5), Saints (-7.5), Chiefs (-2.5), Texans (-9.5), Falcons (+6.5) Titans (-3.5), Eagles (-7.5),  Bills (+7.5), Cardinals (-10.5), Ravens (-10.5), Raiders (+13.5), Chargers (-6.5), Buccaneers (+7.5), Packers (+.5), Vikings (-7.5), Giants (-3.5)

Last Week vs Spread: 8-8
Overall vs Spread:113-95


Week 15 Podcast

December 17, 2009

Check out this podcast for Week 15 NFL Picks as well as a classic rant on wedding florists and talk of Super Bowl half-time entertainment.

Week 15 NFL Podcast


Going for Perfection: NFL Top 12 (12/15)

December 15, 2009

Manning and Caldwell have a perfect season within reach

An interesting yet ridiculous question seems to be emerging as the Colts and Saints both hit the home stretch towards perfection: Should these teams go for it?  “It” of course refers to a perfect season and the answer to this question is yes and its ridiculous to think otherwise.  Who doesn’t want to be perfect?  Don’t we all strive for little perfect accomplishments along the way?  Maybe when you fill up your gas tank you try to stop right as the dollar amount has 2 zeros next to it.  Or perhaps when you’re out on the barbecue you make sure that steak is just right.  Do you fold your laundry immediately so there’s no wrinkles?  Maybe you iron those work shirts to make it look brand new each time.  The point is we all want something close to perfection and two teams have a chance to finish a season like some of us at the gas pump: a zero on the right hand side of the number.

The dissenters in the group have two main reasons that structure their argument against perfection.  The first is that by playing your starters when everything is wrapped up you are risking unnecessary injuries to key players which would sink your chances of a championship before the playoffs even begin.  Second is that as the wins continue to pile up the pressure of being undefeated begins to be a distract players from their ultimate goal of a Lombardi Trophy.

Some of you may be nodding your head in regards to reason #1; I mean could you imagine the storm Jim Caldwell would create if Peyton Manning blows out a knee in a meaningless week 15 game?  That main problem with this is that if you are undefeated the game is not meaningless.  Two seasons ago Junior Seau would tell anyone who would listen that the Patriots had a chance to be a part of “ever” if they ran the table.  The NFL has risen to prominence in this country because it fields the most prideful, fearless athletes we have to offer in the United States, resting your starters and folding your cards with perfection on the line is essentially saying “Ya we know we could go down in history as the best team of all time, but we really don’t want it that bad.”  If the Saints and Colts fold it in and pick up a loss but then go on to win the Superbowl they will be remembered as one of the great teams of all time.  They will be put in a class with 42 other teams that climbed to the top of the mountain with a few losses in tow.  The only team that doesn’t have that baggage is the 1972 Miami Dolphins and there isn’t a single hardcore football fan on the planet who doesn’t know what they accomplished.  To be on the doorstep of joining them only to concede a loss down the stretch isn’t just cheating the fans, it’s cheating yourself out of being in the rarest air in NFL history.

The pressure argument holds merit as well: as the season presses on and the Colts and Saints go undefeated few questions are going to circle around the opponent they just beat and the majority of attention will be focused on the big goose egg in the loss column they are sporting.  I’m generally irrational when it comes to pulling for my teams but for some odd reason I do feel like the pressure was a contributing factor in sinking New England’s quest for perfection.  As I watched Superbowl media day the “One game at a time” Patriots gave way to chatter of what was within their grasp if they were to run the table.  When you start thinking about the outcome before the task is finished its hard to stay focused on what you need to do to get there.  We’re all guilty of it in one way or another and more often than not it will come back to bite us some way.  With all this being said I think part of going down as the greatest team ever is handling that pressure and overcoming it.  It also helps when a Pro Bowl defensive back doesn’t let a game ending, perfect season cementing interception sail through his hands or have the flukiest catch in the history of the Superbowl happen a few plays later.  But I digress.  If you’re going to be the best of all time you have to deal with everything that comes with it.  The  reason we can universally agree that Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play basketball is because while the entire basketball universe was constantly trying to dethrone him he found a way to win.  If the Saints and Colts can harness the pressure that comes with being perfect and run the table it will contribute to their potential historical achievement.  Would losing before the playoffs start deflate some expectations?  Of course it would but it also knocks them out of the discussion of “ever.”

Sean Payton would be risking more than a perfect record by resting his starters

While Coaches Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton have to juggle these reasons, a key argument for going for it emerges when you look at the track records of teams who go into the playoffs well rested. Only one #1 seeded team going into the playoffs this decade ended up winning the Superbowl and that was the 2003 Patriots and they had keep rolling out their starters to hold off the Colts for homefield advantage that season.  Having the best record does not necessarily translate into postseason success; the team that always ends up winning the big game is the one with momentum going into the playoffs.  Stunting the winning momentum could end up being more costly than an injury to a starter.  How can Jim Caldwell know that his offense is going to wake back up and click after a few games of playing a quarter or two?  Can Sean Payton dare risk throwing Drew Brees and his receiving core out of this season long rhythm by not giving them the same amount of repetitions they’ve had for these first 13 games?  The most dangerous proposition for these two coaches would be to rest these guys who have gotten this far then find themselves down 2 quick scores in a playoff game because they are shaking off rust while their opponent has rolled into the playoffs and is firing on all cylinders.  We learned two years ago that no matter how good one team looks it remains an any given Sunday league and if you’re willing to sacrifice momentum knowing you will most likely be facing one of the best teams in the NFL to kick off your postseason you are playing with fire.

If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that these teams need to keep their foot on the gas let me present you with this. The Youtube footage is a bit grainy but yes that is in fact Mercury Morris rapping about how he’s perfect and no other team can touch him.  Again this is a 62 tear old ex convict rapping about his accomplishments.  This man needs to be stopped.  There isn’t a more arrogant and smug group of individuals then the 1972 Dolphins.  Its like being stuck at a Notre Dame alumni event every time one of these idiots opens their mouth about what they accomplished.  So I beg you Coach Payton and Coach Caldwell, go for it–if not for your own accomplishments for the rest of our sanity.

Onto the Top 12:

1. Colts (13-0): The biggest difference between this year’s hot starting Colts and the previous decade versions?  They are more battle tested than ever.  In the second half of their perfect run they’ve had to come from behind in the 4th quarter 4 times; wins like that build confidence which is why they get the nod over the Saints.  Also the ultimate question at this point: if they were to play the Saints who would you bet your life savings on if you had to?  My answer: Peyton Manning.

2.  Saints (13-0): Their quest for perfection reminds me a lot of New England’s two years ago.  Jaw droppingly effective on offense but the flaws continue to surface as the season wears on.  Needing a miracle to beat Washington and struggling to win by a field goal in Atlanta with Chris Redman leading the Falcons indicates that this team needs to sharpen up before the playoffs start.

3.  Vikings (11-2): This team will go as far as Adrian Peterson’s legs take them; if the Vikings are stupid enough to abandon the run like Childress did in Arizona 2 weeks ago it will cost them.  Brett Favre is not a quarterback who can carry them through 3 playoff victories.  Balance is key for Minnesota moving forward.

4.  Chargers (10-3): The last two weeks former Indianapolis Head Coach Tony Dungy stated that this is the team the Colts do not want to see in the playoffs.  High praise from a guy who would know better than anyone on television.  8 wins in a row, including victories at Giants Stadium, home against Philadelphia, at Denver and at Dallas.  Norv Turner’s postseason track record remains an inconvenient shadow on this AFC powerhouse.

5. Eagles (9-4): Much to my disgust, the signing of Mike Vick is starting to pay big dividends for Philadelphia.  Andy Reid’s creative playcalling combined with a triple threat of McNabb, Vick and Desean Jackson will make the Eagles a problem for any defense in the NFC heading into the playoffs.

6. Cardinals (8-5): Oddly it appears the 49ers seem to have this team’s number.  After embarrassing Minnesota on Sunday Night Football a week ago the Cardinals laid an egg in San Francisco with a 7 turnover stinkbomb.  Since Ken Whisenhunt took over as Cardinals’ Head Coach Arizona is 2-2 against San Francisco.  Sometimes a team just knows how to beat you but the Cardinals will be a tough out for anyone as they proved a week ago by demolishing the red hot Vikings.

7.  Green Bay (9-4): Going back to the perfect talk above, its always the team that is hot going into the playoffs that prove the toughest to beat.  Green Bay has flaws and injuries but they just keep winning thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ right arm and Charles Woodson’s defensive player of the year level of play at cornerback.

8.  Cincinnati (9-4): Not a team that is built to come from behind and with the continued digression of the AFC North its possible the Bengals are the best team in a mediocre division.  The beating they took in Minnesota appears to be an indicator that this team isn’t poised for a deep playoff game quite yet.

9.  Broncos (8-5): The final score didn’t indicate how hard Denver played in Indy.  After digging themselves into a 21-0 hole the Broncos cut it down to a 1 score game in the second half but the Colts proved too much in the end.  At this rate it looks like Denver will go on the road to face either Cincinnati or New England in the first round of the playoffs, two teams they beat as part of their 6-0 start this year.

10. Patriots (8-5): An uninspiring victory at home of Carolina is when we saw Oakland Randy Moss emerge in New England.  Didn’t look like he wanted to be out there which doesn’t bode well for a team that has to win out in order to secure a playoff spot.  If anyone can motivate the enigmatic wideout it’s Tom Brady, but a season of frustration continues in New England despite the ugly win.

11.  Cowboys (8-5): Note to any team looking for a defensive coordinator this offseason: Wade Phillips will be available in early January.  The December tailspin doesn’t look like its ending anytime soon with games at New Orleans, at Washington and home against Philadelphia to end their season.

12.  Ravens (7-6): The home stretch for Baltimore has them hosting to Chicago then traveling to Pittsburgh and Oakland.  10-6 gets them into the playoffs and that looks entirely doable versus those last 3 teams on their schedule.  Chances are John Harbaugh will find a reason to complain about something either way.


Week 14 NFL Picks

December 11, 2009

With just 4 weeks left in the NFL regular season and only 14 days until Christmas I figured its a good time to spread some Holiday cheer with some links to help get you through your Friday.  Here are some things I’ve seen on the web recently and enjoyed.

We’ll start with a Christmas link:  We’ve all had a getting our picture taken at the mall Santa experience in our lifetime and thanks to these geniuses over at SketchySantas.com we now get to look back on some of the creepiest and most hilarious Santa pictures from the good old days.

And since it is the season of giving we should celebrate the gift that keeps on giving: MTV’s Jersey Shore.  This first link is comedian Nick Kroll of “The League” auditioning as Bobby Bottleservice for next year’s summer of debauchery.  Also here’s a insightful interview with Mike “The Situation” on his new found reality fame and how him and DJ Pauly D are now best friends.  Even in print this guy comes off as a complete tool.  I really can’t quantify how much joy this show has brought into my life–this morning four office mates and I had a lengthy discussion on last night’s episode.  To put that into perspective, between the five of us we collectively watch hours of good, Emmy winning television each week and have never discussed a show at such length as we did the Jersey Shore.

Switching gears we had big news coming out of New England this week: there is a new Brady son in the world.  My guess is in 20 years the Dreamboat’s two sons are going to be that generation’s version of the Manning brothers only more successful.  But in the meantime we all know Tom Brady’s wife Gisele used to make bank as a Victoria’s Secret model.  Here is a complete break down this year’s VS fashion show that I enjoyed over at bottlesandmodelsandsports.com.

Finally, what’s a better way to cheer up a Friday than funny email chains?  This first one about the merits of a spider photo it is a bit dated but always hilarious.  This second one I came across recently–needless to say this guy is not only handy with pie charts but hilarious as well.

Onto the Week 14 Picks.  Winners are in bold.  For a complete breakdown of all the games and ranting on the idiot Falcon fans that cheered for Vick last weekend and Vinny Del Negro click here for the Week 14 Podcast.

McGinn:

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
New Orleans at Atlanta
Seattle at Houston
Buffalo at Kansas City
Green Bay at Chicago
New York Jets at Tampa Bay
Miami at Jacksonville
Cincinnati at Minnesota
Detroit at Baltimore
Carolina at New England
Denver at Indianapolis
Washington at Oakland
St. Louis at Tennessee
San Diego at Dallas
Philadelphia at New York Giants
Arizona at San Francisco

Last Week: 13-3
Overall: 113-65*

*Didn’t Pick Week 5

Hugh:

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
New Orleans at Atlanta
Seattle at Houston
Buffalo at Kansas City
Green Bay at Chicago
New York Jets at Tampa Bay
Miami at Jacksonville
Cincinnati at Minnesota
Detroit at Baltimore
Carolina at New England
Denver at Indianapolis
Washington at Oakland
St. Louis at Tennessee
San Diego at Dallas
Philadelphia at New York Giants
Arizona at San Francisco

Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 130-62

Hugh’s Picks vs the Spread: Browns (+9.5), Saints (-9.5), Seahawks (+6.5), Chiefs (-.5), Packers (-3.5), Jets (-3.5), Dolphins (+2.5), Vikings (-6.5), Lions (+13.5), Panthers (+13.5), Broncos (+7.5), Radiers (+1.5), Titans (-12.5), Chargers (+3.5), Giants (-.5), Cardinals (-3.5)

Last Week vs Spread: 6-10 (ouch)