Friday, November 13, 2009

Week 10 Picks: I Suck Almost as Much as the Skins

4-9 followed by 3-10 last week means my handicapping season has fallen off of a cliff. I have been under .500 once in about 15 years, so this is relatively uncharted territory for me. Compounding this with the Skins having their worst season in my lifetime, has made for the worst football season in my life, awesome. I am all kinds of confused, as the Football Outsiders sytem has the same miserable record as I.

So I think it's time to change things up a bit. I pick the Skins every week, but this week, no more. Football Outsiders gives us a 5% chance of beating the Broncos at home, which apparently is the same % chance that the Corvallis Pride would have of beating the Saints. Yet, we are only 3.5 point underdogs!?! What a joke. The Skins clearly quit last week, and the Broncos are needing to rebound from 2 losses. My only hope is thatl JC will be fired-up to play against the team that wanted Kyle Orton over him. On the downside, my picks are almost identical to FO's this week, so maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same.

On to the picks, FO's 'locks of the week' are now 2-4 with only 1 'lock' this week, their 'reasonable' picks are 16-19, and their 'stay away' picks are 43-44. The top 3 picks this week are all considered locks. You should also note that FO has started including the % chance of a team winning straight-up, which I have included throughout this article.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: 8-5 last week, 76-52 overall (59.4%)
Random monkey throwing shit at a dartboard: 64-64 overall (50.0%)
DCLS: 3-10 last week, 61-67 overall (47.7%)
Football Outsiders: 6-7 last week, 61-67 overall (47.7%)

As usual, the FO picks are listed in order of confidence, and I have bolded a team wherever I differ (home teams in CAPS).
  1. Philadelphia +3 over SAN DIEGO - I still believe in the Iggles despite last week, and I'm not buying the Chargers being much better than 8-8 at this point. And yes, I can say "I still believe in the Iggles" without vomiting this year because the Skins are down for the count.

  2. Buffalo +7 over TENNESSEE - I don't trust VY, but the Titans don't suck. I don't think the FO system has accounted fully for the QB change and the Titans not being an 0-6 team anymore and has the Bills with an 84% chance of winning. The Bills only sucked slightly less than the Titans those first 6 games.

  3. Baltimore -11 over CLEVELAND - Brady Quinn will be substantial improvement over Derek Anderson in the long flowing hair department, and a decent-sized improvement in the QB effectiveness one. That said, the Ravens will be all over the Browns and probably learn all kinds of things about Brady Quinn's luscious locks.

  4. Seattle +9 over ARIZONA - My only pick against the FO grain. Seattle stinks and the Cards are back to being dangerous. FO only has the Cards with a 62% chance of winning, which I don't understand.

  5. Denver -3.5 over WASHINGTON - That's right, time for a stand. I don't have much else to say, so here's what the Sports Guy wrote, "Back on track for the Broncos, back off the tracks for the Redskins. Poor DC never gets enough credit in the Most Depressed Sports Cities discussion. The past 18 years featured exactly one finals trip by a DC team: the Caps in 1998. And they got demolished. You know it's been a lean stretch when DC's single biggest sports highlights this decade were (A) Kornheiser and Wilbon getting their own ESPN show, and (B) male college students in the DC area pounding their headboards after sex in honor of Alex Ovechkin."

  6. MIAMI -10 over Tampa Bay - Nice to see Vegas and the general public have not been suckered by Josh Freeman winning last week. If you were the Bucs, and you had your biggest win in the absurd sherbert uniforms, why not stick with them for awhile? In a year where they won't sell a lot of jerseys, why not try something different?

  7. New Orleans -14 over ST. LOUIS - How is this line not 20?!? Is Vegas accounting for the Saints putting in their backups after halftime? This line can't be high enough. The Rams should try some crazy schemes or something to at least have a chance.

  8. Atlanta -2 over CAROLINA - Atlanta is good and Carolina is not, so not sure why this line is so low.

  9. New England +3 over INDIANAPOLIS - FO has the Pats with a 51% chance of winning. The Pats are FO's #1 ranked team, and the Colts are the #4 team. This game has to come down to a FG.

  10. Kansas City +2 over OAKLAND - I am pretty sure the Chiefs are better, but anything is in play here. Gus Johnson is calling this game, so that's something. This is the type of game where the NFL should experiment with rule changes like no fair catches. Come on, if there were no fair catches in this game, wouldn't you at least consider watching?

  11. Cincinnati +7 over PITTSBURGH - The Steelers were great in the 2nd half last week and might be rounding into peak form. I still like the points in what should be a defensive struggle.

  12. Jacksonville +7 over NEW YORK JETS - No faith in Sanchez, especially giving 7 against a team not from Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington, KC, Oakland, Cleveland, or Tampa.

  13. MINNESOTA -17 over Detroit - Another game where the line can't be high enough. Imagine if this was on Thanksgiving. Possibly a big day for AD, with the Vikes taking a huge early lead and running from about mid-2nd quarter onward.

  14. SAN FRANCISCO -3.5 over Chicago - Bears suck and are the worst of these 2 teams. Yes, I did pick this before the game, but did not post because I'm an idiot and forgot about doing picks a day early. I love watching Cutler suck, for sticking a knife into all those idiots who clamored for the Skins to pick him up in the offseason.

  15. GREEN BAY +3 over Dallas - I still am not on the Dallas bandwagon, but as Sports Guy points out, the Pack is 6-11 in their last 17 games, with those wins over Detroit (twice), Chicago (twice), Cleveland, and St. Louis, wow. FO gives Dallas a 63% chance of winning. A Dallas win here might also make them more complacent and ripe for the picking when the Skins play them in week 11.
To recap, I suck at picking games this year, and so does FO. I feel pretty good about this week's games, but I clearly cannot be trusted to make such a statement at this point. I do, however, feel very confident in saying that the Skins line is awful to the point that I am picking against the Skins for the 2nd or 3rd time in about 15 years, which sums up this season on the handicapping and Redskin front.

(Image courtesy of

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hallalujah Jeebus! Nylander Finally Exported, Critical Cap Space Imported

`God save thee, ancient Mariner !
From the fiends, that plague thee thus !--
Why look'st thou so ?'--With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

And just like that, Nylander and his cap-crippling $4.875 million salary are off to the KHL's Dynamo Minsk which sounds like a fancy fur coat (link in French, mon frere). McPhee hasn't confirmed it, but the major hurdles have been cleared: 1) Nylander agreed to waive his no-movement clause 2) so that he could be waived 3) which he was 4) which frees the Caps of his Albatross contract. Since it's not finalized I didn't want to jinx it, but I just can't takes it no more. Our long national nightmare is finally over!

The question is now: what to do with this cap space? We're like overwhelmed kid in a candy store right now who is allowed 5 pounds of anything. We need some time to comb the aisles to find just the right combo. Also, to wait to hear from daddy whether we in fact do get 5 free pounds.

More to come on this...

[h/t to Japers' Rink commenter Scott in Shaw for the gif]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hoyas Early Summer...err...Season Preview

This was originally posted by Marion's Crackpipe on the 4th of June, 2009. Yet, because of time constraints, effort constraints...well, you get the picture. We were just too lazy to do another. So here is your #21 ranked Georgetown Hoyas Season Preview. Enjoy the outdated summer references, because it's about to get pretty damn cold pretty damn fast.

It’s June November and you know what that means. It’s time to talk Hoya basketball! After a season that started with promise (12-3), and finished with pain (16-15 !!), questions abound. Like how do you lose to St. John’s and Cincinnati (twice) with a talented lineup that also beat UConn, Syra****, and Memphis?

Let’s start with the good. The Hoyas return 3 of their 5 best players, including the biggest recruit to come to DC since Allen Iverson, center Greg Monroe. With Austin Freeman and Chris Wright starting, and Jason Clark coming off the bench, the backcourt is in capable hands. Inside, Monroe is a flat-out stud and the key to G’town success as long as he stays on the court. That was quick.

Now the bad……………:
  1. Dajuan Summers is going pro. I think you can find his name under “2nd round pick” in the dictionary, but thanks to this pathetic draft class (“…and with the 5th pick, the Wizards select my left testicle…”) he is probably going to go late first round. Good for him I guess, but if he’d stayed another year he’d be better off and so would the Hoyas. His horrible 2nd half killed his draft stock and he needs to stay in school to learn another language or two, because the only place he’s playing long-term is Europe.

  2. Transfers. Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers last year, and now Omar Wattad (you know times are tough when Omar Wattad makes the season preview). I love JT3, but having 3 players transfer in 2 years is not a good sign for a coach on a team lacking depth. True, Rivers can’t shoot and Wattad just plain stinks, but Macklin would start on this year’s team.

  3. Recruiting. Take a gander through the ESPNU 100 for this year. Strangely lacking in Hoyas, isn’t it? ranks their top recruit Hollis Thompson #63 in their list of 150, and the other 2 recruits aren’t exactly world-beaters. Seriously, why can’t JT3 bag a couple local studs? #63 Is the best he can do!?! Besides, his name sounds like a certain former Iggles d-lineman and that makes me queasy. The 2010 class is shaping up well though, and I can only hope that they get the chance to play with Monroe before his inevitable NBA ascent.
Overall, things look bleak for ’09-‘10 unless Monroe makes the leap and becomes a top-5 player in the nation. Hoping for that kind of improvement from a guy with a questionable work-ethic, is a huge…wait for it….leap. The biggest thing in Georgetown’s favor is that Syra****, Pitt, UConn, and Louisville all lost their best players. The downside is that ‘Nova is a national title contender this year and they, in addition to UConn and Louisville, actually find ways to replenish their talent. After last year’s debacle, just avoiding the NIT would be a success.

Season Prediction: 19-11, 5th in Big East, 8 Seed in NCAA Tournament
-Marion's Crackpipe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adam Jones is Golden and So is JC

Since most DC fans have stopped caring about baseball since, oh 1997, just thought I would break the news that Oriole CF Adam Jones was officialy awarded his first Gold Glove today. Although he isn't deserving, he had a good season in the field and deserves it more than Derek Jeter or Torii Hunter. This is also the type of award that once you win, you will keep winning, so get ready for a string of these if Jones can stay healthy. Also remember that the Orioles lost 98 games last year and that a string of gold gloves will only make Jones more costly for the O's to keep. My stomach hurts...

The other good news for DC fans today is that Aaron Schatz, the founder and head of Football Outsiders, stated on the 11/9 BS Report with Bill Simmons of that his surprising fact of the season is that, "Jason Campbell is, at worst, a league-average quarterback." JC has obviously caught tons of flack for this season's shit show, currently sits at #26 in the FO QB rankings, and FO's metrics have trouble separating QBs from the teams they play on (with an example being the performance of Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler after switching places), so what gives?
Schatz notes that JC has clearly been the victim of an awful offensive line and is still setting career highs in completion percentage and yards-per-pass. Schatz also notes that even JC's worst season has been better than replacement level. Considering everything that JC has gone through, it is frustrating to think about what he could have become had he been in a decent and consistent sytem with NFL-caliber linemen for the entirety of his career. The bad news? As Schatz says, "...he will go somewhere in free agency, and if he goes somewhere that has an actual offensive line and some pieces around him, he will probably shock people.....that guy has been put through the ringer." Amen brother.

(Images courtesy of and

Nick Young Exclusive Interview: His Standup Comedy and Rap Careers, Rookie Hazing, and Chicken and Waffles

Before writing my Wizards preview, I spoke with DCLS favorite Nick "Young Sushi" Young, 48 hours before the opening tipoff, about several topics, including the upcoming season, his entourage, DC late night food, and rookie hazing. Part 1 is posted here, about Nick's prediction for the team, and thoughts about his role in the rotation. This portion covers all the fun stuff.....

DCLS: So Young Sushi won our nickname contest, what do you think?
Nick Young: I've been saying Young Sushi all summer, so I'm not too surprised. It's a kitchy little name............everyone likes sushi.

DCLS: Please tell me you asked Gil about you wanting your nickname to be Agent-Double-0.
NY: Aw, naw, I haven't had a chance to talk about it. Did you put it out there yet? Yeah I forgot, I got to tell him that.

DCLS: Just don't get your clothes cut up or whatever, but do tell us what he says about the nickname. Staying on the subject of Gil, I think his lack of media interaction is opening the door for you to the be the biggest personality on the Wizards.
NY: Yeah, you know, he always funny. Gil been Gil, he hasn't been talking since ya know.

DCLS: Not even any good locker room pranks?
NY: I dunno, I don't wanna give out his secret. I dunno what he got up his sleeve..........I dunno, I don’t want Gil mad at me right now. He always saying he’s not gonna pass me the ball, so I want him on my side.

DCLS: Don't let him lull you into a sense of security. So we saw how you got hypnotized this summer at training camp and galloped around the stage and did a James Brown impersonation.
NY: It was crazy, I dunno, I was going along with it because I didn’t want him to feel bad onstage, but I think it worked a little bit........

DCLS: And you did a standup routine that went so-so….
NY: We had the rookies sing their school song and stuff, and I never got a chance to do all that. They didn’t take us like that to go somewhere and make us sing happy birthday or something.

DCLS: What about picking up the check for the vets?
NY: Oh I had to do that, I had to do that. But I never had a chance to sing and do all that, so I did the standup instead of singing this year. They gave me a choice (between singing and standup). It was little jokes here and there. Everybody was laughing, but I was kinda nervous, there was more than just our team in there, there were a lot of people in there and I knew they’d try to boo me real quick just to be funny.

DCLS: So you're nervous doing the standup but have no problem playing basketball in front of 20,000 people live and 1,000s more watching on tv?
NY: No problem, no problem. I got other people out there messing up too (in basketball).

DCLS: Any jokes you can tell us from the standup?
NY: All of it was in-person, I gotta re-act it out. I had ‘em going, I killed it, I killed it. You know I think that might be my next, my calling, standup.

DCLS: So tell us a bit about your entourage.
NY: I have a decent entourage. In DC, I have 2 or 3 people including my brother John and Adrian “Fat Boy”, people may know him as “Fat Daddy”. But I can’ t have them living with me here. In LA, I have everyone I grew up with really, you know it’s cool, it’s like a circus act when I come out man. I got my circus crew with me.

DCLS: I probably met that crew when we initially met at a late night food place in LA; have you ever been DC ‘s Ben’s Chili Bowl?
NY: That’s a big thing out here in DC, it’s like our Roscoe’s in LA, that’s your Ben’s Chili Bowl. I haven’t been yet, but I wanna go, where’s it at?

DCLS: It’s near Adams Morgan and Dupont, and nowhere near where you live in Upper Marlboro.
NY: How far is it from the arena?

DCLS: Like 3 metro stops..
NY: What time it close? I’ll go tonight!

DCLS: I’m gonna guess you’ve never heard of the like 1 chicken and waffle place around here, called Marvin, it’s right near Ben’s Chili Bowl.
NY: Marvin? Aw man, yeah you gotta text me the address or something. Let’s go there. I think I need a chef or something. I was barbecuing today, but I miss having Dom(inic McGuire) as my chef cooking for me and all that.

DCLS: Anything else you wanna say to the world?
NY: Look out for my CD coming out, I gotta CD coming out, I’m about to be a rapper......

DCLS: Wait, seriously? You have a CD coming out? Are you going Artest on us?
NY: Yeah look out for my mixtape, Javale’s gonna be my producer, he adds a fire, haha................................................................................naw I’m just playing!

(Image courtesy of

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week 9: Falcons 31, Skins 17 - Knee Jerk Reactions

Football season is past its halfway point! The hair pulling, TV-screaming, remote control throwing and furious cigarette smoking is in full force. Before I let rationality cloud my judgment, here are my knee-jerk reactions from the eighth game of the season:

Yeah, I'm mailing-in this article, just like the Redskins mailed-in today's game. That video sums up what I watched this afternoon, so I will only leave you with two other tidbits courtesy of my buddy I was watching the game with today:

-"Snyder says he wants to win, but let's remember Hitler wanted a better society."

-"Worrying about the Redskin punt return situation would be nice if we could actually force someone to punt. I would put selecting the Redskin punt returner on a list of future things to do, right next to getting the team fitted for Super Bowl rings."

(Video idea courtesy of