Friday, January 15, 2010

Divisional Round Picks: Tony Romo Will Not Cry

So last week I had to endure reality that either the Cowboys or Eagles would win a playoff game. Now? All I want is for the Cowboys to get embarrassed. The problem is that I just don't see it happening.......

The Vikings played a soft schedule and were exposed at the end of the season (not that Giants game when they 'exposed' the G-Girls). As much as it pains me, I think the Cowboys are moving on, and we will not get to see Romo cry. Sure, the Vikings can win, and are even favored, but I'm thinking that I should just prepare myself for the happiness that will come from not having to hear about Brett Favre eating breakfast. Just like last week, this game will make me mad regardless of what happens.

As for the other games, they stoke a lot of bad feelings for DC. I still hate Norv Turner, so am rooting against the Chargers, but also hate Mark Sanchez because I want Snyderrato proven wrong that he was the right move. Just like the Cowgirls-Vikings, I lose either way.

I also hate watching the Cardinals have success with Russ Grimm there. I definitely am rooting for the guy, but in some twisted world think that he could be having the same type of success had we hired him. I also lost a lot of money last week picking the Packers thanks to Kurt Warner's deal with the devil. As for the Saints, I don't like them because the Skins almost beat them, and I somehow think that they show what the Skins could be.................I haven't slept a lot this week.

I am also not one of those fans who hates the Ravens and views them as a rival, but some strong success by our neighbors would also be tough to swallow. Now the Colts, well I have nothing. I like watching Peyton Manning play and act, check and check, I keep thinking Orakpo is the next Dwight Freeney, so also like watching him succeed, check, no bad ties to the Redskins, check again! I think I found a team to not hate!

On to the picks..........FO's 'locks of the week' are 10-14 with 1 'lock' this week, their 'reasonable' picks are 32-40, and their 'stay away' picks are 88-68. Please note that differences in total games picked is a result of us using slightly different spreads.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: o-4 last week 133-120 overall (52.6%)
FO: 3-1 last week, 130-122 overall (51.6%)
DCLS: 2-2 last week, 114-124 overall (47.9%)

As usual, the FO picks are listed in order of confidence with home teams in CAPS.
  1. New York Jets +8 over SAN DIEGO - The surprise of the week? FO has the Jets straight-up! I hate going against the Bolts and going with Dirty Sanchez, but this is a lot of points and a great matchup for the Jets. FO has the Jets are their #7 team, and the Bolts as their #3, but let's not forget that the Jets have thee #1 pass defense in the league to counter the Bolts #1 passing offense, and run the ball well, which could cause problems for the Charger defense that is 25th in the league in run defense.

  2. Arizona +7 over NEW ORLEANS - First team to 50 wins! I know the Saints might be a sleeping giant, but FO notes that the Cards have actually been the better team recently by weighted numbers, with the Cards as the #8 team, and the Saints at #12. I should mention that the Cards got a little lucky last week, played a great game, and still have no defense going against an absolute offensive juggernaut.

  3. Baltimore +7 over INDIANAPOLIS - Unibrow wasn't great last week, but the Ravens were and that is a lot of points to pass-up for FO's #1 team. That said, I don't want to get too excited about 1 great game from the Ravens, and think Peyton makes every defense look bad. Flacco under pressure? I'll give the points, I think Indy is charging right to the Super Bowl and has to be the favorite.

  4. Dallas +3 over MINNESOTA - It kills me, but I'm buying the Cowboys and think the big secret of the NFL this year may be that the Vikings aren't particularly good. According to Aaron Schatz, aka football metrics Jesus, the Vikes are the worst team left in the playoffs and the Cowboys the 2nd best, but FO has the Vikings straight-up. Why? As Schatz discussed in his podcast with Sports Guy this week, he really doesn't fully understand, but the metrics favor the Vikings straight-up once the splits and matchups are input. That said, I still think the Cowboys are the pick, and will gladly take the points. On the bright side, I want both of these teams out of the playoffs with 'death to Favre-mania' being #2 on my remaining wishlist for the playoffs. Also, a Cowboys win means Wade Phillips probably keeps his job, which is good news for anyone playing the Cowboys, ever.
To recap, 3 of these games will have outcomes that piss me off, regardless of who wins. If you're a DC fan, I think you have to like the Colts right? Or maybe the soft spot for Russ Grimm makes you a Cards 'fan'?

(Image courtesy of

So You're Sayin' There's a Chance?

The whole world already knows the news about the artist formerly known as Agent Zero, and Wizards fans, myself included, immediately went from 6 to 9. The more that comes out about Gil, the worse this looks for him, and the better it looks for Wiz fans. Not only has the moron had a prior gun charge, but owns hundreds of guns. Sure, a felony charge doesn't mean anything is determined yet, and Arenas will plead guilty to avoid jail time today, and the Pacers couldn't void Ron Artest's contract after he nearly started a riot, but Gil being guilty of a relatively severe charge keeps hope alive.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

O's: A Growing Threat in AL East

A few days ago, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a great piece on the emerging Baltimore Orioles, with mentions of the Balticore, The Cavalry, and of course, DCLS favorite Baseball Jesus.

Here's an excerpt below, but be sure to check out the the entire article. Promising stuff.

The praise, almost universal, always comes with a disclaimer. Scouts love the Baltimore Orioles. They want to peg them as baseball’s great darkhorse of 2010, the latest team that can turn homegrown talent into long-term success. Only the scouts won’t go so far, not without a seven-word postscript.

If only they weren’t in that division.

Such is life in the American League East, baseball’s iron maiden, where even the most well-run upstart finds itself trapped underneath the enormity of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Orioles have spent a dozen miserable seasons thrashing about, the vortex of mismanagement sucking the life out of what once stood as a model franchise. And only now, under general manager Andy MacPhail’s stewardship, is the cannonball hole in the bow fixed and the ship ready for righting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ovechkin vs. Clownie

With a little under 10 minutes left in the Caps' 7-4 loss to the Lightning, and the score just that, Steve Downie - who will henceforth be referred to as Clownie, for this is his only role on the ice - snapped Alex Ovechkin's stick. Or so our beloved captain thought. Either way, the zebras kept their whistles in their pockets. Then...well, read the 100% accurate account below to find out what followed, and to understand why I have fallen in love with this team. 


Ovie: You snap stick. I no like.

[Ovechkin skates toward bench to get new stick.]

Ovie: I get new stick. Where is puck?

[Ovechkin locates the puck in the right corner and skates toward it at full speed.]

Ovie: I come for puck. I come for your head!

[Ovechkin slams into Clownie at full speed.]

Clownie: Dear Lord! Where am I? Did I just get hit by a freight train? Should I just wail away at anyone in close proximity like the sucker-punching, marginally skilled loser that I am and see what happens?! You betcha!

[Clownie uppercuts Ovechkin and even drops his gloves. Ovechkin is enraged and fights back.]

Ovie: Who strike me? I hit back! I eat you for food! Roar like lion! Russian machine never break!

[Unfortunate referee steps in front of Ovechkin, akin to a zookeeper attempting to restrain a furious beast.]

Ovie: I see you soon.

Clownie: Thank you, refs, from the bottom of my heart, for saving my life.

[Clownie and Ovechkin are sent to the penalty box for matching roughing minors.]

Clownie: Well, I guess the only way to save face is to skate out of the box like a damn fool and instigate a fight with an infinitely more skilled player who has never been in an NHL fight before. Can't lose that one, right? Man, I'm so effing sweet!

[Ovechkin and Clownie skate out of the box.]

Clownie: You wanna go? Huh? Huh? Huh?!

[Clownie hooks Ovechkin and jabs his stick into his gut.]

Ovie: I give you last chance to go away. Shoo, before I crush you face.

[Clownie does not stop.]

Ovie: Okay, you no listen, time for me to crush you face.

[Ovechkin and Clownie drop gloves. Ovechkin takes off his helmet like a man. Clownie does the same, but like a girl.]

Ovie: Come, little boy. Ha, look at little guy try be tough!

[Out of nowhere, Matt Bradley races onto the scene.]

Bradley: You kidding me, punk? I will end you! You hear me, I will end you! Get the hell away from my boy, bitch!

[Bradley pummels Clownie. Ovie looks on - confused, but proud.]

Ovie: Lucky little boy, I no crush you now, my friend crush you. I squash you later time. Like bug.

[Bradley and Ovechkin sit in the penalty box briefly, before Bradley is given a game misconduct for being the third man in an altercation.]

Ovie: Thank you, friend. You are good teammate.

Bradley: No sweat, bro. You'd do the same for me.


Yea, so that last part's a little cheesy. And there's certainly no immediate reason to celebrate after tonight - we did just lose 7-4 to the Lightning.

But great teams always have that one moment in a long season in which it is positively clear that what they're striving for is far more important than a single game. A turning point, if you will.

Sure, we got our butts handed to us tonight. But in stepping up for each other, for themselves, for the red, white, and blue, the Caps showed just how strong of a bond they share as teammates.

That camaraderie will be essential to any long playoff run. It's the stuff of Stanley Cup Champions.

UPDATE: A better version of this exact story can be found here.

[Images via ESPN]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Teams Headed in Opposite Directions

What a trying week it's been for the Washington Wizards; what a wonderful week it's been for the Washington Capitals.

On the one hand, a team's biggest star was suspended indefinitely.

On the other, a team's (and league's) brightest star was named captain indefinitely.

The NBA works tirelessly to distance itself from infamous pranksters and 3-point locker room image assassins such as Gilbert Arenas.

The NHL loves nothing more than to showcase lovable personalities and generational talents such as Alexander Ovechkin.

Get used to these faces.

But who really cares what anyone else thinks? I certainly don't. After all, as fans, love for our favorite teams is usually unconditional and only increases with time. The longer you spend following a team, the more you grow to love it. Often times, the more you suffer, the stronger the bond. And, as DC sports fans, we've grown accustomed to the agony of defeat.

As is the case with every other sports junkie, my general, everyday disposition fluctuates based on the performances of my favorite teams. I win some. I lose some. My fanaticism is my peril.

Which brings me back to the Verizon Center's top dogs - and no, I'm not talking about the Mystics and Hoyas.

The Wizards and Capitals have been headed in opposite directions for a long while, and it has become a reality this year more than ever before.

Below are the results of the Wizards' and Capitals' last 10 seasons (excluding the the canceled 2004-4005 NHL season), with above-.500 seasons in green, sub-.500 seasons in red, and trends and playoff performances noted for your viewing pleasure.

[Note: 2009-2010 has been projected based on current records.]

As you can see, the Caps and Wizards have both been above .500 in the same season just once (2007-2008) in the last ten years. Coincidentally, they've both been under .500 in the same season only once (2003-2004) in that same time period.

The trend column, however, is the most troubling to me. The Capitals have improved just about every season since the lockout in 2004-2005. In the same period, the Wizards have improved just twice based on sheer numbers, but numbers don't really tell the whole story there.

2007-2008: Are two extra wins and another first round loss at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers an improvement? Not to me.

2009-2010: Even if you disregard the Gilbert Arenas disaster, a potential nine extra victories but still lottery-bound-and-hopelessly-over-the-luxury-tax squad will never be considered an improvement from the prior season. No matter how bad that prior season was.

What we have here is a classic case of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Capitals have a home-grown, talented but gritty, determined yet boisterous, young but adequately experienced club that is vying for their first ever Stanley Cup and the right to put DC back on the map as a respectable sports town.

The Wizards? Well, no need to elaborate...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wild Card Weekend Picks

So I'm a little late again thanks to a work schedule leaving me without the interwebz, but better late than never. I actually had my picks finished, but didn't have time to post yesterday.

On to the picks..........FO's 'locks of the week' are 10-13 with 1 'lock' this week, their 'reasonable' picks were 31-40, and their 'stay away' picks were 86-68. Please note that differences in total games picked is a result of us using slightly different spreads. FO is 2-0 after yesterday's games, the Sports Guy is 0-2, and the DCLS is 1-1.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: 10-6 last week 133-116 overall (53.4%)
FO: 8-7 last week, 127-121 overall (51.2%)
DCLS: 1-0 last week, 112-122 overall (47.9%)

As usual, the FO picks are listed in order of confidence with home teams in CAPS.
  1. Green Bay +3 over ARIZONA - I love the Packers here, and FO has them with a 75% chance of winning straight-up. The Packer strength is their CBs, which is a bad matchup for the Cards, who rely on Fitzgerald and Boldin to carry them. With Boldin out or not close to 100%, this one almost seems too easy.

  2. New York Jets +3 over CINCINNATI - FO liked the Jets straight-up here, with a 56% chance of winning and were indeed right. I still hate the Sanchize.......

  3. DALLAS -4 over Philadelphia - FO had Dallas with a 70% chance of winning, and I'm actually surprised this one wasn't higher up on the list. On the bright side, Philly lost and still sucks. On the other hand, we can't tell Dallas fans that we've had more recent playoff success.

  4. Baltimore +3.5 over NEW ENGLAND - FO has the Pats straight-up, with a 62% chance of winning, but guess who their #1 team is? That's right, the Ravens. I'll take the points, but have no idea what to expect here.

(Image courtesy of