Friday, October 26, 2012

Don't Sleep on Brooklyn, Plus NFL Week 8 Picks

America's favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets, have moved to the great borough of Brooklyn, and I for one couldn't be happier. Okay, maybe they aren't the nation's favorite team, but they're in the top 30. Since the departure of Jason Kidd, the Nets have been a floundering franchise, finishing below .500 for the past five seasons. The bottom really fell out when they went an abysmal 12-70 in the '09-'10 season. The last three seasons have seen them go from historically suck-tastic to abhorrent to mildly objectionable.

But, this season things are changing, baby! This is largely thanks to their crazy Russian billionaire owner who just spent 2 million on Dom Perignon, guns and fog machines at a club in Ibiza in the time it took me to type this sentence. The guy knows how to party. Anyway, even though they embarrassingly missed out on trading for Dwight Howard, who needs him? He's got a bad back and he hasn't improved his post game or free throw shooting in 6 years. The Nets have still managed to quietly stockpile a deep and talented team. Their starting 5 is as follows:

PG: Deron Williams
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Gerald Wallace
PF: Kris Kardashian Humphries
C: Brook Lopez

"After I finish my wine, I vill break you." 
Three of these players have been all stars and each one is above average to excellent for their positions. It could be argued Gerald Wallace is wildly overpaid and a bit over the hill, and sure he possesses one of the uglier jumpers in the game, but he can still rebound and defend. Though he gets more press for his ex-wife, and gets mercilessly booed in opposing arenas, Humphries (14 pts, 11 rbs per game last year) is actually an underrated power forward. Lopez is the question mark. He can be a 20-10 guy but he often avoids rebounds as if he'll catch herpes from them.

By contrast, let's look at the Knicks starting five:

PG: Ray Felton
SG: J.R. Smith
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Amare Stoudemire
C: Tyson Chandler

The Knicks have talent, but there a lot more offensive black holes on that team. If you pass the ball on the Knicks, you won't see it again. The real difference between the two teams is on the bench. The Knicks bench includes the sadly washed up Jason Kidd, the always injured Marcus Camby and someone named Chris Copeland, who might be a made up simulation.

In past years, if you were a player on the Nets' bench it meant it was your last stop on the way to NBA oblivion, but this year it actually features some quality players. CJ Watson, Marshon Brooks, Reggie Evans, Tyshawn Taylor and the enigmatic Andre Blatche will provide a lot of energy, depth and craziness (Reggie Evans). Blatche is one of those infuriating NBA players that can be dominant one night and pathetic the next. If he can reach his potential, he makes the Nets a top 5 team in the East. And yes, better than the crosstown Knicks by a good margin.

My prediction for the Nets this year: 47-35 record and a first round upset of the Celtics followed by getting swept by the Heat in the 2nd round. After 5 terrible seasons, I'll take it.

Week 8 NFL Picks:

New England -7 over the Rams: Everyone knows Tom Brady prefers a soft, gentle sheep to a Ram, baaahhhh.

Tennessee -3.5 over Indy: The revenge of Chris Johnson will continue one more week and then he'll go back to sucking.

"Damn you hands and arms, you've screwed me again!"
Cleveland +3 over San Diego: I'm never taking San Diego again until Norv Turner or Phil Rivers is gone, preferably both.

Philly -2 over Atlanta:  Vick rediscovers some ol' magic vs. his former team. Who's a good boy, Michael? Who's a good boy? Yes, you are! Woof!

Jacksonville +15.5 over Green Bay: Highest spread of the year because Jax has no MJD. But they do have plenty of MGD though, so live the High Life, fellas!

Seattle +2.5 over Detroit: The Lions should trademark "Goaline fumble!"

Jets -2.5 over Miami: Do not feel good about this one. At. All.

Chicago -8 over Carolina: Can't wait for Cam's press conference after this one!

Washington +4.5 over Pittsburgh: HOW DARE YOU give RGIII this many points.
"Someone should have warned me that I
might actually play."

K.C. -1.5 over Oakland: Brady Quinn vs. Carson Palmer...or as I call it, The Pick 6 Bowl.

Dallas +2 over Giants: Because Dallas just likes to mess with people.

N. Orleans +6 over Denver: This year, when in doubt, take the NFC.

San Fran -7 over Arizona: I don't like being subjected to these NFC West games in primetime.

Last week's record: 7-4
Overall record: 48-49-2

Friday, October 19, 2012

NFL Week 7 Picks - Limerick Style

This week's picks will be presented as all prose should be Limerick form:

Buffalo -3 over Tennnessee
There once was a QB named Fitzpatrick
With every throw he would make his fans sick
Just give it to Spiller!
The guy's a real killer
But instead they go with the ol' Spastic

Minnesota -6 over Arizona  
One of these teams is overrated and weak
The team from the desert is the one which I speak
The Vikings shall pillage
The Cards' little village
And upon their heads they shall take a nice leak

Cleveland +2 over Indy
Woe is the poor city of the Cleve
Who's best athletes so quickly leave
For tropical beaches
Because they are leeches
And the Browns' D is left a virtual sieve

Washington +6.5 over Giants
The Giants should crush the Skins dead
Rip out their hearts and concuss their heads
But Griffin the Third
Shall soar like a bird
And manage to cover the spread

Green Bay -5.5 over St. Louis
Behold the great city of cheese
Who's residents so often wheeze
Out of shape they are
Can't fit in their car
Still the Pack will find the Rams a breeze

Dallas -2 over Carolina
There once was a QB named Tony
Who's greatness was a load of baloney
Better to be Newton
Who's always a scootin'
And gets on better with his cronies

Jacksonville +4 over Oakland
If the autumn wind be a Raider
Then it must be arriving later
For all I see is despair,
A team that doesn't care,
And a roster full of future waiters

N. Orleans -3 over Tampa
Who dat is gonna be dem Saints?
This year it seems, who ain't?
The suspensions have cost
Yet all hope isn't lost
Though their coach looks like he's gonna faint

New England -10.5 over Jets
Is it time to unleash the great Tebow?
And when he sucks, then where will we go?
Stick with the Mexican
It's not a sexy plan
But at least he has a clue how to throw

Pitt -1.5 over Cincy
Oh what can we say of Big ol' Ben
Who's nefarious ways embarrass men
Beware him at the bar
He'll take it too far
He doesn't know when to say when

Baltimore +6.5 over Houston
So Ray Lewis is out for the year
Will anyone shed but a tear?
He's forgot how to hit,
Has slowed more than a bit
It's his limo that teams actually fear

Last week's picks: 8-5
Overall record: 41-45-2

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 6 NFL Picks! Plus, Reason #245,666 to Hate the Yankees

"Great job pretending to be happy, A-Rod!"
Before we get to the picks, let's talk about baseball real quick. The New York Yankees never cease to amaze me with their perpetual good fortune. This year, they acquired Raul Ibanez, who by all accounts was a cadaver in Philly last year. His value was -2.3 WAR, which means he was one of the worst everyday players in the game. Couldn't run, field or hit. Couldn't even drive I'm told because he'd lost his vision and drove through a Farmer's Market in January. Twenty-nine other teams didn't want him.

Even this year, he only batted .240 for the Yanks, but "hit" 19 homers because anyone could hit 19 homers in the wiffle ball park that is Yankee Stadium. Then, the postseason rolls around and that magical Yankee mojo morphs him into Roy Hobbs. First Scott Brosius, now this. It's really the worst. Meanwhile, the Mets paid Jason Bay 16 million to bat .160 for them this season. Any person considering becoming a Yankee fan should really just look at this GIF and then decide after that.

What I'm really trying to say is ....GO ORIOLES! On to the picks:

Brandon Weeden is heading here soon.
Cincinnati at Cleveland (Off the Board)
Rumor has it this game has been taken off the board by Vegas because the Browns have cut their entire team and are holding open auditions this week. Mark Wahlberg may be returning kicks for them on Sunday. Don't worry, Brandon Weeden is resting comfortably at the Del Boca Vista Retirement Condos. Bengals 26 Browns 12

Detroit +4 at Philly I have a real problem with the whole "half the distance to the goaline" penalties. Why so forgiving with the redistrubution of yards, NFL? Are you commies? Or just worried an embarrasing safety might occur? Safeties are delightful and there should be more of them. I say move that shit back to the 1 yard line and too effing bad, you shouldn't have committed that penalty, cheater.
Eagles 27 Detroit 24.

"Yes, more twirling, now everyone
look confused! I'm a mad genius!"
Indy +3 at Jets
The Jets offense is a freaking Chinese fire drill on bath salts. Just look at this man, Tony Sparano, to the left. Would you trust SuperMario here to run an offense? At any given time there's 32 men in the huddle and not one of them know what the hell they are doing. They may as well hold their huddle in a clown car or the floor of the Stock Exchange. I'll say this, if you want to play Tebow, play him for an entire drive and see what he does, enough with the on-and-off the field every other damn play shenanigans. PICK A SIDE. Jets 16 Colts 10

Oakland +9 at ATL
The Raiders had a bye last week and were missed by absolutely no one. It's too bad the NFL isn't like Premier League soccer where we could demote the terrible teams to the lower leagues. "Sorry, Carson Palmer, you'll be playing the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League this week." The Raiders spent their bye week visiting all the lovely sites of Oakland. And the other 6.9 days they were drunk.
Falcons 34 Raiders 20

New England -3.5 at Seattle Anyone else watch that Gronkowski piece on ESPN's E-60? What a meathead. I wish he was on the Jets and hate myself for that. Just about every game the Seahawks play is exactly the same....4 of their 5 final scores so far: 16-12, 19-13, 20-16 and 14-12. It's ugly, field-goal filled football. Good luck holding the Patriots under 20. Maybe they should get 'lil Russell Wilson some lifts in his cleats so he can see over the offensive line. Pats 28 Seahawks 17

We are four psychos short here, c'mon fellas! 
Dallas +3.5 at Baltimore
I'm excited to see the movie Seven Psychopaths. I like the theory behind this film, because usually an action movie only has one psychopath, and that character is always the best. So this film will surely be 7 times as good as the normal action movie. It's simple math. I also appreciate them telling me in advance how many psychopaths there will be. I don't like to be caught unawares and then I'm all like, "What, another psychopath? WHY WASN'T I WARNED?!"
Ravens 24 Cowboys 20

Minnesota at Washington (Off the board)
Oof, another off the board game. Come on Vegas, Daddy needs some shoes! This one is off because of Robert Griffin III's hurt noggin'. If one were allowed to invest in someone's future health, and I had an investment in RGIII, right now I'd be saying "SELL, SELL!"

"It's cool, Kyle. No one will remember these fumbles next year."
NYG +5 at San Fran
The NFC Championship rematch. The 49ers are getting some huge love here, but this line is too high.  Kyle Williams will be having some Jacob's Ladder like 'Nam like flashbacks in this one. Someone should hold his hand.
49ers 28 Giants 27

Houston -3.5 vs. Green Bay

The Texans have to lose sometime, and they actually didn't look very good against the Jets last week. Packers 31 Texans 27

Kansas City +3.5 at Tampa
The Chief fans apparently cheered after Matt Cassel was injured last week. I expect that kind of behavior from Philly, but not the fine people of KC, which is renowned for its good bbq, gentle nature and consummate gentlemen. Shame on you guys. Tampa 20 KC 14

"This frustrated smirk will distract people
from my infuriated forehead."
San Diego -1.5 vs. Denver
It's becoming alarming how red Peyton Manning's head gets after removing his helmet. Can someone get him a different helmet? Maybe one like this? Chargers 27 Broncos 20

Buffalo +4.5 at Arizona Buffalo can't stop the run, but lucky for them just about every Arizona running back is hurt. I hear Johnny Johnson may start for them this week. I say the resistable object loses to the movable force in an upset.
Bills 23 Cards 20

St. Louis +3.5 at Miami
Two plucky teams meet up here in a game that not many will watch. This rookie Rams kicker Zuerlein is something, though. Look for some hot field goal action down in Miami this weekend and dress accordingly.  Dolphins 20 Rams 16

Last Week's record: 4-10 (facepalm) 
Overall Record: 33-40-2

Stay frosty, everybody!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Inside Hollywood - The Pitch for "Taken 2"

Here at the Deep Dish we again take you behind the velvet ropes for a glimpse at how movies get made. This time we visit the pitch meeting for Taken 2 (in theatres now!). How exactly can Liam Neesen get mixed up in more international intrigue? How could another kidnapping possibly be made believable (hint: it can't!)? Luckily, our fiber-optic recording devices, which are no more improbable than the plot of this movie, have allowed us to listen in as director Olivier Megaton (yes, that's his name) meets with his producers.

Producer: I gotta be honest, I'm onboard with this, and I don't even need to hear the plot. "Taken 2" is all I need to hear!
Megaton: Ha-ha, you know it, my babies! Here's a quick plot summary: Instead of the daughter getting kidnapped, this time it'll be the ex-wife. Totally different ramifications!
Asst. Producer: I was wondering about the title. Is it catchy enough? How about "Re-Taken" or "Twice Taken" or wait for it...."The Double Take"?
Producer : I thought I told you not to talk.
Megaton: The real star of this movie will be Istanbul. I mean, what a city! So many gorgeous buildings for me to blow up.
Producer: It will be important to have more
scenes where Neeson's character says "listen to me very carefully...". That's what the people love.
Megaton: I've figured out a way to use that 19 times in this movie. One supporting character will be hard of hearing, so Neeson will keep saying that line to him, and then he'll explain his particular set of skills every single time! The audience will be saying it aloud with him by the end!  
Producer: Brilliant!
Megaton: How many people would you like Neeson to kill in this movie? Right now it's at about 52, but I can certainly make it more. He also breaks 12 bones per minute, which is the highest ratio since Segal's classic "Hard to Kill."
Asst. Producer: Wouldn't the Turkish authorities have a big problem with 52 dead people in Instanbul in a span of 1 day? That's like a catastrophic event.
Megaton: You really are an idiot, aren't you?
Asst. Producer: Also, even though Maggie Grace is 29, her character is apparently still in college without a driver's license?  
Producer: Seriously, you are this close to being fired.
Megaton: Okay, sounds like we're good to go let's start talking about my idea for The Grey 2: Greyer than Grey. We open on him sleeping in a cave underneath a wolf-skin blanket, a light snow is falling, a hawk cries out in the distance ...  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

NFL Week 5 Picks! Plus, Top Ten Reasons the Jets Suck

The 49ers D-line gave birth to a bouncing baby Mark Sanchez on Sunday

After three weeks of terrible NFL picks, I totally redeemed myself, going 12-2 last week. I can resume wearing gold chains and unbuttoning my Hawaiian shirts down to the navel, because that's what good prognosticators do! Who am I kidding, I never stopped. We're back in business, baby! On to the picks. 

Houston -9.5 at Jets
It's time for my annual "Why the Jets Suck" rant, which is coming a few weeks earlier than usual.

Let's do it in a top 10 list format. It's really not all Mark Sanchez's fault. While he's a factor, there are bigger reasons why this is one of the worst Jets teams since the Kotite years:

10) Coaching - Rex Ryan has not only lost weight, he's lost his mind. He's terrible at clock management, and even worse, he keeps several of his better players on the bench (Coples, McKnight) in place of inferior starters. The one thing he is responsible for on this team is the defense, and it's awful.
9) Punting - A team that punts so often should acquire a decent punter, don't ya think? All Jets punters are rejected dancers from "A Chorus Line".
8) Owner - Woody Johnson wants Tebow to start and has also stated he'd be fine with the Jets finishing below .500 if it meant Mitt Romney could win the election. Allow me to retort: As Jets fans we don't give a shit who you want to win the election. We want you to put a decent team on the field, and not a freaking circus. Until you do that...shut your effing cank-hole."
7) Running backs: Shonne Greene would be better suited to be a zombie extra on "The Walking Dead". He's that mobile. 

The always elusive Shonne Greene.
6) Mark Sanchez: He's earned his spot here by not improving at all over 4 seasons.
5) Tim Tebow: Has anyone seen the plays they've run with him? They are hilarious in their futility, and he looks slower than ever. Everytime he runs on the field, the entire offense becomes the Keystone cops...leading to reason 4
4) Tony Sparano: This clown bragged about his Wildcat all offseason, and it's TERRIBLE. Now, all he's done is bring in failed Dolphins like Lex Hilliard, Patrick Turner, Clyde Gates. What, you couldn't get us Pat White, too Tony? You incompetent jackass. Sparano makes Brian Schottenheimer look smart. That is an impossible feat.
3) The Fans: Somehow it's our fault, because we've chosen to watch this crap and support this team financially.
2) The Larry King linebackers: Keeping washed up vets like Bryan Thomas and Bart Scott around has resulted in the Jets having one of the worst linebacking cores in football.
1) GM Mike Tannenbaum: Singularly responsible for awful draft picks (Kyle Wilson, Vernon Gholston), poor trades (Tebow) and ill-advised free agent signings (Plaxico Burress). BRAVO, YOU ASSHAT!
Texans 41 Jets 9

Arizona +1.5 at St. Louis
The poor NFL Network, they get the absolute worst games. You really can't find a less interesting matchup than these two teams. Well, unless Cleveland is involved, but that goes without saying. But, will you watch? OF COURSE YOU WILL. Because you added Andre Roberts to your fantasy team and he will catch 1 ball for 8 yards this week and you will curse your own idiocy. The Cards are the worst and most boring 4-0 team you'll ever see. I'm going mild upset here. Rams 20 Cards 16

Atlanta -3 at Washington
The Falcons are rolling, even though Carolina's Ron Rivera should have got their game ball last week for punting on 4th and 1 with Cam Newton. Rivera used to work under Norv Turner. SHOCKING. Falcons 30 Skins 24

Philly +3.5 at Pittsburgh
Ah, the battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights. Never has there been less at stake. At 1-2, the Steelers need this game more and Big Ben has taken to this season like a backwater Mississippi bar...he's just crushing it, Brosephs. Pitt 23 Philly 17

Ron Rivera gives a PowerPoint
presentation on cowardice.
Giants +10 vs. Cleveland
At this point you just can't ever take the Giants as heavy favorites at home. On the road? Sure. But not in the swamp, even against the Cleve. Giants 28 Cleveland 21

Seattle +3 at Carolina
Everybody off the Russell Wilson bandwagon! The ride is over. Exit carefully down the steps, and the driver does accept tips. Carolina allowed Michael Turner to catch a short pass and run over 60 yards last week. If you can't catch Michael Turner for 60 yards, you should just give up. Ron Rivera has sure validated everyone's skepticism about his ability to be a head coach. Thanks, Ron! Carolina 23 Seahawks 13

Sadly, Russell Wilson has lost his ability
to make guys flip with his mind.

Green Bay -7 at Indy
This spread seems surprisingly low. The Colts just lost to a terrible Jag team at home. If you ever want a good laugh, check out Colts owner Jim Irsay's Twitter account. He's insane, and not the good kind of insane, like 1980s Robin Williams insane. He's like Manson-insane. Check out this tweet from Sept. 26: "Andy Williams dead at 84....DEAD at 84!" You don't have to be all happy about it, jerk. From Sept. 27: "He went to Paris,looking for answers,to questions that bothered him so...some of it's magic..and some of it's tragic!" I mean...WTF? This guy owns a football team. Packers 34 Colts 12

Tennessee +5.5 at Minnesota
Congrats to Chris Johnson for proving he still understands which direction to run on occasion. Minnesota is looking mighty fine this year. Somebody rent a boat and get the lake party started!
Vikings 21 Titans 17

"Ok, 4th quarter, down by's D-Bowe time!"
Baltimore -6 at KC
Another strangely low line considering Kansas City usually gives up 21 points before the coin toss. Garbage time should just be dubbed "Dwayne Bowe time" from now on. There's no better receiver when the game has been decided. An Ed Reed pick 6 is inevitable in this one. Also inevitable? A moving pre-game speech by Ray Lewis in front of the cameras. I wonder if he rehearses those speeches in front of his mirror in the morning. I bet he does using a hairbrush as a microphone.
Ravens 26 Chiefs 10

San Diego +3 at New Orleans
Who dat think they can go 0-5? The Saints do! It's delightful that San Diego is setting itself up for another late season fade where Norv Turner blows it, then signs a contract extension thru 2019. Saints 30 Chargers 28

Denver +7 over New England
OMG, it's Manning vs. Brady! On the same field! Who can we gush over more? Kindly pass me a barf bag, please. None of us deserves this.
Pats 34 Broncos 31

The rest:
Jacksonville +5.5 over Chicago
Cincy -4 over Miami
San Fran -9 over Buffalo

Last Week's record: 12-2
Overall Record: 29-30-2