Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pick 'Em Week 2

(To see standings -- week-by-week and year-to-date, click here.)

Well, I was right about three things last week:
  1. Some of my picks
  2. The fact that week one, anything can happen
  3. That I'd end up tied with one of those two yahoos.
As it turns out, our decision to include a "lock" pick could turn out to be a game-changer. Keller actually out-picked both Forty and I, but since he blew his lock he only holds a one point lead. That's fine - it's only one week. There were some shockers in the first week - Namely Dallas and Washington pulling off the upsets. Lucky for Keller, the "defending Super Bowl champion has won their first game of the season since, like, 1846." Wait, not lucky. The other thing. What was that called? Oh yeah - "Ha ha!"


Week two looks to have its own share of upsets, but more in our picks than what Vegas is predicting. For one thing, we all ended up picking the Ravens, even though Philly is favored. I don't think that's much of a stretch, but obviously the bookies feel differently. Also, Forty has learned that there comes a time in a man's life to either go big, or to pack up and go home.

He went big this week.

Keller and I stayed exactly the same in our picks, and our lock of the week is the same, so he and I will stay one pick apart this week - but Forty has a chance of either pulling way out ahead, or heading to the ATM to reserve that $50.

Lock of the Week (Keller): New England over Arizona, 38-10: We're doing the same thing this year that we did last year where we don't count the first week of the season, right? We're doing that, right? I got crushed in fantasy football, crushed in Pick Em, and crushed on my Lock of the Week last week. But... I'm totally coming back strong and I'm going to take out my failures on those that I feel have wronged me. I guess that means Weidman, Forty, and the universe at large. So... watch out.

Hey, so, here's why I'm taking the Patriots. It's Tom Brady at home in the regular season against a crappy team. That's pretty much a slam dunk right there. Tom Brady at home in the playoffs against a marginal team? Maybe not so much. But, these are the kind of games that Belichick and Brady dominate in the regular season, then everyone wonders what happens when they lose to teams that aren't pulled from Division I-AA once they coast through an easy regular season schedule and play a real team in the post season. I hate the Patriots and they can't win important games where they can't cheat, is what I'm saying. But just for this week, there's no easier pick to make.

Lock of the Week (Weidman): New England over Arizona, 35-10 (They will cover, and probably over might be a stretch. Play it safe and take the under.)

Okay, so here's the deal: Keller calls this a no-BS lock of Dallas/Giants proportions, so that concerns me. However, he's right: It's Pretty Boy at home during the regular season. It's also their home opener, and that's the kind of deal that Belichick brings out the formal hoodie for. Plus, it's the Arizona Cardinals. If it were the Arizona Rattlers, then there might be a chance, but I don't see their outdoor team marching into New England's back yard and winning.

But, even if we're all wrong, then we're all wrong and the points are a wash - and besides, I won both my fantasy leagues this week, marking the first time in ever that I rocked out in week one (or, generally, any week), so I'm feeling good.

Difficulty: I have Brady on one team, which, as I've mentioned in the past, almost assures a meltdown.

Lock of the Week (Forty):New England over Arizona 41-10 (The spread is 14, so no problem there. The over/under is 48, so you might want to go with the under, but the Pats could cover on their own.)

The first week of the NFL season is always hard to predict and the second week isn't much better. Looking over the current slate of games, I only see one absolute lock of the week.

The New England Patriots in week one did two things they haven't done in a few years; dominate on defense and establish a solid running game. Stevan Ridley, who I championed as a fantasy football sleeper in several leagues, had 125 yards and a touchdown. The defense had two sacks, one fumble recovered for a touchdown, one interception and several passes deflected in only giving up 13 points. Not to mention that they still have, to paraphrase “The Blues Brothers,” a passing game powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.

One might say, sure, but this was against the lowly Tennessee Titans who have a couple good receivers, but no one to get them the ball, a running game that isn't living up to potential and a defense that's mediocre at best. Who do the Pats play this week? The Arizona Cardinals who you can say the exact same things about. Throw in that it's a home game and you're looking at another blow out for the early favorites to make another Super Bowl.

Meet the "Experts":

Brad "QBERT" Keller is the inventor and sole proprietor of the QBERT (Quantitative BERT jones is awesome) system for rating quarterbacks. Using this innovative approach and working tirelessly part time breaking down film and finding angles inside the angles, he has mastered the art of picking and handicapping NFL games. With an expanded playing field this season, he's anxious to defend his title against a formidable group of experts that... hey, you know what? He can beat these two jokers, right? No problem. Because he has a foolproof system.

"Arena" Weidman's prime qualification for this contest is that he's spent more than a decade watching Steelers games with Keller while drinking. Because of this, most of his picks might seem like they were done while drunk, but that's just a facet of how he gets into "recall mode." A devoted follower of the Arena Football League, Weidman's NFL world view is colored through this lens. Because of this, he possesses strong opinions on why more people should go to Power games and how the the Cardinals should really be using the Rattlers as a farm team. Mainly, he just has trouble with the field being way too big.

Leonard "Forty" Hayhurst earned his nickname for his ability to grow the facial hair of a 40-year-old man at the age of 16, not his ability to pound 40s of King Cobra, but there's that too. He owns the largest collection of Drew Bledsoe memorabilia in the world (five items would be the largest, right?). He feels for Cleveland Browns fans because when he started rooting for a 2-14 club in the New England Patriots, they eventually won three Super Bowls. Then Steelers fans brag about how they have six Super Bowl wins, to which Leonard says they would have had eight if the Patriots hadn't beaten them twice in the AFC Championship game. They then mumble something about Franco Harris and walk away.

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