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Straight Cash’s Divisional Playoff Picks

There are some juicy, juicy matchups this weekend. Lots of top defenses showcased, a wild gun show on display in the South, and a good old NFC East hatefest. Let’s get it on.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 01/10/09, 4:30pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: TEN -3, o/u 34

The Pick: BAL +3

Everyone’s saying that a rookie QB like Flacco will fold against Tennessee’s punishing front, but New Guy Joe gets to see this type of “D” everyday in practice. The Titans won back in Week 5 (13-10) in a grind it out, defensive battle, but I think the difference this time is the improved play and confidence of Flacco and the growth of Le’Ron McClain as a legitimate back to pair with Willis McGahee. Kerry Collins, LenDale White and Chris Johnson are stabling forces for the Titans, but the loss of Kevin Mawae under center will play a big role at the line. To me, it just seems like the Ravens D is jacked entering the postseason, led by All-world hawk Ed Reed. No doubt, Tennessee is still one of the top 3 defenses in the league, I just don’t think they have enough weapons offensively to put up points. The Ravens will keep it close and may win outright — lots of penalties, trash talking and clock running in this one.

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, 01/10/09, 8:15pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: CAR -10, o/u 49

The Pick: Over 49

I’m riding the Arizona “over” train until it falls off the tracks. This team cannot cover anyone and Kurt Warner must try to outgun each opponent they face. And why not? with both NFC Pro Bowl WR starters at his disposal in Boldin and Fitzgerald, could you blame him. Carolina has found gold in their backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. And of course, Steve Smith is a game changer. Need some numbers? The two teams combined for 50 in a 27-23 Panthers win in Week 8. The over is 7-2 in Arizona’s and Carolina’s last 9 games. Carolina has given up an average of 25 points in that span, and Arizona 29.5. It’s Jake Delhomme’s 33rd birthday Saturday and his wish of a Carolina win will come to fruition, just not sure it’s by the 10 points Vegas is projecting them by. So take the over, sit back on the Lazy Boy and watch some fireworks in the Bank of America Dome.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, 01/11/09, 1:00pm EST FOX
Line/Total: NYG -4, o/u 38

The Pick: NYG -4

The Eagles are playing excellent ball at the right time. The Donovan McNabb Hall of Fame talk has resurfaced. Philly’s defense has been dynamic with Johnson at the helm. I’m still taking the Giants to win and cover. A few reasons why: 1) They’re at home. 2) Eli has more weapons to pass to than Donovan. 3) Brandon “Frankenstein” Jacobs is at full force. 4) The 3-headed monster that is Jacobs-Ward-Bradshaw is more effective than a nicked up Westbrook and Buckhalter. 5) The Meadowlands field will be slick and there’s a 90% chance of snowfall/rain, which bodes well for the Giants ground attack. 6) The Giants have been there, done that, and coach Coughlin has had an extra week to prep the troops. And finally, 7) Those two “MENSA” candidates Andy Reid and McNabb will find a way to implode on the big stage. ‘Nuff said.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 01/11/09, 4:45pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: PIT -6, o/u 37.5

The Pick: PIT -6

I still don’t believe in Philip Rivers. While everyone waxes poetic about his natural ability and competitiveness, I still think he’s just a gunslinger who lacks the leadership quality (charisma) to inspire his team. That said, the Steelers will bring the pressure in waves at the Chargers, and Rivers will have to get rid of the ball quicker than he’s used to. Darren Sproles has to be ready to catch short dinks from the backfield ala LaDainian Tomlinson, while Gates must push hard off the line for SD to be effective. Now, what concerns me for Pittsburgh is the offensive side of the ball. Big Ben is holding on to the ball longer than he should be, resulting in multiple sack games, while the deep threat in Santonio Holmes has been nullified throughout the year. Look for the Steelers to give the Chargers a big dose of Fast Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore. The -6 points from Vegas is pretty steep, but the Steelers have gotten all the breaks of late and it’ll be a game-changing turnover (maybe by the wavy-haired Samoan) that’ll put the Steelers over the top. Also, that same competitiveness that Rivers is lauded for will be his undoing as he’ll attempt some unnecessary deep throws into the Pittsburgh’s secondary. The only thing that worries me is Big Ben’s bell being rung to the tune of another concussion.

Went 3-1 in last weekend’s Wild Card matchups. Let’s keep up the good vibes.

2009 record: 5-2.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 10, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Le’Ron McClain wins one for Le’Ron McClain

Way to win your fantasy league... with yourself, LeRon.As an avid fantasy football player, I have often found myself baffled on Sundays. It seems that no matter HOW much time and effort I put into studying and crafting my team, eventually dumb-luck will come to bite me in the a$$. How in the world have I lost certain weekly match-ups by the faltering of stars like LT, Tony Gonzalez and Brandon Marshall? How is it possible that random ‘Joe Shmoes’ such as Steve Breaston and Mewelde Moore have been my Achilles Heal?

Then it hit me.  It was so obvious. My fantasy heartbreaks this season haven’t been a result of “dumb-luck” but , rather, to something I can’t control. NFL players and coaches play fantasy football, and inevitably they are able to manufacture their own “fantasy wins” thru minor manipulations in “real games”

My theory was proven Saturday nightduring the Baltimore v. Dallas game.  All that the Ravens needed to do to secure a victory with 1:33 left in the 4th quarter and a 26-24 lead was get a first down, keep the ball in-bounds and run the clock out. From their own 18 yard line, Le’Ron McClain took the ball up the middle, unscathed, and ran 82 yards for a touchdown. Although this put the Ravens up 9 points, getting into the endzone actually GAVE the Cowboys a chance to win by allowing them to get the ball back . Most coaches will tell their players in a situation like this to take a knee once they have a first down. Watching the replay, you can even see McClain’s teammate Mark Clayton pointing to the ground, telling him not to score. So why did Le’Ron McClain selfishly punch it in for 6 instead of playing it safe? Easy. Le’Ron McClain was starting Le’Ron McClain on his fantasy team and he needed extra points.

This triggered the immediate research for all the other instances this year where the performance of a player or outcome of a real game was the result of someones desire to win in fantasy football.

* When Peyton Manning put up a meager 125 yards and 2 INTs in week 13, he was obviously “throwing” the game because he was playing somebody that had HIM in fantasy.

* When the impotent Patriots third string running back, Lamont Jordan had 2 TD’s and 78 yards this week, it was transparent that Coach Bellicheck was playing God in his own fantasy league.

* Coach Marvin Lewis (Bengals) bolstered this argument by allowing (scrub) Cedric Benson carry the ball 38 times in week 16 (7 carries below all time record). Think Lewis was starting Benson in fantasy? I do!

* Why do you think Tony Romo has recently started neglecting his star receiver T.O. (the topic of much controversy in Dallas)? Isn’t it obvious that Romo traded away Owens in his high-stakes fantasy league?

And the biggest kicker…

* Tom Brady undeniably wanted to vacation with Gisele Bundchen all season instead of playing ball. Thus, Brady drafted Matt Cassel in his fantasy league and faked a season ending ACL/MCL injury. He is now in first place in fantasy football, beating the guy who drafted…Tom Brady.

Think I am crazy and this is a completely discredited theory??  Click here to watch the Washington Redskins host a fantasy football draft.

 And that’s what STATDRAGON is breathing fire about…

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Fantasy Football, NFL, Stupid Athletes, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment