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Straight Cash’s Wild Card Weekend Picks

This NFL Wild Card weekend will have dirty birds, rookie QBs, MVPs, All-Days, Burners, Bolts and Colts. It also features all 4 home teams as underdogs — first time I’ve ever seen that. Let’s get to the picks. Short and sweet.

Dreaming of days with Martz and Faulk

Dreaming of days with Martz and Faulk

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals, 4:30pm EST, NBC
Line/Total: ATL -2, o/u 51

The pick: Over 51

It’ll be a shootout in the desert. The Falcons will score points because the Cardinals are 0-6 against teams who were in the top 10 in rushing (the Falcons are ranked #2 behind the Giants). Then, after a steady diet of Mike Turner and Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan will open up the field against Arizona’s 22nd ranked pass D. On the other side, Arizona will take to the air because they are dead last in rushing, and so we’ll see the Kurt Warner show against Atlanta’s very shaky secondary. This game may also get messy with the presence of John Abraham and his 16.5 sacks. Though a lot of things point to an Atlanta win, you cannot count out Captain Kurt at home. He will go down chucking the ball to his talented trio of receivers, and if he misses, well that’s just better field position for the dirty birds. One big stat: the over is 9-1 in Arizona’s last 10 home games.

Will Peyton take it lying down?

Will Peyton take it lying down?

Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers, 8:00pm EST, NBC
Line/Total: IND -1, o/u 50

The pick: IND -1

The Chargers may be on a roll with 4 wins in a row to close the season, but if you look closely they were against the doormat Chiefs, lowly Raiders, and self-destructing Broncos and Bucs teams. The Colts are riding a 9-win wave themselves with quality victories over the Steelers, Patriots and a 23-20 Week 12 win over the Chargers at Qualcomm. In this matchup of two premier QBs, I’ll take Indy’s 6th ranked pass D over the 31st ranked San Diego pass D (only the Seahawks were worse). It will be close throughout, but look for the Colts to slow this game down, and finish with a vintage Peyton Manning, long, drawn-out, antsy, multi-audible, drive.

Will Ed Reed touch the ball more than Ricky Williams?

Will Ed Reed touch the ball more than Ricky Williams?

Baltimore Orioles at Miami Dolphins, 1:00pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: BAL -3, o/u 38

The pick: BAL -3

Baltimore’s D will be too much for Pennington and Miami. In their 27-13 Week 7 win over the Dolphins, the Ravens stopped the vaunted Wildcat offense allowing only 71 rush yards and forcing a pick 6 courtesy of Terrell Suggs. Look for Baltimore to bring the same defensive gameplan and challenge Pennington to go deep (not his strength) where my pick for Defensive Player of the Year, Mr. Ed Reed (and his 9 INTs), will be waiting. All rookie QB Joe Flacco has to do is his best Kerry Collins imitation and take care of the ball and make simple, low risk plays, and leave the rest to Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Suggs and company. The Dolphins’ and Pennington’s comeback story has been inspiring this year, but it ends this weekend.

A little help on "O" please

A little help on "O" please

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings, 4:30pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: PHI -2, o/u 41

The pick: PHI -2

If the Eagles were facing any other NFC playoff team, I might think twice about picking them because of their inconsistency and much too frequent brain farts. But against the one-dimensional Vikes, it makes it easy for D-guru Jim Johnson to scheme up ways to stop Adrian Peterson and expose the Vikings passing game. Yes, Minnesota has the top-ranked rush defense, but Philadelphia isn’t too shabby at #5. The difference is that Philly has a very efficient McNabb, who’s making the right reads of late. Also, the Eagles 3rd ranked pass defense will feast on Minny’s 25th ranked pass offense. Nothing else here other than the Eagles secondary has been swarming, and if any bit of the intensity brought against Dallas shows up, it’ll be a long day for Tavaris Jackson. Hopefully, we don’t get any of this on the sidelines.

USC’s KO of Penn State started the year off right. Straight Cash record for 2009: 1-0

Good Luck everyone.

January 3, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ming Dynasty

Battier is reaping the Yao benefits in China!

Battier is reaping the Yao benefits in China!

I would like to make an announcement today exclusively on Sportsfly! This is historic and media outlets will be swarming after this is released. I, RaginRondo, will make myself eligible for the 2009-2010 NBA draft. My recreational league stats 5.2 PPG, 6 APG, 5.5 RPG, and a defensive lockdown forward with Ray Lewis intensity. But there’s a clause. I will only sign with the Houston Rockets. I know Ron Artest, the defensive juggernaut is now in Houston but with my addition, we will have the intangibles to turn the Rockets into the Uber Rockets. After signing, i will befriend Yao Ming and learn what makes this man tick. I would actually be fine with sitting the bench and selling out to Yao’s circle of sponsorships.

Ever since the Yao dynasty began, Houston players have been getting Chinese endorsement deals from shoe and retail sponsors. The most recent Rocket to sign is Ron Artest who has made a deal with the shoe company China Peak. Shane Battier also wears this shoe while Luis Scola and Steve Francis sport Anta; another Chinese shoe brand. Yao alone has been sponsored by major companies including; Nike, Reebok, Pepsi, Visa, Garmin, Apple and McDonald’s here in the U.S. and China. Cha-Ching!! Yao’s one of the most popular people in all of China and with Yi Jianlian coming to the NBA; China has only increased their product market base. A reported 400 million items of NBA memorabilia were sold in China in 2007 with over 1 billion viewers watching the NBA.
With this increased popularity, I expect to sign a deal extremely soon with “Mr. Sparkle”;(This barring any problems with my Houston signing). Don’t worry; my signing is more of a lock than the J-E-T-S blowing Sunday’s game to spite the Pats. China, say hello to your new household name! Thanks Yao.

RaginRondo

December 23, 2008 Posted by | NBA | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1996 Draft Revisited

In succession, looking back at the past drafts of recent memories, how they contributed or adversely affected the teams, and the outlook by the “so-called” experts going in, a look at the 1996 NFL draft.

It was widely regarded as one of the better years for wide receiver and surely did not disappoint.  St. Louis traded Jerome Bettis and their 3rd round pick to Pittsburgh for this years 2nd round pick and next years 4th round pick…this turned out to be Jerome Bettis and LB Steve Conley for TE Ernie Conwell and OL Ryan Tucker.

In the end we saw 2 sure fire Hall of Fame linebackers in Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas, and 7 other HOF probables; Jonathan Ogden, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins, Marvin Harrison, Lawyer Milloy, Mike Alstott, and Tedy Bruschi.  For the 2nd straight year, a team built the nucleus of a Super Bowl team with 2 first round picks, Baltimore picking Ray Lewis and Ogden.

The top 5; #1, Keyshawn Johnson to Jets, #2 Kevin Hardy to Jacksonville, #3 Simeon Rice to Arizona, # 4 Jonathan Ogden to Baltimore, and #5 Cedric Jones to the NY Giants, and our only official flop in the Top 5.

10 Running Backs were drafted on Day 1, and only Eddie George (14) had a

 decent NFL career.  The others, Lawrence Phillips (6), Tim Biakabutuka (8), Leeland McElroy (32), Detron Smith (65), Winslow Oliver (73), Moe Williams (75), Karim Abdul-Jabar (80), Jerald Moore (83) and Reggie Brown (93).

1st Round Honorable Mention: Baltimore T Jonathan Ogden (4), Cincinnati T Willie Anderson (10), Indianapolis WR Marvin Harrison (19), Buffalo WR Eric Moulds (24), Baltimore LB Ray Lewis (26)

Rest of Day 1 winners: Tampa Bay (35) FB Mike Alstott, New England (36) DB Lawyer Milloy, Carolina (43) WR Muhsin Muhammad, Philadelphia (61) DB Brian Dawkins, Tampa Bay (71) DB Donnie Abraham, New England (86) LB Tedy Bruschi, San Francisco (89) WR Terrell Owens.

Day 2 Winners: Kansas City (98) LB Donnie Edwards, Washington (102) RB Stephen Davis, Houston (109) T John Runyan, Pittsburgh (126) LB Earl Holmes, Kansas City (135) WR Joe Horn, St. Louis (141) T Fred Miller, Chicago (152) G Chris Villarial, Miami (154) LB Zach Thomas, Oakland (166) DT La’Roi Glover, Green Bay (208) G Marco Rivera, Buffalo (244) TE Jay Riemersma.

In contrast to the 1995 draft, its fair to say that this was a great draft!

Top 3 Winners:

#1. Baltimore – LB Ray Lewis and T Jonathan Ogden, thats enough for me, although WR Jermaine Lewis had some success as a receiver but more as a return man.

#2. Kansas City – their first 2 picks formed a strong safety tandem in Jerome Woods (28) and Reggie Tongue (58).  DT John Browning was helpful, and LB Donnie Edwards (98) and WR Joe Horn (135) highlighted their draft.

#3 (Tie). New England – They came in with 13 picks, but only needed their first 3; Terry Glenn, Lawyer Milloy and Tedy Bruschi.

#3 (Tie) Green Bay – You cant not put a team that builds 2 centerpieces to their OL in one draft, Marco Rivera and Mike Flanagan.  Despite, using their first pick on a T bust, John Michels.

Bottom 3 Losers:

#1. Arizona – The Cardinals had 9 picks, and even though their 1st, DE Simeon Rice enjoyed some fine seasons, none of them were with Arizona.

#2. Oakland – Oakland selected TE Ricky Dudley #9 overall, and despite a good pick in DT La’Roi Glover, he played a mere 2 games with them.

#3. New Orleans – I give the Saints an ‘A’ for cool names; Mercury Hayes, Ricky Whittle, Terry Guess, Keno Hills, but an ‘F’ for success, including first rounder Alex Molden.

December 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment