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Slumpdog Millionaire

When the NFL playoffs come around each winter, I always feel obligated to take some action on the weekends games. I justify it by using the “this only happens once a year, it’s the NFL Playoffs.” So I study spreads, take advice from six different friends and research what kind of food Deangelo Williams has been consuming this week that may rile up his bowels. I look at ridiculous prop bets like who will win the coin toss and first QB to throw an interception. Sounds fascinating and fun until you’ve realized what you’ve done. My other persona comes out to play, WagerinRondo. I’ve gone to Vegas twice and came back with only a pack of pretzels I snagged from the person sitting next to me on the airplane. It’s an ugly sight, but for your entertainment I lost some money and lived to tell about it.

retrogambling-1Now here’s my usual rules that I like to stick by:
1.Don’t do teasers. I usually can’t get one bet right so why deal with having two things happen.
2.Don’t bet on Eli Manning…for anything. I don’t care if he won a Super Bowl, he still poses a Manning Face all game.
3.Don’t make a bet that counters the previous bet on the same game. (I’ll explain soon enough)
4.If it’s snowing outside, don’t always bet the under. Snow must include some wind, freezing temps and rain.
5.If you’re smart, don’t bet on NFL Football this season…it’s unpredictable.

My stupidity is so clear to me today that this is the only way I’ll ever learn to keep my money. So here’s what went down. In Saturday’s game I liked the Ravens. I somehow broke rule one with a teaser of the Ravens +9 and under 40. Minutes before game time I chose to get creative and put in a parlay of the over (33) in the Ravens/Titans and the under (50) in the Arizona/Carolina game. I was hoping for a score between 34-39. Now this was about as ridiculous as an episode of 24 explaining how Tony Almeida can still be alive. If you don’t watch, well then I missed you on that one. Anyways, I broke two rules here and broke even. I also took Deangelo Williams over 106 yards in the night game…well he finished with 67. Another stupid forced prop bet just to add some meaning to a pointless Saturday night blowout. Thanks Jake!
For Sunday, I managed to break some more of my own rules. I bet on the Giants giving 4 points and realized that was a huge mistake when I noticed that a Pop Warner QB could throw a tighter spiral than Eli on that day. Eli and the G-Men have looked terrible near the end of the season and with an extra week off, lost any rhythm their week 17 win presented. So of course, I bet on the reigning chumps thinking that with Tuck and Jacobs back “healthy” they would be able to physically dominate the Eagles. This was followed by me yelling and sulking in the corner of the couch. I wonder if we will ever see that Citizen’s watch commercial claiming Eli is unstoppable. Does this mean that the watch won’t work properly if it is windy out? I digress.
And if you haven’t figured it out, I took Pittsburgh and the under teaser. Well folks, it was barely snowing, some wind and boy did they kill that under. I wanted Tomlin beaten with the type of calls he was making in that game. Fake punt in the first half and choosing to throw deep when they could just run out the clock! AHH, I will never watch another movie with Omar Epps in it now because of what transpired on Sunday.

So the lesson today folks is don’t gamble. It’s an added stressor to an already exciting sport. If you have that gambling itch, go for a run and tackle a snow bank. You’ll get that gambler’s rush followed by a cold sensation that leaves you seeking a snuggie. Remember, I made these bets so you didn’t have to…now I hope you’ve learned your lesson!

RaginRondo

January 12, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFL Predictions, Part 1

1.  If Baltimore beats the Titans, I think they’re a lock for the Superbowl.

Ed Reed

Ed Reed

I don’t want to make too much of this–afterall, as great as Flacco has played this season, he is still a rookie and prone to “rookie mistakes”–but the Ravens are the scariest team in the NFL.  We could be witnessing a team that channels the 2007 Giants–a squad that gets hot at the right time and rides a strong defensive wave (coupled with a good showing by their young quarterback) all the way to the Superbowl.

It’s not as if the Ravens haven’t been to the Superbowl before on the back on their defense.  But this year, their offense is actually showing up.  And that’s very scary.

2.  The Steelers will Dominate the San Diego Chargers on Sunday

I don’t forsee this being a game similar in vein to when these two teams met earlier in the year.  I think Sproles will inject some speed and creativity into the offense, getting lots of YAC on screen passes in particular.  But I expect that Pittsburgh defense to be in full force.  I think they will shut down the running attack and blitz Rivers until he throws up the white flag of surrender.  As good as Phiilip Rivers has been this season, I expect to see Polamalu to get a turnover and return it for a touchdown.

3.  Tony Dungy Will Retire

By early next week, we should hear whether Dungy will retire or come back to the Colts in 2009.  I think he’s completely done.  Dungy has stated before that football isn’t his only passion, and one would think that such a serene man would like to spend more time with his family.  With Jim Caldwell already lined up to replace him, Dungy will step aside and finally let someone else run the show in Indianapolis.  Soon after the season ends, Favre will follow Dungy into the sunset, as well.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burning NFL Questions

1.  Wasn’t this one of the most exciting final weeks of football you have witnessed in a long time?

2.  Was there any doubt that Romeo Crennel and Rod Marinelli were going to get canned?

3.  Speaking of firings, though, did Mangini really deserve to be fired after having two winning seasons in three years?

4.  Will Jerry Jones finally realize that team chemistry is what is needed in the locker room, and not just talent?

Tony Romo

Tony Romo

5.  Can everyone stop trying to replace Donnovan McNabb now?

6.  Isn’t it great to see Chad Pennington finally get some well deserved credit?

Chad Pennington

Chad Pennington

7.  Is it me, or are the Ravens the scariest team in the playoffs?

8.  Was it a bad decision to have Ben Roethlisberger play in a meaningless game against the Browns and get hurt, or just part of the game?

9.  Does anyone really expect much out of the Cardinals in the post-season?

10.  Although the Titans had nothing to play for, how does such a great team get shut out against a division rival?

11.  How many games in 2009 will it take for the Lions to finally win one?

12.  Wasn’t it a shame that Drew Brees came 16 yards short of breaking the passing record?

13.  Isn’t it a bigger shame that an 11-5 team like the Patriots can miss the playoffs, while the 8-8 Chargers get to host a playoff game?

14.  Aren’t you happy you don’t have to hear Terrell Owens’ garbage in the playoffs?

15.  Speaking of the Cowboys, why is Bradie James picking fights with fans–does he think think he is recently fired Browns GM Phil Savage?

16.  Speaking of Phil Savage, will he be remembered most for extending Romeo Crennel after just one good year in 2007 or refusing to trade a hot and cold QB in Derek Anderson while his stock was high?

17.  Can someone explain how Tampa Bay blew a playoff opportunity by losing to the Raiders?

18.  Can someone explain how the Broncos blew a three game lead in their division?

19.  Don’t we all hope Brett Favre doesn’t drag out his retirement drama for months and months?

20.  Now that it’s playoff time, why can’t the NFL bring back the Don Cheadle commericals?

December 29, 2008 Posted by | NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Case for Matt Ryan for League MVP

Ryan Takes the Field

Ryan Takes the Field

It may be impossible to fathom, but I think Matt Ryan has a strong case for MVP of the league. This award is usually given to the player who has the gaudiest stats, the one who has the most endorsements, and the one who’s the biggest household name. But that’s not what an MVP of the NFL should be.

MVP stands for Most Valuable Player. This is exactly how you should judge a player who’s up for this award. The thought process should go something like this: If this player was not on [fill in the blank team], where would this [fill in the blank team] be right now? How significant of an impact has this player had on the success of the team?

Let’s first look at the contenders. First up: Kurt Warner. Warner is reminding us of his “greatest show on turf” days. He’s thrown for over 4,200 yards and 26 touchdowns. But he’s fumbled the ball a mind boggling ten times this season; he’s fumbled an astonishing 53 times over the past five years. His Cardinals are also only 8-6. It’s remarkable that they’ll host their first home playoff game since 1947, but Arizona is only in the playoffs this year because their division is so inept.

Next up: Adrian Peterson. I love Peterson—loved him in college, and always thought that he had hall of fame talent. As great of a year as AD (short for “All Day,” his nickname) is having, it still falls short compared to his rookie season. Currently, AD has played 14 games and rushed for 1,581 yards and nine touchdowns. Last season, Peterson played 14 games–(missed two to injury)–and started just nine of those 14 matchups. In that time, he rushed for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also broke the single game rushing record last season. There’s no question that his stats would be off the charts with a better passing game, but the Vikings are a bit disappointing given how much talent the team has.

Next is Albert Haynesworth. This man has been a beast for the middle of the defensive line in Tennessee. With 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks, Haynesworth is the reason why the Titans defense has been so tough up front. With that said, it looks like he will be out the remainder of the regular season with a leg injury.

Next is, of course, Peyton Manning. Manning is no doubt incredible—one of the top five quarterbacks I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s hard to argue against him. His numbers, though below his average, are still good. Close to 4,000 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and a 66.4 completion percentage. Injuries, too, ravaged this team, and Manning found a way to rebound like he always does.

With that said, Manning’s Colts still lost the division to the Titans. And though Manning’s stats look good, you have to wonder how the Colts almost lost to the Browns (final score: 10-6). In that game, Manning had less than 130 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. That just shouldn’t happen. Even in a game like Thursday’s matchup against the Jaguars, it just seems the Colts start slow against teams they should beat. It shouldn’t take over three quarters for a Manning-led offense to finally start clicking.

As for Matt Ryan, his stats don’t jump out at you necessarily. He has over 3,100 yards passing with 14 touchdowns and a 62.2 completion percentage. But it’s not always about the numbers. Remember, the Falcons were the team that no one wanted to play for (D’Angelo Hall). Hell, no one wanted to coach there, either (Bobby Petrino). Even Bill Parcells left owner Arthur Blank at the altar regarding a vacant front office position. And, of course, the stench of Michael Vick permeated throughout the entire franchise. With everything that had transpired with this team last year, Blank was asked if he felt used by the media. Blank’s response: “Actually, I feel abused.”

It was ugly in Atlanta in 2007. Last season, Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich were attempting to quarterback this team. In 2008, the job has been given to a 23 year old rookie quarterback, and he has been outstanding. He throws the ball extremely well, often very accurate and away from the opposition. He manages the game. He understands the playbook. He’s composed on the field, looking like a ten year veteran in the pocket. Off the field, he exudes confidence when talking to the press.

Some may have thought Ryan would find success in the NFL, but no one would’ve predicted it would come this early. And no one could have foreseen that it would come just one year after the utter disaster that was the 2007 Atlanta Falcons.

In my opinion, Ryan had both the lowest and highest of expectations. He was a top level draftee who was paid an ungodly sum of money. He took over a downtrodden team as an inexperienced pro. And he was filling the shoes of one of the most exciting players in the NFL, and ironically enough one of the most hated athletes in America–Michael Vick.

And all Ryan has done is lead the Falcons to a 9-5 record—they would be 10-6 had Roddy White caught a perfectly thrown touchdown pass by Ryan in the back of the end zone with 58 seconds remaining against the Broncos in week 11. The Falcons are still in the mix for a wild card spot. And while running back Michael Turner no doubt has been a force for Atlanta, Matt Ryan would get my vote for league MVP.

Who is your choice for MVP?

December 20, 2008 Posted by | NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment