Monday, December 31, 2018

N.Y. Jets: Todd Bowles Sacked by Gang Green

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS REVENGE


Todd Bowles
2018:  4-12
2017:  5-11
2016:  5-11
2015:  10-6

New York Jets: Todd Bowles Latest Head Coach Infected With Gang Green Disease.

I still say Todd Bowles deserved better support from his general manager.  Mike Maccagnan never sufficiently replenished the talent he himself purged after Todd Bowles' first season as head coach. Nor will Bowles benefit from Maccagnan's substantial, and as yet untapped, salary cap war chest.  It's almost as if cap savings were intentionally designed to come at his head coach's expense.  After all, Bowles was not Maccagnan's hire, something that I previously suggested eerily wreaks of what John Idzik perpetrated against Rex Ryan.

In both instances, I blame the Brothers Johnson.  More on them in a bit ...

In reviewing the Jets roster, an argument can be made that at least 18 of 22-plus starting positions need serious redress.  That's on the general manager whom has been on the job just as long as Bowles.  So, who failed who?  Very simply, a head coach is responsible for the players provided by the general manager.  If said general manager provides pedestrian undisciplined players, then expect any head coach to produce a mediocre penalty riddled season.  I recently heard an NFL analyst/former player say that penalties happen those individuals getting seriously outplayed and physically beaten.  Insofar as the Jets are concerned, this could not ring more true.  I do not disagree with the decision to move on from Todd Bowles.  I'm merely saying the front office did him no favors.

However, Todd Bowles is not free of blame.  Considering he's a former defensive coordinator, the Jets allowed over 400-points this season, which is on par with the NFL's other last place teams.  One  can cycle that back around as being Maccagnan's fault, but one must still agree Bowles in-game management skills left a lot to be desired.  Moreover, an overall failure to clean up habitually maddening mistakes are on him.  Far too often the Jets did more to beat themselves than did the competition which invariably points back to Bowles.

Above all else, the organization must now do right by Sam Darnold.  With a potential franchise quarterback in their possession, they must ensure he receives the utmost support.  That being said, Bowles and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates proved quite the un-dynamic duo.  Aside from surrounding him with much needed complimentary talent, the mentoring and developing of Sam Darnold is where the Jets most need improvement.  If Todd Bowles is gone, Jeremy Bates should be following very close behind.

One of the local radio shows also recently mentioned the last person with previous head coaching experience hired by the Jets was Bill Parcells.  That's something this front office should consider as well.

It is now incumbent upon (not so innocent...) Mike Maccagnan to finally spend some money on quality talent, and do a vastly better job in the draft.  A change in structure is needed as well.  He must be given autonomy in searching out a new head coach; his own head coach; a head coach who will not report directly to Christopher Johnson.  That must stop.  I believe it's in Mr. Johnson's best interest to implement a chain of command, then get the hell out of the way.  The general manager and next head coach become a package deal.  If and when Mr. Johnson decides they're not doing a good job, he can fire them both.  Point being, the system whereby the general manager and head coach share equal footing on the owner's rug doesn't jive, particularly when one doesn't necessarily agree with the other.  Because truth be told, Bowles and Maccagnan have never been on the same page.

Yet, Todd Bowles was fired by Christopher Johnson, not Mike Maccagnan.  I therefore blame much of this mess on the Brothers Johnson, whom have continually put their coaches and general managers in positions to fail.  Thus making Todd Bowles only the latest coach infected by Gang Green disease.



Sunday, December 30, 2018

PIGSKIN 2018: Week Seventeen


PIGSKIN
WEEK SEVENTEEN
Football Sunday

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen
Week Sixteen


Scoreboard
Week Sixteen Record:  5-6-2
Overall Record:  88-113-10
Schmear of the Week:  8-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -40

An old football coach once said, "You are what your record says you are."  Like the Giants and Jets, I guess that makes me a loser.  What can I say ... if you wanna win against the spread, you gotta take chances with underdogs.  This season it appears as if I picked too many.  That's why they call it gambling.  Good thing I only wager imaginary bagels.  But all kidding aside, thank you to all whom keep up with my weekly PIGSKIN picks, and to everyone who has ever spent time visiting my Brooklyn Trolley Blogger.  From my family and I, to you and yours, Happy New Year.


1st and Ten:
  • Clinched: Patriots; Texans; Chiefs; Chargers; Cowboys; Saints; Bears; Rams; Seahawks.
  • Saints and Rams have shot at joining Chiefs with 500-points scored this season.
  • Story of the Year:  Browns.
2nd and Long:
  • Last Chance at Playoff Corral: Colts; Titans; Ravens; Steelers; Vikings; Eagles.
No Gain:
  • Biggest Disappointments: Jaguars; Eagles; Giants; Falcons; Panthers; Packers.
  • NFL Nomads: Raiders; Dolphins; Broncos; D.C. Hogs; Bucs; Cardinals.
PUNT:
  • Business as Usual:  Jets; Bills; Bengals; Lions; Niners.

REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Friday Line ~ NYDN

GIANTS -6 (Cowboys)
I don't believe in sitting starters, therefore I'm throwing my favorite team a bone.  The Giants have somehow scored thirty more points this season than the Cowboys despite a mixed bag-o-goods from Odell Beckham.
Loss; 36-35 Cowboys

PATRIOTS -13 1/2 (Jets)
Remember that huge Jets win at Foxboro when Rex Ryan was still coach?  Yeah, well...  This is going to be an exclamation point game for the Patriots who I'm sure want to show the league they are far from through.
WIN; 38-3 Patriots

Raiders +13 1/2 (CHIEFS)
Chiefs give up so many damn points.  That'll play right into Derek Carr's hands.  Chiefs also haven't been the same since they lost what's his face.  Take the points.
Loss; 35-3 Chiefs

SAINTS -9 (Panthers)
Saints merely need to show up.  Somehow, the Panthers under new ownership, and minus Cam Newton, have become an unmitigated mess.
Loss; 33-14 Panthers

Eagles -6 1/2 (D.C. HOGS)
Nick Foles can't save the Eagles season now.  But the defending champs still want to finish the season on a positive note.  They'll take out all their frustrations against the Hogs.
WIN; 24-0 Eagles

PACKERS -8 (Lions)
Matt Patricia's first season with Detroit did not go so well.  Why should it turn around now?  No playoffs for the Packers ... but Green Bay still wants to have a good time.  Brats and Beer for everyone!
Loss; 31-0 Lions

TEXANS -6 1/2 (Jaguars)
If the Jaguars only had a quarterback...  Houston has lost two of their last three, and should be looking for a strong finish.  I smell potential blowout.
WIN; 20-3 Texans

RAVENS -6 1/2 (Browns)
Ravens are on a mission.  Defeat is not an option.  Defense plays huge, giving Baker Mayfield something to ponder over the winter.
Loss; 26-24 Ravens

BUCS -1 (Falcons)
Atlanta qualifies as one of the season's biggest disappointments.  The Bucs score points; the Falcons allow points.  A marriage made in heaven.
Loss; 34-32 Falcons

Dolphins +3 1/2 (BILLS)
Yeah, the Bills at home probably win this.  But I'm going to finish with my season long support of the Sea Mammals.
Loss; 42-17 Bills

TITANS +3 (Colts)
All eyes are on this game; winner advances; loser goes home.  Andrew Luck and the Colts offense vs. Titans defense.  The Titans can run the ball well, making Marcus Mariota the decisive factor in this game.  Sunday we learn what he's made of.
Loss; 33-17 Colts

Bengals +14 1/2 (STEELERS)
Just looking for the hapless Bengals to cover.  That extra half-point is too tempting to resist.
WIN; 16-13 Steelers

Bears +4 1/2 (VIKINGS)
Both teams have much to play for.  I think this spread is all wrong.
WIN; 24-10 Bears

Chargers -6 1/2 (BRONCOS)
With an opportunity to win the division, the Bolts are coming strong.
WIN; 23-9 Chargers

SEAHAWKS -13 1/2 (Cardinals)
Seattle has scored 200 more points than Arizona this season.  Nuf ced.
Loss; 27-24 Seahawks

RAMS -10 (49ers)
The Rams are chasing the 500 point mark.  Can you say, tune up?
WIN; 48-32 Rams


Schmear of the Week:
Texans -6 1/2
WIN

Good luck, have a great Season Finale, and Happy New Year!!!

Post Game
Week Seventeen Record:  7-9
Overall Record:  95-122-10
Schmear of the Week:  9-7
Bagels in the Basket:  -39


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Borough vs. Borough: Brooklyn Nets Pulling Away From Knickerbockers

From the desks of:
THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH  and  DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP

An Under-Spoken Inner City Rivalry of Attrition

DID JAMES DOLAN JUST BLINK?

Rewind back to 2004 if you will: Bruce Ratner purchases the New Jersey Nets with the intention of relocating them to Brooklyn.  It's no secret that his underlying business interest involves a more grandiose real estate development in the downtown area.  A Kings County native, Ratner's ploy nevertheless threatens James Dolan's monopoly on New York City's arena sports, entertainment, and events venues.

As expected, his plan for constructing a new arena along Flatbush Avenue at Atlantic Avenue is met with great resistance.  And with Ratner bogged down in court, Dolan is able to devote time and resources towards successfully thwarting another more immediate threat posed in 2005 by the New York Jets and a proposed new football stadium to be constructed atop Manhattan's west side rail yards.  However, his victory over the Jets and NYC's politico is short lived.  On March, 11, 2010, groundbreaking ceremonies for Barclays Center finally take place in Brooklyn, thus finally making it official: direct inner-city competition will soon be arriving at Dolan's door step.  Only this time, there's nothing he can do to prevent it.

Enter (new Nets majority owner) Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov who later that summer launches the first salvo in what becomes known as the Billboard Wars when he commissions a building-side mural along Eighth Avenue, just a few blocks away from Madison Square Garden.  Jim Dolan strikes back with a rather clever purchase of billboard space located within the footprint of Ratner's Atlantic Yards construction site.  After which, Nets signage begins fanning throughout the borough, while the Knicks keep their reactive marketing focused along Flatbush Avenue.  By year's end, though, the Knicks pull out of the billboard business.

Hostilities ratchet up again in February of 2011, upon outbreak of the now infamous Battle for Carmelo Anthony.  With Melo desperately wanting out of Denver (Nuggets), he is a handshake away from being traded to the New Jersey Nets, that is until Jim Dolan catches wind and launches himself headlong into the Melo sweepstakes like a bull in a china shop.  He shamelessly tramples over both general manager Donnie Walsh and head coach Mike D'Antoni en-route to securing one of the league's perennial scoring threats - a veritable coup, or so Dolan thought.  To his dismay, the next morning's tabloids as their lead story run with the Nets surprising acquisition under the cover of night of well regarded point guard Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz.  By daybreak, a squabbling media is raging in debate as to which team secured the better deal.

By the 2012-2013 season, Barclays Center is open for business, while Dolan's billion dollar renovation of Madison Square Garden is likewise near complete.  Over the course of the next several seasons, neither acquisition works out to either team's great satisfaction.  In 2012-13, Carmelo Anthony leads the Knicks to an Atlantic Division title, but they've failed to qualify for the playoffs since.  The Knicks averaged just 34.2 wins during Melo's five seasons in New York, and just 33.3 wins in the six years prior to David Fizdale's arrival.  Although the Nets make three straight playoff appearances in their first three season at Brooklyn, they experience a precipitous fall as well.  In 2015, the Nets buy out the remainder of Deron William's contract, and by 2017 the Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Williams/Melo era ends with a whimper; the next reconstruction period begins.

By 2016-2017, the Nets are first to acknowledge their failure and recommit themselves to a grassroots rebuild.  They hire Sean Marks as new general manager who in turn hires Kenny Atkinson as head coach.  Together, their sticktoitiveness has been nothing short of commendable.  The Knicks on the other hand are slower to recognize their blight, and perhaps are more stubborn as well.  And there's the rub ... I still don't know what the Knicks are up to.  I'm no fan of Sam Mills.  I view him as nothing more than Dolan's lone remaining friend in the building.  I'm not so sure Scott Perry is the answer either.  I agree, however, David Fizdale is part of the solution.  But when looking at the bigger picture, the Knicks are clearly lagging behind the Nets, and losing ground by the day.

Lest we forget this is about direct competition.  The Nets are the invaders, and Jim Dolan was made to respond.  To date, he's matched them move for move.  But does anyone besides me find it rather ponderous that Dolan would choose the holiday season for (Ian O'Connor interview) throwing himself a pity party?  Is that a touch of defeatism I hear?  Is it because Brooklyn's plan is working, while his own basketball organization continues marinating in its own futility?

Why else would he knowingly cause ripples in the news pool with talk of an unlikely sale of the Knicks?



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

N.Y. Mets: Another Holly Jolly Metsian Podcast




MERRY CHRISTMAS

A METSIAN PODCAST
with Sam, Rich, and Mike

Forty Minutes




YULE LOGS for the HOT STOVE
Wilson Ramos ~ Travis d'Arnaud
Juan Lagares ~ Gregor Blanco ~ Rajai Davis ~ AJ Pollock
All Things Brodie Van Wagenen
Bryce Harper ~ Bobby Bonilla
and so much more.

JOY to the WORLD


Monday, December 24, 2018

Wishing You a Merry Christmas




MetroTech Common
Downtown Brooklyn



Merry Christmas


No Parking, Part II



In having to scan for driver's ed students; cavernous potholes; ear-plugged pedestrians with face buried in phone; entitled cyclists; idiots swinging open car doors; bouncing balls followed by the kid undoubtedly chasing it; the confusing menagerie of traffic signs; and just plain old random acts of recklessness; negotiating a vehicle through the streets of Brooklyn requires the visual sense of a spider.

For the most part, people do a fairly decent job of processing the overwhelming stimuli offered by our streets ... some not so much.  I'd rather not bother with those who move out to New Jersey and Pennsylvania that upon returning to Brooklyn forget how to slow down and break-out in a rash at every stop sign and red light.

In any event, all road trips must come to an end.  That's when the next adventure begins.  Parking spaces are akin to urban gold, and sometimes prospecting poses great potential danger.  The battle for space is fierce, and sometimes boundaries aren't so clearly defined.  But make no mistake: one surely exists and will be defended in Civil War-like manner.  It matters not from what corner of the planet you come, or what language you speak.  Throughout Brooklyn, the message is clear.  However, some convey it better than others.






































This Means You!



Sunday, December 23, 2018

PIGSKIN 2018: Week Sixteen



PIGSKIN
FOOTBALL SUNDAY
Week Sixteen

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen


SCOREBOARD:
Week Fifteen Record:  3-8-1
Overall Record:  83-107-8
Schmear of the Week:  7-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -40


WEEK SIXTEEN
Friday Line  NYDN

COLTS -9 1/2 (Giants)
Huge lump of coal for Dave Gettleman and the Giants.
Loss; 28-27 Colts

JETS +2 1/2 (Packers)
Packers are 0-7 on the road; Merry Christmas, Todd Bowles.
Loss; 44-38 Packers

COWBOYS -7 (Bucs)
Merry Christmas, Jerry Jones; lump of coal Jerry Jones.
Push; 27-20 Cowboys

PATRIOTS -12 1/2 (Bills)
Patriots do not lose at home; Merry Christmas, Foxboro.
Loss; 24-12 Patriots

Falcons -3 1/2 (PANTHERS)
Coal for the Panthers.
WIN; 24-10 Falcons

DOLPHINS -4 1/2 (Jaguars)
Merry Christmas Sea Mammals; Coal for the Jaguars.
Loss; 17-7 Jaguars

Texans +2 (EAGLES)
Even with reindeer guiding their way, not sure Houston will travel well.  But I'm still predicting coal of the defending champs.
Push; 32-30 Eagles

Vikings -5 1/2 (LIONS)
If the Lions still played outdoors, I'd leave them gift under the tree.  Merry Christmas Vikings; coal for the Lions.
WIN; 27-9 Vikings

BROWNS -8 1/2 (Bengals)
Merry Christmas, Browns; coal for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals.
Loss; 26-18 Browns

Rams -14 (CARDINALS)
Merry Christmas, Rams.
WIN; 31-9 Rams

Bears -4 (NINERS)
Merry Christmas, Bears.
WIN; 14-9 Bears

SAINTS -5 1/2 (Steelers)
Merry Christmas, Saints; coal for the Steelers.
Loss; 31-28 Saints

SEAHAWKS +2 1/2 (Chiefs)
Merry Christmas, Seahawks.
WIN; 38-31 Seahawks


Christmas Decoration:
Bears -4
WIN

Good luck, happy Football Sunday, and Merry Christmas!


Post Game:
Week Sixteen Record:  5-6-2
Overall Record:  88-113-10
Schmear of the Week:  8-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -40


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

N.Y. Mets: New Backstop or Latest Stopgap?

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


The Old Trying to Catch Lightning in a Bottle Routine

New York Mets: Brodie Van Wagenen Walks Away From JT Realmuto Negotiations; Signs Free Agent Catcher, Wilson Ramos.

The Mets made it official on Tuesday: they sign free agent catcher Wilson Ramos for two years at $19 million.

Prior to BVW's arrival, this signing would have been deemed just another Sandy Alderson reclamation project; another purchase in the discount isle.  As such, the minimalist money approach would have reeked of the same old upholstery in ownership's wheelhouse.

There is a debate to be had as to whether this is business as usual.  After all, BVW said upon accepting the general manager's position the club previously delved into too many "if" scenarios.  Yet, Wilson Ramos represented one of the biggest "ifs" on the open market.

To his credit, BVW did not lollygag.  He negotiated with Miami to a point, then swiftly veered with conviction in another direction.  He has my attention ... ergo perception is everything.

Unfortunately (for me), JT Realmuto will not be donning a Mets uniform.  Unable to strike a deal with Miami, the Mets general manager instead keeps his major league players and minor league prospects by spending money on a transient solution to fill their catching need.  I would have been agreeable to packaging Brandon Nimmo or Amed Rosario along with a clutch of prospects in order to get this trade done, but only for Realmuto, as young well-rounded catchers of his ilk are hard to come by.  Otherwise, a deal including either Michael Conforto or Noah Syndergaard for me were non starters.

When healthy and in the line-up, Wilson Ramos is clearly the more accomplished hitter and receiver over Travis d'Arnaud.  The other available free agent option was Yasmani Grandal, whom has no fan in me, as I have no interest in a backstop whom three times led the league in passed balls, and rates below league average in caught stealing percentage.  Travis d'Arnaud also once led the National League in passed balls, and throws out runners with a mere 21% career rate of success.

Last season, Ramos slashed .306/.358/.487, with 15 home runs and 70 RBI in just 382 at-bats.  He also possesses a strong arm behind the plate demonstrated by his career 32% rate caught stealing, and reconfirmed by last year's 44% rate of success.

The outstanding issue is his availability.  If recent history is any indication, Ramos will prove no more durable than Travis d'Arnaud.  In 2009 while still in the minors, he broke a finger and pulled a hamstring.  In 2012, he tore the ACL in his right knee.  The following season, he suffered two more hamstring episodes.  In 2014 Ramos was sidelined with a broken hand.  In 2016, he again tore his ACL which kept him out of action through May of the following season.  Last year, demonstrating wear and tear, he played in 111 games, making 96 starts at catcher.

Over the last four seasons, JT Realmuto has averaged 134 games per season; Yasmani Grandal 127 games; and Ramos just 108 games per season.  Travis d'Arnaud, not including last season in which he only appeared in four games, from 2014-2017 averaged just 90 games per season.

Signing Wilson Ramos is no stopgap measure.  He is a legitimate catcher.  If he can avoid injury, he will serve the Mets pitching staff very well.  His contract expires after two seasons, when JT Realmuto is due to become a free agent.  Perhaps the Mets can revisit this situation then.



Sunday, December 16, 2018

Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Worth Every Dollar

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Team Rebuild is on Schedule and Under Budget

SUNDAY
Atlanta Hawks
vs.
Brooklyn Nets
FROM
BARCLAYS CENTER

Brooklyn Nets: After playing just 46 games through his first two seasons at Detroit, Spencer appears to feel quite at-home here in Flatbush.

Don't look now, but the Nets are one of the hottest teams in basketball.  Their four game winning streak is being outpaced only by Indiana, who've won six in a row, to date.

Cut a fan a break ... will ya?

After coming up two-points short against Oklahoma City on Dec. 5 at Barclays Center, Flatbush then hosts and defeats the Toronto Raptors, owners of the league's best record, with an inspired 116-115 effort in overtime.  D'Angelo Russell leads the team with 29-points, while Spencer Dinwiddie leads them with eight assists, and scores 17-points off the bench.

The Nets commute into Manhattan the very next night, where Spencer Dinwiddie hustles and bustles his way to a team high 25-points en-route to a 112-105 rustling of the Knicks.  A few days later, Dinwiddie leads Flatbush into Philadelphia and drops a career high 39-points during 30-minutes of brotherly competition.

On Dec. 13, general manager Sean Marks informs the media of Spencer Dinwiddie's agreement on a three-year, $34 million dollar extension.  The very next night, Spencer leads the Nets with 27-points during a 125-118 victory over the Wizards.

Spencer Dinwiddie has led the Nets in scoring in each of their last three victories, while over his last four games, he is averaging 27-points while shooting 36/67 for 53.7% from the floor, with 6.2 assists during 30.7 minutes played per game.  He is averaging 21.6 points for the season playing almost entirely off the bench.  That's price worthy performance ... a win-Dinwiddie situation, if you will.

The Nets enter Sunday's game against Atlanta with a 12-18 record.  However, they own a winning record both within their division, and the Eastern Conference where their minus-1.5 point differential is better than that of #6-Detroit, and #8-Orlando.

A four game winning streak does not a season make.  This rebuild, however, is progressing very well.



Saturday, December 15, 2018

PIGSKIN 2018: Week Fifteen


PIGSKIN
FOOTBALL SUNDAY
Week Fifteen

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen



Scoreboard: 
Week Fourteen Record:  6-8
Overall Record:  80-99-7
Schmear of the Week:  6-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -34


1st and Ten:
  • I LOVE L.A. ... We Love It!  City of Angels goes from having no team, to gaining two playoff teams.  An all Los Angeles Super Bowl?
  • Philip Rivers and the Bolts win by a 29-28 final score, what a game!  The Kansas City Chiefs and L.A. Chargers are now tied for the AFC West lead!  Admit it ... Andy Reid worries you, doesn't he?
  • That Bears win over Rams was HUGE.
  • Uh oh, the Steelers are bending.
  • The Cowboys have won five in a row.
2nd and Long:
  • AFC Wild Card chase is gonna be insane.
  • Look what the Dolphins did to Bill Belichick and the Patriots!?
  • Baltimore Ravens picked a fine time for a quarterback controversy.
  • After Seattle Seahawks, NFC Wild Card race is the definition of parity.
No Gain:
  • St. Louis and San Diego football fans.
  • Stuck in the Mud:  Panthers; Vikings; Titans.
  • Bagel Deficit: either I can't pick against the spread, or this league sucks.  But if you're going against me, then you're doing well.  Happy Holidays.
PUNT:
  • Ray Rice speaking on Kareem Hunt ... please don't.
  • Banned, Again!  What the hell did (OAK) Martavis Bryant do now?
  • Last week's Cowboys win over the Eagles cost Ezekiel Elliott $36, 765 in fines.  That's using your head.


WEEK FIFTEEN
Friday Line ~ NYDN

Titans +2 1/2 (GIANTS)
Two suddenly surging teams, one still has something to play for while the other still has much to prove.  Titans field a respectable defense, Giants not so much; not anymore.  I'm shaking my pom-poms for a Big Blue loss, for sake of lowering fan and front office expectations.  Last thing I need is for Giants to start thinking they're actually good.  Strong finishes be damned.
WIN; 17-0 Titans

Dolphins +7 (VIKINGS)
If you've been following me, you know I've been lubing the Sea Mammals with lotion all season.  They're a gamely bunch, and certainly pulled a fast one over the Patriots.  More importantly, they hung in all game and put themselves into position to win, which makes these seven points very appealing.  The game is indoors, so I'll let momentum rule the day.  Losers of two straight, the Vikings continue sacking themselves.
Loss; 41-17 Vikings

Raiders +2 1/2 (BENGALS)
If the Steelers are in the midst of unraveling, then what do we make of the Bengals?  Derek Carr is using these last few weeks to showcase himself.  Like last week, he'll be the most motivated player on the field.
Loss; 30-16 Bengals

RAVENS -8 (Bucs)
D - Fence...!
PUSH; 20-12 Ravens

Cowboys +3 (COLTS)
Cowboys are suddenly playing smash mouth football; rushing the ball; controlling the clock; keeping opposing QB's off the field.  When on defense, they've been getting to the QB in waves.  The Boys neutralized Drew Brees; they can do it again with some "Luck"
Loss; 23-0 Colts

Lions +2 1/2 (BILLS)
This is the least appealing game of the day.  Bills are only 2-4 at home, so what the hell.
Loss; 13-13 Bills

BEARS -6 (Packers)
It's Mike McCarthy's turn to laugh it up from the comforts of home as he watches Aaron Rogers have a most miserable day.
WIN; 24-17 Bears

JAGUARS -7 1/2 (D.C. Hogs)
Look!  That piano falling out of the sky has a racially insensitive logo on it!  Daniel Snyder's inept organization are losers of four in a row.
Loss; 16-13 Hogs

FALCONS -9 (Cardinals)
That Atlanta defense has more problems than a math book.  They catch a break against an Arizona offense that averages just 13.6 points per game.  The Falcons offense is not in question.
WIN; 40-14 Falcons

Seahawks -4 (49ERS)
The Seahawks have won 6 of their last 8 games, and are 9-3-1 against the spread.  Niners win over the Broncos was somewhat surprising, but does nothing towards swaying my opinion.
Loss; 26-23 Niners

Patriots -2 1/2 (STEELERS)
I'd like to think the Steelers can pull themselves together, but it's more and more unlikely.  I was going to feel sorry for any team facing the Patriots after the way they lost against the Dolphins.
Loss; 17-10 Steelers

RAMS -11 (Eagles)
Philly is a mess at quarterback, again.  No magic this time around.
Loss; 30-23 Rams

Schmear of the Week
Bears -6
WIN

Good luck, and have a great Football Sunday, everyone.

Post Game:
Week Fifteen Record:  3-8-1
Overall Record:  83-107-8
Schmear of the Week:  7-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -40


N.Y. Jets: Gang Green Saturday Pigskin

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS REVENGE

PIGSKIN 2018: WEEK FIFTEEN
Gang Green Saturday

BRONCOS -2 1/2 (Browns)
Loss; 17-16 Browns

Texans -7 (JETS)
PUSH; 29-22 Texans

New York Jets: We Don't Need Another Hero ... Just Punt!

The general outlook wasn't that great to begin with, but no one anticipated the Jets being this bad.

It's not enough for them to break a six game losing streak.  After failing Todd Bowles all season long, the Jets collectively owe him a supreme effort through these last three games.

It's the least they can do ... they're all he has left.

With a 4-9 record to date, the Jets have assured themselves a third straight losing season with no improvements to speak of.  One could argue Mike Maccagnan has so far done little in the way of upgrading talent, and that 21 of 22 starting positions need addressing.  With all that accumulated salary cap space, he scarcely spends a penny in support of Todd Bowles.  Likewise, the team's recent outpouring of support and commitment towards their head coach comes too late.  The Jets continuing mistakes and overall fundamental failings under Bowles have agreeably become too numerous and indefensible.

Joe B of WFAN Radio on Friday served fans these nuts: the Jets haven't hired anyone with previous head coaching experience since Bill Parcells.

Nice observation by him..!

Four long decades, the Jets have searched high and low for a franchise quarterback.  Now that they potentially have one, they had better take good care of him.  Let's assume that against JJ Watt and the Houston Texans pass rush the Jets offensive line keeps Sam Darnold upright.  With no running game (Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell are both out), and without his top receiver, what's a rookie quarterback to do?  At this juncture of the season, the last thing the Jets need is Darnold trying to be a hero.

Let the punter carry them Saturday.

Godspeed, Sam.



Thursday, December 13, 2018

N.Y. Mets: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Another Metsian Podcast

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET



A METSIAN PODCAST
Back Together Again: Sam, Rich and I
Wrap Up the Winter Meetings.

100 Minutes




Blue and Orange Stuff:
Brodie Van Wagenen and the Winter Meetings
Continuing J.T. Realmuto Trade Rumors
Noah Syndergaard: Robert Gsellman; Seth Lugo; 
Amed Rosario; Michael Conforto; Brandon Nimmo; Todd Frazier
Welcome Back Jeurys Familia; Rule V Draft
Fleecing the Red Sox of Organizational Personnel
1973 vs. 2015
Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson Revisited
Getting FIGGY Over SNY-TV Decision/Todd Zeile
Buying-In; Wilpon's Wallet; and so much more!



Sunday, December 09, 2018

Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Enjoys Manhattan Borough Experience

From the desks of:
DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP  and  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH
BATTLE OF THE BOROUGHS
Nets lead series 2-1
I - BKN 107; NYK 105
II - NYK 115; BKN 96
III - BKN 112; NYK 104

Brooklyn Nets: Escape From New York

Brooklyn Hoops took an eleven point lead into halftime, and led by as many as 17-points after three quarters.  However, the building blocks of victory stood poised to come tumbling down during yet another self-destructive fourth quarter.  The Knicks, who outscored the Nets 27-18 in the final session, pulled within five points of the Nets with under six minutes left in regulation.  But that's as close as they'd get.  Spencer Dinwiddie's six points in the final three minutes would seal the Knickerbockers fate.

Spencer Dinwiddie led all scorers with 25-points off the bench.  D'Angelo Russell, just 4/14 from the field, distributed a game high eleven assists.  And Jarrett Allen posts a double-double, leading the Nets with twelve rebounds to go with 14-points.  Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also hit the twenty point mark on 50% shooting.

Enes Kanter wins the battle of big men with his own double-double, leading the floor with 14 rebounds, and a Knicks high 23-points.  

For only the second time this season, the Nets have pieced together consecutive victories.  The first time occurred in early November, with Caris LeVert still on the floor.  While the Nets were just 6-8 at the time, their season since Nov. 12 has taken a precipitous turn for the worse, evidenced by their 4-10 record without him. 

The Nets finally snap an eight game losing streak against the team with the NBA's top record.  Flatbush defeats the Toronto Raptors in a 106-105 overtime thriller Friday night at Barclays Center.  On Saturday, they cross the East River into Manhattan, and defeat the Knickerbockers by eight at Madison Square Garden.

While the Knicks forever remain a freaking mystery to me, I have a far clearer understanding of the Nets present and future plans.  During their most recent slide, frustration and impatience not unexpectedly reared their ugly heads, inciting many a knee-jerk reaction.  Firing Kenny Atkinson and even Sean Marks very quickly became considerations for debate.

I say that's folly, and every one just needs to relax.  Stay the course, Nets.  It's us fans whom must exercise more discipline.  Sean Marks (IMO) is fine, the team is back in control of their draft picks, and Kenny Atkinson at the very least is the right coach for this stage of Nets rebuilding process.  

If the Nets biggest problem is an inability to sustain and win through the fourth quarter, then I say it's a great problem to have.  That's an issue correctable through various means and venues.  But make no mistake, it's one of the hallmarks of a young rebuilding team.  Learning how to close out games is part of the process.  At least they're building an identity.  Think of it what you will.  But take a second and circle back to the Knicks.  Who are they, and what are they doing?


PIGSKIN 2018: Week Fourteen


PIGSKIN
FOOTBALL SUNDAY
Week Fourteen

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen


Scoreboard
Week Thirteen Record:  6-7-1
Overall Record:  74-90-6
Schmear of the Week:  6-7
Bagels in the Basket:  -27


1st and Ten:
  • Rams first team to clinch a playoff berth.
  • Dallas gets them some Glory Hole!
  • Raiders and Niners are neck and neck in the race for next year's first overall draft pick.

2nd and Long:
  • If your favorite team has a 6-6 record, they suck they're in contention for a Wild Card spot!
  • Hang in there, Miami.
  • Defending champs, Eagles are suddenly winners of two in a row; desperate for victory over Cowboys.
  • Pittsburgh should be worried, doth say the Ravens.
  • Here come the Seahawks!

No Gain:
  • Giants 3-1 record since the bye week has fans up in arms.
  • Matt Patricia's first season at Detroit.
  • Grounded!  Jets linebacker Darron Lee suspended four games for violating substance abuse policy.
  • I've been calling the Chargers a paper tiger this season.  Needless to say last week's scars are still healing.

PUNT!
  • It's not easy being Green: Mike McCarthy fired!  Aaron Rogers conspiracy theories running wild.
  • It's not easy being Gang Green: The masses are calling for the firing of Todd Bowles. 
  • Atlanta Falcons season.

WEEK FOURTEEN
Saturday Line ~ NYP

BILLS -3 1/2 (Jets)
Welcome back, Sam I am.  Hope you like ice cold eggs with your ham.  California Dreamer returns to the field where the game-time temperature at Buffalo should be below f-f-freezing.  If Isaiah Crowell rushes the way he did last week against the Titans, the Jets would be on to something.  No one mentions the injury to Bilal Powell much, but they really miss him.  Sam Darnold did not play in Week Eleven when the Jets were stampeded the Bills.  The rest of Gang Green should have revenge on their minds, not just for their own self-respect, but to make up for their collective failures under (sure to be fired) head coach Todd Bowles.  The Jets six game losing streak should end here.  But it's not. 
ICYMI: Jets Failed Todd Bowles, Not Other Way Around
Loss; 27-23 Jets

Giants -3 (D.C. HOGS)
Eli Manning vs. Marc Sanchez; Evan Engram vs. Jordan Reed; Saquon Barkley vs. Adrian Peterson.  Odell Beckham is out, but Eli still has Sterling Shepard.  Hogs have inferior receivers.  Hogs defense was arguably already better than that of the Giants, now Landon Collins is out for the season.  Giants will still outscore D.C., and to the dismay of fans continue ruining next year's draft standing.
WIN; 40-16 Giants

Ravens +6 (CHIEFS)
D - FENCE..!
WIN; 27-24 Chiefs

TEXANS -4 1/2 (Colts)
See Ravens ...
Loss; 24-21 Colts

Panthers -1 1/2 (BROWNS)
Woe, Panthers, what have you done?  The only thing saving you is league wide parity.  Their four-game losing streak is on the line.  If they're going to turn themselves around, it starts at Cleveland, right?  How can you not lay the points in this game?
Loss; 26-20 Browns

PACKERS -5 (Falcons)
The Gratitude Bowl: The post Mike McCarthy era begins in Green Bay.  Aaron Rogers wants to prove to everyone that his former play caller - the man whom effectively kicked Brett Favre out the door in order to get Rogers on the field - sucks.  It just so happens he'll be facing a terrible Falcons defense.
WIN; 34-20 Packers

Saints -9 1/2 (BUCS)
There's every chance this becomes a repeat of Week One, but I doubt it.  The Saints offense to everyone's surprise got hogtied last week by a highly aggressive Cowboys defense.  Drew Brees and company face no such threat this week against tame Tampa Bay.
WIN; 28-14 Saints

Patriots -7 1/2 (DOLPHINS)
Just like you, I hear all the scuttlebutt about Tom Brady's lack of success at Sea World.  The experts paint him out to be some polar bear trolling South Beach.  The Patriots are undefeated at home, but 3-3 on the road.  Incidentally, the Sea Mammals are 5-1 at home.  Both teams have winning records against the spread.  Oh, what's a degenerate gambler to do?
Loss; 34-33 Dolphins

Rams -3 (BEARS)
That Rams offense sure is good.  That Bears defense sure is good.  Vegas is saying that if the Rams were at home, they'd be laying six.  The Rams defense can impact the Bears offense.  Lay the points.
Loss; 15-6 Bears

Broncos -3 1/2 (49ERS)
Look who wants to contend ...  Broncos are winners of three in a row; two of those wins were against the Chargers and Steelers.  See Texans and Ravens; defense wins this time of year.
Loss; 20-14 Niners

CHARGERS -14 (Bengals)
See Broncos, Texans, Ravens.  Bengals are a complete mess.  The Bolts are electrified after last week's victory over the Steelers.  The Bengals are a complete mess.  The Bengals are a complete mess.
Loss; 26-21 Chargers

CARDINALS -2 1/2 (Lions)
Flip a coin; both teams are 6-6 against the spread; that's why they call it gambling.  Heads, rookie quarterback Josh Rosen takes another step forward; tails, Matt Patricia and the Lions lose their ninth game of the season.
Loss; 17-3 Lions

COWBOYS -3 (Eagles)
Welcome to Jerry's World: whether by accident or intelligent design, Dallas seems to have conjured the winning formula.  They finally get it: less Dak, more Zeke, and good defense.  All they need to do is keep it up.
WIN; 29-23 Cowboys  o.t.

RAIDERS +10 1/2 (Steelers)
Here we go again.  Steelers two most recent losses have come against AFC West teams.  The suddenly bending Steelers are obviously the more desperate team of the two, with far more to gain, and much more to lose.  They will win, I'm sure.  I'm unimpressed by Oakland's 33-points against the Chiefs.  However, the Raiders put up 17-points against the Ravens just one week prior.  That gives me reason to believe the Raiders can cover.  I'm not quite sure who Derek Carr will be throwing to, but he's definitely showcasing himself in anticipation of an off-season trade.
WIN; 24-21 Raiders


Schmear of the Week:
Broncos -3 1/2
LOSS


Good luck, and have a great Football Sunday, everyone!

Post Game:
Week Fourteen Record:  6-8
Overall Record:  80-98-6
Schmear of the Week:  6-8
Bagels in the Basket:  -32