McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 4

Most fans have hated the matchups we have seen on Thursday nights for years…

Image result for browns beat jets

…but one night made up for all the shitty ones. I can’t remember a time ever where the Thursday night matchup felt more important than any other matchup the entire weekend. I like the Jets and normally root for them, but that was arguably the most I have ever rooted for a team that was not mine or was not facing a team I hated. Between Hard Knocks, having a player I’ve known of since he was a freshman in high school in Jabrill Peppers, and visiting there to see the Cowboys play in 2016, the Browns have become a random team I’ve paid attention to over the past few years. You can argue that they are one of the more famous teams in the league just cause they are so consistently bad. Winning their first game in nearly two years at home in prime time just felt meant to be and was awesome to watch.

As for the picks, it was a second straight week of success. I went 10-6 straight up, but more importantly, improved to 11-5 against the spread. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red):

Jets at Browns (-3)

Bengals at Panthers (-3)

Saints at Falcons (-1.5)

  • Only loss in my spread pool (also took Ravens, Colts, Redskins, and Dolphins).

Titans at Jaguars (-10)

  • As the source Stu Feiner would say “sucker pick” as 70% of the public was on the Jags after their national TV win over the Pats.

Broncos at Ravens (-5.5)

Bills at Vikings (-16.5)

  • Games like these are why some of the games I’m just making my pick, but advising against actually taking it. Even though it was virtually a lock that the Vikings would win, I would never recommend wagering $1,667 to win $100 on this game due to the ramifications of a loss like this.

49ers (+6) at Chiefs 

Colts (+6.5) at Eagles

Raiders at Dolphins (-3)

Giants (+6.5) at Texans

Packers at Redskins (+2.5)

Chargers at Rams (-7)

Bears at Cardinals (+5.5)

Cowboys (+1.5) at Seahawks

Patriots at Lions (+7)

Steelers (+1) at Buccaneers

2018 Straight-Up: 30-16-2, 2018 Vs. Spread: 26-21-1

We’re on to Week 3.

Image result for bill belichick gif

Vikings (+7) at Rams

  •  Rams 38, Vikings 31
  •  1-0-1 to start the week. Vegas knew what was gonna happen.

Image result for vikings rams 2018

Lions at Cowboys (-3)

  • This is a sucker pick if I have ever seen one! As of Thursday night, 61% of the public is on Detroit after they beat the Patriots in prime time and the Cowboys had another poor road performance on national television. This has a very similar feeling (and spread) as the Cowboys home game against the Giants, which they pretty much dominated. I don’t know where my confidence is with the Cowboys going forward, but my confidence in them is high for this matchup.

Image result for demarcus lawrence vs lions

Buccaneers (+3) at Bears

  • This is as even of a matchup as it gets in my mind. A Bucs offense that has impressed against a Bears defense that has impressed, and a Bucs defense that has not impressed against a Bears offense that also has not impressed. While they were both in Tampa, the Bucs have dominated the Bears each of the last two seasons, and are nearly 3-0 against three of the NFL’s best from a year ago. This will be a good game, but the Bucs will pull off the upset.

Image result for ryan fitzpatrick conor mcgregor

Dolphins at Patriots (-6.5)

  • While I still think they will make the playoffs, I’m buying the idea that the Patriots just are not the same team this year. That being said, this feels like an easy pick to me. The Patriots have dominated their division rivals at home for years, and I don’t see that changing with the hot Dolphins coming to town. This will not be a blowout, but the Pats will return home and win by 2 scores.

Image result for patriots dolphins

Bengals at Falcons (-3.5)

  • I’ve been going back and forth with this one, but I concluded that the Falcons are too good of a team to go 1-2 on a three week home stretch. The Saints are getting a lot of praise after that win last week, but there’s no praise for the Falcons who probably should have won that game (if they didn’t choke like always)? I don’t like to play the “team x beat team y, and team y beat team z, so team x should beat team z” game, but I am in this case cause I think the Panthers and Falcons are similar teams, and the Panthers just easily won over the Bengals. With the spread moving in the Bengals direction, I’ll take the Falcons and the points.

Image result for calvin ridley  vs saints

Bills at Packers (-9.5)

  • After performances the public did not expect out of both of these teams last week, the public is picking the Bills to cover this spread. While I think the Vikings are a better overall team, I can’t see a game like this happening to Aaron Rodgers, while it happening to Kirk Cousins did not stun me. I think the Bills keep it interesting but the Packers pull away in the second half to cover.

Image result for bills packers

Texans (+1) at Colts

  • The Colts have looked (a little but not much) better than the Texans and they are home, so they should win. That’s why I am taking Texans. The Texans are desperate for a win and have too much talent to be 0-4, while the Colts (and their coaches’ play calling) have looked uninspiring on offense and you have to question just how healthy Andrew Luck is. The Texans will edge out the Colts in this one.

Image result for deshaun watson

Jets (+7.5) at Jaguars 

  • How will both of these teams respond after disappointing performances a week ago? I think the Jets will look much better, especially with the extra rest. I think the Jags will struggle again on offense, but their defense will dominate Sam Darnold. This will be a low scoring game just like the Jags game against the Titans, but they will edge this one out, and the Jets will cover.

Image result for jets jaguars

Eagles at Titans (+3)

  • If not for their late game red zone defense, the defending Super Bowl champs would be 0-3. As for the Titans, they have won in upsets each of the last two weeks. I think the Eagles will eventually find their groove, but Carson Wentz is still getting his preseasons reps in and the Titans will stay hot and earn the upset at home.

Image result for eagles titans

Browns at Raiders (-3)

  • The Browns have looked solid this year, but this is an easy pick for me. Everyone loves to bash the Raiders and Jon Gruden, but the truth is they could be 2-1, and in that one loss, they had the Rams number through the first half. A rookie QB going into the Black Hole sounds like a bad matchup, and (I might be wrong on the exact number) 10 straight #1 overall picks have lost in their first career start. The Raiders are my favorite pick of Week 4.

Image result for jon gruden

Seahawks at Cardinals (+3) 

  • Sorry Bert, but I’m going against the Seahawks again. The Seahawks looked good last week at home, but it is as if the public (74% on Seattle as of Thursday night) has forgotten how they looked on the road the first two weeks, and how the Cardinals should have won that good against an impressive Bears team last week. In Josh Rosen’s first career start, the Cardinals will edge out the Seahawks in a low scoring game.

Saints (-3.5) at Giants

  • I normally don’t like taking the side the public is favoring, but what is Vegas seeing in this one? The Giants looked good last week, but has Vegas completely forgotten how bad they looked in Week 1 and 2? I think they will score some points on the Saints vulnerable defense, but the Saints offense looks amazing and will score a lot more. This is an easy pick for me as the Saints win and cover.

Image result for drew brees vs giants

49ers at Chargers (-10)

  • Obviously this spread is bigger than it would be if Jimmy G was playing, but it’s still not big enough. Does Vegas forget that the Niners were 1-10 before Jimmy G stepped in last year? I know almost any team is bad with a backup QB, but the Niners with a backup are arguably the worst in the NFL. This will be a blowout win for the Chargers.

Image result for super bowl 29

Ravens at Steelers (-3)

  • You can throw out the record books when these teams match up, but I think the Steelers is the easy choice. Their defense is definitely not very good, but their offense really has not missed Le’Veon Bell at all. The Ravens looked like a much different team on the road against the division rival Bengals in Week 2, and since most of us can agree the Steelers are better than Cincy, I think they have the advantage going into this one. The Steelers will win by a score, enough to cover.

Image result for steelers ravens 2016

Chiefs at Broncos (+4.5)

  • As much as I love the Chiefs, they are gonna become the team the public is gonna hammer all year, and I will probably be picking against them most weeks. Maybe they will turn into the 2016 Cowboys, who would win and cover in every game the public was on their side. Anyway, prime time game in Denver, I think the Broncos are gonna fight hard against their division rivals. However, the Chiefs are looking way better than them, so they will win. The Broncos will fight and lose by a field goal, enough to cover.

Image result for patrick mahomes broncos

Be back in a week for Week 5 picks. Can Mahomes and the Chiefs keep up this crazy run?

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 3

Week 1 was a minor setback for a major comeback…

Image result for ezekiel elliott vs giants

…for the Cowboys, and for myself.

After a Week 1 that was (predictably) unpredictable, Week 2 went much more as planned. I went 12-3-1 straight up, and 9-7 against the spread. Had the Vikings not missed that chip shot field goal and the Lions not backdoor covered against the Niners, my good week could have been even greater. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red, push in green):

Ravens at Bengals (Pick ‘Em)

Chiefs at Steelers (-4)

Colts (+6) at Redskins

Eagles at Buccaneers (+3)

  • FINALLY beat Nick Foles!

Dolphins at Jets (-3)

Chargers at Bills (+7.5)

Texans at Titans (+3.5)

Panthers (+5.5) at Falcons

  • I should note that I actually ended up wagering on Falcons -5.5 due to intel from someone who knows more than me, but out of being true to my original picks I’m not gonna change and say I won for this blog.

Browns at Saints (-9.5)

Vikings (-1.5) at Packers

  • Good thing I didn’t have money on this pick, cause that would have been a tough loss.

Cardinals at Rams (-12)

Lions at 49ers (-6)

Raiders (+5.5) at Broncos

Patriots at Jaguars (+2)

Giants at Cowboys (-3)

Seahawks at Bears (-5)

2018 Straight-Up: 19-11-2, 2018 Vs. Spread: 15-16-1

Onto Week 3.

Image result for nfl gifs

Jets at Browns (-3)

  •  Browns 21, Jets 17
  •  2-0 to start the week, how ’bout them Brownies!

Image result for browns jets

Bengals at Panthers (-3)

  • Beware of the Bengals this year, but I’m shocked this spread is so low. The Bengals have looked good but I don’t hear many people praising them so far, and the Panthers have looked as we thought they would, a potential playoff team. The Panthers are much better at home, and with a spread this low, I’m definitely taking Carolina.

Image result for christian mccaffrey

Saints at Falcons (-3)

  • Coming into the year, I knew the Falcons would be a hot/cold team. I thought the Saints would be much more predictable, but after the first two weeks I don’t think I can say that. So in other words, I would avoid betting this game. However, my pick is the Falcons. These teams are pretty even in my mind. The Falcons are at home, and being this matchup is almost always won by the home side, I’m taking Atlanta.

Image result for falcons saints

Titans at Jaguars (-9.5)

  • Granted one game was in Week 2 and the other was meaningless in Week 17, but the Titans gave the Jags fits last year. Therefore, I think this game will be within a score throughout. However, this Jags team may just be too good, and the Titans stink on the road, so I think the Jags will pull away late to win and cover.

Image result for keelan cole

Broncos at Ravens (-5)

  • While I’m sure they are better than last year, this Broncos season is off to a similar start as it was in 2017. 2 home wins before hitting the road, which is when it all went down hill last year. After a tough road test in Week 2, I think the Ravens pick up where they left off in Week 1 and return home to win and cover.

Image result for jacoby jones vs broncos

Bills at Vikings (-16.5)

  • In what could be the biggest spread of the season, I would not recommend wagering on either side. The Vikings have to win by 3 scores, and the Bills, well the Bills are horrible. However, my pick is with the Vikings cause I think they will absolutely blow them out at home.

Image result for stefon diggs

49ers (+6.5) at Chiefs

  • I wish I could have rooted for the Chiefs last week, cause I love them and Mahomes and hate the Steelers. So you’d think I’m gonna hammer them after my mistake of a pick last week right? Nope. The public was (and still sort of it) hammering Chiefs a few days ago, but the public perception has moved a little more in the Niners direction, meaning sharp bettors may see something in San Fran here. I think the Chiefs definitely win, but I’m picking the Niners to cover.

Image result for jimmy garoppolo

Colts (+7) at Eagles 

  • With Carson Wentz back under center, the Eagles should eventually return to last season’s form. However, I think he will definitely be a little rusty to start, and with the way the Colts looked last week, I’m confident that they will cover. However, the Eagles are home and a much better team, so I like them to win (but I sure don’t like them!).

Image result for andrew luck vs redskins

Raiders at Dolphins (-3)

  • What an impressive performance by the Dolphins last week after the Jets were the talk of the NFL during the week leading up. The Raiders were looking great on the road in Denver before going full Raiders and blowing that lead. I think they proved that they are better than people give them credit for though, and they will keep this close. However, I think the Dolphins stay hot and win and cover at home.

Image result for dolphins raiders 2017 fumble

Giants (+6.5) at Texans

  • This game presents a very similae matchup for the Giants as last week’s did, and that has nothing to do with it being a road game in Texas. The Texans have a great D-Line and an offense that so far has not lived up to the hype. So matchup wise, I see the Texans winning, but I feel like they have to get OBJ and Barkley going at some point. They will fight to avoid 0-3 and cover.

Image result for deandre hopkins vs giants

Packers at Redskins (+2.5)

  • Upset pick of the week right here. Honestly, I have no clue how this spread is so low, but I think I may have an idea what Vegas is thinking. The Packers just played two very intense home games against division rivals which were decided by a total one one point, and their QB is banged up. Combine all these factors and then send them on the road for the first time, I think this could be a let down week. My pick is the R-words to score the upset.

Image result for redskins packers

Chargers at Rams (-7)

  • The Battle for the City of Angels! I’m sure Southern California is absolutely buzzing this week in anticipation for this matchup. It’s a shame that that was a sarcastic statement, because these are two playoff caliber teams in my mind. However, I think the absence of Joey Bosa has slowed down the Chargers early. The Rams look amazing, and I think they win and cover at home (TBT to San Diego Chargers vs. St. Louis Rams).

Image result for rams chargers 2014

Bears at Cardinals (+4.5)

  • After two great performances in prime time, how will the Bears respond in maybe the most forgotten game of the week? Consider we still have not seen much out of this Bears offense, this is a lot of points to be giving on the road. I think the Bears win a low scoring game by a field goal, meaning the Cardinals cover in a losing effort.

Image result for prince amukamara bears vs seahawks

Cowboys (+1) at Seahawks

  • I would definitely avoid taking this one, cause I could completely see it going in either direction. The Seahawks could look much better at home, as the strong home/decent road team was a trend even in their elite years. However, I look at the Cowboys having a big matchup advantage in their DLine (6 sacks by 6 players last week) against Seattle’s OLine. Back in Seattle for the first time since that incredible upset in 2014, the Cowboys will edge out Bert’s Seahawks in BTB Bowl II

Image result for cowboys seahawks

Patriots at Lions (+7)

  • This is not why I’m taking the Lions, but Matt Patricia may be out to do the current Patriot assistant coaches a favor on Sunday night. There is big speculation that former Patriot assistants are not nearly as good when they took when they take over a new team without Belichick. If Belichick and the Pats rout Patricia and the Lions, it could hurt current Patriot assistants’ candidacy for future jobs based how this one would be turning out. As for the game, I don’t think the Lions are nearly as bad as they showed Week 1, I think that game got out of hand. With the Patriots struggling, and this being the Lions Super Bowl, the Lions will win Sunday night… against the spread, and the Patriots will win the game.

Image result for matt patricia bill belichick

Steelers (-1) at Buccaneers

  • I was wrestling back and forth between this game, but ultimately went with the Steelers. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs have looked great, while the Steelers have been absolute mess. The public is hammering Tampa, and the Steelers need a prime time performance to show that they are still one of the best teams in the league despite all this dysfunction. The Steelers will edge out the Bucs on Monday night.

Image result for antonio brown

That’s it for Week 3. Can the Cowboys recapture some Seattle magic?

The Red Sox Have the Most Insufferable Fan Base

I know Yankee fans get a lot of hate and I will admit in some ways we suck. There are a ton of Yankee fans out there that probably never/rarely watched before Aaron Judge made the Bronx fun again in 2017, fans that will jump to the “27 rings!” argument faster than David Price jumping to find an excuse to not pitch against the Yankees, and fans that probably don’t even realize Joe Girardi was a World Series winning Yanks catcher before he gave us this legendary line as manager.Image result for joe girardi its not what you want

 

That being said, the most insufferable fan base on this planet is that of the Boston Red Sox. Yes, in my mind they’re worse than Warriors fans, Patriots fans, even Duke basketball fans. That’s a very biased opinion as I’m a Yankee fan myself, but I actually cannot stand Red Sox fans. My hatred began as an 8-year old at Fenway, being cursed at and told to go back to the Bronx while wearing my Gary Sheffield t-shirt. I’m all for heckling fans of the opposing team, but if I’m ever heckling an 8 year old punch me in the face because I’ve had about three too many.

I don’t even care about that now though. It’s a fond memory of mine, my first real taste of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. I even respect that about them. Too many fan bases are too nice in my opinion. I went to a game in Cleveland this summer, and I really anticipated getting more hate, especially after how we beat them in the Division Series last year. Nope, the people couldn’t have been nicer to us; an Indians fan even bought my friend and I beers at the bar before the game. You come into Fenway or Yankee Stadium, and you know the fans are gonna be going crazy. Red Sox fans are definitely dedicated and I respect them for that. But they are insufferable.

They’re insufferable because I’ve never met a fan base that loves to make excuses as much as they do. The Yankees have not played their best baseball in the second half. And yeah it hurt losing Judge, but he is far from the only reason we have been flat. Bottom line, a ton of our guys have underperformed, and that’s why we’re playing for home field advantage in the wild card right now and not battling the Sox for the AL East, as most assumed we would be. But if the Red Sox lose a game? Even to the Yankees, the team with the third-best winning percentage in baseball? Their fans can’t believe it. It’s like losing isn’t even a possibility in their minds. There has to be something wrong.

On Tuesday, the Yanks beat the Sox in the series opener 3-2 thanks to a huge three-run homer from Neil Walker and six strong innings from J.A. Happ. A great game, and one that the Yankees nearly gave away. They totaled only three hits in the ballgame, and botched two game-ending double play balls in the 9th before finally turning one the third time. What was Sox fans’ excuse for why they didn’t win this one?

JV lineup?! You sat Mookie and Benintendi (who later pinch hit), but otherwise EVERYONE else was in there. Obviously Mookie Betts is a game changer, and one of the best players in baseball. But am I supposed to feel bad that Alex Cora opted to give him an off-day against the Yankees? For sure not, especially when we’d been without our best player for almost two months prior to that game. If you wanna say the Red Sox outplayed the Yankees, I’d agree with you. But them not being able to cash in on two Yankee errors in the 9th has nothing to do with them sitting Mookie, get outta here with that bullshit.

Last night was a huge game for the Yankees. Again, I know the division is over, but at this point it’s all about getting our guys back on track and building momentum for the Wild Card game. They did just that last night with a 10-1 drubbing of the Red Sox. Most importantly, Luis Severino looked more like the Cy Young candidate we saw in the first half of the season. 10-1, that’s a huge margin of victory. What kind of excuse could Sox fans make this time? They jumped to their favorite, “Yankee Stadium is a Little League field.”

I can’t even wrap my mind around this one. Do both teams not get nine innings of at bats… in the same stadium? Do they push back the fences when the Red Sox hit? Of course Voit’s homers and Andujar’s solo shot would be fly outs in most stadiums, they barely got out to the short porch. But what was stopping the Red Sox from doing the same thing? A homer is a homer. If you wanna argue and tell me that over the course of a season a Yankee player’s stats are inflated because he plays half his games with the short porch in right, then fine. I agree with that. But to complain about the results of an individual game because of the dimensions of the stadium is blasphemous. Fenway is legendary, but how many times does the Green Monster turn what would be easy fly outs in any other park to doubles or home runs? Multiple times a game. You lost 10-1, just live with it.

The Red Sox have been the better team this year, no doubt about it. They completely derailed our division hopes with the four-game sweep at Fenway in early August. You didn’t hear us Yankee fans making any excuses back then (anyone who said Judge alone would’ve made that series much different is an idiot.) It’s pathetic that Sox fans need to try and come up with an excuse for every loss they have.

I need the Yanks to win tonight. Can’t let them beat Tanaka and win the division on our own turf. And I NEED a Yankees-Red Sox ALDS like I need air to breathe. I know that getting eliminated by them would be absolutely brutal. But this season has been so weird that it needs to end with one of these teams knocking out the other. It’s the only way.

Buck Foston go Yanks, Tanaka time tonight.

Life Becomes Easier When You Just Accept the Rebuild

It was a gloomy and gray Tuesday morning. I had to get up early to go to the DMV because Saturday they closed early on my ass when I was literally two people away. I had a three hour class and a full day of work right after. And to top it off, the Seahawks were embarrassed on Monday Night Football. Yet, on this day, and amongst all this, I found peace.

The score does not in any way indicate the way the Seahawks-Bears game went last night. They lost 24-17, with a less than 1% chance at tying it up in the last ten seconds if they recovered an onside kick. As a team, they had 276 total yards, but 99 of those came on the final drive when the Bears defense was in protect mode. They were 5 for 13 on 3rd down, lost 2 fumbles, threw a pick-six, and at one point were only averaging 2.9 yards per play. There was one time where I walked out of the room for a second right before first down, and by the time I came back they were already punting. But, as I said before, I have found peace.

Image result for seahawks vs bears
Image via UPI.com

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2, with Dallas coming to them next week. They lost to the Broncos and the Bears, two teams with good defenses. The thing is, if you want to be a Super Bowl winning team, you have to beat teams with good defenses. That is not in the Seahawks destiny this year though, and now that I have come to realize that, I have found peace. I’ve said it three times now, so I’ll explain.

I’ve officially accepted the Seahawks run as a contender is over. It’s a hard reality to face, and one you don’t truly believe until it actually happens to you. I compare it to being on the receiving end of a dad-bod. You’re young, you workout a few times a week, but let’s be honest, you drink a lot of beer and McDonalds tastes so good. For a while, you’re in denial. The v-shape starts to fade away underneath a plump circle that is now your stomach. You think “Nah, I’ll just go for a run tomorrow and I’ll be back in shape in no time”. Similarly, the Seahawks thought, “We’ll sign average linebacker Barkevious Mingo and we’ll be back in contention, even though we lost Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman!”. Friends, it doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t work like that. In football, and in dad-bods, there is a point of no return. One day you’ll look in the mirror and you’ll say to yourself “I think I’ve peaked”. The Seahawks have reached that point, and if this paragraph sounds a little familiar, you might have too. It’s better to just accept it. Once you embrace your current fate, life becomes a whole lot simpler. And you find your peace.

Look how happy Clayton Kershaw is

You see so many fans who get frustrated over every loss because on the surface they think their team has a chance to play on that Sunday in February, but deep down they know it’s over. When you wholeheartedly come to terms that your team is mediocre at best, everything around you opens up. The sun comes up, the grass gets greener, people get kinder. The games become easier to watch, and your Mondays through Saturday aren’t filled with “what ifs” and getting angry at Colin Cowherd for insulting your team’s “pitiful” performance.

This isn’t an overreaction to an 0-2 start, trust me. If the Seahawks of three years ago started 0-2, I probably wouldn’t even be panicking. They had an abundance of talent and usually found a way to figure it out. But this year, you can just see it. There’s a lot of young players who don’t really understand the flow of an NFL game, or what to do when they are forced to adjust on the fly. Beyond them, the veteran talent really isn’t there. They have the makeup of an average to below average team. And you know what, that’s okay. We had our reign at the top, it’s time for somebody else.

Image result for los angeles rams
Image via OregonLive.com

The frustrating part is when the team you know can’t compete does not just rebuild already. I would love nothing more than to see the Seahawks tank this year, get a top pick and impact player, and explode back onto the scene in two or three years before Russell Wilson leaves his prime. I pray Pete Carroll is thinking the same way, but it also gets me nervous because he might be trying to squeeze the last bit of success out of his former championship window so when he is done coaching after the 2019 season, he’ll retire knowing he at least gave it his all. I don’t think many coaches plan to start a rebuild at 67 years old, and I think it’s a reason Earl Thomas is still in a Seahawks uniform.

He believes in his team more than he should, which I respect. If the Seahawks turn it around this year, please, shove this article in my face forever. I’ll be glad to take the beating. But, it’s gonna be really annoying to see them try to capture the magic they’ve lost when they could bite the bullet now and find their way sooner than later.

A little advice from a hardcore fan, just press “Go” on the rebuild button. It’s green, it’s big, and it’s wrapped with a 5th overall pick in 2019 and a 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft (on top of the Cowboy’s picks when we finally trade Earl Thomas there). It’s a beautiful thing, and I’ll take hope for the future as opposed to dismay in the present any day. Delayed gratification is a beautiful thing, let’s get this thing started.

I’m All In on the Andrew Bynum Comeback

Many eras ago, there was a time where NBA players truly hated one another. A time once the playoffs rolled around, nobody was all talk. It was time to man up or go home. Not “If we lose it’s okay, we’ll just move our vacation together up one week”. One of the guys who spearheaded that era was Lakers center Andrew Bynum, as seen below:

Image result for andrew bynum gif
It should probably be noted this behavior is not condoned, but the NBA is definitely softer than it was back then

A few days ago, we learned that this former Lakers, Cavs, and Pacers center is en route to an NBA comeback.

Despite the fact that his dribbling sort of reminds me of Stanley from The Office (gif below for all you uncultured swine), I’m actually really pumped for Bynum.

Image result for stanley playing basketball gif

Why? Am I former Lakers fan? No. Did I place an irrational bet years ago saying he would be a Hall of Famer? Fortunately, no. Does he represent something larger than any of you probably understand? Fuck. Yes.

Andrew Bynum’s comeback is not just about a former star center playing basketball again. It’s so much bigger than that. His attempt to get on a professional court again gives hope to players of the past just like him. That’s right, every oversized and overrated center that ever graced the NBA is looking at Andrew Bynum right now like “Holy shit, he’s gonna do it”. Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, Anthony Bennett, Darko Milicic, and Sam Bowie are all sitting on their couches viciously icing their knees and crying their eyes out. But deep, deep under those tears of failure is a glimpse of hope. A belief that just because you’re a big man that fell out of the NBA, and your body was bigger than your brain could handle, that you and so many others could be great once more. If Bynum completes the comeback, it will be a lesson to all of them…don’t give up, even if literally every doctor tells you that you should. Listen to your heart, not your knees.

Image result for anthony bennett
Image via Sporting News

Fortunately for him, Bynum is the rich man’s version of all these players, and actually had/will continue to have a solid career. At his peak, he averaged 18.7 PPG and 11.8 RPG. Knee injuries derailed him, but at one point he was part of discussions in a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. He was an impact player without a doubt.

Most people will shake their heads at this, much like we do with all old players who leave the league. But, at 30 years old, this really isn’t that far of a stretch. He could really go out and perform well in front of a couple of teams, and they’ll decide to take him as a project. Off the bench, you’ll get a player similar to Dwight Howard’s level of production, probably a little less. Regardless, a veteran who has been to the end of the world and back is great for a young team with young big men on the team (@SacramentoKings?)

You know what, give me Andrew Bynum in a Kings uniform by mid-October or I’m not watching a single second of the NBA season this year. ALL IN.

#BringBackBynum

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 2

Just like the Cowboys and Falcons, it is clear I could have used some more preseason reps…

Image result for falcons eagles week 1

Image result for cowboys panthers week 1

…because Week 1 was not my best week of work.

Week 1 will always be unpredictable, as there are a lot of teams that not only do we as fans not know yet, but Vegas does not know yet either. For example: 3 teams (Ravens, Saints, Lions) entered as greater than 7 point favorite at home, and only one of those teams (Ravens) won the game outright. Heck, even the Browns ALMOST won. So since we also do not know what these teams will be like yet, it’s important to not get too stuck up on Week 1 results. Not just saying that cause my Cowboys looked bad, but every year there are teams who start bad but end up being good, and vice versa. In other words, don’t get too caught up in last weeks results when betting this week and in the weeks upcoming. Vegas sometimes overreacts to bad performances early too, so look for value in teams who looked bad last week, and for value in this week’s opponents of teams who looked good last week.

I guess things can only go up from here. I started the year by going 7-8-1 straight up, and 6-9-1 against the spread (which is not very #nice in the gambling world). Here’s a look back at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red, push in green):

Falcons (-1) at Eagles

Titans (Pick ‘Em) at Dolphins

Bengals at Colts (Pick ‘Em)

Buccaneers at Saints (-10)

Bills at Ravens (-7.5)

Texans (+6.5) at Patriots

Steelers at Browns (+3.5)

Jaguars (-3) at Giants

49ers at Vikings (-6)

Chiefs (+3.5) at Chargers

Cowboys (+3) at Panthers

Redskins at Cardinals (-2)

Seahawks at Broncos (-3)

Bears at Packers (-6.5)

Jets at Lions (-7)

Rams (-6) at Raiders

2018 Straight-Up: 7-8-1, 2018 vs. Spread: 6-9-1

Time to see if the teams who looked good last week were for real.

Image result for marshawn lynch gif

Note: Starting this week, due to time constraints, and in order to give the best picks possible for Sunday’s games, these articles will not come out until after the first game of the week on Thursday night. I will obviously give my honest answer as to what my Thursday pick was in this article. 

Ravens at Bengals (Pick ‘Em)

  • Bengals 34, Ravens 23
  • 2-0 to start the week!

Image result for bengals ravens

Chiefs at Steelers (-5.5)

  • Before I talk about this pick, let me give a quick lesson to those who are new to gambling. When I first downloaded the Sports Action app, which shows which percentages of the public are taking a certain team, I used to take the team the public was taking. It is very easy to not realize this, but the reason Vegas makes money is because the public is wrong more than they are right. So when the public is hammering one side, it is usually a good idea to fade the public. Looking at the spread, this game feels like a trap. The Steelers looked subpar last week and are missing Le’Veon Bell, and the Chiefs looked amazing on the road. This spread feels way to far in the Steelers direction after what we saw last week, and the public is hammering Chiefs after last week’s results, so I have a feeling the Steelers will win and cover in this one. James Conner played great in Bell’s absence, the Steelers blew it late, the game was just weird with that weather, and the Steelers have had great success against the Chiefs of late. I’m gonna love watching the Chiefs this year, but my pick is with Pittsburgh.

Image result for steelers chiefs

Colts (+6) at Redskins

  • When I first wrote this article, my pick was Redskins spread in addition to straight-up. While I don’t think the Redskins are a real threat, they definitely have an underrated roster. I also didn’t (and still don’t) like that the Colts were up 13 last week before giving up 24 unanswered. I know I’ve said don’t base your picks too much on one prior game, but the Bengals performance on Thursday night has me feeling a little better about the Colts covering. We all know Redskin consistency is never guaranteed, and the Colts could have easily won a game against a Bengals team that I now think will be competing for a playoff spot. I still think the Redskins are better, so I’m taking the home team straight-up, but the visiting Colts against the spread.

Image result for andrew luck vs bengals

Eagles at Buccaneers (+3)

  • I WILL NOT STOP PICKING AGAINST NICK FOLES UNTIL I FINALLY WIN! I don’t want to sound like I’m doubting the Eagles, because it is clear that even if Nick Foles does not play great (like last week), the Eagles defense is good enough to win them games. However, outside of the neutral sited Super Bowl, this will be Nick Foles first road start since his first start last year against the Giants. I don’t think the Bucs will be a playoff team, but you cannot ignore putting up 48 points on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses from a year ago to start the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will win the battle of the backups as my pick is the Bucs to stun the Eagles in Tampa.

Image result for ryan fitzpatrick

Dolphins at Jets (-2.5)

  • How ’bout those Jets? I think that score got a little inflated down the stretch, but what a performance for a young team on the road in prime time against a good home team. The Dolphins showed last week that they want to be a Wild Card contender like 2016 with Ryan Tannehill back under center, but I have the Jets edging out the Dolphins by a touchdown.

Image result for sam darnold

Chargers at Bills (+7)

  • Now, you’re probably thinking I’m hammered while writing this post, but hear me out. The Chargers are coming off a disappointing loss at home, and are still missing Joey Bosa. The Bills got absolutely annihilated in Baltimore, but they are returning home, and you have to think Josh Allen will play better than Nathan Peterman did. While I don’t have the statistics from the past two years, from 2003-2015, underdogs who received less than 25% of the public picks and lost the previous game by 20+ points went 149-98 against the spread, meaning someone who bet $100 on all of those occurrences would have made $4,290. I’m going with statistics that say the Chargers will win, but the Bills will cover.

Image result for josh allen

Texans at Titans (+3)

  • Another game in which the public is HAMMERING the visitors. The Texans are definitely the better team, but there is a chance we’re crowning DeShaun Watson as an unbelievable talent too soon. The Titans were a bad road team last year like they showed last week, but were low key 6-2 at home last year, with one of those two being a close loss to the Rams. I’m going against the public once again and taking the Titans in an upset.

Image result for titans texans 2017

Panthers (+6) at Falcons

  • In a game between two of the more hot-and-cold teams in the league, this is a very tough pick to make. The Falcons tend to look better at home than on the road, and they need to bounce back badly after last week, so I like them to win this game. In addition, the Panthers offense not playing great last week is completely flying under the radar due to the fact that the Cowboys offense struggled even more. This spread feels a little too big, so I’m going with the Panthers against the spread, but definitely taking the Falcons to win.

Image result for panthers falcons

Browns at Saints (-9.5)

  • I thought the Saints were a lock to cover a big spread last week, but they didn’t even win. However, this week I feel they are that lock. Despite their defense looking very concerning, the Saints offense looked amazing, as Brees, Thomas, and Kamara did great work for my multiple fantasy teams. The Browns don’t have the same potential for offensive explosion that the Bucs do, so I think this is a bad matchup and the Saints will crush the Browns.

Image result for saints

Vikings at Packers

  • The spread for this game is still up in the air due to the injury status of Aaron Rodgers, so I will tweet out my pick before the game @mikejmcgon.

Cardinals at Rams (-13)

  • This is a large spread to cover, but I love the Rams to do so. The Rams crushed the Cardinals twice last year, and I think that Cardinals team was better than this year’s. Also, the Rams looked shaky in the first half last week, but still recovered to win by 20. This Rams team is stacked and I love them to win and cover on Sunday.

Image result for rams raiders

Lions at 49ers (-6)

  • This spread his increased significantly throughout the week after what the Lions showed on Monday night. This has made me skeptical to take the Niners, but I’m sticking with them. Jimmy G didn’t play well against an amazing defense on the road, yet the Niners still only lost by a score. This won’t be a blowout, but Jimmy G and the 49ers will win and cover in their home opener over the Lions who are headed for a long season.

Image result for jim harbaugh jim schwartz

Patriots at Jaguars (+1)

  • Before the season, I picked the Patriots to win this game after losing their opener to the Texans because no way they would start 0-2. But after that win, I’m looking towards the Jaguars getting revenge and being a bad matchup for the new-ish looking Patriots offense. The Patriots are short at receiver talent right now, and we know the Jaguars are not short of corner talent at all on defense. I think this is a bad matchup early in the season for the Patriots as the Jaguars get the home win.

Image result for patriots jaguars

Raiders (+6.5) at Broncos

  • I’m not completely sold on the Broncos yet, but I think they showed last week that they will be better this season than last. Also, I think the Raiders will be a mess, but they have enough talent to at least compete, especially in a division game. Combining all of these factors has me picking the Broncos to win by less than a touchdown, meaning the Raiders cover.

Image result for broncos

Giants at Cowboys (-3)

  • Shocker right? However, for the reasons I’ll list this is an unbiased pick. How did the Giants look last week? Okay for sure, but the Cowboys performance last week has the Giants sitting on the coolest of thrones. The public and the media love the Giants because of how the Cowboys offense looked last week, completely ignoring that the Giants only touchdown came on a 68 yard run, and Eli Manning completely limits the potential of weapons like OBJ, Shephard, and Engram. The Cowboys offensive performance also completely diminished how good their defense looked on the road against a dual-threat QB like Cam Newton. People always overreact to anything good or bad about the Cowboys, and we’ll see how the season goes, but I think people are completely downgrading the team who has won more games than any NFC team over the past two years because of a bad performance Week 1 on the road against a good defense. The Cowboys won’t light it up, but will look a little better and win by a touchdown Sunday Night in Jerry World.

Image result for rod smith vs giants

Seahawks at Bears (-3.5)

  • The Bears are probably still hurting from that loss last week, but they have to be feeling good about this young team going into the rest of the season now. The Seahawks definitely did not look bad last week, but I still don’t think Russell Wilson will be enough to get them over the hump this season. This game will be close, just like both of these teams’ games last week, but I like the Bears to win by a score, and enough to cover.

Image result for khalil mack bears

That’s it for Week 2, be back for Week 3. Can the Jalen and the Jaguars get their revenge over Tom, Bill, and the Pats?

 

For the First Time Ever, I am Excited About David Wright

David Wright has technically been a New York Met since 2004, but he has not played in a Major League game since May of 2016.  For many years, Wright was one of the better third basemen in Major League Baseball, but, ironically, I am currently the most excited I have ever been about David Wright.

On most days since April of 2015, I have assumed that David Wright’s MLB career was finished.  Wright found himself on the DL eight days into the Mets’ 2015 season.  During that DL stint, we learned that Wright had been diagnosed with spinal stenosis.  As the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes on July 31 and went on a tear in August, David Wright had become an afterthought…albeit an afterthought of “His career might be over.”  Then, lo and behold, Wright returned in late August and was the Mets’ regular third baseman en route to the World Series. 

Image result for david wright 2015
Image via Sporting News

However, after David hit .185 (10 for 54) in the 2015 postseason, I hoped he would retire.  I figured that he had a signature moment – a homerun in the first World Series game ever played at Citi Field – but that his body would not allow him to play Major League Baseball at a high level any longer.  Spinal stenosis is a debilitating condition, and I considered his on-field time from late August through November 1 of 2015 should be his swan song.  Had he retired after the 2015 season, the Mets would have ensured that there would be no awkward situation in which the Mets would have to decide between playing a broken-down David Wright or a better player at third base.  I did not want to see Wright end up in a position where he guts out 40 games per season at a .200 batting average, as fans clamor to see a journeyman .260 hitter start over him.  That would have been awkward for all of us, and I wanted no part of it.

Well, interestingly enough, Wright did not retire after 2015….but my fear did not play out either.  In 2016, Wright was hitting .226 with 7 homers when he went on the DL over Memorial Day Weekend.  Since then, he has never been on the active Mets roster.  As he has battled major neck and shoulder problems (on top of the spinal-stenosis back problems), he has become the ultimate afterthought in terms of the present-day Mets.  Until the past week or two, most of us have thought of David Wright’s Mets career in past tense.  Sure, in 2017, Jose Reyes (who served as the Mets’ primary third baseman for much of the season) said all the right things (no pun intended) about keeping the seat warm for Wright.  Those two have such a strong friendship, dating back to 2003-4, and any good friend believes the best in his or her friends.  However, in the case of Wright being the Mets’ everyday third baseman, it was wishful thinking on Reyes’s part….and every Mets fan knew it.

Fast forward to 2018 when the Mets signed Todd Frazier to the Mets’ third baseman, and nobody was worrying that the Mets had given away Wright’s position.  Wright was done.  His career was in the past.  We would occasionally hear about him having light workouts or having catches with people.  Woop-dee-doo.  I do not care about that stuff for guys on the 10-day DL; I did not care with Wright either.  That said, all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, Wright actually began playing in rehab games in Port St. Lucie.  I do not generally care about that stuff either, but, given Wright’s situation, I was interested.  Honestly, I had never thought he would make it back this far.

Now, as I sit here on September 13, I see a player who has not played in more than 2.5 seasons but has worked through incredibly painful and debilitating injuries to try to get back on the field.  How often do we see players, especially those in their mid-30s, return after that much time off?   I know that Wright is coming back for only one or a few games before retiring, but it remains quite a feat. It would have been very easy at any time since early 2015 for Wright to retire.  Sure, the money he is making is a good motivator to try to play again, but I do not care.  Especially since Wright went down “for good” in May 2016, he has to have known that; if he were ever to return to the Majors, he would be a shell of what he once was.  He has to have known that he has had very few MLB games left in him….but that does not matter to him.  Many players would not have fought back for more than 2.5 years like Wright has.  Wright just wants to play on an MLB field one more time, and he will have that opportunity on the Mets. That is a great story.

Image result for david wright rehab
Image via Newsday

The funny thing is that, until now, David Wright never truly excited me as a Met.  When Wright had his best seasons from 2005 through 2008, I was always more excited by Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.  Wright was a great player, but I felt that those three were the true stars.  Unfortunately, as those players left, Wright stepped down from “Great” to “Very Good”.  During those “very good” years of 2009 through 2014, the Mets were not very good.  By 2015, when the Mets finally made it to a World Series with Wright, the stars had become the pitchers and Cespedes.  Therefore, for one reason or another, David Wright had never excited me….until now. 

Yes, David Wright is one of the best people in baseball.  He is a good-looking guy, and he has been a great face for the Mets’ franchise.  He is one of the few pro athletes who can legitimately be a role model for kids.  However, his dedication to work his way back to the majors makes him more of a role model than ever.  For the first time in David Wright’s career, I am excited to watch him play.  He might end up playing only three games or two games or one game.  That does not matter to me.  It will be very emotional to see him return to the Mets’ lineup, and I am excited to see #5 play third base for the Mets at least one more time.