Wednesday, September 03, 2008

2008 NFL Season Predictions

Wow. It’s football season already, and time for me to make some hilarious predictions about how it’s going to go. As some of you may remember, I predicted a Dallas/Miami Super Bowl in 2006 and a New England/New Orleans Super Bowl in 2007. This year, I believe the big game will feature the San Diego Chargers taking on the Minnesota Vikings, with the Chargers winning. Mark it down.

As well, I like to say a little bit about each team, just because it’s funny at the end of the season. Occasionally, I get one right, such as my prediction that Favre would have a monster season last year and that the Chargers would finally win a playoff game. However, I also called the Randy Moss trade “questionable,” and that the Giants would finish last in the NFC East and that Tom Coughlin would be fired…

AFC East
New England – You think the Patriots played angry after being caught cheating? You just wait and see how angry they are about their 18-1 season! Can they repeat as division champs for another year? Hell yes.
Buffalo – The Bills showed flashes of brilliance last season but need consistency to make the playoffs. I like Marshawn Lynch (assuming he can stop running people over with his car) and as long as JP Losman is prevented from seeing the field, the Bills will be fine.
NY Jets – Yeah, a lot of hype surrounding the Jets these days. Favre’s not going to do that well because the Jets don’t have a running back and their defence is pretty shabby looking. Both of these items were more important to Green Bay’s winning season last year than Favre was.
Miami – I predict the Dolphins will be picking Tim Tebow at next year’s draft, and then they might be able to do some damage. I think the Dolphins will qunituple their win total from last year, but there a lot of holes on this team on all sides.

AFC West
San Diego – The Chargers had a quiet offseason, the sort of thing you’d expect from a team that lost the AFC Championship. I say they can make it there again, and win this time. No Lorenzo Neal, so I would caution against taking Tomlinson at the top of your fantasy draft. I also wouldn’t put too much stock in Shawne Merriman…his knee is going to explode at some point this season.
Denver – Who knows. Jay Cutler might be good some day. I think he still sucks, and the Broncos will struggle to make the playoffs. They have two good DB’s, but no one else who can play defence.
Oakland – There’s still a lack of receiver talent here so JaMarcus isn’t going to put up good numbers. All he has to do is hand the ball off and things will be fine for the most part.
Kansas City – Name a player on the Kansas City Chiefs other than Larry Johnson. I can’t.

AFC South
Jacksonville – Taking a bit of a risk here, but I think they’ll win the season series with the Colts this year which will be enough. Garrard doesn’t make many mistakes and is supported by a great running game.
Indianapolis – The MVP of this team is out for 6 weeks. I’m talking of course about Jeff Saturday. I assure you that Manning and Addai’s numbers are going to fall because of this. They have a bitch of a schedule to get through.
Tennessee – Not sure what the Titans are going to do this season. I know they had a horrible draft, but they kept a good chunk of their defence together and added Alge Crumpler. I think they’re a .500 team for now. It’s a shame because their D-line is probably the best in the league.
Houston – If they can get better pass protection, they might get their first winning season, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this time. Mario Williams will lead the league in sacks this year.

AFC North
Pittsburgh – Managed to keep the best defence in the league together. They also happen to have a quarterback with a 104.1 rating and the third best running game in the league.
Cleveland – At first, I picked the Browns to win the division, and then I remembered last season how terrible their defence was. I’ll give them a wildcard spot anyway.
Baltimore – Once again, the Ravens failed to assemble a passing game. They still look pretty good at DB and LB, even if they are getting older and slower.
Cincinnati – The Benglas can’t seem to keep their players out of jail. Palmer can be good, but needs the running game to open things up. Looks like a rebuilding year for them.

AFC Playoffs
(6) Cleveland vs. (3) Pittsburgh: Steelers
(5) Indianapolis vs. (4) Jacksonville: Colts

(5) Indianapolis vs. (1) New England: Patriots
(3) Pittsburgh vs. (2) San Diego: Chargers

(2) San Diego vs. (1) New England: Chargers

NFC North
Minnesota – Once again, all the pieces are there, except at QB. Good thing the QB talent is equally poor among the other three teams in this division, and that the Vikings have super back-up Gus Frerotte in case things go sour. Number one running game and number one run defence should be enough to win this division.
Green Bay – What’s lost in this QB soap opera in Green Bay is just how good the receivers and running backs are. I’ll wager that the Packers finish with a better record than the Jets.
Detroit – I enjoyed the Lions awesome roll to the playoffs last year (starting 6-2, ending 8-8, losing the second wildcard to the Skins.) Kitna is like the McCown sisters: should not start full time. Offence is full of rookies, but the defence which was dead last in the league last year looks like it got better.
Chicago – The Bears are cover-your-eyes bad this season. It won’t surprise me if they win the Tebow sweepstakes. They need him bad.

NFC South
New Orleans – This pick is kind of contingent on the Superdome not getting destroyed by another hurricane. Brees and Colston will continue to be productive, while Reggie Bush will continue to suck.
Carolina – Bit of a dark horse pick this year, but the Panthers really struggled with injuries last season. As far as I’m concerned, they still have the right people. Steve Smith just needs to stop injuring his own teammates. Muhsin Muhammed is back and put up very good numbers the last time he was here.
Tampa Bay – Their defence is older and slower, and so is their quarterback. Looks like a pretty average team.
Atlanta – Rookie quarterback + rookie head coach = last place. They cast the veterans away and got some fairly decent replacements in the draft.

NFC East
Dallas – They look good on both sides of the ball and will have good season. I think they’ll be able to match their 13-3 record from last season.
NY Giants – Super Bowl MVP or not, Eli Manning still sucks. He is a streaky player who just happened to get hot at the right time. They will get off to a fast start and then lose out in December and miss the playoffs.
Philadelphia – SI picked them to win the NFC, so they’re out. Really, there’s nothing that impressive about them, and their crappy O-line pretty much assures that McNabb’s going to get hurt again.
Washington – Rookie head coach here, so maybe next year.

NFC West
Seattle – Still have a great front seven and a good O-line which will be enough to win the division yet again.
Arizona – Warner’s starting at QB which isn’t good news. There’s not much of a running game here so they’re not going to be able to get much going.
St. Louis – Had a ton of injuries this season and should get better with the return of Marc Bulger. They do have a problem with depth though.
San Francisco – Their starting quarterback, J.T. O’Sullivan, had a rating of 48.2 last season which speaks volumes about how badly Alex Smith sucks. To make matters worse, Mike Martz doesn’t run the ball, so the 49ers aren’t going to get anything going on offence. I like Patrick Willis on defence, but he can’t do it all on his own.

NFC Playoffs
(6) Carolina vs. (3) New Orleans: Panthers
(5) Green Bay vs. (4) Seattle: Seahawks

(6) Carolina vs. (1) Dallas: Panthers
(4) Seattle vs. (2) Minnesota: Vikings

(6) Carolina vs. (2) Minnesota: Vikings

Monday, July 21, 2008

Everyone's a critic

Saw this on Battle of Alberta and I thought I'd do it.

1. Worst well-regarded film: This one's easy: Lawrence of Arabia. Four hours of walking through the desert. All style, no substance, and it's AFI's #5 movie of all time.

2. Most overhyped film (note that this is slightly different from above; the first measures the absolute badness level, while the second measures the delta between reputation and actual quality):
I imagine that once I see The Dark Knight, that will be the answer to this question. The fact that it's on the top of IMDb's Top 250 is a really good indication of hype. For now, the answer to this one is The Matrix.

3. Worst film to win a best picture Oscar: Most of you are probably expecting me to say Million Dollar Baby. The only reason I'm not is because it was pulled from a weak crop of films that year. In the end, I'm going to have to go with The English Patient. It beat two vastly superior films: Fargo and Shine. Just die already! Nobody cares about your time in the stupid desert!

4. Most disappointing film (ie should have been good but wasn't--Godfather III, Phantom Menace, the latest Indiana Jones atrocity) It's hard to remember a film that was supposed to be good. Generally, they fall off the face of the planet and aren't heard from much. I seem to remember that The Legend of Bagger Vance was supposed to be good, and was god-awful. I'll never go to another movie that was recommended by Oprah.

5. Worst movie, full stop. (Must have been a major motion picture release--no direct-to-video, or film festival torture tactics, please) Very tough call here. There are a lot of terrible movies out there, but a lot of them can be appreciated at some level due to their camp value. No, a truly terrible movie is one that tries to be good and then badly misses the mark. I don't think one can argue that Daddy Day Camp and Norbit ever try to be good. Therefore, my worst movie ever? Continuing with the Matt Damon theme from the previous category: Pearl Harbor.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kevin Lowe should take notes...

...from the Atlanta Falcons on how to properly re-build a team. Look at their off-season so far:

Alge Crumpler
Warrick Dunn
Dwayne Blakley
Demorrio Williams
Todd Watkins
Byron Leftwich
Wayne Gandy
Rod Coleman
Lewis Sanders
Jamin Elliott
Marcus Wilkins
P.J. Alexander
Jordan Beck

Michael Turner
Ben Hartsock
Erik Coleman
Von Hutchins
Rashad Moore
Kindal Moorehead
Simon Fraser
Tim Anderson
Alex Stepanovich
Jason Rader

Almost all of the departures are veteran players with big salaries and the arrivals (with the exception of Turner) are more or less warm bodies. By signing young free agents, GM (and former Guelph Gryphon) Thomas Dimitroff is doing two things: keeping salary cap room available and getting players who should still be at their peak if and when the Falcons get back to respectability.

There are reports of DeAngelo Hall being traded to Oakland for a second and sixth round pick, so long as a new contract is hammered out. There are also rumours that the Falcons will trade the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Both of these news items are music to my ears. For one, Hall is an overrated piece of shit and I look forward to seeing Hines Ward, after losing a shoe, beating him on a skinny post and then outrunning him to the endzone in another team's uniform. For another, Dimitroff was Director of College Scouting for the New England Patriots, and many of the players involved in the Pats 18-1 season and three Super Bowls were evaluated, scouted, and drafted by Dimitroff. The more draft picks the better; the Falcons need upgrades at just about every position (DL, DB, LB, OL, TE, QB) and it's not going to hurt them to slide down as low as 15th overall and throw a dart at the best player still available. The Falcons would have 11 selections pending the Hall trade, including the Raiders and Texans 2nd rounders, and they're also likely to pick up a 4th round compensatory selection for Patrick Kerney.

From the Atlanta Falcons Blog: "I can't imagine even the most optimistic Falcons fan is expecting much from the team in 2008. As long as no one is detained at the airport for carrying a pot-concealing water bottle or is sent to prison for murdering puppies, it'll be a successful season. And that's probably the best attitude to take. That way, if the team somehow manages to win five or six games, it'll be a pleasant surprise as the front office prepares to make another top-5 pick in a year's time."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Alberta Election Predictions

Here are my predictions:
PC: 50
LIB: 27
NDP: 4
WRA: 2

Popular Vote
PC: 43%
LIB: 30%
NDP: 11%
WRA: 9%
GRN: 7%

Since poll results never give a regional breakdown, my predictions are based on the assumption that the Wildrose Alliance will play a big factor in the Liberals picking up seats in Calgary, but I have no idea how their campaign has been going there, if at all.

It's very puzzling how some people seem convinced that the Progressive Conservatives are going to lose this one. I think the NDP will keep the seats they have, but I think it would be funny to see Mason lose.

I have a prediction for each riding listed below. Some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your views) include Minister of Advanced Education and Technology Doug Horner losing to Ray Boudreau, Link Byfield winning one for the Wildrose Alliance, super-candidate Arthur Kent losing to Dave Taylor, and Independent Dan Backs losing his seat. And of course, we're all going to enjoy seeing Craig Chandler crash and burn.

Seems I actually know a few people running in this election:

  • Jason Nishiyama, the NDP candidate in Calgary-Egmont; a former cadet officer
  • Raj Sherman, running for the PCs in Edmonton Meadowlark; my landlord for a couple of years
  • While I haven’t personally met him, Edmonton Mill-Creek’s NDP candidate Stephen Anderson is engaged to a former Lister floormate of mine.

Airdrie-Chestermere: Rob Anderson, PC
Athabasca-Redwater: Bill Bonko, LIB
Banff-Cochrane: Janis Tarchuk, PC
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock: Ken Kowalski, PC
Battle River-Wainwright: Doug Griffiths, PC
Bonnyville-Cold Lake: Genia Leskiw, PC
Calgary-Bow: Alana DeLong, PC
Calgary-Buffalo: Kent Hehr, PC
Calgary-Cross: Yvonne Fritz, PC
Calgary-Currie: Dave Taylor, LIB
Calgary-East: Bill Harvey, LIB
Calgary-Egmont: Cathie Williams, LIB
Calgary-Elbow: Craig Cheffins, LIB
Calgary-Fish Creek: Heather Forsyth, PC
Calgary-Foothills: Len Webber, PC
Calgary-Fort: Carole Oliver, LIB
Calgary-Glenmore: Ron Stevens, PC
Calgary-Hays: Art Johnson, PC
Calgary-Lougheed: David Rodney, PC
Calgary-MacKay: Tianna Melnyk. LIB
Calgary-McCall: Darshan King, LIB
Calgary-Montrose: Michael Embaie, LIB
Calgary-Mountain View: David Swann, LIB
Calgary-North Hill: Pat Murray, LIB
Calgary-North West: Dale Martin D’Silva, LIB
Calgary-Nose Hill: Len Borowski, LIB
Calgary-Shaw: Cindy Ady, PC
Calgary-Varsity: Harry Chase, LIB
Calgary-West: Ron Liepert, PC
Cardston-Taber-Warner: Paul Hinman, WRA
Cypress-Medicine Hat: Leonard Mitzel, PC
Drayton Valley-Calmar: Diana McQueen, PC
Drumheller-Stettler: Jack Hayden, PC
Dunvegan-Central Peace: Hector Goudreau, PC
Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview: Ray Martin, NDP
Edmonton-Calder: David Eggen, NDP
Edmonton-Castle Downs: Chris Kibermanis, LIB
Edmonton-Centre: Laurie Blakeman, LIB
Edmonton-Decore: Bill Bonko, LIB
Edmonton-Ellerslie: Bharat Agnihotri, LIB
Edmonton-Glenora: Bruce Miller, LIB
Edmonton-Gold Bar: Hugh MacDonald, LIB
Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood: Brian Mason, NDP
Edmonton-Manning: Peter Sandhu, PC
Edmonton-McClung: Mo Elsalhy, LIB
Edmonton-Meadowlark: Raj Sherman, PC
Edmonton-Mill Creek: Gene Zwozdesky, PC
Edmonton-Mill Woods: Weslyn Mather, LIB
Edmonton-Riverview: Kevin Taft, LIB
Edmonton-Rutherford: Fred Horne, PC
Edmonton-Strathcona: Rachel Notley, NDP
Edmonton-Whitemud: Dave Hancock, PC
Foothills-Rocky View: Ted Morton, PC
Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo: Guy Boutilier, PC
Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville: Ed Stelmach, PC
Grande Prairie-Smoky: Mel Knight, PC
Grande Prairie-Wapiti: Wayne Drysdale, PC
Highwood: George Groeneveld, PC
Innisfail-Sylvan Lake: Luke Ouellette, PC
Lac La Biche-St. Paul: Ray Danyluk, PC
Lacombe-Ponoka: Ray Prins, PC
Leduc-Beaumont-Devon: George Rogers, PC
Lesser Slave Lake: Pearl Calahasen, PC
Lethbridge-East: Bridget Pastoor, LIB
Lethbridge-West: Bal Boora, LIB
Little Bow: Barry McFarland, PC
Livingstone-Macleod: Evan Berger, PC
Medicine Hat: Rob Renner, PC
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: Richard Marz, PC
Peace River: Frank Oberle, PC
Red Deer-North: Mary-Anne Jablonski, PC
Red Deer-South: Cal Dallas, PC
Rocky Mountain House: Ty Lund, PC
Sherwood Park: Iris Evans, PC
Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert: Ray Boudreau, LIB
St. Albert: Jack Flaherty, LIB
Stony Plain: Fred Lindsay, PC
Strathcona: Dave Quest, PC
Strathmore-Brooks: Arno Doerksen, PC
Vermilion-Lloydminster: Lloyd Snelgrove, PC
West Yellowhead: Robin Campbell, PC
Wetaskiwin-Camrose: Verlyn Olsen, PC
Whitecourt-Ste. Anne: Link Byfield, WRA

Sunday, January 27, 2008

2007 NFL All-Loser Team

The All-Pro team was announced three weeks ago, but what I like to do is honour the individuals who make the NFL the National Felons League. To make the team, one must commit a crime or otherwise be an embarrassment to the league in the year 2007. This year, the field was quite large, so I selected the worst offenders, or just the funniest or most idiotic cases. Here goes:

QB: Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons – This man needs no introduction. He dominated the headlines and sports talk radio over the summer. Because the field of loser QB’s this season is pretty thin, Vick would have earned this spot for the water bottle incident at Miami airport. Never mind the fact that he was bankrolling a dogfighting ring…Vick was sentenced to 23 months, and most sources say that he is now broke despite the largest contract in the league and numerous endorsement deals. At the end of his career, he will no doubt be inducted into the Sports Loser Hall of Shame right next to Rae Carruth and Mike Danton.

RB: Najeh Davenport, Pittsburgh Steelers – In October, he was charged with domestic violence, child endangerment, and unlawful restraint involving the mother of his five year old son. He pleaded not guilty.

RB: Dominic Rhodes, Oakland Raiders – Went 81 in a 55 zone, failed two sobriety tests and claimed he “only had two or three.” He was given a 180 day suspended sentence and was suspended for the first four games of the season.

WR: Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals – A chronic rubby-dub and substance abuser, Henry was suspended for 8 games this season stemming from an incident where he provided alcohol to minors.

WR: Koren Robinson, Green Bay Packers – This boozebag was sentenced to 90 days in February for fleeing from police and served this sentence concurrently with another 90 days for a separate drunk driving case. He was reinstated in October, and collected 8 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Jerramy Stevens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – He has received several reckless driving charges in the past including one in 2001 where he crashed his car into a nursing home. This year, Stevens was charged with DUI and marijuana possession. His neighbours in his condo complex have also complained that he barfs on their doors and leaves used condoms on the back porch for the kids to find.

OT: Levi Jones, Cincinnati Bengals – Involved in a casino brawl with fellow all-loser Joey Porter (see below) because Porter allegedly stole Jones’ jewellery. I can see it now...a 307 lb. tackle screaming in the middle of a casino “That’s my purse!”

OT: Khalif Barnes, Jacksonville Jaguars – Pulled a trifecta: arrested for speeding and DUI in a car with expired plates. Barnes also called the officer a “KKK devil who hates all colored people.” Barnes was sentenced to six months probation, 50 hours of community service, and had his license suspended for six months.

OG: Ross Verba, Free agent – Arrested last January for passing bad checks in Nevada and was released by the Lions in February. Who taught him how to manage his money? Darren McCarty?

OG: Claude Terrell, Free Agent – Beat up his wife while he was already on probation for beating up another family member. And I thought my family was dysfunctional. The Rams released him after the incident which is pretty serious since the Rams already had 9 injured linemen.

C: Stocker McDougle, Jacksonville Jaguars – Bounced a $1200 cheque at a plant nursery. When the owner claimed McDougle owed him interest over it, McDougle pushed the 65 year old man causing him to fall over. He is now facing battery charges.

DL: Anthony Hargrove, Buffalo Bills – Hargrove was suspended for four games in 2007 for failing a drug test. He was also charged with criminal mischief, resisting arrest, and harassment after a confrontation with police outside a nightclub.

DL: Tank Johnson, Dallas Cowboys – Shortly after being released from jail for numerous firearm related crimes (he likes to keep loaded assault rifles around children) he was arrested for speeding and was suspected of driving while impaired. He was suspended for half the regular season.

DL: Fred Evans, Minnesota Vikings – Got in a dispute with a taxi driver, then resisted arrest and bit a police officer. He was then tasered and charged with battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and trespassing. He was already on probation for marijuana possession.

LB: Justin Durant, Jacksonville Jaguars – On Nov. 3, Durant was found passed out in his Escalade at an exit ramp with an open road pop sitting next to him. Then, possibly trying to compare himself to Muhatma Gandhi, he was also charged with “resisting arrest without violence.”

LB: Nick Barnett, Green Bay Packers – Charged with battery for shoving a woman to the ground who wanted his autograph at a nightclub. His antics spilled onto the field this year, as the 232 lb. Barnett claimed that 66 year old umpire Jim Quirk “assaulted” him while trying to break up a fight in a game against the Bears (Quirk was subsequently fined.) Sissy…

LB: Joey Porter, Miami Dolphins – Shot in the ass in 2003, the NFL’s second dirtiest player (Rodney Harrison is number one) was at it again, this time punching Levi Jones in the face in a casino, splitting him open. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanour battery and paid a $1000 fine and was also fined three game cheques.

LB: Odell Thurman, Cincinnati Bengals – Some depth here at the linebacker position, as usual. Boozer, user, drunk driver. Thurman was sentenced to 90 days for DUI, and was wanted for an assault, but the charges were eventually dismissed. Thurman also applied for reinstatement and was denied by Roger Goodell.

DB: Adam “Pacman“ Jones, Tennessee Titans – At a Las Vegas strip club, Pacman beat up a stripper for taking his money without his permission. Then, he threatened to kill one of the security guards. One of his entourage fired three shots into the crowd and paralyzed a man from the waist down. Jones pleaded no contest and received a one year suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service. He was also suspended for the entire season.

DB: Justin Miller, New York Jets – Punched a woman at a nightclub and was charged with misdemeanour assault. Miller won the fastest man competition at last February’s Pro Bowl, but couldn’t outrun the NYPD.

SS: Jarrod Cooper, Oakland Raiders – Tested positive for anabolic steroids, got suspended and released, and then of course the Raiders resigned him after the suspension was over.

FS: Dexter Reid, Free agent – Reid was pulled over in March when he was suspected of drunk driving, when the police found marijuana and a concealed weapon in his car. Then, in September, Reid parked in a handicap space at a Chick-fil-a while he went in to get some fried chicken. An officer told him he had to move the car or have it towed. Reid gave the officer permission to move the car. That’s when the officer found a loaded semi-automatic pistol in the car. Wow.