Week 7 NFL Picks

We’ve been slacking the last couple of weeks with picks, but they’re back!!!

Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Sarah: Winner: Seahawks; ATS: Seahawks

Tess: Winner: Seahawks; ATS: Seahawks

New England Patriots (-3.5) at New York Jets

Sarah: Winner: Patriots; ATS: Patriots

Tess: Winner: Pats; ATS: Pats

San Diego Chargers (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sarah: Winner: Chargers; ATS: Chargers

Tess: Winner: Chargers; ATS: Chargers

Houston Texans (+6) at Kansas City Chiefs

Sarah: Winner: Chiefs; ATS: Chiefs

Tess: Winner: Chiefs; ATS: Texans

Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5) at Detroit Lions

Sarah: Winner: Lions; ATS: Lions

Tess: Winner: Bengals; ATS: Bengals

Buffalo Bills (+7.5) at Miami Dolphins

Sarah: Winner: Dolphins; ATS: Bills

Tess: Winner: Dolphins; ATS: Bills

Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles

Sarah: Winner: Cowboys; ATS: Cowboys

Tess: Winner: Cowboys; ATS: Cowboys

Chicago Bears (pick) at Washington Redskins

Sarah: Winner: Bears; ATS: Bears

Tess: Winner: Bears; ATS: Bears

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6) at Atlanta Falcons

Sarah: Winner: Falcons; ATS: Falcons

Tess: Winner: Falcons; ATS: Bucs

St. Louis Rams (+6) at Carolina Panthers

Sarah: Winner: Panthers; ATS: Rams

Tess: Winner: Panthers; ATS: Panthers

San Francisco 49ers (-4) at Tennessee Titans

Sarah: Winner: 49ers; ATS: 49ers

Tess: Winner: 49ers; ATS: 49ers

Cleveland Browns (+10) at Green Bay Packers

Sarah: Winner: Packers; ATS: Packers

Tess: Winner: Packers; ATS: Browns

Baltimore Ravens (+2) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Sarah: Winner: Ravens; ATS: Ravens

Tess: Winner: Ravens; ATS: Ravens

Denver Broncos (-6.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Sarah: Winner: Broncos; ATS: Colts (C’mon, Luck!)

Tess: Winner: Broncos; ATS: Broncos

Minnesota Vikings (+3.5) at New York Giants

Sarah: Winner: Giants; ATS: Giants

Tess: Winner: Vikings; ATS: Vikings

Week of September 24th- Ballin or Bawlin’, or Both?

For the first time in the extensive (three week) history of our Ballin’ or Bawlin’ feature, I’ve decided to deviate from the traditional format, throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in my sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Plagiarize. Sorry I’m not sorry, Mr. Twain.

Nevertheless, it requires a special athlete to qualify as a Baller and a Bawler.  However, I’m confident this week’s hybrid ba(w)ller is more than satisfactory.  In fact, he already made an appearance a few weeks back.  Enter Sandman, New York Yankees reliever, Mariano Rivera.

Mariano Rivera

The New York Yankees 2013 season ended on Sunday, without a postseason bid, thus ending Rivera’s 19 year career.  One might wonder, where was the fanfare?  The fireworks? The gesture?  The gesture, we, as sports fans, imagine we’ll witness and suddenly we’ll feel ready to say good-bye? It will dignify this individual.  It will dignify the often irrational emotions we’ve invested in this individual. It will reassure us our team will persevere sans this individual.  It will never, really, properly, happen.

All too often, headline athletes boasting historical careers retire and gradually recede into the past of their sport.  Sure, the fanfare and fireworks existed while they were in the midst of their career, but rarely do they seem to exist at the end.  It’s a strange and common phenomenon. For example, consider Larry Bird, Brett Favre, and Michael Jordan.  Even consider someone like Patrick Ewing, who was never lucky enough to win a title, but was still hugely successful at his craft.  He practically patented the mid-range turnaround jump shot. The manner in which these athletes careers ended, was certainly not indicative of the overall success they were hugely responsible for throughout their respective tenures.

But, back to our honoree Ba(w)ller.  Rivera was honored with a gift by twenty different ball clubs throughout the MLB during his final season. Most occurred during his last appearance at each club’s ball park.  He was honored at the 2013 All-Star Game.  He was honored, of course, at his own ball park on Sunday, the 22th of September.  Baseball, like all sports, is cyclical. As the most decorated franchise in the history of American sports, the Yankees appear to have mastered the cycle. Though they are perennial contenders, injuries and a competitive AL East stood in their way this season, as they fell 85-win victims to the happenings of a baseball season.  Thus, the 2013 Yankees season quietly ended, and so did Rivera’s career.  By the way, 2013 was only the second time the Yankees have missed the playoffs since 1995.

With the retirement of Rivera, comes another significant milestone in the history of baseball. Rivera was, and will be, the last player to ever wear the symbolic number 42, which belonged to Jackie Robinson.  The MLB mandated a league-wide retirement of the number in 1997, although players wearing the number at the time were grandfathered.  Rivera happened to be the last active player to don what is certainly the most significant uniform number in the history of baseball, and maybe even in the history of American sports.  Rivera ended his career with the all-time record for saves, 652.  He was a 13 time All-Star and won 5 World Series (including the World Series MVP in 1999).

Disclaimer: If you’re uncomfortable crying in your current setting, reconsider watching…

Hopefully it’s clear why Rivera is a ba(w)ller, now.  In retrospect, Rivera undoubtedly made his way through his final season in reverent style, yet it still feels like an unsuitable end to a once-in-a-lifetime career.  After all, it was only the second time the Yankees did not make the playoffs in his entire career. While Rivera may never physically stand out on the mound in traditional pin stripes again, a rookie pitcher will walk into the bull pen at Fenway Park to be greeted by:

mariano rivera signature fenway

(Mariano Rivera, Last to wear #42, thank you for everything)

A perpetual reminder of the greatest relief pitcher baseball has ever seen.  The way the Yankees handled Rivera’s last stand on the mound at Yankee Stadium may very well have qualified as the gesture for many Yankees and baseball fans, alike.  If it didn’t, well then you’ll just have to settle for the future.  Future baseball games will become present baseball games, present baseball games will become wins and losses, and these wins and losses will become titles and draft picks.  An announcer, hopefully Vin Scully if he’s still kicking, will note that Brian Wilson just recorded his 300th save (he currently has 171). “Wilson has recorded his 300th save! Not even halfway to Rivera’s all-time record of 652!” Keep in mind Wilson is already most likely halfway through his career, if he can stay healthy.  And so, It is in this future continuum of games, strikeouts, home runs, walks, ninth innings, and failed attempts at simulating Rivera’s infamous cutter, that the fanfare truly exists.  All too often, headline athletes boasting historical careers retire and gradually recede into the past of their sport.  But, very rarely, headline athletes boasting historical careers retire and gradually recede into the future of their sport, as they have single-handedly changed the game forever.

Weekly Links

The links are a bit late in being posted, and coming after the weekend… These are all from last week, however. Enjoy!



I was really hoping Ray Lewis’s retirement would mean hearing less of him.



I have a lot more to say on this topic (and probably will do so, in a future post) but this is a great breakdown of what a D1 player is worth to his school, versus what the school provides him.


It really does feel like those Thursday night games are sloppier… But are they? Another reason to consider is that the NFL guarantees every team (yes, even Jacksonville) will get one of these games, while other prime-time games are reserved for “marquee” match-ups.
Excellent article on the logistics behind getting a team ready to play in London (and if you don’t already follow him on Twitter, you should). 
A lot of guys donate their time and money to great charities, but there’s something just so sincere about Steph.
Awesome throwback read about NBA groupies in the early 90s, right after the Magic HIV announcement.
It’s enough to make even these die-hard Sox fans nostalgic. Rivera really had an unbelievable career.

Fun with GIFs

The MVP (Most Valuable Photograph) of Sunday Night Football Week 4:

Robert Kraft & Floyd Mayweather pose for a photo op.


Kraft: “Floyd, I have a gold bidet, that shit’s tight.” (Pun intended)

Floyd: “Cheese.”

Week 4 Picks

San Francisco 49ers (-3) at St. Louis Rams

Sarah: Winner: 49ers; ATS: 49ers

Tess: Winner: 49ers; ATS: Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) at Minnesota Vikings

Sarah: Winner: Vikings; ATS: Vikingss

Tess: Winner: Steelers; ATS: Steelers

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills

Sarah: Winner: Ravens; ATS: Ravens

Tess: Winner: Ravens; ATS: Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals (-5) at Cleveland Browns

Sarah: Winner: Bengals; ATS: Bengals

Tess: Winner: Bengals; ATS: Bengals

Indianapolis Colts (-8.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sarah: Winner: Colts; ATS: Colts

Tess: Winner: Colts; ATS: Colts

Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Houston Texans

Sarah: Winner: Seattle; ATS: Seattle

Tess: Winner: Houston; ATS: Houston

Arizona Cardinals (+3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sarah: Winner: Cardinals; ATS: Cardinals

Tess: Winner: Cardinals; ATS: Cardinals

Chicago Bears (+3) at Detroit Lions

Sarah: Winner: Bears; ATS: Bears

Tess: Winner: Bears; ATS: Bears

New York Giants (+4) at Kansas City Chiefs

Sarah: Winner: Chiefs; ATS: Giants

Tess: Winner: Chiefs; ATS: Chiefs

New York Jets (+4.5) at Tennessee Titans

Sarah: Winner: Titans; ATS: Titans

Tess: Winner: Titans; ATS: Titans

Dallas Cowboys (-2) at San Diego Chargers

Sarah: Winner: Boys; ATS: Boys

Tess: Winner: Chargers; ATS: Chargers

Washington Redskins (-3) at Oakland Raiders

Sarah: Winner: Skins; ATS: Skins

Tess: Winner: Skins; ATS: Skins

Philadelphia Eagles (+11) at Denver Broncos, 57.5

Sarah: Winner: Broncos; ATS: Eagles

Tess: Winner: Broncos; ATS: Broncos

New England Patriots (+1.5) at Atlanta Falcons

Winner: Falcons; ATS: Falcons

Miami Dolphins (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints

Sarah: Winner: Saints; ATS: Dolphins

Tess: Winner: Saints; ATS: Dolphins

Friday Links


Keri strategically breaks down and reinforces why Koji was this week’s season’s baller. After going through numerous closers in the post-Papelbon era due to injury and poor performance, the Red Sox are extremely fortunate to have found Koji.


Love this take on it. As Al Davis’s final draft pick ever, Pryor takes his responsibility to justify Davis’s faith in him seriously.


Every time I see something like this, I’m in awe of how SMART football players are. There are so many split-second decisions that go into their every move, on every down.


Pretty cool of Holloway, a former NFL lineman, to offer the kids redemption instead of pressing charges. And yet- neither the kids nor their parents are taking him up on it?


Great take by a respected player on how unfair and antiquated some NCAA rules are. I could go for days on this, but it’s completely ridiculous that universities make millions of dollars off players and their likenesses, while many of these students still have no money (and maybe never will, if they aren’t good enough to make the pros or just get injured). Maybe this is why we all judge Johnny Manziel so harshly- we know he’s from an oil-wealthy Texas family, not a struggling single-parent family.

Week 3 Picks

Chiefs at Eagles (-3)

Tess: Winner: Eagles, ATS: Eagles

Sarah: Winner: Chiefs, ATS: Chiefs

Chargers at Titans (-3.5)

Tess: Winner: Titans, ATS: Chargers

Sarah: Winner: Chargers, ATS: Chargers

Browns at Vikings (-6)

Tess: Winner: Vikings, ATS: Vikings

Sarah: Winner: Vikings, ATS: Vikings

Bucs at Patriots (-7)

Tess: Winner: Patriots, ATS: Patriots

Sarah: Winner: Patriots, ATS: Patriots

Texans (-2.5) at Ravens

Tess: Winner: Texans, ATS: Texans

Sarah: Winner: Texans, ATS: Texans

Rams at Cowboys (-3.5)

Tess: Winner: Cowboys, ATS: Cowboys

Sarah: Winner: Cowboys, ATS: Rams

Cardinals at Saints (-7.5)

Tess: Winner: Saints, ATS: Saints

Sarah: Winner: Saints, ATS: Cardinals

 Lions at Redskins (-1.5)

Tess: Winner: Redskins, ATS: Redskins

Sarah: Winner: Redskins, ATS: Redskins

Packers (-2) at Bengals

Tess: Winner: Packers, ATS: Packers

Sarah: Winner: Packers, ATS: Packers

Giants at Panthers (-1.5)

Tess: Winner: Giants, ATS: Giants

Sarah: Winner: Giants, ATS: Giants

Falcons at Dolphins (-2)

Tess: Winner: Falcons, ATS: Falcons

Sarah: Winner: Falcons, ATS: Falcons

Colts at 49ers (-10)

Tess: Winner: 49ers, ATS: Colts

Sarah: Winner: 49ers, ATS: Colts

Jaguars at Seahawks (-19.5)

Tess: Winner: Seahawks, ATS: Seahawks… Yup.

Sarah: Winner: Seahawks, ATS: Jaguars (haha)

Bills at Jets (-2.5)

Tess: Winner: Jets, ATS: Jets

Sarah: Winner: Bills, ATS: Bills

Bears (-2.5) at Steelers

Tess: Winner: Bears, ATS: Bears

Sarah: Winner: Bears, ATS: Bears

Raiders at Broncos (-15)

Tess: Winner: Broncos, ATS: Raiders

Sarah: Winner: Broncos, ATS: Pryor Raiders

Suicide Pick of the Week

Tess: Seattle

There are some HIGH lines this week, making it a good week for suicide pools. I might employ the “pick against the Jaguars” strategy most of the season, and I’m certainly doing it here.  The Jags lost by ten to the Raiders, who most considered to be a bottom five team going into the season- and it wasn’t even as close as the score suggests. The Jags were outgained 226-34 yards on the ground after MJD left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. They didn’t score a touchdown until nearly 57 minutes into the second game of the season, with a garbage time pass to Clay Harbor while down 16 (and yes, of course they missed the two point conversion). If the Seahawks can beat their NFC West rival and defending NFC champ 49ers by 26 points, I certainly think they can even cover the nearly three touchdown spread in this contest. I don’t see the Raiders having much of a shot against the Broncos, even without Ryan Clady, but I’ll save Peyton and the boys for another week.

Seahawks 31, Jaguars 6

Sarah: Vikings

Let’s avoid pondering the Ponder phenomenon for too long, because then I’ll change my mind.  The 0-2 Vikings are looking for their first win of the season.  They’ll face a Cleveland Browns team seemingly committed to browning out this season.  The Browns shocked the NFL this week as they traded away one of their two first-round draft picks from last year, Trent Richardson, to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-rounder.  Their other first-round draft pick from last year, starting quarterback Brandon Weeden, is out with a sprained thumb.  Third string quarterback, Brian Hoyer, will be at the helm.  Minnesota began the 2008 season 0-2 and still managed to win the NFC North.  They’d like to do it again.  I’m confident a win at home on Sunday will be their first step in the right direction.  Although, let the record state, I do not think the 2013 Minnesota Vikings will appear in the postseason this year, or ever again, as long as Ponder is the starting quarterback.

Vikings 27, Browns 10

Record to date

Tess: Wins/Losses: 10-6; ATS: 6-9-1; Suicide: 1-0

Sarah: Wins/Losses: 10-6; ATS: 10-6; Suicide: 1-0