Lee?s Locks #13
Lee?s back and he?s calling more games, including the 2-2 Bears over the 4-0 Lions in MNF. See who else he likes in this week?s Locks.
The Observation Deck:
Wondering if either of the non-employed diva receivers will make their way onto an NFL roster this year? Speaking specifically now on Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
A few days ago, Owens was interviewed and said that he would be recovered from off-season surgery in a ?month or less?, while Moss has officially filed for retirement. You would have to think that someone will take a chance on Owens, but many feel that Moss actually checked out sometime during the 2010 season. Like maybe during Week 1.
Notable: Former Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress gave the Patriots a fourth round draft pick for the good Mr. Moss in 2010. Then cut him a couple of weeks later. This had nothing to do with the ?Can Chili? T-shirts seen around the St. Paul and Minneapolis area at about that same time period.
Ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run in 2010, so far this young season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ranked No. 22. Coincidentally, their record is 2-2 after four weeks. I can?t imagine Dick LeBeau will let that go on much longer.
The Patriots were No. 1 in offense but No. 32 in defense. That can?t be right, can it? It?s a hard one to process. Note to Bill: Defense wins championships and lots of offense loses in the first round of the playoffs. He must know that, right?
As predicted by yours truly, the inevitable fall of the Indianapolis Colts at 0-4 has positively affected the success of at least two of the other teams in the AFC South. Both Tennessee and Houston are residing together in first place at 3-1, although dysfunctional Jacksonville evidently didn?t get the memo and are now mired at 1-3.
Three NFL teams in the state of Florida are a combined 4-8 with 25percent of the way through the schedule having come and gone. That?s kind of bad, I think.
In the ?Oh, Goody? department, we have an announcement: Tiger Woods has again returned to the fairways--this time at the Frys.com Open in St. Martin, California. His is still not the Woods of old, but he has made progress and did make the cut, having a pretty good weekend overall.
The 2011-2012 NHL hockey season is now underway with the Stanley Cup Boston Bruins getting things started against the Philadelphia Flyers last Thursday and with the raising of the championship banner in Boston. None other than the great Bobby Orr ? the last Bruin to win the cup in 1972 ? was on hand to help raise the prestigious banner at TD Garden. The Flyers were not caught up in it all and ungraciously took the game, 2-1. What nerve. Both the local Buffalo Sabres as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins were off to good starts in the new season as well. The puck has now dropped.
Word had it that in the NCAA, the Iowa football team was going into Happy Valley to beat a Penn State team that had problems on offense. So much for that plan, as the Nittany Lions did only manage 13 points, but the Hawkeyes mustered only three themselves. They evidently found out that the Lions have a pretty good defense. Well, it?s back to the drawing board for Iowa.
The Luck Contest:
In the NFL and yes, with one-quarter of the season completed, I thought that it was an appropriate time to start looking at who will be in the running to draft highly-touted Stanford QB Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL April draft by taking into account what teams are now in the mix.
Luck is the most highly regarded college quarterback to come out in the last decade and according to some, much longer than that. He is regarded as the prototypical franchise quarterback and whoever is lucky enough to land him will have a Lombardi trophy within their grasp. Okay, you need 52 other talented players and some good coaching, but this is your premier cornerstone for success if the scouts are to be believed.
Now many considered the dregs of the league ? those teams with the worst records currently ? to be quite unlucky, but oh, not so as they are the ones who could land the coveted one. That being said, it?s kind of like a contest or sweepstakes, you see.
We?ll parlay the standings and keep an eye on the participants, hoping they continue to wallow in their own lack of success vying for that ideal No. 1 draft spot. The actual order could vary somewhat with the various tie-breakers taken into consideration, but our list can begin with those presently qualifying for the grand prize.
If you are a fan of one of the current losers, then don?t feel badly, but rejoice because soon your team could be hoisting the beloved championship trophy gloriously above their heads, proclaiming that they are indeed the King of the Hill and with some Luck, they just may do that.
The current Luck Leader field:
St. Louis Rams
Kansas City Chiefs
Not every team would necessarily be looking for a quarterback, like St. Louis or Carolina, having the first pick in each of the previous two drafts, but this list has nothing to do with need and everything to do with placement. You can always trade your spot (or your current hotshot), if that?s how you choose to go. The current leaders are 0-4, with the next group being 1-3 in the won-loss column as I left the current .500 teams out since they can?t actually be considered losers. Looking at the list, you could see most of those teams being quite quarterback needy.
We?ll give it some time and see if our lucky team (no pun intended) becomes more and more apparent.
For Monday night football, I went with Tampa Bay over Indianapolis and although the Colts made a game of it, the Buccaneers prevailed, 24-17.
In picking the different series in the ALDS and NLDS, only one concluded on Tuesday and I incorrectly chose St. Petersburg, while Texas prevailed behind Adrian Beltre?s three home runs. The Rays? Cinderella story came to a close with a thud and in retrospect I must have admittedly been drinking the Kool-Aid, forgetting the fact that if not for the Dread Sox epic collapse, the Rays wouldn?t even have been at this party to begin with.
Thursday had the pivotal game five between the Detroit Tigers and the hated New York Yankees in the Big Apple. Going with Detroit, my faith was justly rewarded when the Tigers managed a 3-2 win with closer Jose Valverde fanning Alex Rodriguez to end the game and the despicable Yankees? 2011 season.
Note: Best wishes, Tom Miller and Karen Shim as your team is now in the ALCS.
Friday saw the dramatic climax of both of the NLDS series? when each of the four teams entered the day tied at two games apiece.
The Milwaukee Brewers finally dispensed with those pesky Arizona Diamondbacks at home, taking it narrowly with a 3-2 win in extra innings. I had Milwaukee in this one.
Finally, the last series was decided when the St. Louis Cardinals went in to Philadelphia and beat the much-favored Phillies in front of an astonished home crowd by a stunning 1-0 margin. I had Philly for this series, much like everyone else, but the Cardinals had other plans behind the brilliant pitching of Chris Carpenter.
With MNF, I managed a so-so 3-2 record with my picks for the week.
On Monday, Oct. 10, it?s another Monday Night Football with the 2-2 Chicago Bears at the 4-0 Detroit Lions. No one in their right mind would pick the Bears in this one with Detroit unbeaten, at home and playing during prime time. Enter me. I have a hard time believing that this young Lions? team is a legitimate 4-0--I?m sorry. These are the same guys that managed two comeback wins when they were down by 20 points or more, but one fact can?t escape all of that and that is, if the other teams didn?t help, they would be 2-2 at best--just like last week when Tony Romo gave them three pick-6 interceptions in the second half.
The Bears, after starting out rather badly, managed to find a ground game last week (Matt Forte - 205 yards) and also managed to control the tempo and keep QB Jay Cutler off of IR. Picking Chicago to make a claim to the NFC Central and knock upstart Detroit down a notch.
It?s time for the AL and NL championship series and we now have our four finalists for the right to play in the World Series annual fall classic.
For Detroit and Texas, beginning a seven-game series Saturday in Arlington, I?m staying with the hot hand and riding in with the Tigers who have amazingly arrived at this point. Justin Verlander will be available for game one and likely game five, and I watched him mow down the Yankees last week when he was frequently hitting 100 MPH on the gun in the later innings.
Note: This column is being sent in on Sunday and one game has been played with Detroit dropping game one to Texas, 3-2.
Now with St. Louis and Milwaukee, I?m again going with the Cardinals to take the series from the Brewers--although Milwaukee is almost unbeatable at home. My feeling is, if you can beat the best rotation in baseball (Philadelphia), then I?ve got to hang with you.
And another thing:
Once again, the highest payroll doesn?t necessarily mean you win the championship. The hated New York Yankees with their 27 championships will again be watching the World Series on TV, just like the rest of us schmucks. The perfect example of this was watching Alex Rodriguez go down swinging yet again to end game five in the Bronx and send New York packing. Like Boston, this is the perfect example that money can?t buy you love as so famously said before. When you refer to this squad as the ?Bronx Bombers?, then you know that no truer words were ever uttered as they indeed bombed in this one.
Theo Epstein who is the GM of the Boston Dread Sox is being courted by the Chicago Cubs, but the Sox want prospects. Too bad the Cubbies don?t have any, but wait a minute, maybe that isn?t so bad after all. Yes, Theo brought two championships to Boston, but not all of the talent was acquired on his watch. A closer look reveals tons of money tied up in players who have basically underperformed, if not outright flopped. Count the awful John Lackey, disappointing Carl Crawford, phantom Eric Bedard, and the forgettable (not his $100 million salary, just him) Dike-K Matsuzaka as being the epic failures of this regime. No, Chicago, I would stay away from Epstein unless you want a gigantic payroll and nothing much to show for it. Do something really constructive like fix up the parking lot at Wrigley instead.
You heard it here:
The Miami Dolphins are a team in serious disarray. It was like that from training camp, right up to the start of the season and certainly where they are after four games into the regular season and that is winless. It?s hard to think that Coach Tony Sparano will survive through the season if the situation does not improve, but if he isn?t going to be the Head Coach going forward, then who will be? I would put the odds on a former NFL Head Coach who was directing a team just a few hundred miles to the northwest a couple of years ago and that?s Jon Gruden. If you want to make an impact and get the fan base back under you, then the best way to do that is with someone who has a Super Bowl ring. I expect Gruden will be the next coach of the Dolphins when the vacancy exists.
Have a great week,