2016 Week 3 NFL Picks

Good news.  I have a few posts in the works besides NFL Picks.  But for now that’s all I got.  I’m not even bothering to put a picture with this one.  It’s been that kind of a week.

Last Week I correctly picked 12 out of 16 games.  Making the season totals 20 correct picks out of 32 games.  Last week I felt a lot of the games had a clear direction in which the game would go.  This week is not like that.  There are a lot of trends that meet each other this week.  Lots of “Are they for real?” answers to be had.  I don’t anticipate doing well because looking at the schedule I can argue a case for just about every team having a chance to win.  So, here it goes.

Thursday Night

Houston @ New England:  New England.  You go with “The Patriot Way” at home even with a 3rd String QB until they give you a reason not to.

Sunday Noon

Arizona @ Buffalo:   Arizona  

Oakland @ Tennessee:  Tennessee

Cleveland @ Miami: Miami.  Miami is terrible, but so is Cleveland and they’re the road team

Baltimore @ Jacksonville: Jacksonville

Detroit @ Green Bay:  Green Bay

Denver @ Cincinnati:  Cincinnati

Minnesota @ Carolina: Carolina

Washington @ New York Giants:  New York Giants.

Sunday Nap Time

Los Angeles @ Tampa Bay:  Tampa Bay

San Francisco @ Seattle:  San Francisco

New York Jets @ Kansas City:  Kansas City.  If this game was in NY I’d pick the Jets.  

San Diego @ Indianapolis:  San Diego

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia: Philadelphia.  To me this is the sexiest game of the weekend.  Are the Eagles and Carson Wentz “for real”?  After winning against the Browns and Bears we’ll get an answer during this game when they play a real football team in the Steelers.  

Sunday Night

Chicago @ Dallas:  Dallas. It’s great that NBC gave the Cowboys a nationally televised game.  I feel like they don’t get that opportunity enough.  

Monday Night

Atlanta @ New Orleans:  New Orleans


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2016 Week 2 NFL Picks

NFL Week 2 Picks

Last Week I picked all sixteen NFL games and ended being half right; picking eight out of sixteen games correctly.  Denver didn’t fall off as much as I thought they would.  Jacksonville wasn’t ready to take a step forward.  The Chiefs spent the first half being exposed for everything I thought they were, and then spent the second half being everything I thought they should be.  And I thought the 49ers were a bad team, it’s just the LA Rams were worse than that.


Gambling? Is it worth the risk?


Only being half right will not get me to my goal of 170 correct picks by the end of the season.   Here are this week’s picks.

Thursday Night

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills:  New York Jets.  I don’t think either team is interesting.  Both are coming off losses, but at least the Jets seem to have it more together than the Bills

Sunday Noon

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh:  Pittsburgh. To me, this is the most interesting game of the weekend.   It’s a Divisional match-up against two teams expected to make the playoffs.  Got to go with the Steelers until they give me a reason not to.  

Tennessee @ Detroit:  Detroit.  Detroit looked real good in Week 1, and Tennessee didn’t plus Detroit is at home.

Baltimore @ Cleveland: Baltimore.  Cleveland is trash

Dallas @ Washington:  Dallas.  No one should watch this.  But because it’s the Cowboys you know FOX will make it their feature game.  

New Orleans @ New York Giants:  NY Giants.

San Francisco @ Carolina: Carolina.  West Coast teams with early kicks in the east have terrible records.   Hopefully Carolina doesn’t develop a Super Bowl hangover.

Miami @ New England:  New England.  New England is New England, and the Dolphins are not.

Kansas City @ Houston:  Houston.  Kansas City and Houston played twice last year and KC won both.  Which means the law of averages says the Texans may get over.  I’m not sure which Chiefs team will show up, and until they develop some consistency I’m just going to assume the worst.  

Sunday Nap Time

Seattle @ Los Angeles:  Seattle.  I’m more interested in how many people show up for this one as opposed to what actually happens on the field.

Tampa Bay @ Arizona:  Arizona.  Can’t see Arizona going 0-2, but it’s the NFL and strange things happen.

Jacksonville @ San Diego:  San Diego.  Only reason, Jacksonville is going across country and hasn’t established themselves as a team that could overcome that.  

Atlanta @ Oakland: Oakland.

Indianapolis @ Denver:  Denver.

Sunday Night

Green Bay @ Minnesota:  Green Bay

Monday Night

Philadelphia @ Chicago: Philadelphia.  I’d like to see how Carson Wentz does against a better defense that has actual game tape on him.  I still think the Eagle win.  

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The Football Pool Memorial

At one time I was the commissioner of an NFL Football Pool.  We picked the games straight up, no points spreads.  We charged $2 a week; for the first few years we had over consistent 20 participants.  For various reasons participation dwindled to eight die-hard players.  At which point we decided to finish the 2014 Season and not do the pool anymore.

I miss it.  I can’t stand fantasy football, and even though there was negligible amount of money on the line, it allowed to me to have some sort of interest in every NFL game.  Because I was in charge of sending out the weekly schedule of games and then keeping track of everyone’s picks.  I got to be an expert at NFL Scheduling.  I could often tell you when each team played, who was at home, on what network, and in some cases the broadcast crew without looking at my phone.  I also have 5 seasons worth of prognostication data for myself and random football fans.  For a couple of seasons I even kept track of notable media members who made picks during the NFL Pre-Game Shows.  Turns out they’re not any better than us unwashed masses at picking football games. 


Gambling? Is it worth the risk?

Turns out if you pay even a little bit of attention you can pick the winner around 62 % of the time.  Reviewing some of the old spreadsheets I found the eventual winner of the entire season only picked correctly 65% of the time over the course of five seasons;  or 166 out of 256.  The year I won the entire season, 2012, I picked 170 games correctly, or 67%.  My average over the five seasons was 63%. 

Since I need content for this website and I miss picking all 256 games that make up an NFL season.   I’ve decided to publicly make my picks for each week and keep track of the results.  I doubt I will spend more than 20 minutes a week doing research on making picks.  That is similar to what I did in an actual football pool.  If you think you’re any good feel to make your picks and send them to me and I’ll post them along with mine.  If you beat me you will receive absolutely nothing.  I will post the coming weekends picks, and go over the previous week’s picks every Wednesday.  My goal will be to beat my best season of 170 correct picks.  So, without further commentary, here are my picks for Week 1 and some commentary on my pick if it comes to me. 

Thursday Night

Carolina @ Denver:  Carolina. No tactical reason I’m picking Carolina other than things usually even out in the NFL.  

Sunday Noon

Green Bay @ Jacksonville: Jacksonville.  Home underdogs are a good place to find surprise results.  Especially on opening weekend 

Buffalo @ Baltimore: Baltimore

Chicago @ Houston: Houston

Cleveland @ Philadelphia: Philadelphia

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta: Tampa Bay

Minnesota @ Tennessee:  Tennessee

Cincinnati @ New York Jets: NY Jets

Oakland @ New Orleans: New Orleans

San Diego @ Kansas City: Kansas City.  I’m not real high on the Chiefs this year, but San Diego is terrible and the game is at Arrowhead

Sunday Nap Time

Miami @ Seattle: Seattle

Detroit @ Indianapolis: Indianapolis

New York @ Dallas: New York Giants

Sunday Night

New England @ Arizona: Arizona

Monday Night

Pittsburgh @ Washington : Pittsburgh

Los Angeles @ San Francisco: Los Angeles.  It’s really weird typing Los Angeles in reference to an NFL team


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Football that counts returned this past weekend and it was spectacular.  I could write a lot of superlatives about the awesomeness of this past weekend’s college football games.  I’ll just let the games themselves and people who get paid to write wax the poetry.  In the end, it left most football fans wanting, and that is why College and NFL football are as popular as they are.  If you’re like me you can’t wait till next weekend so we can do it again…until you look at the slate of College games.  Unless you are a fan of a certain school here are the most interesting televised games in each time slot.  All times central because that’s where I live:


Well do you?


11am: Central Michigan @ #21 Oklahoma St, FS1 & UCF @ #7 Michigan, ABC

230pm: Tulsa @ #6 Ohio State, ABC & Kentucky @ #25 Florida, CBS

6pm: Arkansas @ #13 TCU, ESPN

630pm: Iowa State @ #17 Iowa, BTN

7pm: Virginia Tech vs #9 Tennessee @ Bristol Motor Speedway, ABC

9pm: Texas Tech @ Arizona State, FS1

930pm: Virginia @ #24 Oregon, ESPN

Yes there are some interesting games listed above.  No doubt there is will be some drama and some surprises but nothing on this schedule strikes me as appointment television.  It’s more like; “If I’m not doing anything I will check-in on some games.”  I guess not every College Football Saturday can be as good as last weekend.  My advice for this Saturday is to knock out that home improvement project you’ve been thinking about, plan an outdoor outing, or talk to your family.  Because in Week 3 (9/15 – 917) most of the featured games are at least conference match-ups.  Of course, you could save your TV watching time for Sunday when the NFL begins, if you’re into that sort of thing.  

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2nd Last Chance

I do not watch a lot of TV that is not live sports.  TV shows that get to trending on social media I usually ignore because I feel I don’t have enough spare time and mental energy to consume them.  Do not confuse that with me thinking I would not enjoy them.  I probably would, but if I did get into binge watching TV shows I’d have to give up something else I enjoy doing as an opportunity cost, like reading or getting enough sleep to be a functioning adult.  Right now, that’s not a trade off I’m willing to make.  

However, I ran across a show that has developed a cult following among the people I follow on twitter; Last Chance U.   Last Chance U is a Netflix original series that follows the East Mississippi Community College Lions through their 2015 Football Season.  The focus of the series is on several players that are at EMCC because they have Big Conference Division 1 football talent, but have had to transfer to a Community College because of grades or brushes with the law.  It is their last chance to make it in football, and there is no fall back plan.  Like most good stories there are several minor plot lines and characters that become just as likable as the original plot line.


Netflix and their streaming compatriots have cranked out a lot of original series in order to win subscribers.  Last Chance U is the first one that I have been completely into.  I mean, I watched Marco Polo, but it took me 18 months to finish a 10 episode Season 1, and I haven’t cared to look to see if there is a Season 2.  I’ve watched the first two episodes of a few other shows and nothing has really made me want to watch more.  By comparison this show got me going.  It’s a great window into the world of a normal student athlete both on and off the field.  At one point the show unlocked some memory for me and I could smell the sweat in the locker-room through the TV.  It was awesome and disgusting at the same time.  Not only is there the struggle against opposing teams, which often goes outside of football.  There is the struggle coaches and non-football staff go through in an attempt to keep the players eligible.  Not only so they can play at EMCC, but so they can transfer and play at the four year institutions that come to EMCC to recruit the players.

If you google Last Chance U you will find this is not the only space on the interwebs dedicated to this show and how compelling it is.  Netflix doesn’t release it’s viewership numbers, but two weeks after Season 1’s debut Netflix announced that there would be a Season 2.  Like other fans of the show I’m pretty excited about this.  BUT…

As I thought about a second a season a few things hit me.  Before Season 1 EMCC was a relative unknown on the sports media landscape.  When you started watching you had no idea how the EMCC Lions 2015 season would go. (Although, you could certainly look it up before you finished the season.) Now, it’s likely that most people who followed Season 1 will follow the Lions this fall and know how the 2016 season went by the time Season 2 is released next summer.  Sports Media Reporters will report it.  I started following EMCC Athletics Twitter, along with QB Coach Clint Trickett, and Academic Advisor Brittany Wagner and others have as well.  I’m sure there will be no shortage of spoilers on social media as the football season goes on.

Season 2 of Last Chance U will no doubt have plenty of redemption stories and many of the plot lines that made Season 1 attractive to viewers.  I just wonder if surprise will be one of them.  But you know I and other fans will tune in to find out.



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Back, Again

It’s that time of year again.  No, not Back-to-School time or Preseason Football; but the time of year I remember that I have a sports blog, or a blog, or more accurately, just a website that I shell out $20 a year to maintain the domain name.  This is usually followed by some attempt to re-commit to writing on a regular basis and put up some sort of content consistently.  It never works out that way.  Life gets in the way I end up trying to spend my spare time actually watching sports instead of writing.

However, after five years I’m still spending money, albeit not much, on this web site.  That tells me that there is still a part of my brain that thinks I can blog on a regular basis.  So, here I am writing another “I’m back” post a year after the previous one.  Actually, it looks like my last post was about cord cutting.  Most of that post is out of date streaming options seem to change on a daily basis.  Maybe I’ll start with a follow-up to that post….in August of 2017.


Mid-August until November is the best time on the sports calendar

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A Cord Cutting Guide

The other day a coworker sent me an email asking for some tips on getting her and her family started on “getting rid of cable”.  By the time I finished writing my response I realized it was a good start to a blog post. The act of getting rid of cable or satellite has been termed “Cord Cutting”. People who have decided to get rid of cable or satellite in their homes have been termed “Cord Cutters”. There is also a group of younger people who upon leaving their parents’ house or dorms and establishing their own households never even sign up. This group is called “Cord Nevers”.

Our Household has been a Cord Cutter House for almost three years.  I even wrote this post seven weeks after cutting the cordIndustry websites will tell you the percent of households that are Cord Cutter households is less than ten percent of the television viewing public.  I think that number is under reported, or my social circle contains a lot of confirmation bias.  I would estimate my social circle is close to 50% Cord Cutter.  Regardless, the Cord Cutter Movement is now large enough that content deliverers are beginning to take notice and provide products for this demographic.  The options that are available now compared to three years ago are amazing and I hardly have time to keep up with them.

Now that you have some background, what I have written below is essentially what I wrote to my co-worker.   After I’m done with this post I will start on a sports viewing specific post, since this blog started as a sports blog.  Since I estimate that half of you are already Cord Cutters you will not even read this, will nod in agreement, or go about it in a different way.  Which is great; more cord cutting ideas are always welcome.  Feel free to chime in, in the comments section.  This is just what works for our household.

Is this really worth it?

Is this really worth it?

Getting Started

This may seem like a given, but.  You need to decide if being a Cord Cutter is right for you.  Take an inventory of how you currently watch television.  What programming do you watch?  How important is that programming to you?  Could you replace some of your current favorites with older or similar favorites?  Do you like to watch that programming live or recorded?  Can you find work-arounds for some of the stuff you would be missing?

For instance.  Because of MLB’s Blackout Restrictions I cannot watch live Royals games with MLB.tv.  I can watch them after the game is over, but I cannot watch them live.  I know from extensive research that the only way to watch live Royals games in my geographic area is to pay for a television package from a cable or satellite provider that contains Fox Sports Kansas City.  From the sounds of things these providers and Fox Sports know they’ve got a winner and would be unlikely to provide a streaming option anytime in the future.  Royals baseball is the closest thing there is to a program that I cannot live without.  However, after assessing how our family watches television I realized there was only one game a week, sometimes two in which I was in a position to watch a live Royals game.  That settled it for me, I’m not paying for cable just for one or two live Royals games a week.  If you cannot live without live in market baseball games, Cord Cutting isn’t for you.   I like baseball enough that I will watch any random team play baseball which is why I still buy MLB.tv even though I cannot watch live Royals games.

I can tell you that most non-sports programming is available online in some form.  If you are not a sports fan I don’t know why you pay for cable or satellite.  For sports programming things get a little tricky.  The networks know this and it’s the reason the majority of a cable or satellite bill is sports programming. I’ll get into those options later.  For now we’re going to move on to logistics.

Get An Antenna

The effectiveness of getting an antenna will vary based on where you live.  I know of two households that live too far away from a signal that using an antenna is not an option.  But, if you’re like most of America and live within forty miles of a repeater tower this is how you get your network programming.  In most areas there are usually several channels you didn’t know were out there that show classic movies or music videos.  Best of all, after the purchase of an antenna the content is free.

You can spend as little at $20 or a few hundred dollars.  This website I have found to be an excellent guide on antennas.  It even has a search option to show you what channels are available in your area.  Our set up?  It’s a $30 indoor antenna we bought at Wal-Mart.  It sits on a bookshelf.  I’ve thought about getting an outdoor antenna but right now that’s not a priority.

I suppose if you really wanted to go bare bones you could get by with antenna supplemented with VHS/DVD/BlueRay borrowed from friends and family or the library.  For everything else you will want an internet connection.

When we decided to cut the cord we already had a mid-level internet connection. I think it was $40 out of the bundle we had with our provider. Now we pay $65 which is the 3rd highest option our provider offers. I have no qualms about paying that. We have seven devices in the household that are capable of streaming content. Not that every device is being used at once. But, this does allow someone to be streaming a program on the television, another to be streaming on a Kindle, and another to be streaming on the laptop without buffering on all three. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough we like the horsepower. If you don’t have that many streaming devices you might be able to get by with a less expensive internet plan.
You will also want to get a router capable of handling HD quality video. We had to replace our router shortly after cutting the cord to accommodate our set up.  Do some internet research before making your selection.


Now is when the fun begins.  Remember all that programming that you realized you could stream?  This is where you figure out how to get it on your television.  You will need a device that streams the content from all the providers of content (like Netflix) to your TV.  Or you could buy a “smart TV” that is preprogrammed for the three major streaming options.  Some gaming systems like Wii and Xbox will let you stream Netflix and other services.  When we started doing this we did Netflix through the Wii to our standard definition tube television and that’s all we had.

Easily one of my favorite Channels

Easily one of my favorite Channels

Now we have an HD TV and a Roku Player.  A Roku player will allow you to stream most content that is available for streaming.  There is a multitude of Roku Channels that offer free content.  I found this website as a way to search for Roku channels.  A few free channels I like that are not widely publicized are: Raw Country TV which is what CMT was before it quit playing music videos in favor of it’s brain cell killing bullshit.  It plays bluegrass and classic country videos in addition to the regular stuff.  OutsideTV is the Roku Channel for Outside Magazine.  This channel shows short videos of everything you would expect to find inside Outside Magazine.  Then there’s the TED Channel.  If you’ve never heard of a TED Talk you should check it out.  Some of the talks I really get into, and some of them go over my head in the first two minutes and I have to turn it off.  I’ve noticed some TED Talks creeping into Netflix in the past few weeks, so you may see some of them there.   As you can see, even if you don’t want to pay for a streaming service with a Roku Player there is still plenty watch.

Roku is what works for us but there are other options in terms of streaming devices.  I found this article to be a good breakdown of all your options.   This is where you need to take an inventory of what shows you watch.  Decide what you can live without, what you can find a suitable replacement for, and what you absolutely have to have.  That will help you determine what equipment to get and what service(s) to go with.  Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Plus all have exclusive and original programming.  What shows you watch will make some of these decisions for you.

One point of caution; there are so many streaming options that if you subscribed to all of them you would be paying more than you would for a cable/satellite subscription.  For instance our current set-up is almost right at that line.  To be honest we’re paying for more content than we have time to watch.

SlingTV is a game changer for the Cord Cutting Sports Fan.

SlingTV is a game changer for the Cord Cutting Sports Fan.

Netflix: $8

SlingTv w Sports Pack: $27

MLB.tv: Is an annual charge of $130 that I pay in February.  But lets divide by twelve and say I spend $10.83 a month on it.

Total: $45.83

You can see we are paying for our content.  But, the lowest package I can find with ESPN that does not lock me into a two year contract is $75 a month.  I can cancel Sling at any time.  And I can’t watch as much baseball as I want.  But if I added Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime it would turn into a break even proposition.  And if we’re gonna do that I might as well watch the Royals.  My wife and I have a pact that if we add another service, one of our current services has to go away, especially since we already have more than we need.

I hope this helps ease your fears that if you cut the cable/satellite cord that you’ll be sitting around listening to the radio and watching old VHS tapes.  You could choose to not pay for a service and have plenty to watch.  Or you could pay for what you want.  There’s no right or wrong way to watch television.  I also encourage you to do your own research.  There is a multitude of options I have not touched on like HBO Go, and CBS Live Stream, and there are always new products coming to market.

If you’re a sports fan there are a few things regarding Cord Cutting that I did not get to in this post.  The problem is I’m not sure when I’ll get to write it.  Hopefully in the next 30 days.  So, if that interests you.  Be looking for that.

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