Friday, September 23, 2011

the week three guesses

“Another sleepless night I can’t explain.
Somebody said they heard me call your name.
The radio won’t let you leave my mind.
I know it’s over, but I don’t know why.

Should’ve known better,
Than to fall in love with you.
Now love is just a faded memory.
Should’ve known better,
Now I’m a prisoner to this pain.
And my heart still aches for you …”

-- “Should’ve Known Better” by Richard Marx. I want to state up front, when you reach the Chiefs prediction, I go off on a side rant about the Republican debate last night. If you are NOT a fan of politics, I have put the entire rant in italics. You can skip to the normal looking font again if you don't give a rip about politics. I have had a horrendous week at work, and it isn't over yet. The last thing I need is to read your smart-ass "wow, way to never work politics into a picks column Stevo" rebuttal. I am giving you your out.

And I will again, at the start of the italicized portion of this post, re-state the disclaimer. Having said that ... you might be surprised at the fact that I'm going to DEFEND the Republican candidates positions from last night in said side rant. For the most part, anyways ...

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Last Week ATS: 6-9-1.
Season to Date ATS: 12-18-2.

Last Week SU: 9-7-0.
Season to Date SU: 16-16-0.

Last Week Upset / Week ATS: whiffed by nearly 40 points!
Season to Date Upset / Week ATS: 1-1-0.
Last Week Upset/ Week SU: no bueno.
Season to Date Upset / Week SU: 0-2-0.
This Week's Upset / Week: broncos (+7) over Titans. (the lovely kellie voice) godd*mmit Steve, quit jinxing my team! Sorry chica, but if my team is going down the crapper, I'm gonna do everything in my power to make sure yours is swimming in the sewage with us ...

The "Who Gives a Damn" Game Predictions:

* at Panthers (-3 1/2) 31, Jaguars 10. For what it's worth, I agree that it's Gabbert time in Jacksonville.
* at Eagles (-7) 27, Giants 13. The Giants stink. They absolutely stink.
* Patriots 24, at Bills (+9) 21. I am really looking forward to catching this one. Bills are for real.
* Ravens (-4) 27, at Rams 20. Hard to believe the Rams are staring 0-3 in the face.
* Dolphins (+2 1/2) 26, at Browns 20. Dolphins are 1-12 at home, 9-1 on the road since December 2009.
* 49ers (+3) 24, at Bengals 20. Wrong team is favored. Bengals are terrible.
* at Bucs (-1 1/2) 27, Falcons 17. FOX national late game is best game of the week.
* at Seahawks (+3) 13, Cardinals 10. Winner of this game becomes the early favorite in the NFC West.
* broncos (+7) 27, at Titans 21. Winner of this game in great shape to be AFC's surprise playoff team.
* Steelers 20, at Colts (+10 1/2) 13. Might be the worst SNF game NBC has ever aired.
* Lions 24, at Vikings (+3 1/2) 21. I really want to pick the upset ... but I can't pull the trigger.
* at Saints (-3 1/2) 45, Texans 13. How is this line less than 10? Load up on the Saints.
* at Bears (-3 1/2) 28, Packers 14. Ooh. This is gonna be a good one.
* at Cowboys (-4) 24, Redskins 17. The last time Romo played on MNF, his season ended.

The Gang Green Prediction:

The last time the Jets visited oakland, the game was such a laugher that quarterback Mark Sanchez literally bought a hot dog off a vendor and downed it on the sidelines. This time ... history is not going to repeat itself. Oh, the Jets are going to win, because the raiders are still the same old lovable raiders, committing ridiculous penalties, blowing huge leads, allowing 4th down conversions, allowing opposing wide receivers to run around uncovered in the secondary. But I'm guessing it'll be closer than the game in 2009. I hate three point spreads sometimes, because this one feels like a last second field goal game. So ... Jets (-3) 24, raiders 19. But I am not sold on this pick at all.

The Chiefs "Fire the Dart and Hope It Hits Something" Harebrained Approximation:

Let me open by saying this – I had a totally, completely, 180 degree different angle I was going to go with for the Chiefs prediction this week. I had the picks post typed up, proofed, and ready to go about 7pm last night.

And for some reason, I didn’t post it. It just sat there, my Word doc opened but not copied and pasted into Blogspot. I just didn’t feel like it was the right angle. I thought it was a good one, and I might revisit it, possibly as soon as next week. But I just thought for this week, I’d screwed the pooch if I posted it.

So, I laid my head down, tried to get some sleep, only visions of the Republican field kept popping into my head*. Unable to sleep, I fired the laptop back up and started surfing the net. And then the angle to go with this week hit me like a ton of bricks. I am going to catch a lot of “whoa!” and “how can Stevo make this pick?!?!” responses to this week’s prediction. If you read Monday’s posting, you know I’m not exactly thrilled with where this team (and especially this quarterback) are at right now.

(*: most in a negative fashion. I truly do not grasp the conservative mentality. Allow me to vent for a couple minutes, and IF YOU DON’T GIVE A SH*T ABOUT POLITICS, SKIP DOWN TO WHERE THE ITALICS END. I don’t need your hate mail today. Christ, I don’t charge you to read this, shut up with the b*tching.

Do you people on the far right not realize that it is your anti-tax policies from the late 1990s / early 2000s that bankrupted this nation’s state governments? You don’t return unexpected surpluses and slash the tax rate, you BANK the revenues for when the economy inevitably downturns! We live in a capitalistic society, there WILL BE ebbs and flows to the economy! Do you not understand Economics 101?

Do you not understand that vaccinating kids from HPV is a GOOD thing? Do you not understand that giving children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition DOESN’T COST YOU ONE DAMNED CENT OUT OF YOUR POCKET? And that it’s a good thing, because hopefully they will become contributing members of our society, instead of petty criminals or worse?

Do you not understand that everywhere it has been tried, the insurance exchanges RomneyCare (and eventually ObamaCare) enacted has LOWERED insurance costs? Or that the individual mandate also LOWERS COSTS by EXPANDING the insured pool?

And for the love of God, while I completely agree Social Security needs some changes, do you not realize that running around calling it a “Ponzi Scheme” (however accurate that description may be) is only going to frighten seniors and those who depend on Social Security for survival to vote AGAINST you?!?! I mean, sweet freaking Jesus, are you REALLY this stupid? Has sitting in a pew listening to some pedophile in a frock finally warped your brain to the point that common sense has said “sayonara” to you? (OK, that was a low blow. If you aren’t Catholic, your minister probably is a decent, upstanding person. Unless his name is Jerry Johnston, that man is worse than ANYTHING the Church has to offer. And I refuse to step foot inside my parish until and unless the Church finally cleanses itself of the evil inside of it. Sorry St. Regis. There’s a reason why you haven’t gotten an appearance from me in four years and counting …)

Look it, I cannot stand our current President. I strongly supported Hillary in the primaries, and I voted for McCain in the general election. Unless you’re dumb enough to nominate Michele Bachmann, and I have to believe that no matter how nutty the right wing gets, even THEY aren’t that stupid, unless you nominate her, I’m voting for your candidate if Barry is our nominee. But for crying out loud, use your brains that the God you worship gave you! Rick Perry is a damned good governor, and would be a damned good President. Ditto Mitt Romney. And the pony / puppy / rooster / rubber chicken I want to see emerge on top, Newt Gingrich. (And that goes double if the rumors on Drudge tonight are true, and NJ Governor Chris Christie is getting into the race. Good God, I might nut if that happened. A conservative who gets it?!?! A conservative who understands social issues are a personal matter, not a national platform?!?! We haven’t seen that since Ronald Reagan was all there!)

This race is yours to lose, unless my party wakes up out of its “hope and change” haze and dumps Barry for Hillary. (Which, as nutty as it sounds … I actually think might happen. When the Chicago Tribune calls on Barry to step aside for Hillary, I mean, damn, the base is gone folks. The base is freaking gone.) Don’t screw this up by looking like a bunch of Special Olympians working a Rubik’s Cube on national television, like you did last night. I want Obama out of office even more than you all do, because he’s DESTROYING the progressive agenda. It took 12 years to get America to even consider the Democrats again after Carter, and if Ross Perot hadn’t run in 1992, it would have taken 28. (And for those who argue the progressive agenda is guaranteed to fail, I give you the 1990s under Bill Clinton as exhibit A for the defense of said progressive agenda.)

Please, give your rock solid candidates a fair shake. And here’s a helpful hint: Michele Bachmann? NOT a rock solid candidate. She’s flipping nuts. OK, back to the pick. That last rant brought to you by our good friends at the Coors Brewing Company, Golden, Colorado.)


To haul out an old “Lost” phrase: “either you’re a man of science, or a man of faith”. I am a man of science. Specifically statistics. I believe the stats never lie. You can ALWAYS find an explanation for why things are the way they are, if you’re willing to do the research.

Ladies, gentlemen, Dusty (I kid, I kid …), folks – the stats don’t lie. With all apologies for not getting this out to you on email today, with all apologies for this labored explanation … I give you the Chiefs Prediction for Week Three.

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If the Chiefs are to win this game, it will be because of one reason, and one reason only.

The man affectionately known in NFL circles as "Stanley Roper".

Norval Eugene Turner.

He's the best, and possibly only, hope the Chiefs have of stealing this game, of jump-starting a rapidly deteriorating season, and giving Arrowhead Nation a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark, dreary, cloudy existance. I know the fashionable thing is to look at this matchup and conclude the Chiefs are going to get annihilated. It's ok to think that way. We lost 31-0 at the Q last year, and 44-14 the year before that. We've dropped our last four games that count to the tune of 150-27. Our best player on offense is out for the season, as is our best player on defense.

To say that our odds of winning this game are lower than the President's approval rating amongst Tea Party members, is a fairly accurate statement.

But all that statement means, in the words of noted intellectual genius Lloyd Christmas, is that I'm saying there's a chance.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a very big believer in statistics. (That whole “man of science” thing). So, possibly out of desperation to get some sleep, and also because I dig statistical research, I thought it would be neat to go back and do some research when it comes to Norv Turner's Chargers. Specifically, how many times in his four plus years at the helm has an underdog not just covered, but won outright over Norv's Chargers?

The results ... shocked me.

2007 (Chargers 13-6 with postseason):
week 3: Chargers -3 1/2 at Packers. Packers 31, Chargers 24.
week 4: Chargers -11 1/2 vs Chiefs. Chiefs 31, Chargers 17.
week 9: Chargers -7 at Vikings. Vikings 35, Chargers 17.

2008 (Chargers 9-9 with postseason):
week 1: Chargers -9 1/2 vs Panthers. Panthers 26, Chargers 24.
week 2: Chargers -2 at denver. broncos 39, Chargers 38.
week 5: Chargers -6 1/2 at Dolphins. Dolphins 17, Chargers 10.
week 7: Chargers -1 at Bills. Bills 23, Chargers 14.
week 8: Chargers -3 vs Saints. Saints 37, Chargers 32.
week 12: Chargers -3 vs Colts. Colts 23, Chargers 20.
week 13: Chargers -8 vs Falcons. Falcons 22, Chargers 16.

2009 (Chargers 13-4 with postseason):
week 2: Chargers -5 1/2 vs Ravens. Ravens 31, Chargers 26.
week 6: Chargers -8 vs broncos. broncos 34, Chargers 23.
Divisional Round: Chargers -11 vs Jets. Jets 17, Chargers 14.

2010 (Chargers 9-7, no postseason):
week 1: Chargers -4 1/2 at Chiefs. Chiefs 21, Chargers 14.
week 3: Chargers -5 1/2 at Seahawks. Seahawks 27, Chargers 20.
week 5: Chargers -6 at raiders. raiders 35, Chargers 27.
week 6: Chargers -8 at Rams. Rams 20, Chargers 17.
week 7: Chargers -3 vs Patriots. Patriots 23, Chargers 20.
week 13: Chargers -13 vs raiders. raiders 28, Chargers 13.
week 16: Chargers -8 at Bengals. Bengals 34, Chargers 20.

(source: old prediction emails (2007) and posts on this site (2008 through present day). In addition, I had to confirm a couple lines via Danny Sheridan’s archives at usatoday.com, which are the official lines used in my predictions emails / posts every week. Oh, and all final scores / actual outcomes confirmed via nfl.com/schedules.)

You can't make this stuff up folks. TWENTY DIFFERENT TIMES in the Norv Turner era, the Chargers have been favorites ... and LOST OUTRIGHT! Norv Turner has coached 72 games (through last week) with the Chargers. TWENTY of those 72 have seen a favored Chargers team LOSE OUTRIGHT!

Furthermore, look at the lines! 9 separate times the Chargers have been AT LEAST a 7 point favorite ... AND LOST OUTRIGHT!

Even more damning, the Chargers have lost 26 times in Norv's 72 games at the helm. (46-26 overall). In 20 of those 26 losses, the Chargers were FAVORED and LOST!

(To put this in perspective ... the Chargers are losing, on average, 5 games a year that they are expected to win. Five games a year! And they're still 20 games over .500 in that stretch! If you have ANY doubt that coaching matters in the NFL, I give you Stanley Roper's San Diego "Super" Chargers. I have NO doubt that if they had a legitimate head coach, they would have won at least one Lombardi Trophy over the last four years. Instead, they've lost 20 times when they weren't expected to, half of those 20 losses when they were favored by at least a touchdown.)

Do you still think this game is hopeless? Do you still believe the Chiefs have no chance? Wake up and smell the roses, skippy! Norv's teams routinely lose as huge favorites! Especially early in the season! Why can't this week be the same? Why can't history continue to repeat itself?

Why CAN'T the Chiefs go into San Diego, play a smart, efficient game on offense, limit the big plays on defense, let the Chargers screw themselves on special teams once again, and emerge with a season-establishing victory? Why CAN'T we do this?

The answer, of course, is that the Chiefs CAN to win this game. The question is, WILL they.

I have to be honest – this is quite possibly the first time in many a moon that I have absolutely no idea what to predict. My head says that what I wrote on Monday, is reality. That the Chiefs are toast, that our injury situation coupled with the catastrophe under center has doomed us to a long, painful season of failure.

But my heart says we can do this. We’ve done it before – look at that list of Norv Turner chokes again. We’re on there twice, including as an 11 ½ point dog in 2007. And that 2007 Chiefs team is one of the two worst squads in franchise history (along with the 1977 squad).

That whole “man of science” stuff? Still applies. Especially when, like Jack Shepherd by season six of “Lost”, you can evolve into a “man of faith” to boot. Norv Turner’s team loses on average five games a year it shouldn’t. The Chiefs are nowhere near as bad as they’ve looked the previous couple weeks. On Sunday, something has to give.

I’m betting it won’t be Norv’s dismal coaching. Chiefs (+15) 23, at Chargers 16. But NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS on Sunday, it’s NEXT Sunday that the season depends on. You can recover from 0-3. It happens about once every three years. Only one team has ever rallied from 0-4 to reach the playoffs. Let’s get this done Chiefs. Let’s get this done …

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