Goodbye LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy and Other Eagles Thoughts

NFL Free Agency begins Tuesday and Chip Kelly, officially confirmed as head honcho in charge of all pigskin related matters, is making quick work of the roster, only to begin reshaping it when free agency gets started.

There’s been expected moves, cutting James Casey and Cary Williams, and some marginally surprising moves, cutting Todd Herremans and Trent Cole. Then there was the what-the-heck just-happened-move: trading LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for Kiko Alonzo.

Let’s start with McCoy because yeah, that’s the biggest move by far. Once we moved past the immediate time after the news breaks and the Twitter mass has its customary freakouts, both good and bad, this move wasn’t really surprising, and probably should’ve been expected. First off, when you cut DeSean Jackson, following a year when he put up more than 1,300 receiving yards, and he goes to a division rival, anything is on the table with this regime.  Secondly, McCoy brought a huge cap number to the table next season, and didn’t seem keen on renegotiating. Thirdly, he seemed off last year, be it from injury-depleted offensive line, or just general moodiness and lack of enthusiasm of Chip’s system (pure speculation on all three accounts here).

It’s crazy that come next September, the Eagles could line up an offense without Shady, DJax and, yes, Jeremy Maclin. But like Sam Hinkie, Ron Hextall and Ruben Amaro (just kidding) Chip has a plan and believes his scheme will make up for the loss in production. Still, that’s a TON of production. Getting rid of your receiving leaders in back-to-back offseasons and the franchise’s all-time leading rusher (in only six seasons!?) is seriously ballsy, even for someone nicknamed Big Ball’s Chip.

As an Eagles fan, I’m sad because when McCoy was on his game, he was as elite a talent as they come. His dazzling jukes in the open field and to be able to cut on a dime as his Twitter handle promotes was second to only Barry Sanders. I certainly wish I could’ve watched Shady make more memorable plays in an Eagles uniform, but this is the harsh reality of the NFL, and especially of the Chip Kelly era.  Personally, I think McCoy has several good years in Buffalo, provided he actually shows up. Next season when the Bills come to the Linc will definitely be interesting.

At least this year the Eagles got something in return for one of their stars. I’m excited for the potential Kiko Alonzo has shown and I’m not too worried about the ACL injuries he’s had in the past. Most players can recover quicker and stronger than ever before from this injury. And from what I’ve heard from several beat writers, his recovery has been very good.

Now to other Eagles moves and possible moves.

  • Good riddance Cary Williams. His brash, confrontational personality could’ve played well with the city if he, you know, played well.  Due $6.5 million next year, his release was a no-brainer. I soured on him last season when he complained about practice following the Eagles dramatic September win over the Redskins to move to 3-0. You’re not Allen Iverson. Shut up.
  • Thank you for your abilities James Casey. I would’ve liked to see more of Casey as a versatile offensive weapon, but Chip Kelly couldn’t pass up Zach Ertz in the 2013 draft and I cant blame him. He made the most of it as a terrific special teamer and I applaud him for that.
  • The Eagles will miss Cole and Herremans. Two of the best picks Andy Reid ever made were valuable contributors each season they were here and I can’t believe there were in Philly for a decade. Time flies. Cole’s release was several years coming, but he still managed to provide two productive years in a new defensive scheme. Good luck to the Hunter.
  • I will be really disappointed if this team doesn’t resign Maclin. There’s no reason to let him go with upwards of $50 million cap space. I understand Kelly believes in the scheme, but if Maclin walks, this turns into a rebuild, not a retool. The still haven’t adequately replaced DeSean and now have to replace Shady. Just too much uncertainty.

I think many are expecting the Eagles to make a big splash in on Tuesday shortly after 4. I am one of those people, but I’m not ordering my Byron Maxwell or Devin McCourty jerseys yet. Lots of teams have money and many need defensive back help. If it comes down to McCourty or Maxwell for me, I’d go McCourty.  Throw in a Jason Worilds, who I think is a lock for the Birds, and a re-sign of Maclin and it will be a productive start to reshaping this roster.

That’s how I predict the Birds will spend their big money. As for cornerback and offensive line, I think they’ll go after some veterans on shorter-term deals, possibly like CB Tramon Williams from Green Bay or offensive lineman, such as Davin Joseph and Orlando Franklin.

Those are my best guesses for free agency. I’ve been right the last two years with at least one player: Connor Barwin in 2013, Malcolm Jenkins last off season. Here’s hoping for more productive players this year, and not a ‘Dream Team’ redux. Tuesday at 4 p.m. can’t get here quickly enough.

The Sixers Remind Us Once Again That a Rebuild Isn’t Quick

What a wild NBA Trade Deadline.

Like any typical college student, a bunch of NBA teams waited until the very last minute to get their work done. It was a beautiful, confusing mess, and naturally Sam Hinkie was involved.

Hinkie, the architect of this arduous rebuild in Philly, inserted himself into the frey of several deals, first renting out his cap space to Denver to take on JaVale McGee’s salary, with the stipulation that the Nuggets send over Oklahoma City’s first round pick (protected 1-18 this year).

Like most veterans the Sixers have acquired in Hinkie’s tenure, Keith Bogans, Danny Granger, Andrei Kirelenko, I seriously doubt McGee takes the court (UPDATE He’s playing) nor do I care if he plays. It’s about the assets and with the way Oklahoma City is playing, plus getting better at the deadline, I really think the Sixers will get that pick this year. Hinkie said at his presser Friday morning that he believes the pick has a 30 percent chance of conveying this year(it’s 1-15 protected in 2016) but I think OKC will go on a major run and hence deliver that pick into the hands of Mr. Hinkie.

So yeah, great trade Sam! We could’ve called it a day right there, but there was still less than two hours until the deadline, more than enough time for additional franchise altering moves.

But then a bunch of craziness erupted shortly before 3 p.m.

I wasn’t surprised to see they moved MCW, but the KJ McDaniels one was puzzling and most Sixers fans, even those who are big backers of this plan are left confused. Yeah, he may have likely left after this year, based on the fact he turned town the typical contract offered to second rounders and inked only a one-year deal, but I would’ve done everything possible to keep him here one more season. One of the luxuries of a tanking team is to The whole point of this rebuilding process is to find hidden gems like McDaniels and give them ample playing time on a young team.

The MCW trade is tough. I enjoyed watching him, and his debut against the Heat last year was a truly memorable moment. It actually might be the on-court highlight of the Hinkie-era Sixers. But Hinkie was right to trade him for that Lakers first round pick. The Lakers will stink for several more years, and next year the pick is only top-3 protected. I actually hope the Sixers don’t get the pick until 2016, more on that in a few paragraphs.

I have no idea how Carter-Williams’ career will play out. I imagine he’ll make a few all-star games, but not sure he’ll ever be an elite point guard, unless he drastically improves his shooting. And to be fair, it’s only his second year and he has plenty of time to do that. Plus, playing for Jason Kidd will do that. I haven;t missed Jrue Holiday yet since Hinkie traded him to the Pelicans, and while he’s been hurt, hasn’t turned into an elite player when healthy either.

Clearly Hinkie and Brett Brown feel there will be a better option out there, which is why for the second time in two years they’re going to be getting a new point guard. Isiah Cannon might turn out to be a valuable piece, but he’s unlikely the star Hinkie keeps searching for.

Back to 2016 and that Lakers pick for a second. Thon Maker, one of the most highly-regarded high school prospects just reclassified to the 2015 class, so you know he’s going to be in that draft. And the top overall prospect in 2015, Ben Simmons, will likely be around as well. Is it far too early to know anything significant about those two and what kind of pros they’ll be before they even play in college? Yes.  But i guarantee the Sixers have already begun thinking about the possibility of choosing either one. Having that Lakers pick at their disposal will help. But again, far too early.

What I really keep taking away is just how thorough of a roster turnover this has been since Hinkie arrived, save for Jason Richardson of course. It’s only been a year and a half into the rebuilding phase and players picked in the 2013 and 2014 drafts, who appeared the be keepers, were shipped away. This isn’t the NFL when a “rebuild” can happen for a team like the Colts when they draft Andrew Luck.  Sam Hinkie’s Sixers have a treasure trove of draft picks, so they can keep compiling assets and young talent and they won’t stop until they find the absolute perfect players. More trades will happen, because of course they will. With the 2015 draft heavy on big men, Nerlens Noel could be shipped away if Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor are the best players available.

So just eight months after using two lottery picks on players who won’t help the Sixers this year, (or in Dario Saric’s case next year as well,) Sam I AM Hinkie just traded away two promising talents who were helping them and were poised to continue to do so in the future.  While national media outlets like Deadspin will mock them and other NBA teams express frustration or outrage at their strategy, the Sixers will continue to plan ahead to hopefully build something great and they aren’t taking any shortcuts to get there.

During his Friday press conference Hinkie said he believes in something called “optionality.” I can’t say that I believe in optionality (it may or may nor be a word), mainly because I’ve never heard of it before, but I believe in Sam Hinkie.

 

 

 

 

Recapping My Trip to San Francisco and Seattle Part 3

Monday July 21

With another early start, but not too early, we had plenty of time to drive around Eugene and check out Oregon’s football stadium and campus.

We spent at least a half hour walking around Autzen Stadium, and checking out the neighboring soccer and baseball facilities. It wasn’t unlike Penn State’s complex, in fact, all of the stadiums may have been in closer proximity to one another than here in State College.

Autzen Stadium is not a towering, imposing structure like Beaver Stadium. in fact, a good portion of the seats are below ground level. From where I could peer into the stadium(there was a gate holding us back unlike another stadium I’ll get to later) I was pretty much at the upper level of the facility which was pretty cool.  I’ve heard it’s a pretty intimidating place to place and I would love to return one day on an actual gameday.

I would’ve loved to have walked this trial across from the stadium to see where it went. I’m guessing it went into town.

oregon_boardwalk

We only drove around Eugene and the campus briefly, so I can’t really give an apt description, but the campus seemed more compact than Penn State’s. In fact, the town and campus seemed to mesh. There wasn’t one noticeable divide between the two, although I would certainly need more time in town to discern that.

With plans to attend the Mariners game that night, we got back on I-5 and made our way north, stopping only for the requisite bathroom breaks.

Along the drive north we saw a breathtaking mountaintops which I still haven’t identified. But it was before we drove through Portland, so it definitely wasn’t Mt. Rainier. And it was hard to get a picture since we were moving and in the far left lane, meaning other cars, or trees buildings and other objects would get in the way.

Along the drive north we whizzed by Portland, which was a pretty attractive city in the thiry seconds I had to catch a glimpse. The city seemed to be broken up into different sections as a river serves as a natural partition. I think I was able to catch a glimpse of the Trail Blazers arena, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve heard good things about Portland, so I’ll be sure to stop there on my next visit to the Northwest.

Soon enough we crossed into Washington, and it was easy to tell in case you missed the gigantic sign that said “Welcome to Washington.” On the freeway, the green showing the exit number and town have a vague distinction; the numbers are surrounded by a silhouette of George Washington. A small, but quirky thing I’ll remember about the trip.

20140721_150550

After passing Tacoma, a fairly impressive city in it’s own right, we finally cast our eyes on Seattle and arrived in the city shortly after 3, about 4 hours before first pitch of the Mariners game.

We arrived in the Pioneer Square section of town where our Best Western hotel was located and it was a gorgeous day. I distinctly remember how bright and sunny it was when we got out of the car and how it wasn’t too warm.  Pioneer Square was originally the first neighborhood in Seattle and you could tell the hotel and surrounding buildings had all be remolded to keep some of the original feel of the neighborhood with the styles of the buildings.

Our hotel room may have been the biggest of the three hotels we stayed in on the trip, with enough sleeping room for everyone. While I was excited to explore Seattle and I had only glimpsed a few blocks so far, I was pretty tired so, I just rested until it was time to go to the Mariners game.

Close to 5:30 we headed towards the stadium and while the neighborhood seemed nice and trendy, one open area we walked through had an eye-opening amount of homeless.  It wasn’t the best impression for the city to give off, but I guess every major market has a vagrancy problem. It just seemed much more noticeable in the northwest, between the hitchhikers, homeless and hippies.

It was about a 10 minute walk to the stadiums- Safeco neighbors the Seahawks’ Century Link Field- and along the way there was an abundance of shops and street vendors in tents selling food.

We walked to the window, bought tickets then explored the Seahawks stadium since we had a few minutes to kill.

After exploring the Clink, as the locals call it, we made our way into Safeco, where I first had to frustratingly dump the $1 bottle of water I had just purchased. There needs to be a uniform policy across MLB where either you can bring in unopened drinks in plastic bottles or you can’t. It’s that simple. I say that, because we brought drinks in to the Phillies game when we went to the game in June.

Like with Oakland, I’ll break down the stadium more in depth when I write about it on the baseball page, but needless to say, Safeco was enjoyable.

Tuesday July 22

With an entire day ahead of us to examine the tour Seattle, we woke up later, ate breakfast and leisurely made our way out into the town. It was damp and cool, with drizzle falling. The town was also pretty quiet this early in the morning (it was around 9-9:30). As we walked down the street towards Pike Place Market, which was only several blocks away, we noticed scores of people who were commuting by ferry to get to work in the city. I found that an interesting way to get to work.

We made our way to the market, by taking an elevator and walking through a short hallway. Pike Place Market is pretty much a combination of a farmer’s market and Reading Terminal Market. It’s a mix between indoor and outdoor shops and while there was plenty to see, (nothing worth buying unless you want to spend over $300 on a King Salmon.) The main two attractions I would say are the original Starbucks and the fish shop where the employees throw the fish or clams, or whatever a customer orders. I’ll try to get a video in here eventually.

Next it was on to the Space Needle, which we took a monorail to. It would’ve been a fairly long walk to that part of town, but the monorail ride was only a few minutes long and had just two stops. Regardless it was a neat mode of transportation.

Unbeknownst to me, the Space Needle was located in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, where Key Arena, home of the now-defunct Seattle Supersonics was located. For some reason, I’ve always empathized with Seattle losing its NBA team, and I regularly read articles about the city looking to bring the city back. So it was cool to go check out Key Arena and pay respect if you will to the home of the Sonics.

key_arena

After checking out the arena and getting food, we made out way to the top of the Space Needle. I honestly, didn’t expect to be up there very long, but we must have stayed up there for an hour. The views, despite the cloudy day, were mesmerizing and we could look out in all directions to get a great feel for the region. Unfortunately the cloudy skies blocked our view of Mt. Rainier, but eh, we had already seen it from a distance. Next time I return to Seattle, I’ll definitely have to try to restaurant in the Space Needle. A bit out of our price range this time.

me_space_needle

I swear I was excited while I was there. Didn’t expect my dad to take the picture when he did.Next it was back to the hotel, for a brief rest then it was onto the University of Washington to check out the campus and football stadium. This would turn out to be an adventure.

Our big mistake was heading over there during rush hour. Turns out Seattle has major traffic issues too. Bumper to bumper traffic. plus navigating tight roads in a university setting, was stressful, but we managed to escape the traffic and go check out the Huskies’ stadium.

As it turned out, we got a much better view of the Huskies stadium than we did at Oregon. And by that I mean, we actually walked onto the damn field!

My brother, Brendan, on the field.

My brother, Brendan, on the field.

I couldn’t believe there was no security of fences there to keep us out. I kept expecting someone to come over and shoo us away by no one ever showed up, except for a couple of football players. Finally after about ten minutes, we walked back to the empty parking lot, which I was sure we were allowed to be in, and hit the road back to downtown. One problem: Obama was in town.

I forget when the president was around, but because he was, I-5 was shutdown both getting into and out of the city. Somehow we managed to navigate a back route into the city so we wouldn’t have been stuck on the highway for another hour or longer. While visiting UW was cool, I would certainly make a point to go back and check it out further, hopefully when traffic is less hectic.

Anyway we escaped back to the city but were pretty far from the hotel My Uncle Bill let us out to go find a restaurant while he went and parked. But before we did, we came across the “Gum Wall” that we had seen while walking through the market that morning. It’s nothing spectacular, but certainly something that makes Seattle a little different I suppose.

gum_wall

gum_wall2

With it being our last night in the northwest, we really wanted some authentic seafood, so we chose between a myriad of establishments before settling on Ivar’s. It seems like a popular northwest establishment with restaurant’s all over the area, including Safeco Field. I ended up settling for a sampler dish of several differnt types fresh salmon.

ivar's_fish

 

Following dinner, I made my way back to the gift shop to grab a Sonics shirt, before nabbing an ice cream sundae from the desert shop next to Ivar’s. I don’t think there’s a better finish to a vacation than a bowl of ice cream.

Wednesday July 23 

It wouldn’t have been a proper visit to the Pacific Northwest without rainy weather, and that’s what we had as we drove to SeaTac. We were fortunate to have favorable weather throughout the entire trip, and it was good to get a taste of common weather in the region, in the minuscule chance I ever move to Seattle.

SeaTac was absolutely packed, which is no surprise considering there aren’t many other major airport options in that part of the country. Still, the lines moved fairly quickly, both bag check and security. There was nowhere to sit, however when it came to the gate, so I spent time munching on Sbarro.

The plane we were supposed to get on to Nashville was delayed by a good half hour, but there was no announcement ever made. It would’ve been helpful, especially to hundred or so people who were standing all that time to board. In any event, the plane arrived and departed slightly behind schedule and there was no problem with the weather.

We landed in Nashville ahead of time, but as soon as we landed, my uncle received a call from Southwest telling us that our next flight to Philly was behind schedule. So that pretty much canceled out the early arrival, leaving us two plus hours to get cozy in the Nashville Airport.

Frustrated with the wait and possibly overanxious about getting home late, then getting up early to drive to State College(I really should’ve just taken the day off) I ended up eating Quizno’s by myself, while my dad, brother and uncle ate burgers and nachos at an airport restaurant. The last few hours of travel had frustrated me and I just wanted to be left alone.

Then there was more airport confusion, this time it came down to what gate our flight was going to be at. Our gate had been switched, and there was no announcement, we had to doublecheck the boards.

Anyway, while hanging back waiting for my brother and dad who were in the bathroom, my uncle walked ahead to start getting in line to board.

Minutes later I receive a hurried call from him nervously telling us that the plane was in its final boarding call?!  After initially expecting to be one of the first ones on the plane, we were almost the last, aside from some confused businessmen who came on after us and also clearly didn’t know the plane was boarding.

Thankfully, we made the plane just in time and the flight wasn’t crowded so we had enough space to sit comfortably and relax on the way home. I never really slept on the flight, but i was able to relax. That is until I decided to lift up the screen to the window and look outside. There I saw one brilliant lightning strike after another as we descended into Philly. Seeing all that lightning made for a few uncomfortable moments as we prepared to land.

Picking up luggage, was not a problem, probably because we were one of, if not the last flight into the airport at that time. My mom was there to whisk us back to Langhorne, where we arrived shortly before 1 a.m., which wasn’t too  bad all things considered.

23 down 7 to go. Our decade plus baseball stadium odyssey is almost over.  While these stadiums may not be the best I’ve seen (they were both very good) this may have been the best, and most engrossing trip.

I can’t wait to return to this part of the country, and I can’t wait to visit another unexplored part of the US next summer.

 

 

 

 

Patriots Seahawks Super Bowl 49 Selection

 

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and I don’t have to work! I’m totally elated (not deflated like many other Sundays and the Patriots game balls in the AFC Championship).  The Super Bowl is a definite holiday in my opinion. Like Christmas and Thanksgiving today just feels different. You wake up knowing something unique takes place later in the day. (P.S. I’m secretly excited for the Katy Perry halftime show. That alone makes this a holiday). 

This Super Bowl seems to have more historical significance than in recent years, with the Seahawks looking to become the first repeat champ since the 03-04 Pats, the Patriots looking to finally nab that elusive fourth Lombardi Trophy (only five teams have won more than three) and whether or not I’ll be able to make my own batch of buffalo chicken dip.

I’m going to take the Patriots here. I just can’t see Brady and Belichick losing three straight Super Bowls. I don’t think DeflateGate has any significance either, but I just think they’re slightly better than Seattle.

Why do I keep picking against Seattle? I’m not sure. They’re an elite team and franchise, the model the Eagles are trying to become, in my opinion. I was wrong in last year’s Super Bowl and I picked them to lose to the Saints in the NFC Championship this year. I picked Carolina to cover against them in the Divisional Round (was looking good for a little bit) and I picked Green Bay outright in the NFC title game which looked good until Green Bay pulled one of the greatest choke jobs of all time. (If the Eagles ever lost a game of that magnitude, in that fashion, you would never see or hear from me again).

It’s hard to repeat and just by getting here the Seahawks have proved the doubters like me wrong. But they have time on their side. The Patriots might not get here again, I know it’s hard to believe, but this could be it for the Brady/Belichick pairing.  Plus, it’s been more than a calendar year since Boston won a championship. That’s city’s due.

As of 2 p.m. EST the line is a pick em on Sportsbook. All five of the Patriots Super Bowls have been super close. I see it that way as well.  Here’s my fairly uninformed and analytic free selection:

Patriots 24- Seahawks 20 

 

 

 

Championship Sunday Selections

It’s Championship Sunday!….. and i have to work and miss both games. Meh, oh well.

I believe I only nailed the Ravens Pats game correctly last week. Can’t fault myself for taking the Cowboys outright, I mean, they were on the receiving end of a bizarre ruling from possibly winning that one.  Totally did not see the Colts blow through Denver like that. Can they do the same in New England today?

Heading into the playoffs I had Seattle and New England as my definite Super Bowl, with the outside shot of Dallas sneaking into the Big Game. Thankfully that won’t be the case. But will I stick to my guns and keep my selections? Let’s find out!

Packers at Seahawks  The Pick: Packers +8  Bad weather… Injured Aaron Rodgers… gimme Green Bay outright(remember, I don’t actually bet money on these games). Seriously though, I just feel like Seattle’s gonna blow this one. Plus, they haven’t played a quarterback this good, probably since Aaron Rodgers in week 1. Carolina played Seattle tough last week, so Green Bay should play them tougher. Plus, isn’t there some karma involved from the Fail Mary?

Colts at Patriots  The Pick: Patriots -7   I think the Pats stand in Andrew Luck’s way just one more time. It’s clear that Luck will rule the AFC for years to come, but for now, Tom Brady and his boys keep their grip on AFC supremacy. 

 

Worthless NFL Divisional Round Selections

I went 1-3 last week and it serves me right for taking the Steelers when I picked against them all year long. Other than the Steelers game, I can’t say I was surprised with any of the other results. It would’ve be lovely to see Detroit beat Dallas, but it was kind of inevitable from the start when Detroit took the lead, that you knew they were going to blow it.

On to round two

Ravens at Patriots  The Pick: Ravens +7  Patriots win a close one, but the Ravens, who are lead by big-game Joe Flacco prove to be a tough out once again. Side note: Foxborough, vs Foxboro is wildly confusing. Wikipedia says Foxborough is the official version, but Foxboro can also be used. What the hell? 

Panthers at Seahawks  The Pick: Panthers +11.5   The Seahawks win by a touchdown or less. The last three meetings have been played in Carolina and Seattle won all three by five points or fewer. Should be an ugly, low scoring game, but not as bad as last week’s Panthers Cardinals game. 

Cowboys at Packers  The Pick: Cowboys +6  Cowboys outright! I know it seems crazy, but I don’t know how healthy Aaron Rodgers is, and the Cowboys have proven to be an excellent road team. Plus, I can already see the storylines now. Tony Romo returns to Seattle for the NFC Championship game. The site of his original sin, or first of many late-game errors, if you will. Regardless of this pick, I’ll be rooting for Green Bay like crazy. 

Colts at Broncos  The Pick: Broncos -7.5  The only favorite I’m taking to win outright. The Colts are on borrowed time, if they play anyone other than the Bengals last week, they probably lose. Plus, what’s the NFL playoffs without Peyton vs Brady with the Super Bowl on the line? 

 

 

 

Worthless NFL Wildcard Predictions

A fairly underwhelming slate of Wild Card games is about to get underway. It’s underwhelimg because A) the Eagles aren’t playing and B) none of these games is really intriguing. The best game is likely either Ravens-Steelers or Colts-Bengals. But I can’t say I’m fired up to watch either.

Before I get to my playoff picks let me first post my season total. Season:103-87-7. This does not include almost two full weeks worth of picks. In week 17, due to general apathy, I didn’t bother making picks. And Thanksgiving weekend, I only picked the Thursday games and forgot to pick the Sunday games.

Let me also revisit my awful preaseason Super Bowl pick. Saints over Colts. Yikes. At least one of those teams made the playoffs, but I must say I don’t have a good feeling about them going far.

My weekend selections:

Cardinals at Panthers  The Pick: Panthers -5.5  I just can’t see Ryan Lindley winning this game for Arizona. 

Ravens at Steelers  The Pick: Steelers -3.5  The Steelers are starting someone named Josh Harris at running back in LeVeon Bell’s absence. I still think they win, as the Ravens have a brutal pass defense. The only hope for Baltimore is that the wet weather in the forecast netralizes the Steelers passing attack. 

Bengals at Colts   The Pick: Bengals +4  My mild upset of the weekend. I know the Bengals don’t have A.J. Green, but the Colts are just brutal. They haven’t been right on offense, since early November.  I think Cincy can ride it’s strong running game to victory in this one. 

Lions at Cowboys  The Pick: Dallas -7  The Cowboys look pretty good right now. I don’t trust Matt Stafford to keep the Lions offense in this game.