Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ryder Cup Preview...

Golf's most exciting event takes place this weekend as the Ryder Cup begins Friday at 1:30 am CDT. The Americans are looking to retain the Cup in an event that seems to favor the Europeans in recent matches. The Americans always seem to have the stronger team on paper, but the Europeans have dominated recent Ryder Cups having won 5 out of the last 7. The only two American victories came at the last Ryder Cup where Paul Azinger's team defeated the Europeans 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 and in 1999 when Ben Crenshaw's team staged a miracle finish in Sunday singles (won 8 1/2 of the 12 points) to win 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

This year's event its taking place in Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort on the 2010 Course, a course designed specifically for this event. On paper, the Americans have the stronger team once again with 4 of the top 6 ranked players in the world. However, odds makers have the Europeans as the favorites once again.

The Friday morning four ball pairings were announced this afternoon and provide some interesting matches to say the least. Four ball consists of each player playing their own ball and the lowest score by any player wins the hole.

Match 1 - Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson (USA) vs. Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer(EUR) - This match consists of 3 of the top 5 players in the world. Mickelson and Johnson have been rumored to be a team for quite a while and asked for the opening slot Friday. Their aggressive styles of play are perfect for this type of format as they both should make lots of birdies. This will be Lee Westwood's, who has a stellar Ryder Cup record, first tournament since mid-August as he recovered from a calf injury. Martin Kaymer is the reigning PGA Championship winner thanks in large part to the Dustin Johnson is it or isn't it a bunker troubles at Whistling Straits. This match should go down to the wire.

Match 2 - Stewart Cink/Matt Kuchar (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell (EUR) - The Northern Ireland combo of McIlroy/McDowell is a solid team. McIlroy is considered by many the games next big star and McDowell is the reigning US Open Champion. Stewart Cink is a Ryder Cup veteran and paired with Matt Kuchar who is a Ryder Cub rookie, but is having a solid season. I think the Europeans have to be considered the favorites in this match, but if the USA could steal a point here it would be a great victory.

Match 3 - Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker (USA) vs. Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher (EUR) - Tiger Woods may have found the perfect partner to help improve his less than stellar Ryder Cup record in Steve Stricker as the two combined to go 4-0 in the team portion of last year's Presidents Cup (the USA vs. the rest of the world version of the Ryder Cup). It helps that both are in the top 4 in the world rankings. Ian Poulter is a fiery competitor but with Ryder Cup rookie Ross Fisher, the Europeans are the obvious underdogs in the match. However, defeating the seemingly unbeatable Woods/Stricker team could be a huge momentum builder for the Europeans.

Match 4 - Bubba Watson/Jeff Overton (USA) vs. Luke Donald/Padraig Harrington (EUR)- Captain Corey Pavin is sending out 2 Ryder Cup rookies in the final match of the morning session. Much like the Mickelson/Johnson team, Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton both play aggressive styles of play which might work well in this format. Jeff Overton has never won on the PGA Tour and Bubba Watson is playing with a lot of emotion as his father is dealing with terminal cancer. Hopefully the nerves and emotion won't get the best of this team. The European pairing is made up of 2 of Captain Colin Montgomerie's controversial captain's picks. A win by Luke Donald/Padraig Harrington should quiet some of the critics who wondered why world number 8 Paul Casey and Justin Rose, winner of 2 PGA tour events this year, were left off the team.

Both captains have indicated that they expect to use all 12 players on Friday so expect to see Fed-Ex Cup winner Jim Furyk, Ryder Cup veterans Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, and controversial captain's pick Rickie Fowler for the Americans and veteran Migel Angel Jimenez, rookie Peter Hanson, and the Molinari brothers (Francesco and Eduardo) for the Europeans in the afternoon foursomes matches. In foursomes, each player will alternate teeing off on odd/even holes and then they will play alternate shot the rest of the hole.

Unfortunately, I'll be traveling this weekend for my godson's baptism so I won't be able to provide any additional insight/update on the matches. If the Europeans get off to a hot start Friday it might be a long weekend for the Americans. However, I like the Americans to win in a close match that should come down to the 12 Sunday singles matches. I wouldn't be shocked to see Tiger Woods be the MVP of the American team as this stage would provide the perfect opportunity for Tiger to have his coming out party after all the controversy and struggles over the past year.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stay Puft Marshmallow Tauscher

Do the Packers trust #65 at right tackle for the rest of this year? I really don't think there is another more unathletic looking right tackle in the NFL. And honestly, does Bag of Tausch scare anyone except the workers at Old Country Buffett? And no, I don't trust him the rest of the year at right tackle.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I don't think I've been so angry in years watching a Packer football game. I understand that the Packers vs Bears games are supposed to be closely contested contests that provoke fans to clammer for these types of overhyped games...HOWEVER, this was abismal. NEVER, I mean NEVER have I seen officials at any level of football take over a game with so many game changing calls that went in one team's favor than there was tonight going the Bears way. Now legitimately there were penalties on both sides of the coin, but how on god's green earth can these fools in the zebra outfits call penalties twice on the Packers after what would have been game changing interceptions. The Zombo call is what just drives me mad. The guy is doing his job, sacking the qb, forcing a bad throw which is LEGALLY picked off by Barnett. How the fuck can a defensive player stop his forward momentum into a player, that should have been a non-call. The helmet to helmet call is just so fricken ridiculous now. I mean its not like the quarterback doesn't where a helmet?!!?!? My anger really goes back to the no call in Arizona during the playoff game last year, how in the world does that not get called when Rodgers gets his face nearly ripped off by an Arizona defensive back, but a solid form tackle on a quarterback tonight on Cutler is pretty much out of the question because his helmet hit another players. On top of it those stupid talking heads back up in the box Chucky Gruden, Fat Jaws, and Dinky Tirico just call the game without really questioning what the hell they are seeing. I'm fuming f-ing mad at those clowns. I mean even on the pass interference by Burnett down near the goalline, which Collins had an easy int, Burnett actually has better leverage and position than Bennett, but somehow the refs saw that playing physical on the ball isn't what the NFL is all about. All Dinky can say is, "Well Gruden, that's what happens when you play rookies on defense." Now granted McCarthy blew several calls especially that ridiculous challenge and our special teams got smoked, but look at the numbers, the Bears didn't do jack on offense and basically used 150+ penalty yards to move the football down the field. The one silver lining of this whole shit show is that we get those douchebags at home at Lambeau for hopefully all the marbles, but I suspect that the Bears will need to improve their offense and quick because they can't pay off all the refs in the league, at least I don't think so?!?!?!?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rivalry Week!

I apologize for missing my weekly preview last week, but it was the Buffalo Bills.....THE BUFFALO BILLS. If I would have posted something, it would have been along the lines of "Green Bay wins big" and "for all you gambling degenerates out there, I again give Green Bay's opponent the points and take that easy money to the bank!" (For those of you keeping score at home, I'm 2-0 versus the spread after 2 weeks). Week 3 is a different story however. The Chicago Bears are off to a surprising 2-0 start after getting a quality win in BigD last week.....although using the phrase "quality win versus Dallas" seems to be less common with each passing week. Jay Cutler is looking more like the Denver Jay Cutler of 2 years ago by racking up huge yardage, getting his receivers in the endzone, and limiting his turnovers. Is this a product of Mike Martz's offensive genius or is it due to playing a weak Detroit Lions defense and over-rated Dallas team? In defense of Martz, Matt Forte has also improved since last season and has regained his rookie form....not so much from a rushing standpoint, but a shear production standpoint. Through 2 games Forte is averaging almost 150 yards from scrimmage and 1.5 scores, so it appears that Martz is using Forte like he did Marshall Faulk in the St.Louis days of "The Greatest Show on Turf". All that said, Chicago has gotten away from their traditional philosophy of pounding the ball and winning the game at the line of scrimmage, and now looks to open up their offense and win the game through the air. Defensively, the Bears are much improved from last season. Their defensive leader Brian Urlacher appears to be healthy again, and they have added the talented albeit old and overpaid Julius Peppers to their defensive line. Whether or not their defensive unit can stay healthy for a whole season is the big question and may be key to whether or not they are a true contender in the NFC Central this season.

After breezing to victory over Master Reid's "other" favorite team last week (that statement would be clever if Drew Brees was our QB), Green Bay is also is sitting at 2-0 and tied with Chicago at the top of the NFC Central. In spite of the 34-7 shalacking, the Green Bay offense still does not seem to be operating on all cylinders. If you're a "glass half full guy", you're thinking, wow.....we're 2-0, just blew out Buffalo by 27, and our offense STILL isn't playing to it's full potential! This is going to be a great season! If you're a "glass half empty guy", you're thinking Rodgers may have been overhyped coming into this season and isn't quite ready for "elite" QB status, and that Ryan Grant's injury may be more significant than what was first thought as Brandon Jackson is only averaging 3.2 ypc (2.6 ypc without his 18 yard longest carry). Personally, I'm sitting between half full and half empty. I do think Rodgers will improve his accuracy and cut down on interceptions, but I am concerned about our running game. If Green Bay cannot establish any sort of a consistent running game, the pressure goes squarely on Rodgers, thus allowing opposing defenses to focus more on stopping the passing game and attacking the quarterback. In relation to this, how effective is Bulaga going to be now that he is our starting left tackle? This week should be a good test for Bulaga as he will likely be squaring off against the crafty vet Peppers.

So what is my prediction? Offensively, Green Bay gets the edge here. Defensively, I would say the teams are roughly equal, with a slight edge going towards Green Bay mainly due to Baffoon's man crush Clay "The Truth" Matthews who seems to wreak havoc on every other play. Vegas seems to agree with me as they are making Green Bay a 3 point favorite even though they are on the road against a 2-0 team. In spite of the fact that I think Green Bay is the better team, I think that this is going to be a very tough game! Chicago is going to come out fired up in front of their MNF home crowd and look to pounce on us early. Like most tough road games, I think early success (whether it be a score on offense or stop on defense) is key. Quiet the crowd early and don't let Chicago get a big momentum swing. For whatever reason this Chicago Bears team, whether they are good or bad at the time, feeds on momentum throughout the game more than any other team I have watched. They love to make big plays on defense and special teams, and their offense seems to respond directly to this. That being said, I think the #1 key to the game is the turnover battle. If Green Bay can win this, they have a great shot at taking sole possession of 1st place in the division. The last thing you want to do is let Urlacher snag one of Rodgers passes and get the fib-filled crowd all fired up. While it may not be an obvious choice, I think Key #2 is the running game. Neither team has been able to establish much of a run game through 2 games, but if 1 of these teams can get it going, their QB will automatically be more dangerous than they already are. In the end, I think the Green Bay D forces Cutler into a few mistakes and Chicago's weak offensive line play will prevent Forte from doing much on the ground. Due to this, Green Bay gets the W for all of you gambling degenerates out there, this means you should give Chicago those measly 3 points and take that easy money to the bank!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Road to Super Bowl for GB?

The NFL regular season is officially underway, and if you're a Green Bay fan, it got off to a striking start! Not only did Minnesota lose, which gives Green Bay an early opportunity take an early division lead with a W over Philadelphia on Sunday, but Brett Favre looked out of sync as well. Expectations are high for Green Bay this year as they seem to be a trendy Super Bowl pick for many of the talking heads throughout the nation, but I remain hesitant. The way Minnesota came out last night gave my confidence in GB winning the division a bit of a boost, but I still have too many concerns regarding our offensive line play/fragility and our defense's inability to stop any form of an offense. So as we approach the opener, what do we expect to see on Sunday?

Philadelphia, like Green Bay, is loaded with young talent.....but, unlike Green Bay, Philly ALWAYS manages to put together one of the league's top defensive units. I like Philly's potential. Kevin Kolb appears to be one of the league's next star QB's as the Eagles let a good QB in Donovan McNabb walk away, and is supported by a talented young trio of pass catchers in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek. To continue this youthful trend, LeSean McCoy stars in the backfield and looks like he solidify their backfield for years. The theme that I see in all of this is youth.......meaning unproven. I like the direction that their organization is taking, but due to their youth and inexperience, I think Green Bay will prove to be too much for them. As I previously stated, I'm not too confident in our defense. However, the one thing that GB is good at is forcing turnovers, and I think a young QB in Kevin Kolb is prime for the pickens. Look for Green Bay to blitz early and often with the likes of Clay Matthews and Woodson off the corner in hopes of forcing Kolb into a mistake. In addition to this, and something that could facilitate our defense's ability to force Kolb into a mistake, the Green Bay offense needs to get on the board early. Come out sharp, quiet the crowd, and put Kolb in an early hole. This will allow our offense to dictate the game......something that I have GREAT confidence in! All that said, I predict that Green Bay gets the W for all you gambling degenerates, that means you should give Philly those measly 3 points and take that easy money to the bank.