NFL Week 4

OK, first a standings update. Week 2 I went 6-9-1, Al went 7-8-1. Week 3 I went 8-6-2, Al went 7-5-3. I know, that looks silly that Al has one less tie, but it’s because I just couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to pick the over/under instead of against the spread, and the spread was a push but I got the o/u wrong. Grr. So, total records: I’m 22-21-5 and Al is 24-18-6. That’s a great start, Al.

Random thoughts from Week 3:

* Philly should never, ever, ever, throw back to those unis ever again. They were almost as ugly as the Lions defense!

* The Texans didn’t beat the Colts, but they played them tough and made a game out of it. They’re respectable this year, maybe? Wild.

* I cannot figure out Denver’s problem in the red zone. They’re moving the ball between the 20s, but then look perplexed when they get close. Odd.

* How good is Dallas? How bad are the Bears? I can’t decide which of those is more responsible for that game.

* How much must it suck to be a Mets fan right now? Oh, wait, wrong sport…

Anyway, the picks…

Sunday 1:00
Ravens @ Cleveland(+4.5)
Baltimore isn’t exactly overwhelming, but they’re better than the Browns, right? Right. Are they five points better on the road? I have to think so, I’ll give the points.

Bears @ Detroit(+3)
I’m taking the points. Griese’s not exactly a worldbeater.

Packers @ Vikings(+2)
How is this spread only two? Packers large.

Texans @ Atlanta(+2.5)
It may curse them, but I’m finally going to pick the Texans; the Falcons ache.

Jets @ Buffalo(+3.5)
The Bills will be starting their backup QB; I’m giving the points.

Raiders @ Miami(-4)
You know, I don’t see the Dolphins as being favored against anyone, even at home. Oh, wait, Culpepper is starting, isn’t he? And the Raiders are especially awful on the road. OK, I’ll give the points.

Rams @ Dallas(-13)
No Stephen Jackson means Dallas will play zone all night, and the Rams have no defense. That’s an awful lot of points, but how can Dallas not cruise here? Cowboys.

Sunday, 4:10±5
Seahawks @ San Francisco(+1.5)
Both Gore and Alexander are “probable.” Very helpful. Coin flip game here… uhh, Niners at home, I think.

Bucs @ Carolina(-3)
I keep picking against Tampa and I keep getting hosed. I’m taking the points.

Broncos @ Colts(-9.5)
Something is horribly wrong with Denver, and the Colts have really had their number the last few years. I’ll give these.

Chefs @ San Diego(-12.5)
Too many points, even against the hapless Chefs. The Bolts are bickering and pointing fingers. No team is so talented than Norv can’t screw it up. I’ll take the big bag of points.

Steelers @ Arizona(+6)
Yeah, sure, whatever. Six doesn’t seem like much in this matchup, I’ll gladly pick Pittsburgh here.

Sunday NBC
Eagles @ New Jersey Giants(+3)
Two wildly inconsistent teams. I’m really hoping McNabb is back so I’ll give the points.

Patriots @ Cincinnati(+7.5)
I see no reason to think the Bengals can contain the scoring machine that is the Patriots offense. Give the points.

AppleScript for Display Size

As noted, I use AppleScript here and there. One of the annoying things about AppleScript is that you can’t natively just ask “how big is the main monitor?” There are workarounds, such as this, but as noted, it doesn’t necessarily handle multiple monitors properly. Since I almost always run with multiple monitors, that’s not a good solution for me.

Well, turns out someone solved this a long time ago, but that solution is well-hidden, and it relies on calling a shell script:

on screenHeight()
word 3 of (do shell script ¬
defaults read /Library/Preferences/ | grep -w Height“)) ¬
as number
end screenHeight


It’s not that bad. The ‘defaults read’ part of that just reads from the preferences file. What makes this work is that the “” prefs file is created and updated by the system, and the first entry in this file is the main monitor! Thus, when the output of that command (you can see the record by just running “defaults read /Library/Preferences/” in the Terminal) is piped into grep, the item found is the height of the main monitor. Cool.

If you want the width of the main monitor, just substitute “Width” for “Height” in the above mini-script.

Incidentally, the way I used to solve this (rather than relying on reading the size of the desktop) relied on the Jon’s Commands set of osaxen, but those break on Intel machines. Bummer, as they’re amazingly useful…

NFL Week 3

OK, I was terrible last week. I’ll update standings later. Commentary on Week 2:

* I was right, the Texans had no answer for Steve Smith. But they had answers for everything else, which amazed me.

* Filed under “places I’m happy I wasn’t:” in any Bengals defensive meeting this week. How do you allow the Browns to score 51 points?

* The Pats cheating thing just will not go away. Look, no excuses: the Pats broke the rules, they should be punished. I have no problem with that. But can we please move on? Seriously, I have yet to hear anything like an explanation of why this rule is even on the books. Yes, they were videotaping, but they were videotaping things which were happening in plain sight. It’s legal to have coaches watch that with binoculars and a type into a laptop. It’s not like they were breaking into fortified compounds and stealing nuclear secrets, sheesh.

* Note to all fantasy football players: if you have guys playing QB or WR going vs. the Saints, start ‘em.

* No, Donovan, they aren’t all over you because you’re black. They’re all over you for the same reason they’re all over Rex Grossman: you’re playing like crap right now. That is all.

Sunday 1:00
Cardinals @ Baltimore(-7.5)
Seems like too many; Baltimore’s offense isn’t exactly lighting up the world.

Bills @ New England(-16.5)
They beat both their first two opponents by more than that, and those teams are both better than the Bills. They’ll cover this if they want to.

Lions @ Philadelphia(-6.5)
Obviously the guys setting the line didn’t watch the same to games involving the Eagles that I did. McNabb can neither move nor throw, and nobody knows where the end zone is. Lions.

Colts @ Houston(+6)
I’m starting to believe, I want to believe, but man, it’s the Colts. I’d be happy to be wrong the third week in a row on the Texans, but I’m taking Indy here.

Dolphins @ New Jersey Meadowlands(-3)
Coin flip, the Jest get three points for being at home. Sure, Jets, why not?

Vikings @ Kansas City(-2.5)
Again, hunh? The Vikings I’ve seen have looked pretty good on D and the Chefs have zero offense. The only way the Chefs win by 3 is if the score is 3-0. Vikings.

Chargers @ Green Bay(+5)
Five? Seems like a lot, given how much the Chargers offense has struggled. I’m actually going to take the Packers on the theory that Norv is just cursed. Or sucks. Or both.

Niners @ Pittsburgh(-9)
The Stillers are firing on all cylinders right now, it seems, and the Niners are just staggering through. Stillers win here, but do they cover nine? That seems like a lot. Well, I’ll give it anyway.

Rams @ Tampa(-3.5)
Hard to imagine the Rams 0-3 and the Bucs 2-1, isn’t it? I’m no sure what to do with this one. The Bucs appear to actually have an offense now, which is bad for St. Louis. Can the Bucs keep it up? I don’t know. Because Al is going with Tampa, I’m taking the points.

Sunday, 4:10±5
Bengals @ Seattle(-3)
The best part here is that the over/under is a nice round fiddy (50). I’m taking the over. Can I just take the over and not pick the winner? Can we do that? Grrr. Well, if not, uhh… the Bengals have the better offense, but the Seabags have the better D (not saying much). Seattle, I guess. I’d much rather take the over.

Browns @ Oakland(-3)
Just for a change of pace, I’m going to actually pick the Raiders.

Jaguars @ Denver(-3)
The most obvious spread in the world–Denver by a field goal. Probably as the clock expires, too. This will be a push, so why pick it? Oh, fine, I’ll take Jax, but they lose on last-second field goal by only 1 or 2.

Panthers @ Atlanta(+4)
Only 4? Really? Sure, I’ll give 4. The Falcons are really, really bad.

Giants @ Washington(-3.5)
The Giants haven’t shown me anything. The Redskins may actually have some life this year, so I’m going with them.

Sunday NBC
Cowboys @ Chicago(-3)
Yes, Chicago has a great defense and all, but Dallas has enough defense (read: any) to stop the Bears and have enough offense to score a few. I like Dallas to win this outright.

Titans @ New Orleans(-4.5)
Weird. There’s something seriously wrong with the Saints, besides the obviously horrible secondary. Something wrong on offense. I have to go with Ditka’s analysis on this one: stop trying to spread the ball around and pound the rock with Deuce first, which will open up all the other stuff. Will they figure this out? Maybe, and maybe they’ll eek out a win. But they won’t cover ths.

NFL Week 2

First, some random thoughts on last week and recent NFL news.

* DirecTV Sunday Ticket is freakin’ awesome. All the games, and most of them in hi def? Wow. The schedule on Sunday was a little heavy on early games, though–it’s really hard to see a lot when you’re trying to follow nine games at once.

* Worst call of Week 1: The offensive pass interference call on Todd Heap. Yes, the Ravens deserved to lose that game, but that call… WTF? The defender was clearly holding Heap, he had a big hadnful of jersey. Heap nudges off the hold, and Heap got flagged? What?

* There was a Mario Williams sighting! 4 tackles, 2 sacks, a fumble recovery for a TD.

* I guess Randy Moss doesn’t actually need to practice.

* The Broncos were horrible in the red zone, but that was one of the most exciting finishes you could ask for in Week 1. I’ve never seen a FG unit get a kick off that fast.

* The Rams defense was bad, but the KC offense was even worse. You often see that kind of ugliness in Reliant Stadium, but usually it’s from the home team.

* I’m a little perplexed about why the Pats thing is such a freaking big deal. Teams are always looking at the other sideline and trying to interpret signs. So… the difference between a guy with binocs writing all this down and having it on videotape is what, exactly? Well, OK, it’s against the rules, so I guess there has to be something, but what I can’t figure out is why this rule exists in the first place. I have a hard time seeing how the competitive advantage here is a big deal. The Broncos cheated on the salary cap for their two Super Bowl seasons, and that’s one hell of lot more of a competitive advantage. I don’t seem to recall anybody calling seriously for the heads of the Broncos like they’re calling for Bill’s head. A suspension? Forefiting games? For that? Get over it.

Last week I went 8-6-2, and Al, you went 10-4-2. Nice start!

Anyway, on to this week’s picks…

Sunday 1:00
Bills @ Pittsburgh(-10)
Hunh, I was thinking more like 6 or 7 for this spread. I guess it’s in Pittsburgh; give the points.

Atlanta @ Jacksonville(-10)
Wow, ten again? That seems like too much; it’s not like Jacksonville exactly lit it up last week. I have a bad feeling about the Jags.

Colts @ Titans(+7.5)
Sure, yeah, give the points. I’ll probably keep picking the Colts until I see a good reason not to, and the Titans aren’t it, at least not yet.

Packers @ Giants(-2)
Do we know if Eli is playing? If so, I’d give the two. If not, I’d take the two. I guess they’re saying he’ll probably play, so I’ll give the two.

Texans @ Carolina(-6.5)
OK, beating a really crappy KC team at home is one thing. The Texans have no answer for Steve Smith, and on the road, I don’t see them keeping it close.

Niners @ St. Louis(-3)
Neither team looked good last week, that’s for sure. Huge game in some sense; the Niners could be 2-0 in the division and the Rams could be 0-2. That sounds wrong, but I’m going to take the points anyway.

Bengals @ Browns(+7)
See, now this one should be ten points, probably more. Bengals in a rout. Countdown for Romeo’s job being available starts soon.

Saints @ Tampa Bay(+3)
I had guessed New Orleans by 4, so I guess I’ll give the points.

Cowboys @ Miami(+3.5)
Only 3.5? Really? Cowboys.

Sunday 4:10ish
Vikings @ Detroit(-3)
I… can’t believe this, but I’m going to pick the Lions two weeks in a row. Err, no, wait, I can’t make myself do it, I have to take the points.

Seahawks @ Arizona(+3)
I wasn’t especially impressed with either of these teams last week, either—the entire NFC West looked pretty mediocre. I guess I’ll go with Seattle, but as far as I’m concerned, this one is a coin flip.

Chefs @ Chicago(-13)
I guess this spread makes some sense. I mean, the Bears are certainly a lot better than the Texans, and KC looked awful against Houston last week. The one thing the Bears really did well last year was beat the snot out of bad teams, and I think KC is a bad team. I hate giving 13, but I’m going to do it.

Jets @ Ravens(-10)
No team QB’d by Kyle Boller should ever be 10-point favorites, no matter who’s playing QB for Gang Green. Baltimore has a lot of other key injuries, too, so 10 seems a reach. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!

Raiders @ Denver(-10.5)
Wow, five double-digit spreads in week 2? Yikes. Anyway, the Lions absolutely lit up Oakland in Oakland last week. Is there a reason to think the Raiders will play better in Denver? Not really. Broncos.

Sunday NBC
Chargers @ New England(-3.5)
Look, the Pats will be really motivated to win to show they can win big games without any funny stuff. The Pats won the last time these teams met, and if anything, the Pats are better than they were last year. If it comes down to a coaching decision, you know how this will turn out.

Redskins @ Philly(-7)
The Iggles didn’t show me very much last week. McNabb looked out of sync and the Eagles still have no receivers. Westbrook looked good, but he can’t do it all himself. Of course, the Redskins also didn’t look very good, but that was less of a surprise.Still, recent history suggests that the Eagles should win this handily, and I’ll go with that. Go Iggles!

NFL Week 1

Sunday 1:00
Falcons @ Minnesota(-3)
You know, I have this feeling Atlanta isn’t actually as bad as people think. And I may not pick the Vikings at all while Jackson is the starting QB.

Panthers @ St. Louis(-1)
Meh. I can’t tell if either of these teams will be anything other than mediocre. I’m guessing Al will take the Rams, so I’ll take the point.

Broncos @ Buffalo(+3)
The Bills are a franchise in limbo, while I think the Broncos will be a playoff team. Broncos by a TD at least.

Chefs @ Houston(-3)
Yeah, KC is a train wreck, but they were a playoff team last year, and in case the bookies have missed it, the Texans won a paltry four games and still haven’t done anything about their O line. I won’t start picking the Texans until they actually win something.

Dolphins @ Washington(-3)
How bad will the Dolphins offense be this year, I wonder? It really might not be better. Of course, the Redskins didn’t exactly light it up last year, but their QB isn’t quite as green, so maybe they’ll actually improve. The Redskins get three for being the home team, I guess. Uhh, sure, yeah, I’ll give three points, but it’s basically a coin flip driving this pick.

Patriots @ New Jersey Meadowlands(+7)
Because I know Al will take the Jets, I’m going with the boys from New England. Brady with guys to throw to and an improved defense? They might be scary good.

Eagles @ Green Bay(+2.5)
Brett “Overthrow” Favre and a rookie RB vs. McNabb and Westbrook, and I don’t even have to give a figgie? Iggles.

Stillers @ Cleveland(+4.5)
I’m expecting Pittsburgh to rebound this year, and I don’t think the Browns will be any better, so I’ll take Pittsburgh to cover this.

Titans @ Jacksonville(-7)
I like the Jags to win this game, but I have trouble seeing either of these offenses lighting it up. I figure it’ll be closer than 7.

Sunday 4:15
Bears @ San Diego(-6)
OK, now, the question has to be asked: why do people keep thinking Norv Turner is an appropriate answer to the question “who makes a good NFL head coach?” How do you fire a guy who went 14-2 and replace him with a guy who has a career .415 winning percentage? I don’t get it. On the other hand, the Bears are still staring Rex, and the Bolts are friggin’ loaded with talent (except at wideout). Look at the Bolts to run up another gaudy regular season record and then boot it in the postseason. Oh, and I’ll take San Diego to cover.

Lions @ Oakland(-2)
How are the Raiders favored over anybody, even the hapless Lions at home? Isn’t McCown starting at QB for the Raiders? McCown? Really? I’ll take the points, thanks.

Bucs @ Seattle(-6)
I’m inclined to think Tampa will be better this year–Garcia is an upgrade at QB and maybe Cadillac can stay healthy. But Seattle might be better, too, if Alexander can stay healthy. OK, in Seattle, I’ll give the points.

Sunday Night
Jints @ Dallas(-6)
Hmm. I actually think the loss of Terry Glenn will hurt the Cowboys, because it means teams can double T.O. without fear. And the Giants appear to already be in disarray before the season even starts. I like the Cowboys running game and defense better, though, so I think I’ll give the points.

Ravens @ Cincinnati(-2.5)
I like the Ravens to pull an upset here, as I’m still not sure Cinci is over their whole incarceration thing.

Cardinals @ San Francisco(-3)
The Niners are the sexy “team on the rise” pick this year, but they still haven’t won anything yet. I figure losing Dennis Green is likely to make the Cards another two wins better. I’ll take the points.

NFL Kickoff

(Sorry for the technical difficulties yesterday…)

Hey, that NFL thing you may have heard of kicks off tomorrow! Hallelujah! Now that the college football season is effectively already over (and no, I don’t want to hear any more about it), it’s time for the guys who are paid over the table to play football.

So, without further ado:

Thursday Night Special

Saints @ Indianapolis(-6)
If this were in New Orleans, I’d take the six. But in Indy, I have to give it. I’d like to point out for the record, though, that I’ll be rooting for the Saints, because I never root for Mr. Pitchman. Well, no, I’d root for him against the Cowboys. Anyway, GO SAINTS! But if you lose, please lose by at least a TD…