Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: Week 4

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-Digger's Weekly-

They're back! After one of the ugliest weekends in NFL history replacement refs are out and NFL first line officials are coming back. NFL action was way too fast for low level replacements. Unfortunately, many games have been determined by bad officiating culminated by Monday Night's final play when one ref signaled interception & another (standing 6 inches away) declared game winning touchdown. What a joke. I can't begin imagining what was going on in Las Vegas sportsbooks. Disaster.

My picks have been consistant. 8-8 for the 3rd week in a row. Season total is 24-24. Things would be much different if not for NFL putting out substandard scenario.

Here we go... Week 4 kicks off later tonight (home team in CAPS).

RAVENS 27 Browns 3

FALCONS 31 Panthers 20
Patriots 27 BILLS 23
LIONS 27 Vikings 20
Chargers 34 CHIEFS 24
Seahawks 24 RAMS 10
49ers 33 JETS 7
TEXANS 28 Titans 17
Bengals 27 JAGUARS 21
CARDINALS 20 Dolphins 17
BRONCOS 27 Raiders 24
PACKERS 38 Saints 31
Redskins 26 BUCS 14
Giants 35 EAGLES 21

Bears 24 COWBOYS 23

Friday, September 21, 2012

Take it Easy on NFL Replacement Referees!

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-Digger's Weekly-

Fans, players and coaches need to quickly realize the current crop of replacement referees are doing the best they can under extremely difficult and unfortunate circumstances. Everyone needs to understand these replacements are low on the totem pole. Quick meaning: the top refs are in NCAA division I representing hundreds of games. Don't forget about refs covering Division II. Division III. Figure into the equation the remaining top refs operating top high school divisions. Who was left? Imagine drafting a first year NFL team and not being allowed a single draft pick until round 7? In reality, none of them are rated within the top 300 (perhaps 500). It's not a knock - just a cold hard reality.

This is what we have folks. Personally, even with all of the confusion and missed calls, these fine men deserve a pat on the back and a beer! Professional NFL officiating crews have worked together for years. Replacement refs have been thrown together at the last minute. Their resumes consist of officiating much slower paced games well below NFL levels. So, everyone suck it up and play ball. Give these guys a break.

Now for the bigger issue...

Let's get one thing straight. The National Football League's failure successfully negotiate terms and adequately compensate professional referees is a travesty. Cutting right through all the nonsense I offer this question: How does the NFL Commissioner and owners justify failing to uphold the integrity of professional football by locking out the best of the best? Impossible.

How do owners justify paying players millions and not preserving the integrity of games?

While no one knows the exact details of current negotiations one thing seems certain. The league is satisfied with the status quo. If you're telling me the league can't pony up from various cash cows then we really have a problem. The owners are savvy businessmen so finding a common ground shouldn't be as difficult as things currently seem.

Speaking of problems - integrity of games. Look at how many stoppages we've witnessed in the first two weeks. Continuity and cohesiveness of gameplay is suffering due to multiple huddles, missed calls, invisible calls and extending time spent determining what to do. The pace of a few games has been agonizing. The game is just too fast for the replacements. They've been thrown into the toughest of situations with the entire football world analyzing every single move made. They're just in over their collective heads. I don't blame them at all for events happening on the field. Not one bit. It's a league problem and Commissioner Goodall needs to rectify this mess in a hurry.

Is there a larger unspoken problem on the horizon? What if one or two or three replacement refs aren't on the up and up. Stating the obvious... there's a gambling element out there looking to capitalize on current events. Temptation dangled in front of refs with nothing to lose, especially after being chastised week after week, makes them easy prey. It wouldn't be the first time refs were approached to fix games. Hopefully, the league is policing these guys. But, one can't be everywhere all the time so we'll probably never know until it's too late (or not at all).

2012 NFL Predictions: Week 3

-Digger's Weekly-

Week 2 was full of surprises. New England was stunned by Arizona. New Orleans rocked by Carolina. Seattle thoroughly bullied Dallas. Once hopeful Raiders (0-2) fans watched their team get whooped again. On the bright side - perrenial slow starting San Diego begins 2012 on fire (2-0). Chargers played below potential in recent years with very talented squads. Maybe their time has finally arrived? Same question for this week's opponent Atlanta.

After two weeks in the books only 6 teams sport 2-0 records (Philadelphia, Atlanta, Arizona, San Francisco, Houston and San Diego). 5 of 6 winless teams reside in the AFC (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, KC and Oakland). New Orleans is the lone NFC 0'fer adding pain to locals after a brutal off-season. 

When Week 2 was all said and done another mediocre 8-8 record was posted bringing my season total to 16-16. Week 3 represents pivotal early season games involving teams searching for consistency. It's getting late in a hurry for discombobulated squads.

Here's how Week 3 plays out (home team in CAPS).

Giants 35 PANTHERS 14
BEARS 31 Rams 27
Bills 30 BROWNS 14
COWBOYS 20 Buccaneers 17
DOLPHINS 27 Jets 7
49ers 31 VIKINGS 3
SAINTS 34 Chiefs 27
REDSKINS 24 Bengals 23
Lions 28 TITANS 21
Jaguars 24 COLTS 20
Eagles 33 CARDINALS 17
Falcons 30 CHARGERS 28
Texans 34 BRONCOS 33
Steelers 20 RAIDERS 10
RAVENS 27 Patriots 17
Packers 42 SEAHAWKS 20

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: Week 2

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-Digger's Weekly-

The NFL kicked off 2012 regular season action last week. Dallas opened up the new season by dumping defending champion Giants. Peyton Manning's comeback went smoothly in Denver's romp over Pittsburgh. San Francisco proved 2011 wasn't a fluke. Week 1 stunner was Washington's 40-32 upset in New Orleans.

Week 2 features another week of great games. My crystal ball was a bit quirky last week. 8-8 to begin the season isn't quite what I had in mind. Time to right the ship....

Week 2 Predictions:
PACKERS 33 Bears 21

BILLS 23 Chiefs 17
BENGALS 24 Browns 17
Vikings 21 COLTS 14
Saints 33 PANTHERS 31
Texans 27 JAGUARS 13
Raiders 28 DOLPHINS 14
PATRIOTS 48 Cardinals 10
GIANTS 30 Bucs 14
Ravens 24 EAGLES 17
Redskins 30 RAMS 20
Cowboys 27 SEAHAWKS 21
STEELERS 20 Jets 17
CHARGERS 35 Titans 10
49ERS 28 Lions 20

Broncos 31 FALCONS 28

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: Week 1

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-Digger's Weekly-

Defending Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants kick off the new 2012 season at home against division rival Dallas Cowboys. Does New York have what it takes to repeat? Can Cowboys QB Tony Romo finally figure out what it means to be a team "leader"?

Digger's 2011 regular season prediction record finished 163-92 (64.1%). Time to polish off the crystal ball for our 2012 version.

Week 1 (Home team in CAPS)
NEW YORK GIANTS 37 Dallas Cowboys 20

CHICAGO BEARS 26 Indianapolis Colts 3
Philadelphia Eagles 23 CLEVELAND BROWNS 14
New England Patriots 38 TENNESSEE TITANS 17
Atlanta Falcons 28 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 27
Jacksonville Jaguars 21 MINNESOTA VIKINGS 17
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 44 Washington Redskins 10
Buffalo Bills 27 NEW YORK JETS 9
DETROIT LIONS 30 St. Louis Rams 20
HOUSTON TEXANS 31 Miami Dolphins 23
GREEN BAY PACKERS 28 San Francisco 49ers 16
Seattle Seahawks 24 Arizona Cardinals 17
Carolina Panthers 35 TAMPA BAY BUCS 14
DENVER BRONCOS 20 Pittsburgh Steelers 17

BALTIMORE RAVENS 26 Cincinnati Bengals 13
OAKLAND RAIDERS 37 San Diego Chargers 31