2013 All-FFFFL Teams

All-FFFFL First Team (2 pts)

QB- Peyton Manning, Cash Flo (Danny Fafinski)

RB- Jamaal Charles, MPLS-Silent Cal Cool (Robert Fafinski III)

RB- Adrian Peterson, John Galt (Booey Fafinski)

WR- Calvin Johnson, The Corleones (Joseph Fafinski)

WR- Josh Gordon, John Galt (Booey Fafinski)

WR- Demaryius Thomas, MPLS-Silent Cal Cool (Robert Fafinski III)

TE- Jimmy Graham, The Destroyers (Robert Fafinski Jr.)

D/ST- Seahawks D, John Galt (Booey Fafinski); Panthers D, MPLS-Silent Cal Cool (Robert Fafinski III)

K- Stephen Gosthkowski, MPLS-Silent Cal Cool (Robert Fafinski III)

 

All-FFFFL Second Team (1 pt)

QB- Drew Brees, The Destroyers (Robert Fafinski Jr.)

RB- Matt Forte, Welfare Junkies (Steve Hann)

RB- Knowshon Moreno, The Destroyers (Robert Fafinski Jr.)

WR- Brandon Marshall, The Thunder From Down Under (Billy Fafinski)

WR- AJ Green, Cash Flo (Danny Fafinski)

WR- Alshon Jeffrey, Curran Delaney (Curran Delaney)

TE- Vernon Davis, The Thunder From Down Under (Billy Fafinski)

D/ST- Chiefs D, Curran Delaney (Curran Delaney); Bengals D, The Thunder From Down Under (Billy Fafinski) 

K- Steven Hauschka, The Destroyers (Robert Fafinski Jr.)

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Lafayette “Fat” Lever: Denver’s Forgotten Nugget of the 1980s

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When one stirs up a conversation about the greatest Denver Nuggets ever, they might mention the talented David Thompson, perhaps the 1980s’ top scorer in Alex English or maybe the all-offensive approach to the game that was Carmelo Anthony.

Even when you discuss the best point guard to play in the Rockies, contemporary NBA fans will mention Chauncey Billups all at once.

However, in all honesty, Nuggets fans can tell you one guy whose game easily surpassed Billups’: Fat Lever.

Lafayette “Fat” Lever was easily the most under-appreciated baller of the 1980s. Some of the statistics that the point guard put up were absolutely phenomenal.

Many have referred to the Arizona State product as the “Jason Kidd of the 80s.” However, in my humble opinion, Jason Kidd should be referred to as the “Fat Lever of the last 15 years.”

After being traded from Portland to Denver in 1984, he played alongside Alex English, Calvin Natt and Wayne Cooper. Now, you’d think it would be hard for Lever to score a lot of points, yet in four straight seasons, beginning in 1986, he averaged no less than 18 points per game.

He shot 44 percent from the field and 78 percent from the charity stripe throughout his career, so it’s not like he was aimlessly hucking up shots.

So that proves he had the scoring ability.

Additionally, Lever was a prototype passer, and while he did have a seemingly disposable plethora of scorers, he kept his assist numbers honestly consistent, averaging at least 7.5 in five of his six seasons playing in the Rockies.

Oh, and rebounding? Lever was among the best—in the entire league.

Not only did he routinely lead the Nuggets in rebounding, he did it as a 6’3″ point guard!

Lever averaged a 9.3 clip in two different seasons that he donned the ever-so-popular rainbow unis, better than 10 seven-foot centers did each campaign.

You might be thinking that, well, there’s clearly a defensive side to the game too. Lever excelled at that (yawn) too, and on a scoring-orientated club like Denver, he was still an imposing and fierce defensive presence. Although not one of the best, he still was selected to an All-Defensive team once.

Lever’s ability to pull all four aspects of his game together on any given night should stir you over.

In fact, Lever is the only (and I repeat, only) player since the ABA-NBA merger to have a 30-point, 20-assist and 15-rebound game.

Let’s say for a minute that you assume that, yes, that is a 20, 15 and 15 game. The only other players since 1986 to accomplish this feat are Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Jason Kidd.

That’s elite company if I’ve ever seen it.

He was also a threat to average a triple-double, averaging 19.3 points, 7.9 assists and 9.3 rebounds during the 1988-89 season.

Another thing that was immensely forgotten about Lever was his tremendous ability to swipe the ball at will, something that led to him becoming second in Nuggets history in steals. He holds the NBA record for most steals in a quarter with eight swipes, a feat he accomplished in 1985.

Just imagine having eight steals in a quarter as a team. It is an amazing accomplishment. The fact that one player did it was unbelievable, a word that truly defined Lever’s days in Denver.

As a person, Lever was about as professional as it gets. He essentially had no ego and merely dismissed any individual effort as a team performance.

When spotted in public, Lever would deny the fact that he was the 6’3″, 155-pound All-Star everyone knew him as.

So why isn’t this guy more recognized among NBA pundits?

Perhaps it is because he “only” had two All-Star appearances, or maybe it’s because he “only” made one All-Defensive team. Lever’s blatant All-Star omissions grew to be so bad that team “star” Alex English offered to give him his spot on the roster, but ultimately the NBA wouldn’t allow it.

Maybe it was because his stigma was one of pure relentlessness rather than flashiness, like other top point guards.

It could be that he was selected All-NBA just once, and even then it was the second team in 1987.

Riddle me this for a second: Who were the two on the primary team? They were none other than Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, the two best players to ever play the game at their respective positions!

Whatever it is that kept him from extreme relevance, this guy deserves to be considered the Nuggets’ best point guard ever.

With that said, when will they retire Fat Lever’s jersey?

Wait, who’s jersey?


 

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Darko Milicic: A sad NBA story and a revival in the making

(My apologies for my lack of posting. I’ll begin to put my Bleacher Report articles on here to get more exposure.)

Being selected as the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Darko Milicic was always under pressure and was expected to do great things in the NBA.

He had the potential to be an imposing force in the league, scouts said, and as a Serbian, one of the best international players ever.

When he was taken right after LeBron James, fans didn’t know what to think.

Even Darko himself was perplexed.

“I don’t know why they took me with the second pick if you’re not going to play me,” he said. “I never understood that, you know. I was happy being the second pick and all that kind of stuff, but I never knew what I got myself into. I never knew I was coming here not to play. Nobody was telling me anything. Coming from Europe, you know, what do I know? I just wanted to play basketball.”

The bitter truth is that Darko didn’t have to change the landscape of the Pistons, as they had recorded 50 victories the previous season. This wasn’t the case with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers or Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets, both of whom were expected to build upon

Here we stand, almost eight years later, and what do we have?

A 25-year-old still trying to find a niche in the league.

People often label Darko as one of the NBA’s biggest draft busts ever, but is he in reality? The seven-footer is a center, a position the Pistons haven’t needed until recently because of Ben Wallace’s noteworthy career, and even now they have a blooming prospect in Greg Monroe.

Additionally, it was often noted that then-Pistons coach Larry Brown and other Detroit coaches detested playing youthful members of the roster, which explains why 2002 first-rounder Tayshaun Prince’s minutes per game shot from 10.2 to 32.9 his second season in Motown. That stat was courtesy of previous coach Rick Carlisle.

Besides, isn’t the goal of the NBA to win championships?

Yet James, Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who round out the rest of 2003’s top five, have combined to win one championship—the same amount as Milicic.

Even though he didn’t have a significant role in the 2004 postseason, he still has what James and the rest of the gang still long for.

Eight seasons later, Darko is enjoying his finest season in the association up in the frigid north. He is averaging nine points and better than two blocks, and is undoubtedly the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ best post defender.

And at 25, he could still have a decade in him.

Instead of calling Darko a “bust,” we may have to refer to him as a “delay,” and maybe someday he’ll be a starter for his second championship team.

For now, he’ll have to continue his recent high level of play while the rest of the league reminds him that superstars heard their names called out before his own.

 

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Minnesota Timberwolves roll over Cavs; end six-game losing streak

By Joseph Fafinski

Kurt Rambis' team gets an uplifting 129-95 win over the Cavs, ending a six-game losing streak.

Losing six in a row is embarrassing. Losing a 20-point lead with 12 minutes left is embarrassing. Not having a home victory in three weeks is embarrassing. The Minnesota Timberwolves were doomed for failure once more as the Cavs came into town, right?

You would think that getting embarrassed at home by a certain He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-In-Cleveland, the Cavaliers had hit rock bottom. You would have thought that it couldn’t get any worse for America’s most upset team at the moment.

Swish, the ball went through the net to give the Wolves a 5-0 lead only 53 seconds into the first quarter. Wes Johnson was given a high five by teammate Kevin Love. It seemed at the time like an ordinary jumper but it was the first of a club-record 18 three-pointers hit by the home team, and the first of three by Johnson. Love himself would go five for five from three point land.

The Wolves never looked back and delivered an absolute thrashing at the hands of Love and Johnson, 125-95. In a game where the Wolves refused to miss from outside, Cleveland’s defense went sour outside. The Wolves missed only eight treys and ended up shooting nearly 70 percent, compared to the Cavs shooting only a mere 23 percent.

Love and Johnson were not the only ones who contributed, however. Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer and Darko Milicic (who also had nine rebounds) pitched in 16, 15, and 14 apiece for the winners of tonight’s contest.

Recent criticism surrounding the Wolves and their ability to finish contests has been harsh. Kevin Love has taken this criticism seriously, and the team rebounded to it. After blowing a 20-point lead the night before in San Antonio, Love was quoted by Star Tribune columnist Jerry Zgoda as saying “we have to pick our heads up, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and just go play like we’re in the park, our five against their five, nobody in the stands, no coaches.”

Keeping his word, Love delivered and led a quick delivery and a hard blow to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. As if a loss to LBJ and the rest of the Heat wave wasn’t bad enough, a 34-point loss at Minnesota hurts this struggling franchise.

The Wolves, on the other hand, leave town on a positive note, upbeat and ready to play a Knicks team they know all too well. Facing NYC’s finest at home in early November, Kevin Love went off for a historic 31-point, 31-rebound performance that was the first 30-30 since Hall of Famer Moses Malone did it in 1982. When asked about a repeat performance, Love shook it off and noted that “[he’s] good with a double-double and a win.” He accomplished both those feats opposite Cleveland; can he bring it to the Big Apple?

-JF

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NFL Week 13 Report

By Joseph Fafinski

Week 13 Power Rankings

The Atlanta Falcons remain at #1 in the Power Rankings.

 

1. Atlanta Falcons, 9-2

Matt Ryan and Co. want all NFC roads to lead to Atlanta.

 

The best team in the NFL proved they were the best team in the NFL by beating a very good Green Bay Packers team at home. Matt Ryan won his 15th game in a row at the Georgia Dome, setting his career record at 19-1 inside those friendly confines. This is a complete team that is poised to go all the way to Dallas. The Roddy White-to-Matt Ryan train station hope to have roundtrips all the way to February. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons had a little trouble this week though as they hit the road to face the playoff-hungry Buccaneers.

2. New England Patriots, 9-2

Placed in front of a national audience for the third time this year, Tom Brady and the crew confused millions when they came out flat in the first half, going into the break down by a touchdown. Then the real Pats came out and outscored the poor Lions 35-7 in the second half. ESPN must be salivating at the matchup they snagged for this week. Number 12 has created new playmakers this year (Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis) and rediscovered old ones (Deion Branch). We will figure out which Patriots come out when they face the national stage for the fourth time with the long anticipated matchup with the Jets. We’ll see how much Tom Brady hates the Jets after this one.

3. Baltimore Ravens, 8-3

Winners of four out of their last five, the Baltimore Ravens are excited to prove to everyone that the win in Week 4 at Heinz Field was no fluke. Everything seems to be clicking now that the run game in back intact and the defense is healthy. Joe Flacco is becoming the quarterback they expected him to be, and he will be ready to take down Roethlisberger. The Ravens are riding a ten-game home winning streak dating back to November 2009 and have no intentions of ending it. My prediction for Sunday night’s contest: the winner of the game wins the AFC North.

4. New York Jets, 9-2

Rex Ryan believes in his team like no other head coach.

For a head coach Rex Ryan sure does talk a lot of smack. Just as he built up the season-opening Monday night duel with the Ravens, Ryan is back at it with this week’s battle with the Patriots. While I may not be the biggest fan, he does believe that his team hasn’t reached its peak, and that the team will face doubters “all the way to the Super Bowl.” That shows that he truly believes in his franchise to take care of business (or he is just stupid, which could be it). This week’s matchup is a clash of two teams who want nothing to do with each other. Going to Foxboro is harder than it seems, but that won’t stop Ryan from believing his club is the best.

5. New Orleans Saints, 8-3

The defending champs know that they are lurking under the radar that is currently shining brightly on the division rival Falcons. No one is talking about the fact that they have won four in a row or that only one of those games was closer than ten points. Nope; instead they talk about how the Saints have looked weak, or that they lost to the Browns. Well, forget about it America. The Saints are hot and will have no problem on the road against T.O., Ocho, and the sad opera that is becoming the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals. Look out, NFC: the road to the Super Bowl may have to cross New Orleans once again. Ask the Cardinals and Vikings how that worked out for them last postseason.

6. Chicago Bears, 8-3

Da Bears proved their record was no fluke by beating the Vickadelphia Eagles 31-26. It was the Eagles’ first loss in five weeks, and with the Packers loss in Atlanta the Bears took sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Jay Cutler looked like an MVP. The defense took Vick’s first post-behind bars interception, and ran with the opportunity. The Bears hope to move on with ease against the Lions, but it isn’t as easy as it has been in recent years. I expect two things: a close game, and lots of Calvin Johnson, who is looking for Week 1 revenge.

7. Green Bay Packers, 7-4

One of the NFL’s hottest teams suddenly cooled in Week 12. Here’s a painful fact: it was the fourth time in four losses this season that they have lost courtesy of a game-winning field goal. Matt Bryant of the Falcons did the same thing that Robbie Gould, Graham Gano, and Dan Carpenter all previously achieved. One thing I learned from the Pack in Week 12: Aaron Rodgers is a clutch quarterback. With six minutes remaining, he directed a 16-play, 90-yard drive that ended with an absolute bullet of a throw for a 10-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson. Unfortunately it was too early and Atlanta won the battle. I see no trouble on the Week 13 horizon in Green Bay, as they host the inferior 49ers.

8. Philadelphia Eagles, 7-4

A week ago they were a hot pick for the NFC East crown, and even had some talking about Dallas. Now? They are tied for first with the Giants (who beat the Jaguars) and have gambled with the expectancy of their season. They have been overcoming injuries all year, and for the first time since before his arrest, Mike Vick struggled. With only three days to practice, the Eagles play tomorrow (Thursday) night in front of a national audience. Remember what happened the last time they were on the tube? Donovan McNabb sure doesn’t want to. Beating the oft-fined Texans will be an interesting game that will be wide open, but you can bet that Vick will be back at it going for it all.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-3

The Ravens sacked Charlie Batch and the Steelers 17-14 on October 3 in Pittsburgh.

On October 3, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in the fourth and final game of a league-constituted suspension. That time around 35-year old Charlie Batch struggled, throwing for just 141 yards off 12 completions. However, the team only lost by a field goal. This time around Batch (who coincidentally turns 36 on Sunday) will be on the bench as Ben Roethlisberger tries to win another AFC North crown. This game is vital in determining the outcome of the Steelers’ season, and the Ravens know they need to buckle down on defense when they come to the Keystone State this time.

10. San Diego Chargers, 6-5

The AFC West has been so unpredictable this year. The Chiefs in first? The Raiders around .500? Denver’s air time is more than that of an international businessman? The Chargers are on a winning streak after a slow start? Oh wait, one of those doesn’t belong with the rest. The fact of the matter is that the Chargers are the best closing team in the NFL, and no one is playing better right now than Philip Rivers, who is still firing away despite injuries. LaDainian Tomlin– er, I mean, Mike Tolbert– is playing very well for being used as just a replacement. Oakland at home could be tricky, but I don’t see it happening as long as the Rivers are still flowing.

11. New York Giants, 7-4

There they were, losing 17-6 to a mediocre Jaguars team at home at intermission. There they were, five offensive starters down, including two top lineman and up-and-coming star receiver Hakeem Nicks. Yet there they were after the game, celebrating a 24-20 victory. Credit falls on the shoulders of quarterback Eli Manning, who (shhh!!) might be having a better season than his sacred older brother Peyton. The best pass defense in the league welcomes Donovan McNabb and the struggling ‘Skins to NYC for a divisional matchup that will surely be a pass-heavy game. Do the Giants have what it takes to have a legit shot at the playoffs? Tune in Week 13 to find out, where it is a must-win before back-to-back weeks against the Eagles and the Packers.

12. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4

Matt Cassel-to-Dwayne Bowe: suddenly a hot commodity in the NFL.

 

Kansas City, Missouri hasn’t had this much buzz since the Royals won the World Series in 1985. Although the Chargers sit right on their tail (but not in these power rankings), the Chiefs can simply win and get in. Dwayne Bowe and Matt Cassel have been dating for two months now, and it is a relationship that may go a long way in KC; fans are hoping it lasts until at least January. They’ve hooked up 14 times this year, a team record. Upcoming divisional matchups are important for them since they have already lost to Denver and Oakland once apiece. The Chargers are on their way and seek revenge next week in a must-see masterpiece. First they have to get by the Broncos, who came out throwing hot and embarrassed them in Denver by three touchdowns.

13. Miami Dolphins, 6-5

Don’t count them out just yet. After being shut out on a Thursday night groaner to the Bears, South Florida’s team came back and beat a Raiders team who had been playing well prior to the showdown. Chad Henne is back, and with a courageous start he has earned his job back (bless Pat White for backing out instead for a baseball career). I am surprised that Brandon Marshall hasn’t complained about getting the ball thrown to him lately. He has kept his mouth shut this year in hopes of winning. Week 13 foe Cleveland has played tough in the last two months, beating excellent teams like the Saints and Patriots (and barely losing to the Jets and the Jags) with their barreling running back and gritty defensive play. If the ‘Fins want to get back in the playoff hunt they need to emerge as victors on Sunday.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-4

Maybe, just maybe this is a little too low for this team. A few defensive players still remain from the 2002 Super Bowl team, highlighted by cornerback Ronde Barber. So that means experience isn’t a problem? Absolutely. So what’s the problem? Oh yeah, there is the fact that they are 0-4 against teams that .500 and better and 7-0 against the loss-prone ones. That brings me to my final point: how about the Bucs prove to me that they belong higher on this list? How better of an opportunity is there to climb the incline of this list than to play the #1 ranked team at home? So do it, Tampa Bay. A win and you’re in the top 10.

15. Houston Texas, 5-6

Andre Johnson using Cortland Finnegan as a punching bag.

The picture on the right tells the story of the beatdown the Texans issued the injury-riddled Titans en route to a 20-0 shutout. Andre Johnson was seemingly the bad guy in the fight from most viewers’ eyes, but wasn’t it awesome to see a little punching in the NFL? The Texans are going to need some of that toughness if they want to bring down the Eagles in Philly. Shockingly Dre wasn’t suspended by the No Fun League (sorry, Rog) and will start Week 13. This is good for my fantasy team because I am in a higher stakes league and next week the three-week long playoffs begin. I am facing my high school dean; I find this kind of ironic because I was sent to his office multiple times throughout my years because of my fantasy football participation in class. Mr. Dols, if you read this, you’re going down. Anyways I’m rambling, aren’t I? This was supposed to be about the Texans, not reliving my glory days in high school.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-5

The Jaguars are honestly one of the most streaky teams that I have seen in recent years. One week they lose by three scores; the next, they win by the same margin. Maurice Jones-Drew is emerging from his early season shell though, and that can take the Jags a long way, as well as the suddenly good play by the veteran David Garrard. Facing the struggling Titans at home this week will be an interesting task for the Jaguars. If the Titans can get their run game going it could be a blowout. They have no passing game however, so an interesting game indeed it will be.

17. Indianapolis Colts, 6-5

The Colts are hoping that they have hit rock bottom. If they haven’t, they may as well start packing their bags. Suddenly they’re tied with the Jags, and the Texans certainly have a shot the way the rest of the division is playing. Peyton Manning has not been Peyton Manning, throwing for seven picks in the last two games. For the third time in his illustrious career he threw for two pick sixes. Although he is the team’s leader, he is not the entire team. The defense deserves some blame in this mess, giving up 67 points in the last two weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys give them a run for their money on Sunday in Indy. Doesn’t it seem though like the Horseshoes play at home every single week?

18. St. Louis Rams, 5-6

Sam Bradford has gone from Heisman to injured to #1 pick to probable Rookie of the Year in two years.

Just last week I blabbed about how the St. Louis Rams couldn’t win a game away from home and that it wouldn’t get them into the playoffs. I also predicted three wins in my NFL preseason preview. Well, I am here today to apologize for those statements after a big win in the Rockies for St. Louie that brought them to 5-6 and into a tie for first place in the West. It may have been ugly, but with my favorite to win 2010 Rookie of the Year, Sam Bradford, anything is possible apparently. He has turned Danny Amendola, a seemingly spot slot receiver in September, into a seven catch a game type of guy. This week the co-leaders of the awful division have a not-so-difficult “challenge” when they hit the road (er, excuse me, airway) and face the Cardinals? Only Derek Anderson’s laugh will tell.

19. Oakland Raiders, 5-6

Falling six spots is nothing to be happy about. The better Bay Area team was embarrassed by the Dolphins as they couldn’t (SURPRISE, SURPRISE) get the passing game going at all. Rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford is a bright spot, and he is making plays that are Shakespeare-esque on a regular basis. I guess no one noticed when he was at Clemson because he fell down to the fourth round. So yes, this team is improving and may shock some come season’s end, but beating San Diego on the road this week? You might want to get used to that losing record, black and gray faithful.
20. Tennessee Titans, 5-6
This team has problems: Rusty Smith at quarterback; Cortland Finnegan; Jeff Fisher and Vince Young’s “feud”; and oh yes, that not so lovely 5-6 record. Luckily they are still amazingly one game back after losing four straight. Nashville’s finest Chris Johnson was held to about a yard per carry while they lost to the Texans 20-0. Many place the blame of the Finnegan-Johnson fight on the latter, but I believe it really isn’t. Finnegan has always been troublesome and is known as one of the dirtiest players in the league. Jacksonville at home can be a tough game, and the Titans are going to make it one.
21. Cleveland Browns, 4-7
The record doesn’t indicate how this team should feel about their season. Sure, 4-7 isn’t good, but they have beaten two contenders in the Saints and Patriots and lost to two others, the Ravens and the Jets, by a score in tight games. They have many bright spots, including Peyton Hillis and a strong offensive line. Don’t be surprised if they put up a fight against Jacksonville if they can get the running game going.
22. Minnesota Vikings, 4-7
The glory days of Brett Favre appear to be over, barring an absolute miracle from the heavens above. Adrian Peterson is clearly within the future of this team, making believers of the Vikings wonder if they will get that ring finally. Unfortunately this year they have not met expectations, but owner Zygi Wilf made a big move by firing Childress, much to the delight of the fans. Buffalo at home could be tricky (just ask the Steelers) but I expect the Vikes to take care of business, but I guess you never know with this team.
23. Washington Redskins, 5-6
Would be higher on this list, but they basically erased themselves from the playoff picture by losing at home to Minnesota, who picked up their first road victory. For a team that started well this team certainly has tanked. Facing the Giants at the Meadowlands is no easy task either. Donovan McNabb’s extension ensures a sure fire catalyst for years to come for the ‘Skins. Let’s just hope that coach Mike Shanahan has something up his sleeves to keep this team going.
24. Seattle Seahawks, 5-6
The co-leaders of the NFC South lost a game that they had no chance from the beginning, as long as Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe have something to say about it. Pete Carroll’s team faces a must-win as other divisional teams (Rams and 49ers) are starting to look somewhat good. Playing Carolina at home, this will not be a tough task. Welcome back to .500 next week, Seahawks.
25. Dallas Cowboys, 3-8
Any talk about a late season run certainly is gone now for the once-proud America’s team. No way now will there be a home Super Bowl, or a happy owner for that matter. Tony Romo going down ensures a high draft pick for the 2011 season. The ‘Boys face Indy on the road in a virtually meaningless game, but I expect them to put up a fight with playmakers Dez Bryant and Roy Williams.
26. San Francisco 49ers, 4-7
What a confusing team this is. Frank Gore goes down and long time veteran Brian Westbrook steps in and does an alright job. First place is in reach this week with losses from the Seahawks and the Rams, but neither of those are likely. It gets worse though for the 49ers: they have to go to Lambeau to take on the upset Packers. Could the Niners be two down with four to go? That is a mountain that may not be climbed easily. They are hanging on by a thread.
27. Buffalo Bills, 2-9
After dropping the game-winning pass in overtime, wide receiver Steve Johnson went nuts, saying he would “never get over [the drop].” The Buffalo Bills will, however, as he said. The Buffalo Bills will probably also lose to the Minnesota Vikings at home, but that’s another story.
28. Denver Broncos, 3-8
Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd. Not knowing if that sentence is grammatically correct, I ponder what it means. Then I realize that it is the only thing clicking in Denver. Nothing will save this awful 2010, and a road victory against Kansas City is unlikely because KC would like to avenge a 49-29 loss to the Broncs about a month ago. Not happening this year, guys.
29. Detroit Lions, 2-9
How is this team still 2-9? They almost beat the Jets. They lead the Patriots on national television by a touchdown at half last week before breaking down on defense. I was impressed, however, by their fans. They still show compassion despite having a dreadful recent history. Up next: da Bears in Datroit! You know what that means? Calvin Johnson, and lots of him. He still remembers Week 1, and so do I.
30. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-9
A pick for the Super Bowl by some in the preseason, this team has lost six consecutive and doesn’t even seem to care anymore. T.O. and Ocho working in harmony? Yeah, that hasn’t worked out. A home game against the red hot Saints isn’t going to change much either, except another in the loss column.
31. Arizona Cardinals, 3-8
This team is awful; Derek Anderson said and expressed it best with his anger. I expect the Rams to pound them, even in Glendale (try saying that last year at this time with a straight face). Where’s Kurt Warner? Ugh.
32. Carolina Panthers, 1-10
Maybe if they can establish the run against the Seahawks they’ll have a chance, right? Where is Matt Moore when you need him? Oh wait…
Week 13 Picks
  • Eagles 7 over Texans
  • Saints 16 over Bengals
  • Bears 4 over Lions
  • Packers 14 over 49ers
  • Chiefs 8 over Broncos
  • Browns 3 over Dolphins (upset!)
  • Vikings 13 over Bills
  • Giants 6 over Redskins
  • Jaguars 6 over Titans
  • Chargers 11 over Raiders
  • Rams 12 over Cardinals
  • Colts 5 over Cowboys
  • Seahawks 12 over Panthers
  • Falcons 3 over Buccaneers
  • Ravens 7 over Steelers (sweep!) GAME OF THE WEEK #1
  • Patriots 10 over Jets (split!) GAME OF THE WEEK #2

Overall Record: 101-75

Against the Spread: 89-81-6

Last Week Overall: 10-6

Last Week Against the Spread: 8-7-1

-Well I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving as I did!! Thanks for reading and I’ll have next Week 14’s report up next Wednesday as well!!


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Minnesota Timberwolves- November Final Report

So I haven’t been keeping up with my posts, but I hope you enjoy this…

By Joseph Fafinski

Michael Beasley is on his way to NBA stardom.

When one reflects upon the first month of the season, you cannot help but feel a little excited yet disappointed at the same time about this young franchise. You feel excited because you have three players that are playing like All-Stars: Michael Beasley (pictured left), who is 16th in the league averaging 21.6 points per contest; Kevin Love, who is a rebounding machine, leading the league with a 14.9 average, as well as a 30-30 game to his credit; and Darko Milicic, who leads the NBA in blocks with 2.9 and is out to show critics that the tag “draft bust” can be overcome.

You also feel excited because you think that the future of this team is bright. The Wolves have international rights to Ricky Rubio, and the young rising star of a point guard Jonny Flynn will be returning from injury within a week or so. In addition to Flynn, another young player from Syracuse, Wes Johnson, is showing his stripes, starting 13 games and nearly averaging double digits. This team is the youngest in the league, and yet they know how to win some contests. Love is 22. Beasley and Flynn are 21. This may not be the year that the Wolves bust out and win fifty games, but at least you know that talent will remain for years to come in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Imagine this: Rubio and Flynn playing together in harmony.

You feel disappointed about this team because game after game they do not finish as you would like. On November 24, riding a 11 game winning streak, the San Antonio Spurs found themselves 21 points down in the third quarter at the Target Center. However, showing prowess and leadership, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and company decided to take over and win the game. Time after time the Wolves become the Timberpuppies when fourth quarter blood is drawn.

Another disappointment comes to your head, and you feel that this team should be better than 4-13. The flash of possibly being 8-9 or even 9-8 pops up in your mind. Hurts, doesn’t it? The biggest thing that upsets me most about this team is how year after year they finish with a low standing, and I hope that this is bound to change soon. The team has talent, and with talent victory shall follow.

GRADING THE WOLVES’ START

Record (4-13)- C-

It looks bad, but when you think about it their strength of schedule isn’t as easy as you may think. They have played the defending champion Lakers twice, nearly beating them at the Staples Center. Otherwise they have lost to contenders Miami, Orlando, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta. Take all those games away and you have a 4-6 club.

Offense- B

Beasley and Love, each playing like All-Stars, have provided most of the offense here, averaging more than 40 points per game put together. After the duo of forwards, however, the offense is reliant upon a bunch of players who would be better suited as role players on other teams.

Defense- D

As of November 30, the Wolves are giving up 110 points per game, second worst in the league. If they want to win more games they must mature quickly and play more defense. They are crashing the boards well; just ask Kevin Love. Darko Milicic is a blocking machine, but other than him this team has no “block ability”.

Overall- C-

Until next month, Wolves fans…



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Week 4 Picks and Rankings

Week 4 Power Rankings:

By Joseph Fafinski, Contributor

Record (last)

1. Indianapolis Colts, 2-1 (4)

Peyton Manning develops receivers, plain and simple. Throughout the years he has developed famous names like Marvin Harrison,  Brandon Stokley, Reggie Wayne, and Pierre Garcon. Add Austin Collie to the list, having at least one touchdown in each game this year as well as at least 160 yards in two of the three games. Who needs a running game when you have four weapons to fire to at any point (Wayne, Collie, Garcon, Dallas Clark)? Surely not the Colts.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-0 (2)

The league’s best undefeated team apparently doesn’t need the troubled Ben Roethlisberger to win because they can do it with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. The real question for Week 4 lingers: can they beat the Ravens with Batch? We shall find out in a low-scoring affair. If they win this one, 6-0 is within sight as showdowns with Cleveland and Miami may prove them as the league’s best.

3. Baltimore Ravens, 2-1 (6)

Well, the offense finally clicked. Anquan Boldin had a career day and appears to be Flacco’s favorite target by a long shot. A loss to the Steelers this week would definitely leave a bad taste in their mouths, going 2-2 when expectations were through the roof. As long as the offense plays the way they did in Week 3 this team should win as long as they stop the Steelers’ offense, who is (hold your laughter) led by Charlie Batch.

4. Green Bay Packers, 2-1 (2)

18 penalties. 18 penalties. 18 penalties. I might as well write that down eighteen times because that was all that was going through my head this week as my beloved Packers lost to the hated Bears by three points. James Jones blew Aaron Rodgers’ great game when he fumbled a ball that might’ve set up a game-winning field goal or touchdown. Thank God they play Detroit this week.

5. New Orleans Saints, 2-1 (1)

A loss to the Falcons in overtime hurts especially considering Garrett Hartley shanked a field goal from 32 yards to beat their rivals. This comes after a three-point win against the lowly 49ers, whom the Chiefs absolutely crushed last week. Are the Saints really as good as everyone thinks? At least they’ll kill the Panthers this week, right??

6. Chicago Bears, 3-0 (6)

One of three undefeated teams left (and perhaps the most surprising based on who they’ve played), the Bears get a (somewhat) relieving game Sunday night against the New York Football Giants, who have had a great struggle that they call a defense. The Bears will cruise to 4-0.

7. New York Jets, 2-1 (8)

The Jets improved their divisional record to 2-0 by defeating a good Miami team who just couldn’t finish them off. My only beef with this team is that they barely even sat Braylon Edwards, who was convicted of a  DUI on Tuesday.

8. Houston Texans, 2-1 (3)

So much for “best in the AFC”. I believe that the AFC South is going to come down to the wire between the Colts, Texans, and the Titans. All three are good teams who may surprise some come December.

9. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-1 (10)

Eh, not much to say about the Bengals really at this point. They still only have only good victory and only one bad loss, and then there’s the win against Carolina. That only comes natural as a win and with Cleveland this week it’s safe to say the same.

10. Miami Dolphins, 2-1 (5)

Chad Henne, one year removed from backing up Chad Pennington in Miami, has already become a fan favorite and Dolphins fans everywhere have much to be excited about with this team even though that first loss on Sunday night certainly did not come easy.

11. New England Patriots, 2-1 (9)

Yes, it was a win. Yes, it counts as making your record only better. Honestly though, did it seem like a victory? Sure, Tom Brady had a crazy good game, but it was only against the worst team in the league.

12. Atlanta Falcons, 2-1 (13)

After coming off an overtime victory over the Super Bowl champs, the Falcons are feeling pretty confident about their game and I expect no shortage of points against the 49ers.

13. Tennessee Titans, 2-1 (12)

I never know what to think of Vince Young. He wins, and he does it in bunches. He doesn’t put up great stats but apparently you don’t need to when you win. I would tell Jeff Fisher to keep him going.

14. Kansas City Chiefs, 3-0 (17)

Kansas City has much to celebrate at this time. Jamaal Charles is turning into one of the most dynamic backs in the league. Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe seem to be clicking. Oh, and did I mention that they’re undefeated still?

15. Philadelphia Eagles, 2-1 (15)

Well, here is the team we’ve heard most about this week. “Do they miss Donovan McNabb?”, “is Vick an early MVP candidate?” and “will Philly fans boo McNabb?” will certainly all be answered as McNabb will be welcomed back to Vickadelphia.

16. Dallas Cowboys, 1-2 (18)

Hey, look at who got that first win? A great victory over the Texans saves both the lost season and Wade Phillips’ job. Going into the bye week the ‘Boys at least have some confidence rolling.

17. Washington Redskins, 1-2 (14)

I want to take the Redskins’ spot here by writing a bit about Donovan McNabb. In my humble opinion he is the most underappreciated quarterback in NFL history. He took the Eagles to five NFC Championships in eleven years, something Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, and no other active quarterback can say.

18. San Diego Chargers, 1-2 (16)

Uh, oh. Apparently there is concern in San Diego after losing to the God-awful Seahawks. They better get back on the rebound against the worst 2-1 team in the league, the Arizona Cardinals.

19. Minnesota Vikings, 1-2 (21)

Well, at least they got a win. Heading into the bye week the Vikings’ only concerns should rely on the passing game. 2010 Brett Favre looks like 1991 Brett Favre in that he is throwing passes that he wouldn’t have thrown even as late as this preseason.

20. Arizona Cardinals, 2-1 (24)

This team is absolutely terrible and somehow has a 2-1 record. Records will lie in their Week 4 matchup as they will get pummeled by the 1-2 Chargers.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-1 (20)

Ouch, Tampa Bay. That hurt, didn’t it? The Steelers absolutely proved why Tampa being undefeated was a fluke. At least there are some bright spots, though.

22. Seattle Seahawks, 2-1 (27)

Is there any possible way that Leon Washington can touch the ball every play?? He destroyed the Chargers’ special teams. I don’t see Seattle getting past St. Louis this week, and that should say something.

23. New York Giants, 1-2 (19)

C’mon, really Giants? Eli throws for 350+ yards and you still only score 10 points? You make me sick, New York! Have a good time losing again to the Bears.

24. Denver Broncos, 1-2 (23)

“Kyle Orton throws a deep pass to Brandon Lloyd”. If the previous sentence is uttered by a sportscaster, expect good things to happen for this team.

25. St. Louis Rams, 1-2 (30)

A blowout win over a decent team proves that this team can stick around with most of their opponents. They should handle the Seahawks this week.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-2 (25)

Oh boy does this team still have turnover issues. Let’s get an offense going, alright Jags? At least compete against okay teams please.

27. San Francisco 49ers, 0-3 (22)

This team is in trouble, no other way to put it. How can you go from favorites to last-place in two weeks? I don’t know, ask Mike Singletary’s team.

28. Oakland Raiders, 1-2 (26)

So much for Sebastian Janikowski being clutch. This team is in total shambles. It shouldn’t be easier this week.

29. Detroit Lions, 0-3 (29)

They have to win sometime, right? Not this week as the Pack invite them to Lambeau for their annual steamrolling.

30. Carolina Panthers, 0-3 (28)

This team is losing more in a row than Jimmy Clausen did last season!! Oh wait, not yet…

31. Cleveland Browns, 0-3 (31)

At least Delhomme isn’t starting. That’s a good thing, right?

32. Buffalo Bills, 0-3 (32)

They got close last week when it was 31-30 against the Pats!! But, as a Bills fan I know here put it, “I knew there was absolutely no way with this team that we would win.”

Week 4 Picks/Spreads

Jets 14 over Bills

Bengals 9 over Browns

Ravens 2 over Steelers (upset #1 in the Game of the Week!)

Titans 7 over Broncos

Packers 15 over Lions

Falcons 7 over 49ers

Saints 10 over Panthers

Rams 4 over Seahawks

Colts 14 over Jaguars

Raiders 3 over Texans (upset #2!!)

Eagles 6 over Redskins (which team does McNabb play for again??)

Chargers 10 over Cardinals

Bears 8 over Giants

Dolphins 1 over Patriots

2010 (HORRIBLE) Records:

Week 3: 8-8

Week 3 w/spread: 6-10

Total: 26-22

Total w/spread: 22-25-1 (oh wow this is awful!!)

Thanks for reading!! I look forward to next week!!

-JF (since Alex hasn’t written anything yet I shouldn’t even write this but I will since I am solid journalist)

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