Kap's Corner

NFL Archives

Another Slice Of History

As the Bears get set to play the Packers in the post season for the first time since 1941, I was given a few pictures you might enjoy.  Below are four newspaper shots from December 14th and 15th, 1941, the day of and the day after the two football rivals met the last time in post season play.  Check these out.  You'll enjoy.   

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The Hottest Women in Sports - Part Two

Part one is receiving tremendous response judging by the e-mails and retweets, etc.... Here is Part two. Part Three will run next week. My weekend NFL playoff picks will be up by Saturday morning....Have a great weekend! Kap

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Handicapping the Wild Card Playoffs

It was a thrilling Saturday in the NFL Playoffs that saw the largest home field underdog in NFL playoff history win outright and then saw the New York Jets upset the Indianapolis Colts on the road finally giving Rex Ryan a victory over Peyton Manning. Now, there are two more games today that are very interesting to watch and to handicap.

Baltimore at Kansas City

The Chiefs are a 3 point home underdog and they are coming off of a horrible performance in a home loss to the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. Can Matt Cassell and Co. rally the troops and play well against one of the league's best defensive units? Can the Chiefs defense handle Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and a very solid offensive line?

How about Baltimore and their awesome defense? Can Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and their mates control Cassell and the solid Kansas City running game? Who wins the special teams battle? This game should be close and despite what some believe I see it a more high scoring affair that comes down to the turnover battle.

**As always, these selections are for entertainment purposes only**


Game One

Baltimore -3 over Kansas City
Baltimore/Kansas City OVER 41

Game Two

Green Bay +3 over Philadelphia
Green Bay/Philadelphia UNDER 47

I can see the Eagles winning but not covering the spread. I also see the game being a much more low scoring contest than many expect simply because both teams have excellent offenses and both teams have struggled as of late with Green Bay scoring only 10 points at home in a win over the Bears and Philadelphia losing their last two games both of which were at home.

I will be back with a look at the BCS Championship game tomorrow. Have a great day!



Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - January 2, 2011

Happy New Year to everyone!

Here we go:

**As always these picks are for information purposes only**

Top Plays

Pittsburgh -6 over Cleveland
Indianapolis - over Tennessee
Atlanta -14 over Carolina
Green Bay -10 over Bears

Best Bet

Kansas City -4 1/2 over Oakland


Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 26, 2010

I hope that you had a great Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season! With this time of year comes some great sports on TV like the Heat at the Lakers which was a star studded match-up on Christmas Day. Also, Saturday night's NFL match-up between Dallas and Arizona may not have had playoff implications but it was a tremendously entertaining game that went down to the wire.

Today's slate of games have some very important battles that can decide playoff fates and home field advantage. The game at Soldier Field in Chicago between the Bears and the Jets is important to both teams so we should see a very intense battle.

I  see several games that I find intriguing so let's get right to it with our picks for today.

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays
Houston -3 over Denver
Tennessee/Kansas City OVER 42
San Diego/Cincinnati UNDER 44
Tampa Bay -6 over Seattle
Indianapolis -3 over Oakland

Best Bet

2 Team Teaser on New England (-8 1/2) and San Diego (-8)

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Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 19, 2010

Okay, the Christmas season is here and today many of you will be celebrating with family and friends while you also watch NFL football. The Bears will play on Monday Night Football against the Vikings at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. There has been much consternation this week about playing the game outdoors but the Bears need to forget all of that distraction and take care of business against a Vikings team that is up the track in the NFC North. When New England beats Green Bay the Bears will have their chance to clinch the division with a win over Minnesota.

Here we go with today's picks....

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays

Dallas -7 over Washington
New Orleans +1.5 over Baltimore
Miami -5.5 over Buffalo

Best Bet

Oakland -7.5 over Denver
Denver at Oakland OVER 42

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 5th

Okay, after some time off which included a little vacation I am back with my NFL picks against the spread. There are a handful of games that I find intriguing including the Monday night battle that has the NY Jets on the road at New England. The Bears are at Detroit and the line on that game keeps rising. It opened at 3 and now it is at 5 1/2 and headed north. I just don't see how the Bears don't pound the Lions today with Detroit starting career backup Drew Stanton under center.

(**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

Top Plays

Pittsburgh +3.5 over Baltimore
Miami -4 over Cleveland
Kansas City -8.5 over Denver
Tennessee -3.5 over Jacksonville

Best Bet

Bears -5 over Detroit

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - November 7th

A very good week picking games last Sunday as I went 4-1 only losing on the Dallas Cowboys who were awful in a loss to Jacksonville. This week is an interesting one as the Bears come off of their bye week and play the 0-7 Buffalo Bills who were beaten in overtime each of the last two weeks on the road by Baltimore and Kansas City.

Here we go for Week 9 in the NFL....

(**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

New York Giants -7
San Diego Chargers -3
New Orleans Saints -6 1/2
Dallas +8
Baltimore -5

Best Bet
Chicago Bears on the money line (I am not comfortable laying the 3 points)

Sunday - October 31st in the NFL

After a day off yesterday it's time to get back at it and handicap today's card in the NFL. The Bears are enjoying a bye week and getting ready to play the Buffalo Bills in Toronto next Sunday. Will Brett Favre start today against the New England Patriots? I fully expect him to start and play well. That is just what Brett Favre does. However, with both the Vikings and the Packers (who play at the New York Jets) facing tough games the Bears have a chance to pick up a full game on each of their division rivals.

So away we go....

(*As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

Top Plays

Tampa Bay +3
Dallas -6.5
San Diego -4
Detroit -2

Best Bet

Oakland -2

Sunday's NFL vs the Spread - October 24th

I went 4-3 in college football yesterday with Northwestern costing me a 5-2 day when they blew a 17-0 lead and couldn't finish against Michigan State at Ryan Field in Evanston. Navy should have been our play of the day as they destroyed Notre Dame. Are the natives getting restless already in South Bend considering this is Brian Kelly's first year on the Irish sidelines? I am hearing from impeccable sources close to the program that Kelly's brief honeymoon is over.

Okay, onto the NFL where there are eight games with spreads at 4 or under. A tough week but there are a handful of games that I like. Good luck!

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Solid Plays

Washington +3 over Bears
San Francisco/Carolina OVER 35
Arizona +7 over Seattle
Tennessee -3 over Philadelphia

Top Play

Pittsburgh -3 over Miami

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - Oct. 17th

I took yesterday off from making picks but I am back at it again today with a handful of selections on the card. The Bears have a very winnable game at home against the Seattle Seahawks and have a real chance to take solid control of the division while the rest of the NFC North teams have very tough games on their schedule. Green Bay has a tough battle in Lambeau Field against the Miami Dolphins. The Minnesota Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions play at New York against the Giants which are all very tough contests to win.

Here are my picks for the day games. I will have a pick on tonight's game later today.

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays

Minnesota -1.5 over Dallas
Dallas at Minnesota OVER 44
Seattle at Bears OVER 37
Denver Broncos +3.5 over NY Jets

Play of the Day

Baltimore +3 over New England

Sexscapades in Sports

With Brett Favre in the news for allegedly sending X-rated photos of himself to former Jets game day hostess Jenn Sterger I have received  number of e-mails from people who want me to look back at the most famous sex scandals in sports history. You ask and I deliver. Here you go....

Some of the Most Famous Recent Sex Scandals in Sports

TIGER WOODS

The world's greatest golfer admitted to having several affairs with strippers and porn stars while married. He eventually entered rehab for sex addiction and his wife Elin divorced him and walked away with in excess of 100 million dollars.

BRETT FAVRE

This scandal is just developing and was broken by the website Deadspin who released voice mails and X-Rated pictures they claim are from Favre to former Jets employee Jenn Sterger. Now Deadspin claims there may be more women coming forward to say that Favre may have inappropriately pursued them.

KOBE BRYANT

Bryant was accused of sexual assault by a hotel employee while he was in Colorado to have knee surgery. He denied any wrongdoing claiming that the sex was consensual. The alleged victim refused to testify and the case was dropped. Bryant reportedly settled a civil claim out of court.
 
RICK PITINO

The University of Louisville basketball coach had sex with the wife of his equipment manager in a restaurant one evening and the whole sordid affair became extremely public when she tried to extort him and claimed rape. She also reportedly had an affair with her lawyer during her trial and that story was also broken by Deadspin. She was convicted in the summer of 2010 and is awaiting sentencing.

STEVE MCNAIR

Straight from his Wikipedia:

On July 4, 2009, McNair was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, along with the body of a young woman named Sahel Kazemi, in a condominium rented by McNair, at 105 Lea Avenue in downtown Nashville.[McNair had been shot twice in the body and twice in the head, with only one of the shots coming from closer than three feet. Kazemi had a single gunshot wound to the head, which was proved to have been fired from a gun that was held to her temple. McNair was believed to have been asleep on the couch when the shooting occurred. The bodies were discovered by McNair's friends Wayne Neely and Robert Gaddy, who called 911. The Nashville police declared McNair's death a murder-suicide, with Kazemi as the perpetrator and McNair as the victim. The 9-mm gun used was found under Kazemi's body and later tests revealed "trace evidence of (gunpowder) residue on her left hand." Kazemi had a worsening financial situation and also suspected that McNair was in another extramarital relationship. McNair, who was married at the time, had been dating the 20-year-old Kazemi in the months prior to their deaths. On July 6, police stated that the gun found at the scene of the crime under Kazemi's body had been purchased by her after her release from jail on the DUI charge. Kazemi purchased the gun from a convicted murderer she met while looking for a buyer for her Kia..


STEVE PHILLIPS ENTERS SEX REHAB

The former New York Mets General Manager entered a rehab center for sex addiction after he admitted to having an affair with a fellow ESPN employee. He was summarily fired from his high paying gig as a baseball analyst and has only recently begun to resurface in the baseball world.

KAREN OWEN AND HER DUKE THESIS

Well said by the Wall Street Journal: Karen Owen's now infamous PowerPoint "thesis" detailing the thirteen men she had relations with while an undergraduate student at Duke University has quickly become a social media cautionary tale.


Though Owen wrote her 42-page dossier, titled "An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics" reportedly for a few select friends, nothing juicy stays a secret for long in today's Web world -- especially when said item is easily forward-able. After circulating amongst the Duke student body, the mock thesis went viral after it was published by several websites, including the Gawker-owned Jezebel and Deadspin.

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Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - Oct. 10th

After a rough Saturday in college football it is time to rebound with today's NFL card. I have a handful of games that I like including my Best Bet of the Year so far.

So Away We Go!

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Solid Plays

Detroit -3
Buffalo -1
Kansas City +7 1/2
San Francisco on the money line

BEST BET OF THE YEAR SO FAR IN THE NFL

San Diego -6 1/2

Brett Favre is a Moron

If you haven't seen the Deadspin article complete with voice mails, messages, and graphic pictures you have to check it out. Sources in Minnesota tell me that the Wilf family who owns the Vikings are so upset that they may suspend Favre which could lead to him retiring during the season. That seems a bit extreme but there is already talk that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may impose a suspension if the Vikings don't act first.

Check out the evidence....

Please retweet and forward. You will not believe what an idiot this guy is. Did he really think that no one would find out about his behavior?

Also, check out the photos of Jenn Sterger....

Sunday October 3rd - NFL Picks

Yesterday we came oh so close to a great day in college football as our pick on Boise State going over 60 fell short as they won 59-0. I was surprised to see Notre Dame drill Boston College but give the Irish a a lot of credit as they played very well. Also, Northwestern rallied to win but had several miscues that kept the game closer than it should have been.

Here is today in the NFL against the spread:

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Solid Plays

New York Giants -3 1/2 over the Bears
Buffalo +6 over the New York Jets
Tennessee -7 over Denver
San Diego -9 1/2 over Arizona

Best Bet

Houston/Oakland OVER
Bears/New York Giants OVER 44

Sunday - September 26th - NFL Picks vs the Spread

I went 4-3 in college football on Saturday winning with my Best Bet on Stanford who drilled Notre Dame 37-14 in South Bend. I also had solid winners on Northern Illinois, Auburn and West Virginia but I was surprised to lose convincingly on Bowling Green who was destroyed at Michigan as well as losing on Boston College who was shut out at home by Virginia Tech.

Onto Sunday's slate in the NFL where I found several intriguing match-ups including winless San Francisco who is favored at undefeated Kansas City. I'll be back with the Sunday night game later Sunday afternoon as well as a pick Monday afternoon on the MNF battle at Soldier Field between the Bears and the Packers.

**As always, these picks are for entertainment purposes only.**

Solid Plays

Cincinnati -3 over Carolina
Atlanta +4 over New Orleans
Washington/St. Louis OVER 38.5
Baltimore -10.5 over Cleveland
Houston -3 over Dallas
San Francisco -2.5 over Kansas City

Best Bet

San Francisco at Kansas City OVER 37



Sunday NFL vs the Spread

Saturday was a great day in college football with Ohio State dominating Miami and Alabama drilling Penn State as well as a classic game in South Bend that saw Michigan blow a 21-17 lead late in the 4th quarter before roaring back in the final minute to stun the Irish 28-24. I had a strong day going 4-1 winning on Michigan as an outright underdog winner and winning with Alabama and Stanford who both cruised to comfortable wins. Our only loss came on Vanderbilt who struggled offensively in a loss to LSU. That was more than made up for though by a winner with our Best Play which saw Wake Forest beat Duke as a 5 1/2 point underdog.

Here are today's picks in the NFL: (As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only):

San Francisco - 3 at Seattle
Cincinnati +5 at New England
Houston + 2 1/2 vs Indianapolis
Bears vs Lions OVER 45

The Sunday night game will be up this afternoon and the Monday night game will be up tomorrow. The rest of the late games will be added if I find something I like during the early games.

Have Fun!




Brett Favre Likes to Play - Off The Field Too....

Via our friends at Deadspin comes this ridiculous story regarding Brett Favre and Internet hottie Jenn Sterger. Allegedly, Favre likes to take pictures of his manhood and send them via his cell phone. Sterger says that she was the recipient of such photos and has a photo saved on her phone as proof. In addition, also via Deadspin comes another story in which a friend of Sterger's (also ridiculously hot corroborates Sterger's story).

Favre has not commented on the story but it certainly did not surprise people in Green Bay who claim that the future Hall of Fame QB was a bit wild during his younger days with the Packers.

As for the photo gallery below, one look and you can see why Sterger is so ridiculously popular on the internet. Enjoy! **Recently updated with more photos of Jenn.**

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Peppers Will Visit Chicago, May Visit Philadelphia

Julius Peppers will visit the Bears on Friday but if he does not reach an agreement on a contract he will head to Philadelphia to meet with the Eagles according to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette.

Here is the latest on the happenings in the NFL from Pro Football Talk.

More to come....

Bears About to Strike Gold

The Bears are on the verge of landing three key free agents in DE Julius Peppers, RB Chester Taylor, and TE Brandon Manumaleuna.  All three will visit Halas Hall on Friday. 

Head coach Lovie Smith flew to Charlotte, NC on Thursday evening, and will fly back to Chicago with Peppers and his agent. According to Carl Carey, who represents Peppers, "the deal is the Bears to lose." And sources tell me that there is no way the Bears will fail to get this deal done.

Add in a solid running back in Chester Taylor, and a blocking TE, and you have a tremendous upgrade in talent for the Bears.  Manumaleuna's addition could mean the end of Greg Olsen's time in the Windy City, but perhaps he could bring Anquan Boldin back in trade or a draft pick that could be used on an offensive lineman.

Give Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo credit for their aggressiveness and their plan. Now they have to finish it off. Stay tuned.

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Kurt Warner Wanted To Be A Bear

I interviewed Kurt Warner on Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday and as usual he was nothing but class to deal with. He was available for interviews through the Got Milk promotion that he is in Miami working on.

Here is the transcript of the interview. Read his quotes where he says the Bears told him that he would be the #3 QB going to training camp if he signed with the Bears. Unbelievable to think that a Hall of Fame QB wanted to be here and just wanted a chance to compete for the QB job and the Bears wouldn't allow him to.

Enjoy!

KAP : KURT WARNER JOINS US. WHY WAS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO CALL IT A CAREER?
 
WELL ITS ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT WHEN YOU PLAY YOU UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO COMMIT TO PLAY AT THE STANDARD YOU'VE SET.. OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS I'VE QUESTIONED HOW MUCH LONGER I'VE WANTED TO MAKE THAT COMMITMENT. LOT OF PRESSURE, LOT OF STRESS, LOTTA EXPECTATIONS WHEN YOU PLAY AT A CERTAIN LEVEL. THE OLDER YOU GET, THE LESS YOU WANNA DO THAT. IT CAME TIME ABOUT THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON, WHERE I STARTED TO BELIEVE THIS WAS GONNA BE MY LAST SEASON, I WANTED TO COME IN THE REST OF THE SEASON, WANTED TO TRY TO WIN ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP. I WASN'T WILLING TO MOVE FORWARD. I WANTED TO SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY. I WANTED TO TAKE PART IN OTHER ENDEAVORS THAT I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO. SO THE ORGANIZATION WAS IN A GREAT SPOT. I WAS PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL.IN A POSITION TO LEAVE AT THE TOP. ALL THOSE THINGS COMBINED I THINK MADE IT THE RIGHT DECISION AT THE RIGHT TIME.
 

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Exclusive: Bears interview Tennessee's Jim Chaney for offensive coordinator job

UPDATE at 4:20 p.m.: Sources are claiming that Chaney has not yet interviewed with the Bears but my original source says he did. Whether he did or didn't yet he definitely appears to be a candidate on the Bears shopping list.


I'm in San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American game and Football Combine and have learned the Bears have interviewed University of Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for their open offensive coordinator position, according to an excellent source.

Prior to becoming the Vols' offensive coordinator last season (he's also the tight ends coach), he spent the previous three seasons as assistant coach for the St. Louis Rams coaching the offensive line. He also coached the Rams' tight ends.

Chaney has also coached at Purdue (where he coached Saints quarterback Drew Brees and former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton) and Wyoming, schools with prolific offenses in that time.

According to his Tennessee bio, Purdue was ranked in the top 10 in the country in total offense six times under Chaney.

Mike Ditka gets angry ... in his underwear

I recently spent some time with a good friend who I will call Al. Al is a former police officer who is now retired. Al had one of those very first satellite dishes, you know, the ones that were enormous and you had to have built in your backyard?

Back then if you were watching TV via a satellite dish, you not only got the program you wanted, you also got the off camera interaction while the station you were tuned to was playing commercials.

What you are about to watch is never before seen footage of former CBS anchor Johnny Morris, as he anchors a post game show following a Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The date is October 9, 1988, and the win moved the Bears to 5-1 with a game against the Dallas Cowboys coming up the next week.

Sit back and enjoy, and don't miss the ending, because it's classic! Please forward this on to your friends. They won't believe it when they see it. (Note: there is explicit language.)

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The Best of the Decade in Chicago Sports

As the first decade in the 21st century comes to a close, let's take a moment to reminisce about the best and worst moments and athletes of the past ten years in Chicago Sports.

Best Team: 2005 Chicago White Sox

Only one Chicago team could call itself champions in the first decade of the 2000s, and that team plays at 35th and the Dan Ryan.  The White Sox magical run to a world championship in 2005 erased an 88-year drought of glory on the south side.  Everything went right for Ozzie Guillen's club that year, as his starting staff of Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia each won 14 or more games in the regular season, leading the club to a 99 win campaign.  Playing "Ozzie Ball", the Palehose used speed and timely hitting to scratch across runs with Scott Podsednik changing the team's offensive strategy.  The White Sox stormed through the playoffs, going 11-1 in October, which included a sweep of the then-defending champion Red Sox, and the Astros in the World Series.  Their bullpen was rock solid all year, as Bobby Jenks burst onto the scene as a bona fide closer, and earned the save on October 26, 2005 to earn the Sox a ring.

Worst Team: 2000-2001 Chicago Bulls

After a historic run of six world championships in the previous decade with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, things went very bad and very fast for the Bulls after the nucleus of the team left the Windy City.  The team did have Elton Brand, who averaged 20 points per game, Ron Mercer, who could still contribute, and Ron Artest--who by his own admission--was drinking on the job.  The team went 15-67, bad enough for a miserable .183 winning percentage, and ranked dead last in the NBA in points per game (87.6).  Need any further proof this team was a disaster?  This team only had three players average double-digit scoring, and Ron Artest barely qualified in double-digits with just over 11 points per game.  Also, how about these names that contributed minutes to Tim Floyd's club that year:  Dragan Tarlac, Khalid El-Amin, Dalibor Bagaric, A.J. Guyton, Jake Voskuhl.  Need I say more?

Best Athlete: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears

Say what you want about Urlacher's attitude, or problematic character at times.  It's no question this city could have embraced him far more than they did over this past decade.  But when it comes to the best athlete in Chicago sports over the last ten years, Urlacher takes the cake.  After being drafted in the first round out of New Mexico in 2000, Urlacher immediately emerged as a standout linebacker for the Bears and quickly vaulted to the top of the NFL.  He had more than 800 tackles in the decade, 37.5 sacks, and 17 interceptions.  He was one of the most feared defensive players in the league for the majority of the decade, and led his team to multiple playoff appearances including a Super Bowl berth in 2006.  Note: Honorable Mention goes to White Sox ace Mark Buehrle, for a consistent and successful decade.

Worst Athlete: Corey Patterson, Chicago Cubs

Corey Patterson had a three good months as a Chicago Cub.  That's it.  Otherwise, his career as a Cub could really only be described as a debacle.  The 3rd overall pick in the 1998 draft figured to solve the Cubs center field problem for the long haul.  All we read and heard about him coming up was that he had great speed, great power, and could be a five-tool superstar type player to anchor the Cubs outfield.  Instead, he was a free-swinging, undisciplined, stubborn liability for the Cubs for parts of five seasons.  Other than the 83 games in 2003 in which he hit .298 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs, he was detracting from the team's success.  (And funnily enough, when Patterson got hurt the Cubs acquired Kenny Lofton, who was a catalyst and a big reason why the Cubs nearly reached the world series that season.)  In 2004, he was a microcosm of the team's shortcomings, and his 2005 season was one of the worst statistical seasons put forth by an everyday player in history.  He's still toiling around baseball, last seen with the Brewers this past season.  The Cubs traded him to Baltimore before the 2006 year, and the Cubs have still not found a long term solution for center field.

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Lovie Smith Has to Go

I have never been a fan of Lovie Smith's style, but there are different ways to get the job done. And as long as Smith leads the Bears to victory, that's all that matters. Yet after a Super Bowl appearance in 2006, he has failed to get his team back to the playoffs. After yesterday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, it is obvious that a change at head coach is necessary.

Not only has the team regressed over the past three seasons, but it's painfully obvious that the Bears are being out coached. Smith is the same man who asked all of us to "trust me to do what is best for our football team", when he fired Ron Rivera as defensive coordinator following the 2006 season, the year the Bears appeared in the Super Bowl.

Then, Smith hand picked linebackers coach Bob Babich for the defensive coordinator role, which failed miserably.  Consequently, Smith took over defensive play calling responsibilities before the 2009 season. The result?  You have a Bears defense that ranks 12th out of 16 teams in the NFC with only Seattle, St. Louis, Detroit, and Tampa behind.

Let's go to Sunday's loss to the arch-rival Green Bay Packers. The Bears are trying to drive for the tying touchdown, and Jay Cutler throws a pass to Greg Olsen.  He initially grabs it, but does not control the ball all the way to the ground and it's ruled incomplete. Smith takes his first charged timeout of the 2nd half. After the timeout, and just as the Bears are set to run the next play, he decides to challenge the Olsen incompletion.  He threw the red flag, risking a failed challenge, and potentially costing them two timeouts in the same play before another second runs off the clock.

Well, that is exactly what happened.  Referee Mike Carey deemed the play stood as called, the drive stalled, and the Bears never scored again, losing to Green Bay 21-14. Who knows if they would have scored if they had an extra timeout?  Common sense tells me no, but you can't dispute the fact that they would have run their final drive differently if they would have had another timeout to work with.

Furthermore, Lovie Smith told the media after the game the reason they called the first timeout on that play was because they had "some things going on" that necessitated using it. Just what those "things" were?  He didn't say.  But offensive coordinator Ron Turner said there was nothing going on that would have warranted using another timeout.

Whatever the case, this team is in disarray and a major house cleaning has to take place to give the team a chance for improvement in the near future.  And if Smith is fired, General Manager Jerry Angelo also has to go, because he has done a poor job of assembling the roster. This team is out manned in terms of talent nearly every week.

I keep hearing that because both men are owed significant dollars no changes will take place. The Bears are a franchise valued at over a billion dollars. To keep them both says very simply to a tremendously loyal fan base that winning just isn't that important. Please, members of the McCaskey family, tell us that isn't true.

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The Hottest Wives and Girlfriends - Football Edition Part 1

The response has been unbelievable to our hot wives and girlfriends posts and while the main focus of this blog is to keep you updated on the latest happenings in the sports world we can still have a little fun once in a while and that is what these entries are here for.

Next week we will look at the lovely ladies from the basketball world but today we look at college football and the NFL. Enjoy!


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The Hottest Wives and Girlfriends - Football Edition Part 2

Part 2 of the hottest wives and girlfriends in the NFL. Next week we will look at the NBA. Please post your suggestions if you think that we've missed somebody!

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The Weekend in Sports

It was an interesting past week in the sports world with the Tiger Woods scandal hitting new levels each and every day. Not a day went by that we didn't hear about another woman who was allegedly sleeping with the Tiger. Who knows where this whole sordid mess is headed. Here is the latest information on a deal that Tiger reportedly made to keep a story about an affair from being published.

In addition, the lurid details about his sex life are now surfacing which has turned the intensely private Woods into a late night talk show punch line. And with the count of women coming forward now at six who knows when this story will leave the news and allow Tiger and his wife some time to work on repairing their relationship.

Then you had the Bears who were coming off of an embarrassing blowout loss to the Vikings. Well, on Sunday the beloved Bear finally put a game into the win column by beating the completely inept St. Louis Rams 17-9 at Soldier Field.

The Bulls finally won a game after they beat the Detroit Pistons at the United Center earlier in the week. However, they were drilled both Friday and Saturday by the Cavaliers and Raptors respectively with the latter winning by 30+ at the United Center.

The Blackhawks won 2 of 3 this week with an 11 round shootout deciding a tough win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening before the Hawks lost to Nashville on Friday night at the United Center. However, the Hawks bounced back quickly beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in OT on Saturday evening.

Baseball now grabs center stage with the Winter Meetings officially underway in Indianapolis. Both the Cubs and the White Sox are expected to be very active participants with the Cubs hoping to move Milton Bradley while the Sox are considering dealing closer Bobby Jenks.

So who makes our week in pictures? Check em' out because we have the stars of the week and the women who are reportedly chasing a Tiger.

Enjoy and get ready for our updates of the Winter Meetings which are in high gear through Thursday and where we have a ton of great sources. Also, please make sure you tune into Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and Sports Central on WGN Radio at 7 p.m. Have a great week! Kap

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Handicapping This Week in the NFL

Alrighty then....It's time to see how we can do picking against the spread on today's slate of games in the National Football League. Can our Bears finally dominate an opponent in the 1-10 St. Louis Rams? How about the run the once 0-6 Tennessee Titans are on? Can they keep it going on the road at 11-0 Indy? And will the Vikings keep rolling with a huge game on Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix?

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

BEST BET

Green Bay - 3 vs Baltimore

Best of the Rest

New England -4 over Miami
Seattle +1 over San Francisco
Pittsburgh -15 over Oakland
NY Giants +1 over Dallas
St. Louis/Bears over 40



 

What a Weekend in the Sports World

What a great weekend of intrigue if you are a sports fan, especially a sports fan in the Chicago area. With the Notre Dame job now officially open, the speculation is starting to intensify as to who will replace Charlie Weis.

Then you have our Chicago Bears, who were so completely dominated in every facet of yesterday's 36-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings that it is now painfully obvious that the entire front office of the team has to be cleaned out and overhauled. The same goes for the coaching staff, which has seen a Super Bowl team in 2006 slide into oblivion at astonishing speed.

Finally, the weekend's most bizarre story comes courtesy of Tiger Woods, who was involved in a one car accident as he was leaving his home in Florida. First reports indicated that his wife, Elin, had rescued him from the wreck by taking a golf club and smashing out the windows in Tiger's 2009 Cadillac Escalade. Then, we started to hear that perhaps his facial lacerations were not from the accident, but from the wrath of his wife after she reportedly found out about another woman in his life.

Here is the latest on the Woods story courtesy of the fine folks at TMZ.com. which just seems to keep getting stranger every day.  Tiger reportedly told a friend that he needs a "Kobe Special", which refers to the enormous ring that Kobe Bryant bought his wife Vanessa after his episode in Colorado a few years ago.

Gallery sneak peek (23 images):

View the gallery...
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Who Would You Put On A Chicago Sports Mt. Rushmore?

A great topic of debate is who are the best athletes in Chicago Sports history. But how do you ask that question? Is it the best athlete? Or is it the most individually dominant in terms of statistics? Or perhaps you ask is it the guy who has won the most championships?

So here is how I have decided to ask the question. If you had to carve a Mt. Rushmore of Chicago sports who would be the four men who would have their likenesses carved into your tribute to their greatness?

Below I have pictures of the players that I have nominated. Am I missing someone? Please post a comment with your nominees and your thoughts. Soon I will have a competition to crown the winners based on your voting. However, I have to make sure that the ballot is correctly done. And for that I need your help. So please weigh in. Thanks, Kap

Gallery sneak peek (22 images):

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The Bears Deny Coaching Search

This afternoon Hub Arkush, the guru from Pro Football Weekly, teased Chicago football fans by suggesting his sources say the Bears have quietly begun exploring a possible change at both the head coach and general manager positions.

Arkush, citing unnamed sources, said on WSCR Radio the Bears have begun the process of looking at coaching candidates. "Inquiries have been made, feelers have been put out," Arkush said. He specifically mentioned three names the Bears are interested in as potential candidates, listing Super Bowl winning coaches Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and Jon Gruden.
cowher and shanahan.jpg

If the Bears make a coaching change both Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan will be at or near the top of the Bears list of candidates.


Tonight, a Bears source told Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh that there is absolutely no truth to the report. Now, does that mean that the Bears won't change coaches after the season ends? Absolutely not. It simply means that no official search is underway and with 6 games still to be played in the 2009 season, it would do the Bears no good to undercut Lovie Smith and his staff as they try salvage a very disappointing year.

Should the Bears fire Smith and his staff at the end of the season? Absolutely. This will be the third consecutive season that the Bears will miss the playoffs, and the future looks anything but bright with question marks all over the roster. The team hasn't quit on Smith but it is becoming painfully obvious that the team is woefully inadequate to compete for a championship.
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Jimmy Clausen in Fight Outside S. Bend Bar

Notre Dame QB and Heisman Trophy candidate Jimmy Clausen was involved in a fight Saturday night just hours after the Irish were upset by Connecticut in what may have been ND Coach Charlie Weis' final home game as coach.

Multiple sources confirmed to me that Clausen and his family were at CJ's, a bar in South Bend, on Saturday evening. An altercation reportedly took place around 2:30 a.m. EST outside the bar, and Clausen received at least one and perhaps two black eyes from a punch to the face.

This is not Clausen's first problem since he arrived at ND as a heralded high school recruit. He was cited in June of 2007 for transporting alcohol as a minor. He also had embarrassing pictures of him allegedly drinking alcohol posted on a website.

Last week he told the media how much he has matured since arriving at ND. Well, it appears he hasn't matured as much as he wants us all to believe. I know that college kids drink and party. I was a fraternity member and had a ton of fun during my college days.

However, I was not a Heisman Trophy candidate at one of the most high profile schools in the country. I was not the quarterback at Notre Dame looking to head to the NFL very soon. When you are Jimmy Clausen, you are not a normal college student. You have to be very careful every single day. One major screw up could impact your life forever. Much more than a regular college student will ever have to deal with.

Is it fair? Maybe not. However, it is the way the world is today. With cell phone cameras, flip videos, and more a person in the public eye can not ever let their guard down. Jimmy Clausen should have learned that message far earlier than now but if he hasn't the black eye that he received should serve as a reminder.

Sunday's Football Picks

After a break for vacation it's time to see if we can keep up the hot streak we were on in the NFL. I have a handful of picks today so let's see if I can hit em' all as I did a few weeks back.

**As always these are for entertainment purposes only**

Best Bet

Minnesota -10 over Seattle

Others

Cleveland at Detroit over 37
Detroit -2 1/2
Atlanta +7 1/2
Baltimore +1
Denver +5
Chicago + 3 1/2
 

A Look at Curtis Granderson

After a nice break on the beach in Maui it's time to get back to work covering all of the happenings in the Chicago sports world. So let's start with the Cubs, who are still trying to unload Milton Bradley after talking with a number of teams at the recently completed GM meetings.

The latest I am hearing has the Cubs and the Rangers seriously discussing a trade that would send the disgruntled outfielder back to the the team that he starred for before signing with the Cubs last winter. However, read this nugget in Rangers' beat writer Evan Grant's blog regarding a possible Bradley return to Texas, and you'll see just how tough it may be for the Cubs to move him.

As for the Tigers willingness to trade center fielder Curtis Granderson, things are starting to heat up, as they explore several different options in both the AL and NL.
curtis-granderson.jpg

Detroit Tigers CF Curtis Granderson would be a huge upgrade for the Cubs outfield defense.

The Cubs are definitely on the Tigers radar, since they fit several of the requirements Detroit has in any Granderson deal. First, they have a handful of excellent prospects that are nearly major league ready and they would be the key to any deal. Also, the Cubs don't play in the AL and definitely don't play in the AL Central. That could make this deal more likely, since Detroit is very reluctant to trade him within their league and even more so in their division. If you were Jim Hendry, would you trade rising shortstop prospect Starlin Castro in a package to land Granderson?
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Lovie Smith Must Go

While I am on vacation with my wife, I decided to bring my laptop out to watch the Bears game while catching some sun. Through the awesome invention known as a Slingbox I was able to have my NFL Sunday Ticket right on the beach with me and I sat down hoping to watch the Bears harass Kurt Warner into another turnover filled day like he had a week ago against Carolina.

However, from the Cardinals first possession, it was obvious that the defense had no chance at slowing down Warner and Co. and that was without All-Pro wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was sidelined with an injury. The Cardinals ground game came into the contest averaging an embarrassing 65 yards per game, and ripped the Bears apart for 182 yards. In fact, the Cardinals set their season high in yards on the ground in the first half.

It was a thorough butt-kicking and one that proved the Bears are a lousy football team. In fact, if Jeff Reed and Olindo Mare make a couple of field goals, the Bears could be sitting here today as a 2-6 team, with their only wins over Detroit and Cleveland. The Bears are nowhere close to being a contending team, and they need to spend the rest of the 2009 season evaluating which players should stay and go as they attempt to build toward the future.

That starts with the head coach, who is so out of touch with reality that it's laughable. I have never been a fan of Lovie Smith, because of his inability to display any sense of honesty in his dealing with the fans and media. When his team plays poorly he refuses to ever call out a player or unit for poor performance. I am not asking him to be Mike Ditka, because he doesn't have that type of personality. But his failure to hold people accountable and his willingness to give out jobs to players before training camp and before they have earned is one of the reasons the Bears are where they are now.

So how do you fix it? You start by firing the head coach and hiring a no-nonsense guy who has a proven reputation as a winner. He must possess an ability to connect with the fan base and the media, and a willingness to roll up his sleeves and contribute years of expertise in personnel matters. Furthermore, he must be able to evaluate personnel well enough to take some of the responsibilities away from current GM Jerry Angelo.  I'm not asking for the new coach to necessarily be the "architect" of this team, but Angelo has done a very poor job during his 8+ seasons in Lake Forest.

Angelo is under contract through 2013, so the thought that the Bears would pay both he and Smith is probably fantasy. So here's what I would do: fire Smith the day the season ends so I could have all available coach options available to me right away. I would also call Jerry Angelo into a meeting where he will be offered the chance to stay as GM, but he will also be asked to relinquish some of his power to the new Head Coach/Football Operations boss. Should he balk then he can quit. However, with a ton of money owed to him for four more seasons, I would be surprised if he walked away.
Bill Cowher Celebrates.jpg

Bill Cowher would be a great choice as the Bears next coach.


Then, I would offer Bill Cowher whatever it took to land him, and I would make it clear that Chicago Bears football is back and is changing its image, effective immediately. Cowher is a proven winner, he would energize the fan base, and he is a tremendous motivator. With the right moves next spring, the Bears could put some of the necessary pieces in place around standout quarterback Jay Cutler. And they could start to rebuild a team that is obviously not responding to Lovie Smith.

More to come as we get the Pittsburgh point of view on Cowher next. Have a great day! Kap 

A Look at the Bears 30-6 Win Over the Browns

Let's start with the Bears, who pounded an awful Cleveland Browns team 30-6 this afternoon at Soldier Field, improving their record to 4-3. First of all, there are no "bad" wins in the NFL. Every win is important. And while today's game didn't go a long way to answering the questions that continue to linger about the offense, it did show that the Bears can find ways to win even when Jay Cutler isn't at his best.

The offensive line continues to look suspect. If the Bears aren't careful, they won't have Cutler as their QB too much longer, because the beating he's taking will eventually lead to serious injury. Today, Cutler was sacked 4 times and hit 7 times with many of those hits being very physical plays. Say what you want about him, but Cutler is showing tremendous toughness as he takes a beating each and every week and keeps on playing hard.

I also loved the exchange between Cutler and Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan that was captured on the broadcast. Both men were screaming at each other, and it is that passion that we have not seen in a long time from a Bears QB. After the game the two men hugged as they walked off of the field and shook hands, and Cutler talked about his respect for Ryan in the post game press conference.

Now, with the Browns out of the way, the Bears will have to step up their performance a notch as the Arizona Cardinals will come to town next Sunday afternoon. While the Cardinals looked awful today against the Panthers, the fact is they have a handful of road wins on their resume and they should be a formidable foe for the Bears.

Did You Know Dept.?

The victory before a Soldier Field crowd of 59,493, ended a two-game losing streak, no insignificant achievement since only one team (1979) in franchise history had lost three straight and reached the postseason.

Post game Grades:

Quarterback
Jay Cutler took another beating but he had only one turnover and that came on a tipped ball and he did throw for 225 yards on a 17-30 performance. His QB rating was mediocre at 66.7 but let's not forget he has a brutal offensive line and a suspect set of skill position players around him.
Grade: B

Running Game

Matt Forte ran for 90 yards on 26 carries and while he only averaged 3.5 yards per carry he did take care of the ball and help the Bears keep the clock moving en route to a time of possession victory of 37:25 to 22:35. He also found the end zone twice.
Grade: B+

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
While nobody caught a TD pass and no one had a 100 yard day they did do some good things to keep drives alive and they contributed by blocking in the running game.
Grade: C+

Defensive Line
Just 1 sack is unacceptable and if that trend continues the Bears have no chance at making the playoffs and doing damage once they get there. In addition to the one sack, there was only 1 tackle for loss. There were only three QB hits, and while that may work against a team like Cleveland, it will not work against any of the good QB's left on the Bears schedule. The D-Line was okay against the run as the Browns ran for 117 total yards.
Grade: C

Linebackers
Solid performance from Nick Roach, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Lance Briggs, who were solid in coverage and against the run. This group is doing all they can with both Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa out for the season.
Grade: B+

Secondary
Picked off 2 passes and forced 2 fumbles. In addition, Tillman took his pick back for a touchdown. They covered well and they gave good support against the run.
Grade: A

Special Teams
Robbie Gould was 3-3 on field goal attempts and Brad Maynard stuck three punts inside the 20 yard line. He did shank one kick but otherwise he had a solid performance. Add in no special teams turnovers and the unit did a pretty fair job.
Grade: B

Coaching
Lovie Smith had his guys ready to play and they were able to put the memory of last week's 45-10 blowout at Cincinnati in their rear view mirrors fairly quickly. However, Rod Marinelli's D-Line has to pick it up as does Harry Hiestand's offensive line. Ron Turner takes a ton of heat for his play calling, but it is hard to take a ton of chances down the field when your offensive line can't give the quarterback much time to throw.
Grade B-

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread

Here are today's picks against the spread....

*As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only*

Best Bet

Dallas -9 1/2

Other Picks

Minnesota +3
Tennessee -2 1/2
San Francisco +13
Bears/Cleveland Under 41 1/2
Oakland +17

Chicago Sports Needs Some Personalities

While I consider Rick Morrissey a colleague and a friend, we usually disagree on most of the topics we discuss in the sports world. However, his column this morning in the Chicago Tribune was outstanding. For a world class city with the best sports fans in the world, we sure don't have much in the way of colorful personalities who are compelling enough for even the casual fan to pay attention. How big would Chad Ochocinco be on the national stage if he played in Chicago or New York? He would be a mega star.

Outside of Ozzie Guillen, name me one guy who you think really keeps it interesting, and is engaging not only with the media, but in the way he acts on the playing field. Let's examine the coaches and managers first, then we'll look at the players who call Chicago home.

Managers and Coaches

Ozzie Guillen

He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I find him so entertaining to watch and to cover that he would probably the guy I'd hire if I owned a baseball team. Ozzie is honest to a fault, and he says what most fans are thinking even if his players don't like his frankness. His personality keeps the White Sox in the headlines even when his team may not be great. Plus, he has a World Series ring on his hand. So those who don't like him can't really argue much, because he accomplished something that no one else has done in this city in a very long time.
 
Lou Piniella

When Lou was hired by the Cubs, many fans and members of the media (myself included) expected a Mike Ditka-like presence in the Cubs dugout based on what we had seen of Sweet Lou during his time as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. However, with rare exception, we have seen a much more mellow Piniella, especially in 2009 when his lack of public anger frustrated many fans. When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010.
 
Lovie Smith

While he may know his football, he is one of the most boring personalities we have seen on the Chicago sports scene in a long time. Smith is steady and unspectacular, but his lack of charisma drives fans who remember the days of Mike Ditka crazy, when every news conference and media moment was must-see TV. Smith is true to himself, but I believe that sometimes management forgets that professional sports are entertainment and you need to keep people watching even when you aren't going to the playoffs.

Joel Quenneville


Coach Q is very intense, and will flash a glimpse of his fiery personality from time to time behind the bench. But he does not usually show that side of himself away from game action. His news conferences are calm and informative, but he doesn't do much to garner attention.
 
Vinny Del Negro

Another of the modern day coaches who does not ever say anything to stir the pot. Del Negro is polished and concise in his comments, but like most of his Chicago counterparts he is not must-watch TV when he addresses the media.
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Sunday in the NFL

Okay, here we go with my NFL picks against the spread. It's an interesting day and while the card isn't great I am looking forward to watching the Steelers host the Vikings and the Cardinals visit the Giants. Of course those are just appetizers for a main course of the Bears at the Bengals.

**As always, these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Best Bets

Dallas -4 over Atlanta
Bears at Bengals over 43

Other Picks

Green Bay at Cleveland over 41
Minnesota +6 at Pittsburgh
Oakland +6 1/2 over NY Jets
Arizona +7 at NY Giants

Round One - Weekend Football Picks

There are some very intriguing games this weekend in both college football and on the NFL schedule. I am really looking forward to watching the rivalry game in South Bend as Notre Dame tries to avoid a letdown after a tough comeback and eventual loss to USC with Boston College rolling into Notre Dame Stadium.

Iowa is undefeated and after a 2nd half comeback on the road at Wisconsin they are starting to make believers out of those that have doubted their staying power. However, another tough game is up next with a night time battle at Michigan State much tougher than most would expect. I will have more games for you as the weekend unfolds. Have fun and enjoy! Kap

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

College

Duke -4 over Maryland
Illinois +11 at Purdue
Michigan State +2 vs Iowa
Northwestern -4 1/2 vs Indiana

South Florida +6 1/2 at Pittsburgh
Miami, OH +11 1/2 vs Northern Illinois
Georgia Tech -5 at Virginia
BYU +5 1/2

Best Bet is listed in bold. More to come.

Bears Thoughts After Giving Away the Atlanta Game

The Bears did not lose to the Atlanta Falcons tonight. Instead, they gave away the game by self-destructing, especially in the red zone. Jay Cutler threw 2 bad interceptions, and Matt Forte had perhaps the worst game of his short professional career.

Add in a terrible night for the special teams and a rough night for the offensive line, and it spelled defeat in an extremely winnable football game in the Georgia Dome. How does the special teams have 12 men on the field late in the game when the Falcons had just been forced to punt? That cannot happen, but fortunately for the Bears they were bailed out one play later when Matt Ryan threw his 2nd interception of the game.

Still, the Bears could not drive down and tie the game in the final moments, due to their inability to score when they were in the red zone. Cutler threw for 300 yards, but he and the offense generated only 7 points on three trips inside the 15 yard line. That is completely unacceptable, as is Orlando Pace's false start penalty on 4th and 1 with 34 seconds left in the game.
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Weekend Football Picks

There aren't a ton of great match-ups this weekend in either college or the NFL but as I looked over the slate of games a few jumped out at me so here we go with my weekly picks against the spread.

**As always these are for entertainment purposes only**

College

BEST BET

Auburn -13 over Kentucky

Best of the Rest

Stanford +4 over Arizona
Indiana +3 over Illinois
Central Florida +14 over Miami, FL

NFL

Pittsburgh -14
Philadelphia -14
Atlanta -3
San Diego -3


Orton and Benson Are Stars? What Happened Here?

I have the NFL Sunday Ticket on Direct TV so that I can watch multiple games at once on my setup in the basement. A couple of my boys are big football fans so they decided to spend yesterday with me watching several games because we didn't have to focus on the Bears since it was their bye week.

As the day unfolded we stayed locked on the Bengals/Ravens game which was competitive right down to the final seconds. As the Bengals finished off the Ravens this nugget flashed up on the screen: Cedric Benson is the first player to run for over 100 yards against the Ravens in 39 games, tallying 120 yards and a touchdown on the ground. I paused, looked at my son Brett and then he said some startling words to me: "Dad is that the same Cedric Benson who the Bears had?" When I told him yes he remarked, "why was he so bad here and looked so good for the Bengals?"
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Random Thoughts From the Chicago Sports Scene

Once in a awhile I like to look at some of the happenings in the sports world rather than just concentrating a blog post on just one sport. So here are some thoughts and questions that I have been observing and wondering about for a while.

Did you know that the over/under total of wins for the Bears in Las Vegas when the season began was 8 1/2? You have to think that the large numbers of Chicagoans who travel to Vegas must have put some serious money down on the over. The Bears look pretty solid and with Jay Cutler at the controls it would take a real collapse to not win at least 9 games.

The total bet in Vegas that has the casinos very happy is the number that they posted on the Broncos of 6 1/2 after seeing huge money come in on the under with the total posted at 7 1/2. The casinos adjusted their number out of concern that they could lose a ton on the under. Several "wiseguys" continued to pound the under and the casinos could make a fortune with the Broncos already 4-0.
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Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread

I took yesterday off from making picks but I did watch some outstanding college football including Florida's win at LSU which could have been a bigger blowout but definitely established Florida as a far superior team. I also watched Alabama drill Ole Miss on the road and look almost as good as Florida in doing it.

An Alabama/Florida game would be absolutely phenomenal to see because these are, by far the two best teams in the country. It's too bad that they probably won't meet for the national title but whenever they play it should go down as the best game we've seen in years.

Now on to week 5 in the NFL. There is a decent slate of games but it is not one of those jaw dropping cards that is loaded with tremendous match ups. The best game on the board is probably New England at Denver but I am also looking forward to watching Atlanta at San Francisco to find out if Mike Singletary's 49ers are for real. Also, if you would like to read a great handicapping column each week check out Matt Youmans in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Good luck!

**As always, these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Best Bet #1

Carolina -4 over Washington

The Panthers are in desperation mode and the Redskins are the right opponent to have as their offense is struggling big time. Look for John Fox and Co. to win by 7-10 as Redskins owner Dan Snyder gets ready to fire his coach, Jim Zorn.

Best Bet #2

Kansas City +8 over Dallas

According to VegasInsider.com, road teams that faced 0-4 opponents the past five seasons went 1-5 ATS. According to Playbook.com, Kansas City is 17-2 ATS as a home underdog of four or more points versus an opponent with at least one loss. The Cowboys have been struggling and while the Chiefs are not good they should be tough enough getting 8 points.

Best Bet #3

New England -2 1/2 at Denver

The Broncos projected win total in Las Vegas when the season started was 6 1/2 and they are already 4-0 so the team that many of the experts thought was going to be one of the NFL's worst is obviously much better than we thought. However, they haven't played anyone the caliber of New England so today's game will be a huge barometer of just how good they really are. I don't believe they are as good as the Patriots so I say lay the points and watch what should be a very entertaining football game.

Other Picks

Tennessee +4 over Indianapolis
Tennessee/Indianapolis over 44
Houston/Arizona over 50




Monday Night Football Prediction

After a 4-2 record on Sunday it's time to take a look at the MNF match up between the Vikings and the Packers in Minneapolis tonight. The environment should be electric as Brett Favre takes on his old team on the national TV stage.

The latest line has the Vikings as 5 point favorites and the total at 46 1/2 and that line concerns me because it was -3 last Monday. Too many people believe this is going to be a blowout and that is when we usually see a fabulous game develop.

I would be careful laying 5 or more and if you can play the money line on Minnesota that is the way to go.

**As always these predictions are for entertainment purposes only**

Monday Night Football Play  

Minnesota Vikings -5 but not a strong play
Minnesota Vikings on the money line
Minnesota Vikings over 46 1/2

Good luck and enjoy what should be a fabulous game to watch!

Sunday's NFL Picks

I had a 2-2 record on Saturday because I decided not to post three other games that I liked. I looked at Michigan State -3 over Michigan (MSU covered -3). I also liked Nevada over in state rival UNLV (Nevada won big 63-28 to easily cover -4) and after broadcasting Idaho's win at NIU last week I really liked Idaho + 4 1/2  at home against Colorado State (Idaho wins outright 31-29). However, I didn't have access to a computer yesterday afternoon as I was doing the play by play on the NIU win over Western Michigan so I couldn't get them to you.

Now, let's turn our attention to the NFL. There are some intriguing match-ups including the awesome defense of the Baltimore Ravens against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Jets and the Saints will also be a tremendous game to watch as the Jets defense is improving under new head coach Rex Ryan and the Saints offense is the best in the NFL. Plus, our Bears have a date with the Lions at Soldier Field.

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

Best Bet

New Orleans -6.5 over New York Jets

The Saints have a tremendously explosive offense and at home they are very tough to slow down. They looked great in winning at Philadelphia last week and while the Jets are improved over last year I don't see rookie QB Mark Sanchez being able to engineer enough scoring to keep up with New Orleans in the Crescent City.

Best Bet #2

Lions/Bears over 40 1/2

The Lions defense is banged up and we know all about the Bears LB's who are missing Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa. The Bears could also be without MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer and Lance Briggs was in a walking boot earlier in the week. Look for a Bears win with the game going over the total.

Best Bet #3

New York Giants -9 at Kansas City

The Giants are a solid football team with a legit shot at winning another Super Bowl. On the other side of the line you have the Chiefs who have a new coach, a new philosophy, and an uphill climb to win this football game. A cardinal rule in Las Vegas is to never play a team in its third straight road game. This is just that situation for New York but they are the better team today by a wide margin so I will go against that theory and see if the G-Men can get it done. The Chiefs are getting better and they will have their day but it won't be today.

Other Plays

Dallas -3 at Denver
Houston -9 over Oakland
Tennessee -3 at Jacksonville

I will have a write-up on the Green Bay at Minnesota game on Monday afternoon.

Enjoy your Sunday! Kap 

Weekend Football Picks

As I do every weekend I pick the games that I like against the spread in both college and the NFL. This weekend's games are very intriguing and I found several that I like a lot because of the way the injuries are happening and the fact that a handful of teams have their backs against the wall.

**Enjoy and as always these picks are for entertainment purposes only.**

College

BEST BET

North Carolina at Georgia Tech (-3)

The Yellow Jackets were beaten by the Tar Heels a year ago 28-7 but this was a close game that was broken open in the 4th quarter by three Tech turnovers. North Carolina is a solid team but they are not spectacular and I don't expect them to go into Atlanta and beat Georgia Tech.

Other College Picks

Northwestern +1 over Minnesota
LSU -14 over Mississippi State
Kansas -13.5 over Southern Mississippi

NFL

Tennessee+3 over NY Jets
Houston -3 over Jacksonville
Oakland +1.5 over Denver
Arizona -2.5 over Indianapolis
Minnesota -7 over San Francisco

Best Bet is in Bold

Handicapping Week 2 in the NFL

After an okay day in college football where I went 3-2 and hit the Michigan State/Notre Dame game (but I can't count it since I decided to advise you to stay away) it is time to look at the slate of games in Week 2 of the NFL.

**As always, the following picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Oakland +3 at Kansas City

The Raiders lost a tough game against San Diego on Monday night and now they have to come back on  a short week. However, they have much more firepower than the Chiefs and this is only week 2 when players are still relatively fresh and not banged up. Look for Oakland to stretch the field and to handle the Chiefs relatively easily.

Pittsburgh -3 at Chicago

I would love to pick the Bears here but since I picked them on TV to start the season 0-3 back in August I will stick with what I felt deep down before the season started. This is not a great football team because they have no depth at wide receiver, the defense (before Brian Urlacher went down) was questionable and now it is really suspect. The defensive backfield is mediocre and against Ben Roethlisberger that can be a real problem. The Bears should come out ready to play in their home opener after a tough loss at Green Bay. Lay the points as the Steelers win and cover.

New Orleans -1 at Philadelphia

The Saints can score in a big way and with Donovan McNabb probably out with a rib injury it will be very tough for the Eagles to keep pace if the game turn into a shootout. The key will be if the Philadelphia defense can slow down Drew Brees and limit his effectiveness in the Saints passing game. I don't believe they can so I am pick New Orleans to grab a big road victory.

Buffalo -4 vs Tampa Bay

I know that the Bills literally handed the game last Monday night to the Patriots after Leodis McKelvin fumbled a kickoff that he should have never tried to return late in the fourth quarter. I know that they are on a short week of preparation after playing on Monday night. However, this is a pretty good football team and head coach Dick Jauron usually has his team ready to play. I look for Buffalo to rebound with a win at home.

Long Shot 6 Team Parlay Play

Buffalo
New Orleans
Green Bay
Oakland
Pittsburgh
Dallas on the money line


Brian Urlacher Out For The Season

The news is just hitting the street that star linebacker Brian Urlacher is out for the season after suffering a wrist injury in Sunday night's loss to the Green Bay Packers. Urlacher dislocated his right wrist in the first quarter of the game and did not return.

The Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure received a text message from Urlacher saying that his season is over. Coach Lovie Smith is expected to confirm Urlacher's status at his Monday afternoon news conference at Halas Hall. His loss, combined with a knee injury suffered by fellow linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa that is expected to sideline him for 2-4 weeks could cripple the Bears defense.

The Bears are considering moving Lance Briggs to Urlacher's middle linebacker spot and signing the best available linebacker on the street. More to come later today. Kap

 

Urlacher Headed for Surgery

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is headed for surgery Monday morning on his dislocated wrist. The injury occurred in the first quarter of the Bears 21-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
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Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher with a brace on his injured wrist suffered in the Bears 21-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night. Urlacher will have surgery on Monday morning in Chicago.


No timetable has been set for Urlacher's return until after the surgery has been performed. I will have more on this story as soon as it becomes available. Kap

Cutler Struggles, Bears Do Some Good Things

I know everyone in Chicago is disappointed in Jay Cutler's inaugural performance as the Bears quarterback, but there were some good things to be taken from Sunday night's 21-15 loss to the arch-rival Packers.

First of all, the defensive line put excellent pressure on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who, according to all of the pregame prognosticators, was supposed to torch the Bears secondary for a huge night. That never happened because guys like Adewale Ogunleye were able to get into the backfield and keep Rodgers from finding his comfort zone.

In addition, the defense kept Packers running back Ryan Grant in check, holding him to just 61 yards on 16 carries.  The entire Green Bay running game totaled just 76 yards on 22 carries, an average of just 3.5 yards per carry. That is more than acceptable.  That stat, combined with the four sacks and the countless hurries that the Bears racked up against Rodgers, should have been enough for a victory.

 


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NFL Week One Recap

While we all may still be reeling from yesterday's brutal performance by the Bears, here's what happened in the rest of the NFL games you may have missed from Week One....

Miami     7
Atlanta  19

The Falcons picked up right where they left off last season, as Matt Ryan performed well dispelling any thoughts about a sophomore slump.  The ex Boston College Field General fired 2 touchdown passes and threw for 229 yards as Atlanta handled Miami easily.  A rough performance for the Dolphins Sunday, as last year's AFC East champs couldn't muster any offense until a Chad Pennington 9 yard TD strike to Ricky Williams with 3:22 left on the clock.  And for some local flavor, former NIU star Michael Turner rushed for 65 yards.

Kansas City   24
Baltimore       38
This game seemed like a slam dunk for betters, as Baltimore was a 13.5 point favorite against the lowly Chiefs, without QB Matt Cassel.  But Brodie Croyle played a strong game in relief of KC's new signal caller, throwing for 177 yards and 2 TDs.  On the other side of the ball, last year Joe Flacco cruised to the AFC Title game by being a game manager while the Ravens defense carried them all year.  Yesterday, he flipped the script, by bailing out his D which had a rough day.  Flacco had to throw 43 times, but completed 26 passes for 307 yards and 3 TDs to help Baltimore pull away with 21 4th quarter pionts. 

Philadelphia   38
Carolina          10

This game wasn't even close.  The Panthers scored first on a DeAngelo Williams 11 yard touchdown run.  Then the Eagles stormed back with 31 unanswered points.  Jake Delhomme had a disastrous day, turning the ball over FIVE times (only one more turnover than Jay Cutler) and it set up countless Philly scores.  Donovan McNabb accounted for 3 Eagles touchdowns but cracked a rib and had to leave the game.  But they couldn't bring in Michael Vick because he's still serving a suspension for dogfighting, so Kevin Kolb had to play and may be under center next week should McNabb be unable to go.

Denver       12
Cincinnati    7

Kyle Orton is 1-0 in 2009.  Jay Cutler is 0-1.  But don't worry Bears fans.  It's not like KO lit it up in Cincinnati this weekend.  He threw for 243 yards, but 87 of them came on a freak touchdown pass with 11 seconds left that led to the Broncos win.  Orton bombed one down the left sideline intended for Brandon Marshall, it was tipped, and it ended up in the hands of Brandon Stokley who took it 87 yards to the house to seal the game.  As for another ex-Bear, Cedric Benson rushed for 76 yards and hit pay dirt once in the loss.  

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My Weekly College and NFL Picks

Each week I will post my picks in college and the NFL. These picks are for entertainment purposes only! Have fun and post a comment with your picks of the week! Kap

College

Ohio State +7.5
Notre Dame -3  
Air Force +3.5    
Penn State -27
South Carolina +7
Buffalo +10.5

NFL 

Minnesota -4
Dallas -5.5
Atlanta -4
Houston -4

My thoughts on the Bears/Packers game is one of trepidation about the Bears chances at Lambeau Field. The Packers looked very solid in the pre season and they have a tremendous offense with an excellent quarterback going up against a very questionable Bears secondary. If the Bears cannot put excellent pressure on Aaron Rodgers then it could be a high scoring affair and a potentially tough night for the Bears. However, if the Bears can get to Rodgers then it should take some of the heat off of the defensive backfield and if they can run the ball fairly effectively then they should keep Rodgers off of the field and set up Cutler for a big night. Prediction: Green Bay 30-27 

A Look at the Bears Offense

On Tuesday I explored the Bears defense and now today I want to take a look at what the Chicago Bears will have on the offensive side of the football. Obviously things should be a whole lot better with Jay Cutler replacing Kyle Orton at quarterback.
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The Bears hopes for a Super Bowl season ride in large part on the shoulders of Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler.



However, even with a Pro Bowl QB there are still a lot of questions that have to be answered with a resounding yes for the Bears offense to play at the level of a team with championship aspirations. Is there a #1 receiver on the offense that you feel comfortable calling on with the game on the line? Sure, Devin Hester has tremendous speed but is he a legitimate every down wideout? The receiving corp of Hester, Aromashadu , Knox, Iglesias, Davis, and Bennett all have some skill level but they have just two guys (Hester and Davis) who have ever caught even one pass in an NFL game.

The tight end position is loaded with Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark both capable of making the big catch and blocking very effectively. Together, this duo should help take a lot of pressure off of Cutler and the unproven wide receiver corps. I fully expect Olsen to lead the team in receptions because of the chemistry that he has developed with Cutler.

The running back spot is capably manned by Matt Forte who should have an even better sophomore season than he had as a rookie when he solidified a questionable Bears running game that had struggled with Cedric Benson for the previous couple of seasons. Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson provide depth but an injury to Forte could be devastating to the Bears chances because neither of the backups appear ready to be an every down back.

Add it all up and you have a team that should be vastly improved on the offensive side of the ball but the big question is will they be improved enough to cover for a very questionable defense. If they are then the Bears could be the best team in a rather mediocre NFC. If they are not then it could be a rough season in the NFC North where the Vikings and Packers appear to be very tough to beat with veteran teams and big time quarterbacks.

A look at the Bears' Defense

While I have been very focused on baseball this summer it is time to start talking football with the Bears opening their season this Sunday evening at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. How will the 2009 season go for the Monsters of the Midway? Does the addition of Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler mean the Bears are going to actually have an offense that looks like one that a professional team should have?

While there is great enthusiasm surrounding Cutler's arrival, there are also several questions that must be answered in a positive fashion if this team is to contend for a division title and to have a shot at a Super Bowl ring.

First and foremost, the defense must be light years better than it was in 2008 when it applied virtually no pressure on opposing QB's and was ranked near the bottom of the NFL.

A look at the defensive side of the ball shows that Lovie Smith made some changes to his staff that should upgrade the "D".  But whether they will take the Bears from mediocrity to the promised land is up for debate.

Rod Marinelli comes in to coach the defensive line and to have a huge amount of input into the weekly game plan. Now I know what you are thinking.  Why would I want a coach who just went 0-16 as the head coach of the Detroit Lions getting anywhere near my game plan?

However, Marinelli is highly regarded around the league for his defensive acumen and just because he worked for Matt Millen (who did an awful job building the Lions) doesn't mean he doesn't know his football. Bears players spent training camp raving about his influence on reshaping the defense.

He is very demanding and intense which should raise the entire defensive line's level of play.  If that happens it should mean much better pressure on opposing QB's.  So let's consider this move a big upgrade.
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Lovie Deserves More Respect

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Lovie Smith deserves more respect than a recent poll ranking NFL coaches gave him.

While I am not Lovie Smith's biggest fan he was not treated fairly in the Sporting News' ranking of NFL Coaches that placed him at #20. Smith has a Super Bowl and two division titles on his resume and he won 9 games last year with a roster that should have been below .500.

Smith isn't and never will be an upper echelon head coach but he has accomplished enough to be ranked ahead of guys like Tony Sparano (Miami), Mike Smith (Atlanta), and Mike Singletary (San Francisco) who have accomplished nothing yet and are in the infant stages of their head coaching careers. Read David Haugh's article in the Tribune and you'll probably agree that Smith was treated with a lack of respect and deserves better.

Now if the Bears don't make the playoffs this season and Jay Cutler struggles Lovie might not even be on the list. He'll be looking for a job.

Jay Cutler - Savior or Not?

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Hopefully Jay Cutler will always be this happy in a Bears uniform.

There has been a lot of discussion over Tony Dungy's comments about Bears QB Jay Cutler. In case you missed them here is what the former Colts coach said:

After making a dozen calls to sources around the league I have come to a few conclusions.

First, the guy has all of the physical tools necessary to play for the Bears at a very high level. That is pretty obvious based on his numbers in Denver. As Dungy said on ESPN Radio yesterday, "he can make all of the throws but that is not all there is to playing quarterback in the NFL." Several NFL scouts that I regularly speak with all told me that they believe that Cutler could struggle in a high pressure media market like Chicago. One executive told me that Cutler could get off to a slow start because of a very questionable receiving corps, unrealistically high expectations from a fan base that has been starving for a star QB, and his immaturity which caused him problems in Denver.

Should he struggle over the first few weeks it could get very ugly and that could make it a pressure packed environment for him to turn it around in. Additionally, several respected sources have told me that Cutler is not very accomodating to the media or the fans and in Chicago you can bet that act will not fly very well.

One interesting story that is making the rounds involves a Hall of Fame announcer who had a meeting with Cutler before calling a Broncos game and he found Cutler so rude, disrespectful, and immature that he said he was one of the worst athletes he had ever dealt with in his long career. You have to wonder what Tony Dungy really knows because a class act like Dungy doesn't usually speak out without know all of the facts.

Here's hoping that Cutler takes full advantage of a clean start in Chicago and changes his reputation and produces big time on the field. Because if he doesn't it could be a very long season at Soldier Field.

 

Brett Favre - Surgery or No Surgery?

Contrary to reports, Brett Favre does not have an appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday and doesn't consider surgery on his partially torn biceps tendon to be imminent, according to a source who spoke with ESPN on Monday afternoon.

Citing unnamed sources, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Favre was to meet with Andrews on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama, to discuss surgery on his throwing shoulder and that the procedure was expected to be performed later this week.

Favre, however, remains focused on non-surgical options, including cortisone injections and natural movements like light throwing and bicep curls that might cause the tendon to release naturally, the source told ESPN.

If the tendon releases and the pain subsides, Favre is virtually certain to play again. If he has surgery and his arm strength diminishes or the pain remains, he will remain retired, the source said.

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