September 2010

After a mediocre performance in Week 1, Mark Sanchez awoke in the second quarter against the mighty New England Patriots and went on to have, arguably, the best day of his career completing 21 of 30 passes for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The New York Jets’ coaches took the training wheels and allowed Sanchez to stretch the field a bit as opposed to their conservative week 1 playcalling against the Baltimore Ravens. The Jets rallied from 14-7 deficit to win going away 28-14. Rex Ryan’s defense held the Patriots scoreless in the second half despite losing Darelle Revis to injury.

Next up for the Jets, the Miami Dolphins who swept the Jets last year.

Pencil on bristol.

Inks on bristol with PS fixup.

Colors in PS. Click on the image for a larger version.

Last week: 8-7-1. Season: 8-7-1

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Carolina
It is the week of the home dog in the NFL. There are seven, count ’em, seven. Jimmy Clausen gets his first start. Take the Bengals over the Panthers in this all-feline contest.

Cleveland (+10.5) at Baltimore
A big spread for a team that has scored a total of 20 points. Yes, I am looking at you, Ravens. Take the Browns.

Detroit (+10.5) at Minnesota
Will the gimpy, homeless drifter have a big game? Detroit was surprisingly spry with Shaun Hill at QB last week. I’m going to give real…comfortable…jeans one more shot. Vikes.

Tennessee (+3) at N.Y. Giants
Vince Young is still the QB. The Giants got creamed by Big Brother last week. Going to go with the home team, take the Gints.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
Another home dog and an undefeated one at that. I think Terry Hanratty is starting at QB for the Steelers this week, but I am going to ride their hot ‘D’ anyway. Black and Gold.

Atlanta (+4.5) at New Orleans
Both teams won big last week, so I’m going with the home team. Take the Saints.

Buffalo (+13.5) at New England
Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center this week for the Bills. However, this is a football game not a Wunderlich test. Pats.

Dallas (+3) at Houston
The 2-0 Texans have given up 822 yards passing in 2 games. Will Tony Romo take his hands off that blonde long enough to read the scouting report? Texans.

Washington (-4) at St. Louis
Woof! Another home dog. McNabb seems to be grasping the offense. Skins should score enough points to cover.

Philadelphia (-3) at Jacksonville
Home dog takes on an entirely new meaning as the Iggles hand the leash, I mean, reins to Michael Vick. No one in Jacksonville is going to the game anyway. Take the Eagles.

San Diego (-5.5) at Seattle
The Bolts have too much talent for the Seabirds. Take the Chargers and lay the points. Oh, look, another home dog!

Indianapolis (-5) at Denver
Denver is a 5-point home dog. Lots of issues in the Mile High City this week, not least of which are a bunch of injured defensive backs. Back the horses from Indy in this one.

Oakland (+4) at Arizona
This contest questions the judgement of the NFL to televise every game. Take the Birds at home, but don’t bet the farm.

N.Y. Jets (+1.5) at Miami
No Revis. No Jenkins. Maybe no Edwards. Miami swept the Jets last year and should get halfway there on Sunday. Take the ocean-going mammals.

Green Bay (-3) at Chicago
Are the Bears for real? We’ll find out. Jay Cutler leads the NFL in passing. Repeat. Jay Cutler leads the NFL in passing. Take the Bears.

Lock of the week: New England

Baltimore (-2.5) at Cincinnati

Did Cincinnati just have an off day up at Foxboro last week or are those the real Bengals? Joe Flacco has a week to get used to his new weapons. Take the Ravens.

Miami (+5.5) at Minnesota

Big spread considering the egg Favre laid in the Big Easy last week. Take Fins and the points.

Chicago (+7) at Dallas

Dallas looked totally punchless against the Skins last week and yet are favored by 7. Does Vegas know something we don’t know? Take the Bears and the points.

Philadelphia (-6.5) at Detroit

Eagles will start Michael Vick this week. The Lions have been told that the Eagles will start Michael Vick this week, but unfortunately there is no one who can realistically imitate Vick on the scout team. In addition, it is Shaun Hill under center. Take the Eagles.

Arizona (+6.5) at Atlanta

Arizona looked terrible last week. Atlanta looked terrible last week. However, Atlanta was playing the Steelers and Arizona was going up against the Rams. Take the Falcons to get their first win and cover.

Kansas City (+3) at Cleveland

The Chiefs rode big plays to a victory in week 1. The Browns blew a 14-3 lead at Tampa Bay and Jake Delhomme might not play this week. Is there any reason not to pick the Chiefs? No. Take the ArrowHeads and the points.

Buffalo (+13) at Green Bay

Biggest spread of the weekend. How much do the Bills suck? We are about to find out. Take the Pack and hope for the best.

Pittsburgh (+5.5) at Tennessee

Chris Johnson is going for his 13th straight 100 yard rushing day. The Steelers defense shut down the Falcons last week. Dennis Dixon will be the difference. Come back soon, Ben. Titans.

Tampa Bay (+3) at Carolina

Matt Moore had a concussion last week. It won’t stop him from handing off. Take the Cats.

St. Louis (+3.5) at Oakland

Two sucky teams. Maybe Bradford will put it up 60 times this week. Let’s go with the Silver and Black.

Seattle (+3.5) at Denver

Denver is usually tough at home. Will Pete Caroll’s rah-rah work two weeks in a row? Going against my better instincts, take the Ponies and lay the points.

Houston (-3) at Washington

Can you spell “letdown”? Houston on the road? Foster won’t get 200 yards this week. Take the Skins.

Jacksonville (+7) at San Diego

Lose a stinker in KC and now favored by 7? The Bolts’ early season slow starts continue while Vincent Jackson watches on his big screen. Chargers win, but don’t cover.

New England (-3) at N.Y. Jets

Hard Knocks won’t be covering this, but there will be still be lots of swearing as the punchless Jets can’t keep up with the Pats. Take Brady and give the field goal.

N.Y. Giants (+5) at Indianapolis

In Manning Bowl II, we’ll find out if the Colts are done. I’m not betting against Peyton, are you? Take the Ponies.

New Orleans (-6) at San Francisco

Superbowl champs go on the road. Mike Singletary is looking for a helmet to get in the game. League won’t let him. Take the Saints.

My locks of the week: Philly and Atlanta. Go and make some money.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their 2010 season at Heinz Field without their star quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, whose offseason behavior caught the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. With Big Ben suspended for 4 games, the Steelers hoped to turn the recently re-signed veteran Byron Leftwich, but he was injured in the preseason. That left second year QB Dennis Dixon at the helm as as the Steelers faced off against the Atlanta Falcons and their excellent 3rd year QB Matt Ryan.

The Steelers defense was stifling, in large part due to the return of safety Troy Polamalu and defensive end Aaron Smith, both of whom missed 11 games last year. Dixon was unable to hit on any big plays and the game was tied at 9-9 with only a couple of minutes to go. Matt Ryan launched a pass and Polamalu dashed in to intercept. The Steelers ran a few plays and trotted out Jeff Reed for a 40-yard field goal with 39 seconds remaining. Heinz Field remains a haunted house for kickers, however, as the kick started out true, but was pushed right by an invisible hand to send the game into overtime like something out of those Buffalo Wild Wing commercials.

In the OT, the Steel Curtain came down on the Falcons and the Steelers started their drive at midfield. On the first play, Dixon handed off to Rashard Mendenhall, who dashed through a nice hole into the secondary where he outran his pursuers to the goal line for the sudden death win. The Steelers prevailed 15-9.

Mendenhall ran tough all day, carrying 22 times for 120 yards and that dazzling, game-winning touchdown.

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Pencil on Canson 150lb Bristol Board

Inks on Canson 150lb Bristol Board with PS fixup

Colors in Photoshop

At long last, the 2010 College Football Season kicked off Thursday night. In a tune-up for their big game against Ohio State, the Miami Hurricanes hosted the Football Championship Division (formerly Division 1-AA) Florida A&M Rattlers. Despite some early lapses on defense that allowed the Rattlers to keep drives alive, the Canes were solid in all phases of the game and posted a 45-0 shutout. J12, Miami’s Heisman candidate, Jacory Harris, was sharp, completing 12 of 15 passes for 3 touchdowns and, more importantly, no interceptions.

Two of Harris’s touchdowns went to senior wideout Leonard Hankerson, who scored on receptions of 19 and 40 yards in the first quarter. Hankerson looks poised to have a big year as offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s offense is off to a great start.

The Canes looked more focused than in years past where they might not have dominated the game so thoroughly. Hopefully this will translate into exceptional performances against more formidable opponents. Miami runs an early season gauntlet against Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Clemson, and their bitter rivals, the Florida State Seminoles. If they come out of that slate unscathed, they could be in a position to challenge for their 6th National Championship.

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