Weekly NFL Pick’Em – The Waffle League Week 7

DUBLIN, IRELAND – So here we go again with another week of wild NFL picks ahead of me. As I sip a delightfully fruity Chardonnay, we can only live in hope that my NFL picks are a bit more manly than my choice of drink in Week 7.

Week 6 was relatively successful for me, as my picks tend to go, with a respectful 71% win percentage or ten right predictions and four extremely dodgy ones for those who suffer from percentile dysfunction! It brings my season record to 49-41 which should indicate to you that you might as well flip a coin as to listen to my ‘crystal ball’ readings for inspiration!

You got to love NFL season though. That ‘Any Given Sunday’ shout is still as strong ever with some crazy outcomes each weekend. So without further delay, here’s my meandering thoughts on Week 7 in the National Football League.

I still believe in Drew Brees!

Thursday 16th October 2014

New York Jets at New England Patriots – At the time of writing, it’s bucketing down with rain in New England a few hours before kick-off. Those of you who think that’s good news for the Jets are wrong. They are still going to get pasted tonight. Why? Because I traded Tom  Brady in my Fantasy League two weeks ago and now he’s firing on all cylinders. You are welcome Pats fans! Verdict: Patriots

Sunday 19th October 2014

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts  – The Andrew Luck Fantasy Show continues to look more and more impressive each week. The Bengals will likely have to do without their best threat in A.J. Green through injury while T.Y. Hilton could follow up last week’s monster game with another in this one for Indy. I’m taking the Colts at home Verdict: Colts

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams - Seattle were the surprise victims of the week last Sunday as they fell at home to the Cowboys. It’s inconceivable that it happens two weeks in a row, right? Yes. Seahawks win in style. Verdict: Seahawks

Tennessee Titans at Washington Redskins - The consensus on NFl.com is that the Redskins take this one. I’m not overly convinced by them and having talked up back-up QB Kirk Cousins on this very blog a few weeks back, I’m jumping ship on him already. I think the Titans take this one in a close game Verdict: Titans

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers  – Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to a stunning last second victory in Miami last Sunday and it’s difficult looking past the Packers at home at Lambeau Field. Panthers QB Cam Newton looked more like himself last week but I’m not sure he goes into Green Bay and pulls off the win. Verdict: Packers

Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jags are 0-6 coming into this game and I’m afraid to say it’s looking like they’ll be 0-7 come Sunday night. I’ve a soft spot for the Browns and the fact that hardly anyone is talking about Johnny Manziel means QB Brian Hoyer is doing a great job. Browns take this one easy and improve to 4-2 Verdict: Browns

Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens - Sometimes you just can’t tell which Falcons team will actually turn up. There’s no doubt Matt Ryan seems to struggle on the road and with Baltimore looking much better than I expected without Ray Rice, I’m running with the Ravens in this one Verdict: Ravens

Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills - The Bills couldn’t get the win last weekend in front of their new owners at home but this week should be different as the 2-4 Vikings come to town. If I’m selfish and I think we’ve already established that I am, I’m hoping for some big numbers from Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins in a blow-out victory Verdict: Bills

Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears - If Miami hadn’t grasped defeat from the hands of victory at home against the Packers last weekend I might have loved them more in this one. They didn’t and so I pretty much hate them this week. Expecting big things from Cutler and Marshall of the Bears at home. This isn’t a gimme though and could be another close one to call but I still think Chicago just edge it Verdict: Bears

New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions - It just feels wrong picking against Drew Brees and the Saints each week. It really does. In a dome and on the road this might be the big win New Orleans need to kick start their season. They’ll likely have to do it without tight end Jimmy Graham though and against one of the NFL’s best defence. I’m still a Brees believer! Verdict: Saints

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers - It’s a big game in the AFC West as the Chiefs head to San Diego to face an in-form Chargers team. I just don’t see the Chargers losing at home and expect to see them sit top of the AFC West for another week at least as they move to 6-1. Verdict: Chargers

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys  - I’ll be the first to hold my hands up to say I jumped on the Tony Romo hate bandwagon early this season buy he’s been great in recent weeks and led the Cowboys to victory over the Super Bowl Champions last weekend in Seattle. I think they’ll have too much for the Giants this week. Verdict: Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders - It’s going to get worse before it gets better in Oakland  I fear and with that in mind, there’s only one logical choice here. Carson Palmer leads the Cardinals to a 5-1 record on Sunday Verdict: Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos – When these two meet it always brings back great memories of Elway vs Montana in the late 80’s. The Manning v Kaepernick battle is not bad either in the modern era and this could be a cracker. Just can’t see past my Broncos at home though. Denver win and go 5-1 in the AFC West Verdict: Broncos

Monday 20th October 2014

Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers - Each week seems to throw up at least one game that you could literally toss a coin on to decide the winner. I’m edging for the Steelers at home but I must say, the Texans J.J. Watt is probably the player I’ve enjoyed watching most this season. Pittsburgh take it in a close one at Heinz Field Verdict: 49ers

And that’s where my head is at for Week 7 of the National Football League. You too can get involved with The Waffle League right now on NFL.com at http://weeklypickem.fantasy.nfl.com/group/92810

As always, please do pick responsibly!

K.

Weekly NFL Pick’Em – The Waffle League Week 6

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Week  5 of the NFL Season was one of the better weeks so far this season when it came to my predictions as I called a respectful 60% of the match ups correctly. The 9-6 record I posted last week brings me to an overall season score of 39-37 and while not exactly setting the world on fire, it does give a base to build from with 12 weeks of the regular season still to play.  So with that in mind, here’s where I’m pinning all my Week 6 NFL Pick’Em hopes this time around.

Can Brian Hoyer lead the Browns to victory again in Week 6

Thursday 9th October 2014

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans – A fantasy monster in Andrew Luck of the Colts going up against, well frankly, just a monster in J.J. Watt and his Texans defense. Houston lost to Dallas last week while Indy overcame Baltimore. I’m thinking Luck’s got too much for Houston on a short week. Verdict: Colts

Sunday 12th October 2014

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings got bashed on Thursday Night Football by the Packers last week and Detroit struggled at home against the Bills. This one’s tough to call especially if Calvin Johnson misses out for the Lions but I still think they’ll do enough to scrape by. Verdict: Lions

Baltimore Ravens at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Ravens running back situation is breaking every fantasy owners heart that has one of the guys on their team but the run-by-committee hasn’t actually done too badly. They’ll fancy themselves against the Buccs but they do look improved in recent weeks. I’m going against them here so expect Tampa Bay to win easily Verdict: Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans - The Titans blew a 25 point lead against the Browns last week but it’s unlikely to happen two weeks in a row against a struggling Jaguars. There should be no surprises here Verdict: Titans

Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins  – Green Bay are coming off a big win vs the Vikings on Thursday Night Football while the Dolphins come back from their bye week following their London adventures. The Packers will fancy their chances in this one but I’m thinking weather might be a factor here and I’m going for the ‘Fins Verdict: Dolphins

Denver Broncos at New York Jets - One word: bloodbath. Denver head back to the scene of that Super Bowl failure in New York last February. Someone is going to pay and they’ll be wearing green and white Verdict: Broncos

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills - Tom Brady and the Pats bounced back last week but going on the road to a divisional rival is always difficult. I’m thinking Buffalo’s Kyle Orton and Sammy Watkins might upset the resurgent Patriots on the day Verdict: Bills

Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals - The big issue in this one is whether the Bengals elite wide-receiver A.J. Green will be fit to play. It’s looking unlikely a this stage. Against my better judgement, I’m taking Andy Dalton to bounce back from a shocker against the Pats, with or without A.J. Green Verdict: Bengals

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders - San Diego win. I just don’t see anything going right in Oakland just yet and the coach shake-up won’t change that Verdict: Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns - Browns Quarterback Brian Hoyer led the Browns to an unlikely win last week against the Titans by clawing them back from the dead. The Steelers are so hit-and-miss that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Browns take this one too  Verdict: Browns

Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons - Toss a coin on this one. I’m taking the Falcons because they are home. I’ll probably be wrong. Verdict: Falcons

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks - Tony Romo’s done well in recent weeks to lead the Cowboys to a 4-1 record. The Seahawks are a very different proposition though than anything the Cowboys have faced yet. Only a fool would go against Seattle at home and I’m no fool. Verdict: Seahawks

Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals - I’m a Kirk Cousins admirer but I just don’t think Washington will  have enough to beat the Cardinals in Arizona.  Verdict: Cardinals

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – This one could be the game of the week. I think there’ll certainly be lots of scoring and it could go either way. I’m going with the home team though Verdict: Eagles

Monday 13th October 2014

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams - The Niners will have to watch out for Rams WR Brian Quick but he can’t do it all on his own. I think the team with more weapons wins this one and that’s certainly San Francisco Verdict: 49ers

And there you have it once again for Week 6! Get involved with The Waffle League too right now on NFL.com at http://weeklypickem.fantasy.nfl.com/group/92810

As always, please do pick responsibly!

K.

The Sports Waffle Podcast – Episode 2 Andrew Hussey

I’m joined on episode 2 of The Sports Waffle Podcast by Head of Football Logistics at Premier League Club, West Bromich  Albion FC and more importantly, my good friend Andrew Hussey. Listen in as we discuss working in Irish Football, life in the Premier League, lunchtime bowling leagues, Boston Red Sox and Andrew’s performances in our NFL Waffle League to date!

Listen below on Soundcloud or subscribe to The Sports Waffle Podcast on iTunes

The Sports Waffle Podcast – Minisode 2

I bet you were wondering if The Sports Waffle Podcast was coming back? Well the people have spoken, the money has changed hands and the madness has been given the green light to return! In this short minisode, host Karl O’Shaughnessy discusses some points from the last podcast, gives you another blast of Ian Jenkinson’s Sports Waffle jingle and sets the scene for the next guest, Andrew Hussey, who will join Karl to talk football, baseball, golf, NFL and other nonsense in episode number 2 which is coming soon!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the The Sports Waffle Podcast on iTunes or other podcasting services.

Twitter would have hated: Lee Chapman

Lee Chapman celebrates a Leeds goal with Vinny Jones

Lee Chapman celebrates a Leeds goal with Vinny Jones

I’m always a good man for starting a new series on The Sports Waffle and today marks another which I believe has potential to run and run thanks to the madness of many and the genius of few!

In the modern social media driven sports world, you don’t have to look far to find a sports person that many people don’t like and/or hate!  Whether it’s for personality reasons like QPR’s Joey Barton or perceived ability deficiencies for players such as Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck or Liverpool’s Lucas, people aren’t short of providing irrational, over-the-top and quite often inaccurate views on professional sports people. And in the current stat infested sports world, opinions are now backed up with mountains-upon-mountains of ‘data’ to support the reasoning!

But back when I was a young lad and many of my readers here I’m sure, sports players were judged a little more lightly. Most weeks you didn’t see your team play live and had to settle for a snippet of action on Match of the Day. Unless you religiously read newspapers or indeed the same journalists who covered every game ,then you often got mixed personal views on players progress. But most of the time, we just simply made our own minds up as to whether we liked the cut of a players jib or not. This, as you are only too aware, is not the world we live in today.

So how about we take a little look over the coming weeks and months at some of the players who had successful careers in times gone by but would have endured a torrid time if social media had existed during their hay day!

I’m starting the series today with a player who if playing today would most likely be described as a ‘journeyman footballer’ by the Twitterati (an unofficial term for the Twitter Mafia?). Lee Chapman was born in Lincoln in 1959 and was the archetypical big man centre-forward despite being relatively small at 6ft 3in in today’s Peter Crouch ‘big-man’ world. He played for Arsenal, Stoke City, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forrest and most notably for me in Howard Wilkinson’s championship winning team of 1992 with Leeds United.

Chapman bagged 16 league goals (five less than his haul in the 1991 season) during the famous title winning season where he played alongside talented players such as Eric Cantona, Gary McAllister and Gordan Strachan amongst others. To put his goal scoring record in-perspective, Ian Wright who moved from Crystal Palace to Arsenal that same season finished as top goal scorer with 29 league goals. Twitter would have labelled him as ‘not prolific’.

Chapman finished the season as Leeds United’s top scorer with 20 goals in all competitions but certainly wasn’t seen as fashionable as the swaggering French man in Eric Cantona or the energetic Rod Wallace. Champan scored the ugly goals if you believe that such phenomenon exists. Chapman grabbed some big goals that season including at Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw against title rivals Manchester United and at Highbury against his old club Arsenal (see clip below).

Chapman led the line as well as any forward player of the time, worked hard in closing players down, was as brave a player as you’d likely find and generally got the goals his game deserved. Twitter undoubtedly would have hated his sometimes heavy touches, lack of explosive pace and most likely would have labelled him as ‘not technically gifted’.

But one things for sure, Lee Chapman was a winner and his 16 league goals helped secure Leeds United to their 3rd and to-date their last League Championship. When you think of how much stick Olivier Giroud got on Twitter last year for example and he got 16 league goals in an Arsenal team that finished 4th, you can only imagine how much Twitter would have hated Lee Chapman!

Lee Chapman moved on from Leeds United in 1993 and went on to feature with Portsmouth, West Ham United, Southend, Ipswich, Swansea and even a short 2 game return loan to Leeds United. Chapman ended his career with 567 league games and over 250 goals in all competitions. He’ll be fondly remembered as a Leeds United legend, even if Twitter would have hated him!

Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment field below on Lee Chapman, Leeds 1992 winning team, modern social media nonsense or indeed to submit your own players for inclusion in the series!

K.