Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bolt Notes: Wrap Up; Preview, and Week 12 NFL Picks!

Now, week 11 in the NFL seemed to make a lot more sense to me than recent weeks. There was an upset or two, but not the kind of play that would make you start to question everything you thought you knew about the sport. Even Kansas City beating Pittsburgh made some sense since Troy Polomalu was out and Big Ben got his bell rung. Even with that, it took K.C. overtime to pull of that upset. Yes, week 11 was much easier to call than recent weeks, in my opinion.

That being the case, I had a much better week than the past few, with a 13-3 record. That brings my season record up to 102-58. Another week like last week and I should regain some of my lost confidence. At this point in week 12, I am 2-1 after missing the Denver game. Great effort by the Broncos, I must admit. That win by Denver may have saved their playoff hopes. Dang-it!

Wrap Up: Chargers @ Broncos

I had predicted that this matchup was not looking good for the Denver Broncos, even at home. Denver was riding a losing streak. The Chargers were riding a winning streak. All the momentum was on the Chargers side and all signs pointed to a Chargers win! This game was one occasion where the signs were pointed correctly and the expected outcome did, in fact, take place.

Yes, the Chargers stormed into Denver and took the Broncos out with very little effort required. Not that Denver never showed signs of life, but rather Denver never showing signs that they could stop the Bolts.

Coaching seemed to be a big part of the Chargers win. As hard as it is to say, Norv Turner has been making great decisions lately and certainly out-coached his 32 year old counterpart, Josh McDaniels. For instance, Norv has done a great job calling plays on offense. He has been capitalizing on the opposing teams defense and has been able to find ways to fix their early season run problems. In this game, the Chargers found success on the ground, so they ran the ball. Norv could have told Rivers to throw 40 times and tried to run up the score. Instead, he saw that the run game was working, his team was dominating the time of possession, and ran the ball for over 200 yards! Norv only asked Rivers to throw the ball 22 times, in which he completed 17, to keep the chains moving and keep the defense honest. Not an easy task for a team that entered the game last in the NFL in rushing.

McDaniels showed his youth early. After just four passes, McDaniels decided to bench Chris Simms and throw in injured Kyle Orton. Orton had torn ligaments in his ankle the previous week and seemed to need some more time to heal. I will admit that Orton was more effective than expected, but why risk the season on just one game. It was especially surprising to see Orton out there when the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Another rookie mistake by McDaniels was trying an onside kick when only down by 10 points in the third quarter. This kick came after a Broncos score and a couple of series where the Broncos defense had stopped the Chargers offense. Sure, if the Broncos had recovered the onside kick, he would have been thought of as a genius. However, they didn't get the ball. Instead, Philip Rivers and company had the ball at the Denver 46 yard line and marched in for a huge score. The game was essentially over at that point.

To wrap it up, I would say that the Chargers should be thrilled with the improvement on defense and in the running game. The defense still gave up too many yards on the ground but has really been tough in the red zone. There has been a dramatic increase in the last four or five games in pressuring the quarterback on defense and protecting him on offense.

One worrisome note (that may turn into a blessing) is that the Chargers lost starting right tackle Jeremy Clary for the year. John Runyan, former all pro with Philadelphia has been signed to fill his slot. It is hard to say when he will be expected to be ready to start.

Preview: Chiefs @ Chargers

It hasn't been that long since the Chargers went into Kansas City and began this current winning streak. True as that may be, a lot has changed since that time. The Chargers have continued to improve. The Chiefs got rid of Larry Johnson. The Chiefs have been winning games! In fact, the Chiefs have even beaten the Chargers nemesis, the Pittsburgh Steelers! Crazy!

With that in mind, it is obvious that they Chargers cannot afford to look past the Chiefs this week. If they do, they will be upset and once again tied with the Broncos for first place in the West.

On the bright side, the Chargers has some key things happen over the last week that will help them stay focused on K.C. and give them the whoopin' that they should be able to give them.
  • Kansas City beat Pittsburgh

  • Chargers took over the lead in the AFC West

  • Denver upset New York to keep the pressure on the Bolts

This are all motivators that should help the Chargers keep from doing what they have a tendency to do......get over confident.

Distractions have also taken place that could hurt the Chargers chances to win.

  • Tila Tequila has filed a law suit against Shawne Merriman for many alleged crimes
  • Antonio Cromartie was involved in an incident after last Sunday's game where a person was struck by a Champagne bottle. The victim claims that Cromartie threw the bottle at him. Cromartie says, "It slipped". He showed good hands on Sunday afternoon, but not Sunday night.

Oh well, I guess they are professionals and should be able to put these things behind them and do what they are getting millions dollars to do. We shall see.

Week 12 NFL Picks!

PACKERS @ lions (Lions are horrible)

raiders @ COWBOYS (Raiders are horrible)

GIANTS @ broncos (Broncos stepped up and Giants looked very bad)

bucs @ FALCONS (Bucs are horrible)

DOLPHINS @ bills (Oh yeah, Ricky is still pretty good!)
browns @ BENGALS (Browns are horrible)

SEAHAWKS @ rams (Could be an upset here)

panthers @ JETS (I feel wrong about this one)

redskins @ EAGLES (Redskins are horrible)

COLTS @ texans (Could be a game, but Colts are too good)

JAGUARS @ niners (Could go with Niners, but Jags are tough)

cards @ TITANS (If Warner is still cloudy, Cards will lose)

bears @ VIKINGS (Chokeler is horrible)

steelers @ RAVENS (Good news for Pittsburgh...I picked them to lose)

PATRIOTS @ saints (If Saints win, they should run the table in the regular season)

chiefs 10 @ CHARGERS 35

Enjoy the games!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Name That Film: Thanksgiving Edition!

In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They
invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave
Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and
Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was
a minister and retired as such, said a prayer that went something like
this, though the Film Edition, admittedly, was not present, '”we thank
for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank
____ for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice."

Please fill in the blank for whatever deity or non-deity of your choosing
as now we've got ANOTHER holiday to worry about. It seems Thanksgiving Day
is upon us. How did this happen? What are all these myths and
misconceptions surrounding the American tradition? The Film Edition would
like to take a moment to state for the record, there is no such thing as a
Turkey tree despite what that Sally may say and pilgrims didn't wear
buckles on their shoes or hats on most every day. It turns out they weren't
teetotalers, either, whatever that fancy term means. They smoked tobacco
and drank beer, but just didn’t advertise it out in the open, like the
people on "Cops" in front of the religious fanatics, which may in fact be
redundant. Most importantly, their first harvest festival and subsequent
"thanksgivings" weren't held to thank the local natives for saving their
lives, they were too busy slaughtering them, once all the vital information
of planting and harvesting the land had been obtained.

The Pilgrims came to America for one reason – to form a separate community
in which they could worship ____ as they saw fit. Yeah, we said it! Worship
_______ as they saw fit! When the Pilgrims landed in the New World, they
a cold, rocky, barren, desolate wilderness, which is in stark
contrast to the wild neon groves planted on every street corner in every
available space in today’s world. There were no friends to greet them. No
houses to shelter, which as rumor has it, was the basis for the inspiration
behind the Rolling Stones' smash hit, “Gimme Shelter”. They also had no
inns where they could refresh and revitalize themselves not to mention
those fancy day spas found on the outskirts of town.

During the first winter, half the Pilgrims died of illness or exposure –
including Bradford's wife. Though lives improved for the Pilgrims when
spring came, they did not really live long and prosper as the popular
saying goes, at least not initially.

The pilgrims had fled England because King James the first was persecuting
those who did not recognize the Church of England's absolute civil and
spiritual authority. Ken you imagine a politician or a person of power
persecuting the common laborer? The Film Edition does a collective
shudder…pulling the cozy blankets up over our ears and pretends to think of
ice cream castles in the sky as a time honored true and tested defense
mechanism. To Grandmother's house we go. The horse knows the way to carry
the sleigh through the white and drifted snow. Over the river and through
the woods, oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the
nose as over the ground we go!

In case you hadn’t heard, the Mayflower Compact was established for one
purpose: the placement of just and equal laws for all members of their new
community – believers and nonbelievers alike. The suspense builds amid the
power of expectations as they begin to grow more apparent. Yet we will make
no man, woman or child feel discomfort with open discussions of

This day is more than just a spiritual celebration where one is allowed to
gorge and watch sub par football all day into the evening, it is a chance to
embrace your inner Martha Stewart. Match the linens with the tablecloth.
Get out those fancy holders no-one can set up without assistance, not to
mention Grandma's sterling silverware. But Thanksgiving is more than
eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early
Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be
thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think
that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown. Thanksgiving is
thus widely perceived as a time for family and friends and football. An
opportunity to reunite with loved ones, friends, and relations we haven’t
seen for years. It’s some time off work, a break from school, the chance
for an extended romantic weekend, and more importantly, an opportunity to
eat copious amounts of food without feeling too guilty and finally getting
that long sought after nap! In some ways this is more representative of the
original celebrations held by the Pilgrims, which were actually harvest
festivals, fashioned on the English and Native traditions.The original
contract the Pilgrims had with their merchant-sponsors in London called for
everything they produced to go into a common store. Socialism at it’s
finest! Each member of the community was entitled to one common share as
part of the test. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built
belonged to the community. The experience of common course and clinical
condition brings any community into common wealth, and is supposed to, on
paper, make all the people happy and apt to flourish. This community
however was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard
employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men
that were most able and fit for labor and service did balk at the idea that
they sho
uld spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and
children without any recompense ... that was thought to be injustice. What
a surprise! Even back then people did not want to work without incentive.
Money, it’s a gas!

Thanksgiving, as the historical landmark we celebrate, is a result of
political history and has very little to do with any date or events
pertaining to pilgrims or America specifically. Although, few would defend
the historical accuracy or the celebration of the massacre of native
peoples, the failure to publicly denounce the traditional meaning of
Thanksgiving is another small piece of the silent complicity that allows
racism and a racially constructed history to continue to shape our
understanding of world events, and our perceptions of different groups.
Thanksgiving, a tradition dating back to the ancient Hebrews and their
feasts of Succoth and Passover, may be a powerful testimony to the strength
of beliefs and high expectations of culinary delights. Just visualize that
jam-packed dinner table stretching into the other room aside the peninsula
also known as the infamous kid’s table. Have you been demoted? Is there any
hope? Will you be holding a ritualistic vigil to a faux Plymouth Rock?
Well, keep in mind, the inaugural pilgrim landing was at Provincetown, Cape
Cod, which has more of a Halloween feeling to the place with lotsa flair.

So, this Thanksgiving, as you welcome your friends, family, guests and new
acquaintances into your home, take a moment to redirect our collective
future. As you sit down to eat, take time to mention the true history of
America. Acknowledge your joy at coming together, but acknowledge also, how
contrived, inaccurate history has torn others apart. Let your children know
what really happened to the Native Americans. Tell them something about the
impact these historical events has had on Native Americans today. Let’s use
this moment as a lesson for us all, as we try to understand, appreciate,
and get along with people whose customs, languages and religions may be
unfamiliar. Let’s use this moment to ensure the spirit of giving and being
genuinely thankful is instilled in all of us. Thus ensuring our future
history can find acts of true brotherly and sisterly love to honor and

Isn't it peculiar, Charlie Brown, how some traditions just slowly fade

Yes! We are back and in full swing with a brand new Name That Film! I give thanks to Bloodredsox for knocking out another wonderful introduction. Honestly, I may have wrapped up this game if he did not come on as a partner so many months ago. I also give thanks to my wife for tolerating all the time I give to the computer to put this together and answer comments when I'm done. While I'm at it, I have to give thanks to the readers/players who make this fun each week and make the time worth while.

As for this week, all of the quotes used come from movies that either take place on, or around, Thanksgiving, or are about Thanksgiving itself. Read the quotes below and see if you can figure out what movie they came from. Put your answers in the comment section and check back to see if you're right! Response time may be low due to me having to share my computer more than normal lately.

Good luck and enjoy the game!!

1. "What kind of a Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where's the turkey, Chuck? Don't you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where's the mashed potatoes? Where's the cranberry sauce? Where's the pumpkin pie?"

2. "I don't know if you remember me, but we had the worst night of my life together."

3. "She has her mother's spirit. She goes wherever the wind takes her."

4. "Mom, I'm going to have sex with Tim."

5. "The next time Homer says, "What kind of animal are you?" You tell him, "You're a monkey."

6. "How would you like a mouthful of teeth?"

7. "It's okay, I'm a doctor!"

8. "Don't shrug you imbecile, I'm blind."

9. "I don't care if you pay off in eggs! Just give me a chance."

10. "What I tell you, man. Alice is a groovy cook."

Well, let's see how you did! Put those movie titles in a comment and check back to see how you did!
Remember to check ouut The Blood Blog if you liked this week's intro. There's a lot more where that came from.

By the way, this week's pictures are of things that I am thankful for. There are more, but it's a nice representation.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bolt Notes: Week 11 Wrap Up, Preview, and NFL Picks!

Here is a free lesson in why you should not bet money on sports (unless you are wealthy and want to donate money to your friends or your local Indian Casino). Are you ready? Here it is....Because there are too many things beyond your control in sports! You can't control injuries to key players (Kyle Orton). You can't control unexpected motivation that may help a player play like the player he used to be (L.T. after finding out his wife was pregnant). You can't control coaches doing bazaar things in crucial situation (See Bill Belichick). I could go on and on, but you get the picture. That being said, I still like to try and pick the winners, I just don't bet on them.

As for my picks last week....not so good. A very poor 8-7 week brings my season total to 89-55. This embarrassing total makes me more determined than ever to get this weeks picks right! Well, except for the Thursday night game that I already lost. Remember to read to the end and see if you agree with my picks this week.

Wrap Up: Eagles @ Chargers

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised that the Chargers continued their winning streak against the Eagles last week (4 games). Whenever a strong passing team comes into San Diego, I worry because the Bolts don't always pressure the quarterback well, which causes the receivers to have plenty of time to find an open spot. It turned out that the pressure was there at time and most of the big plays that Philly is known for were taken away. That doesn't mean that the Eagles couldn't pass the ball. They passed for 450 yards on the day! What it meant was that the Eagles were forced to sustain long drives if they wanted to score touchdowns. In fact, early in the game, the Eagles drove the ball down the field, deep into the redzone, and only came out with field goals. The Chargers claim that was their plan. The old bend, but don't break defense. The Bamboo Defense, if you will.

While Philly was kicking field goals, the Chargers were busy scoring touchdowns! An old friend, LaDainian Tomlinson, showed up in a big way for this game. He ran for a season high 96 yards and two touchdowns, including one from 21 yards out. The line was actually making holes, and L.T. was busting through! It was fun to watch.

Philip Rivers completed 80% of his passes as he continues to have an MVP type season. He was only able to hit his top receiver, Vincent Jackson, once for 10 yards, but that didn't matter. Antonio Gates is in top form and was open all day. Malcolm Floyd was stretching the field, and Legadu Nanee showed that he is much more than a third string receiver.

This win was the finishing touch on erasing a 3 1/2 game deficit and they are now tied for the AFC West lead with the Denver Broncos who lost to lowly Washington.

Preview: Chargers @ Broncos

Oh yes, did I mention that the Chargers and Broncos are tied for first place? Of course I did. That is all people in both cities are talking about! In fact, the last game the Chargers lost was to the Broncos on Monday night, five weeks ago. The last game the Broncos won was that same game. These appear to be two teams heading in opposite directions.

Now, Broncos fan will tell you that their first two losses are no big deal. They lost to Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Both teams are formidable, and losing to them is no reason to panic (that was also what the Chargers said when they lost to both of those teams). Then the unthinkable happened. The Broncos went to Washington and lost to the Redskins! The Redskins who are going through major problems. The Redskins who have all but said that their head coach will not return next year. The Redskins who hadn't scored more than 17 points all season! Those Redskins.

Again, Broncos fan will tell you that the loss to Washington doesn't mean anything because they had their starting quarterback injured during the game and had to play the second half with Chris Simms at QB. Simms hadn't played much at all in the last three years and was rusty. Okay, I buy that. I do believe that if Orton was healthy, he and the Broncos would have won the game. However, that doesn't explain why the Denver defense is getting run over by second rate running backs like Lydell Betts! In the Broncos last three losses, their defense is giving up over 160 yards per game on the ground! That sounds like problems to me.

Let's not forget the whole injured quarterback issue. With Orton in the lineup, and healthy, the Broncos beat the Chargers five weeks ago and their offense was able to control the clock and allow their defense to stay rested and aggressive. This week, look for Orton to be on the sideline, or playing injured. That should make it easier for the Chargers to stack the box and try to take away the Broncos run game and force the Broncos to beat them through the air.

Another possible issue for the Broncos is that they have a very young coach who has never had to face this kind of adversity before. He came into the league with some new, fresh ideas and shocked several good teams. However, lately it seems that the league is figuring him out and has made the necessary adjustments. Now, McDaniels has to show that he can make adjustments of his own to counteract what his opponents are doing. He hasn't shown that ability yet. Fortunately for him, most people would tell you that if he was ever going to be able to out-coach an experienced NFL head coach, this would be the week.

As for the Chargers, things are looking up. They are riding a four game winning streak and have shown signs of life on defense. The pressure on the quarterback problem that they had in the first half of the year has been answered with 17 sacks over the last four games. Hard hits, quarterback pressure, and a much stronger defense against the run make the Chargers a different defense than they were the last time these teams matched up.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Chargers have improved as well. Rivers is still lighting up the sky with great passes, but now, the offensive line is giving him more time and they are actually giving some holes for running backs to run through! It's been a long time since I could report that. In my opinion, the main reasons that so many people think that LT is washed up is that he has been hurt and his line has been horrible. If he is truly healthy and the line is working better together, then look out for the rest of the season!

I think the only fear that I have, as a Chargers fan, going into this game against Denver, is overconfidence. The Bolts have shown that they can swagger a little too much and think that they can just throw their helmets on the field and win. That would not be beneficial in this case as the Broncos are still dangerous even with their major issues.


DOLHINS @ panthers (Didn't remember Ricky)

redskins @ COWBOYS (Cowboys at home)

browns @ DETROIT (Lions aren't as bad as Browns)

niners @ PACKERS (Tough call)

STEELERS @ chiefs (No contest)

seahawks @ VIKINGS (Favre and Peterson)

falcons @ GIANTS (Giants desperate, Turner hurt)

SAINTS @ bucs (Bush out, but shouldn't matter)

bills @ JAGUARS (Bills are a mess)

COLTS @ ravens (Colts own Ravens)

CARDINALS @ rams (Cards are better)

BENGALS @ raiders (Bengals on a roll)

jets @ PATRIOTS (Pats looking for revenge and respect)

EAGLES @ bears (McNabb over Cutler although both stink in redzone)

TITANS @ texans (Titans could come down to earth, but they have improved)

CHARGERS 38 @ broncos 13

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bolt Notes: Wrap-Up, Preview, and Week 10 NFL Picks!

Okay, this is getting ridiculous! When you think there is parody in the NFL, teams like the Lions go 0-16. Next, you start thinking that there is the "haves" and the "have nots", a team like Oakland beats Philly! Week 9 was just another example of a rather bazaar year in the NFL. Be honest, did you pick the Bucs to beat the Packers? I didn't. Did you think that the visiting Cowboys, Titans, and Cardinals would go into Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago respectively and come out with wins? I didn't. Did you think the one loss Denver Broncos would lose to the Steelers in Denver? That one I got right! Thanks to the champs for that one.

Anyway, last week didn't do much to help my overall record this season. I was fortunate to come out with an 8-5 record for the week. That brings my season total to 81-48. Again, not bad, but not great either. I vow to do better this week!

Wrap-Up: Chargers @ Giants

Well, I'm going to keep it short and sweet this week. I've got things to do and the weekend is coming up fast. As for the game between the Chargers and Giants last Sunday, I must say that I saw some things that have to raise the hopes of all Chargers fans, as well as some things that could still be a problem.

On the bright side, the Chargers defense is starting to show up to games! They have recorded 15 sacks in the last three games (5 per game). Shawne Merriman has recorded four sacks in the last two games and Shaun Phillips have five in his last three. Those are the guys that the Chargers have been counting on to pressure the quarterback and they are finally getting it done. Along with the pressure comes better coverage (who knew?). Even the latest personnel changes made by Norv and Ron Rivera seem to be working. Weddle is hitting hard enough to get fined by the league and Steve Gregory is doing well as a nickle back and coming in on blitzes.

The other major plus for the day came on the offensive side of the ball. Yes, Philip Rivers threw three more touchdown passes and took the Bolts down field in less than two minutes for the game winning score with 21 seconds left on the clock. That's great, but what excited me was the offensive line was able to protect Rivers in the pocket. The much heralded pass rush of the Giants was mostly held at bay which is more that expected by most Chargers fans.

Then again, the offensive line also brings up my greatest blocking. The Chargers are the worst running team in the NFL! With Tomlinson and Sproles, that is unacceptable. Yes, Sproles is small, and L.T. may have lost a step, but the fact is that the offensive line is not opening any holes for anyone to get through. For now, Rivers and his very talented targets (Jackson, Gates, Floyd, and Sproles) are controlling the ball through the air well enough to beat most teams. However, there will come a time when teams decide to focus on pass defense and force the Chargers to run the football. Hopefully the upcoming return of center Nick Hardwick will be just what the doctor ordered for the Chargers ground game.

Preview: Eagles @ Chargers

This Sunday is much like last Sunday for the Chargers. The main difference is that the Bolts are not the team that has to travel across country to play, the Eagles are. Yes, the Bolts host the Philadelphia Eagles in what should look much like last week's matchup against the Giants. Both the Eagles and the Chargers have very talented quarterback (Rivers and McNabb), fast, game breaking receivers named Jackson, talented tight ends (Gates and Celek), and running games that have been struggling at best. The Chargers running problems were described above while Philly has been dealing with a concussion issue with stud back Brian Westbrook. It sure looks like they will be airing it out on Sunday!

Currently, the Chargers are a one point favorite at home against the Eagles. That seems a little surprising to me, but the home field advantage is usually good for three points in the eyes of the sports books. Personally, I would not lay money down on this game, but I will continue my homer ways and predict a Bolt victory. If only the Redskins stood a chance to beat the Broncos. Either way, if the Chargers win, next up is a huge matchup with the division rivals.


BEARS @ niners (I could have lied. How bad is Chokeler?)

bills @ TITANS (Look out, here come the Titans!)

SAINTS @ rams (No contest)

bucs @ DOLPHINS (I can't see the Bucs having a winning streak)

lions @ VIKINGS ( contest even with a banged up Brett)

jaguars @ JETS (Tempting to go with Jax, but I can't on the road)

bengals @ STEELERS (Ochocinco offered me a dollar to pick the Bengals, but I declined.)

BRONCOS @ redskins (I wish I could justify picking the Skins, but I can't)

FALCONS @ panthers (Delhomme not good enough against Falcons defense)

CHIEFS @ raiders (Who cares?)

COWBOYS @ packers (Packers lost to the Bucs. Enough said)

seahawks @ CARDS (Could be a wild one)

PATRIOTS @ colts (The coin landed on tails)

RAVENS @ browns (Terrible Monday night game)

eagles 20 @ CHARGERS 24

Enjoy the games and I'll see you next week! I'd love to read your comments and get back to you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bolt Notes: Wrap Up, Preview, and Week 9 Picks!

Wasn't last week in the NFL an interesting week? I had a decent week with my picks (9-4), but I won some games I was worried about, and lost some "sure things". For instance, I thought the ground game of the Jaguars would put them past the win-less Titans and their quarterback problems.....wrong. I was sure that the explosive Cardinals would be able to fly past the inconsistent Panthers at home.....wrong. I also thought the Brett Favre returning to Green Bay would put too much pressure on Favre and he would have a bad day.....wrong. That being said, I was right that the Saints had too much for Atlanta, the Dolphins would find a way to win against the Jets, the Ravens would bring the Broncos back to Earth, and the Chargers would beat the leaderless Raiders. So, my overall record is a decent, but not great 73-43 and I'm looking for at least 10 wins this week.

Wrap Up: Raiders @ Chargers

As expected, the Chargers took out the Raiders last Sunday. What wasn't expected by most is the apparent trouble the Raiders caused the Chargers. The game was close and the Raiders did beat the 16 1/2 point spread by half! However, if you look closer, you will see some signs that the Chargers held back a little on offense so they would not give the Giants too much to study before this week's game.

The first pass of the game was a beautiful strike from JaMarcus Russell, right between the three and the one of Chargers Antonio Cromartie. That was Cromartie's first pick of the year and gave the Chargers the ball quickly. The Chargers offense started out with a 50 yards bomb to Malcolm Floyd, down to the Raiders 6 yard line. The very next play, the Chargers went into the "wild cat" offense for the first time ever! The ball was snapped to L.T. who ran a simple "power" play and scored with ease. As easy as that was, it was not a sign of things to come from San Diego.

As the game went on, the Chargers never showed the wild cat offense again. They kept the ball on the ground when they could and threw short to mid range passes most of the game. Tomlinson showed some signs of his old self and Vincent Jackson topped 100 yards receiving again.

The game was kept close by the power running of Raiders Justin Fargas and a fumbled punt return by Darren Sproles. As close as the game was, you never felt a sense that Oakland had what it took to make it all the way back and win the game. The Chargers kept their cards close to their vests and held on to their eight point lead until the end.

Preview: Chargers @ NY Giants
This is a fascinating match-up. It appears that with few exceptions, these two teams are interchangeable. Both teams score a lot of points. Both teams have trouble scoring in the red zone. Both teams have been giving up big yards on defense. Both teams only have one win on their record this year that shows anything at all (Chargers beat Miami and the Giants beat the Cowboys). Both teams are dealing with key injuries, but starting to get some guys back. The quarterbacks of the two teams were traded for each other on draft day. Etc...

That being said, there are some differences that are worth mentioning. The Chargers coach is a mild mannered, players coach who hasn't had much success in the NFL. He takes much criticism for being soft and unable to lead men. The Giants Head Coach is known as a tyrant, but has a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

The Giants, when playing well, are a run first team that wears down the opposing defense. The Chargers air it out and use the pass to set up the run.

To me, the main problem for the Chargers isn't the New York football Giants. It is the location of the game. Norv Turner has brought the Chargers to the East coast nine times in the last few years. Their record is an appalling 1-8! Yes, the Bolts do not travel well and there is no reason to think they will this time. In fact, if I were not a self-proclaimed homer, I would have to pick the G-Men in this one.

BUT!!! I am a homer, so I have to figure out how the Chargers will pull this one out. Here is what I think needs to happen:
  • Philip Rivers has to torch the young defensive backs and safeties of the Giants. They have given up a ton of yards and points in recent weeks and if the Chargers can hold off the Giants pass rush, they will be able to have big plays down the field.

  • Shawne Merriman (2 sacks against Oakland) and Shaun Phillips (4 sacks in last two weeks) have to continue pressuring the quarterback. Like most QB's, Eli doesn't like getting hit. Hit him early, and he may get happy feet and throw some picks.

  • Open up the offense! Use the wild cat (or "wild frog" as some are calling it), use the spread, have Tomlinson throw the ball, throw screens to Tomlinson and Sproles to neutralize the Giants pass rush. Hold nothing back!

  • If the Chargers can do those things and not turn the ball over, they can pull this one out. If they fail at any of the three main aspects of the game, they will go down in flames.

NFL PICKS FOR WEEK 9 (winners in all caps)

redskins @ FALCONS (No contest)
cards @ BEARS (I want the Cards, but can't trust them)
RAVENS @ bengals (Ravens defense is hitting stride)
texans @ COLTS (Could be close, but can't bet against Manning)
dolphins @ PATRIOTS (Two weeks for Billy Boy to play, Miami would get lucky aGinn)
PACKERS @ bucs (See home team)
chiefs @ JAGUARS (M.J.D will run over troubled Chiefs)
lions @ SEAHAWKS (Never know with the Seahawks. Could be a surprise)
panthers @ SAINTS (Panthers play well in N.O., but I have to go with Brees)
titans @ NINERS (Stop the run and the Titans lose...Can the Niners do it?)
cowboys @ EAGLES (No sure thing, but Cowboys like home cooking)
STEELERS @ broncos (I'm trying to start a streak here. Broncos could well win, but they looked horrible against the Ravens. You have to knock out the champ!)

CHARGERS 32 @ giants 28

Good luck to your teams and enjoy the games!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Name that Film: Halloween Edition!

Exorciiiiiiize the demons! Ken you afford the space of just 3 days grace? Now any disembodied spirit understands Halloween has most certainly passed and been filed under the neat heading of another “All Saints Day” past…so gone is the luck of the black, mangy cat and endless gossip stories of Ozzy and his plastic bat BUT…the Film Edition's simultaneous combustion and computer issues smells of insubordination from deep outside the system. This is both scary and shocking. Let us speak of the supernatural and the state of the soul in the very mouth of madness. This does not have to take place at an ominous chateau that may reside at the Overlook Hotel in or beside any subsequent maze.
A cleaning crew working an abandoned mental hospital is an obvious recipe for scares and getting the craze, but then again so isn’t William Hurt playing a scientist who woofs down hallucinogenic drugs and floats in an isolation chamber for days just for the sake of science.

Silence! Whose out there pray tell? There’s something in the mist! Shut the doors! This is like a dark rainy night at the Bates hotel. Hey hey whattaya say? There’s visual profanity here on display. Nestles. Snickers, M& M’s….o my! The Mothman prophecies did aim to please and didn’t have to try. I came as soon as I heard there were disturbing hallucinations and a strong propensity for speaking in tongues. Am I over-qualified? What’s next….castigating evolution and praying for George W. Bush? Religious zealotry and brainwashing has never been more frightening. Ba-dum ba-dumba-dum ba-dumredrum...trick or treat! Anyone disappointed the world has failed to stem efforts for an invasion from Mars? This may involve a tale of two sisters in 2 separate cities or something akin to Lecter versus Starling or Leatherface displaying the grace of an off Broadway ballet dancer with his signature shriek.

Take spinning heads, add some vile expletives and buckets of green vomit then mix one skinless escapee from Hell, a sexy heroine and an evil Rubik’s cube and whattaya get? Certainly not a group of demons clad in bondage gear who literally tear their victim’s limb from limb like defiant adolescents smashing pumpkins! Think of the societal implications of a country torn wide open by biological warfare. Have we just had a conversation without opening our mouths? The devil didn’t go down to Georgia, his form skyrocketed at the box office, filling a menacing void, as the world continues to be overrun with the undead...again and again.

Beware! Arachnophobia is not 4 pair of 8 hairy legs creepy crawling, coming your way on a Mediterranean beach today. You’d think the people would’ve had enough of ghoulish word games. I look around me and I see it isn’t so…o no! If you could spare any extra imagery to create a deeply unsettling tone…wait until black goo comes out of the toilet you’ve just scrubbed with magic bubbles and the buzzing flies appear out of nowhere. Then a creepy voice will tell an ordained priest to “get out” and a specter with glowing red eyes will peer through the newly installed Anderson windows, which are still in the process of being financed, much to your chagrin.

Turns out vampires are a lot like cockroaches and Oompa Loompas may be construed as freaky but attaining a place of honor at a druidic ceremony inside the wicker man can not benefit anyone but the aforementioned. Scream now, while there’s still room to breathe. I think I must have one of those faces you can’t help but believe. If only I could think…all these people dying in the desert…of thirst? Gawd, I’d give my soul for a drink!

There’s always the darker side of human nature to contend with like mutant teletubbies covered in mucus, visceral, gritty and more than a bit graphic. A turn of the screw leads the Film Edition back to you. Imagine Johnny Deppgetting swallowed by his own bed and spit out again in a giant spray of blood. This could lead a lonely widower to make some bad choices when it comes to affairs of the heart. I could start with Jamie Lee Curtis in the closet in conjunction with another hapless hero defending themselves from hordes of oncoming demons and no-one would immediately think of change.

Why is this family so strange? Why do they keep insisting I sleep? What are these strange plants suddenly sprouting up? These may all be good questions to ask when standing at the Gates of Hell with human morality as your one and only subject.

Dead ant! Dead ant! Think twice before stepping on that helpless insect…next thing ya know they’ll be feeding on the locals.

Now, do you want to be buried…in a pet cemetery? Where on Earth could one find a bloody creature birthed from a human surrogate? All work and no play makes Jack more than a dull boy, just ask Bleed. Cue the Michael Myers music and the necessary quota of heavy breathing, black blood and phantasmagoric preschoolers. There is also a crew stationed at an Antarctic base being stalked by a shape shifting alien with more than your standard fare of stomach churning spiritual transformations.

The Phaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantom of the opera is there….inside my mind! So isn’t Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The birds are coming. Ghost writer to Ground Control, do you copy? Imagine the horror of sending the wrong copy! A conspiracy theory brews and gains speed and is said to be at the races, but prey on corpses? Who has the time? I have a good mind to make or honor this as Holy; of the people, by the people, for the people wandering, wanting, haunting a particular U.S. poet who wrote a song about a large black bird with a harsh call that happens to be related to the crow. Never-mind! Who has neither the time nor the mind of inclination for a chill that runs the length of a finely structured spine or to pursue prey as if they held the
title to Camp Crystal Lake? It would take a lot more hours in the day. Any evil demon knows that!
How fitting that a guy named "Blood" would write the intro to the Halloween Edition of Name that Film!!! Another excellent job by my Bostonian Pahtna, I must say.
Now, since we are already a few days late for Halloween, let's get back into the spirit by trying to figure out what Halloween time movie the following quotes came from. Just leave your answers in the comment section and let's see if we can get all 10 this week!

Blood-N-Bolts Productions would like to wish you luck and thank you for playing Name that Film!!
1. "I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply evil."

2. "Maybe we're gonna have a big earthquake. They say things get really weird just before."

3. "You killed your mother! You left her alone to die!"

4. "OOOHHH! You didn't tell me you were gonna kill it!"

5. "Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in."

6. "Oh brother! You're something! You put me in a spin."

7. "Your mother's murder was last year's hottest court case. Somebody had to write a book about it."

8. "The old way...with a sledge. See that was better, they died better that way."

9. "Will you murder and mother and her child, to save yourself?"

10. "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."

Alright everyone, let's see those answers! By the way, if you know storkjrc, or TheUclan, please remind them about our game. They were always fine competitors and they have been missed.
Thanks again to bloodredsox for this weeks amazing intro and to all the players who help us stay motivated to keep knocking this thing out. Remember to check out The Blood Blog for more of blood's unique style.

Happy Belated Halloween!

(My youngest son on his first Halloween)