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Thursday, 19 September 2019 13:05

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 3

So … that was unexpected. And awesome.

While Stella struggled to hit .500 with her picks last week, landing precisely at 8-8, I was having an excellent Week 2. My record of 12-4 for the week not only eliminated the two-win lead that Stella sported after the first week, but catapulted me to a similar cushion of my own.

Now, is this going to last? Of course not – I’ve been doing this long enough to know that this is nothing more than a momentary blip, a slight speed bump on Stella’s road to yet another K&P victory. But for now, I have every intention of enjoying this.

For this week, we’re at odds on seven contests. That’s more than enough for Stella to knock me down a peg and remind me who has held the title for the past four years straight. Here’s what we’ve got.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 12 September 2019 13:28

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 2

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I got off to a good start, putting together a solid Week 1 – I went 10-5-1 (ties remain a bit of a wild card here at K&P, so the Lions/Cardinals tilt skews the numbers a touch). Still, double-digit wins is a strong showing.

Of course, Stella went ahead and put up a 12-3-1. Because OF COURSE she did.

That puts me in the hole to start things off. It’s a not-unfamiliar position – almost every season sees her come out of the gate hot, leaving me to spend the rest of the year struggling to catch up. It’s no surprise that she’s beating me, but her hitting at 75% on winners in the first week does not bode well for me going forward.

That said, there’s room for a whole lot of change this week. Stella and I are rarely at odds on as much as half the slate in a given week, but Week 2 sees us differ on 10 games. That means I’ve been given a huge opportunity to erase her early lead. It also means that she’s been given the chance to completely bury me before we even get to the bye weeks, so who knows?

Published in Sports
Thursday, 05 September 2019 12:49

Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 1

As the NFL prepares to kick off its 100th season, another less lengthy (but no less noble) tradition is also being observed.

That’s right, folks – it’s time for Kibbles and Picks.

This marks the seventh year of the internet’s preeminent man-versus-beast football prognostication feature, wherein I spend the season attempting to pick more NFL winners than my dog, the adorable and astute Stella. Of those seven years, Stella has triumphed in six, including the last four in the row. What was once a cutesy experiment has become a stubborn and fruitless attempt for me to hold onto whatever tiny shreds of my dignity still remain.

Seriously – I’m ostensibly supposed to know things about football. It’s part of my job. And yet, I get repeatedly trounced by a dog. Call me a glutton for punishment, I suppose.

Anyway – we’re back. Does anyone out there actually think I have a shot of preventing Stella from taking her fifth crown in a row? Probably not, but I hope you’re rooting for me.

We’re coming in hot in 2019; Stella and I are at odds regarding seven contests in the season’s first week, so there’s a chance that an imposing lead is built right off the bat … although if it is, I think we all know who will have built it.

Published in Sports

ORONO - What do you do for an encore if you’re the University of Maine football team, coming off the most successful season in school history? “Elevate The Standard.”

That’s the message that new boss Nick Charlton has preached since he got the job after the departure of Joe Harasymiak to the University of Minnesota.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 27 August 2019 17:48

NFL officially out of Luck

Another NFL star has walked away before his time.

It’s Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck this time around; Luck announced his retirement from the league in an impromptu news conference following the team’s preseason contest against the Chicago Bears on Saturday. The plan had been to announce on Sunday afternoon, but when ESPN broke the story, Luck’s hand was forced.

“I’m in pain, I’m still in pain. It’s been four years of this pain, rehab cycle,” the 29-year-old Luck said as part of his remarks. “It’s a myriad of issues — calf strain, posterior ankle impingement, high ankle sprain. Part of my journey going forward will be figuring out how to feel better.”

Published in Sports

The 2019 National Football League season – the 100th in the history of the league – is upon us. We’re just a week or so away from kickoff for the first game of the season – this year’s first matchup sees the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 5.

As always, there’s plenty to anticipate. Lots that we know, lots that we don’t know - and a whole lot that we think we might know but don’t actually really know. Anybody who has read one of these previews in the past know that I live my life in that last category.

And so once again, I will attempt to anticipate how the season will play out. Once again, I will do my best impression of a monkey throwing darts in my ever-Quixotic effort to make sense out of the whole mess. I’m even going to try to predict the 2019 regular season records of each team – a fool’s errand inside a fool’s errand.

(For those interested, I will also be continuing our popular “Kibbles and Picks” online-only feature, wherein I attempt to pick the winners in each week’s schedule of NFL games and try to achieve a greater rate of success than that reached by my dog Stella (who has defeated me handily the last four years in a row and in five of six seasons overall, by the way). If you’re interested, you can check out our website at www.themaineedge.com every Thursday or find Kibbles and Picks on Facebook to see if man can begin to even the score against beast. It’s possible, but I wouldn’t count on it – she’s far better at this than I am.)

And so here it is - your almost-certain-to-be-way-off 2019 Maine Edge NFL Preview.

(y = division winner; x = wild card)

Published in Cover Story

This weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will enshrine their Class of 2019.

The eight-man class will be made official at the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony, set to take place in Canton, Ohio on August 3.

For the second year in a row, a trio of first-ballot candidates – Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed and Champ Bailey – will be inducted into the Hall. That threesome will be joined by Ty Law and Kevin Mawae. In addition, the Hall will be adding defensive back Johnny Robinson from the seniors committee, as well as Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and personnel executive Gil Brandt from the contributors list.

It’s a defense-leaning list, with four defensive backs to go with an offensive lineman and a tight end.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 June 2019 16:32

Three-down renown: A 2019 CFL preview

It’s June. The sports landscape is in flux. Baseball is in full flower, but both the NBA and NHL have just crowned their champions, bringing their respective seasons to a conclusion. And while the NFL is a year-round sport in many ways, we’re definitely in the league’s largest lull right now.

But all is not lost! There’s football being played! And not just Women’s World Cup football … although it is an international game.

The CFL’s season kicks off on June 13, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats playing host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All told, each team plays 18 games in 21 weeks; the whole thing wraps up with the 107th Grey Cup, to be played in November at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

The Canadian game has its quirks and differences from what we see on Sundays in this country, but it’s those quirks and differences that make it fun to watch. It’s a fast-paced, wide-open game that offers plenty of action and excitement.

And if you’ve ever considered that you’d like to give the CFL a try, but can’t seem to find the games to watch, fear not: a new broadcast agreement means that ESPN and ESPN+ will be making every single league game of the season available on one platform or another. No more barriers to entry – just settle in and get your football fix.

Here’s a quick look ahead to the 2019 CFL season.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 10:18

Some brand-new New England Patriots

Another big chapter of the National Football League’s future unfolded this past weekend in Nashville.

The 32 NFL franchises landed in Music City for the 2019 NFL Draft, where over the course of three days, teams selected the players they hope will lead their respective organizations into the future. Team presidents, general managers, coaches and owners pored over stat sheets and tapes, looking to separate the cream of the collegiate crop from the chaff, all in an effort to put themselves in the best possible position to move forward toward a championship.

The draft isn’t always as exciting in New England as it is in other places – two decades of Patriots success has led to less-than-optimal selection slots as a rule, although that hasn’t stopped them from making some solid picks.

That said, the early consensus is that this has a chance to be one of the better draft hauls of the Belichick era (for whatever that’s worth – see the caveat a few paragraphs down). Rather than go with their usual tactic of trading down and stockpiling, the Pats apparently liked what they saw in the Class of 2019, selecting 10 players in all. And it’s a far-from-typical group to boot, but really, when have the Patriots ever been conventional?

Will all of these players succeed? Of course not. Hell, a good chunk of them may not even make the team at all. But hey – we’re talking about the reigning Super Bowl champions here. They don’t need to hit on every pick. Still, expect at least a couple of these additions to make a splash.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative they sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 14:33

A Gronking to remember

A New England Patriots legend has decided to hang it up.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced that he will be retiring from football after nine seasons in the NFL. He made his decision public via Instagram on March 24.

Despite a playing career that lasted less than a decade and featured numerous extended periods of injury, Gronk’s legacy is undoubtedly secure. He will take his place among the best to ever play the game, with numbers that ensure a Hall of Fame jacket despite his truncated time in the league.

Published in Sports
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