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Thursday, 19 November 2020 12:19

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 11

Well then. I needed that week in a big way.

I put together a stellar performance for Week 10, going 11-3. Stella, on the other hand, only managed a .500 record – 7-7. This means I was able to make a significant dent in her season lead. Of course, I’m still half-a-dozen back, so we’re not celebrating just yet. Plenty of time for Stella to put her little paw back on the gas and expand her lead back into the realm of the humiliating.

Once again, we’re at odds on eight contests. This means I could conceivably eliminate Stella’s entire lead, though the reality is that it seems VERY unlikely that she’s going to pull another .500 week anytime soon. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 12 November 2020 13:24

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 10

And so the status quo has been maintained.

Both Stella and I had identical 9-5 records in Week 9, leaving me still behind by a whopping 10 games. Now that we’ve passed the halfway point, well … it’s starting to look a little bleak for yours truly. Not that I don’t have time to catch up, but considering how well Stella has performed thus far, it’s not going to be easy.

I have a chance to make a dent in Week 10, though; we’re at odds in a whopping eight of the 14 scheduled games. If I can pull out a big majority of those, I can reduce Stella’s lead significantly. Or she can continue to bury me. We’ll see how it plays out.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 10 November 2020 12:16

Patriots Progress Report 2020 – Halftime

What a difference a year makes, eh?

Last year at this point, we were celebrating a dominating start to the season from a Patriots team that was firing on all cylinders and included one of the best eight-game defensive stretches in the history of the NFL. It was a season that ended too early, at the hands of the Tennessee Titans in the AFC wild card round, but still.

Suffice it to say, a wild card loss is looking pretty good right now.

There’s a generation of Patriots fans that has never experienced a bad team. A child born during the last season where the Pats didn’t reach double-digit wins is now old enough to vote. While it’s not outside the realm of possibility that New England turns it around in the second half, it seems likely that this marks the first single-digit win season since then – and their first playoff absence since 2008.

Ah, well. On to the Progress Report.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 05 November 2020 15:18

Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Week 9

That … was embarrassing.

In one of my worst single weeks in the eight years I’ve been writing this feature, Week 8 saw me go an abysmal 5-9. While I’ve never claimed to be legitimately good at any of this, I have to say that I believe myself better than I showed this past week.

Stella, on the other hand (paw?), went 9-5. Of the six games on which we differed, I managed one lousy solitary win – much obliged, Russell Wilson and company – so she tacked another four games onto her already-significant lead.

Long story short? Here, at the halfway mark of the season, I now trail by double digits.

It’s quite a hole that has been dug here, but all we can do is try to climb out a bit at a time. I’ll have six chances to do so this week, so it’s conceivable that I can make a pretty big dent. Of course, I said that last week and we all know how that turned out.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 29 October 2020 14:33

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 8

A pair of great weeks means that the standings remain the same.

I went 11-3 with my Week 7 picks. Unfortunately, so did Stella. This means that her lead stays at six games as we approach the season’s midway point. It’s also worth noting that the only games we got wrong for the entire week were the ones where we disagreed – we were both 8-0 in those contests.

We’ll see if that good luck can carry forward into Week 8. We once again differ on six of the week’s 14 games; maybe this time, I’ll be able to gain a little on her. Or maybe she extends her lead. Either way, here’s hoping there’s not another tie – be nice to see some movement one way or the other. Wish me luck – as usual, I probably need it.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 22 October 2020 15:01

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 7

Now that’s a familiar feeling.

My Week 6 looked an awful lot like my Week 5 – an identical 8-6 record. Unfortunately, while I was able to gain a game last week, this week saw Stella perform much better, to the tune of 10-4. Thus, she has bumped her lead back up to six games.

Coincidentally, six games is the number on which we differ here in Week 7. Hence, if I’m able to run the table, I can fully erase her lead. Of course, if SHE runs the table or goes big, I’m going to be sitting in a significant hole with nearly half the season gone. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Published in Sports
Saturday, 17 October 2020 14:30

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 6

That certainly was a week.

Neither Stella nor myself were particularly prescient in Week 5 – I blame the fact that we made our picks while at camp and were distracted; Stella is of the mind that we should accept full responsibility for our picks regardless of situation – but I managed to be just a teensy bit better, pulling an 8-6 record in the 14 games played, while Stella landed at 7-7.

I gained a game! Granted, there aren’t going to be many weeks when she only manages .500 – if I’m only able to cut her lead by one in those circumstances, it’s going to be a long season.

There’s a chance of a big swing this week – we are at odds in eight of the 14 scheduled contests (though we’ll see if all of them actually get played). As always, this presents an opportunity for either a) me to eliminate her lead, or b) her to significantly extend it. We’ll have to see how it goes.

(Note: I know we’re late in dropping this week’s edition, but we figured that with no Thursday night game, we could delay in an effort to have a better sense of how the schedule would actually shake out.)

Published in Sports
Thursday, 08 October 2020 15:08

Kibbles and Picks 2020 - Week 5

Another week, another increase to Stella’s lead.

This time, she’s gained two more games, extending her cushion to five. I’ll be real – being down this much after just four weeks isn’t ideal. However, it does mean that I have plenty of time to try and catch up. All I need to do is, you know … pick better.

Weeks like Week 4 – a mediocre 8-7 – certainly aren’t going help my case. Particularly when Stella is putting up a 10-5. But as long as we keep having those sorts of weeks, where we’re at odds on a good number of games, I at least have a shot at cutting into her lead (or at least keeping things manageable).

Week 5 is another big one – Stella and I differ on seven of the week’s 15 scheduled matchups (though we’ll see if all 15 actually wind up getting played) – so I once again have a shot at cutting into her lead. Heck, if I pull off a miracle, I could even take the lead myself (although we all know that the likelihood of such an occurrence is miniscule at best).

Published in Sports

Quarterback is king in the NFL.

Strong quarterback play has always been an important part of success on the football field. But in today’s pass-prominent game, a high level of performance from the QB has become even more vital. One could make the argument – and plenty do – that the quarterback is the most important single player in professional team sports. You need a good one, if not a great one.

But how do you find one?

Brian Billick is a former NFL head coach with a Super Bowl ring and a current gig as an analyst for the NFL Network – certainly someone with some insight into the importance of having a great QB and what goes into developing such greatness. His new book – co-authored with James Dale – is “The Q Factor: The Elusive Search for the Next Great NFL Quarterback” (Twelve Books, $28), an in-depth exploration of what goes into finding and developing QB excellence.

Using the QB-heavy draft of 2018 as a jumping-off point – five passers were selected in the first round – Billick delves into the specifics of quarterback greatness and some of the tools evaluators can use to determine if the guy they see now can become what they need him to be later. With plenty of attention to detail and some great macro and micro perspectives, Billick deconstructs the path to greatness and how a little improvement in determining that path can go a long way.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 01 October 2020 13:39

Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Week 4

And Stella’s lead grows again.

While neither she nor I were able to match our Week 2 success, we both had reasonable performances in Week 3. However, her reasonable (10-5-1) was slightly better than my reasonable (9-6-1), allowing her to bump her season lead back up to three games.

She’ll have a shot at increasing that lead significantly this week – we differ on seven games this go-round. If I nail it, I can erase her lead before it gets out of hand. If she nails it, well … then her lead will get out of hand. Cross your fingers for the former, but expect the latter – I feel like Stella’s poised to go on something of a run.

Published in Sports
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