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Thursday, 21 October 2021 12:48

Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 7

So … it’s looking like this season might prove to be competitive after all.

While Stella’s still in the lead, I cut her advantage in half with my Week 6 performance – 10-4 against her 8-6. That means that she’s just a scant two games ahead of me. We’ve seen a fair amount of this back-and-forth in the season’s first month and a half; it remains to be seen if that struggle will continue going forward.

In Week 7 – which features just 13 contests due to six teams being on bye – Stella and I are at odds on six. Not a ton of room for movement unless one of us really cleans up (which is always a possibility with Stella, to be fair), but we’ll see how things play out.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 14 October 2021 14:36

Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 6

That was fun while it lasted.

Stella made sure that any gains I made in Week 4 fell by the wayside as she demolished me in Week 5. Under most circumstances, I’d feel pretty great about a 10-6 week … but this was not most circumstances. Stella was scorching hot, going off to the tune of 13-3, missing on just Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

This leaves me four behind, but things could turn around quickly – despite there being just 14 games on the slate thanks to the beginning of the byes, Stella and I are at odds on eight contests! There’s room for me to erase the damage done in Week 5. Of course, there’s ALSO room for Stella to kick dirt on me as I flounder in a hole rendered nigh-inescapable.

She’s made some … let’s just call them interesting picks. Could it be that she’s feeling herself just a little? Or does she know something I don’t know? Ah hell – I think we all understand it to be the latter.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 07 October 2021 11:50

Kibbles and Picks 2021 - Week 5

What a delightful surprise!

It’s always nice when Stella takes pity on me and removes her paw from the accelerator for a moment. To wit, my 10-6 record in Week 4 outperforms her 8-8, allowing me to get back two games on her. Yes, she’s still in the lead, but only by a single game. We all know how it will ultimately play out, of course, but it’s nice to still feel a little bit of hope after the season’s one-quarter(ish) mark.

Now, that lead is guaranteed to change after Week 5 – we’re at odds on seven of the week’s contests, so there’s no opportunity for a tie. Whether Stella rebuilds her lead or I (gasp) tie or even pass her remains to be seen. I know what’s PROBABLY going to happen – I’ve been doing this a long time – but it’s nice to dream.

Published in The Sports Edge
Thursday, 30 September 2021 12:06

Kibbles and Picks 2021 - Week 4

And the trend continues.

I felt pretty okay about my 10-6 record in Week 3. Not bad, right? Right – except Stella went 12-4 and pushed her lead to three games. Yes, it’s still early and there’s plenty of time to right the ship, but let’s be real – when have I EVER righted the ship?

That said, I do have a shot to make some noise this week, as Stella and I differ on fully half of the week’s slate. Now, eight games means that I could conceivably erase Stella’s entire lead. However, it also means that Stella could bury me in a hole from which I’ll be hard-pressed to escape, even with three-quarters of the season left.

Remind me again why I put myself through this?

Published in Sports
Thursday, 23 September 2021 12:06

Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 3

And so it begins.

After a brief respite in Week 1, where Stella and I finished with identical 8-8 records, Week 2 finds the natural order restored. Specifically – Stella is winning once again.

Now, it’s not by a lot – she went 11-5 and I was hot on her heels with a 10-6 record – but a lead is a lead. She has historically proven quite reticent to relinquish said leads when she gets them, so … buckle up, I guess?

We’re at odds on six of the week’s contests this time around, so we’ll see what happens.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 16 September 2021 09:54

Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 2

And we’re off to an underwhelming start.

It’ll probably come as no surprise to anyone who followed Week 1’s upset-riddled slate that neither Stella nor myself had a particularly good week. In fact, we had pretty much the same not particularly good week – we both managed to go 8-8.

So we’re back at it with a clean slate this week, both of us essentially starting from zero. Not that we’re likely to see a ton of separation after this coming week, because Stella and I are at odds on just five of this week’s contests.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 09 September 2021 13:13

Kibbles and Picks 2021 – Week 1

That’s right! Everyone’s favorite man-versus-dog NFL picks feature is back!

For the ninth(!) year, The Maine Edge presents Kibbles and Picks, wherein I pick the winners of each week’s slate of NFL games in direct competition with my dog Stella. And for those keeping track of such things, Stella has outpicked me in six of those previous eight seasons.

Yep – out of eight attempts, I’ve outperformed my dog exactly twice. And both of those were close.

But hey – hope springs eternal or whatever. Maybe I’m steadfast or maybe just a glutton for punishment, but either way, I’m back to try again. So is Stella, though she’s less in her head about it than I am. She’s fully prepared to defeat me yet again – just because she is adorable and loves me doesn’t mean she’s going to take it easy on me.

It’s on. Wish me luck.

Published in Sports

Are you ready for some football?

By the time read this, the 2021 NFL season may have already kicked off – the first game of this year’s slate is scheduled for September 9, when the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the Dallas Cowboys.

For the second year in a row, the NFL season will play out under the long shadow cast by the pandemic; it remains to be seen how the continuing evolution of that nationwide health concern will impact the schedule. Despite the NFL’s robust demands with regard to vaccination and other safety protocols, it seems likely that the game on the field will be impacted. How often and how thoroughly? Well, that remains to be seen.

With all of this uncertainty, it would seem to be even more foolish than usual to attempt to predict the outcome of the 2021 NFL regular season. And yet … here we are.

I will be making my usual predictions regarding how I believe the season will play out. And as usual, I anticipate being wildly off-base with a significant percentage of these predictions. I have a long and storied history of middling picks, after all – why expect anything different this time around? There’s even an extra regular season game, adding yet another little bit of possible inaccuracy to my personal equation.

And so, here you have it, friends – my monkey-dart-throwing attempt at prognostication. Ladies and gentlemen, your sure-to-be-inaccurate 2021 Maine Edge NFL Season Preview.

(y = division winner; x = wild card)

Published in Sports

There are a lot of reasons that the NFL has become the preeminent league in American professional sports. The telegenic nature of the game, the strength of the marketing machine, the undeniably impressive on-field athleticism – all key components to the game’s massive success.

But one of the very biggest has to be the proliferation of fantasy football.

What fantasy football has done – particularly with the advent of the internet – is change the way the sport is consumed, giving people reason to watch games that don’t involve their own rooting interest. It’s the sort of thing that turns non-fans into casual fans and casual fans into passionate ones.

As we approach the season’s kickoff, thousands of fantasy football leagues are the in process of holding their drafts. Millions of people are making their selections, deciding which combination of players gives them the best chance of coming out on top and winning money, trophies and/or bragging rights.

There’s an entire industry built around giving advice to fantasy football players. There are experts out there who spend countless hours breaking down statistics and trying to project which players are going to have big years and which ones are going to regress. They’ll tell you why you should select a player and when.

I am not one of those experts.

What I am is someone who has played fantasy football regularly for nearly two decades. I’ve won a championship or two along the way. I’ve also finished dead last once or twice. Mostly, I’ve fallen somewhere in-between. And since I’ve lived my fantasy life as part of that vast middle class, I thought it might be interesting to pass along a few bits of wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 05 May 2021 10:46

Meet the newest New England Patriots

The NFL Draft is over and the New England Patriots have added some new names to their ranks.

It has been a long time since the Pats have been in this position, drafting in the middle of the first round instead of the end, as they have more or less every season for the past two decades. Everyone was curious as to how Bill Belichick’s draft plan would unfold from this unfamiliar spot.

They seemed interested in potentially taking a long-term QB candidate, but with this front office, you just never know. Would they trade up if there was someone they liked? Would they trade down if there wasn’t?

And then Mac Jones dropped to them.

Jones will have every opportunity to succeed with this team. Some of the other names on this list might not have the same length runway. But that’s the joy of it – you never know when you might be meeting one of your team’s future stars for the first time. Best of luck, gentlemen.

And now, your new New England Patriots.

(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
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