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
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 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
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

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced their Class of 2019.

The class will include eight men in all. 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.

Published in Sports

Back in September, 32 NFL teams began a journey that they hoped would end with a trip to Atlanta and an opportunity to lift the Lombardi Trophy as the victors in Super Bowl LIII.

After 16 games in the regular season and some hard-fought contests in January, the field has been whittled down to just two. The New England Patriots – back for the third year in a row and for the ninth time in the 21st century – are set to face off against the Los Angeles Rams, who haven’t been to the big game since they lost to these same Patriots back in 2002.

This rematch is to be played 17 years to the day after that one, a New England victory that would prove to be the first championship of the team’s dynastic run.

Obviously, these aren’t the same teams that faced off on February 3, 2002. However, two very important figures from that long-ago Patriots squad remain. Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are still here, continuing to build on the astonishing legacy (nine Super Bowls, eight straight AFC Championship appearances and 13 total) that they’ve spent the past two decades burnishing.

On the other side, we have the Rams, representing the new guard in the NFL. Head coach Sean McVay is just 33 years old – half the age of his opponent. Quarterback Jared Goff is 24 years old and in his third season; he was just six years old when Tom Brady entered the NFL. They’re a young and hungry group predicted by some to be the successors to the Patriots atop the football world, but they haven’t won anything yet.

So what’s going to happen?

While I’m not one to give too much credence to the necessity of experience, the reality is that this Patriots team has been in this spot A LOT. Meanwhile, just about everybody on the Rams sideline is new to this kind of big game pressure. Will that make a difference? Almost certainly. The amount of difference will likely determine who ultimately comes out on top here.

Still, it’s all about the matchups on the field. Let’s have a look.

Published in Cover Story
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