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NFL Week 3 expert picks against the spread – Del’s picks

Drew-Brees-frustrated-with-SaintsThere’s really no way to sugarcoat it — the first two weeks of the NFL season have not gone well for Del. It has been an ice cold start, but there can be no panicking this early in the season. The more we get a feel for things and watch teams play, the better the picks should be.

If you’ve been betting Del’s “locks,” you’re in red figures right now. But don’t worry, the goal is to be above the 50-percent mark by the end of the season. We still have more than enough time to get there, and Week 3 is a good time to start going in the right direction.

Here are Del’s Week 3 NFL Picks, with analysis of the top three after the chart. Check back later in the week for Doc Brown’s picks.

NFL PICKS WEEK 3
(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)

NFL-Picks-Week-3

Are the Chargers already underrated or what? This is a team that should be 2-0 if not for a fluke meltdown in a hostile road environment against the Cardinals in primetime. San Diego looked incredibly convincing against the defending champion Seahawks on Sunday. Philip Rivers is playing at an extremely high level and seems very comfortable under offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Heck, the Chargers even managed to move the ball against Richard Sherman. I’m not sold on the Bills yet, as a regression has to be coming from EJ Manuel. The Chargers aren’t bad enough to be a 1-2 team and the Bills aren’t good enough to be a 3-0 team. Expect the expected in this game. Chargers should win outright.

There probably isn’t a more desperate team in the NFL this week than the Saints. They had a couple of ugly losses to the Falcons and Browns to start the season, but we all know Sean Payton’s team is a different animal when playing in their dome at home. Rob Ryan’s defense has to start forcing some turnovers, and the Vikings showed last week against New England that they’re capable of giving up plenty of them. I expect the Saints to come out firing on offense and their defense to come up with a few takeaways. This one could easily be a blowout.

And finally, I can’t believe I’m saying this — I somehow feel great about the Giants this week. Sure, the Texans are coming an impressive win. They demolished the Raiders on the road, but in this case I think the fact that it was a road game is going to hurt them. The Texans had to travel from Houston to Oakland and back and will now go to the complete opposite side of the country to play the Giants. That’s a lot of traveling. If the Giants can’t capitalize on that to avoid starting 0-3, there won’t be an ounce of hope left for Tom Coughlin’s team.

Charles Barkley’s first pitch at Cubs game was just off the mark (Video)

Charles Barkley was one heck of a basketball player, but his talents on the court certainly did not transfer to the diamond.

Sir Charles threw out the first pitch before Tuesday’s Cubs-Reds game at Wrigley Field and his pitch was not one of the best we’ve seen. If a batter were in the box, the pitch probably would have hit him in the leg, not that it would have hurt at Chuck’s velocity.

Barkley later did an interview with FOX Sports and talked about the first pitch. He said he didn’t really play baseball growing up and said this was his first time throwing out a first pitch.

At least Chuck didn’t look completely “ridiculus” on his toss.

Charles Barkley first pitch

Vikings put Adrian Peterson on exempt list

Adrian PetersonThe Minnesota Vikings sent out a statement early Wednesday morning announcing that they have placed Adrian Peterson on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, meaning the running back will be away from the team until his legal proceedings have been resolved. Yes, that means Peterson will likely be away from the team for a long time.

The Vikings initially said on Monday that Peterson would be welcomed back and preparing to play in Week 3, but many things changed after that. A report emerged later in the day that Peterson was investigated for allegedly beating another one of his sons. Sponsors like Radisson, Castrol and Anheuser-Busch then spoke out about their unhappiness with the league and team’s handling of matters, putting pressure on the Vikings to act. They finally did.

Below is the statement sent by the team:

This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.

While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.

We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision. – Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf

There was simply too much national focus on Peterson and too much pressure on the team for them not to act. This is something they had to do despite their obvious reluctance. You know they’re not happy about having to do it, which is why they announced the news when most of the country was already in bed. And from the sounds of things, it seems like the NFL “urged” them to do this.

Shortly after the news broke, Peterson posted this message to his Twitter account:

Peterson is due over $12 million next season and will be 30. The reality is that he may never play with the team again.

Ronda Rousey rips Cyborg, says she is not good enough even with steroids

Ronda Rousey Cyborg Santos

Ronda Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino have long been rivals in the MMA world despite never facing each other.

Cyborg dominated the Strikeforce women’s featherweight division from 2009-2010 before Rousey took over in 2011. The Brazilian fighter, who is 12-1 (with one no contest) in her pro MMA career, tested positive for steroids following her Dec. 17, 2011 win over Hiroko Yamanaka. She disappeared for a year and a half while she cleaned up, giving Rousey the chance to take over as the biggest name in the sport.

Rousey became the face of women’s MMA and ran through her competition to the point that many have called for her to fight Cyborg. Though Rousey is not afraid to fight Justino, she is always more than willing to rip the cheater. Two years ago, Rousey said that Cyborg was a dick and has a dick. In April, she called Cyborg an “it.

Rousey spoke with the Brazilian media in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday and took some time to lay into Cyborg again. Rousey said she would be willing to fight Cyborg but says the steroids user’s only strength as a fighter is her strength, which is obtained through unnatural means.

“She was fighting, it was a while ago, and she just got dropped five times in a match. And really, to be honest, I haven’t been really too impressed with her actual skill set,” Rousey said via MMAFighting.com. “It’s only her strength that she draws off.”

Rousey then went on to say that Cyborg is not technically proficient as a fighter.

“The mistakes that she makes technically are absolutely terrible and basic. The only reason why she gets away with it is because of her strength, and people don’t realize how strong I actually am. Ask the girls that I’ve fought. They weren’t expecting this. Because I don’t look like it, it doesn’t mean I don’t have it.

“She doesn’t have any feeling in her punches, she pushes her punches. She can’t knock people out with one punch, she just overwhelms them,” she added. “My pace, nobody can overwhelm me. And the way that she is on the ground, it’s absolute horrendous. And her distance is absolute horrendous. The only thing that she has is pace and power, and I have pace, precision and power.”

Rousey also said Cyborg was going to fight in the UFC but bailed as soon as she found out fighters would be subjected to random drug testing. Rousey believes Cyborg has avoided dropping down from 145 pounds to 135 because she knows it would be difficult to dope and drop the weight.

Even though Rousey knows many people will cheat, she says she will always be clean and it will feel more satisfying to beat them despite being at a disadvantage.

“The reason why people dope is because they lack self-confidence. The reason why [Cyborg] was using steroids is because that girl does not believe that the best that she has is good enough, and that will always be there in her mind. And you know what, she’s right. The best that she has isn’t good enough, even on drugs.”

“You know what, you can have every advantage in the world over me, you can have better funding, you can have a better program, be on all the drugs in the world, but I’m gonna be good enough to beat you despite of it.”

Rousey has a big mouth and people dislike her for that, but it’s hard not to love those comments. How can you not root for someone with that attitude?

[Also see: Whom will Ronda Rousey fight next?]

Jalen Rose wants Chris Webber to finally apologize for Michigan problems

Jalen-Rose-Chris-Webber-MichiganChris Webber’s order to disassociate himself with Michigan ended last year, and the former Wolverines star forward took the big step of attending the school’s championship game against Louisville.

Despite Webber’s efforts, former Fab Five teammate Jalen Rose still feels like Webber needs to apologize to the school.

The Fab Five reached the NCAA championship game in each of their first two seasons (1992 and 1993). They were forced to vacate their Final Four appearances and wins after it was discovered that some of their players accepted money from booster Ed Martin, who died in 2003. Webber took over $200,000 from Martin and was the highest-profile player called to testify before a grand jury. Webber initially lied to the grand jury and was later convicted of perjury.

In an interview published by HoopsHype on Monday, Rose reiterated his belief that it’s time for Webber to apologize to the school.

Q: When was the last time you spoke with Chris Webber?

JR: I heard through mutual friends that he’s upset that I said that I feel like he should have come out and apologize for some transgressions that happened at the University of Michigan. But I still stand behind that. Also I’m disappointed how the relationship with [Michigan booster] Ed Martin ended. Ed, unfortunately, in my opinion basically died of a broken heart. So while we’re still brothers and I hope that we’re going to make amends… One of the great things of being teammates and friends is we should be able to speak openly and honestly. And hopefully he finds a way to realize and apologize about what happened in Michigan. It ain’t just about you. It’s about the players, it’s about the coach. Steve Fisher coached in three finals and won a championship in Michigan. You go in that campus, his name is nowhere. So it’s bigger than just him. And the fans deserve it, the history of the University of Michigan deserves it. And all he had to do is say two words. It’s not brain surgery. They are ‘I’m sorry.”

The interview is a good one and features Rose’s thoughts on the Cavs, LeBron and Kevin Love, and much more, so we suggest you read it.

Webber wiped out a lot of bad blood with Michigan by attending the championship game, but an apology would go a long way towards restoring his and the Fab Five’s name with the school, just like Rose says.

Rose said earlier this year that Webber disassociates himself with the Fab Five. Last year, Rose talked on Grantland about how Webber ignored him at the 2013 NBA Finals:

Rose has expressed many strong opinions on this subject. He was responsible for the utterly awesome “The Fab Five” documentary produced by ’30 for 30′ and says Webber, despite initially agreeing to participate, backed out out of the film. Last April, he implored Webber to come to the national championship game (and says Webber did not like the public request). Rose also expressed anger in 2012 over the Fab Five’s banners being pulled down by the school.

The Fab Five may be associated with the scandal that rocked the basketball program, but they also brought remarkable success, identity and accolades to the school. All of the positive deserves equal recognition as the negative.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Dwight Howard has license suspended, ran 10 red lights

Dwight-Howard-LakersIt’s pretty safe to say that Dwight Howard does not feel the rules apply to him … or at least the rules of the road.

The Houston Rockets center had his driver’s license suspended in the state of Florida on Aug. 15 for a number of infractions.

According to court records, Howard was ticketed for running 9 red lights in 2012. He ran another one in July this year, making it an even 10 in three years.

Additionally, Reuters says he has four speeding tickets, 12 citations for failing to pay highway tolls and one for failing to change his address on his license on his Orlando record. Incredibly, Howard just needs to pay a $285 fine for running a red light in Florida to resolve everything.

Prior to signing with the Rockets last year, Howard spent 2004-2012 with the Orlando Magic, where he became a menace on the road (or just a dude who runs red lights). He’s probably not in Florida enough to be seriously concerned about resolving the matter. But this means he’s more similar to Andrew Bynum than we originally thought.

This song goes out to Dwight, from LBS, keep on with those red lights …

Adrian Peterson’s foundation goes on hiatus

Adrian-Peterson-foundation

Adrian Peterson’s charitable organization, the All Day Foundation, announced on Tuesday that it has gone on hiatus.

“Adrian Peterson’s All Day Foundation is on a hiatus as of September 16, 2014,” the website currently reads. “The Foundation will reengage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian’s philanthropy.”

The All Day Foundation is a group that contributes to several charities including the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics confirmed on Monday that they are severing ties with Peterson, and it would not be a surprise if other organizations did the same.

[Related: Radisson suspends relationship with Vikings because of Adrian Peterson scandal]

Just hours after the Minnesota Vikings announced that Peterson would practice this week and play on Sunday, a report surfaced indicating that AP was being investigated for allegedly injuring another one of his sons. The report stated that the 4-year-old swore at one of his brothers while visiting Peterson last June and that Peterson admitted in a text message to disciplining the boy, who was left with a scar on his forehead.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton urged the Vikings to suspend Peterson.

“Whipping a child to the extend of visible wounds, as has been alleged, should not be tolerated in our state,” Dayton said, via The Star Tribune. “Therefore, I believe the team should suspend Mr. Peterson, until the accustaions of child abuse have been resolved by the criminal justice system.”

It seems highly unlikely that Peterson will play against the New Orleans Saints.