Farewell to the Captain and NFL Six Picks!

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I couldn’t figure out how to smoothly insert David Wright into the NFL Six Picks conversation this morning, so rather than contrive some awkward, half-baked connection, we’re just going to lead with him, like a fastball grooved right down the middle.

The man’s battle back from devastating injuries to put on the blue and orange one more time in front of the home fans tonight has been nothing less than inspirational. For those of us lucky enough to have watched David Wright since he arrived on the New York  sports scene back in 2004, we’ve seen outstanding talent coupled with determination and dignity literally every day he laced up his spikes and took the field.

And yes, The Captain is also a football fan, particularly when it comes to his beloved Virginia Tech Hokies, and my initial idea was to invite him to be the SportsAttic LUCKY 7 Guest Prognosticator on this Saturday’s NFL post.

Like many of my ideas that begin with only the best intentions, this one flamed out quickly. First, it would appear (after an admittedly half-assed search attempt) that The Captain doesn’t have an InstaGram account.

So my big idea of messaging David my guest request was immediately torpedoed. Not to mention that even if he did have an IG presence, the idea that David Wright might take the time to respond with a selection (against the spread) on the morning of his first Mets start in over two years (and last of his professional career) was probs a tad unrealistic.

My next brilliant idea was to select TWO guest prognosticator’s for this week’s Six Picks post. The idea would be to stage some sort of NFL “Dueling Banjo” competition, with the best prediction earning a second visit as LUCKY 7 man of the hour next week.

Pretty cool, huh? Yeah, I know, it’s not David Wright Guest Prognosticator cool, but give me a break here, I had to try something. And after watching the magnificent crash and burn of Night Man in last week’s initial foray into the world of SportsAttic guest participants, a change was needed. Big time.

Alas, the Dueling Banjo idea also fizzled, as one of our “volunteer” combatants bowed out at the eleventh hour, citing no good excuse in his clipped and impersonal text informing us of his unwillingness to answer the bell (shades of Roberto Duran muttering “no mas” while slumped in his corner, or some other example of historically disappointing lack of competitive fire?). Anyway…

Here we go with our NFL Six Picks (home team in all CAPS):

Saints (-3) over the GIANTS — Yup, going against the home dog right out of the gates. It seems to me (meaning no substantive research was conducted to confirm or deny the upcoming point) that Drew Brees and the Saints always feast on Big Blue’s defense, and with Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple both likely to sit this one out for the New Yorkers, I don’t see how the Gints can keep up. I do expect to see some fireworks from both offenses, and maybe even a coming out party featuring 200+ yards from scrimmage for Saquon Barkley, but in the end it won’t be enough. (Saints 41-28)

CHICAGO (-3) over Tampa Bay — I’m beginning to feel that my weekly baiting of Ryan Fitzpatrick to revert dramatically back to his career norm of mediocrity and inconsistency is what is fueling his unlikely run of heroism. I thought we’d finally seen the last of Fitzmagic following the first half of last week’s Steelers matchup, but then damned if Fitzie didn’t catch fire after the break and almost pull out the W. So this is a pick against Fitzmagic continuing, and a pick for Khalil Mack and what has fast become my favorite NFL defense to watch. Da Bears must be salivating over the high likelihood that Fitz reverts back to his mistake-prone former self just in time for the Bucs’ visit to the Midway. (Bears 24-7)

Houston (pick ’em) over the COLTS — I don’t like picking a winless team heading on the road to play in a dome (even a dome in Indianapolis), but I simply find the Colts uninspiring. Didn’t Andrew Luck used to be a QB that was entertaining to watch? I know, injuries, injuries, but man, how has this franchise cratered so badly both in terms of won/loss record and boring product on the field? Give me Deshaun Watson finally regaining his footing with a breakout performance, while J.J. Watt builds on that three-sack outing last weekend against the Giants with a defensive TD to seal the deal. (Texans 27-20)

ARIZONA (+3) over the Seahawks — We are only in Week 4, but it feels like both of these teams are already done for 2018. The Rams can be anointed division champs right now, and the only question is their playoff seeding. But since the rest of the division will have to complete their schedules (league rules say they have to), we will continue to have these occasional NFC West clunkers to sift through. So we’ll take the home dog, thinking that Josh Rosen will do enough right to put a few points on the board, and the Seahawks will resume their futile offensive slog with another subpar effort away from their vaunted 12th Man. Shrug. (Cards 12-10)

STEELERS (-3) over the Ravens — I wouldn’t touch this one if not for my declaration that I’d pick the Sunday Night and Monday Night games every week as part of the Six Picks package. The Antonio Brown hoo-hah is starting to alternately bore and annoy me, but it beats the incessant whining and tweeting of Le’Veon Bell, as he takes in another contest from his family room sofa (note to Steelers front office types: would ya trade Bell already! The New York Airplanes have plenty of cap space and a need for a playmaker, and will likely give up far more than he’s worth in return). I don’t buy into the Ravens as serious contenders, but when these two teams line up against each other it is a crap shoot. Let’s look for Big Ben to target Antonio Brown repeatedly Sunday night (if for no other reason than to cease the “I can’t throw it to myself” nonsense) as the Steelers tough one out at home against a division rival. (Pittsburgh 22-17)

Kansas City (-4.5) over DENVER — I know that this game will technically be played in October, which is when Andy Reid teams typically begin to realize that they are way over their skis and come back to the rest of the league with a sickening thud. But I’m thinking Pat Mahomes and all those offensive speed demons give us one more big time effort on the road against the Broncos, just to keep the ESPN talking heads giddy with their hyperbole about this “unstoppable K.C. juggernaut.” Then the annual Reid collapse can begin in earnest next Sunday. And quick, for everyone who doesn’t reside in Denver, who is the Broncos starting QB this year? (Chiefs 27-10)

Last Week’s Six Picks Ledger:  3-3 (7-5 on the year)

Now, without further ado, please join me in welcoming to SportsAttic this week’s LUCKY 7 guest prognosticator of the week — JJ from Alamo, California!

A man of good character and judgement, JJ is another displaced fan of the New York Football Jets (not to mention the Mets and David Wright), and he comes at us with a pick destined to lift the spirits of the East Bay locals (and for those of you wondering, yes, we are doing away with our photo of the weekly guest, following significant outcry from many of you over the borderline disturbing photo last week of Night Man and his pooch, Slinging Sammy). Now here it is: 

RAIDERS (-2.5) over the Browns — “Hello SportsAttic followers, this is JJ. The throbbing vein on Gruden’s forehead after the Raiders blow another fourth quarter lead tomorrow will subside when Carr hits Cooper for the game winner!” (Raiders 30-24, in OT)

SportsAttic take: While I agree with JJ’s call here, and do see Chuckie finally getting that elusive first W in his 2.0 campaign back in Oakland, I must admit I’m rethinking this whole LUCKY 7 idea after seeing JJ lead off his commentary with “the throbbing vein.” And while Mayfield certainly did look like the real deal last Thursday in grounding the Jets, he is still a rookie QB making his debut as a starter in front of a hostile crowd, facing a team desperate for a win. (Oakland 23-20, taking advantage of Vegas slicing that half-point off the field goal spread usually assigned to the home team)

So there it is SportsAttic fans — Week 4 of the NFL Six Picks!

And here’s to The Captain, David Wright, getting a proper sendoff into retirement tonight. He may just be the best position player in New York Mets history, and he did it with class and professionalism, attributes that become more rare with every passing year.

Thanks for the many seasons of outstanding baseball and fond memories, David, and here’s hoping you go out with a base hit!

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