Los Angeles A PLAYER for NFL & Super Bowl 50!

Eric’s Week 9 NFL Picks

Last Week: 8-5 Season: 63-54

Remember, use my picks to wager $$$ at your own risk. If you lose, I had nothing to do with it. If you win beaucoup $$$, a 10% tip would be cool.  But, I’m realistic. This is just for your entertainment…or not, and for me to keep my sports “mojo” going until “I’m back in the saddle”. Remember the league’s unofficial motto…“ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY OR SATURDAY“…………


TAMPA BAY (5-2) +8.5 @ ATLANTA (5-2) O/U 44.5 pts
-NFC South showdown and New Orleans isn’t in this one. Bucs QB Josh Freeman’s won eight games, six late in the fourth quarter. Falcons tough at home and coming off of a bye. FALCONS (27-21, FALCONS)

CHICAGO (4-3) -3 vs. BUFFALO (0-7) @ TORONTO 40.5 pts
-The Bills are much better than their record having lost their last two in overtime. The Bears offensive line can’t protect QB Jay Cutler. Bills add “Lights Out” LB Shawn Merriman who was waived by San Diego earlier this week. Buffalo gets its first win……………in Toronto. BILLS (22-19, BEARS)

NEW ENGLAND (6-1) -4 @ CLEVELAND (2-5) 43.5 pts
-Browns coming off a shocker beating the World Champs in the Big Easy, 30-13. Browns whistle-blower Eric Mangini trying to get the upper-hand on his former boss, Bill Belichick. Patriots with the league’s best record playing like they did for their Super Bowl runs with QB Tom Brady driving them home. PATRIOTS (34-14, BROWNS)

NY JETS of NEW JERSEY (5-2) -4.5 @ DETROIT (2-5) 41 pts
-Jets surprisingly grounded last week in Jersey by Green Bay working the 9-0 shutout. Lions getting their second win of the season beating Washington last week. It’ll be tough with Matthew Stafford back at QB for Detroit. NY/New Jersey rebounds behind QB Mark Sanchez and RB LaDanian Tomlinson. JETS (23-20, JETS)

NEW ORLEANS (5-3) -6.5  @ CAROLINA (1-6) 40.5 pts
-New Orleans making a statement with last week’s win over Pittsburgh. In Carolina before the Big Easy Bye Week. Saints looking to grab a share of the NFC South lead with a win. Panthers are just terrible. SAINTS (34-3, SAINTS)

ARIZONA (3-4) +8.5 @ MINNESOTA (2-5) 41 pts
-Vikings coach Brad Childress feeling the heat after waiving WR Randy Moss just three weeks after trading a third round draft pick to New England for him. All this without telling the Vikes owner! Then, Childress gets into it with WR Sidney Rice during practice. Good thing QB Brett Favre can still play. He’s the Energizer Bunny……taking a hit and keeps on ticking. Last week, smacked in the chin requiring ten stitches in the loss at New England. Vikes still have RB Adrian Peterson too. Cardinals going back to QB Derek Anderson after Max Hall didn’t work out. Vikings still better. VIKINGS (27-24, VIKINGS)

MIAMI (4-3) +5 @ BALTIMORE (5-2) 40.5 pts
-Something you don’t see to often. Miami undefeated on the road and winless at home. Baltimore coming off a bye week and well rested. Running games will dominate in this one setting up play-action for both Dolphins QB Chad Henne and the Ravens Joe Flacco. RAVENS (26-10, RAVENS)

SAN DIEGO (3-5) -3 @ HOUSTON (4-3) 50.5 pts
-Statistically, the Chargers have the league’s top-rated offense and defense. Problem is San Diego’s lost three games because of pathetic special teams miscues. Going into Houston, Bolts QB Phillip Rivers must be salivating because the Texans defense is the worst in the league. Bolts can pressure Houston QB Matt Schaub, containing WR Andre Johnson and let RB Arian Foster try to beat them. CHARGERS (29-23, CHARGERS)

NY GIANTS of NEW JERSEY (5-2) -6.5 @ SEATTLE (4-3) 41 pts
-Battle of division leaders in the Emerald City. The Giants are the Giants. Running the football well, QB Eli Manning feeding off his running game and the NY/New Jersey defense stopping the oppositions offense. Seahawks might be the worst division leader in the league. They’ll be without QB Matt Hasselbeck who’s out with a concussion after getting knocked around by the Raiders, 33-3. Charlie Whitehurst takes over. “The 12th Man”, a.k.a Seahawks fans, will be loud. Not enough. GIANTS (41-7, GIANTS)

INDIANAPOLIS (5-2) +3 @ PHILADELPHIA (4-3) 46.5 pts
-Michael Vick’s back at QB for the Eagles and will present problems for the Colts defense because he can take off with the pill. DE’s Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney will be breathing heavy. Colts have this guy named Peyton Manning at QB. Stop him if you can, Philly. COLTS (26-24, EAGLES)

KANSAS CITY (5-2) +2.5 @ OAKLAND (4-4) 40.5 pts
-Looks like the heated  AFL/NFL rivalry is back!!!  Seems the “Swagger’s Back for the Silver & Black.”

Well, maybe not with that much…..um…..romance? Both teams learning to win and playing well. Raiders scored 59 two weeks ago in Denver and put up 33 last week on Seattle. Oakland’s looking for its first three-game winning streak since 2002 when they went to the Super Bowl. Chiefs have won eight straight AT Oakland. That streak ends. RAIDERS (23-20, RAIDERS)

DALLAS (1-6) +7.5 @ GREEN BAY (5-3) 45.5 pts (SNF)
-No ICE BOWL drama in this one.

Dallas playing for pride, if it has any left after falling at home to Jacksonville last week. Banged-up Packers worked a 9-0 shut-out beating the Jets in Jersey last week. PACKERS (45-7, PACKERS)

PITTSBURGH (5-2) -5.5 @ CINCINNATI (2-5) 41 pts (MNF)
-Last year, Bengals supplanted the Steelers as AFC North Champs during a Pittsburgh five-game skid. Steelers looking to return the favor trying to extend Cincy’s current four-game skid. Too much talent on the Bengals roster for that. Some pride from QB Carson Palmer, WR’s T.O. and Ocho-Cinco and RB Cedric Benson. It’ll be tough against Big Ben and Big Troy. BENGALS (27-21, STEELERS)

DENVER (2-6)
ST. LOUIS (4-4)
*LOS ANGELES (15 yrs, 9 weeks)

*The AEG Downtown Los Angeles Retractable Roof Billion Dollar Stadium gaining some momentum. AEG’s Tim Leiweke says the stadium can be built in time for the Super Bowl’s Golden Anniversary (50th or “L”). Remember, Super Bowl I was played at the L.A. Coliseum with Green Bay Beating Kansas City.

It would be a TRAVESTY if SBL was  played anywhere BUT  in Los Angeles.

(all video courtesy of  NFL FILMS)

Are the Rams Returning to the City of Angels?

I don’t want to get too excited about the Rams returning to Los Angeles because I really don’t like to count my proverbial chickens before they hatch and find myself with bitter disappointment.

But………Can it be? Are the Moons aligning? In the names of Merlin, Youngblood, Deacon, Crazy Legs and Roman, are the Rams beginning the process of moving back to Los Angeles?

At the moment, all signs seem to be pointing in that very direction.

Published reports from St. Louis and Los Angeles are abuzz with stories regarding the sale of the Rams and two possible sites in the greater Los Angeles area for a state-of-the-art NFL stadium.

In the “Gateway City”, writers from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believe St. Louis losing an NFL franchise for the second time seems inevitable while Bernie Miklasz of stltoday.com and ESPN Radio refuses to suggest such a notion even though he clearly sees the writing on the wall.

Rams minority owner Stan Kroenke wants full control of the franchise and is looking to purchase it from Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez.  At issue, Kroenke owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. The NFL has rules against cross-ownership of teams in other major U.S. sports leagues. Kroenke seems to be able to clear such hurdles by signing over controlling interests of his other major sports teams to other family members.

Kroenke, also, seems to be working with L.A. sports & entertainment big-wigs to get them back where they belong, LOS ANGELES.

Earlier this week, St. Louis Globe-Democrat columnist Howard Balzer wrote:

It turns out Kroenke is a member of the league’s Los Angeles Stadium Working Group committee. Roll that one around in your mind a few minutes. Everyone I mentioned that to Thursday was silent for a few seconds, and then said, “Oh, my God.”

It means Kroenke is privy to every detail, every plan, simply everything that is related to those trying to get a stadium built there.

Then on Thursday, Los Angeles Times columnist Sam Farmer wrote that businessmen Casey Wasserman, who owned the L.A. Avengers of the defunct Arena Football League, and AEG’s Tim Leiweke are considering a plan to build a privately funded stadium behind the Staples Center where the West Hall of the Convention Center currently sits. They tried this about eight years ago, but they backed out when the Coliseum Commission tried to make its own bid that, also, failed.

In a follow-up article from Saturday’s L.A. Times, Farmer added Wasserman and Leiweke want the proposed $1 billion stadium to have a retractable roof for use year round for a number of other events.

The Coliseum Commission isn’t a factor any longer because it’s locked in with USC which has rights of first refusal because the Trojans football team is the Coliseum’s major tenant.

The stadium would complete the L.A. Live entertainment corridor that was envisioned by AEG when the Staples Center was first built. Of course, the stadium proposal would need to be approved by the City of Los Angeles because the convention center is owned by the city.

In the article, Farmer added:

What’s more, the downtown bid would put Wasserman and Leiweke in direct competition with developer Ed Roski, who already has an entitled and shovel-ready piece of land in City of Industry to build a football stadium. There is only room for one such project in the L.A. area, and the Industry group is at least a year ahead of any other because it has clearance to build.

Another problem exists with the NFL. The current collective bargaining agreement ends after next season. The league is trying to avoid a labor dispute and subsequent work-stoppage in 2011.

The sticking point, team owners want the players to help in paying off the huge stadium costs.

The new CBA will take at least a year to negotiate which means no stadium will be built or team will re-locate while the NFL takes care of its CBA. That’ll give Wasserman and Lewieke a year to catch up with Roski.

When the time comes, I think these two competing stadium teams might want to join forces and work together on one site to benefit the greater Los Angeles Area, the NFL, maybe the Rams, and, first and foremost, the long suffering Los Angeles Rams fans.

The Rams called Los Angeles home for 49 years before (gulp) Georgia Frontiere moved them to St. Louis in 1994 claiming Los Angeles wouldn’t support them because there was too much to do in Southern California other than watch football.

I said it then and I’ll say it now. HELLO! 49 YEARS! Needless to say, Georgia pulled a “Major League” getting a sweet money deal in St. Louis while still residing in Bel-Air.

The City of Angels could soon be celebrating the Rams 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles (16 years, and counting, in the making) with St. Louis losing its second NFL franchise. That doesn’t have to happen.

Here’s a thought. When the Rams move back to Los Angeles, how about moving the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars to St. Louis and re-naming them the Stallions. Wasn’t that the idea when the league expanded 16 years ago anyway?

As far as a second team in the new Los Angeles Stadium.  Do you really think Chargers owner Alex Spanos will sit put in San Diego and play in an aging Qualcomm Stadium when he can move his team into a state-of-the-art play-pen back in its original home just up Interstate 5?

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