Q & A with Arena League’s Tysson Poots

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The Cover 4 was able to catch up with Arena League Wide Receiver Tysson Poots. Poots, originally from Las Vegas, plays for the Arizona Rattlers, who will be playing in the Arena Bowl this weekend for the league championship.
This article is particularly special for our site as I went to High School with Poots and actually lined up against him every day in practice. I like to think I played pretty well against him but my memory is a little foggy nowadays.

Poots has always been a special talent. As a two-time All State Wide Receiver, Poots went onto shatter receiving records for the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds. Poots finished his college career with 3,970 receiving yards. Additionally, Poot’s 282 career receptions and 43 touchdowns allowed him to finish as the ninth-leading receiver in FCS history.

At the end of the 2012 season, Poots was ranked as the 13th best player in the Arena League.

http://www.arenafootball.com/sports/a-footbl/aflrtl/mtt/tysson_poots_830726.html

What is the biggest difference from the College Game to the Arena League? How about Arena to the NFL?

The biggest difference is, of course, the field and gameplay. Everything happens so much faster in the Arena League because of the small size of the field. Also, the Arena players were All-Stars on their college team and a majority of them were with a NFL team at one point; the competition level is so high.
Another thing is that they are both professional league. The main difference is the NFL has a 53 man roster and Arena has a 24 man roster, which makes both very hard to make in there own right.

Can you walk us through a typical week in your life during the season?

A typical week would be a game played on Saturday. Sunday would be a recovery day. Most of us players head into treatment and start healing the bumps and bruises. Monday is the same thing as Sunday as we prepare to get our bodies ready for the following game. Tuesday we get up early, head to the facility to start meetings around 7:30. Offense and defense will both lift weights before or after practice depending on the day. Practice Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30-11:30. Friday is a final preparation day with meetings and then it’s Saturday and game day again. My off time is spending watching tv, getting involved in the community, and playing some video games.

What is the hardest part of being a professional athlete?

The hardest part is definitely staying on top of your health and body. Eating right, staying hydrated and getting the right treatment on whatever you need throughout the week is crucial to have effective practices as you prepare for the upcoming game. Games are tough/hard but those are what you prepare for, to go out and have fun.

What has been your favorite moment as a professional athlete thus far?

The guys I’ve met and teammates I’ve had and have. There are many amazing people in the sport I play and to meet some of best players is just a blessing. You can learn a lot from everyone you meet and go to battle with in the games. Another favorite moment is definitely playing in big playoff games and interacting with the fans.

If you weren’t playing football, what would you be doing?

I would be training people to better their lives and/or athletes improving their abilities. There is nothing better to me then seeing someone get to where they want to be health wise. I would enjoy passing along some of the knowledge I’ve picked up along the way to anyone wanting to listen and get better.

Coming from Las Vegas (an area not known for their HS Football) and a smaller 1-AA school, do you still feel like you have to prove the doubters you are able to play with anyone?

I do, at times, still feel like I need to prove something, but I have nothing wrong with feeling that way. It makes me play with a chip on my shoulder, therefore adding to the intensity I can bring to the field.

You’ve been a touchdown machine in the AFL. Rumor has it you may have the best TD celebrations in the game. Where do you come up with your ideas?

Well in the AFL you can do almost anything you want in the endzone; I like to involve my teammates. I score because of them and I realize that. So sometimes I’ll be watching tv and see a current event or something interesting and I’ll try to incorporate that into my thought process. When my teammates are in, the celebrations just sky rocket and ideas start flowing.

After dominating the league last year, you’ve missed some time battling injuries this year. Is Tysson Poots finally 100% healthy? What are we going to see out of you in this Arena Bowl?

Well once you start your season, you are no longer 100%. Regardless if there is an injury or not, it comes down to who can take care of their body the best. As a result, who can produce and stay on the field. Hopefully in the ArenaBowl I play well and have fun. Not everyone gets the chance to play in championship games, so I’m looking to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunity.

You’re about to play in the biggest game of your professional career so far. What is going through your head?

Right now I’m just relaxing and soaking it all in. RELAX is the key word. Stress and anxiety can tire you mentally and physically. I’m definitely aware of the opportunity ahead but preparing smart and trying to not get to work up to early.

Bold Prediction: Tysson Poots finishes with __ yards and __ touchdowns in the Arena Bowl.

You know I never predict any stats for myself. I plan on playing well and taking advantage of the plays that are sent my way.

Do you still have aspirations of playing in the NFL? If so, have you and your agents been in contact with any teams?

I do but I try not to think about it that much. I can only control what I can control and that’s how I look at it. However, if an opportunity comes my way, I am going to jump all over it.

If the NFL is not an option, will you explore the CFL?

I’ve thought of playing in the CFL, which is a great league and would be an amazing opportunity. We always check out different leagues and CFL is a definite possibility to look at if I need too.


At the end of the day, where does Tysson Poots play football next year?

Can’t really say, that’s the life of a football player, you just never know. But I will say I am happy where I am at in Arizona with the Rattlers. It would be an honor be back with this team and organization.

Watch Poots and his Arizona Rattlers take on the Philadelphia Soul in a rematch of last years Arena Bowl. The Arena Bowl XXVI Championship Game will be played on Saturday, August 17th at 1 pm EST and can be viewed on the CBS Television Network. Best of luck in the Arena Bowl this weekend Tysson. We are all rooting for you.

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James Kaikis
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Colin Kaepernick is a Game Changer

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History will tell you that a new-age “running quarterback” can’t carry a team to the Super Bowl. Experts and critics will tell you that the read-option offense is a college gimmick that won’t work in the NFL where the athletes are better and defenses are more sophisticated.

Don’t tell Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers that.

The second-year quarterback has defied all odds and silenced every critic during the Niners’ march to the Super Bowl. After taking over for Alex Smith earlier in the season after Smith sustained a concussion against the Rams, Kaepernick took advantage of the opportunity and earned the starting nod over Smith even when the former No. 1 overall pick was cleared to play. Smith is not a Pro Bowl caliber player by any stretch of the imagination, but for a second-year quarterback to replace a healthy established starter who was playing well is a gamble.

Jim Harbaugh knew what he was doing. He drafted Kaepernick in the second round after a stellar career at the University of Nevada where Kaepernick ran Chris Ault’s pistol offense to perfection. Anyone who followed WAC football knew Kaepernick had potential. He had a good arm, great speed, great character and hid the ball as well as any quarterback in the nation on play-action read options.

Kaepernick is the first of the new breed of quarterbacks to truly shine. Michael Vick, Cam Newton and even Tim Tebow have all shown flashes of potential. Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III led their teams to the playoffs as rookies and got more national attention throughout the season. None of them have done what Kaepernick has. Yes, the Niners’ defense is one of the best in the league. Don’t let that fool you; this team would not be in the Super Bowl if it wasn’t for Kaepernick. He does more than simply manage the game: he dictates and controls it.

Harbaugh is not afraid to give Kaepernick the keys to the car. There is nothing Kaepernick can’t do. He’s accurate, he can throw the deep ball, he can throw in traffic and when all else fails he can break the pressure and scramble outside the pocket to extend the play. Most importantly, he is smart and makes great decisions almost every play. The read-option is not easy, especially with the speed of the game in the NFL. One bad decision could get you or your running back knocked out. Instead, Kaepernick keeps defenses guessing, while he and Frank Gore run for big gain after big gain.

The Niners’ offense has been set up to give defenses fits. The Ravens love to rush the passer off the edge with the likes of Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger. In the Super Bowl, the Ravens will have to find a way put pressure on Kaepernick while keeping contain on the outside. If the Ravens decide to stack the box and go to single coverage, the Niners have the weapons to make any defense pay with Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree. If they choose to drop more men in coverage, the Niners can let Kaepernick, Gore and LaMichael James loose through their potent running attack. Pick your poison, Ravens.

None of this would be possible if Alex Smith was under center. Yes, Kaepernick still has his flaws and is not great at taking snaps from under center, which was a significant red flag when he came out of college. However, the risk for the Niners is worth the reward. He brings such a different dynamic to their offense that there is no question he is the best choice. The Niners were a good team with Smith, they are great with Kaepernick. At the time it looked like a risk; no one is questioning  Harbaugh now.

If Kaepernick and the Niners win, the impact for quarterbacks like him is huge. I guarantee it, win or lose, you will see more teams go to the read-option as their primary offense. If they win, more teams will be willing to take risks on dual-threat quarterbacks because there will be a proven recipe for success. Winning championships is paramount in any sport. Teams aren’t going to use a system that has no hope of leading to a championship.

Many of the aforementioned quarterbacks are better athletes than Kaepernick, have better arms and more impressive college credentials. None of them are the complete package like he is. He gives coaches and general managers a new mold of quarterback to look at. He is a system quarterback and that system with him running it has proven to be incredibly successful at the highest level. To win the Super Bowl against the legendary Ravens defense would be a statement for Kaepernick, Harbaugh, the Niners and the new breed of quarterbacks everywhere looking for their shot in the NFL. Victory over a defense of that stature would change the game.

Kaepernick has overcome every obstacle in his path so far. If he comes through on the game’s biggest stage, he will have gone from the backup to a legend in a matter of months. As Kaepernick’s history tells us, he thrives as the underdog and loves to prove his critics wrong. It would be unwise to bet against him this Sunday in the biggest game of his career.

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David Oleson
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Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

There are always comparisons between quarterbacks, ranging from Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning or RG3 to Cam Newton. It is quite popular to compare an incumbent to their contemporaries to paint a picture to the public for the future.

Are we going to do that here?  Nope.  In lieu of comparing current NFL quarterbacks to their predecessors, we are going to compare them to actors.  Yes, actors.

For a little appetizer, think of Jamarcus Russell like Lindsay Lohan with all the potential and tools, but caught up in out-of-work trouble. Purple Drink!

Here we go:

NFC East

Eli Manning – Joaquin Phoenix

Both are extremely eclectic people that find ways to put on great performances in crucial times.  They are recognized as the most important person in their biggest career moments.  In Gladiator, Phoenix supported the role of Russell Crowe, much like Manning managed the Giants to their first Super Bowl win.  Next, each person rose to the starring role with Manning guiding the Giants over the Patriots for a second time and Phoenix presenting a remarkable performance in Walk the Line.

Tony Romo – Mark Wahlberg

Ever see someone begin from nothing but, when given their first shot, show such immense potential? Much like Romo, Wahlberg began great with the Italian Job, and continued to show prominence in Invincible and Shooter, but follows up with Ted and The Other Guys.  It is head scratching as much as Tony Romo, but it is undeniable that both men expose themselves to seriously low moments in their career that make you question them.

Michael Vick & Nick Foles – Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker

We have a flashy stunt man, who really does not know how to hone or master his craft (whether it be either acting or quarterbacking).  Their counterpart is serviceable, by carrying the traditional acting techniques, and although either are unproven or average, both Tucker and Foles show flashes of having potential.  Ultimately, neither actor nor quarterback is taken seriously in their profession.

Robert Griffin III – Justin Timberlake

Each person was successful in the early phase of their career, and transferred that into the next level of exposure and immediately succeeded.  RG3 won the Heisman at Baylor and JT went from the front man of Nsync to a prominent solo music career.  At their transition phases, RG3 led his Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie year, and Justin hit the big screen with a splash in The Social Network.  Great things are still to come from these two.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers – Leonardo DiCaprio

Both of these men are at the top of their respective profession right now and are a must see on the big screen or the football field.  Rodgers continues to get better and better playing the position at such a consistent high level.  Concurrently, Leo manages to remain in elevated form by rolling out Catch Me If You Can, The Departed and Inception just to name a few.

Jay Cutler – Robert Downey Jr.

The overall “I don’t give a $h*!” attitude resemblance between these two is very uncanny.  At the same time, when focused and motivated, Downey and Cutler can put together stretches of absolute brilliance that remind you they are formidable in their respective fields.

Christian Ponder – Josh Hartnett

Essentially, both of these men peaked way too early.  Ponder was drafted well before he should have ever been considered and Hartnett has been on a steady decline since Black Hawk Down.  However, they both have capabilities to present manageable performances with Ponder being efficient and Hartnett with 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Matthew Stafford – Ben Affleck

Affleck and Stafford flourish with talent around them and in the right setting.  Stafford has been fortunate to have Calvin Johnson and numerous weapons to generate his massive yardage seasons.  As much as Affleck has captured us with Good Will Hunting and The Town, he has released some big flops like Gigli and Daredevil, resembling the disgusting sidearm sling Matthew Stafford continually resorts to.

 NFC South

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Matt Ryan – Jeremy Renner

Matt Ryan revitalized a struggling franchise with his first NFL pass going for a touchdown and he has not looked back since.  The same can be said for Jeremy Renner, who really hit us with The Hurt Locker and continued to get better with The Town.  Each of these men is on the rise and aimed for greatness with their professions.

Cam Newton – Gerard Butler

Utterly mind-blowing physical specimens from their initial roles from 300 or Cam’s rookie year, but their dropoff cannot be argued.  It seems both get complacent with their initial success, and relies on their physical tools rather than developing their craft.

Drew Brees – Brad Pitt

Brees’ career began very prominent and flashy in San Diego, which is very reminiscent of Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  Although, each of them went through a dry spell or injury span, they both developed their potential into either a Super Bowl winner or hits with Benjamin Button and Inglorious Bastards.

Josh Freeman – Chris Hemsworth

The physical traits of both men naturally set them above the rest from the beginning. Additionally, they have displayed moments of brilliance in key moments.  Hemsworth separated himself from the bottom feeders of the comic remake world, and lined up multiple runs of Thor.  Freeman has shown to be more than clutch in critical moments leading the volatile Bucs to come from behind wins and fourth quarter drives.

 NFC West

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Alex Smith & Colin Kaepernick – Tobey Maguire & Jesse Eisenberg

Smith came in as a number one overall pick with the expectations to revive a franchise, but failed to do so.  The same result can be seen from Tobey Maguire’s attempt at the Spiderman series; an utter disaster.  Maguire was capable of carrying a movie throughout with Pleasantville or Seabiscuit, but failed to present anything spectacular.  Conversely, Colin Kaepernick has come in a thrived as an absolute star much like Eisenberg in The Social Network.  Look for both Kaepernick and Eisenberg to entertain us for the next generation of professionals.

Russell Wilson – Joseph Gordon Levitt

Levitt’s respectable beginning in TV started with 3rd Rock from the Sun and that can be comparable to Wilson’s stint in minor league baseball, but their adaptation to the professional level has better utterly amazing.  Whether it be Inception, Looper, or leading a Seahawks franchise to the playoffs with utter poise and composure; both of these future stars will be around for a long time to come.

Sam Bradford – Chris Pine Can

Chris Pine showed he was capable of supporting Denzel Washington in Unstoppable and left the public wanting more for the recreated Star Trek franchise.  Similar to Pine, when Bradford gets comfortable and gains weapons around him, the Rams will continue their positive direction to a reputable franchise again.

Kevin Kolb & Crew – Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell

Coach put Uncle Rico in and we saw how that went….

 AFC East

Tom Brady – Denzel Washington

Thriving in roles with good looks and masterful performances symbolizes these two dynamic personalities perfectly.  Denzel began his career being acclaimed in a supporting role and prospered into a top leading man for an extended duration from Training Day to recently released Flight.  Brady stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe and never looked back creating a decade of dominance for the New England Patriots.

Ryan

Ryan Tannehill – Zac Efron

With a limited sample size with one year in college and a rookie NFL year, Ryan Tannehill has shown to have immense potential with absolutely no talent around him.  Looking past Efron’s High School Musical days, he has displayed some notable performances with 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud by showing he can exceed expectations and carry a movie throughout.  It is early, but both Tannehill and Efron have shown glimpses of having a reputable future in their industries.  Plus have you seen their girl friends or wife?  Bonus points!

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn’s natural sarcastic humor resembles the intelligence of a Harvard graduate like Fitzpatrick.  Essentially both are serviceable in their industry with spotty high moments, but won’t produce anything award winning.

Mark Sanchez – Colin Farrell

They try so hard but it does not work.  We can equate SWAT to Sanchez’s early years with nice playoffs runs, but it has been a steep decline ever since.  Sanchez tried to be an efficient manager but failed.  Farrell tried to match Brad Pitt’s Troy with Alexander, but that was a disaster.  They will remain in their industries, but will never prevail to anything special.

 AFC North

JoeJoe Flacco – Matt Damon

Damon’s character in the Ocean’s Eleven series represents Flacco beyond a reasonable doubt.  Damon struggled to be acknowledged as a main contributor, but gradually was given more respect as each movie continued.  At the same time, Damon carried an entertaining Bourne series for almost a decade and, although it wasn’t award winning, it was very entertaining.  Flacco has shown utter moments of brilliance in big moments, much like Damon in Good Will Hunting and The Departed.

Andy

Andy Dalton – John Cho

You may know Cho has Harold from the Harold and Kumar series, but he quietly has strung together a few noteworthy performances with American Beauty and Star Trek.  He looks to still be a constant within the revitalized Star Trek series, resembling Dalton’s potential lengthy and serviceable NFL career.  It is hard to tell what each person will ultimately become, but each has shown potential that they can be taken seriously looking forward in their future.

Ben Roethlisberger – Christian Bale

Bale and Big Ben can cause some controversy outside the office, but when focused, they compete to be the best in their fields.  Bale transformed the Batman series and was outstanding in The Fighter, while Roethlisberger led the Steelers to Super Bowl appearances and a victories after years of Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart.

Brandon Weeden – David Caruso

This one may be self explanatory.  Both were given a shot at an older age and it may work out for Weeden, but if it does expect nothing more than a Lieutenant Horatio Caine performance in CSI: Miami.

AFC South

Matt Schaub – Alec Baldwin

Neither was intended to take on a leading role at the highest level.  Baldwin is perfect at 30 Rock and Schaub was an effective back-up for an injury prone Michael Vick in Atlanta.  Schaub has never quite lived up to a franchise starting quarterback, much like Baldwin in the main character role of a major motion picture.  Both have had memorable moments from big games to priceless lines in The Departed.

Andrew Luck – Tom Hardy

Luck and Hardy came in with all of the physical and mental tools to be successful from the beginning, and lived up to the hype.  Luck led a 2-14 Colts team to the playoffs and Hardy thrived inInception, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises.  Future success exudes from both of these professionals in such a short sample size already.

Blaine Gabbert & Jake Locker – Taylor Lautner & Robert Pattinson

Gabbert & Locker have proved they are products of the combine hype and beneficiaries of tremendous arm strength, as their on-field product has not been worthy of first-round draft picks.  Translate the aforementioned sentence to motion pictures, and you have Twilight.  The CFL and ABC Family cannot wait for these guys.

AFC West

Peyton Manning – Tom Hanks

Starting as the number one pick in the NFL draft and winning best actor in a children’s movie just conveys the early success of the methodical and surgical (Trent Dilfer talk) careers for Peyton Manning and Tom Hanks.  Both men bring extremely dedicated and intellectual approaches to their roles transcending generations that made up for any physical deficiencies.

Phillip Rivers – Sam Worthington

Has anyone hit the big screen faster and harder than Sam Worthington?  In the blink of an eye, he starred in Terminator and Avatar, but then dramatically took steps down with Clash of the Titans and Man on a Ledge.  This sounds eerily similar to Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers, with his tremendous start under Marty Schottenheimer to his most recent two season decline.  Both began to enter the “elite” conversation, but have quickly entered the above average.

Carson Palmer – Nicholas Cage

This is one of my favorites.  Cage showed some flashes of brilliance when next to Sean Connery in The Rock similar to Carson Palmer surrounded with weapons in Cincinnati.  Both of them believed themselves to be far more talented than what they really are, but show their true worth either in Oakland or anything Nicholas Cage does.  Cage is veteran garbage like Palmer.

Matt Cassel – Seann William Scott

Do you remember Steve Stiffler from the American Pie series?  He was barely in the first one, but his roles progressively grew in an entertaining fashion.  Unfortunately, Seann William Scott cannot be a lead actor. He was amazing in Role Models because he fed off of Paul Rudd.  The Chiefs gave Cassel the keys to the car and how did that turn out?

 Note from the Chief : I believe this to be one of the coolest and funniest articles I have ever seen. I would appreciate it if you would help us spread the word on this article more-so than others. With the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl upon us, this is a perfect time to bring some excitement to the game. Thank you

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Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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Our Final Installment: Week 17 NFL Predictions

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Can you believe it? We are already in week 17 of the NFL season and the new year is right around the corner. The smell of playoff football is in the air; who will be peaking at the right time to make it to the Super Bowl?

I will commend the NFL on doing the scheduling changes a few years ago, I love watching meaningful games in the last week of the season. Dallas v Washington for the division?! Two years in a row Cowboy fans. Is this year going to be different?

For fantasy reasons, I love watching players play meaningful games in week 15, 16 & 17 because it allows me to win my fantasy football league. Won 1 of 4 – not bad. Pay me Long Island Sound!

From the Cover 4 to our readers, thank you for following along this season; it has had its ups and downs and plenty of changes to meet the demands of our fans but we have enjoyed every minute of it.

THE COVER 4: PHI, CHI, GB, WAS

We hope that you continue to read our website and follow along for some of the best, and most interesting, sports articles out there right now. We aren’t your typical mainstream sports website ; we are for the fans, by the fans. Period!

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New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-3) 

Jesse – NYJ –  Both teams are terrible, so I’ll take the points.

Long Island Sound – NYJ – Sanchez will provide a good performance versus a below average defense to prove his worth.

Plumb – NYJ – With McElroy out and Sanchez back, this may be Sanchez’s last time to prove he can play in the big leagues.

James – NYJ – Mark Sanchez is going to play the best game of his life…… maybe?

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Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-10)

Jesse – MIA – I expect Miami to play New England tough and cover the 10 points.

Long Island Sound – NE – Hate big lines, but Miami going to NE never works out well for them.

Plumb – MIA – Well last time around New England overlooked Miami and division games are always tough to win, let alone cover. Dolphins make one last push to cap off a decent season.

James – NE – I like Coach Billy in this matchup; coach always wants to send a message.

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Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-2½)

Jesse – BAL – Baltimore destroyed the Bengals back in their Week 1 meeting, and they should be playing for playoff momentum after their drudging of the Giants last week. Baltimore’s the better team & getting points.

Long Island Sound – CIN –  Baltimore is a pretender that faced a Giants team that has been rolling over for the last 2 weeks.

Plumb – CIN – After coming off impressive wins and clinching playoff berths, Cincy is the only team in this matchup that has something to play for.

James – BAL – Maybe its my perception, and familiarity, with the AFC North but I know that when it matters Baltimore will beat the Bungals. I like AJ Green a lot but I think the Ravens cover in this one.

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Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (No Line)

Jesse – PIT – Pittsburgh is out of the playoff hunt, but I don’t expect Tomlin’s team to quit. They should cover whatever number the casinos put up with Cleveland starting Thaddeus Lewis (who?) at QB & Montario Hardesty at RB.

Long Island Sound – PIT – Cleveland’s 3rd string QB versus a disgruntled Mike Tomlin.

Plumb – PIT – Tomlin will have the team ready for this week after last week disappointing loss. Expect Steelers blowout.

James – PIT – Steelers rarely lose to the Browns; it won’t happen twice in one year….

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Houston Texans (-7) @ Indianapolis Colts

Jesse – HOU – Houston NEEDS this win to lock up #1 in the AFC while Indy is locked into the 5th-seed no matter what. On top of that, Houston was flat-out embarrassed by the Vikings at home last week. If they want to prove to the nation that they’re a true contender, it starts this Sunday.

Long Island Sound – IND – Andrew Luck at home.

Plumb – IND – Both are jocking for seeding but Indy is tough at home and getting points makes it even more enticing. The Colts have Luck on their side.

James – HOU – I like Indy but I think Houston takes care of business this week and gets things rolling into the playoffs. If Houston doesn’t cover, it will be because the Colts get a garbage td or two.

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-4½)

Jesse – JAC – Jacksonville showed life last week vs. Patriots, while Tennessee wet the bed at Green Bay. I refuse to lay more than 4 points with this Tennessee squad after last week’s performance.

Long Island Sound – JAC – Henne has this team playing hard.

Plumb – JAC – Well the worst game on the schedule this week and someone’s gotta win. I’ll take the points just because Henne is showing he can still play and will be fighting for a job next season.

James – JAC – Toilet Bowl of Week 17.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-7½)

Jesse – PHI – One of Philly’s 4 wins this season was against these NY Giants and came with Vick at the helm & McCoy in the backfield. Well, they’re back & there’s no reason they can’t keep this game close and cover the TD+ or even perhaps win.

Long Island Sound – PHI – Giants at home against a divisional opponent. Vick gives the Giants trouble.

Plumb – PHI – After Philly lost Nick Foles last week to injury, Vick is back which means two things: unpredictability and dog fighting (j/k PETA). Tough division matchup and the ½ is always a favorites kryptonite. This is a dog’s game (Corny Mike Vick humor). Eagles cover and Vick proves he is still a starter in the League.

James – PHI – This game scares me because the Giants are so unpredictable. I think Vick comes out and takes care of business in his last game in Phili.

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Chicago Bears (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Jesse – CHI – Chicago needs this win +MINN loss to make the playoffs as the 6th-seed, so they’ll be ready for this contest. Pro-bowl CB Tim Jennings (shoulder) should be back & RB Forte (ankle) is optimistic about playing while Detroit is reeling having lost 7-straight.

Long Island Sound – CHI – Cutler and Marshall are in a groove that will not be stopped by the Lions D.

Plumb – CHI – Tough defense, must win game, and Brandon Marshall. Too many factors against the home team in this one.

James – CHI – MUST WIN. Time to put up or shut up Chicago.

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Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Jesse – GB – Green Bay is ready for their playoff run & earning a 1st round bye would bode well for them. Since starting the season 2-3, Packers have only lost 1 game. They’ll get Minnesota’s best efforts, but they won’t be enough. Green Bay will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Long Island Sound – GB – Finally healthy and Rodgers is back to his unreal form.

Plumb – GB – A very important game for both teams in this matchup. Minnesota fighting for the last playoff berth alongside AP attempting to break the single season rushing record, and Green Bay attempting to clinch a first round bye with a W. Expect this to be a hard nose and close game. Deciding factor: Aaron Rodgers dominant play in domes.

James – GB – I really hope AP can break this record but my PRESEASON Super Bowl pick is looking pretty good right now. I think Rodgers gives the Viking defense his discount double check.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (No Line)

Jesse – TB – There’s no line on this game because Atlanta might rest their starters. They’ve locked up home-field in the NFC and have no reason to play for anything. I’ll take Tampa, especially if they’re getting points.

Long Island Sound – ATL – Ryan and the Falcons at home. Don’t believe they will sit starts much based on previous playoff woes.

Plumb – ATL – Atlanta is tough at home as they are undefeated in the Georgia Dome.

James – ATL – I don’t care if Chris Chandler is going to be playing quarterback this week, I can’t take the shaky and free-falling Buccs. ATL will play its players for the majority of this one as they aren’t going to rest for two weeks.

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Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-5)

Jesse – CAR (ML +205) – I personally think these two teams are relatively even. Carolina’s actually been playing better of late –winners of 3-straight — so I’m getting value with the Panthers, as the spread should be NO -3. Carolina will win this game outright saving Ron Rivera’s job.

Long Island Sound – NO – Should be a shoot-out, but Brees should cover here.

Plumb – CAR – Panthers defense > Saints defense. Plus Carolina has won 3 straight.

James – CAR – Carolina may not get the W but they cover in this one.

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Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos (-16)

Jesse – KC – I cannot get myself to lay 16 points, even if it’s with the perceived “best team in the NFL.”

Long Island Sound – KC – Too big of a spread.

Plumb – KC – Wow this spread is high. I expect Peyton and Co. to play till halftime and call it a day. If this happens, expect KC to capitalize.

James – KC – I know the Chiefs are bad, and I mean bad. I realize the Broncos are really good. I just don’t wanna put 16 on this game. I’ll stay conservative and take KC.

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Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers (No Line)

Jesse – SD – Oakland has quit. Before beating KC two weeks ago, Oakland was losers of 6-straight. They didn’t score a single TD in their 15-0 win over KC in that aforementioned meeting & failed to score a TD last week vs. Panthers. To add insult to injury, Terrelle Pryor will be starting for the injured Palmer (ribs).

Long Island Sound – SD – Just a bad game with a bad team and a very undisciplined team. I’ll take the potential versus the bad.

Plumb – SD – Are you putting your hard earned money on the Oakland Raiders? Yeah, neither am I because I can’t trust them.

James – SD – Norv Turner and AJ Smith get a W in their last game with the organization; Turner has already said he is okay with being an OC again after this year. Smell Yah.

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Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-16½)

Jesse – SF – Ok, I lied; I will lay -16 in certain situations. Maybe this is me betting with my heart; maybe not. This season following a loss or tie, the 49ers have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 106-26.

Long Island Sound – ARI – Not taking that line in the NFL out of principle.

Plumb – ARI – This is probably the hardest game to pick this week. On one hand you have the Niners who must win to clinch the division as well as a potential second seed in the conference. My only question is how hard are they going to play the Cards without risking injury? Then you have the Cards who may or may not show up at home let alone score a point. The gut wants the Niners but the numbers say Cards.

James – ARI – 16+? What? Luckily its week 17 and this will be the first, and last, time I think the Cardinals will do something good.

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St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-10½)

Jesse – SEA – If Seattle wins this game and 49ers somehow slip up and lose vs. Cardinals, then Seattle wins the NFC West and the #3 seed in the NFC. They have everything to play for, and are playing extremely well especially down in the trenches.

Long Island Sound – STL – This team finds ways to cover.

Plumb – SEA – I made this mistake last week and it burned me. SEAHAWKS AT HOME = WIN.

James – SEA – I don’t think I can go any other way with the way this team has been playing.

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Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (-3)

Jesse – WAS – Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Dallas in a must-win? I’ll take the other side.

Long Island Sound – WAS – Washington looking to capture a division title will be ready to play.

Plumb – WAS – Dallas Cowboys! Big Games! Tony Romo fumbling meaningful snaps! Means one thing: Choke artists. Skins win and take the Division.

James – WAS – Maybe this is the year the Cowboys finally win a meaningful game at the end of the season? Naw, I’m going RGIII.

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James Kaikis
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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