Sunday, December 31, 2006

NFL: Week 17 Predictions

The final week of the regular season is upon us with just a few playoff spots left. Here are my predictions for the rest of the games this weekend (* denotes Game of the Week):

Carolina at New Orleans: Prez Bush finishes an inconsistent, but above average rookie regular season with a big game as the Saints "Brees" into the playoffs, while the Panthers finish off the season an overall disappointment. Saints win 27-17.

Cleveland at Houston: The Texans have gained a lot of confidence and win in the finale will be a catalyst for next season. With Ken Dorsey starting for the Browns don't look for too much offensive output. Texans win 17-14.

Detroit at Dallas: The Cowboys are in desperate need of momentum as they enter the playoffs. Look for this game to give them that. This one might be a close one, but the 'Boys hold off the Cowardly Lions 28-24.

Jacksonville at Kansas City: Both teams will be playing hard with a possible playoff birth on the line (key word there is possible...they both need a lot of help). Look for Herm to pump his guys up, but the Chiefs sputter in the 2nd half. Jags run offense too hot to handle, down the Chiefs 27-21.

New England at Tennessee: Vince Young's Rookie of the Year campaign rolls on in Nashville. With a division title and a playoff berth wrapped up, look for the Pats to play conservative. Although I'm hesitant to pick the Titans, I feel that Young causes match-up problems for Belichick scheming defense simply because he can run out of bad situations. Titans take down the Pats, 27-20.

Oakland at New York Jets: The Jets control their own flight path. Simply put, a win gets them into the playoffs. Even with Oakland's tough D, look for Chad Pennington to air the ball out and tune up that offense for the wild card round. Oakland's offense needs some Colon Blow, Jets help the Raiders complete a winless season on the road, 34-10.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: With questions swirling all week about Coach Cowher's possible retirement, look for the Steelers to come out flat. The Convicts, like the Panthers, have had a downer of a season and rightfully so. Their football karma is about as low as these two guy's careers.

(Two Tri-State area garbage men during happier times)

This one is a toss-up, but solid quarterback play will be the difference in this one. Carson Palmer leads Warden Lewis to victory, 34-27.

Seattle at Tampa Bay: The Seahawks don't look too much like a playoff team, and they are going to need this one as a tune-up. What's even more remarkable about their season is that they even won the powerhouse NFC West. Tim Rattay is making his second start for the Bucs, so don't count on seeing the previously billed Battle of the Bald Quarterbacks. 'Hawks win 27-14.

St. Louis at Minnesota: The NFL is finally witnessing the power of Steven Jackson's dreadlocks. Look for 3rd year back Steven Jackson to add some more yardage on his Pro Bowl season and for Marc Bulger to help lead the Rams high octane offense to a win over a Vikings team that is currently being quarterbacked by a rookie in Tarvaris "Ta-Ta" Jackson. Rams win big 35-14.
(Steven Jackson or Bob Marley?)

Hotlanta at Illadelphia: Mr. Mexico leads his (for the time being) Falcons into Philly to face off against a closer version of a Mexican in Jeff Garcia. Vick proves to be pesky, but Philly has been playing way too well to squander another victory. Look for Garcia do a Hat Dance (or some other kind of feminine thing) and kick the Falcons out of playoff contention, Eagles win 27-20.

The rest of the 4:15 games will be posted after I get some sleep.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jets to Playoffs, "we want in."

It wasn't your typical Jets-Dolphins Monday night matchup. For one, it is not everyday you get to see pro-level football on Christmas, a day that is usually littered with college all-stars games and maybe a 2nd rate bowl game (as a football fan you take what you can get though). Ditto for viewing a rivalry like this one, which always has heavy implications regardless of the teams' record or playoff projection.

The weather didn't quite fit the holiday, with the cool Miami rain bogging down both passing offenses in the 1st half. Chad Pennington visibly struggled with gripping the ball, which led to inconsistent throws that were repeatedly off-the-mark. Joey Harrington also contributed a sub-par performance, and had about as much rhythm as these guys.

Neither team made any kind of scoring push in the 1st half, with a botched field goal attempt by the Jets the only real "action".

During halftime, Dolphins coach Nick Saban made a switch at quarterback and elected to hand the reigns to untested third year pro Cleo Lemon. Lemon took advantage of this opportunity and provided the spark that the Dolphin's offense desperately needed. By the start of the 4th quarter he had connected for his first career touchdown pass, and given his team more momentum. By all appearances, Lemon was effectively souring the Jets chances, but Pennington responded by leading a touchdown drive of his own to get the Jets back in front with a connection to Jerricho Cotchery. The ensuing Dolphins drive was thwarted, but a bouncing punt hit a Jets player, leading to the game's first turnover--and a Dolphins scoring opportunity. Olindo Mare hit a field goal and notched the game at 10 a piece.

So far, the only thing this game didn't have yet was an unexpected hero. As was the case in prior games, most notably in 2000 with Jumbo Elliot, someone who would commonly been considered a "non-star" has stepped up and made the right play at the right time. This trend continued when Jets Speedster "Neon" Leon Washington took a routine swing pass and raced down the sideline, igniting his team with a 64 yard gain. The rookie's scamper set the table for a game winning 30 yard field goal by Mike Nugent, extending the Jets playoff dreams and putting a football-sized lump of coal in the stockings of the Dolphins and their fans.

As for the Jets, their present has been bought. The wrapping paper is on tight. Now all they have to do is tie the bow.

NFL: Week 16 Wrap-Up

Jets flying high, Cowboys falling off the saddle, and the final home game for Giants running back/thesaurus Tiki Barber; just a few of the top stories this week in football.

The playoff picture is becoming less muddied and yours truly is on the winning side after going 9-5 with my weekend predictions. That record, if I'm not mistaken, would get me a 1st place seed and home field advantage in the powerhouse NFC for the next 20 years. That is a good thing too because I'm going to need the ego boost to get me through a dead-last finish in my fantasy league. The Blouses had a rough season but there is really only one person I can pin the blame I'm gonna go with Eli Manning.

With Christmas now over I am going to leave you with a clip of my favorite Holiday songs to commemorate this special weekend.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

NFL: Week 16 Predictions

Let us stray from "finance" for a moment and discuss a few more important things this weekend like football and presents. Here are my picks for the remaining games on the schedule for Week 16 (* denotes Game of the Week):

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Ravens D is staunch like usual, black birds stifle Steelers playoff hopes with a 17-6 win.

Carolina at Atlanta: Mr. Mexico runs past Chris Weinke and the hapless Panthers. Steve Smith can only do so much without the Cajun Cannon, Falcons win 24-10.


Chicago at Detroit: This game is gonna be closer than most people would think, Sexy Rexy throws 3+ int's in the win, 17-10.

Indianapolis at Houston: Peyton Manning and David Carr were both 1st overall draft choices and besides the fact they do not have rings, the similarities end there. Colts win big 31-10.

New England at Jacksonville: Tom Brady has done more with less than anyone this year (well besides Eric Mangini) and will show why he should be chillin' in Hawaii over Philip Rivers. Pats' end the Jags playoff hopes, 23-17.

New Orleans at New York Giants: Michael "More Meat" Strahan returns after a few weeks with Jared from Subway and is questionable with a buttocks injury. Tiki Barber's arm falls off from patting himself on the back too much. The Saints march all over the G(ay)-Men, 35-14.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland: The Browns play like another thing that is brown and "drop one" 17-14.

Tennessee at Buffalo: Both teams are playing with a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Vince "Black Magic" Young has guided his team to 5 straight victories but will not have enough in the tank to best the Bills defense. "What chu talking about Willis" McGahee runs well, Bills best Titans 27-24.

Washington at St. Louis: The two most inconsistent teams in The League. The Skins' are coming off a big win against the playoff bound New Orleans Saints which should translate to a win this week, but it won't. Rams win 27-20.

Arizona at San Francisco: Alex Smith has been straight ballin' as of late. Frank Gore has been straight ballin' the whole season. Big effort from both of them, junk up the Cardinals 27-10.

*Cincinnati at Denver: The roller coaster ride of a season will end for one of these teams. Jake "In a Month I'll Be a" Plummer plays with his Jay Cutler voodoo doll on the sidelines and ruins Denver's playoff hopes. Carson and Chad hook up all game, (easy Mr. Strahan, not that kind of hooking up) the Convict's win 31-20.

LaDanian Tomlinson at Seattle: The LT world domination tour rolls on this week. Seattle fans sulk in Starbucks after a season unfulfilled, Chargers win 35-21.

Illadelphia at Dallas: Everyone's favorite San Jose State grad Jeff Garcia answers a few early Cowboy touchdowns. The Eagles will stay around long enough in this one to beat the 'Boys in OT, 34-31.

New York Jets at Miami: The Jets improbable playoff run continues as they make Joey Harrington look like a cowardly Lion again. Jet fan's have filled Eric Mangini's stocking this year with Mansierres. Gang Green wins this one 31-17.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!! Have a safe and happy holiday.

Finance: by Ryan

Today I came across a post on yahoo! answers about the legality of hedge funds. The person argued they should be made illegal because "middle class guys" could not effectively use them as an investing instrument and are forced to instead go for mutual funds. Do I agree with this? Yes. Do I agree they should be outlawed? No.
In essence hedge funds are just less regulated mutual funds. The catch is that they have the potential for astronomical gains but the same potential for losses. The idea is that only astute investors should be putting their money into hedge funds. A "middle class guy" would be less inclined to throw around his money and would, as a result, invest in more of a "sure thing" (such as mutual funds due to intense SEC regulation).
In addition, the absolute minimum for investing in hedge funds is usually $100,000 for the individual investor (and $1,000,000 for the corporate investor). This fact gives hedge fund managers a large amount of leverage allowing them to employ complex strategies such as aggressive short-selling of stocks.
In any event, hedge funds are a large part of investing nowadays. They allow large corporations and venture capitalists to profit tremendously from their investments which ultimately help drive the economy and act as a market-mover. Increased regulation or even prohibition of hedge funds will not only impair potential growth in various areas such as the housing market, but will also lower the amount of leverage and liquidity in the overall market (making the economy susceptible, and less likely to recover, from shocks).