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Snap Central 2011 - Fearless Rick's Pro & College Football Picks

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SNAP CENTRAL 2010 - Fearless Rick's NFL & College Football Picks

Giants Defeat New England, 21-17, Capturing 4th Super Bowl

The New York Giants are once again sitting on top of the professional sports world and Eli Manning will never, ever again be questioned on whether he should be considered an "elite" quarterback.

Manning moved the Giants to a decisive fourth-quarter touchdown with just under a minute remaining in Super Bowl XLVI to defeat the New England Patriots, 24-17, and capture the title of the world champions.

Manning, who threw for 296 yards and one touchdown, a two-yard strike to Victor Cruz that put the Giants ahead, 9-0, late in the first quarter. Manning, who earned his second Super Bowl MVP award in four years, completed 30 of 40 passes, was sacked three times for 14 yards and did not throw an interception.

The Patriots responded with 17 straight points, scoring 10 in the second quarter on a 29-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and finishing off a 96-yard drive with a touchdown pass from Brady to Danny Woodhead with eight seconds left in the half.

New England drove the ball downfield for another Brady TD pass on the opening drive of the second half, hitting Aaron Hernandez over the middle with a 12-yard strike.

Little did anyone know, that with New England ahead, 17-9, midway through the third quarter, that they would score no more.

After two Lawrence Tynes' thrid quarter field goals made the score 17-15, the two teams traded fourth quarter blows that kept the score unchanged until the Patriots were forced to punt with 3:46 remaining in the contest.

Starting from their own 12-yard line, on first down, Manning threw down the sideline to Mario Manningham, who collected the ball with both feet clearly inbounds as two New England defenders forced him out of bounds. The resultant 38-yard pass play left the Giants on the 50-yard line with plenty of time - as it turned out, almost too much time.

When Ahmed Bradshaw rushed up the middle from the six on second down, the Patriots never laid a finger on him as he paused for a second before falling backwards into the end zone.

The Patriots mounted a final drive, but Brady's desperation heave into the Giants end zone was batted harmlessly to the ground as the clock ran out and the victory celebration began.

It was the fourth Super Bowl victory for the Giants, the first coming in 1987, when New York defeated Denver, 39-20, in Super Bowl XXI. They beat the Buffalo Bills in 1991, in the closest Super Bowl ever, a 20-19 win in Super Bolw XXV.

Their last two have come courtesy of the Patriots. In 2008, they ended the Patriots' chance at an undefeated season with a 17-14 victory. Eli Manning was named MVP of that game, Super Bowl XLII.

There will be a parade down Broadway in lower Manhattan to honor the Giants on Tuesday, February 7.

See all Super Bowl scores and MVPs from 1967-2012 here.

Final NFL Picks record, regular season & playoffs: 121-131-14

Update 2/2/12 - With the Super Bowl just three days away, this seems an appropriate time to update the stats:

College Bowl Picks Weeks 2-4: 16-8
College BCS Bowl Picks + national championship: 1-4
Final College Regular Season: 121-106-6
Final College Football Bowls: 19-16
NFL Week 16: 7-8-1
NFL Week 17: 7-8-1
NFL Final Regular Season: 113-129-14
NFL Playoffs: 7-3

Update 12/24/11 - More bookkeeping:

College picks Week 9: 7-11
College picks Week 10: 8-8
College picks Week 11: 11-8-2
College picks Week 12: 10-9
College picks Week 13: 7-9-1
College picks Week 14: 8-3
College picks Week 15: 1-0
College picks Bowl Week 1: 2-4
College Picks through Regular Season: 121-106-6
College Picks through Bowl Week 1: 123-110-6

NFL picks Week 8: 8-4-1
NFL picks Week 9: 5-9
NFL picks Week 10: 6-10
NFL picks Week 11: 8-4-2
NFL picks Week 12: 6-9-1
NFL picks Week 13: 7-9
NFL picks Week 14: 8-7-1
NFL picks Week 15: 5-9-2
NFL picks through Week 15: 99-113-12

Update 10/23/11 - Some overdue bookkeeping:

College picks Week 4: 3-11
College picks Week 5: 8-7
College picks Week 6: 10-4
College picks Week 7: 12-5
College picks Week 8: 13-4-1
College Picks through Week 8: 69-58-3

NFL picks Week 3: 3-13
NFL picks Week 4: 7-9
NFL picks Week 5: 7-5-1
NFL picks Week 6: 8-4-1
NFL picks Week 7: 8-4-1
NFL picks through Week 7: 46-52-5

Update 9/20/11 - Improvement in the pro picks, coming in at 8-7-1 for week two, updating the regular season to 13-17-2. College picks were an even 7-7, making the total 23-22-2 after three weeks.

Update 9/13/11 - A disheartening start to the NFL season with a 5-10-1 record and a not-so-hot 5-9-1 record for the second week of college football, putting the NCAA picks at 16-15-2 through two weeks.

Update 9/6/11 - A nice start to the college football season with an 11-6-1 record ATS in Week 1. Also, the new college football Top 25 rankings have been assembled along with college football picks for Week 2.

Update 9/4/11 - Week four of the NFL preseason is in the books, with the best performance - and first outright winning week at 9-7, for a four-week preseason total of 28-34-2.

Update 8/30/11 - Can't wat for the regular season to begin as preseason is tougher than usual to predict, going 6-8-2 for a 3-week total of 19-27-2.

Update 8/23/11 - Another week of preseason is over, but the 6-10 mark on Fearless Rick's picks puts the preseason total at a substandard 13-19.

College football's preseason top 25 preview is now complete and available for viewing.

Update 8/17/11 - Last week's preseason picks (week 1) came in a sub-par 7-9, though not bad, considering the Jets could have won and covered if that guy who's not going to make the team didn't drop the sure TD pass at the end of the game.

College football previews are going up all this week. Sunday will unveil the top five preseason teams in our excusive rankings.

Week two preseason picks are up and running on the site. Good luck to all.

Update 8/12/11 - All AFC team-by-team previews are complete, though additions will be made should any preseason trades develop. Now, all NFL team previews are up-to-date, and a day early, at that.

Update 8/10/11 - NFL Preseason Week 1 Picks are now available. Finally, it's time for some football, with all 32 pro teams in action from Thursday to Monday.

Update 8/9/11

NFC Previews Complete

All of the NFC team previews have been completed and are up on the site. Changes may come as players are dropped, injured or traded in the preseason, but for now, our predictions are set. Use the links at the left to see where your NFC teams are expected to finish in 2011.

Update 7/27/11

NFL Begins Free Agent Fiesta

With NFL teams now able to move players, there will be a flurry of player changes to all rosters. Due to the unprecedented nature of this short-time free agency period, team-by-team previews will be updated in piecemeal fashion until rosters appear set. Previews will be updated regularly and likely complete by August 15, following the first week of preseason games.

Once the general rosters of teams are settled, then predictions - hopefully with some accuracy - can be made about the outcome of the 32 NFL teams.

Among the free agents most desired are Oakland CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Jets WRs Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes and Seattle QB Mett Hasselbeck, who is reported to have signed on with the Tennessee Titans, who were in desperate need of a quarterback, though, with Jeff Fisher gone, what about Vince Young?

The Seahawks are reported to have signed Minnesota Vikings' QB Tarvaris Jackson. Expecting another long season of dissatisfaction in the great Northwest.

Update 7/25/11

Strap on Those Helmets, NFL Season Off and Running

Just after 2:30 pm EDT, the word was out that the vote by player reps was unanimous - 32-0 - to approve the labor deal approved by owners this past Thursday, paving the way for an end to the 132-day lockout and a start to the 2011-12 NFL season.

The vote will go as a recommendation to the 10 plaintiffs in the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit. They have all agreed to sign off on the settlement.

These developments mean that the NFL season, including all preseason games except for the Hall of Fame game, is ready to rock and roll for 2011. The timeline - for now - is as follows:

  • Monday: The free agent list will be published at 6 p.m. ET.
  • Tuesday: Facilities open "for training, conditioning" and "classroom" work; trading period begins (no time specified); teams can start signing undrafted free agents and their own draft picks at 10 a.m. ET; teams can begin negotiating with any free agents -- their own and those who were with other teams.
  • Thursday: Waiver period begins and teams can begin terminating contracts at 4:01 p.m. ET.
  • Friday: Full free agency begins -- teams can begin signing their own free agents and those who played with other teams at 6 p.m. ET.

Downtown Magazine will continue with updates as what appears to be a wild preseason and free agency period begins. With so many unsigned rookies, free agents and regulars, our normal schedule for team-by-team previews will be updated as players are signed and/or released.

Update, 7/24/11

After Saturday Negotiations, Deal Looks Good for Monday Vote

Clarifying some of the dates surrounding the deal being negotiated between NFL owners and players, it appears that Monday, July 25, still looks promising for the NFLPA executive committee to meet in Washington, DC and recommend ratification to player reps from all 32 teams, according to a report on NFL.com.

If the deal is approved b the player reps, on Wednesday, July 27, the league year would officially begin and free agency would be open to eligible players and teams looking to ink them to deals could begin. Training camps would open on Friday, July 29.

How the players reconstitute as a union is likely to take form during the week, with players signing intent to re-form the union and then take a vote (requiring more than 50% approval) on the deal.

Re-certifying the NFLPA as a union allows items such as drug testing, benefits and player discipline to be collectively bargained. The player association de-certified back in March and is currently configured as a trade association, a move which gave it the ability to sue the league in federal court.

How the Brady anti-trust suit is settled was still a sticking point on Saturday, though it appears that the named plaintiffs - Patriots' QB Tom Brady and 9 other players - would drop the lawsuit without compensation as a show of good faith in the new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

While most of the dates are fluid, Monday seems certain for a vote by player reps. The opening of training camps and the free agency period could begin simultaneously, as early as Wednesday.

Here's a link to the NFL network's three-minute video explaining how the sequence of events may unfold.

Update, 7/23/11

Player Reps, Executive Committee to Ink Deal Monday

Multiple sources are reporting that the NFLPA executive committee and player reps from all 32 teams are expected to vote Monday to ratify the proposal advanced by the owners on Thursday, clearing the way for an end to the four-month-old lockout.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith spoke on Saturday, ironing out some of the details.

A vote on Monday would likely result in players heading to training facilities on Wednesday and Thursday, at which time they would also sign cards to re-certify the NFLPA as a union.

Speculation is that a Monday agreement in principal would signal a start to a new season and that free agent negotiations could begin on Saturday, but will have to move at lighting pace to get players aligned with new teams.

Update, 7/22/11

Players Taking Time to Review Owner Proposal

Having received the proposal ratified by the owners late Thursday, the NFLPA issued a statement, saying that they would not sign onto the agreement until it was fully reviewed by player reps and that they would issue no statement on Friday in respect for Patriots' owner Robert Kraft, whose wife Myra was to be buried on Friday.

The players association will meet over the weekend to scrutinize the proposal, and players are expected to ratify it - possibly with minor changes - by Monday.

NFL owners had agreed to end the lockout and open the doors to training facilities as early as Saturday, though that plan appears to have gone out the window as the players and NFLPA executive committee mull over the 400-page CBA.

The next deadline facing the league is Wednesday, July 27. If a deal is not signed, sealed and delivered by that date, training camps would not open as scheduled on Thursday, and the first week of preseason games would be in jeopardy as NFL rules stipulate that there be 15 days of training prior to any preseason game.

With the August 7 Hall of Fame Game already cancelled, the next game is scheduled for Thursday, August 11, between San Diego and Seattle. That game could be played if players report for camp by Wednesday. A full slate of preseason games is on the calendar for Saturday, August 13, with the Jets meeting the Texans on Monday, August 15.

Update, 7/21/11

Tic-Tock, Owners Approve Deal, Send to Players for Ratification

News of NFL owners passing an agreement on a 31-0 vote, with only the Oakland Raiders abstaining, reached news outlets shortly after 10:00 pm. The owners also added a proposed supplementary revenue sharing agreement.

Around that time, the NFLPA held a conference call, informing players that a deal was on the table, though none of the player representatives had seen final details.

The league announced earlier that the Hall of Fame game, scheduled to be played by the Bears and Rams on August 7 in Canton, Ohio, was cancelled.

Owners have given NFL players until Tuesday, July 26, to respond to the offer, though rumors have begun circulating that a vote by NFL players could occur as soon as Friday, July 22.

Both sides wish to see training camps open on Saturday, so there is optimism that the owners have crafted a deal that is essentially fair to the players and that the players will ratify it.

A number of issues, such as workman's compensation, personal conduct and drug testing remain as a collective bargaining conditions, so owners want the NFL players to reconstitute as a union, so those issues can be worked out within the proper legal framework.

If the owners have presented a good deal - and there's little reason to believe that they'd do anything but that - the NFL owners, players and fans may be days - if not hours - away from an official start to the professional football season for 2011.

Both sides appeared positive over tonight's developments though there were opinions voiced by some players that the owners tried to put in new terms not already agreed-to by players.

Update, 7/20/11

Players Meet, But Don't Have a Deal to Sign

A funny thing happened on the way to Washington, where player reps convened to sign onto a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday.

All the players arrived without incident, but there was no CBA to sign, at least not a complete one. Owners' lawyers and those representing the players were still trying to iron out three thorny issues that have set back the bargaining another day.

Remaining at issue are potential resolution of two lawsuits - the Brady v. NFL antitrust case and the multi-million dollar "lockout insurance" suit.

Perhaps the thorniest resolution will come over workman's compensation, where players seek reimbursement from the league owners for compensation in the 2010 non-cap season.

Owner representatives are set to meet in Atlanta at 10:00 am on Thursday to try and resolve these remaining issues and send to the players a new, 10-year CBA.

Y! Sports columnist Michael Silver explains why none of the remaining obstacles to ending the lockout should be considered "deal-breakers" in the video below.

Update, 7/18/2011 NFL Owners, Players Closing in on a Deal

As the deadline drew near for NFL players and owners to come to some kind of deal on a new collective bargaining agreement and end the four-month lockout, it seemed as though everybody came to the conclusion that missing even part of the season - or preseason - would be a grave error.

What was most interesting about how quickly the issues began to resolve themselves was how it happened at seemingly the last hour. Of course, the regular season is still more than six weeks ahead, but professional football being such a high-impact, high-pressure environment, the players surely didn't want to get to camp late or start the season at less than top physical condition, so there was incentive - besides the multi-million dollar contracts at risk - to get the ball rolling in the direction of a settlement.

For the owners, it really (as always) came down to the money. It's amazing how the lure of making money will cause even the smartest, most savvy businessman to put aside petty issues, sit down at a table and negotiate in good faith. From an ownership position, there's not only the idea of getting fannies in the seats, but huge revenue from TV, radio and merchandising.

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On top of that, a good number of these owners remember what happened in 1987, when replacement players were used for three weeks in place of the high-priced talent. Even though the NFL players' strike was broken and the workout was positive for owners, nobody wanted to rerun that movie.

When the owners saw that as much as $200 million was at risk of being lost if even one week of preseason play was missed, they made a beeline for the negotiating table. Canceling games is not something the NFL owners wished to undertake. Besides the umbrage from the fans, the logistics of getting players signed, vendors in place and business functioning smoothly were problems the owners saw looming on a daily basis as time grew shorter.

--- Story continues below ---

Now, with preseason games scheduled to begin in about three weeks, the reality of the situation proved too much at risk for all parties.

There are only a few remaining stumbling blocks to overcome before a deal can be worked out and everybody back to preparing for the 82nd season of the National Football League, though none of them appear to be deal-breakers. They are:

  • Settling the Brady v. NFL antitrust lawsuit

  • Settling the "lockout insurance" lawsuit

  • Re-form and re-certify the NFL Players Association as a union

  • Workers compensation issues

ESPN is reporting that both sides are seeking a kind of "global settlement" which will resolve all outstanding issues and allow players and owners to ratify the agreement on Thursday, July 21. Owners will be meeting in Atlanta on that date and a memo from the NFL instructed the teams to send "key executives," a sign that the owners are serious about settling.

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Players are planning to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on Wednesday.

If all goes according to plan, league activities could begin on Friday, with training camps opening and free agents able to begin negotiations for their services.

Downtown Magazine will continue monitoring progess as we get ready for another season of Fearless Rick's Pro and College Football Picks. Check back in this space daily for updates.

--- Story continues below ---

Copyright 2011, 2012 Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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