The Spotlight Picks Against The Spread for the NFL Week 7

Top of the morning to you everyone…well I guess really it’s good evening to most of my readers and followers but I’m coming to you live from the United Arab Emirates.  Ever since I met my girlfriend, over 3 years ago, she has been talking about going to Dubai and so this year I finally made it happen.  With Dubai being a solid 8 hours ahead of us New Yorkers, the time change has really been killing us.  We sleep when we can for a few hours here and there but we usually aren’t tired until around 6 or 7 AM and then have trouble getting up any earlier than 3 pm…I say this but it really is only our second night here so hopefully it’ll get better.  In any event, tonight I fell asleep aroun 3 Am only to wake up a few hours later a bit after 5.  After tossing and turning for almost an hour, I threw in the towel and decided to come provide you guys with  the picks you’ve come to depend on each week on thedailyspotlight.com.

One thing that’s really interesting is that the NFL really isn’t much of an entity at all here in the middle east.  There is much more of an emphasis on Soccer and Rugby (and WWE for that matter but that’s another blog for another day) then the sports we follow in the states.  This is to the point that until moments ago I hadn’t even known the Royals won the pennant and that was only because I flipped over to espn to find the updated NFL injury report.  Now that I do have that report, what a segue way this is, let’s finally get into the reason you’re all here your top NFL picks against the spread.

Now it took until week 6 but we finally did hit double digits in losses on the year when I took two losses with both the Ravens ( who we can officially right off as a bad football team for 2015) and the Arizona Cardinals (who I can’t lie really surprised me in a bad loss last week to a number three quarterback).  Regardless we are still rolling after a 5-2 week 6 bringing our total up to 34-11 on the year.  I’ll be honest being on vacation, I considered taking this week off but my goal is to bring you winners every week and so I’m going to try to do just that yet again.  This is a tough week so proceed with caution but let’s hope Dubai brings us luck.  The picks for Week 7 in the NFL…

Cleveland Browns (+7) over The St. Louis Rams

On a tough week this game immediately jumped right out at me.  The Rams play hard for Jeff Fisher, no doubt, they are usually in ever game right down to the finish and often play up for division games.  But this isn’t a division game…and I can’t recall the last time the the Rams blew anyone out.  On the other side of things you have a Browns team that despite a 2-4 record has played every game close and almost beat the undefeated Broncos last week.  Josh McCown is playing at an elite level and always gives his team a chance.  Remember, I don’t picks underdogs that I think have no shot to win.  Don’t be surprised if the Browns do just that.

San Diego Chargers (-3) over Oakland Raiders

Talk about a team that shouldn’t be 2-4, how about the San Diego Chargers who have lost some real heartbreakers.  Phillip Rivers proved last week that on any given Sunday (great movie), he can compete with any quarterback in the league, even Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau, in what was arugably the best game of the 2015 season.  Now the Chargers have the Raiders coming to town with the season on the line and I like their chances.  Only a field goal, roll with it!

Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) over New York Giants

I was finally starting to believe in the New York Giants last week and then…bad Eli showed up!  Scratch that! Terrible Eli showed up.  Now the Cwobys come to town off their bye and it’s officially the Matt Cassell era in Dallas.  The Cowboys now know that Dez Bryant is probably one more week away and if they can just tread water until then the division is right there for the taking.  Will Matt Cassell fair better than Brandon Weeden?  Well he can’t fair much worse.  When a player has lost that many starts in a row, that losing stigma has to project in his confidence and in his leadership.  Cassell won’t fight Tony Romo for his starting job, but he’ll do enough to hang onto it until he’s ready.  Cowboys will rally around their new QB and may steal one at Metlife.  (Note: This was my final pick of the week. I was prepared to go Bills but they just have too many injuries so the Cowboys were my backup pick, take that for what it’s worth)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) over Washington Redskins

In a tough week, a lot of my picks here are being determined by that extra half a point.  The Redskins looked awful last week against the Jets in a game I watched all 60 minutes of.  The Jets are ight years better than the Bucs but the Bucs have some talent, in particular, on the offensive side of the ball.  Coming off their be this gives Mike Evans and Doug Martin a chance to get healthy and Lovie Smith a chance to get Jameis Winston two weeks of preparation.  Kirk Cousins just isn’t the answer at quarterback for the Redskins and if this becomes a close game, I’m going the other way almost every time.

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) over Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger is officially out on Sunday which means that Landry Jones will be in at quarterback and the reason this line is so low is because Landry Jones looked pretty good in a shocking win over the Cardinals last week.  Don’t get me wrong, Landry Jones gives the Steelers the best chance to win in Big Ben’s absence but also understand that the reason he looked so good last week was because he was playing a team that spent all week preparing for Mike Vick.  Andy Reid should have the Chiefs prepared for the rookie quarterbac who has the uneviable taks of heading to Arrowhead.  If the Chiefs can’t find a way to win this week, they may no win a game the rest of the season.

Atlanta Falcons (-6.5) over Tennessee Titans 

Well you knw it was going to happen that at some point the Falcons were going to flirt long enough with dangers in the fourth quarter to not allow Matt Ryan to pull out a comeback for the win and that happen last week at the Superdome.  Honestly, that loss was probably the best thing that could have happened to the Falcons and the worst thing that could have happened to the Titans.  This should light a fire under the Falcons collective asses as they now had 10 days to think about it.  To make matters worse for the Tennessee Titans, they’ll be starting the selfie loving Zach Mettenberger at quarterback.  Forget all this talk about a trap game, Falcons should win this one running away,

LOCK OF THE WEEK: New York Jets (+10) over The New England Patriots

What were you expecting something else.  Call me a homer, call me whatever you want but I’m taking my New York Jets in Foxboro this week.  This should be a tight division game between two teams with one loss between them and this line is just plainly disrespectful.  If you don’t think the Jets and their number one defense smell blood and want to take down the undefeated champs then you got another thing coming.  I won’t say the Jets are going to win but damn it I don’t think that defense will let them get blown out.  I’d understand 7 but 10 really is a slap in the face.  I’ll be rooting for them and maybe this is a heart pick but the Jets are my lock of the week and I haven’t lost one of those yet!

That’s going to do it for me but be sure to give me a follow over on twitter @TommyOnTheSpot which is where I’ve been dong my picks the last few weeks and where I make many announcements on this site.  Also I always welcome your feedback either in the comments section below or via email at thedailyspotlight2@gmail.com, I respond to all questions so send them in.  Until next time, best of luck everyone.

The Spotlight on the NXT Takeover: Respect Triple H Media Conference Call 10/6/2015

Tonight NXT Takeover: Resepct will air live from Orlando, Florida on the WWE Network at 9pm with a lineup as follows, WWE NXT Women’s champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks: 30 Minute Ironman Match.Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-Finals: NXT champion Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder and Baron Corbin & Rhino vs. Chad Gable & Jeremy Jordan. The Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals will also take place live tonight with Cody & Dustin Rhodes to presenting trophy to winners, Asuka will make her in-ring debut vs. Dana Brooke and Tyler Breeze vs. Apollo Crews.  Yesterday afternoon, as he always does before each NXT special, Paul Levesque (Triple H) met with members of the media on a conference call.  Here were some of the highlights from that call…
Highlights:
 
The Continued Expansion Of NXT:  One of the main things to come out of the conference call was the continued success of NXT as it’s own entity.  Levesque mentioned how NXT recently took part in the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville this past weekend.  I for one think this is a great idea as few things go hand in hand more than Rock & Wrestling.  I remember going to Ozzfest back in 2002 and meeting WWE superstars and divas throughout the day and the same with Warped Tour a few years after that.  With the killer lineup at Louder Than Life mixed with NXT, I considered heading down to Kentucky for the first time in my life this past weekend.  Levesque continued that NXT continues to have success with the sales of all of their dates in London, which includes the next Takeover special after tonight’s by the way.  He then also touched on the new docuseries coming to the WWE Network entitled NXT: Breaking Ground which will be debuting on the Network on October 26th and that the series is going to be similar to the NXT 24 special that aired this past Monday night (I was taken over with birthday craziness yesterday so I haven’t been able to catch that just yet but I heard it was great and I should have a piece up on that tomorrow).  Lastly in regards to Breaking Ground, Levesque mentioned that they were constantly filming material for that show while NXT tours, so that’s something to really look forward to. In the end, I liked that Levesque was also honest in saying that sometimes he’s had to pull back a little on some opportunities awarded to NXT in order not to burn out the talent and production team and keep everyone honest.
The Relationship between NXT and Evolve: There has been ongoing rumors that there was a working relationship between NXT and Evolve Wrestling, in particular the head of Evolve (and former Ring of Honor booker) Gabe Sapoloski.  While Levesque denied reports that Sapolsky had been brought in as a member of the writing team for NXT, he did mention that he has a lot of respect for Sapolsky and how he does view Evolve as sort of a feeder system for NXT.  Levesque continued by saying that he felt that the wrestling business needs smaller independent federations like Evolve and put over the job that everyone does down there.  He explained that if there were a talent that he felt needed to work on something or if there just wasn’t a spot for them currently in NXT, he wouldn’t hesitate to send them down to Evolve for extra training and he would like to support Evolve in any way that he can.  I can tell you from experience, and I’ve been going to there shows since 2010 when Daniel Bryan went down there between his WWE runs, Evolve puts on some great shows.
Vince Mcmahon’s Role in NXT: One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the call was when Levesque confirmed that he, not Vince McMahon, has the final say over the booking decisions in NXT.  He explained that Vince did attend the NXT show at the Barclay’s Center but made sure that he didn’t step on any toes and simply watched the show from the gorilla position as a fan.  He explained that Vince fully supports NXT and while he wouldn’t be at the Takeover show tonight, couldn’t wait for the Ironman match this evening.
Closing Thoughts:
 
Overall I thought this was a great listen as all of these calls are.  I personally would have liked someone to ask Levesque about the status of the different Takeover specials as to whether they are now at a point where we can expect them bi-monthly or if we’re going to even get to a point where there specials will be monthly.  
That said, the call breezes right by in just over 40 minutes and includes a lot more than listed above.  If you’d like to listen to the call Prowrestling.net has (as usual and thanks to Jason Powell for it) posted the call online for free on their podcasts page right here 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet/2015/10/06/1006-prowrestlingnet-podcast–triple-h-talks-with-the-pro-wrestling-media.  Other topics covered during the call is the importance of the Bayley-Sasha main event tonight, why the match is called an ironman match and not an ironwoman match (and who made that clarification), a funny story about Finn Balor posing in front of TNA offices and so much more.  We’ll have coverage on the NXT special at some point tomorrow but until then, take care.  
 

The Spotlight On The Week Ahead For WWE 10/5-10/11

Hello every and happy Monday.  I hope all of you out there had a great weekend.  I enjoyed mine quite a bit whether it be all of the football yesterday, checking out DJ Chucky at LAVO NYC or finishing up moving into my new place, I really couldn’t complain.  With Monday morning comes a brand new week of goodness (one that will see my birthday take place tomorrow actually) and a pretty big week in the world of WWE.  Let’s get right into it.

The Week Ahead For WWE

Monday-  Raw emanates live from Boston, Massachusetts and it is the next step on Brock Lesnar’s Go To Hell Tour, a stop that was added last week, as Brock will likely start the build for the Hell In A Cell Match for The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar later this month.  I will say that the build for Hell In A Cell has been particularly strong this year, in my opinion.  The two cell matches, Lesnar-Taker and Reigns- Wyatt have been going on for a long period of time and it makes sense to have the culmination of each take place inside the confines of Hell In A Cell. Almost, exactly one year ago to the day, I was live at Raw at the Barclays Center as my girlfriend was nice enough to get me tickets for my birthday.  This was the night where Dean Ambrose left Raw to head to Coney Island, only to return with a hot dog stand for Seth Rollins.  It was also the night where The Rock made a surprise appearance, out of nowhere, to interrupt Lana and Rusev.  That was one of my favorite live shows I’ve seen and it’ll be interesting to see if WWE brings forth a packed show like that tonight to the, sure to be, hot crowd in Boston tonight.

Wednesday- Ever since the first NXT: Takeover Special in last February, as most of you know by now, the NXT specials on the WWE Network have been some of my favorite parts of the Network.  This week will be no exception as NXT presents NXT Takeover: Respect this Wednesday night live from Full Sail University at 8:00PM EST in Orlando, Florida.  NXT has been one of my favorite weekly shows recently as I’ve found the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Tournament to be so unique and overall, a lot of fun.  It’s going to be pretty emotional to see whoever wins the tournament be presented with the trophy by Cody and Dustin Runnels, Dusty’s sons aka Goldust and Stardust,  But that’s not all their is to look forward to at the NXT special.  The main event this Wednesday is the first NXT Special that will be main evented by women as Bayley defends the NXT Women’s title against Sasha Banks in the first ever Women’s 30-minute Ironman match.  Also really glad to see that WWE has stretched the special out to 2 and a half hours this week as it will allow every match to get the time they deserve.  As always the NXT pre show, which take place outdoors on campus and really reminds me of ESPN’s College Gameday kicks off at 7:30PM EST.  This special is the highlight of the week for me as a WWE fan.

Network Original Programming- This is another big week filled with WWE Network original programming, other than the aforementioned Takeover special, that really caught my attention.  In descending order,  have a new episode of the very underrated Table For 3 that will debut just a few hours before NXT at 4:00PM Wednesday afternoon, featuring Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose and Cesaro.  From there, on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00PM there will be an hour long preview for NXT Takeover: Respect and then at 5:00PM it’s the return of the docuseries- “Rivalries” featuring the rivalry between Lita and Trish Stratus.  For me though, the highlight is tonight following Monday Night Raw where the 24 series returns to the WWE Network, this time looking at the NXT: Takeover special that took place in Brooklyn a few months back, from a behind the scenes perspective.  The best news is that tonight’s 24 is set to be an hour long which is great news.  While the past 24 specials were great, I always felt that 30 minutes was a bit too short.

That’s going to do it for me but obviously a big week of action this week for WWE.  We’ll have coverage of all of it starting with Raw tomorrow morning.  Until then, what are you most looking forward to seeing in the week ahead for WWE.

The Spotlight NFL Week 4 Picks Against The Spread

Hello everyone it is bright and early here in the East Coast and about an hour ago I woke up to take my girlfriend to work.  I took a run over to the corner store like I often do, to get her some coffee and breakfast.  When iplaced my stuff down on the counter, I turned to my right only to see a steak and a six pack of Corona placed on the counter.  Figuring it mayve been a little early for steak and beer, I looked up to my right only to see a man chuckling a bit as he said “Sorry my brotha, we got football in 2 hours!”  My man is right, this week in New York, we get to see how the West Coast lives as in just under an hour, at 9:30AM, the Jets and Dolphins will face off live from London.  While I know it’s probably very hard for players to travel overseas and play football, I love when the NFL goes to London and we get bonus football.  I remember a few years back when the Raiders played after midnight on the East Coast and one year when there was Tuesday Night Football, I enjoyed them both.  If so inclined today, the football fan can sit down and watch a complete day of 4 games of football.  It’s no wonder when my girlfriend jumped out of the car for work, he kissed me goodbye and told me to have fun!  This is going to be a lot of fun so let’s get right into it.

If you’re not following along with me on twitter, I would urge all of you to do so as the last two weeks I’ve been unable to post my picks on their but have done so on their.  Same as usual, I’ve been posting my weekly picks as well as my primetime picks for every Thursday, Sunday and Monday night game.  This season we couldn’t have asked for a better start (and a little bit of luck along the way with games like Baltimore on Thursday night) as we currently have a record of 19-6 on the year all against the spread.  While we’ve been hot remember that as hot as the Summer gets, the Autumn is always soon to follow.  This is a tough week of games and while I believe I can get you through it but proceed with caution.

The Picks

1) The Oakland Raiders (-3) over The Chicago Bears

I’ll admit that I will feel a lot better about this one if Jay Cutler doesn’t play because if that happens, the Bears offense is all on the hsoulders of Matt Forte and while the Raiders defense isn’t the Seahawks, he saw how that went for the Bears offense last week.  That said, even if Cutler plays he isn’t going to be 100% and neither should Alshon Jeffrey.  The Raiders on the other hand, may have finally found some real players with Derek Carr, Latavis Murray and Amari Cooper.  Other than that, they also finally won on the east coast in Cleveland last week and I don’t see them slowing down this week.  The Bears defense is banged up and now they’ve gotten rid of Allen and Bostic to boot.  Hold your breath kids, we’re going to believe in the Oakland Raiders.

2) Carolina Panthers (-3) over The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Has anyone realized that the Panthers are 3-0.  While their offense isn’t world beating, Cam Newton has found a way to get it done and now he leads the Panthers to inconsistent Tampa Bay to face Jameis Winston and the fighting Bucs.  The Panthers went out of their way to add Jared Allen to an already stout defense.  I don’t like rookie quarterbacks against good defenses, even moreso than I hate picking road favorites.  This one should be easy for the Panthers.

3) Cincinnati Bengals (-4) over The Kansas City Chiefs

It’s the regular season and so you know I’m on the Bengals and so far they haven’t let me down.  Really like them at home this week against a Chiefs team that honestly I’ve found to be pretty overrated to start the season. Sure the Chiefs have played Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers the past two weeks but Andy Dalton hasn’t been far behind this season.  Chiefs are also banged up and the Bengals offense may in fact be the most complete in all of the NFL.

4) Philadelphia Eagles (-3) over The Washington Redskins 

I’ve gone back and forth a million times here on this pick because I was tempted to go with one of these underdogs like the Texans +7 or the Browns +7 but I don’t like to go with teams that you’re betting to hang in the game.  If I don’t see a way that a team is going to win the game, i don’t like picking them because they’re going to keep it close.  The numbers here would actually have you pick the Skins especially with a good amount of rest but I think the Eagles had something click last week and if they can get their high octane offense going, the Skins will be looking to keep up and they’ll have to do it with Kirk Cousins.  I feel like if the Skins are dependent on Cousins to win or keep them in a game, he’s likely to turn the ball over, they’re likely to lose and I think they will again here.

LOCK OF THE WEEK: New York Jets (-2) over the Miami Dolphins 

On the one hand, I hate picking the Jets because they’re my favorite team and because I’ll never bet against them.  Yet on the other hand,  Miami has looked like the worst team in the league this season.  They lucked their way into a victory week one and lost to the Jaguars two weeks ago and got manhandled by the Bills last week.  So much for that Dolphins week schedule to start the season, eh?  I think the Jets are just the better team and they’ll have both Chris Ivory and Eric Decker back this week.  Miami is the home team but that’s only by technicality as the game is in England.  i hope my Jets bounce back and I’m confident they will.

That’s going to do it for me now but I’ll be back later today with my sunday night football pick against the spread.

The Spotlight On Tommy At The Garden- Survivor Series 2002

2002 has to be the most under rated year for WWE, you had the debuts of John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, you had the in ring returns of Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels and you had one of the most impressive mid cards ever to take place in the WWE. 2002 was also a year in which I attended my first live WWE pay per view when a buddy and myself went to the SummerSlam 2002 at the Nassau Colliseum. I’d say it was the year that I also got really into live pay per views because to me there was nothing like a live pay per view. It was just such a great atmosphere. Thus, when I turned 16 that October I was pleasantly surprised when my parents got me two tickets to the 2002 Survivor Series! This would be my first pay per view ever to come live from Madison Square Garden and to say I was excited was the ultimate understatement. The only question left was who I would take with me to the show. I was heavily involved in my own basement wrestling federation (sad I know) at the time and I already had a blast at SummerSlam with my buddy jimmy but I was suddenly now torn over a few buddies who wanted to come with. After much deliberation, I asked my father to come with me. My father’s interest in wrestling had started to wane but he had taken me to my very first wrestling show at Madison Square Garden so I thought he’d be the perfect person to attend my first pay per view at the garden with.

What was also cool about that birthday was that I had also got an autograph ticket from my family to meet Shawn Michaels in Howard Beach at Video Game Central the night before the Survivor Series. This time my mom was coming with as Shawn was always her favorite wrestler. This was Shawn’s first title match since his return to the WWE at Summerslam of that year and, to me anyway, he was the focal point of that event. It was crazy to have Shawn at this autograph signing only 30 minutes from my house and one of the truly starstruck moments of my life. I remember it was pouring rain and blistering cold out in the November New York weather. Despite this and despite my mother just getting out of surgery, my mother stayed on that line with me and my buddy for three hours to meet Shawn.  Ever the professional, I distinctly remember Shawn telling me after I wished him luck, “Thanks bud, many think I’m nuts to compete in such a big match and honestly I don’t know how many more of these I have in me.”  He went on to wrestle for another 7+ years.

As for the event itself, I remember that this was the first show I had attended at the Garden since 9/11 the year before and the security was insane.  I had to remove my hat, people were being asked randomly to remove their shoes and my dad was asked to remove his cell phone and flip it open (remember flip phones?) for some reason.  It took forever to file into the Garden that night, but once we finally did get in, it was sure worth it. The guys at Busted Open Radio (which airs 2-4pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Sirius/XM 92) actually did a live tweeting of this show last year and it reminded me of what a great show this was, despite the fact that there weren’t any traditional survivor series matches on the show.

From the beginning, the crowd was in an absolute frenzy as Jeff Hardy did one of his famous swanton bombs off the rafters through a table and then later in the same match the Dudleys reunited to great fanfare.

One of the other big things about this show was the debut of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner who debuted for the company that night following the expiring of his contract from WCW (18 months after WCW closed it’s doors I might add).  I know that Scott’s WWE career at Big Poppa Pump didn’t really go anywhere but go back and watch this debut, he was over huge.  Surrounding that debut was also a lot of fun I remember going nuts because I was a huge Matt Hardy fan (always one of my favorites to this day) and I also loved the RNN News skits which featured Randy Orton promoting his return, he was so good even at 22 years old.

From here ya can’t talk about this show without talking about the Smackdown Six.  This was the peak of the smackdown six,to me, which featured Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero.  This, in my opinion was the peak of the WWE midcard in any era and it breaks my heart to think two of the six have tragically passed and 5 of the 6 have mostly retired at this point.

If there was one man in WWE in 2002 that defined the year, it’d perhaps be the same man who’s synonymous with WWE in 2014…Brock Lesnar.  I remember the Garden crowd being so into Brock and at the time he was the WWE champion and still undefeated.  This obviously was the night in which he lost due to Paul Heyman turning on Brock.  That turn stunned the crowd and I remember after Brock hit the F5 people started celebrating thinking it was over only to have Paul yank the referee. To this day, it still amazes me whenever Brock lifts the Big Show with such ease and I can tell you I’m looking forward to their match tonight.

In the end, I remember being really excited for the Elimination Chamber as it was the first Chamber match in history on this show and look at the six men in the match.  A who’s who of hall of fame level talent in Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T and RVD.  This was the match in which RVD landed a five star frog splash and crushed Triple H’s larynx.  I also remember, other than Shawn, Booker T may have been the most over man in the match.  My father and I had a great time doing the “5 Time!” routine in the crowd with our entire section.  In the end, Shawn Michaels (proving to me he was in fact playing me the night before, which I couldn’t be happier about) won what would end up being his final world title reign in WWE.  As the confetti rained down on Shawn it was probably the best live moment for me as a fan until this past year’s WrestleMania.

All in all just a great and enjoyable show from top to bottom that more than holds up today as so much happened on that show it’s unbelievable to even think.  The show for me is memorable as it was the last show I attended live with my dad who’s interest in the product had really fell off then so it was the end of a 16 year era but what a finale we had.  That’s gonna do it for this review but it’s crazy to think we are gearing up for Lesnar and the Big Show some 13 years later on the Network tonight…and it should be great!