Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Football talk for the taking

“USC lost to an unranked Oregon State, but I bet they don't fall past 12.”

I said those words and man was I wrong. USC didn’t fall past 9! What an outrage. Georgia fell from #3 to #8 and they lost the Alabama, who is now the #2 team in the country. OSU fell from #5 to #14 when they lost to the #1 Trojans. Yet, USC only fell from #1 to #9 after losing to an unranked Oregon State team. OSU has won two straight and are still looking up at USC from that same #14 spot. Unbelievable.

With that said, I still don’t think you can count Florida or Georgia out of the National Title race. That SEC is brutal and every team is bound to lose at least one game. Florida and Georgia got it out of the way in the beginning of the season, where it’s more convenient for the BCS to forget at the end of the season. LSU is still undefeated but I doubt that lasts long. LSU travels to Florida this week, and later hosts Georgia and Alabama. Alabama somehow has the easy road. They avoid Florida and have already played Georgia. They have a tough game at LSU and a home game at Auburn to close out the season and that’s it…until the SEC Championship which has swallowed many a title bid whole. I’m giddy to see how this plays out.

I’m this close to giving up on my Fantasy Football team. Roethlisberger and Fred Taylor have given me nothing. Willis McGahee is undroppable even though he keeps finding ways to get hurt as he gets hurt. I think he sprained an ankle when he hurt his chest last night. Not to mention T.O. is griping about the ball already. Isn’t this supposed to be a fantasy team? If I wanted to follow a mediocre team from week to week living on false hope, I would have become a Bengals fan.

Damnit.

Another week, another loss by the Bengals. In our defense, Palmer was on the shelf and I honestly think we would have won this game if he were in there. But he wasn’t…so we didn’t. We’re now 0-4 and staring the Cowboys in the face. Not to mention we just signed Cedric Benson. Cedric Benson and Chris Henry are on the same side of the ball together. Is there any way we can keep these guys lockers as far apart as humanly possible? I’m not even mad at this signing. We lost DeDe Dorsey for the season, even though he was mysteriously getting no touches. Kenny Watson has fallen off the face of the Earth. Chris Perry is still Chris Perry. Shaun Alexander was the alternative and no one wanted to see that. Benson is the only answer. Sure he got in legal trouble and struggled running behind a Chicago line infinitely better than the one we have here and there's no real reason to believe he'll succeed even moderately here, but maybe he will.

The Defense didn’t look terrible. We actually looked solid yet again. 7 of those points were due to an extremely short field because of a Chris Perry fumble. Giving up 13 points to a team that won 10 games last year should be cause for rejoice. Yet it’s not. We had to burn two timeouts before the fourth quarter even began if I recollect correctly, just for having 12 men on the field. Rich Gannon said it best during the game, “This is why these teams are winless.” Letting 12 men run on the field twice in a game is unacceptable, nonetheless in the third quarter of a close game. Fitzpatrick had to throw it up for grabs even more just because he had one timeout to work with the entire fourth quarter. The Browns futility was on display as well. Fumbling and interception and Braylon Edwards foolish late hit and infighting can’t have Romeo Crennel happy. Someone get him a hoagie to suck on.

I went through the liberty of finding your baseball preseason predictions, as well as mine to see how we did. You picked Boston, Detroit, LA and Seattle out of the AL and Philly, Chicago, Arizona and Milwaukee out of the NL. I had Boston, Cleveland, Anaheim and New York out of the AL and Philly, Chicago, San Diego and Milwaukee coming out of the NL. We broke about even seeing as how your terrible Seattle pick cancels out my awful San Diego pick.

I’ll get to my playoff predictions next entry as we still have one game to decide who wins the AL Central. The Twins swept the Sox just last week, but I have to go with Chicago here. If for no reason other than hoping Griff gets a taste of the playoffs he hasn’t had in around a decade.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All we are saying, Is give Simms a chance...

I think USC has to be out of the National Title talk. OSU fell from 5 to 14 with a loss to the number one team in the land. USC lost to an unranked Oregon State, but I bet they don't fall past 12. Oklahoma will take the top ranked spot and I don't think they'll be giving it back anytime soon. UGA could get some consideration if they beat Bama solidly but I'm not so sure they will even win, nonetheless win soundly.

One thing that bugged me about the USC game: I don't like teams who assign one number to more than one player. USC and OSU are the only teams that I can think of off the top of my head. #2 for OSU is Malcolm Jenkins. He's an All-America cornerback for the Buckeyes and he has to share a number with Terrelle Pryor. What gives? I know Pryor is supposed to be the next big thing but if I'm Jenkins, I'm not sharing. Especially not with some true freshman. There are 100 numbers to pick from, why double up?

*Steps off soap box*

Give Phil Simms a break. After all, he was the first athlete to do the whole "I'm going to Disney World!" thing after winning a championship. Are you like me? Don't you skip through the game just to hear the Super Bowl/NBA Finals/ World Series MVP say those words? Give Simmsy a break.

Actually I hate that part of any championship. Proceed to skewer Simms.

Lil' Wayne, a New Orleans native is a Packer's fan? The man is a bandwagoner. LeBron, an Akron native, is a Cowboys fan. I can't wait to grow up, get famous and jump tide on the Bengals so fast Marvin Lewis won't know what hit him.

Scratch that...Marvin Lewis never knows what hit him.

On to the picks.

Carolina over Atlanta: Julius Peppers will sack Matt Ryan 147 times. I am interested to see how Michael Turner does against a decent defense. He's had a great start, but it's against the likes of

Cincinnati over Cleveland: I think this is the game that gets the Bengals on track and pushed the Browns into the Brady Quinn Era.

Jacksonville over Houston: Jacksonville is coming off a big win against the Colts. I see them going on a run.

Denver over Kansas City: Apparently this Brandon Marshall character is good. The guy I'm facing in my Fantasy league this week has Cutler and Marshall. Woe is I.

New Orleans over San Francisco: I will tell Reggie Bush no such thing. I find it hilarious when he does it, as if to say "Hey You! Remember how good I was in college?"

New York over Arizona: I'll go NY in this one. If Favre wants to win as bad as he says he does, there's no way he can or will lose this game. By the way, has there ever been an older QB battle than Warner-Favre? Maybe Testaverde-Player X, but I doubt it.

Tampa Bay over Green Bay: I need an upset so here it is. What people mean is he looks good for Brian Griese. Every stop he makes, he comes off the bench and has a couple solid starts and people say, "Why didn't this guy work out?" Then he stinks it up and people remember. He's only on start number 2. I think Tampa pulls the upset.

Tennessee over Minnesota: I bet the Vikings wish they were playing Madden so they could trade Frerotte, Tarvaris Jackson and a second rounder for someone competent or some rookie with a made up name.

San Diego over Oakland: Jamarcus Russell has looked terrible in his first 3 weeks, yet he is one field goal away from being 2-1 and has a higher QB rating than Peyton Manning. I don't get this league.

Buffalo over St. Louis: Did you hear that Stephen Jackson and other teammates wanted a meeting with Linehan to demand Bulger remain starting QB? The same Jackson averaging 3 yards a carry and has more fumbles than touchdowns. When a guy like that talks, you listen.

Dallas over Washington: I agree with you. Washington, despite a coach that appears in over his head, will give them a game and perhaps knock them off with the Cowboys come to Washington. But Dallas wins this one.

Philadelphia over Chicago: Please let McNabb stay healthy. I'm really enjoying his rejuvenation run.

Pittsburgh over Baltimore: Pitt looked absolutely terrible last week in just about every aspect of the game, and only lost by 9 to a good Eagles team. This Baltimore offense is terrible and I think the Pitt D will stifle Flacco and the boys. What a bad Monday Night game this could be. It might be 6-3.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Death of USC

So...USC lost. To Oregon State. I'm still laughing about that. People were talking about this team as one of the great college football teams of all time...and they get knocked-off by an unranked team. Ahhhh, you gotta love this game. I haven't been this happy for a while. Does this automatically knock them out of National Title talk? I really hope that it does, because, as much fun as it is, I really don't want to see an overhyped team get blown-out in the National Championship game again.

I'm with you on this Kornheiser thing. I'm really not a big fan of that team at all. Tirico seems fine, and Jaworski knows his stuff, but Kornheiser turns Jaworski into a giggling girl. When Kornheiser started, I was a pretty big fan. After all, he was with Theismann in the booth, who was famous for making stupid comments and contradicting himself. Kornheiser openly questioned the things Theismann said, and it killed me to hear him backtrack. Now that Theismann has been replaced with someone who actually knows something about football, it turns out that Kornheiser is nothing more than an extremely unfunny person who knows next to nothing about football and desperately wants to control every conversation. He needs to go...right now.
I would hesitate to call them the worst team, though. There are a couple other candidates. The Mike & Mike & Ditka team was terrible. Mike & Mike might not have been terrible, but Ditka was atrocious. He's a confused old man who seems to have lost all of his football knowledge. I don't know how often they'll be doing games, but they were terrible.
I would also like to throw Phil Simms into the mix. He's with Jim Nantz, who is a great play-by-play guy, but Simms ruins all that. He really likes to tell stories with no beginning, ending or plot, and that usually have nothing to do with football. His ramblings go way beyond the point of ridiculous and pointless, to the extent that we had to shut off the sound of a Simms game last year and listen to some music. Truly terrible stuff.

Reseeding the baseball playoffs isn't a terrible idea, but it'll never happen. There's too much tied up into the current divisions and everything. It seems like it makes sense, as it will give the top teams access to the playoffs, no matter what division they were originally in. I've seen this idea for pretty much every major sporting event...but it won't happen.

Lil' Wayne is blogging for ESPN...and he's a Packers fan. Guess I'll have to listen to the album again, in what will be my 5th round of trying to like it.

Let's do some NFL picks.

Carolina over Atlanta: Atlanta is looking better than expected, but so are the Panthers. They lost last week, but I think they'll come back with a good game against the Falcons.

Cincinnati over Cleveland: I know Cleveland had higher expectations at the beginning of the year, but I was never sold, and they're not looking too good right now. The Bengals really aren't either, but they looked like they were putting something together last week against the Giants.

Jacksonville over Houston: I never thought I'd say this, but when will the Texans realize that Sage Rosenfels gives them their best chance to win?

Denver over Kansas City: Denver's offense looks terrific, but their defense looks terrible. It doesn't really matter when you're playing an offense as terrible as Kansas City's.

New Orleans over San Francisco: This could be a pretty good game. The 49ers seem like they're starting to build something, and the Saints' offense is rolling once again. Just tell Reggie Bush to stop pointing at people when he's on his way into the end zone.

Arizona over New York: I'm not sure about this one. The Cardinals look much better than I thought they would, but the Jets are capable of winning this one. Frankly, I'm not sold on either team. The only reason I'll watch even 30 seconds of this one will be because of Favre.

Green Bay over Tampa Bay: The Packers will come back with a big game after a tough loss. Here's a question for you: why is everyone saying "Griese looked really good last week"? I know that he had a big second half and led his team to victory. Very impressive stuff. But a good game? Do they remember how bad he looked in the first half? Do they remember that he finished with more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2)?

Tennessee over Minnesota: What do the Vikings have? A running game and a competent quarterback. What do the Titans have? A ridiculously good defense. Do you see the Vikings getting more than 6 first downs in this game? This will be a pretty low-scoring game.

San Diego over Oakland: The Chargers seemed to come alive this past Monday night, even without a heavy dose of Tomlinson. The Raiders did look pretty good in three quarters against Buffalo, though. There's a possibility that they'll be good again...but not just yet. The way the Chargers defense looks, they could have an outside shot of making this a close game.

Buffalo over St. Louis: Is Trent Green an improvement over Marc Bulger? I'm not really sure...and I don't really care. While I'm not completely sold on the Bills, the Rams may be the worst team in football. Have fun.

Dallas over Washington: I think it'll be close. The Redskins are starting to click on offense, but I don't think they're ready just yet. By the time they meet again in Week 11, the Redskins may be ready to knock them off.

Philadelphia over Chicago: As long as the Eagles play defense like they did against the Steelers, they'll win this game...and it won't even be all that close.

Baltimore over Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger is banged up. If he plays, he won't be 100%. If he doesn't, then Leftwich is running the offense...and we all remember how that went in Atlanta. The offensive line doesn't look great. The Ravens will do what Philly did last week, and blitz like crazy. The Ravens don't have a great offense, but they have enough.

Go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

0-3 never looked better?

“Tough luck for the Bengals. I was really rooting for them in that game. A lot of people didn't think they had a shot, but they really put up a good fight. Maybe they can build on this? Nah.”
You, from the other day.


I think we can. Honestly. We showed up against the champs in their house and the schedule doesn’t look to bad for us the next couple weeks.


-Home against Cleveland- That team is in disarray and we’re coming off a good showing. I think we win this one
-At Dallas- Yikes. We get Chris Henry back so hopefully we can at least keep it close.
-At NYJ- I haven’t been sold on this Jets team since the day they got Favre. They are 1-2, coming off a beating at the hands of San Diego and about to face a surprising Cardinals team. I think we can steal this one.
-Home against Pittsburgh- Normally I’d chalk up the loss, but they looked terrible yesterday. That O-line looked awful and with Big Ben and Fast Willie hurting, I think we could steal another one. If Byron Leftwich sees the field at any time in this game, we’ve got it in the bag.
-At Houston- We go play an unimpressive Houston team and I think we can beat them soundly.

That puts us at 4-4, which could put us at anywhere from first to fourth in this division. We also would be looking at 5 remaining home games. Am I delusional? Extremely. Reasonable? Hardly. Hopeful? You betcha.


I do have but one gripe with the Bengal’s game. Late in the 4th quarter, we had a decent drive going. We got stopped and settled for a field goal…on the road…against the defending world champions. Huh? Why not roll the dice and go for the touchdown? The offense had looked solid all day and we have nothing to lose. 1-2 looks a lot better than 0-3, and in Marvin Lewis’ case, he had nothing to lose. If we miss it, maybe he gets some of his player’s respect. If he gets it, he gets all of the player’s respect.


I agree with you about the fake field goal. How many times is that play ran during a NFL season? Once or twice? And it seems to always go for a touchdown. At the very least, you eat the yards and set up for a field goal. If you’re extra tricky, you set up on second down and run the fake field goal twice! That’ll keep ‘em off your trail.


The Enberg/Cross is a good one, and among the bests. I can’t tell you who is the best, but I can tell you who the worst is. That Monday Night Football bunch kills me. Tirico is fine and I like Jaworski, but Kornheiser is killing me. What could he possibly add to the game that a former quarterback and fine play-by-play man miss? And while I’m on bad teams, that NBC crew with Olbermann, Costas and the gang is too much. I bet they all hate each other and I’d really like to see some behind the scenes footage when the camera goes off. That Costas seems catty.


I have never understood college football rankings and I won’t try to pretend I do now. It makes no sense. I thought the same thing when Ohio State dropped. Yes, they got massacred by USC, but USC is the number one team in the country. OSU fell from 5th to 24th in the AP Polls. You mean to tell me that because I got beat by the absolute best in the country, the likes of Brigham Young and South Florida move ahead of me? If OSU played BYU right now, is there any doubt that OSU would win by 25+ points? I’m not even an OSU fan and that bugs me.


Also, Kentucky has 7 votes for the Top 25. I love the Cats but anyone who has watched that team will tell you they are not a Top 25 team in the nation yet. The defense is solid but that offense is unproven.


How about Penn State absolutely smashing teams? Even after all the off the field issues this offseason, they have yet to give up more than 14 points or score less than 45. The Big Ten schedule will tell if they are legit or not but you have to give it to Joe Pa after the offseason he’s had.


The Cubs officially won the pennant killing my Brewer’s chance. There’s always next year boys. Oh wait, no there isn’t after your top 2 pitchers bolt for greener pastures. There’s always 4-6 years until you get the farm system restocked boys.


I leave you with this. I’ve heard this talked about by others, and more recently by our old pal Dameshek. What do you think of dropping the Wild Card’s in baseball and just doing the best record in the AL vs. the best record in the NL for the World Series? Dameshek suggests a best-of-nine, and it could work, but I think best-of-seven could work just as well. Say the Mets… well they’re prone to choke in the last part of the season so scratch that. Say a team like the Diamondbacks somehow gets the Wild Card. They get a best of 7 with the Cubs and who’s to say the D-backs don’t get hot like they did last year. Webb goes twice for them and Dunn hits a few homers and the Cubs are ousted. You and I both know that Cubs are a better team than the Diamondbacks. Does eliminating the Wild Card take the element of surprise out of baseball because there are no more Cinderella runs? Or does it put the best against the best, as it ought to be? The past four World Series have been won as follows: 4-0, 4-1, 4-0, and 4-0. Where is the epic Game 7? Your thoughts?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Week 3, or Why Dick Enberg Makes Me Laugh

Sorry I didn't get to my picks. Busy week and all that.

It was a fairly surprising day yesterday. The highlight of my day was the Jacksonville/Indianapolis game. After Indy drove down the field to go ahead with a minute left, I thought there was no way the Jaguars would be able to come back. Then, when they got the ball, I really didn't think they had a shot. They took so long to get up to the line after a short little pass up the middle...then they did the same thing again. It took them 30 seconds to move 8 yards. Frustrating stuff. A couple of good plays later and Scobee is blasting the game-winning field goal through the uprights. Exciting ending.

The Tampa Bay/Chicago game had a similar ending. Who would've thought that Griese could throw 67 passes and win the game? For being terrible the majority of the game, he really came alive in the fourth quarter and overtime. The long pass in overtime that set up the field goal was absolutely gorgeous. I never thought I would say "Griese" and "absolutely gorgeous" in the same paragraph.

Tough luck for the Bengals. I was really rooting for them in that game. A lot of people didn't think they had a shot, but they really put up a good fight. Maybe they can build on this? Nah.

We were talking about this yesterday, with 2 overtime games on. Instead of kicking a field goal on second down, why not try a fake field goal? You don't want to do anything risky with it, but the defense is all-in to block the field goal. What would it hurt to snap it to the holder, then just see if anyone is wide open? If it doesn't work, you kick the field goal on third down. Why has no one tried this yet?

The Green Bay/Dallas game was a little frustrating to watch. Green Bay's defense was getting absolutely gouged by the run, but they clamped down in the red zone and held Dallas to field goals. If Green Bay's offense could've started to roll, they would've had a shot. No such luck. Dallas really ran away with it in the second half. They have a good team, that's for sure. It's going to be tough to beat them.

I was really rooting for the Raiders to beat the Bills. How cool would that have been? After everyone has worked themselves up over a great Buffalo team, a terrible Raiders team comes in and beats them. Even though Buffalo eventually pulled it out, it certainly raises some questions.

I kind of thought that Miami would beat the Patriots, but I never thought they would win by that much. Forget about the offense: what's wrong with the Patriots' defense? Although that blow-out did give us my new favorite coach's post-game statement: Belichick's only positive statement of the game was "I think we were competitive in the kicking game."

I have to say that the Dick Enberg/Randy Cross team is now competing with the Al Michaels/ John Madden team for my favorite announcing pair. Enberg and Cross gave us such great phrases as "creasing the defense" (on a good running play), "he squeezed that melon and wouldn't let go" (on Jones-Drew hanging onto the football despite many strip attempts) and "he walked through the door and came right on home" (that was for an offsides call). They had some other phrases that seemed made up on the spot, and, while they didn't always make sense, they were very entertaining. However, Michaels and Madden reclaimed the crown that night when, after a particularly loud promo for some new show, Michaels responded by saying, "I'm scared"...and he legitimately sounded scared.

College football.
Here's a question for you: how can a #10 ranked team barely lose to a #6 ranked team and drop all the way down to #15? That's what happened to Auburn after they lost to LSU. I know there are problems with the system, but that's one thing I'll never understand. It's like when Boise State had a huge "upset" over Oklahoma in the bowl game...but Boise State was the higher ranked team. I still need someone to explain that one to me.

Brent Mussberger had this to say about Matthew Stafford in the George/Arizona State game: "You just take one look at that kids' arm and start drooling." Did I miss the part where Phil Simms made his way into the booth?

TV On the Radio has a new album out on Tuesday. I don't know if you'll like it (seeing as how you like Lil' Wayne and all), but you need to check out the song "DLZ". Amazing stuff. It's my new candidate for song of the year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thoughts on the NFL weekend

Kansas City @ Atlanta- Yikes, this should be on blackout in KC and Atlanta. I'll go with Atlanta because somebody has to win, right?

Oakland @ Buffalo- The Bills take this easily. The Bills have an easy schedule which has them facing only one playoff team from last year until their week 10 visit to New England. If they can so much as split with NE and NYJ, and hope either team falters a little bit, the division could be theirs for the taking.

Tampa Bay @ Chicago- Why is it that every time Jeff Garcia has so much as a chest cold, he's yanked from the starting lineup? Even when he's healthy, it seems he always has to fight for his job back. I think Tampa Bay gets this one because Brian Griese is a backup quarterback for a reason.

Carolina @ Minnesota- Finally a good game. Steve Smith is back and I think he has his way with the Gus Frerotte led Vikings. Again, why is a backup quarterback thrust into the starting role? Yes Tarvaris Jackson was playing poorly but Frerotte was his backup! How badly must he have been playing? And even so, why name him started for the rest of the season? Panthers take this one.

Miami @ New England- Last season excluded, Miami always plays surprisingly well against NE. I'm not picking the upset but I think it will be a more competitive game than it looks on paper.

Cincinnati @ NYG- Sigh. This is the game where Carson Palmer jumps from the last rated passer in the league to third, maybe fourth worst. Congrats to Carson.

Houston @ Tennessee- A lot of people picked the Texans to be a sleeper but I can't see it. Not in that division. Tennessee takes this one.

Arizona @ Washington- A surprisingly mediocre match up on paper could create an interesting game. I think Washington pulls it out.

Detroit @ San Francisco- Detroit wins on the road as Roy Williams goes crazy in this one. Or at least I hope he does as he's on my fantasy team.

St. Louis @ Seattle- A bad game in a terrible division. I'm not sure who takes the win, I'm guessing Seattle, but I'm positive that humanity takes the loss for this one.

New Orleans @ Denver- This could be a great game. I'm intrigued to see if Cutler continues making the leap in this game. And how Hochuli can throw a game he's not reffing. Denver wins this to go 3-0 and possibly win the division with a San Diego loss.

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia- What a great game this ought to be. Philly looked good last week and lost. Pitt looked bad last week and won. This week Philly looks good and takes the win.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis- Jacksonville has their back against the wall and needs a win. Indy could use one too, but this mediocre defense lost its best player. Jags win this one.

Cleveland @ Baltimore- Cleveland bounces back to win what could be a decent game to watch when Cleveland has the ball. When Baltimore has the ball against that Cleveland "defense", steer clear of this one.

Dallas @ Green Bay- Rodgers first real test. He'll have a solid game, but Dallas will prove too much.

NYJ @ San Diego- Both teams need this one. If New York falls to 1-2, while NE and Buffalo go to 3-0, they'd have an uphill battle. If SD falls to 0-3 if Denver goes to 3-0, their season could be over. I think NYJ wins and LaDainian Tomlinson ends up yelling at someone. I'm guessing Deanna Favre.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Boys and the Iggles

The Bengals disgust me. I wish I was less of a man so I could just drop the Bengals and root for the Giants or someone of that ilk. But my fanhood won't let me. You know what hurts the most about these losses? The fact that we have the talent. In the Akili Smith days we had Corey Dillon and little else. We expected to lose. Now we have Pro Bowlers at QB and WR and first rounders on the offensive line and in the backfield. Now we expect to win, and get outplayed on a weekly basis. I don't see Marvin Lewis being around much longer. I'm not sure who'd replace him but it may be time for a change. Our defense didn't look the greatest but only surrendered 17 points. You'd think an offense like ours could score at least 20 points a game. It's disheartening to watch such talent squandered and the Bengals go back to the Bungals. That division title in '05 seems so far away.


Terrible call by the most jacked referee in the league in Hochuli. If that was an incomplete pass, who was the intended receiver? Even Cutler admitted it was a fumble. While it was only one game, it could prove to be crucial. The 0-2 Chargers are looking up at the 2-0 Broncos already and with the way Cutler is playing, that may be a hard task to overcome for the Chargers. Yes Cutler threw the pick yesterday and dropped the ball (literally) in another crucial moment, but I’m almost ready to admit I was wrong on him. Almost. He throws for 600 yards and 8 touchdowns next week and I’ll admit that I’m wrong.


I didn’t see the Green Bay game but I was curious as to how the big lead evaporated so quickly to the lowly Lions. Do you think the coaches being too conservative with Rodgers could eventually cost them a game against better opponents?


What a great Monday night game. I come away from this game with greater proof of things I already knew. First, Marion Barber is good. Second, Donovan McNabb is really good. He bounces off defenders because of his size, but has enough speed to pick up the first down. He’s always looking downfield and has some speedy receivers at his disposal. If he can stay healthy, I can see the Eagles going deep in the playoffs. I really hope he can because if there is one guy in the league I’d like to see win a ring, other than anyone on the Bengals, its McNabb. His one flaw seems to be clock management. Again, with time running down McNabb takes his time getting up from a hit and getting his team back to the line. This could be blamed partially on Andy Reid but at some point Donovan has to fire up the troops and get them to the line. What a coach that Wade Phillips is eh? The way he stays in the players faces barking out orders is second to none.


Brewers fire Ned Yost in a shocker. I know they were in a slide but they are still tied for the lead in the Wild Card race. Granted, baseball is probably the best sport to fire a coach before a playoff run because baseball strategies are pretty much the same, but still. Maybe this will rally the Brewers after losing 11 of 14, but at this point, should you have to fire a coach to motivate grown men? The Cubs hit a bit of a skid and the Brewers couldn’t capitalize. Will a new coach change that? Only time will tell but I’m not a fan of this move.


I saw a guy with a tattoo of the Red Sox “B” on his arm today. What would it take for you to get the Green Bay “G” inked on ya?


-Tyler

Hochuli's Lament

First off, the end of that Chargers/Broncos game was one of the most frustrating things I've seen in a while. I'm a big fan of Hochuli, but he completely blew that call. That ball clearly came out of Cutler's hand before it was moving forward. The whistle shouldn't have been blown, it should've been a fumble, and the Chargers should've won. Combine that with the missed call early in the game (which couldn't be reviewed, as the equipment wasn't working at that time), and I would be ridiculously mad if I was a Chargers fan. And the fact that Shanahan looked so smug the whole time just compounded my anger.

Rodgers looked good. The conservative play-calling of the Packers (and lack of playing defense) in the second half almost cost them the game. With 7 minutes left in the game, the Lions were ahead, 25-24. Within 4 minutes, it was 48-25 Packers. It was a roller coaster of emotions, and I'm glad it ended well.

Bengals...wow. I don't even have anything to say. I'm sorry, man. Hey, there's always next year...right?

I don't know who to blame that Browns loss on last night. Was it Braylon "Butterfingers" Edwards? Romeo Crennel's decision to kick a field goal to make it 10-6 with 3 minutes left? Or maybe it was just the wind.
You know what? I'm going to go with equal parts Edwards and Crennel. Edwards dropped a number of balls (at least 3), including a touchdown and the ball that would've given them a first down (on third down) at the end of the game. If he catches that ball, the Browns would've continued their drive. They hadn't been in the endzone all day, so there are no guarantees, but they had put together a great drive and looked ready to score a touchdown. That catch gives them a first down and a good chance to tie the game. Instead, he dropped it, bringing up fourth-and-seven. Down 10-3 with three minutes left, what do you do? Kick the field goal, of course. Keep in mind that Cleveland would've had to hold Pittsburgh to a three-and-out on the next possession...something they had failed to do for pretty much the entire game. So the Edwards drop lead to a terrible decision...what a great chain of events for Cleveland. Of course, if Kellen Winslow Jr. was on the field for that possession, we probably wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Baseball?
Zambrano came out slinging, and ended up with the first Cubs no-hitter since '72. Pretty impressive stuff. It would've been pretty cool if he had thrown it in Chicago (instead of in Milwaukee...against the Astros), but I guess it doesn't matter.
Do you realize that, even with their recent slide, the Cubs are still 7.5 games up in their division? That's pretty impressive.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I was with vince Young the entire time

It is only one game as you said, but Rodgers surprised me. It wasn't him I was ever in doubt of, it was everyone else. Rodgers would be a bit of a drop-off from Favre. Grant and the receivers would therefore tail off a little bit and hence my pick of the Vikings winning the division. If the Pack can cut the penalties and put together a season full of that, in addition to that great home crowd, this team could win some games. What surprised me most about Rodgers was his mobility. I knew he was no stiff along the lines of Favre, but he's got some moves and they'll come in handy this season.

Maybe it's time we give this Cutler fellow some credit. I mentioned it briefly to you, but before the 06 NFL Draft, Merril Hoge said he wouldn't take Leinart in the first round, Vince Young on the first day and that he would spend a first round pick on Cutler. I, among others, laughed at him. Their careers are still young but man was I wrong. Leinart can't beat out Kurt Warner for the right to win 7 games. Vince Young is falling apart mentally and physically. Meanwhile Cutler, has the best numbers of them all and it's not even close. Again though, numbers don't tell everything. Jamarcus Russell had a 111 QB rating in a game he lost by 27 points. I've got my eye on Cutler.

I don't know what to make of the Vince Young thing. On one hand I want to say it's all being overblown. Apparently the whole time he was "missing", he was out with friends. Who doesn't want to get away every once in a while? On the other hand, who knows what to think? His family knows him better than anyone and if they really felt concerned enough to notify the coach, something had to be wrong. He's mentioned retiring early before but I honestly can't see it. After he lost the Heisman, his whole purpose was to embarrass Reggie Bush and USC and he did just that. He's too much of a competitor to hang it up after not even 3 mediocre seasons. Maybe this is the wakeup call he needs to finally get to work on that passing game. I think he's coasted as far as he can on athletic ability alone. It's time to work on the mechanics. In his defense though, he has no help on offense. None. His defense is good but he's in one of the toughest divisions in football. Lest we forget, he won the game Sunday. Who knows where this story ends had the Jaguars pulled it out.

Where does Alex Smith go in the terms of all-time busts? He has to beat out Ryan Leaf just because he was #1 overall, and Leaf went behind Peyton Manning. Anything he did would have never been enough. As a matter of fact, that whole top 10 was pretty lackluster as a whole.
1. Alex Smith- Terrible
2. Ronnie Brown- Good but injury prone
3. Braylon Edwards- The gem of the top 10
4. Cedric Benson- Unemployed
5. Cadillac Williams- Hasn't played in well over a year
6. Pac Man Jones- Ha!
7. Troy Williamson- The Vikings answer to losing Randy Moss was traded last year for a 6th round pick.
8. Antrell Rolle- Solid, but was just switched from CB to FS. That cant be a good sign.
9. Carlos Rogers- Solid rookie year but has had some injuries
10. Mike Williams- Let go by the Lions, Raiders and Titans. The Lions and Raiders are terrible and the Titans have a dire need for WR's and he still couldn't make the cut.

By the way, the next two picks were Demarcus Ware and Shawn Merriman. Later in that draft, were David Pollack(Out of the league due to injury), Matt Jones (A cokehead who wasn't punished whatsoever) and Luis Castillo (A known steroids user). What a bunch. I'm convinced that the worst the first overall pick is, the worst the class as a whole will turn out. Alex Smith set the standard for mediocrity.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cutler 1, Diabetes 0

Okay, so the Packers had some problems, most notably the insane amounts of penalties on the offensive line (including one that wiped out a gorgeous touchdown). In all, they had 12 penalties for 118 yards. That is way too many penalties. Their defense was suspect at times, giving up 355 total yards (187 of those coming on the ground). They got good pressure on Jackson, but just weren't able to wrap him up a lot of the time. They also allowed a number of big completions in the fourth quarter, allowing the Vikings a chance to win. Bigby picked-off a pass to ice the game for the Packers, but I was holding my breath for a while there.
Now...
Like I said, the Packers had some problems. But Rodgers put in a solid performance (18/22 for 178 yards and a touchdown, as well as 8 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown), and the running game did fairly well against an extremely hyped run defense (139 rushing yards). Keep in mind that, even with all those penalties, they beat a team that was picked by virtually everyone to win the division, and to win it handily. I know I know...it's too early in the season to say with any certainty what will happen. But the Packers had a big test in Week 1 and came out on top. That has to say something about them.

And who said, "Hey, you know what would be a great game for a Monday Night double-header? Raiders/Broncos. Now that's a game that people will love." What a terrible decision, and a terrible game. It's a division game...I get it. But who thought the Raiders would be good this year? Their defense, solid a couple of years ago, looked awful. Their offensive line looks worse. I felt pretty bad for Russell, who got an average of 1 second to get the ball out of his hands before having to run around or throw the ball. And, when he finally did get rid of the ball, his receivers (Curry, in particular) weren't exactly great. Just a terrible performance all the way around.
Did you see Cutler, though? Boy, if he can beat diabetes and carve up a terrible Raiders defense, he is capable of anything...right?

Brady done for the season. Wow. Sucks for the Pats. I can also see Buffalo trying to slide into that top spot, especially after their game against the Seahawks. But let's not get too carried away with that right now. After all, it's not as though the Seahawks are the best team in the league. They're usually decent, but they play in the worst division in the NFL. The Bills put together some good games last year, but they need to be consistent. I'm still saying this division is the Pats to lose...which they may end up doing.

McNabb has done a lot in his career with below average receivers. In his one year with Owens, he showed what he's capable of with a top-flight receiver. To me, that is one of the great injustices in the NFL; McNabb playing with terrible receivers, year after year. Can you imagine what would've happened if he had a chance to play with a receiver like Owens or Moss for more than a year? Culpepper put up ridiculously huge numbers with Moss, and Culpepper is an idiot. He possessed absolutely zero football intelligence. Here is the sum of his knowledge: "Moss is out there. Three guys covering him. Throw it high, or find someone in single coverage." That's it. McNabb is a much smarter quarterback than Culpepper, and he really could've done some damage if he was given help.

Vince Young sulking on the sidelines after getting booed, then having the cops called because friends were concerned about his state of mind that night? How much longer before he retires? During this season? Next season? Or will he play 10-12 years?

Monday, September 8, 2008

What a fine, fine time in sports

I'll take the Bengals game first and get to the rest. What a poor way to start the season. Did I really pick us for the playoffs? Mulligan. Pretty much the same problems that plagued us last year, plagued us this year. Poor running game and terrible offensive line play doomed us. The Ravens D is good, but I've watched them for the last few seasons and they've lost a step. Plus, we've always seemed to play well against the Ravens. Before yesterday, we had won 6 or our last 7 against the Ravens, and scored at least 21 points in all of those games except one. Carson Palmer barely had time to hike the ball before he had purple jerseys in his face. Our defense actually didn't look that bad. The Ravens are no offensive juggernaut but bar two big plays, we only allowed 3 points. The Clayton double reverse was just a well executed play. Can't stop em all. The Flacco run was terrible but we still should have scored more than 1o points. It's going to be a looooooong season.

It's official, Brady is out for the season. I actually think this opens up things for the Bills more than anybody. I picked them to finish second before the season and that was before they thrashed the Seahawks and the Jets squeaking by the lowly Dolphins. Beating a team like the Seahawks has to make you feel good and the Brady injury only adds to their motivation. I really think the division is open for the taking. I still wouldn't count out the Pats though. Cassell has been in that offense long enough and lest we forget, Tom Brady stepped in for an injured quarterback and look what happened to him. In no way am I saying Matt Cassell will become the next Tom Brady, but I have a hard time believing a guy like Belichick would keep Cassell around so long unless he was at least serviceable. The best thing about Brady's injury is now that Pat's fans are crying it was a dirty hit by the Chiefs. Really? Patriots fans crying about unfair play? Dirty hit? Taping plays? You say tomato, I say tomato eh? Actually scrap that tomato bit. Doesn't quite work as well in text.

I would love to by the Eagles but I can't bet on McNabb's health. If you could guarantee me he'd play 16 games, I'd guarantee you they win at least 11 games. McNabb is a great quarterback and it really is a shame that he can't stay healthy. You say McNabb doesn't have the best receivers to throw to, but when has he had a great stable? TO was great but even after that he only had Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston. Hardly great second options. Even before TO, he made NFC Championship games without top WR's. Plus with McNabb, he doesn't really need great receivers. He has Westbrook, who can catch 80 balls, a good TE in Smith and he can still make a play or two with his legs. Westbrook had 1 receiving yard yesterday and McNabb still had 3 different receivers with 100 yards. I think he'll be fine. PS- Next week's Monday night game is Philly at Dallas. How great should that one be?

Are "game managers" back in style? Kyle Orton, Trent Edwards, Matt Cassell, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Kerry Collins all won games yesterday. (Random note: I heard there were cheers when Kerry Collins entered the game yesterday. When was the last time Kerry Collins arrival was cheered? I'm guessing his own birth by the likes of Mother and Father Collins and never again.) Whoever wins the Jackson-Rodgers matchup tonight could be added to the list. Is it possible a good offensive line is more important than even a great quarterback?

Predictions for tonight:

Vikings-28, Packers, 17. Rodgers make some early mistakes but plays better as the game goes on. Not well enough to out do AP's 120 rush yards and 2 TD's.

Raider's-17, Broncos-14. That Raider's defense is solid, especially the secondary with the addition of D'Angelo Hall. I can see McFadden and Fargas grinding out a win against the Broncos. That Cutler is good though. Damn good. A star. A rising star as a matter of fact.

Recovering from Opening Weekend

Wow. Did I really pick the Redskins to go to the Super Bowl? I guess I should've waited until I watched their first game. Does Jim Zorn know how to coach? The Skins got the ball with a little over 6 minutes to play, down 2 scores. No hurry up offense...not even a single no-huddle call. There was a point where the camera caught him when he was supposed to be calling in a play. He was staring blankly out at the field with his play chart at his side. Campbell was looking at the sideline, waiting for something to happen...and all he got was silence. The Skins might be talented, but, unless something happens, it's not looking like Zorn is the guy that is going to be able to take advantage of that.

We sat around yesterday, flipping around from game to game. There were a lot of blow-outs, but there were a couple of close games that came down to some great endings. The most obvious choice for best ending was the Panthers/Chargers game. I am not the biggest Delhomme fan, but he really came through at the end of that game. He scrambled around in the pocket a little bit, then stepped up and threw an absolute bullet into the endzone. It split two defenders and was just barely on the fingertips of the receiver as time expired. Great throw. Exciting ending.
The end of the Jets/Dolphins game was also great. Pennington picked apart the Jets defense as time was running out, leading to one last heave into the endzone (we joked that Pennington was the only guy who could throw a ball 25 yards and have it called a Hail Mary), which was picked-off in the back of the endzone by Revis, who caught it with one arm as he was pulled down by the receiver. Exciting stuff. I will admit, though, that seeing Favre jumping into the arms of Faneca after a touchdown pass was a little tough to watch.

I'm excited for the Packers game tonight. I really think they'll fare better against the Vikings than most people think. The second game (Raiders/Broncos) could be good, but I'm not holding my breath.

Brady injured, possibly out for the season (I've yet to see an official report). That hits the Patriots hard, and could open up that division. Cassel played well, though, and they still have a lot of talent on offense. They probably won't be lighting up teams like they did last year, but I doubt they'll struggle as much as a lot of people are predicting. I remember watching Jason Garrett beat the Packers on Thanksgiving a number of years ago. Was he good? No...not really. But he had Michael Irvin (who could get away with an offensive pass interference call on virtually very play) and Alvin "The High-Jumper" Harper to throw to. I remember Harper had a big day, because Garrett would just toss him jump balls, and Harper would get higher than the defense and grab them. Well, when you have Randy Moss on your team, what's to stop Cassel from doing the same thing?
What say you: are you buying this "The Jets are now the team to beat in the AFC East" talk?

Bengals looked bad. Bad. How much of that is the Ravens defense and how much is the Bengals offense?
Are the Bears going to be good? They beat the Colts pretty convincingly, using a pretty simple formula: play good defense, run the ball, don't make mistakes in the passing game. You know, pretty much exactly what they did when Orton took them to the playoffs a couple of years ago.

You buying the Eagles? Everyone is talking about them, and they won big this weekend (with McNabb putting up huge stats). I have a hard time believing they're going to be this good. For starters, McNabb is extremely injury-prone and he still doesn't really have a great stable of receivers to throw to. Also, they just won big...against the Rams. I know the Rams used to be good, but that was a long time ago. They looked good yesterday, but I'm not jumping on the Eagles bandwagon just yet.

College football? Florida is my team, so I'm glad to hear you say you can see them winning it all. I watched their game against Miami this past weekend. They struggled for most of the game, but they really turned it on in the fourth quarter. I know that Miami isn't amazing, but Florida's defense held them in check pretty well. They had a problem with their defense last year, but, if they can play more solid defense, they have a shot to win it all. At this point, I'll just have to assume that an SEC team will win it.

I didn't watch the UK game this past weekend, but I did watch the UK/Louisville game the previous weekend. You're not kidding about Louisville...they looked terrible. I want to say that UK played a good game, and I guess they did, but they still made a lot of mistakes. Louisville just made more. They won this past weekend, but it'll be interesting to see what happens with them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Have I mentioned how glad I am football is back in my life?

The top 10 quarterbacks thing was tougher than I thought as well. I had the discussion the other day and after the first 3 or 4 it gets shaky. Here's mine:

1. Tom Brady- Even after last season's letdown, if I had to pick one guy to win a game in January, this is it.

2. Peyton Manning- Even after last season's letdown, if I had to pick one guy to win a game in
September, this is it.

3. Donovan McNabb- You said if healthy, right? WHEN HEALTHY, the best scrambling quarterback in the league and what Michael Vick could have become...had he not gotten into some minor legal troubles.

4. Carson Palmer- I know I know, homer alert. Consider this: In his past 2 seasons, which have been labeled down years for him, he has thrown for at least 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns and had a completion percentage of at least 62 percent. And he's done it without a good defense or a decent running game in last years case.

5. Big Ben- Last year showed he can put up some numbers of his own. He's moved out of the "game manager" stage.

6. Tony Romo- I keep wanting to say he's a fluke, much like I wanted to label Priest Holmes a fluke after his outbursts a few years back, but I can't. Todd Collins had a good 5 game stretch, Romo has had 2 good seasons. Maybe he's not a fluke.

7. Brett Favre- What a hearththrob. And he even finds time to play football in his Wranglers. Whatta guy.

8. David Garrard- Really showed me something last year, especially in the playoffs. ANother good year moves him up this year.

9. Matt Hasselbeck- Possibly the most boring, yet consistent player in the league.

10. Eli Manning- Surprise! I know you didn't see this one coming. Despite his inconsistencies, he did something so many great quarterbacks never did in winning a Super Bowl. He has to be at least top 10 in the league, right?

342. Rex Grossman- Man is this guy bad

Not a bad squadron youve got there. I like the Mendenhall and Witten pick. I wanted Mendenhall for the same reason you did but he got snatched up right in front of me. I wanted Witten too as I want as many Cowboy's not named Romo as possible. I did well with Owens, Crayton and hopefully Felix Jones can get some carries. With Bulger, he had a major injury AND a down year last year, I figured he has nowhere to go but up with a healthy Steven Jackson and offensive line. I'm satisfied with the Colt's D. All I needed was a D that wasn't terrible and hopefully they'll fit the bill.

College football is something we haven't touched on much. Barring injury, I can see Florida winning it all. Tebow's taking less snaps, and effectively less pounding and that defense should be improved. Also, Tim Tebow is fast becoming my favorite video game player. He's not that fast, but if he gets to the defensive backs, it's a done deal because no one can tackle him. Michael Vick has some competition. Georgia will be tough but I'm still not sold on Stafford. I would like Ohio State to breeze through conference play and then get destroyed in the Championship but with Wells injured, they may not even do that. Also, I don't know if you caught the UK-Louisville game but L0uisville is terrible. Absolutely terrible. Kragthorpe doesn't stand a chance. The Cats are no juggernauts and they made ligh work of the Cards. I see the Cats going about 6-6 and Louisville going about 3-9.

-Tyler

I Would Like to Retract My Super Bowl Match-Up

I would like to start out by (slightly) altering my Super Bowl pick. I've been thinking about it the past couple of days, and I'm not sure what I was thinking when I said that the Bucs would make it to the Super Bowl. Here was my thought process: The Cowboys are the obvious choice, but, until they can win a playoff game, I can't pick them to do anything. If I take the Packers I get labeled a homer (and I do believe they can make it...honestly). The Seahawks...bleh. The Vikings are getting so much (undeserved) hype that I barely put them in the playoffs, let alone say they'll win it all. Which left me with the Bucs and Redskins. I don't trust Jason Campbell, but I also don't trust the Bucs. The Redskins have a better all-around team than the Bucs. If Campbell actually does get it together this year (which, from all the reports I've heard, is a real possibility), then they're the better of the two teams. By far. However, I still don't see them beating the Jaguars. So I'll take the Jaguars over the Redskins.

I am wary of any team that gets a ton of hype before the season, especially when it's a team that hasn't done too much winning in the previous 5 years. Every year, the same teams are hyped: the Carolina Panters, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers. This year, the Vikings are added to the list. Do they have a good team? Yeah...I guess. Was their defense good last year? Yes...but that doesn't necessarily mean they can recreate that. Also, last time I checked, you needed more than a defense to win in this league. Granted, they have a good offensive line and Adrian Peterson, but he is injury-prone, so you can't count on 16 games out of him. And who is that at quarterback? Oh...it's Tavaris Jackson, the shaky quarterback who likes to run. And what happens to quarterbacks who like to run? They rarely play all 16 games. It's alright though, because they have Gus Ferotte and John David Booty waiting in the wings. Now, I've always liked Ferotte, but if he's asked to play for more than 4 games, this team is in trouble. If Booty has to play more than a half, this team is in trouble. And, even if Jackson stays healthy all year, there's no guarantee that he is going to be great. He'll show flashes, but not enough to do any more than have fans say, "Well, he should be better next year." The only reason I put them in the playoffs at all is because I couldn't think of anyone else.

Top 10 quarterbacks? That's tough. I was looking at all of them when preparing for my fantasy draft (which I'll get to shortly), and was amazed at how many bad quarterbacks are starting for teams. Anyway, here's my list (which I may have to change within the next day):

1. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Brett Favre
5. David Garrard
6. Peyton Manning
7. Carson Palmer
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Drew Brees
10. I don't know...Matt Hasselbeck?

A lot of those are reaches, but I didn't know what else to do. Also, this is assuming that they all stay healthy.
How does your list look?

Here's my fantasy football team (named the Waitsian Ramblers).

QBs: Jason Campbell, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Leinart. Not exactly the best crop of quarterbacks in the world. I'm hoping that Campbell comes out of the gate hot. By the time he cools down a little, I'm thinking that either Rodgers will be settling into his groove and/or Warner goes down with an injury and Leinart comes up to play. Am I sold on this plan? Not exactly...but it's all I have. (Also, I truly believe that Rodgers can be a top 10 QB, and that he'll play extremely well as the year goes on. You know, provided he stays healthy.)

RBs: Marshawn Lynch, Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Rudi Johnson. Lynch and Mendenhall are starting. Lynch did well for me last year, and I don't see him slowing down this year. He was my first pick, so I'm really needing some good production out of him. I'm thinking that Mendenhall will be used much like Bettis was; a bruiser that is put in for short yardage and goal line situations. If he doesn't pan out like that, I think I can get something out of my bench guys.

WRs: Randy Moss, Donald Driver, Calvin Johnson, Mike Furrey, Ruvell Martin. If Moss even sniffs at the season he had last year, I'll be in good shape. If he doesn't, he's a big-name bargaining chip that someone will want. I'm counting on another steady year from Driver and a big season from Johnson. He played injured last year, but he's healthy now, and he's a freak of nature. If Kitna can get it anywhere near him, he'll catch it. Furrey is like a lesser-known Wes Welker. He'll get some solid numbers; nothing eye-popping, but he'll produce. I'm thinking that Martin will become one of Rodgers favorite targets this year. He's 6'4", 210, so he'll be a good target in the red zone.

TEs: Jeremy Shockey, Jason Witten. I'm all set at this position. Witten is a beast, and Romo loves him. Barring some injury, he'll put up great numbers. Same with Shockey. He's in a new system, and Brees seems like the kind of quarterback who would just love to throw to the TE in the middle of the field all day. I've never been a big fan of his, but I think he'll do well with the Saints (and with the Ramblers).

D/ST: Jaguars. They're tough, they'll get takeaways, and they have a good return game.

K: Rob Bironas. He'll get his fair share of field goals.

All in all, I'm fairly happy with my team. Ask me again in 3 weeks and we'll see how I feel about it, then.

I think your team looks pretty good. I'm not sharing your sentiments with the Colts D or Bulger. He usually puts up good numbers, but I'm feeling either a major injury or a down year for him. At least you have Roethlisberger. I'm a big fan of Chris Cooley...he should put up good numbers (yet again).

Foosball is the devil Bobby Boucher! THe Devil!

Packers winning the division? You think Aaron Rodgers with zero starts under his belt outplays a Tarvaris Jackson with two seasons of playing time under his belt? Over the last half of his season, Jackson had 4 games with a quarterback rating of 90 or above and despite his woes last year, in the 4 games he missed, the Vikings went 0-4. I think he has a decent year and with that running game and D, that's all they need. The Vikes have a better running game, the Pack have a better receiving game and a better defense, but not by much. He can also make some plays with his feet, which I haven't seen Rodgers do. Including two against Green Bay, the Vikes play 7 playoff teams from last season. Green Bay plays 6, not to mention two against the upstart Vikes. I could see maybe second place, but I honestly can't see Green Bay winning the division.

Don't sleep on the Bengals D. Over the last half of the season, we only gave up 21 or more points 3 times. One was to the division winning Steelers, one was to the Cardinals in which Antrel Rolle had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and the third was against the Dolphins in a game we won. The defense actually looked better than the offense over the last half of the season. We got rid of some veterans I would have liked to keep but, what can ya do? The Chris Perry era is now here. As I mentioned a while ago, Perry is the most gifted RB on the roster but can't stay healthy. He hasn't played since November of 06 so he oughta be rested right? Our offensive line is a bit healthier which will hopefully keep Palmer looking downfield instead of up at the sky. Chad Ocho Cinco (Aren't you just dying for Pat Summerall to say that one game? I can't be the only one giddy about this, can I?) has a bum shoulder but he's our deep receiver. Houshmandzadeh goes over the middle and does the dirty work so Chad's shoulder doesn't concern me much.

Out of curiosity, gimme your top 10 QB's in the NFL. God help you if Aaron Rodgers is anywhere near your list...

Doing any fantasy football this year? I drafted one squad I'm pretty proud of, bar one pick. Here's my bunch:

QB's- Big Ben and Marc Bulger. Big Ben will have another good year and Bulger will have to throw a lot on that shabby team.

RB's-Marshawn Lynch, Willis MaGahee, Fred Taylor, Felix Jones, Ladell Betts and Ricky Williams- Ricky Williams is the scarlet letter of my team. When it was my pick, my internet went out and when it came back, the computer auto-picked Ricky Williams. Maybe it wasn't the bad of a pick, but I still want him nowhere on my team

WR's- Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Roy Williams, Ronald Curry- Romo looks to have a big year so I had to get his two biggest guys.

TE's- Chris Cooley and Ben Watson- I think Watson dips a bit this year, but Cooley has a better year than last

Defense- Colts- A good defense gets Freeney back. Who know's how he'll do with that bum wheel but they were pretty good without him.

Kicker- The Bears kicker. They arent scoring any touchdowns, this guy might get 6 or 7 chances a game.

Thoughts on my squadron?

The Reds were just mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. I guarantee a 7-10 game winning streak in the near future. Happens every year.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

FOOTBALL!

I'm not sure where I stand on Chad Johnson legally changing his last name to Ocho Cinco. On the one hand, I think it's pretty funny. On the other hand, I really don't want to sit through games where that's all the announcers will talk about. I'm waiting for Marvin Lewis to change his number before the season or something like that. I guess he can just change it again.

I would like to say that I am down with Merriman playing this year. There's a certain amount of ego (read: massive) that tells a player, "Me at 85% is better than my back-up." I don't agree with that at all. So you have a case where Merriman could do terrible damage to his knee and be playing at less than full-strength. In a position like linebacker, where speed and strength are of the utmost importance, I just don't see him being overly effective this year. Plus, one big shot to the knee (or getting rolled up on) is all it will take to end his season (and, quite possibly, his career). While I can see where he's coming from (the Chargers window for a Super Bowl is slowing closing), I just don't see a gimpy Merriman as being the difference between Super Bowl winner and first-round exit. Also, I still think the Chargers have another couple of years before their window is entirely closed. I would get the surgery, sit out this year, and come back next year 100% and ready to make a run. But that's just me.

Predictions, eh? Well, we see how well we both did with baseball, why not try our hand at football.

NFC East: I would like to go on record as saying that I am sick of everyone talking about this division. Is it tough? Yeah...I guess, but not everyone cares about this division. Commentators, please stop shoving this down our throats.

1. Cowboys: In a relatively weak NFC, they're still the team to beat. They'd be close to unstoppable if they had a second receiver. I kind of get a feeling that Romo is headed for a fall...but I'll still put them here.

2. Redskins - They have a tough defense, some good receivers, and Clinton Portis. If Campbell is as good this season as most people are saying he will be, they'll be a team to be reckoned with this year (if I was as high on Campbell as everyone else, I might even have them winning this division).

3. Eagles - I saw someone saying that the Eagles would go to the Super Bowl this year. I don't believe that...at all. McNabb needs to stay healthy. Even when he is healthy, who is he throwing to?

4. Giants - I don't care that they won the Super Bowl: I'm still not sold on Eli Manning and their defense is hurting.

NFC North: The honor of the weakest conference does not belong here...but it is in the NFC.

1. Packers - I'm a homer...I know. But they have a good running game, some great receivers, a good quarterback (I'm a Rodgers fan, and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people this year), and a tough defense. We're hurting at our DT position, and in a couple positions across the offensive line, but I still see the Packers winning this division. If Rodgers goes down, though, it'll be a lot tougher.

2. Vikings - I'm not buying the hype. I like Peterson, but Jackson needs to show that he can take advantage of the opposing defense stacking the line against the run. As of yet, he has not come close to showing that. I like him and think he may be good some day...but he's not there yet. The defense looks improved on paper, but I don't think Peterson and the defense can take this team to the division title...especially when Peterson is so injury-prone. Also, keep in mind that, even though they had a good defense last year, they still got scorched in a couple of games. They weren't as good as everyone thought they were.

3. Lions - I think they'll finish around 7-9 or 8-8. I like Kitna alright, and I can see Calvin Johnson destroying people this year. With a healthy Johnson on one side and Roy Williams on the other, I think they'll stay competitive until the last 4 weeks. They also just picked up your boy Rudi Johnson.

4. Bears - Kyle Orton with Grossman as a back-up. Yikes. The defense is getting older and their offense is terrible. By the way, did you see that Lindsay Lohan thinks Orton is hot? On what planet does that make sense?

NFC South: Home to one of the most popular pre-season Super Bowl picks in the league!

1. Bucs - They still have a good defense and a capable offense. In this division, it won't take much more than that to win.

2. Panthers - Hey...guess what! I think the Panthers are going to the Super Bowl this year (not really, but that seems to be the thing to say the past 5 years).

3. Falcons - Yeah...that's right. Matt Ryan will be better than you thought, and...

4. Saints - ...the Saints will be worse than you thought. Sean Payton goes from genius to fired in the span of a couple of years.

NFC West: Now this is the worst division in football...and it's not even close.

1. Seahawks - Who's going to win more than 9 games in this division and take their crown? If you believe pre-season people, the Cardinals will. They're primed and ready. They have a great offense...blah blah blah. No, the sad truth is that the Seahawks will, once again win this division in sevely boring fashion and get knocked-out in the first round of the playoffs. Just like clockwork.

2. Rams - They'll do better this year, but they're still incredibly flawed (and that's being kind). Here's a question for you: would you throw that kind of money at Steven Jackson? This day and age, I'd have a hard time paying any running back that kind of money...unless he's incredibly gifted. They all seem so interchangeable.

3. Cardinals - Paging the corpse of Kurt Warner. How do you think Leinart feels? Could he have seen this coming? "I have a weak arm, iffy accuracy, and poor decision making. I should be able to beat out this old guy." He's in his third year and can't beat out Warner. That's kind of sad.

4. 49ers - I like JT O'Sullivan, and I hope that he does well. Again, how does Alex Smith feel? He was the #1 draft pick, and he can't beat out a guy who has played back-up for pretty much every team in the league.

Playoff Teams: Cowboys, Packers, Bucs, Seahawks, Redskins, Vikings

AFC East: Just look at these teams. What a tough division.

1. Patriots - By default. Also, they're good. I don't see them having the kind of year they had last year, but, aside from some catastrophic event, they won't lose this divison.

2. Jets - They added Favre, as well as some pieces on offense and defense. Will they set the world on fire? No...but they'll be better than the other guys in the division.

3. Bills - They were better last year. I'm a big fan of Lynch and their defense, but they need a quarterback who is, at the very least, relatively competent. As of right now, they don't have that.

4. Dolphins - They may be competitive again one day...but it's not this day.

AFC North

1. Steelers - They have the quarterback, the receivers, the running backs, and the defense. They could be a more consistent offense, but, for the most part, they don't have to be.

2. Browns - They got better on defense (especially at the DT position), and that should help a lot. Derek Anderson (or Brady Quinn) need to minimize mistakes, and they could make some noise.

3. Bengals - I'm not sharing in your optimism. They're playing with an injured group of receivers, and I don't think their defense is any better than it was last year.

4. Ravens - Old defense and Joe Flacco don't go well together. Who is that backing up Flacco? Troy Smith. You know, the guy who got destroyed by Florida in the National Championship game a couple of years ago. Wait...there's someone else. Joey Harrington!

AFC South: A tough division.

1. Jaguars - This is their year. Garrard needs to play well and stay healthy, which is something I think he's capable of. The defense is strong, and they have a running game.

2. Colts - The beginning of the end. I see Manning starting to fall apart. Their defense is suspect at best. So long kids...I wish this had happened years ago.

3. Titans - Vince Young had a terrible year last year, and he hasn't looked much better in the preseason. They made the playoffs last year, but, if he turns in another bad year, they won't make it back.

4. Texans - They'll rise from this spot in the next couple of years...but not this year.

AFC West: Overall, a pretty bad division.

1. Chargers - With or without Merriman (and even with Norv Turner at the helm), they're still the best team in this division.

2. Broncos - Based solely on their running game and their capable defense. As I've said before, I'm not a Cutler fan. He may win some game for them this year, but he'll definitely lose some for them as well.

3. Chiefs - It'll be interesting to see how Dorsey does at this level.

4. Raiders - JaMarcus Russell will give some hope for the future, but they just don't have what it takes. Their defense needs to step it up from last year, and the organization needs to stop throwing money at marginal players (Javon Walker, I'm looking at you).

Playoff teams: Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars, Chargers, Jets, Colts

Super Bowl: Jaguars over Bucs
(I'm going to give this more thought when I have more time. But, for now, this is what I choose.)