Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Baby--Me Crazy!

Sorry about not having any NFL Thoughts posted this past week. My wife went into labor Sunday night and after a grueling 24 hours we finally got a kid to pop out. It's a pretty amazing/gross/exhausting experience. And oh was tough for the wife too. Now I've got 3 kids under 5 years old and I might just have to get on medication...soon. Anyway hopefully I can get some picks and thoughts posted for this coming week. No guarantees though, because Daddy daycare is in full effect right now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 12

I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with the in-law's extended family and I'm pretty sure they don't watch football at all that day. In fact it will be extremely awkward for me to try and turn their tv set on. If I didn't have Tivo I would probably go out and buy a min-set I could sneak in. Conversely, my wife just called to tell me that her friend's family tradition is to plan their whole meal around the day's football schedule. I guess my wife and her were chatting about how ridiculous that was. I said to my wife, "can you get me directions to their house?"

^= home team

Lions^over the Dolphins
Detroit doesn't want to lose to Joey Harrington

Cowboys^ over the Bucs
Lately, Dallas is looking too good to pick against them.

Chiefs^ over the Broncos
This may be the game where Cutler gets in.

Bengals over the Browns^
Palmer is looking much better.

Bills^ over the Jaguars
I shouldn't let last week's brilliant performance by Losman influence me. But maybe the magic will continue one more game. Plus the Jags have been so up and down all season I'm going to bet this is another off-week for them.

Steelers over the Ravens^
This pick doesn't make any sense. So be it.

Falcons^ over the Saints
This is the week that Vick performs well again. Afterwards he'll mock those who would ever question him again. Sorry Mike, I'm already questioning my prediction for your performance this week.

Panthers over the Redskins
Tough year for Washington.

Rams^ over the 49ers
San Fran has owned the Rams the last couple of years but this is desperation time in St. Louis.

Vikings^ over the Cardinals
I'm taking the Vikes because it's a home game. That's it. If they were on the road I'd take the Cardinals.

Jets^ over the Texans
This one will be close. A field goal wins it.

Chargers^ over the Raiders

Patriots^ over the Bears
Let's see how Brady does with decent field now.

Titans^ over the Giants
Tiki Barber has become a whiner. His latest shots aimed at Coughlin add another dimension to the whole "I'm retiring" saga. It's obvious he doesn't enjoy playing under a taskmaster like Coughlin and that probably fuels his desire to leave the game after this season. I wonder if he would be sticking around for another couple of years if he had a coach like Tony Dungy. Food for thought.

Colts^ over the Eagles
The Eagles won't lay down but without McNabb I just don't see a win for them.

Seahawks^ over the Packers
It will be close because Hasslebeck needs to get his timing back.

Last week: 13-3 (81%)

Overall 105-54 (66%)

Monday, November 20, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 11

This week's NFL observations:

Panthers 15 / Rams 0
I'm in denial right now. Lets move on.

49ers 20 / Seahawks 14
Ok I can't totally avoid my worst nightmare, namely the Ram's demise. Even though San Fran has given the Rams fits for the last couple of years I never thought I'd be calling the 49ers the better team just over halfway through the season. But sometimes the truth hurts (and I have the self-inflicted bite marks to prove it). Although I expected Seattle to take the division I really thought they could be challenged this season. I just figured Tory Holt and Mark Bulger would be leading the charge instead of Frank Gore and Alex Smith. Somebody shoot me. Please.

Bengals 31 / Saints 16
As good as Drew Brees is playing this year he had a couple of interceptions yesterday that absolutely killed the Saints. 510 yards is nice for fantasy points but when you throw the ball 52 times it's usually because your trying to come from behind. Meanwhile, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer are back in sync and I'm wondering does that mean "Ocho Cinco" talks more or less now?

Cowboys 21 / Colts 14
I continue to be underwhelmed by the Colts. I would love to see them represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year but it's games like this that just have me wondering if it's possible. Although I do agree with the idea that it's better to get a loss out of the way early rather than going late into the season undefeated. Grudgingly I have to accept that the Cowboy's Tony Romo is playing very well. Regardless of the "first year starter" tag, he's been one of the top QBs in the NFL for the past month and you have to wonder how many wins the Cowboys would have right now had Parcells started the season with him. To be fair though, I think Cowboy Nation and Jerry Jones in particular had to again see how pathetic Drew Bledsoe can be at times in order for everybody to mentally be ok with the switch. Now they're ready to stick with Romo even during his struggles. Even the Pro-Bledsoe camp (basically all the ESPN football analysts) can finally accept the limited ceiling Bledsoe has and believe in the potential of Romo. At any rate, I'm now going to need to stick my head in a toilet after giving this much thought to the plight of the Cowboys.

Chargers 35 / Broncos 27
Isn't it uncanny how many times the Chargers have first and goal inside the 10. Tomlinson's TD records the last few weeks are amazing, but the way most of these touchdowns are coming about is very similar to Shaun Alexander's numerous TDs last year for Seattle. San Diego is consistently giving him opportunities to score shorter TD runs. I'm still dumbfounded by the fact that Gates and other receivers don't have more longer TD catches. The Chargers simply march down the field and then give it to LT. It's nice to have that weapon in your arsenal. And how about Philip Rivers and his very veteran-like performance? If you had to name the AFC's best team right now, many including myself would give that label to the Chargers. On the other hand, the Broncos are a pretty good team also. With the right QB they would be definite Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately for Denver fans, Plummer isn't that guy. It's a little late to try get Cutler involved now isn't it? To me that's signaling preparation for a Super Bowl run next year. It's the right move but it won't be made.

Patriots 35 / Packers 0
Don't count out the Patriots based on a couple of mid-season losses. They are primed for a stretch run. Also after noticing 49er coach Mike Nolan wore a suit this week I wondered what would it take to get Belichick in one of those? I'm thinking hypnosis, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and some form of blackmail.

Bears 10 / Jets 0
I can't remember a week where this many teams got shut out. This was a fairly ugly game offensively. I know the Jets are a tough team to play this year but the Bear's quality of offense play over the last month has sure quieted the Super Bowl media hype that was coming their way. That's probably a good thing for them in the long run. In my mind they are still the team to beat in the NFC.

Ravens 24 / Falcons 10
At some point I'm going to have to give some credit to this Baltimore team. They're 8-2 and are going to be a threat in the playoffs. They've got some tough games coming up but if they can play the way they have been they could contend for the # 1 seed. They effectively shut down Michael Vick and the rest of Atlanta's rushing game and their offense is no joke anymore. Maybe Jamal Lewis isn't as washed up as I thought.

Bills 24 /Texans 10
Lee Evans was awesome! An amazing 265 yards receiving! Two TDs of 80+ yards in the first quarter! I really like exclamation marks!! So anyway, J.P. Losman looked like the guy they hoped they were getting in the draft (340 yards, 3 TDs). I guess he managed to get hold of some Flutie Flakes for breakfast on Sunday. It's been a while since a Bills QB and receiver had the kind of game Losman and Evans had. Also Losman ought to have a little extra motivation the next time they play the Texans. Texan cornerback, Dunta Robinson said of Losman, "If that had been Peyton Manning you'd expect it. But it was J.P. Losman. That's embarrassing. I hope he doesn't feel too good because we just shot ourselves in the foot." ---Totally true, but bulletin board material all the same.

Dolphins 24 / Vikings 20
What the hell happened to Miami's running game?(Ronnie Brown 12 carries, 2 yards). I know the Vikings are pretty good defensively against the run but that's ridiculous. Now Miami is relying on Joey Harrington's arm? Thing is, Joey is actually playing pretty decent and the Dolphin defense is making some big plays. I'm sure they are ready for a late season run now that will tease us all into thinking they have a chance next year.

Steelers 24 / Browns 20
The Browns just can't catch a break. They play everyone tough but can't make the big plays when needed. Roethlisberger still looks shaky even with the win. Pittsburgh will take it. It's been that kinda year.

Titans 31 / Eagles 13
McNabb's injury really bites on several levels. For one thing, I like the guy. It's hard to hate someone who informs me that soup is healthy and tastes good. Also, how are the Eagles going to keep the Cowboys out of the playoffs with Jeff Garcia steering the ship? It's hard to imagine them finishing over .500 now. Maybe Brian Westbrook cay carry them for a while.
-- Hey nice game by the Titan's Travis Henry (143 yards rushing). He's quietly having another decent season. By the way, how does the Titan's Albert Haynesworth get suspended 5 games for stepping on another players head and yet the Patriot's
Richard Seymour gets off with just a fine. I can't find any video of it and I don't remember any highlights being played so it probably wasn't as drastic as Haynesworth's stomp, but Seymour's comments indicate it was intentional and ultimately isn't that what Haynesworth was busted for?

Bucs 20 / Redskins 17
To be honest, I paid almost no attention to this game other than to check out how Jason Campbell did. And it appears he was not too shabby for a first start. Washington has to be somewhat optimistic about that. The Bucs on the other hand gave us the first sighting of Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in a while. I'm tempted to insert an automobile joke here but I'd hate myself afterward so I won't.

Cardinals 17 / Lions 10
Break out the bubbly. Edgerrin James almost had 100 yards (96) and he averaged over 4 yards a carry! That at least calls for another tooth to be capped in gold right?

Chiefs 17 / Raiders 13
Tell me you were surprised that Aaron Brooks threw that devastating and game ending interception in the endzone after an equally amazing pass that got them in position to score. Anyone? No? I was surfing the web to see if this type of thing is part of his personality. You know, does he alternate like this in all areas of his life? To his credit I found a website for an Aaronbrooks Family Foundation that promotes literacy, youth programs, and relief to hurricane Katrina victims. So kudos, Aaron, it just goes to show that even if you suck at your job, you don't always have to suck at life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 11

After 6 weeks of the NFL season I had correctly picked 74% of the winners. Since then I've been 28-29 and now sitting overall at 64%. To get back on track I thought about going opposites this week. But every time I attempt to pick the opposite of what I'd normally do I break down and start crying uncontrollably. I knew I shouldn't have gone to see Flags of Our Fathers last night.

^=home team

Panthers^ over the Rams
I've lost some faith in the Rams defense. Can you blame me?

Buccaneers^ over the Redskins
First start for Jason Campbell is on the road. The Bucs are struggling so it's not a bad decision.

Bengals^ over the Saints
I keep picking em and they keep losing. Your welcome New Orleans.

Eagles^ over the Titans
The Titans will play Philly tough.

Chicago over the Jets^
It's up to Rex to make sure the on again off again play doesn't continue this week.

Dolphins^ over the Vikings
According to Sport's Illustrated's Peter King, Nick Saban is a top 5 NFL coach. Apparently Peter doesn't let the whole wins versus losses thing affect his judgement.

Chiefs^ over the Raiders
With the Raiders offense coming to town the Trent Green gamble is easier to make.

Patriots over the Packers^
3 losses in a row? Nah. But I'll tell you this much, two losses in a row would have come a lot sooner had Tom Brady known that was all it took to get rid of the wasteland they called a field in Gillette Stadium (new turf installed this week).

Steelers over the Browns^
The Steelers aren't going to quit. Otherwise Bill Cowher spits in their faces. .....oh wait..

Ravens^over the Falcons
If Vick struggled against the Lion's and Brown's defenses what will happen against the Ravens? Maybe he'll surprise us again. I'm not holding my breath.

Texans^ over the Bills
Carr has a big day at home.

Cardinals^ over the Lions
Mild upset #1

49ers^ over the Seahawks
Mile upset #2. Okay this is one opposite pick I kept in. Everything points to this win for Seattle. It's killing me to do this but I have to make one completely crazy pick this week. Some would say the Cardinal pick is crazy too but we are talking about the Detroit Lions.

Colts over the Cowboys^
Should be a good game.

Chargers over the Broncos^
It's time for the Chargers to assert some division supremacy.

Jaguars^over the Giants
The roller coaster ride continues

Last week: 9-7 (56%)

Overall: 92-51 (64%)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Should I get excited about the Utah Jazz?

As a Utah Jazz fan I'm not quite sure how to take the team's 7-1 start. A couple of years ago they started 6-1 and then ended up having a season from hell. Admittedly, that season did help them land a nice draft pick spot (which they used to trade up to #3 and grab Illinois PG Deron Williams). So do I buy into this year's team or just take a wait and see attitude? I'm cynical by nature so you can probably guess which route I'll take. Not that it hasn't been fun to watch so far though. Okur, Williams and Boozer have been great. The offseason acquisition of Derek Fisher looks inspired. And rookies and other young players have shockingly been contributing. The stubborn and usually hard-headed head coach Jerry Sloan has actually been giving these young guys minutes and even starting them on certain nights (yes that sound you heard was ice cracking as hell just froze over). Rookie Ronnie Brewer started last night against the Clippers, and C.J. Miles, who came straight out of high school a couple of years ago has even started a couple of games.

And amazingly, early season success has come with Andrei Kirilenko not even being able to get many opportunities to shoot the ball. He's only seventh on the team in scoring (less than 8 points a game). How will things change now that he is injured (again)? Who knows? Even though Kirilenko hasn't been scoring, his defense has been fantastic as usual. They'll miss that while his ankle heals. One thing's for sure though, the Jazz are deeper than they have been in years. Still, player health has been an issue in the past and will probably be again (Kirilenko seems destined to be banged up his entire career). Carlos Boozer most of all needs to stay healthy as his rebounding and scoring are critical. Also, I still stick with the belief that the Jazz should have taken Chris Paul ahead of Deron Williams but I am willing to admit that Williams just may become a star in his own right. He seems very much in control for a young guy and willing to take and make big shots.

So anyway, I'm cautiously optimistic about the team's playoff chances this year. If they continue to play like they have been it could be fun year and I just might have to go to a few games. If not then I'll just go back to being the lame fair-weather NBA fan that my wife has come to know and love.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 10

It's a weird world in the NFL. Crazy games. Crazy teams. It's sorta fun to speculate on who has a shot at the Super Bowl isn't it? And when I say fun, I mean I'd rather grab a hot coal from a bon-fire and shove it down my throat. Yep. I'm super excited about the league today. There is nothing like that week where you pull yourself out of your delusional fantasy world and face the ugly realization of A) knowing your team sucks, and B) knowing they won't be in the post-season.

So anyway, back to teams that could be Super Bowl bound (i.e. not my Rams). Nobody looks like a lock do they? The Colts are a good bet on any Sunday but they can't stop the run (and sometimes the pass); the Patriots look strangely vulnerable; the Bears looked good again today but the Cardinal and Dolphin games are still fresh in our minds; and the Chargers were fantastic on offense this week but for supposedly having a great defense they have shown some cracks (even when Merriman was playing). I guess this means the post-season should be entertaining huh? And when I say entertaining I guess I mean it.

I've got some abbreviated thoughts on today's action due to some work issues, so I'm not commenting on every game played. But I do have some senseless drivel that you ought to read anyway.

I'm pretty sure I know what Brady wants for Christmas.
-What's with the Patriot's home field? It's like a run-down high school field. I know the weather was bad today but that place looks crappy on a sunny day. So of course it's going to be a mud pit in wet weather (basically Oct-Dec in New England). What an embarrassment for an NFL team that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Owner Bob Kraft ought to be ashamed of that atrocity. And oh yeah his team has shocked me and now lost two in a row.

(jumping up and down wildly)

Also is Belichick serious with those cut off hoody sleeves? I just whined about some hypocrisy in college football the other day but then Pro Football's dress code double standard rears it's ugly (seriously, hideously ugly) head. So ......the league office will fine some player 5 grand for writing something on his shoes or not putting his socks on correctly but they'll go ahead and let Belichick wear this crap every week without a peep? He ought to be tarred and feathered. Actually that might inspire a new look for him. Never mind. ---Time for the NFL to institute the "Belichick rule" stating that their head coaches need to look better than a guy on the street looking for a 10 dollar hooker. Also are you with me yet that Belichick is a closet serial killer? Watch this guy for more than 5 minutes and tell me he's not chopping people into little bits. When they find his collection in his freezer someday, just remember I told you so.

On again, off again
- Inconsistency is killing several teams. Michael Vick has just got to drive Jim Mora nuts as coach. He single handedly wins and loses games for you. But the Falcons are not alone. The Lions, Jaguars, Packers, Jets, Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings, ---aww hell, just about the whole league---are alternating between looking great one week and looking like...uh....the Cardinals the next next week.

(Big Sigh)
My Rams are done. Or dumb. Either one works. They have had a perfect opportunity the past couple of weeks to make up ground on Seattle and they blew it. When the Seahawks get Hasslebeck and Alexander back they will be in the driver's seat and ready for cruise control until the playoffs. I'm just going to go kill myself now. Don't bother getting up.

Carpe Diem?
See the thing about the Kurt Warner story in 1999 is that when he had the opportunity to pull the rug out from Trent Green, he not only pulled it out but then wrapped Green up in it, tied some 50 pound weights on either end and then threw it in the lake. In other words he grabbed the opportunity and refused to give the coaching staff any other reason to not play him. On the other hand Damon Huard just opened up the Chiefs QB job again with less than inspired play against a scrappy but inferior Miami team. His overall play for the past month will buy some good will but if he does get to start again next week he needs to have a big game.

This point also applies to the situation in Jacksonville. And you know, this isn't the only year people have been clamoring for David Garrard in Jaguar land. Late last year he had a shot to show he was the guy--and didn't do it. Now again Jacksonville fans (and probably some team members and coaching staff) are ready to hand the reins over to him but Garrard has laid another egg--this time against a team they should beat. Houston has played some teams tough this year but Jacksonville is still the better team. If you are going to "Wally Pipp" someone you can't suck. That's the rule.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 10

It's been ugly here for a couple of weeks now in terms of prognostication. So why am I going with mostly favorites again when I keep getting burned by underdogs? Because I'm stupid. Haven't we already established that?

home team=^

Patriots^ over the Jets
New England just doesn't lose two in a row. Or at least they haven't for about 4 years. Plus they own the Jets.

Eagles^ over the Redskins
The Eagles keep disappointing me when I pick them to win. This is the week for them to suck up to me. Suck up but not suck. See the difference?

Falcons^ over the Browns
They're home and they've got a bad team coming to town. If they can't beat the Browns then they're in real trouble.

Chiefs over the Dolphins^
If Miami can beat the Bears they should be able to beat the Chiefs. But consistency hasn't exactly been a strength for Nick Saban's team.

Vikings^ over the Packers
Toss up game. Both quarterbacks have looked alternatively good and bad all season.

Lions^ over the 49ers
Detroit seems to have found their offense. Despite a stellar performance last week I'm pretty sure the 49ers haven't found their defense yet.

Colts^ over the Bills
This would be one of those games they call a "trap" ( I think I'm starting to hate that term). But I don't think Manning overlooks anybody. He's a football geek and reminds me of those nerds in class that want to study 5 hours for a quiz that the teacher already gave away half the answers to.

Ravens over the Titans^
I lived in Baltimore for a year so you'd think I would have developed some sort of affinity for the team. But I really don't like the Ravens and I'm not sure why. Could be because their offensive imagination for years has bordered on the Elmer Fudd level. Could be I just don't like head coach Brian Billick. Come to think of it, it's probably a bit of both. By the way their defense will score again this week and the Titans come up short.

Jaguars^ over the Texans
If the past couple of weeks are any indication , a team like the Texans should beat a decent team like the Jags. I mean they're are bound to be some surprises this week. Why not this one? Maybe because Leftwich isn't playing.

Bengals^ over the Chargers
Palmer will get heat again even with an injury plagued Charger defense. Still I've got to be right at some point when I pick Cincy. This is the week......Maybe.

Broncos over the Raiders^
Just not the rivalry it used to be. I'm pretty sure Shanahan thinks Al Davis is dead.

Cowboys over the Cardinals^
I'm glad Romo took over for Bledsoe. It cut down the T.O. coverage for a week or two to the point that when the Cowboys were discussed, Owens only came up 9 out of 10 times.

Seahawks^ over the Rams
I should be picking the Rams to win this. Hasslebeck's out, Alexander's out and Bulger is playing fantastic. Unfortunately the Ram defense is unfantasticismo.

Steelers^ over the Saints
Pittsburgh is another team I keep picking to win and they keep giving me the middle finger. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Bears over the Giants^
It's a rebound week for Grossman and the Bear defense. Plus the Giants haven't looked good for a couple of weeks now.

Panthers^ over the Bucs
Steve Smith runs wild.

Last week: 5-9 (36%)

Overall: 83-44 (65%)

Friday, November 10, 2006

College Football Hypocrisy

You know why I like the NFL better than College Football? Less Hypocrisy. Take the whole Louisville national championship debate for instance. And yes I'm aware they lost last night. But that only reinforces my point which I'll get to in a minute. Back to Louisville. Before they lost to a very good Rutgers team many people were up in arms with the thought of them playing someone like Michigan or Ohio St. for the title. As Mark Schlabach wrote in a good article on that detailed this hypocrisy , the West Virginia/Louisville game was lambasted for too much offense and not enough defense. Yet the high scoring title game between Texas and USC was an instant classic. Nobody talked about those teams as being less than worthy of being there. Also, a much praised Michigan team just allowed Ball St. to score 26 points on them. Ball St!. Last week, Florida barely beat Vanderbilt. Nobody wants to talk about how unimpressive these games were. Now if Louisville, West Virginia, or Rutgers had barely beat Ball St., then the cry would go out nationally, "they're not worthy"! It's complete crap and I'm sick of it. Even those that were willing to concede Louisville's right to the title game are less than kind about Rutger's right to play for the title. I ask why? If Louisville deserves to be there then if Rutgers beats W. Virginia and runs the table then why the hell shouldn't they get the same consideration? Perception that's why. No history. Not one of the big boys. The Big East doesn't have the same rep as the SEC, Big 12, Big 10, etc. It's all so maddening to me that I sometimes want to wash my hands of the whole thing. I always hear, "well if they were in the SEC there is no way they go undefeated", or "if Florida was in the Big East they wouldn't lose a game". Maybe. But there is no way to know for sure is there? Because college football allows computers and people's opinions to decide who plays for the championship there will never be a way to know! Which brings up another point. If the SEC claims they are penalized for being such a tough conference (meaning it's unlikely that a team will go undefeated), why do they not push for a playoff system? Even an Auburn team that went undefeated a couple of years ago got screwed. Until there is a playoff system that allows teams like Rutgers, Louisville, Boise St., etc. to show if they are worthy, and also lets teams in tough conferences like the SEC prove that they deserve a shot even with a loss , I will continue to treat College Football as an afterthought. Sure the NFL has it's problems. But at least the championship is decided on the field.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mid-Season NFL Thoughts: Part 2

With a decent first half finished, what's in store for the rest of the NFL season?

AFC Dominance
The Patriots will contend with the Colts for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I know the Pats already have two losses but take a look at their remaining schedule. It's cake. They might just go 7-1 or 8-0 the rest of the way. However, the Colts probably won't lose three and even if they do, they beat New England head to head. Bottom line is that these two teams are going to end up with the two best records in the AFC.

Best Division in Football?
-It's going to be a dog-fight finish for the AFC West. The Chargers and Broncos are now dealing with the fact that the Chiefs are nipping at their heels. The Broncos probably have the edge in the schedule from here on out but they still have to play the Chargers twice. It's conceivable that the two that don't win the division could be the Wild Card teams.

On the Ropes
-The Bengals have some serious work to do if they want to overtake the Ravens or even make a Wild Card spot. I think it will come down to the final game to see if that last playoff spot is saved for them or the Chiefs.

NFC--Besides the Bears who is going to step up?
Although it seems the Saints, Giants, and Seahawks have the inside track their with their divisions, the Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Rams, and Panthers are not going to go quietly. I have no idea how this will all turn out, but 5 of those teams are going to the post-season. Chicago seems to have the only lock on their division but if I had to guess I'd say Seattle was the other best bet (even with their injuries...and it pains me to say that as a Ram fan).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mid-Season NFL Thoughts: Part 1

So at the mid-point in this 2006 season what do we know? Well we know the NFL is hard to predict year to year. Take a few players away, add a few players, get some bad luck, have key players underperform, and next thing you know you've got a Super Bowl champ with as many wins as the Raiders. I love this game.

I didn't see that coming: The Buccaneers, Steelers, Bengals, Redskins, Cowboys, and Rams are all doing much worse than I thought they would to start the season. On the other hand the Chiefs and Saints are better than expected.

Disappointing RB: Reggie Bush. His 2.6 yards per carry (207 total rushing yards) without a single rush over 18 yards is not exactly what I envisioned. I figured he'd make more people miss than he has. Sure he's been a good receiver but that's only part of why he was drafted.

Surprising RB(s): On the other hand rookies Joseph Addai (490 yards and 4.7 avg.) and Laurence Maroney 458 yards, 4.3 avg) have been the class of the rookie runners. Maurice Drew (320, 4.6) and even Wali Lundy (309, 4.2) and Mike Bell (305, 4.4) are running better than Bush . Granted they all have been given more carries than Reggie but even so they are still look more impressive.

Disappointing receivers: Chad Johnson and Randy Moss. In Johnson's case, Palmer's struggles are contributing to his lackluster numbers. ---And Moss is maybe the most talented receiver in the game but has lost interest in being a top wideout.

Surprising Receivers: New Orlean's Marques Colston. He keeps this up he will run away with offensive Rookie of the Year. Detroit's Mike Furrey also came out of nowhere.

Surprising Quarterbacks
Damon Huard, and Philip Rivers.

Disappointing Quarterbacks
Roethlisberger, Plummer, Leftwich, & Delhomme have all played much more poorly than I thought they would to this point. Palmer and Culpepper should be on this list as well but I kinda figured one of them, if not both, might end up with injury problems. They did make seemingly miraculous recoveries. And if Palmer's knee is healed, his head certainly isn't.

Disappointing Defensive player:
I thought Dwight Freeney would be more of a force this year. He just isn't getting to the QBs like he used to.

Surprising Defensive player:
Green Bay's Aaron Kampman has 9.5 sacks. Maybe it's because I don't follow Green Bay religiously but I have no idea who this guy is. And he's been in the league 5 years.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 9

Another week in the NFL has baffled me. The Bears lose at home to a 1-win team. The Vikings allow less than 10 points to a 2-win team and still manage to lose the game. Umm...ok. Whatever. The motto for the league ought to be, "Don't bet on us"!

Thoughts for the week's action:

Chiefs 31 /Rams 17
Bulger played great again. The defense stunk again. How long must Ram fans suffer these defensive collapses? Also, despite Ram fumbles helping the Chiefs dominate the first half, the refs helped give away the game for good in the second half. Isaac Bruce was flagged for a bogus offensive pass interference that negated a 3rd down conversion as the Rams were driving to tie the game up. Next Chief possession, they flag the Rams defensive back for a bogus defensive pass interference. Both replays showed they were blown calls. Game, set, match. The Chiefs go on to score again and the game is over. It's tough enough to win when you dig your own hole but when the refs go ahead and shovel dirt on top of you it's impossible.

Redskins 22 /Cowboys 19
Bill Parcells said in a post-game interview (about their failed two point conversion attempt early in the game) that he goes by a chart to plan out his two point conversion attempts. Chart? I just want to know who this genius is that came up with this "chart". Probably the same guy that gave former Ram coach Mike Martz tips on calling time outs. Two point conversion chart? It's the most moronic thing I have ever heard of. Any sane person should know that you don't go for two points until the 4th quarter when you know you will need them. Still, the Cowboys lost partly because of this, so despite being bugged by the fact that a future hall of fame coach making millions of dollars should know better, I'm giddy with the thought that the Parcells might use the "chart" the rest of the season.
Dallas won't feel any better about it but it's a fluke win for the Skins. Terrell Owens, dropped a sure TD pass (keep em coming dorkwad) and Vanderjagt's blocked field goal at the end followed by a face mask penalty (another gift by the refs who should have awarded five yards for it but inexplicably gave them 15 yards---and the win) ensured another victory for a team that didn't deserve it. ---Somehow I'll fight through the injustice of this one.

Dolphins 31/ Bears 13
So I guess Chicago was teasing us last week with another blowout win and a great game by Grossman. Now we know the Cardinal game wasn't just a fluke. 2 out of the last 3 weeks the Bears defense has looked pretty average and Rex G. has looked like Aaron Brooks. It's not time to panic but it is time to stop printing those Bear Super Bowl champion t-shirts. For now.

Giants 14 / Texans 10
How do the Giants keep winning ugly like this? If style points were required for victories, NY would have as many losses as wins.

Colts 27 / Patriots 20
This was weird for me to watch. Pleasantly surprising-- but weird. I expected much more running from Dillon and Maroney. Oh sure they gashed the Colts for quite a few 5+yard runs but I kept expecting the 20 and 30 yard breakout runs. I also expected Brady to outplay Manning, but Payton showed that he is the reason Indy is 8-0. He is the MVP of the league. Nobody is more important to their team in my opinion. If he ever has a bad game they'll lose because their defense isn't good enough to bail him out. So considering that I'm a "glass is half empty" kind of guy when it comes to the Colts, I'm still skeptical that they can make it to the Super Bowl with that D. By the way how weird was that to see Vinatieri miss two field goals in a stadium where he made so many? What's up with that? Perhaps he is secretly still on Belichick's payroll. Or maybe Belichick did some Manchurian Candidate type brainwashing before he let him go. It's possible.

Saints 31
/ Bucs 14
Drew Brees is perfect for a "west coast" attack. He excels in the short to mid-range throws and he manages a game really well. Sometimes that west coast style can bug me but when it works how can you knock it? No rushing attack? No problem if your passing game doubles as a running game as well.

Chargers 32 / Browns 25
Not as close as the score indicates but still not a banner game for the Bolts. Too many penalties and too many stalled drives. Still Tomlinson was awesome. Again. And Rivers was efficient enough for the win. Considering how several good teams lost when they shouldn't have over the last two weeks, I'm ready to cut San Diego some slack.

Broncos 31 / Steelers 20
Did you hear that? That was the sound of a Super Bowl champion team crashing and burning. Also in the distant background you can make out the faint sounds of a QB controversy. Listen, it's kind of catchy. Charlie. Charlie. Charlie. When the call goes out for Charlie Batch to start for your team you know it's time to throw in the terrible towel. Pittsburgh might scrape back to .500 by the end of the year, they may even go on a bit of a winning streak for 4 or 5 games, but there is not a chance in hell they catch the breaks like they did last year and make the playoffs.

Lions 31
/ Falcons 14
I recorded this one to see if Vick could keep up his all-world play on the ground and the air. He got half of it right. Still he didn't lose this game by himself. The Falcon defense got shredded by Kitna and Kevin Jones. Quit cackling Mike Martz. I mean it. Stop it. Anybody have a shotgun?

Bills 24 / Packers 10
When Green Bay turns the ball over a lot they always lose. End of story. Favre has to have mistake free games from himself and his teamates to win. Nice game though by Ahman Green and Donald Driver.

49ers 9 /Vikings 3
Yeah. Capture the magic.

Jaguars 37 / Titans 7
Vince Young throwing the ball 36 times doesn't bode well for Tennessee. Meanwhile Jags QB, David Garrard played well enough that he should probably start the next game. And Byron Leftwich should keep his trap shut and realize that he's in a good spot. He's recovering from injury and the backup guy is always liked more. So as soon as Garrard struggles, he's sitting pretty. Unless Garrard doesn't struggle. Then he's screwed.

Ravens 26 / Bengals 20
Second straight week Palmer is outplayed by an inferior passer. That's embarrassing. The Bengals are bad on defense, bad on offense and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh did act like a little baby out there on that final 4th down play for Cincy. But to be fair it was absolutely a pass interference that should have been called and it did cost them the game. Another blown one by the refs. That's at least two games today possibly decided by a referee messing up calls on pass interference plays. Still, just like the Rams, the Bengals really should be playing better than this and if they really want to point the finger they better pull out a mirror. They've sucked.