Monday, January 22, 2007

NFL Thoughts: Championship Weekend

Bears 39 / Saints 14
Well I predicted a Bears win but I didn't see a blowout coming. Sort of sad to see for me. I was rooting for the Saints (like a whole lot of other people outside of Chicago) but I wasn't into the whole "team of destiny" crap. That's not a dig at the City of New Orlean's. It just means I think God has more important things to worry about. Still I would liked to have seen a closer game. Unfortunately, the Bear's defense just wasn't going to allow that. Damn them. They were aggressive and did what they do best: take the ball away. Turnovers killed Brees and his team. On the flip side, Grossman did what he needed to, namely hanging onto the ball. True, he pretty much sucked for almost 3 quarters. But then he got hot late in the 3rd quarter and made a few more key throws in the 4th quarter. When your defense was playing as well as Chicago's' was yesterday, that's all you need. So what if the Berrian TD was lucky and should have been intercepted by a better corner. Believe me after watching the Patriots for the last 5 years (and the Colts this year), you tend to understand how important luck is in the post-season. One other thing, what the hell was Reggie Bush doing taunting one of the best defensive players alive? I mean Urlacher is going to be prowling the middle for years to come and certainly Bush will quite literally be running into him again. What a dumb-ass high school type celebration. If I was Sean Payton I would be in his grill helping him understand how he just gave even more motivation to a dangerous defense.

Colts 38 / Patriots 34
First of all I didn't even watch this game until I knew who won. Why you ask? Well even though I'm a Ram fan, the Colts are the team I've been pulling for in the AFC for the past few years. I'm also about the biggest Patriots hater out there. Ever since they beat the Rams in a Super Bowl they had no business being in, let alone winning---and considering the Colts previous habit of coming up small in big playoff games (a couple against the Pats) I just couldn't stomach another 4 hours of agonizing twists, especially if it ended badly. So yeah I wussed out and watched my tivo version after I knew the score. Although the joy would have been much more intense watching it live, I found a certain satisfaction knowing that with a minute left Brady wasn't going to perform a miracle. And yet, a part of me (the non-rational part) thought, "dammit, they gave him too much time--he's going to win this thing". I found it really weird though that late in the game, both teams ran the ball on a third and long play. Really weird. Also strange was the luck factor. When the Patriots got an insanely lucky break with a goal line fumble and recover for a TD everyone had to be thinking, "well here they go again". But then the Colt's get the exact same break later in the game. The Pats also had a couple of other missed interceptions and near fumbles. What's going on? These bounces usually go their way. And maybe had the game been in New England they would have. Home field doesn't always mean victory but in the case of both games yesterday I would say it had a huge impact.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

NFL Thoughts: Divisional Playoff Games

Colts 15 / Ravens 6
How does Brian Billick keep his job? I mean Raven fans (and the Ravens defense) have to be fed up with the continuing offensive crapola that this team displays year in and year out. McNair was supposed to change all that but it's pretty obvious after the season he had that Tennessee let him go for a reason. Even though many in the media made a lot noise all year long about the difference McNair's confidence and presence made to the team (based on a couple of early season 4th quarter comebacks), the fact is McNair kinda sucked all year long. The Ravens were a top seed in the playoffs for the same reason they have been competitive for years---their defense. They are freaking awesome. I watch them before the snap, moving around, --after the snap---flying to the ball---and I wonder why the hell other teams don't play the same way. But the point is, on the offensive side of the ball it's "same ol same ole". The 2001 Super Bowl was a great win for the Ravens but in a way it really screwed them for the next few years. Billick and the organization have fooled themselves into thinking that kind of magic can strike again. Well it won't. They need an offense.
Actually the Colts weren't much better on offense either (except for Adam Vinatieri and Dominic Rhodes) . Manning dodged a few bullets. He had at least two interceptions dropped and he looked flustered again. I realize they played the best defense in the league but to beat the Patriots next week he will have to play better than he has so far in the playoffs. The Colts defense has played significantly better but to be honest I really think they lucked out in who they have played so far. They got two offenses that are about as uninspiring and unimaginative as it gets. Next week we really see what they are made of. And I'm nervous as hell about it.

Patriots 24 / Chargers 21
I don't even want to think about this game. I hate-hate-hate-hate-hate-hate the Patriots. I realize they are great in the clutch but why do all the breaks seem to bounce their way? Why do they always get coaches that make dumb moves against them? I can't write about this. I'm going to go throw up.

Saints 27 / Eagles 24
Andy Reid is a great coach. But I was with everyone else saying "what the hell?" when he brought his punt team out with less than 2 minutes. I know it's 4 and 15 but you just went for it on 4th and 10. And made it (although a penalty brought it back). I can see his logic that if he gets a stop then all the Eagles need is a field goal to go to overtime whereas if they had not made the 4th down play and then made a stop they probably would have needed a TD to win it (assuming the Saints make a field goal). Still, I think he should have gone for it. I thought Garcia played well again. I'm still wondering if he made a pact with the devil. This is a different man the the guy who suited up for Cleveland and Detroit. The Saints were just a little better is all. Drew Brees has moved himself into elite QB status. Although there are many reasons why this team is a playoff team this year (coach, tons of new players), Brees is the main one in my eyes. Although Rivers was good for the Chargers this year I wonder how that Patriot game would have gone down with Brees in control? Rivers didn't lose the game for them by any means but still, it's a thought. McAllister was fantastic and it will be interesting to see if he can make the same kind of yardage against the Bears D. I won't mind if the Bears win next week's game but I would much rather see the Saints playing for it all. Just keep the camera shots of Saints Owner (and umbrella waver) Tom Benson to a minimum. He bugs me.

Bears 27 / Seahawks 24
Fellow bloggers the Zoner and Greg from are understandably happy about the Bears success this year. And they should be. Had it not been for some offensive hiccups by Rex Grossman, Chicago would have been everybody's flavor of the month all year long (the media were waiting with salivating mouths to heap praise on them--and did until Rex started his run of bad games). Grossman's mistakes and the fact that the Chicago defense was decimated with injuries during the season took a little wind out of the sails for those non-loyalists who were just riding the bandwagon. But still, this team won 13 freaking games! When they are on top of their game they can beat anybody---badly. They weren't their best against the Seahawks but made some key plays (many by Grossman) to win the game. The Patriots win like this all the time so I'm not sure why some national guys like Gene Wojciechowski are ripping the Bears. Can they beat the Saints? Absolutely. Their defense hasn't been as good as it was last season but they are still better than the New Orleans "D". And while I don't think their offense is near as good as the Saints, they do have good receivers and running backs. Additionally, Grossman has played poorly in many games this year but he made some great 3rd down throws against the Seahawks (and that Berrian TD was a thing of beauty) and he does have the potential to play well. We'll see how it goes but you can't dismiss this team based on Grossman. He may be hot and cold this year but at least he has the ability to be hot. You can't say that about every QB.

I would like to see a Saints/Colts Super Bowl matchup. Do I think it will happen? No. My prediction is the Patriots and the Bears will be getting jiggy with it. I have to rely on history. History tells me that Manning will crumble and Brady will shine. Also in a tight game the Bears will make a key defensive play that will give them the victory.

Monday, January 08, 2007

NFL Thoughts: Last Week's Wild Card Weekend and this Week's Games

Last Week's Games:

Patriots 37 / Jets 16
First of all take a look at what Belichick is wearing. I showed this pic to my wife and she told me he should be a candidate for TLC's Extreme Makeover. That's a nice thought but I'm pretty sure if somebody showed up to Bill's door with cameras and a plan to improve his dress habits he would carve them up with steak-knives and stick them in his freezer. Anyway....turning to thoughts on Belichick's opponent--that being NY---The Jets were plucky this year. Mangini did a nice job of coaching and Pennington and others played pretty well all season long. Granted, they had an easy schedule and the only decent team they beat all year long was the Pats in week 10, but there are other talented teams out there that couldn't beat the guys they were supposed to (see Jacksonville, Atlanta, etc.). So while I thought the Bengals and Broncos were a better team than the Jets (and Chiefs for that matter), the bottom line is that the Jets won enough games to get in. Of course that didn't mean they had a shot at the Patriots. Even though the Jets beat them once this season, I never thought they had a shot on the road in the playoffs against Tom Brady. I've been saying all season long that you can't ignore the Patriots. They lost a couple of games badly and everyone wanted to bury them. Well you can't. Because this is a team led by a coach and a QB that have won 3 Super Bowls. It's that simple. They have some defensive stars, a couple of good running backs and dude that is one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the history of the game. I think they have an excellent shot of knocking off the Chargers next week and eventually ending up in the Super Bowl again. Damn them. Damn them to Hell.

Eagles 23 / Giants 20
This should game should be a wake up call for NY. Jeff Garcia was clearly the best QB on the field and even though he's been playing well this season that's quite an indictment of Eli Manning. He continues to pass the ball poorly. His mechanics are awful and he looks downright gunshy in the pocket. He's anticipating a hit evertime he drops back. The Giants aren't going going to significantly improve next season unless he does (by the way I think bringing Coughlin back is a mistake---His players are clearly so against him that next season is a guaranteed circus again). The Eagles on the other hand should give New Orleans a run for their money this week. Their surprising run after McNabb went down this season re-emphasizes the fact that in the NFL you never count your chickens (or playoff teams) before they hatch.

Colts 23 / Chiefs 8
Herm Edwards was an absolute joke in this game as a coach. He's stubborn to a fault and it cost him a shot at competing for this victory. Trent Green was not coming out of this game even had he thrown 5 interceptions in the first half. There are more than a few coaches out there like this that feel altering plans during a game somehow constitutes a loss of face. It's one of the reasons I think Edwards is not an top coach. Make no mistake, he's a decent organizer and motivator. He gets his teams to play hard. But he's similar to the NBA's Jerry Sloan in that his unwillingness to admit a new approach is needed is ultimately why they will never win a championship.
Turning to the Colts,--despite their inspired play last week, they should not get cocky about their defense (or uppity about people who have questioned them this year---I mean after all they have sucked donkeys and if the Colts defensive players can't admit then they are in need of therapy). I hope the Colts defense can do it again and I hope Manning doesn't choke again (he didn't exactly have a banner game against the the Chiefs) . I really do want to see the Colts in the Super Bowl this year. I just have serious doubts that it will happen.

Seahawks 21 / Cowboys 20
I like that the Cowboys lost but I hate to see Romo get scapegoated for it. He's one guy I actually root for. And I'll say it again---the Seahawks fortunes lay on the arm of Hasselbeck. When he finally started to get it together in last week's game, Seattle looked like a contender. They'll need much more of that to beat Chicago.

Upcoming Games:

Who I want to see win this week and who I think will win depends on the conference.

I want the Bears to beat the Seahawks. I think they will. My cautious guess is that Grossman doesn't meltdown this week.

I want the Saints to beat the Eagles. I'm going to say it happens.

I want the Colts to beat the Ravens. I've been underestimating the Ravens all year so I won't this week. Colts go down.

I want the Chargers to beat the Patriots (in the worst way). But it's a perfect game for New England to show us again why you never count them out. I think they will shut Tomlinson down and Rivers inexperience will doom Marty's boys.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 NFL Surprises

Biggest 2006 surprises (both good and bad) offensively for me in NFL


Damon Huard- his quality of play saved the Chiefs season. You could still make a credible argument that return of Trent Green brought the level of QB play down in the latter part of the season. Green's probably the right choice but besides Larry Johnson (and a whole lot of luck in the last week of the season), Damon Huard is the reason the Chiefs are in the playoffs.

Philip Rivers - He sure has tailed off to end the season (and that could doom them in the playoffs if he doesn't pull his head out) but 3000+ yards, 22 TDs, and a QB rating of 92 in his first year starting is certainly more than the Chargers could have asked for.

Tony Romo - Overhyped? Absolutely. His last couple of games especially have brought the Romo legend back to earth. I wouldn't be surprised if Carrie Underwood dumps his ass now. But you can't deny he played well for at least 5 games. His performance in those games gave the Cowboys enough victories to make the playoffs. He's a first year starter and we all know Bledsoe wouldn't have done any better.

Vince Young - I don't think he deserved the Offensive Rookie of the Year award (he had a passer rating of 66.7 , threw more interceptions than TDs, and completed just barely over 51% of his passes! How can you call that offensive excellence? Saints receiver, Marques Colston was the man in my opinion) ---but he definitely made a huge and somewhat surprising impact as a rookie QB. He's going to be overhyped just like Mike Vick was his first few years but if he continues to do what he did this year he'll do what Vick hasn't been able to: make significant improvement and win key games.

J.P. Losman, Steve McNair, & Chad Pennington --None of these guys were spectacular, but they had solid seasons and kept their teams in games every week. It's not a surprise that they have the talent (in McNair and Pennington's case they have had decent seasons before) but considering the situation and prior season each guy had coming into this year, their performances were still a bit unexpected for me.

Ben Roethlisberger - Talk about bad karma. First he almost killed himself then he went ahead and killed the Steeler's season. I'm not sure which hurt more, his mortorcycle crash or the Steeler's first 8 games. Both were a wreck.

Matt Hasselbeck - I know he's been hurt this season but when he has played he really hasn't played that well. Damn my Rams for not taking advantage of a down year for the Seahawks.

Other quarterbacks who while not surprising to me but who were most definitely disappointing surprises for their own teams include:
Charlie Frye, Rex Grossman, Brad Johnson, Jake Plummer, Eli Manning, David Carr, Jake Delhomme, & Mark Brunell.


Frank Gore- Holy crap Gore was a load to bring down this year. He just rambled all season long. I had no idea he was that good.

Travis Henry- Showed us that he wasn't done yet

Ladell Betts - He got over 1000 yards, and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Clinton Portis has got some competition next year.

Maurice Jones-Drew- I'm not surprised he was good ( I said in the preseason that he would open a lot of eyes) but his 5.7 yards per carry was a bit eye popping.

Jerious Norwood - Another guy who surprised me with his excellent play. He broke a lot of long ones (6.4 yards per carry).

Edgerrin James - Sure he made it to 1159 yards. And it only took him 337 carries to do it (3.7 avg.) Terribly disappointing season for him and the Cards.

Shaun Alexander - After last season's awesomeness, he was pretty uninspiring even when healthy (3.6 yards per carry).


Marques Colston - phenomenal season for an unheralded rookie. Give him the three games back that he lost due to injury and he would have made it pretty tough for voters to still give the ORY award to glamour boy Vince Young.

Mike Furrey - 1000 yard receiver. Huh? Great year for a dude that has bounced back and forth between defensive back and receiver.

Kevin Curtis - I thought the Rams would incorporate Curtis a whole lot more this season. Alas, they rarely threw it his way and they squandered a valuable weapon. They may lose him in free agency next year.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nick Saban. Super Dork

Sorry for not posting about the last couple of weeks in the NFL. Between trying to down as much holiday fudge as I could and spending some time with my kids and family, I ended up slacking in my posts.
Anyway I'll post some thoughts on the NFL season and upcoming post-season soon. I will say this regarding today's NFL news: Nick Saban sure is full of shit. I'm sick of these high and mighty coaches sneering at reporters when asked about job offers they are getting--- and then they go ahead and lie their asses off. Then once they've proved that they have no integrity they use the family trump card. Give me a break. Your not doing what's best for your family. You're doing what's best for your bank account. What a hypocritical dumbass. Hey nice job of leading the Dolphins back to the promised land Nick. They're as bad as they were when you came, plus you screwed them out of an all-pro QB. Thumbs up! Cha-ching$$$