Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Various NFL Commentary

Tony Gonzalez was unhappy about not breaking the record for receiving yards by a tight end at Arrowhead.

I'm with Herm Edwards on this one. When you have a big lead, every single team in the NFL runs the ball to grind down the clock. Not to mention any time a Chiefs quarterback puts the ball in the air, there's an abnormally high chance that it gets intercepted. I guess it's unfortunate that he couldn't break the record in front of the home crowd, but ultimately winning games should take priority, something the Chiefs haven't done much of lately. Gonzalez has been the consummate professional his entire career, there's no reason that should change now. Hey, it's possible that they won't throw him the ball at all in Carolina, then the Chiefs are on bye, then he can break the record at Arrowhead against the Titans. Would that make him happy?

Larry Johnson asks for more carries, delivers.

I had my doubts two weeks ago when Larry Johnson complained that he should be a bigger part of the Chiefs "offense." I'm not sure why, maybe it was the 3.3 YPC against New England in week one or the atrocious 1.8 YPC against Oakland in week 2 (two teams who are not exactly renowned for their run defenses). But since then he's got two 100+ yard games, including the 198 yard monster against Denver. We'll see if he's for real against Carolina and Tennessee in weeks 5 and 7.

Kevin Smith loses starting job to Rudi Johnson, complains.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here we have a rookie running back losing his job to a proven veteran. Granted, Smith's numbers have been a little skewed by the Lions being forced to pass more after getting into huge deficits, but Smith hasn't exactly stolen the show with the carries he has gotten. Meanwhile Rudi Johnson (presumably after recovering his baggage) showed up with a 14 carry, 83 yard, 1 TD performance against the 49ers as the backup. Smith had 3 carries for 14 yards.

TO has a "serious talk" with Tony Romo after the Cowboys 26-24 loss to Washington.

Uh oh, here we go again. I seem to remember TO having a serious talk with another quarterback in the NFC East that didn't end well. It was pretty obvious the Cowboys were trying to force feed TO in the second half, and as a result neutralized probably their best overall offensive player in Marion Barber by giving him a ridiculously low number of carries (I can't remember the exact number, but it wasn't much). Note to Terrell Owens- you have the get open. On a related note, Patrick Crayton still has a serious case of the dropsies. His game was as if he was playing the Giants in the divisional playoffs or something.

Lane Kiffin finally fired from Raiders' Head Coaching job.

This had potential to turn into the Brett Favre of the coaching position. For Kiffin this must be a huge relief. Al Davis is obviously insane if he thinks any coach can turn a team as horrible as the Raiders around in a single season. Not to mention Kiffin opposed major offseason signings that any idiot could have predicted wouldn't work out (Javon Walker, Tommy Kelly, DeAngelo Hall), wanted to draft the best athlete available as well as one that would fill a major need at DT in Glenn Dorsey, and had to put up with Davis' antics when he wanted to simply control who was on his own staff. Not exactly Mike Ditka/Buddy Ryan, but it's not like Rob Ryan was/is doing anything special.

Scott Linehan removed from Rams HC position.

Everyone saw this coming. What really gets me is his replacement- Jim Haslett- the Rams defensive coordinator. Uh, last I checked the Rams haven't allowed less than 31 points through 4 weeks. Linehan did do Haslett one final favor, however, by benching quarterback Marc Bulger. Haslett now starts off on the right foot by re-instating Bulger as the starter.

Derek Anderson staves off the wolves with win over Cincinnati.

Ok, I admit that something is wrong with Derek Anderson, but it's not like his supporting cast is doing terribly well either. Braylon Edwards looks horrible, Donte Stallworth is a nonfactor just like he was in New England, Kellen Winslow can't get open, and Jamal Lewis put up a few performances worthy of Shaun Alexander or Cedric Benson before the Cincinnati game. The problems are not all Anderson's fault. In addition, what makes anyone think that Brady Quinn is the answer? Clearly he was drafted to be the long-term solution, but if Quinn starts the next month he has the Giants, Redskins, Jaguars, and Ravens on the schedule. Yeah, what a great way to start your career and build confidence by getting destroyed by 3 of the league's best defenses and a solid one in the Jags. Let Anderson take the fall, Quinn's not going to fare any better.

Week 5 Predictions

Tennessee 23, Baltimore 20 - Oh look, these two teams are the same. League-leading defenses, both led by second-tier quarterbacks, not much of a threat on the outside, and strong running games. Wouldn't be surprised if this went to OT.

KC 20, Carolina 27 - As impressive as Larry Johnson's 198 yard performance against Denver was last week, the honeymoon should end against a strong Panthers front 7. The Panthers are looking to improve to 4-1 in surprisingly competitive NFC South.

Chicago 33, Detroit 17 - Bye week won't help the Lions, who look awful pretty much everywhere. The Bears are coming off of a big win against the Eagles at home and showed that they can play with the best teams in the league with a healthy defense.

Atlanta 13, GB 17 - Aaron Rogers or Matt Flynn should be able to take advantage of a weak Atlanta defense. Matt Ryan will once again show everyone that he's not ready to play against a real defense. However, if they "Wildcat" the ball to Michael Turner on every play...

Indianapolis 34, Houston 20 - This should be a high scoring game. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne have killed the Texans in recent years, and after the Colts bye week they should have their early season woes sorted out. The Texans had a nice showing against Jacksonville last week, but their defense (or lack thereof) is going to be their undoing.

San Diego 27, Miami 20 - San Diego's defense has looked horrendous as of late, but so has the Dolphins'. Apparently against the Patriots they forgot that their secondary is atrocious. People criticize Philip Rivers' lame showing against the Raiders, but the Raiders secondary is actually one of the few parts of their team that needs serious help.

Seattle 24, NYG 31 - The return of a real Seattle wide receiver should help Matt Hasselbeck move the offense a little better... if he has time to throw it. Not helping Seattle's case is Julius Jones' numbers against the Giants in the past 2 seasons with the Cowboys: games of 66, 48, 30, 24 yards and 0 touchdowns.

Washington 27, Philadelphia 31 - Brutal schedule for Washington with road trips to Dallas followed by Philadelphia, but such is life in the NFC East. The return of Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb healing his sore chest should be the difference.

Tampa Bay 17, Denver 27 - As we saw last week Denver lives and dies by the pass. Luckily for them, Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 is weak in the secondary and even allowed Brandon Lloyd a 100-yard game. Brandon Marshall is just a little better than Lloyd, and the Broncos at home are tough to beat.

Buffalo 30, Arizona 24 - Arizona is honestly a different team at home, but why not keep riding the Bills' hot streak? Somehow they manage to become unstoppable in the fourth quarter. With Anquan Boldin probably out, the Bills "only" have to focus on Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. Look for the Bills to frustrate Kurt Warner's pass-first philosophy and take advantage of a very mediocre defense that was torched by Brett Favre for 6 touchdowns.

Cincinnati 13, Dallas 34 - Cincinnati's defense shouldn't present nearly the challenge that the Redskins did, and since TO wants the ball more the Cowboys are obligated to do so. I don't expect this one to be close, especially if Carson Palmer sits out for the second straight week.

New England 17, San Francisco 14 - Shockingly this could be the most interesting game of the week. San Francisco returns home after a pathetic road loss to the Saints, while the Patriots are coming off their bye full of ideas on how to stop Frank Gore after being embarrassed by the Dol... er, Ronnie Brown. As horrible as they showed in Week 3, I still don't think the Patriots defense is that bad. Although admittedly I would enjoy it if the 49ers creamed them.

Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 27- If anyone watched the Steelers on Monday night they can't possibly disagree that their offense looked positively awful. Even in the second half after Big Ben's "pep talk" they were nothing special. I can't imagine that their sieve of an offensive line and absence of Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall helps them beat the Jaguars at home.

Minnesota 20, New Orleans 38 - Drew Brees has shown that he is an elite quarterback no matter who his receivers are. Or maybe we should say "no matter who his receivers aren't" considering Lance Moore had a 2-touchdown 101-yard performance against Nate Clements in week 4. Oh wait, Nate Clements is an overpaid retard. Minnesota won't be out of the playoff race even if they lose, since the NFC North is (in my opinion) one of the worst divisions in the league, but a 1-4 start isn't looking good.

Bye: Browns, Jets, Raiders, Rams

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 4 Results

Atlanta 9, Carolina 24 (predicted: Atlanta 20, Carolina 27)- Yeah... the Falcons have a ways to go. Playing a decent team while on the road went pretty much as expected for Michael Turner and Matt Ryan.

Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 12 (predicted: Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 31)- Ok, when I made my prediction I was assuming Carson Palmer was starting. Of course the Harvard guy can't do anything, but that's not unique to football. Derek Anderson bought himself another week, although I don't understand why people are so sold on Brady Quinn as being the solution to the Browns' problems.

Houston 27, Jacksonville 30 (predicted: Houston 17, Jacksonville 24)- Tough loss for Houston, but at least they made it close. Who knew their defense wouldn't be able to stop the Jags in the final 2 minutes? I bet nobody saw that coming. On the bright side, it looks like Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are finally getting their act together.

Denver 19, KC 33 (predicted: Denver 33, KC 10)- This game was hilarious. Not only did the Broncos defense get gashed for almost 200 yards by Larry Johnson, Kansas City's underrated pass defense (which is actually ranked in the top 10 in the league) came through with some big plays. Thanks for not scoring a touchdown though Bernard Pollard... could have had the week-high IDP league score if you did. Oh well, you're still my hero for saving the NFL.

SF 17, New Orleans 31 (predicted: SF 28, New Orleans 27)- Didn't anticipate such a stinkfest from the 49ers. Apparently Drew Brees simply does not throw <300 yard games. And apparently every Saints receiver has fantasy value, considering Robert Meachem even had a touchdown... If the Saints can keep this up until Colston returns, they can make some noise and stay in the conversation for the playoffs.

Arizona 35, NYJ 56 (predicted: Arizona 24, NYJ 20)- 6 touchdowns for Brett Favre? Why did it take the Jets 4 weeks to let him throw whenever he wanted? Granted it was only against Arizona, but the teams they played in weeks 1-3 didn't have a secondary that was any better. Looks like Ken Whisenhunt's team bonding experience in New York didn't translate to points on the scoreboard. And the Jets defense still sucks by the way.

Green Bay 21, TB 30 (predicted: Green Bay 20, TB 27)- Can we please stop the Aaron Rodgers lovefest now? He's like the Atlanta Falcons of NFL quarterbacks. He can only beat crappy teams. And honestly, will someone please just cover Greg Jennings? I never understand why he is wide open on every single play.

Minnesota 17, Tennessee 30 (predicted: Minnesota 17, Tennessee 24)- What was that about Minnesota's run defense? I guess not. When Gus Frerotte throws more than 40 times, you know your team is in trouble.

SD 28, Oakland 18 (predicted: SD 34, Oakland 17)- As usual the Raiders showed a flash of what could be... and then fell apart in the second half. Good job catching that gift interception DeAngelo Hall... you still got burned multiple times by Vincent Jackson. Jamarcus Russell outplayed Philip Rivers? I'm not sure if that shows how bad Rivers is or how bad the Chargers defense is.

Buffalo 31, St. Louis 14 (predicted: Buffalo 34, St. Louis 20)- The Rams even had a lead in the first half, but blew it as usual. Is it too early to predict 0-16?

Washington 26, Dallas 24 (predicted: Washington 27, Dallas 34)- Huge win for Washington. Hopefully the stupid NFL commentators will shut up about Dallas being a Super Bowl favorite. For the Redskins to go to Dallas and hold them to under 30 points is not something you see from pretty much any team.

Philadelphia 20, Chicago 24 (predicted: Philadelphia 20, Chicago 13)- Impressive performance by Kyle Orton (and no, I never thought I would ever write that sentence) if you ignore the 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions (that's more like it). I guess everyone knows by now is that Philadelphia lives and dies by the pass on both sides of the ball. Having Brian Westbrook sit out was obviously the difference, although Correll Buckhalter didn't have a horrible game.

Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 23 (predicted: Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 14)- Pyrrhic victory for the Steelers, who lost one of their starting guards and their #2 running back for the season. With an offensive line that already looked like a sieve against the Eagles, this does not bode well for the rest of the Steelers' brutal schedule. Unfortunately for Joe Flacco, a key fumble return for a TD cost the Ravens the game.

6/13 this week is pretty brutal. 33/59 on the season.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 4 Predictions

Atlanta 20, Carolina 27- After last week's embarrassing loss to the Vikings, the Panthers should be able to bounce back against a weak Falcons defense. Michael Turner still has to prove he can run well against good teams. Steve Smith is going to have a big game.

Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 31- This is probably the least relevant game this week, since both teams suck. However, I think the Browns offensive woes continue and Cincinnati seems to have turned a corner against the Giants.

Houston 17, Jacksonville 24- After beating the Colts, the Jags can stay relevant in the division with a win over Houston. The Texans may be able to salvage their season with a win, but historically they have not played well against the Colts or the Titans, which make a playoff berth unlikely.

Denver 33, KC 10- Denver's offense looks unstoppable, Kansas City has no offense. However I think that the Broncos run game will be more featured than it has in recent weeks, just because the Chiefs can't defend the run on a level comparable with the Indianapolis Colts (see: Micheal Turner).

SF 28, New Orleans 27- San Francisco is hot, and Mike Martz is definitely what the 49ers needed to get their offense going. With the new injury to Jeremy Shockey (who, when you watch the games, wasn't doing anything in the first place) and a suspect secondary, the Saints are in for another long day.

Arizona 24, NYJ 20- The Jets are not a good team. None of their offseason acquisitions have made a noticeable contribution (including Vernon Gholston). The offense is anemic and the defense just gave up 48 points to the Chargers. Arizona's offense is good for at least half of that.

Green Bay 20, TB 27- Aaron Rodgers got his first taste of reality against the Cowboys on Sunday night. This week he gets his second. The Bucs defense is much better than it showed against Chicago, and at home they'll put up stiff competition. I still don't understand the fuss about the loss of Al Harris. Every time he makes the highlight reel he's 3 steps behind the defender getting burned because he missed the "bump" and can't "cover."

Minnesota 17, Tennessee 24- This might be one of the better games this week. Minnesota's run defense is dominant, while Tennessee's running game is what they rely on to move the ball. The Titans defense has also been extremely tough. However the Titans are a handful at home, and I'm still not sold on Minnesota's offense under Gus Frerotte being legitimate. If the Titans can hold Adrian Peterson at arms length, the Vikings passing game won't be able to take up the slack.

SD 34, Oakland 17- 10 of the Raiders points will come in garbage time. LT is due for a huge game, and if his toe is healed then this is the game to do it.

Buffalo 34, St. Louis 20- Buffalo's lackluster performance against Oakland is a little alarming, but the Rams look absolutely terrible. Benching Marc Bulger for Mr. Concussion Trent Green isn't going to help them. Trent vs. Trent!

Washington 27, Dallas 34- Washington's defense is underrated, but it's no match for the Cowboys. One wonders if the Cowboys are really capable of winning any other way than a shootout. They're due for a game like the Eagles last year, when they lost 10-6 at home in a defensive game.

Philadelphia 20, Chicago 13- Obviously this depends a lot on Brian Westbrook's health (I assume he won't play). Luckily for the Eagles, the Bears offense is a lot less dangerous under Kyle Orton than the Steelers. Matt Forte will get his carries, but it won't be enough. My guess is that the Bears won't score in the second half and blow another big lead.

Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 14- Who knew this would actually be a game worth watching? The Steelers got destroyed by the Eagles last week, and now they get to play one of the best veteran defenses in the league. Without Willie Parker and Casey Hampton, the Ravens gain the advantage on both sides of the ball.

Bye: Indianapolis, New England, Miami, Detroit, NYG, Seattle

Week 3 Results

Kansas City 14, Atlanta 38 (predicted: Kansas City 13, Atlanta 27)- Got this one pretty much right on the money. Larry Johnson returns to relevance, which is a bright spot for the Chiefs... I guess...

Oakland 23, Buffalo 24 (Oakland 17, Buffalo 31)- Buffalo is leading the AFC East for the first time in years. As expected, the Raiders didn't get much going on the ground with Justin Fargas out and Darren McFadden injured (combined 97 yards for Bush and McFadden). Jamarcus Rusell had a respectable day, going for 156 yards, 1 TD and no picks. It's a little puzzling that the Bills handled the Seahawks and Jacksonville handily, but needed a last-second field goal to beat the lowly Raiders.

TB 27, Chicago 24 OT (predicted: TB 21, Chicago 20)- Bucs win in overtime. Brian Griese threw 67 times...ridiculous.

Carolina 10, Minnesota 20 (predicted: Carolina 27, Minnesota 17)- If the Panthers hadn't stubbornly stuck to running between the tackles the entire game, they might have had a chance. In case nobody has noticed, it's really hard to run on the Vikings. Gus Frerotte won't last the season though.

Miami 38, NE 13 (predicted: Miami 10, NE 31)- Best game of the week. Ronnie Brown was the 8th highest scoring team in the NFL this week. The Patriots lost in spectacular fashion. Strangely, all of the articles lauding Matt Cassell for being a game manager were missing on Monday morning.

Cincinnati 23, NYG 26 (predicted: Cincinnati 14, NYG 38)- Well, at least Carson Palmer seems to be rehabbing his offense. I still think the Giants are an overrated team. None of their wins so far have been particularly impressive. A victory against the Cowboys or the Eagles would be much more telling.

Houston 12, Tennessee 31 (predicted: Houston 17, Tennessee 23)- Houston still has a chance, but they are going to need a major turnaround in order to try for a wild card spot. Tennessee is making a strong case for a playoff berth by taking the title away from the Colts in the AFC South, especially since the Titans are a run-first team and the Colts are terrible against the run.

Arizona 17, Washington 24 (predicted: Arizona 31, Washington 27)- Washington's defense was surprisingly resilient, forcing a key turnover from Kurt Warner at the right time. They still had trouble with the Cardinal receivers, but I still think if the play calling had been a bit more creative the Cardinals wouldn't have stunk so much.

New Orleans 32, Denver 34 (predicted: New Orleans 13, Denver 34)- Credit to Drew Brees for matching the Broncos blow for blow until the very end. Reggie Bush seems to have put last season's troubles behind him, and has turned into Brees' go-to receiver. Deuce is done, he'll retire after this season if not before. Brandon Marshall is averaging over 100 yards a week.

Detroit 13, SF 31 (predicted: Detroit 24, SF 30)- You'd think that with Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and the absence of a pass rush that Jon Kitna & the Lions would be able to manage more than 13 points. While I don't think Detroit is in the same category of awfulness as Kansas City and St. Louis, they're not going to finish with more than 6 wins.

St. Louis 13, Seattle 37 (predicted: St. Louis 13, Seattle 23)- The Rams are just terrible. Looking at their schedule, I'm not sure when their first win is going to come. To make matters worse, the teams they play in weeks 16 and 17 are not playoff teams and therefore they won't be playing second stringers to rest for the games that matter. St. Louis is looking like a great 0-16 candidate.

Cleveland 10, Baltimore 28 (predicted: Cleveland 27, Baltimore 23)- So who's ready to give up on the Browns? The offense looks lost while the defense looks exactly like it did last year. The only thing I hate about the entire situation is that everyone is surprised. Figure it out: when mediocre teams play bad teams (like the 2007 Browns), they win. When mediocre teams play good teams (like the 2008 Browns) they lose. The Ravens are a lot like the Bears- a defense that has returned to health and an offense that can at least put up some points.

Jacksonville 23, Indianapolis 21 (predicted: Jacksonville 20, Indianapolis 30)- Colts run defense got gashed by MJD and Fred Taylor as usual. Look on the bright side Colts fans, the last season that they averaged 150+ yards allowed on the ground, they won the Super Bowl!

Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 15 (predicted: Pittsburgh 27, Philadelphia 34)- Thank God the conversation about the Steelers being an elite team is quieted for now. The patchwork offensive line that held up just fine against crappy teams like the Texans and the Browns finally showed its true colors. The win was costly for the Eagles though- Westbrook and McNabb both got banged up (McNabb returned to the game, however).

Dallas 27, GB 16 (predicted: Dallas 31, Green Bay 27)- Surprisingly not close, unsurprising result. Aaron Rodgers isn't at the next level yet.

NYJ 29, SD 48 (predicted: NYJ 17, San Diego 30)- Well at least this game lived up to the Monday night expectations. Favre aired it out, and paid for it with a pick-6. One only wonders what this game plan would have done against the Patriots in week 2.

11 for 16 this week. Much better. Nobody would have ever picked the Dolphins anyways... 27/46 on the season to date.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Week 3 Predictions

Kansas City 13, Atlanta 27- The Falcons/Michael Turner should run circles around a Kansas City defense that gave up over 300 yards rushing against the Raiders in Week 2. By the way, I have no idea how Kansas City is going to manage 13 points.

Oakland 17, Buffalo 31- Buffalo is one of the top run defenses in the league thus far, giving up fewer than 100 yards per game. This will be the first real test for them, but the Bills will stuff the box until Jamarcus Russell proves he can beat them with the pass.

TB 21, Chicago 20- This should be a defensive game. Both offenses are only average. Matt Forte will have a difficult time against the Bucs front 7, while the Bucs secondary is one of the best in the league against a very pedestrian passing game. Joey Galloway has not been a threat so far this season, and though Brian Griese might have some extra motivation to beat his former team, victory won't come easily with the tools at his disposal.

Carolina 27, Minnesota 17- Can't win a game kicking field goals, as Minnesota found out against the Colts. The Panthers match up well against the Vikings, especially with the return of Steve Smith. The Vikings seriously need to get something going on offense to even have a chance, and I've yet to see the vaunted Minnesota pass rush take over the game like it was supposed to.

Miami 10, NE 31- No surprises here. The Patriots should have a field day with the Dolphins "defense," with or without Tom Brady.

Cincinnati 14, NYG 38- The Bengals don't have anything going for them on defense, and little more on offense. You'd think that with Chad Ocho Cinco and TJ Houshmanzadeh catching on the outside you'd be able to put up at least 200 yards a game. Unfortunately Carson Palmer didn't get that memo. Plus it's the first half of the season so the Giants should play well.

Houston 17, Tennessee 23- The Titans are tough to beat at home. The lack of a proven running back and a lacking defense is going to haunt the Texans all season. Falling to 0-3 pretty much ends their playoff hopes by virtue of being the bitch team in the ultra-competitive AFC South.

Arizona 31, Washington 27- Arizona won't have as easy a time as they did against the Dolphins. The Redskins and Jason Campbell appear to have turned a corner after a painful Opening Thursday loss to the Giants. Campbell looked comfortable with the offense and played a good game. However the receiving duo of Larry Johnson and Anquan Boldin is tough to matchup with for even the most talented secondary, which Fred Smoot, Shawn Springs, and Carlos Rogers are not.

New Orleans 13, Denver 34- The Broncos' offense reminds me a lot of the 2007 Colts: a dominant wide receiver in Brandon Marshall, a receiving tight end in Tony Scheffler, and a promising second wide receiver in Eddie Royal. Against the highly regarded Chargers secondary Cutler threw four touchdowns. The Saints have a lot of injury problems on the defensive side, and the loss of Marques Colston clearly hurts their offense (as does Jeremy Shockey fumbling the ball). This game has blowout written all over it.

Detroit 24, SF 30- JT O'Sullivan had a very Martz-ish game in week 2 against the Seahawks, and now they get to play a home game against a defense that hasn't allowed fewer than 400 yards in a game. Detroit should spend their week praying, because divine intervention is the only viable strategy they have.

St. Louis 13, Seattle 23- Seattle at home is a tough opponent, even with receivers dropping like flies. The Rams are just a bad team. Their defense is non-existant. The playcalling would make even Brad Childress fall asleep, without the AD factor. Chris Long? Non-factor. They'll be fortunate to get a win before December.

Cleveland 27, Baltimore 23- The Browns beat the Ravens in both meetings last season, both with Derek Anderson under center. The Ravens might have made some upgrades (Joe Flacco?) on offense, but I don't think it will be enough for the win.

Jacksonville 20, Indianapolis 30- If Jeff Saturday returns the Colts should bear much closer resemblance to the team that went 13-3 last year. The Jaguars need to win this game in order to stay in the race for the division. MJD and Fred Taylor have so far been stuffed in the run game, which should change against the run-prone Colts (minus Bob Sanders due to injuries, of course). The Jaguar defense which got shredded by Tom Brady in the Divisional round not only failed to produce a pass rush, but concentrated so much on taking away Randy Moss that Wes Welker ran wild underneath. Look for Peyton Manning to do the same with Anthony Gonzalez on Sunday.

Pittsburgh 27, Philadelphia 34- A tough loss in a shootout to the Cowboys on Monday night should have the Eagles looking for consolation. Pittsburgh is one of the better defenses in the NFL, but then again so is Dallas. McNabb looks dominant, and played very well against the Cowboys. As long as he and Brian Westbrook remain healthy, the Eagles are contenders. Barring any goal-line heroics by DeSean Jackson, the Eagles should be favored.

Dallas 31, Green Bay 27- Aaron Rodgers is going to have his first real test as a starter. The league has seen what he can do and will prepared for him, unlike his entry into the Dallas game last year. Of course the way the commentators talk about Rodgers, the Cowboys might as well prepare to play Favre...

NYJ 17, San Diego 30- Obviously this game was scheduled for the Favre appeal and the hope that both teams would be playing well enough to merit the MNF spot. Wrong. The Chargers look lost on defense to the same degree that the Jets look lost on offense. Favre's cute toss-ups won't work against the Chargers, however. Philip Rivers appears to have taken his game to the next level, directing the powerful Chargers offense for some ridiculous scores.

Week 2 results

Green Bay 48, Detroit 25 (predicted: Green Bay 33, Detroit 17)- At least Detroit kept it interesting until late in the game. Ironically, the problem wasn't the defense this time. I guess Kitna didn't say his prayers before the game.

NYG 41, St. Louis 13 (predicted: NYG 30, St. Louis 21)- Are we ready to admit how bad the St. Louis Rams are? Everyone thought "Oh, well their offensive line is returning to health so they won't have as many problems as they did last year." Oops. I guess to be (a little) fair the Rams were within a score until the Giants shut the door in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans 24, Washington 29 (predicted: New Orleans 24, Washington 14)- So much for New Orleans being good. I love how Jeremy Shockey lost a key fumble. He's such a difference maker! Jason Campbell and Santana Moss had nice games, not sure how many times we're going to see that this season...

Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 16 (predicted: Buffalo 17, Jacksonville 24)- Looks like Jacksonville is only the best team to hide behind this season's "Well the Giants started 0-2 and won the Super Bowl!" excuse. Yeah, except the Giants actually scored points in their first two losses last year and were playing good teams.

Tennessee 24, Cincinnati 7 (predicted: Tennessee 20, Cincinnati 17)- This game is hilarious for a couple of reasons. 1) Kerry Collins is so much better than Vince Young. 2) Carson Palmer now has back-to-back Rex Grossman level games. 3) The Bengals are quite literally a paper tiger. They should be good, but they just aren't.

Oakland 23, KC 8 (predicted: Oakland 20, KC 21)- Good rushing game for Oakland, despite losing Fargas to injury. Fargas is a good running back, but now we've seen what Run DMC can do (against a crappy defense). Will Jamarcus Russell ever turn into something more than a handoff machine?

Indianapolis 18, Minnesota 15 (predicted: Indianapolis 31, Minnesota 27)- This was a fun game to watch, if only to see the Peyton Manning sad face for the entire game. Anthony Gonzalez' flip to Reggie Wayne was amazing. By the way- Gonzalez appears to be the real deal. He can make catches in traffic and has shown he has good hands. Marvin Harrison took a big hit and didn't fumble. Tarvaris Jackson is still horrible. AD had a huge game, as predicted. Mr. Glass aka Dallas Clark continues to annoy the crap out of me.

Chicago 17, Carolina 20 (predicted: Chicago 27, Carolina 20)- Way to blow a 2-score lead Chicago. Just shows that last week's upset was a fluke.

Atlanta 9, TB 24 (predicted Atlanta 17, TB 14)- The stupid Falcons tried to pass for some reason, and as expected Matt Ryan floundered against a competent defense. If they had handed off to Michael Turner (or let him QB) on every play, they would have won.

SF 33, Seattle 30 (predicted: SF 17, Seattle 20)- Seattle is looking pretty terrible at the moment, and not just because their receivers are dropping like Broncos players in the offseason (ok, not that bad). Their defense is just horrible, and without major injuries they really have no excuse. It's the freakin' 49ers... In any case when they play the Cardinals it should be an interesting game to watch.

San Diego 38, Denver 39 (predicted: San Diego 31, Denver 24)- This was also a hilarious game. First of all, the Chargers should have won. Ed Hochuli's muscles cannot save him. On the other hand, I love seeing San Diego lose two games in the final seconds, and props to Shanahan for going for the win instead of sending it to OT. There's no better way to give a division rival the finger. Brandon Marshall looked unstoppable. Side note: Why did LT get hurt? It's not the playoffs yet...

NE 19, NYJ 10 (predicted: NE 24, NYJ 14)- Not the game it was hyped up to be, although I guess one could expect Matt Cassell to be below average. Credit to him, he didn't screw up. The Jets offense, despite the free-agency acquisitions of Brett Favre and Alan Faneca, is nothing to write home about. Neither is the Jets defense.

Miami 10, Arizona 31 (predicted: Miami 17, Arizona 34)- Good calls by me on Larry Fitzgerald (153 yards) and Anquan Boldin (3 TD, 140 yards). Apparently the Dolphins secondary just didn't feel like covering Boldin's first TD- he blew right by the free safety. Boldin isn't even that fast. His third TD was the most impressive though. If this season doesn't convince Bill Parcells to retire, then he's going to be in the league forever.

Game postponed due to Hurricane (predicted: Baltimore 20, Houston 17)

Pittsburgh 10, Cleveland 6 (predicted: Pittsburgh 38, Cleveland 17)- Bad weather gave the Browns a chance, but Pittsburgh still should have killed them.

Philadelphia 37, Dallas 41 (predicted: Philadelphia 27, Dallas 31)- Ok, so add 10 to each team and I had it right. DeSean Jackson should basically kill himself. At least it was the game it was hyped up to be. Pretty exciting until the very end. Romo to TO is probably the best QB-receiver duo in the league at the moment.

8/15 winners picked correctly in week 2, 16/30 for the season so far.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Musings on the Patriots

-Tom Brady has never thrown a Super Bowl winning touchdown.

-The Patriots in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era have never won a Super Bowl without Eric Mangini or Adam Viniateri.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Week 2 Predictions

Green Bay 33, Detroit 17- Detroit apparently doesn't play defense.

NYG 30, St. Louis 21- I figure the Rams can't be as terrible at home as they are on the road...right?

New Orleans 24, Washington 14- Zorn's anemic offense will continue to struggle. Maybe Jason Campbell will look like he knows where he is in Week 2 though. The loss of Marques Colston hurts the Saints.

Buffalo 17, Jacksonville 24- The Bills D-line should have a big day, but it won't be enough to beat Jacksonville at home.

Tennessee 20, Cincinnati 17- Loss of Vince Young actually helps the Titans.

Oakland 20, KC 21- Both these teams are so bad that it's hard to call.

Indianapolis 31, Minnesota 27- I could easily see AD rack up a 200 yard game, especially after the loss of their starting DT to a drug posession suspension. The Colts had better hope that Peyton Manning can a) return to form and b) have enough time to throw with his patched up line.

Chicago 27, Carolina 20- Matt Forte should have another big game, while Carolina struggles against a healthy Bears defense.

Atlanta 17, TB 14- The Bucs defense is solid, but the offense won't be able to control the game.

SF 17, Seattle 20- Seattle has no receivers, and do you really want to pin your hopes on Julius Jones? However, SF sucks.

San Diego 31, Denver 24- Denver has no run defense. The Chargers have LT.

NE 24, NYJ 14- Patriots defense is still fairly good, though aging.

Miami 17, Arizona 34- Boldin and Fitzgerald are in for a big day.

Baltimore 20, Houston 17- The Ravens have a good defense, and the Texans offense is not great.

Pittsburgh 38, Cleveland 17- Cleveland has no defense.

Philadelphia 27, Dallas 31- Given to Dallas solely because they're at home.

Week 1 results

Detroit 21, Atlanta 34 (predicted: Detroit 24, Atlanta 10)- Wow. Apparently I forgot that Michael Turner literally cannot be stopped. 220 yards in his debut as a starter? Jesus. Even Matt Ryan threw a touchdown.

Cincinnati 10, Baltimore 17 (predicted: Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 9)- Looks like the Bengals are headed towards mediocrity again.

Seattle 10, Buffalo 34 (predicted Seattle 24, Buffalo 28)- Hey... I called the upset right. Matt Hasselbeck didn't have any receivers by the time the game was over.

NYJ 20, Miami 14 (predicted: NYJ 31, Miami 14)- No real surprises here. That second Favre toss-up was ridiculous. Any other team besides Miami would have had the wits to intercept it.

KC 10, NE 17 (predicted: KC 10, NE 34)- Hey, I heard someone on the Patriots got hurt? Anyone hear anything about that?

TB 20, NO 24 (predicted: TB 27, NO 24)- Never mind that Reggie Bush stepped out of bounds at the 2 yard line on his game winning touchdown reception. The Bucs blew it.

St. Louis 3, Philadelphia 38 (predicted: St. Louis 20, Philadelphia 31)- Even I underestimated the Rams incompetence. What a diseased football team.

Houston 17, Pittsburgh 38 (predicted Houston 14, Pittsburgh 28)- Finally a great game from Willie Parker.

Jacksonville 10, Tennesee 17 (predicted: Jacksonville 17, Tennessee 10)- This game was boring as predicted. I had the number of points right, just reverse the teams... Jax's O-line looked awful. So much for David Garrard being an elite quarterback.

Dallas 28, Cleveland 10 (predicted: Dallas 38, Cleveland 24)- Lame showing by the Browns offense.

Carolina 26, San Diego 24 (predicted: Carolina 13, San Diego 27)- This was a great game. Absolutely crazy finish.

Arizona 23, SF 13 (predicted: Arizona 31, SF 17)- JT O'Sullivan sucks.

Chicago 29, Indianapolis 13 (prediction: Chicago 10, Indianapolis 30)- What a

Minnesota 19, GB 24 (predicted: Minnesota 17, GB 21)- Brett Fav...er, Aaron Rodgers comes through.

Denver 41, Oakland 14 (predicted: Denver 21, Oakland 24)- So much for Oakland turning a corner. Denver's run defense is still terrible though.

I picked winners correctly in 8 / 15 games. I suck. Week 2 predictions coming soon...

Monday, September 8, 2008

How the mighty have fallen.

Tom Brady injured his knee in the Patriots' game vs. Kansas City today at home in Gillette. While there's nothing official so far from the Patriot management, early rumors have Brady out for the rest of the season.

Needless to say, this is a devastating blow to the Patriots' Super Bowl hopes after being upset by the New York Giants 17-14. Say whatever you want about how "the Patriots still have Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Lawrence Maroney, and a solid defense," but Brady, like Peyton Manning, is what the organization is built around. If Jim Sorgi can't win with the Colts, then Matt Cassell is definitely not going to be winning with the Patriots.

This also throws the AFC East wide open. If "most improved" awards meant anything, the AFC East would win that particular award. The Jets are widely considered playoff contenders with several major additions in free agency. The Bills made a strong statement in week 1 with their resounding victory over the Seahawks. The Dolphins should at least double their win total from last year.

I would look forward to the Belichick press conference, but I know how it's going to go. "Obviously losing a player like Tom puts us in a difficult situation, but we'll just work through it and concentrate on winning games." Ok Bill. That just got a heck of a lot harder. Looks like the Patriots should have taken a little bit of a closer look at their backup situation during the preseason.

Update: It's official, Tom Brady was put on IR with a torn ACL.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

NFL Week 1

I just got back from the future, here's how week 1 turned out.

Detroit 24, Atlanta 10- Matt Ryan throws a touchdown to Roddy White and Jason Elam kicks a field goal. Falcons spend the rest of the afternoon on their half of the field.

Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 9- Three field goals from Baltimore Franchise Player Matt Stover is all they can muster behind Joe "Molasses" Flacco.

Seattle 24, Buffalo 28- 2 touchdowns for Marshawn Lynch and one each for Lee Evans and James Hardy.

NYJ 31, Miami 14- Noodle arm vs. The Fossil. Jets revamped offense pounds helpless Miami.

KC 10, NE 34- New England pulls their starters after going up 34-0 in the first quarter.

TB 27, NO 24- Monte Kiffin stifles Reggie Bust...er, Bush as well as Jeremy Shockey.

St. Louis 20, Philadelphia 31- McNabb to Westbrook all day. Chris Long injures McNabb in the 3rd quarter, out for the season.

Houston 14, Pittsburgh 28- Houston is the fashionable sleeper pick this year, too bad they aren't as good as the Steelers.

Jacksonville 17, Tennessee 10- Rivalry game, but probably a boring one. Lame Tennessee offense vs overrated Jacksonville defense. Side note: is Albert Haynesworth large enough to eat MJD?

Dallas 38, Cleveland 24- How can you not have a shootout with the crappy Browns defense? Cleveland won't make the playoffs this year either, by the way.

Carolina 13, San Diego 27- The LT show comes to Carolina. 3 TDs.

Arizona 31, SF 17- Frank Gore gets 5 carries and 10 receptions for two touchdowns. The rest of the Niners...not so much.

Chicago 10, Indianapolis 30- Peyton Manning and the Colts remind the Bears why they lost the Super Bowl.

Minnesota 17, GB 21- Ryan Grant runs for 27 yards total against the Williams brothers. Serves you morons right for drafting him in the second round in fantasy.

Denver 21, Oakland 24- Jamarcus Russell: 110 yards passing, 2 interceptions. Raiders running backs: 247 yards, 3 touchdowns. 2 touchdowns for Tony Scheffler.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Season Begins!

The 2008-2009 season officially began with a game between defending Super Bowl Champion New Engl....err, New York Giants playing the Washington Redskins at home. Some thoughts from the game...

- By far the most entertaining play of the game was in the first quarter when Brandon Jacobs completely owned LaRon Landry. No disrespect to Landry, but that was just pathetic. Why would you try to tackle a 265-pound running back running at full steam with your pads that high? It's rare that you see a defender of Landry's caliber completely reverse direction when trying to make a tackle, but those moments should be replayed over and over for humor's sake.

- First drive: apparently Eli forgot that this was the regular season. He actually looked like a real quarterback.

- I can't tell if Plaxico Burress' 130+ yard game is because it's week one or because Washington refused to double team him. Early games tend to favor top receivers over defenders, but Burress returning to health along with his $35 million contract extension means he has the physical tools to show that he's worth it. It also helps that he was lining up against Fred Smoot for most of the game.

- The Giants didn't seem to miss a step despite missing Overrated Umenyiora and Michael Strahan. Justin Tuck had a great game.

- Mr. Fumbles aka Clinton Portis managed to hold onto the ball tonight. If Portis can manage 84 yards rushing against one of the stouter defenses in the league, imagine what he could do if the Redskins had an aerial attack to complement.

- Speaking of the Redskin's passing game... ouch. Jason Campbell did not look comfortable at all, and I am not a fan of Zorn's offensive system. Not only was the playcalling unimaginative, but setting yourself up to throw on third and long against the dime gets old really fast.

- Santana Moss had 2 key drops, but kind of made up for it with his 2nd-quarter touchdown. Normal games will still have the drops... but won't have the touchdown.

- Chris Cooley is every bit the tight end that Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and Tony Gonzalez are- big targets who can block as well as line up on the outside. Apparently, the presence of the Redskins' only reliable offensive weapon had 1 official catch for 7 yards in addition to another catch for a dozen or so that got called back due to penalty. While I am bitter in part because Cooley is on several of my Fantasy teams, I honestly don't see why more effort wasn't made to get him the ball.
(Note: true to form, John Madden said towards the end of the game that the Redskins should have made more of an effort to get the ball to the tight end. In every game he calls, two things are guaranteed. 1) In the third quarter there will be a shot of delicious food that he will salivate over. 2) He will criticize the losing team for not throwing to their tight end more. It happens every game- look for it.)

- Jerome McDougle showed everyone why the Eagles cut him by drawing a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty on a punt in the first quarter.

- Going for it down by 2 scores on 4th down with 0:13 seconds left in the game? ....ok?

Final Score: Giants 16, Redskins 7.

Hopefully I will be able to watch all the games this season due to nifty NFL Game Pass HD here in la Suisse, and will be able to comment on the better matchups throughout the year. Next week is definitely going to be Falcons/Lions.

Jason Peters ends holdout

So, whiny Bills left tackle Jason Peters joined the long line of weaklings that hold out for a contract extension, threaten to miss games in the season, and then realizes that missing games is the dumbest idea ever. Not since Lance "I'll never wear a Bears uniform again" Briggs has a contract dispute been so... stupid... on both sides.

The Bills took the entirely reasonable stance that they would not negotiate unless Peters reported to camp. I don't quite understand why they let him become the third highest-paid lineman on the team, since obviously he is a big part of why Buffalo managed (somehow) their 7-9 record last year with a host of injuries to key positions.

Peters, who apparently didn't return phone calls for weeks, sat out and missed all of camp which might not matter as much except oh... the Bills are installing an entirely new offensive system around second-year starter Trent Edwards. Not only does Peters himself fall behind, but one can argue that now his return interferes with any development the offensive line has developed in his absence (which is significant due to the length of the holdout). Peters will eventually get his money, but holding out is certainly not going to put a warm fuzzy feeling in Buffalo's front office.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tatum Bell steals Rudi Johnson's luggage

Just when you thought Tatum Bell couldn't sink any lower on the Lion's depth chart security footage reveals he removed Rudi Johnson's luggage from the team's facilities. Listen Tatum, Rudi Johnson's equipment and personal effects are not going to make you a starter.