Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NFL Power Rankings

Sorry I'm a day late. But here at long last are my first attempt at NFL Power Rankings. As an added kicker, I will try to give each team a Bruce Springsteen song that relates to their season so far. This could get ugly, but here goes.

1. Indianapolis Colts (3-0)- I give the Colts the number 1 spot because they have beaten two teams that were in the playoffs last year. Plus, they managed to win a game in which they only had the ball for 15 minutes. It is clear that Peyton Manning and the Colts live by the motto of "No Surrender".

2. New York Jets (3-0)- The Jets have beaten some top flight talent in the AFC, and their defense is looking pretty stout. Despite my preseason forecast, it looks like Rex Ryan and the Jets were "Born to Run".

3. New Orleans Saints (3-0)- The Saints are straight raping teams by an average of about 21 points per game. Their defense is a little worrisome, but playing with the lead every game makes it a lot easier. However I'd like to see what will happen if the Saints "Should Fall Behind".

4. New York G-Men (3-0)- The G-Men are looking tough, and Eli is looking (gulp) very good. However, they have only played some NFC also rans so far, and the injuries are starting to pile up. I'm wondering if the Giants can maintain this success of if it has just been a "Brilliant Disguise".

5. Bodymore Ravens (3-0)- Bodymore is not as good as everyone has made them out to be so far. Sure they are scoring points, but they played the Chefs way too close (giving up 24 points in the process) and needed a goal line stand to beat the Chargers. Moreover, I put the Ravens at 2-0 because anyone can beat the Browns. Nonetheless it looks like Joe Flacco is the real deal, as he is "Growin' Up" before our eyes.

6. Minnesota Vikings (3-0)- Nothing angers me more than to see this team sitting at 3-0. Congrats on beating the 49ers, Browns and Lions. This is the schedule they give to a playoff team from last year? This team still has many flaws and my advice to Brett Favre is that sooner or later "You'll Be Coming Down".

7. New England Patriots (2-1)- The Pats rebounded nicely against a tough Falcons team last week. Both the offense (that actually ran the ball) and the defense looked good after that close loss to the Jets in week 2. A win against the Ravens this week would be "Living Proof" that the Pats are a true contender again.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)- The jury is still out on the Eagles. With Kevin Kolb in as starting QB they have been able to compete, but how would the Birds have fared against New Orleans with McNabb playing? Moreover, their defense has looked at times great and at times awful. One thing is for sure, DeSean Jackson is giving Eagles fans "Reason to Believe" in the Birds.

9. San Diego Chargers (2-1)- If it weren't for a Ravens goal line stand, the Chargers would be 3-0. Their defense is looking a little suspect, but the offense is firing on all cylinders. Look for them to get their act together and go "On Fire" against their AFC West foes. Pun intended.

10. Atlanta Falcons (2-1)- The Falcons looked pretty timid last week against the Pats, and their offense has not been great as of the first three games. They were my pre-season pick to make it to the Super Bowl, but clearly there is a "Darkness on the Edge of Town".

11. Denver Broncos (3-0)- The Broncos are 3-0 so I can't put them too low on this list. However, they have played the Browns, Bengals and Raiders. Still though, 3-0 is 3-0 in Denver aka "Lucky Town".

12. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)- If it wasn't for a last second miracle play by the Lucky Town Broncos, the Bungals would be 3-0. They have 2 nice wins against the Packers and Steelers though and it looks like they could be returning to the Bengals "Glory Days" of the 80's. Break out the Ickey Shuffle!

13. Green Bay Packers (2-1)- The Packers have all the pieces in place to be a contender, and a win against the Vikings this week would help prove that. Moreover, it would give Brett Favre "The Big Payback".

14. San Francisco 49ers (2-1)- I've said it before and I'll say it again; the threat of seeing Mike Singletary's ass could be the greatest single motivator for any team in football. The Niners are playing great football and also would be at 3-0 if it weren't for a last second miracle by the Vikings. The most miraculous part was that Greg Lewis actually caught a pass. Anyway, the 49ers are certainly on "The Rising" in the NFC West.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)- The Boys whooped up on the hapless Panthers and Bucs, but also played the Giants very close, losing on a last second field goal. Unfortunately, that seems to be Dallas' m.o. as Tony Romo and the 'Boys appear to be "Blinded by the Light" of being America's team, and can never handle the pressure.

16. Chicago Bears (2-1)- I don't like the Bears at all, but they have won two in a row after looking just awful against the Packers in week 1. However, I think Jay Cutler's Bears and the playoffs are still "Worlds Apart".

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)- The Steelers really need Troy Polamalu back. Two tough losses against the Bears and Bengals have them "Waiting On a Sunny Day" until he returns. When he does though, look for them to go on a run.

18. Tennessee Titans (0-3)- The Titans have one of the toughest schedules in football this year. Despite being 0-3 they have played every game pretty close, but they are definitely "Going Down" this year. Kerry Collins also has a penis face.

19. Houston Texans (1-2)- With their only win coming over the winless Titans and a bad loss to the Jags on their resume, the Texans might be bucking my prediction and once again "Missing" the playoffs. They are usually strong finishers though, so I am still hopeful.

20. Buffalo Bills (1-2)- The Bills have not played that badly, but with no passes caught by T.O. last week I'm worried for the citizens of Buffalo. He could become "Your Own Worst Enemy".

21. Detroit Lions (1-2)- Could it be two in a row this week against the Bears? Cue up the Lou Brown winning streak speech in the locker room (can't find the actual speech, but this will do)! The Lions are definitely on the right track and in the near future will be headed to "The Promised Land" of the playoffs.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)- They played the Colts close, beat the Texans, but were the Cardinals only win. This team is a bit of an enigma, but I expect them to play more like they did against the Cards for the rest of the year. It will be a "Lonesome Day" every Sunday for Jags fans with all of their games blacked out. They could really use Tim Tebow.

23. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)- Is Kurt Warner showing signs of his age again? Matt Leinart got to play the final snap of the game Sunday night. With a QB controversy lingering, we will find out which one has the "Hungry Heart".

24. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)- Seattle is not doing that badly, but the injuries are starting to add up on the defensive side of the ball. This does not bode well for them against the Colts this week. Against the banged up Seattle "D", you might as well call Peyton Manning and Co. "Murder Incorporated".

25. Miami Dolphins (0-3)- They played 3 playoff teams from last year very close, and managed to dominate the clock, but still lost. Now, consumate winner Chad Pennington is out for the year and Chad Henne is the starter. I sincerely doubt that the Fins will "Cover Me" on my playoff prediction this year.

26. Oakland Raiders (1-2)- The Silver and Black are playing good defense so far, but their offense is abysmal. My boy Darrius Heyward-Bey has only gotten one fantasy point the whole year. JaMarcus Russell needs to show a little more "Human Touch" on his passes if the Raiders want to compete.

27. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)- The Chefs may be 0-3, but they have looked better at times than the rest of the teams on this list. Still though, the Chefs are a "Dead Man Walking".

28. Washington Redskins (1-2)- The 'Skins lose major points for being the first team that the Lions beat after losing 19 straight. I have a feeling Jim Zorn could soon be "Working on the Highway".

29. Tampa Bay Bucs (0-3)- The Bucs are terrible, but I have been delighted with the resurgence of "Cadillac Ranch" Williams. I've seen the Cadillac Ranch.

30. Carolina Panthers (0-3)- Jake Delhomme is one of the worst quarterbacks I have ever seen. I bet Steve Smith hates him. I believe its time to send Delhomme down "The River" in favor of someone new.

31. St. Louis Rams (0-3)- They're shitty. I bet people from St. Louis wished the Rams were moved to "Nebraska".

32. Cleveland Browns (0-3)- 29 points for, 95 points against. The Mangenius is a terrible coach and the Brownies are the "Badlands" of the NFL.

Not bad for a first try if I do say so myself. Let's hear from the fans out there.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Observational Humor

I didn't think that I had enough for a full post today, so instead I have decided to jot down some of the funny observations I have made over the last few weeks in sports. Many have come with the help of people like Dorne, Teddy Dumpay (if anyone can catch that reference, you have earned my respect), and Dill. Tomorrow, I will give my first shot at NFL power rankings. For now though, let's look at a few funny things that we have discovered in sports and the media recently.

1. Possibly the best sports nickname of all time: "Lucky" Pierre Woods. Come on Berman, use it.

2. Kevin Faulk has the funniest looking elbow pads. From here on out, they will be known as "The Honeycombs".

3. Gary Guyton. Sounds White right? Nope, he's black.

4. Patrick Chung. Sounds Asian right? He too is black.

5. Does Fox's piano injury music make anyone feel better? It is very tasteful though. We don't want robots dancing around when someone is injured. Actually we don't want robots dancing around at all.

6. Alan Berger somehow resembles both this man, and this man.

7. Speaking of resemblances, how about Cole Hamels and Matt Cassel?

8. When players get knocked out, they always land in a funny position.

9. Prince Fielder needs to buy everyone a Hi Def tv. It slims him down by about 100 pounds compared to regular.

10. Who needs money more: Evander Holyfield dressing in drag for Taco Bell, or this guy? Apparently he really needed the pizza too. KABOOM!

Enjoy. Power Rankings tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don't Be Hatin'

Everyone seems to be sweating Miami this week in the media. In fact very few have even given Virginia Tech a chance because of their play last week against Nebraska. Well sir, I for one am not buying it. Miami has been given way too much respect for beating Florida State and Georgia Tech. In my opinion, most college football rankings are bogus to begin with, and in light of the South Carolina upset over Ole Miss last night, I'm picking the Hokies to win in Blacksburg tomorrow.

Writers and media personalities have been quick to anoint Miami as the new "it" team after their impressive 2-0 start. If you have watched TV or listened to sports radio this week, it would seem as if Virginia Tech doesn't stand a chance this weekend. I think they stand more than a chance though.

Frank Beamer has led the Hokies to be one of the most competitive teams in the ACC, and consistently has one of the best special teams units in the NCAA. With a battle of two closely ranked and teams this week, it could come down to a special teams play. Moreover, you know Beamer will have the Hokies firing on all cylinders after last week's lackluster performance. By the way, did I mention that the Hokies are playing at home?

The ranking system in NCAA football seems pretty ridiculous to me. In fact, it is more disappointing than that one "child" in Children of the Corn that looks like he is about 35(bottom right corner of this picture. He is most evident in the movie when Isaac and Malachi get in a fight and Malachi tells the dude to hang Isaac from the corn crucifix). I thought they were supposed to die at age 19. No wonder that movie only got one star. But I digress. I don't know the mathematics behind it, but it seems to me that a team (that started the season unranked mind you) that beats teams ranked #18 and #14 should not be ranked #9. Look what happened to Ole Miss. They started the season unranked, climbed as high as #4 somehow only to get upset by South Carolina last night. If you ask me, that wasn't as big of an upset as the rankings make it look and I think the same thing might happen to the 'Canes tomorrow.

Even as I write this, I hear the annoying voice of Todd McShay coming from the ESPN page that I have open, "The team to watch is the Miami Hurricanes" he says. I think we are going to be watching them lose Mr. McShay. Keeping with the upset theme, I could see Fresno State upending #14 Cincinnati, Oregon giving #6 Cal a run for their money, and, stay with me now, Arkansas knocking off #3 Alabama. TAKE THAT NICK SABAN. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Big Trouble in Little Philly

Brad Lidge blew his Major League leading 11th save last night. Quite simply, he has got to go. With the Phillies headed into the playoffs, the team cannot afford to have him closing out games. I was willing to let him work out his kinks all season, but he has not been able to figure what he is doing wrong and that is unacceptable for a closer in the playoffs. In the playoffs, I think the Phillies might want to consider Brett Myers as their closer. Bottom line, we can't have a guy blowing a save 25% of the time in the playoffs.

The Phils are sitting relatively pretty at 88-63 with a 6.5 game lead and a magic number of 5 in the NL East. However, imagine where they would be if Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge hadn't blown 16 saves collectively this year, most of which lead to losses. They probably would have clinched before the Yankees. Due to their closer problems though, they are still 5 games away and are not considered a real playoff threat.

Playoff games are way too important to have shaky closers. The Phillies can't afford to blow any saves in the playoffs if they are going to repeat as World Series Champs. Quite frankly, I don't think this is possible with Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson. Someone new needs to step forward. Brett Myers performed admirably in 2007 as the team's closer and I would be willing to give him a chance again this year. He can't do any worse than Lidge or Madson.

I understand that seasons like Lidge's in 2008 are not something you can find just around the corner, but this is ridiculous. If the Phillies go into the playoffs with Lidge as their closer, they will have to win every game by more than three runs or they are doomed. Dump Lidge, give Myers a try. He can't do any worse.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stand Up In Your Chairs!

I finally got to watch Zack Greinke pitch last night. All I have to say is, his pitching is incindiary. Incendiary. When this man has all of his pitches working, he is simply unstoppable. A 96mph fastball, a 74mph curveball, an exploding slider and a power changeup that hits 90mph make for a devastating repertoire that leads hitters to look completely foolish in the batter's box. Despite the fact that he is playing for the Royals, this man deserves to win the Cy Young Award this year.

With over 220 strikeouts and a 2.08 ERA, Zack Greinke is the perfect combination of power and command. It is a shame that he plays with the Royals, because with a good team he would have way more than 15 wins. In fact, in five of his starts the Royals lost despite Greinke giving up 1 or fewer runs. I have always found this very interesting. With their ace pitching, teams seem to either get on a roll (e.g. Cliff Lee last year, Steve Carlton in '72) or go into a complete shell (e.g. Greinke, Johan Santana) Even with the shortage of run support though, Greinke has still managed to account for about 25% of the Royals win total.

Any other A.L. pitcher does not stack up to Greinke in Cy Young credentials in '09. Justin Verlander has a run higher ERA and only a few more K's. King Felix has a higher ERA and fewer K's. C.C. Sabathia has more wins (with much more run support) but less strikeouts and more than a run higher ERA. Following in the great tradition of Royal pitchers like David Cone and Brett Saberhagen, Zack Greinke deserves to be the AL Cy Young winner this year and is a great building block for the team in years to come. Don't ever go to Kansas City though. Complete dump.

Very Excite

For those of you not in the loop, Michael Vick is eligible to return to play this weekend against the Kansas City Chefs. I for one am very excited. Michael Vick's presence is going to add a new dimension to this offense, as well as take pressure
off of whoever is lining up under center while Donovan McNabb is injured.

For those (probably all) of you who did not catch the Eagles game last week, you missed some very interesting play calling despite the 48-22 drubbing. Andy Reid called about 10-15 plays from the Wildcat formation that I had never seen before. In the past, the DeSean Jackson Wildcat was usually more of just a tricky way to run the ball more than anything else. Last week's Wildcat against the Saints was crazy. There were reverses with a pass back to the QB on the other side of the field, snaps to both Westbrook and Jackson when they were in the backfield, and the craziest play of all: a 7 receiver, 3 offensive lineman formation. I expect more of this craziness in week 3.

These plays were all obviously designed for the man that returns this week. They lacked a bit of effectiveness with slow as molasses Kevin Kolb executing them, but still managed to gain an average of about 5 yards per play it seemed. Now imagine those plays with Michael Vick in instead of the man that hunts wild hogs with a 12 inch bowie knife (seriously). Jackpot!

I expect Dandy Andy Reid to up the number of Wildcat plays with the return of Michael Vick, leading to total chaos for opposing defenses. If a defense does not know whether Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb is going to get the ball, they are in big trouble. Suffice it to say: I am very excite.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being A Quarterback Is A Brees

After watching the Eagles get stomped on by the Saints this Sunday, it has become apparent to me how many little things go into being a great quarterback in this league. It is not just about having great receivers, or a rocket arm. There are so many instinctual and unteachable skills that a quarterback must have to be great in the NFL. In light of Sunday's 48-22 drubbing, it is clear that Drew Brees has those intangibles and Kevin Kolb does not. The only thing that was able to cheer me up after this realization was seeing this man walking the streets of New York City after the game. He was right on when he said "I'm just a broken down piece of meat." He looked like he had drank more than me and Biebs combined the night before. Apparently his looks don't matter though because he was walking with this girl. Anyway, on to the football.

Drew Brees has worked hard his whole career and it has clearly paid off. He really impressed me on Sunday as he was picking apart the Eagles defense. Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb looked like a quarterback who was the product of a great college system.

When facing pressure, Brees could feel where the lineman were coming from and would instinctively move up or back in the pocket accordingly. On the other hand, when Kolb faced pressure he would run backwards and towards the nearest sideline no matter what. It is things like this that can't be taught.

Drew Brees also appears to understand the importance of field position while Kevin Kolb does not. When deep in his own end, Brees is very careful with the ball and will choose to get rid of it, or take a sack before he forces a throw. Kevin Kolb on the other hand tried to force a ball to a receiver, leading to an interception and a very short field for Brees and the Saints. Mistakes like that can change a game, and you rarely see that great qb's making them.

Now obviously Drew Brees has much more NFL experience than Kevin Kolb, and this article was meant to compliment the skill of Drew Brees more than to condemn of Kevin Kolb. Drew Brees has everything you would want in an NFL quarterback in terms of skills and intangibles. Unfortunately, those were made apparent by the lack of skill and experience shown by Kolb this weekend. Moreover, I think we might be seeing Jeff Garcia fairly early into the game next week.

Already on a torrid pace, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Drew Brees set several passing records this year, as well as win himself an MVP trophy. If the Saints defense can hold up at all, they could go deep into the playoffs. That is a big if though. One thing is for sure, they have one hell of a quarterback leading them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do Yourself A Favor

What planet is Michael Crabtree living on? Here we are almost at the one year anniversary of his amazing last second play to beat Texas in the Battle of the Silver Spurs last year and he still hasn't signed with the 49ers. What in god's name is this fella thinking? Michael Crabtree, or those who are advising him need to realize that he is only hurting himself by not signing. The best thing he could do for himself right now is to sign a contract and try to salvage this season if he can.

Has holding out on a contract ever helped a player? Maybe monetarily. But holding out for this long has certainly never helped a player. Michael Crabtree seems prepared to sit out the entire season if the 49ers do not meet his contract demands. I don't know if this is the work of his agents, or Crabtree himself but Koey must be kicking himself because it is so illogical.

If Crabtree sits out the whole season and re-enters the draft, chances are he will become fat and flabby (R.I.P. Swayze) so he'll have to again prove to teams that he is worth a draft pick. If he thinks he is going to wow teams next year before the draft with his workouts he is wrong. The 49ers own his rights and will not allow him to work out publicly for anybody. Moreover, do you think any team is going to take him as high as the 49ers did this year after he has shown that he is such a bitch when it comes to contract negotiations? Absolutely not. Crabtree would fall lower in the draft and lose even more money than he would if he just signed the 49ers contract.

We have seen what has happened to players who hold out in all sports. Former highschool phenom and Rockies 1st round pick Matt Harrington held out for several years, ended up getting injured and now works at Costco installing tires. Maurice Clarett, held out from playing another year of college ball, "got his goose on", ended up being cut by the Broncos and is now in jail. J.D. Drew refused to sign with the Phillies and ended up getting batteries hurled at him. Nothing good happens when you refuse to sign with your team kids. My advice to Mr. Crabtree is to quit being such a baby and sign on the dotted line. Today. Who knows, the 49ers might just be good this year too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Fine Form

Nothing was going to ruin Tom Brady's return to pro football on Monday. Not a lackluster first half, not a motivated Bills team, not a bogus roughing the passer call, not even the fact the Dumper doesn't get ESPN for some reason, or Dorne's bozo order of garlic parmesan wings. Tom Brady simply wouldn't let the Pats lose. When the game hung in the balance, Brady looked like the Brady of old and willed the Pats to a 1 point victory.

The first half did not go well for the Pats. The defense was getting run over by Fred Jackson of all people, and the offense was sputtering. Tom Brady even threw an inexplicable pick 6 to Aaron Schobel. WTF? 3D (Dump, Dorne, Dill) and I were beginning to think that Dumper's apartment was bad luck, even though Dill confided to me in a text that Dumper's apartment was really nice and he really wanted to move out. Therefore we decided to head down to Harry's, where everybody knew our names, in hopes that a different venue would change the fortunes of the Pats. Plus, all we had left to drink was Brazilian beer.

When we got to Harry's, after cheers, high fives and hugs from everyone, we were treated to the same bad luck. The Pats were looking weak, Ron Jaworski was still going off on Brady for not stepping into his throws and T.O. still had a shit eating grin on his face despite his one catch. Then the bottom fell out. The Pats got called for roughing the passer on a sack, and what was sure to be a field goal or punt for the Bills turned into a touchdown and an 11 point lead. This would be enough to crush any team, but Brady wouldn't let that happen.

On the very next drive Brady let the Pats to a score, and thanks to Leodis McKelvin the idiot, the Pats recovered a fumble and only seconds later Brady threw another TD pass. In the span of 76 seconds Tom Brady had engineered an improbable comeback, and more importantly, returned to his old form.

On the two scoring drives, Brady looked to be in sync with every receiver on his team. He was throwing perfect strikes to Randy Moss, Wes Welker and yes, Ben Watson. They looked like they hadn't skipped a beat, whereas in the first half Brady was missing some easy passes. This is what I would expect from Brady in every game from now on. Quite simply, he's back.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Return of TFB

He's baaaaack. Tonight marks the return of Tom Fucking Brady after a one year absence due to knee surgery. In the year prior to his knee injury, Brady threw for a modest 4,800 yards and a ho hum 50 touchdowns. Now that he is back, what can we expect from Brady this year? Let's read on.

Tom Brady's return means many things for the white people of New England. First, it means that the Patriots are once again Super Bowl contenders. Last year with Matt Cassel at the helm, the Pats went 11-5 but somehow missed out on the playoffs. The overriding belief in New England is that if Matt Cassel could lead that team to an 11-5 record, then Tom Brady might have another shot at a undefeated regular season again. Add to that the fact that the Pats have added Joey Galloway, Fred Taylor and Chris Baker to their arsenal, and now we're on to something.

Secondly, now that Brady is back, Bill Billabill can restart his all out assault on the league. Billabill is probably still harboring a lot of resentment towards the rest of the league for the whole cameragate fiasco and no doubt wants to rape and pillage the entire NFL this season. With Tom Brady back at the helm, look for a lot of blowout games where Bill Billabill mutters his way through the postgame press conference trying to explain why he called for a Hail Mary pass up 49-7 with 8 seconds left in the 4th quarter.

Finally, the return of Tom Brady marks the return to normalcy in New England. For the past few years, New Englanders have had to turn their attention to Cretan sports like basketball, baseball and hockey for excitement. How bland. With the return of TFB the Patriots will once again become the apple of New England's eye and the world will be right again.

MNF Predictions:
Patriots 38- Bills 14

TFB 5 TD passes to the man from Rand University

Chargers 21- Raiders 10

LT shows that he can still hack it with 2 TDs. Defense returns to fine form and celebrates with Tequila shots.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Few Thoughts From Yesterday

Before I get lost in the NFL regular season I figured that I would put pen to pad on some of the things that I noticed from yesterday's exciting day of college football action. We saw some upsets, some shootouts and some all in all great games. Here is what I noticed.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame:
Charlie Weis should be fired! With a 3 point lead over the Wolverines AND the ball, Charlie Weis turned his back on his running game which had had its way with the Michigan defense all day and inexplicably called two pass plays. This is the stupidest coaching I have seen in a while. If he had run the ball twice, Notre Dame would have forced Michigan to use its final two timeouts and punted the ball away IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. Instead, two incompletions saved Michigan their two timeouts and took no time off the clock. Of course in the end Tate Forcier threw the game winning TD with 11 seconds left. 11 seconds that would not have been there if Charlie Weis wasn't such a moron. Good riddance to fat rubbish.

USC vs. Ohio St.:
What a game! Ohio St. played way better than I thought they would. In fact USC looked pretty bad all game until the final drive. Thank god for that interception on OSU's first drive. Matt Barkley is going to use that last drive as a springboard for a huge season. Watch out for the Trojans. In general I was very impressed with the Big 10 this week: Penn State murdered Syracuse, Wisconsin had a very nice comeback win against Fresno St., and Ohio St. really hung in there with USC. Lookin' tough!

Houston vs. Oklahoma St.:
I wish I had been able to see this game. From the looks of it it was pretty wild. The only thing I can say going forward is that games between schools from Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma, Texas vs. Texas, or Texas vs. Oklahoma are always wild. They usually account for some of the best games of the year. Be sure to tune in for Texas Tech vs. Texas next week.

Now let's sit back and watch some NFL football!

Friday, September 11, 2009

NFC Preview

Wow. What a game. Big Ben comes through in the clutch. Troy Polamalu looked like he was ready to live up to my billing as defensive MVP until the Madden Curse struck him. That doesn't bode well for young Larry Fitz. Last but not least, Jeff Reed is the man. With the AFC underway, it is now time to turn our attention to the NFC. How will the NFC West shape up? Will Jay Cutler help the Bears? How will Matty Ice fare in season 2? Who will win the NFC East dogfight (no pun intended)? Let's break it all down right now.

Surprise, surprise I like the Eagles to win the NFC East this year. In my opinion, their offense is going to be the best it has been since the year they had T.O. Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson are going to make Donovan McNabb's job a lot easier, Brent Celek is ready to become a big play tight end, and LeSean McCoy is going to help Brian Westbrook stay fresher and more effective. Not to mention the fact that the Birds replaced their aging offensive tackles with two young studs on both sides. This offense is primed. Oh yeah, and then there's that Vick guy. The defense is far less solid though. Jim Johnson, the rock of the defense, passed away in the spring and Brian Dawkins has left for the cesspool that is Denver. Moreover, signal caller Stewart Bradley is out for the season. This will be a lot to overcome for the Eagles, but they should be able to rise above the losses. I see them going about 11-5 and winning the NFC East.

The G-Men will challenge for the NFC East title but will ultimately fall short. We saw how they played without Plaxico last year, it looked like their offense had lost a dimension. I don't think that Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith present enough of a threat to keep the pressure off of Brandon Jacobs and Eli Manning. The G-Men offensive line is getting pretty old too. The Giants defense on the other hand will be stout. Justin Tuck and Osi "I quit" Umenyiora will create a nightmare pass rush, and the secondary should improve from last year. Bottom line, the Giants have the potential to be about 11-5 or 10-6. It's all gonna come down to Eli.

I like the Redskins to possibly challenge for a wild card spot as well this year, but ultimately fall short. Their defense is going to be absolutely nasty with Albert Haynesworth, Brian Orakpo, Carlos Rogers, LaRon Landry, DeAngelo Hall and Rocky McIntosh (great name). However, I think their offense might be positively dreadful. Jason Campbell, who I don't think is any good to begin with, only has Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Malcolm Kelly as targets. Clinton Portis will have to have an amazing season if they are to succeed. In keeping with the highest paid team theory (which im pretty sure the Redskins have to be) I see the 'Skins going about 8-8 or 9-7 and falling short of the playoffs.

That leaves only the Cowboys. Read my lips, this will be Wade Phillips' last season in Dallas. I don't know why they've stuck with him for so long in the first place. He is a terrible coach. Moreover, I don't like that Tony Romo, who couldn't win with T.O and Roy Williams, has lost a target to throw to in the offseason. Do the Cowboys really want to rely on Tony Romo more? Hasn't he proven that he is incapable of being a leader under pressure? Despite all that, the Cowboys will be ok this year. Williams, Witten and Barber make for a decent offense, and their defense creates a lot of pressure with DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. I just think this team is incapable of playing to its potential. I see Dallas going 7-9 or 6-10 and bringing the Phillips era to an end.

I am hoping that the Green Bay Packers will do me a huge favor and knock the Vikings off of the top spot in the NFC North. With Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Donald Lee they certainly have enough offensive power. On defense I can see them coming out of nowhere to be one of the league's best with guys like A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, B.J. Rajii (lesssgoooeeegulls) and Aaron Kampman. If the Packers put it all together, they could certainly go 10-6 and win this division. This pick is more or less just a fuck you to Brett Favre and Jay Cutler though.

With news just in that Brett Favre might need to sit out a few games this season, I find myself even more disgusted with him. Name one successful team that had a QB that couldn't play every game, and had to shuttle in another one from time to time. Sounds like trouble in the making. Besides Brett Favre, of whom my opinion is well known, the Vikings offense is still a receiver away from being dominant. Percy Harvin could very well be that receiver. AP is going to have another amazing year and the Vikes will not struggle to score points. The defense, is again going to be stout. I am a pretty big Jared Allen fan and fear the Williamses up front. The secondary is also pretty solid. I think the Vikings season though will come down to a couple games, and a couple Brett Favre interceptions. The Vikings will probably go about 9-7 and would have been much better off with Tarvaris Jackson.

Speaking of quarterbacks I hate, that brings us to Da Bears. DAAAAAAAA BEARSSSSS. Even with Jay Cutler, the Bears still have no offense. Devin Hester and Earl Bennett are their starting wide receivers. I don't care who your starting QB is when these are his targets. Have fun Jay Cutler, you got your wish. If Jay Cutler was incapable of leading the one time 8-4 Broncos to the playoffs with Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall, there is no way he will be able to take the Bears there. The Bears defense has also fallen off over the past few years. Brian Urlacher is no longer a top flight linebacker, and their once great secondary has fallen apart. I see the Bears at about 7-9 this year. A record that screams Cutler.

The Lions will be better this year! They burned me by not hiring a black coach, but they did do very well in the draft. Their offense will have a solid core for years to come with Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew. They just need to find a reliable running back. On defense they will do better, but still struggle. Detroit will go about 5-11 but is definitely on their way up.

Atlanta is going to be a very good team this year. Matty Ice now has an all pro target in Tony Gonzalez to throw to over the middle, along with Roddy White for the deep ball and Michael Turner at running back. This has all the makings of a great offense. The Falcons also drafted a number of defensive players in the early rounds who will certainly contribute to making their defense stronger than it was last year. I see the Falcons going 11-5 or 12-4 to secure the NFC South title.

They finished in last in the NFC South last year, but I see the Saints prolific offense carrying them to a wild card berth this year. Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and with Devery Henderson, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey and yes, Reggie Bush firing on all cylinders the Saints will be able to outscore a lot of teams. On defense, the Saints have improved enough with the additions of Darren Sharper and draft pick Malcolm Jenkins to hold the other team's offense just enough. I see the Saints at about 10-6 sneaking into the wild card picture.

Let's get one thing clear, I have no respect for the Panthers. I have hated them ever since 2003 and I called the upset of the century last season when the Cardinals beat them in the playoffs. Unfortunately, I also hate the Cardinals now. The Panthers are almost the same team they were in 2008. However, the Falcons and the Saints both got better in the offseason so the Panthers will fall back in the NFC South. The Panthers seem content to ride Jake Delhomme forever, but I think he is past his prime. Also, Smash and Stash or whoever they are will be victimized by a much tougher schedule this year. The defense is solid but not spectacular. Look for the Panthers to go about 8-8 this year.

Then there were the Bucs. One win away from the playoffs last year it somehow all fell apart and Chucky got fired. Now it appears that they are in a rebuilding mode and don't show any signs of progress. Byron Leftwich is a terrible QB and they lost their top receiver Joey Galloway to free agency. Kellen Winslow and Cadillac Williams are not going to have much fun this year. On defense, team leader Derrick Brooks is gone and so is the reputation of the Bucs defense. Look for this team to be one of the worst in the league along with the Broncos. The Bucs will probably be about 3-13.

The NFC Champions are the favorite to win the NFC West again this year, but it might be closer than everyone thinks. With Polamalu out already, I am worried about Larry Fitz, and I might be the only one that still doubts Kurt Warner as a legitimate NFL QB. Chris Wells could surprise a lot of people at running back though. On defense, this team played over its head last year in the playoffs, although Antrel Rolle, Adrian Wilson, Bryan McFadden and Antonio Rogers-Cromartie make up the best secondary in the NFL. The front 7 is still susceptible to the run. I see the Cardinals playing more like the regular season Cardinals of last year and going 10-6 to take the NFC West.

Next in the West I like those pesky San Francisco 49ers. Let's face it, any team that has the constant threat of seeing Mike Singletary's bare ass at halftime is going to play their hearts out. If they can ever sign Michael Crabtree, they have the makings of a decent offense with him, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan. It remains to be seen who will be the QB for this team though. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nate Davis out there in week 1. On defense, Patrick Willis is a legit stud, and Nate Clements can shut down a team's best WR. With 6 games against the NFC West, I can see the 49ers going 7-9 this year.

The Seahawks should play better this year, but I think they will finally found out that Matt Hasselbeck is done. T.J. Housmandzadeh, Nate Burleson and Deion Branch make for a solid receiving corps, but who will step up at running back? Edgerrin James and Julius Jones do not exactly strike fear into the hearts of defenses anymore. This will create a lot of pressure on Matty Rice. The defense will benefit from the addition of Aaron Curry, and Wrentham, MA native Lofa Tatupu should have another solid season. Their secondary and D-line are pretty weak though. The Hawks will play about even with the 49ers, going about 7-9 or 6-10.

Last but not least we have the Rams. With Torry Holt having departed via free agency, the glory days of the Rams are gone for good. Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery and Randy McMichael are now the targets for Marc Bulger aka "Pinky". This will put the load on Stephen Jackson yet again and could lead to lowered numbers and injury. The defense will be bolstered by the addition of James Lauranaitis, but is still full of holes. Look for the Rams to bring up the rear in the NFC West at about 4-12.

Now that the regular season predictions are in, here are my wacky tacky playoff predictions:
Pats- bye
Chargers- bye
Steelers beat Miami
Ravens beat Texans

Pats beat Steelers
Ravens beat Chargers

Pats beat Ravens

Eagles- bye
Falcons- bye
Cardinals beat Saints
G-Men beat Packers

Falcons beat G-Men
Eagles beat Cardinals

Falcons beat Eagles (again)

Patriots beat Falcons

Now that that is all said and done, let's enjoy some football!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

AFC Preview

I have arrived back from vacation just in time to kick off this year's NFL season. There are many interesting story lines going into this season that could play a huge part on its outcome. How will Brett Favre fare in Minnesota? How will Michael Vick effect the Eagles? Can Big Ben repeat as Super Bowl Champ despite his tumultuous offseason? Can Tom Brady return to MVP form after a year off? Taking all of these things into account, I now offer you my AFC predictions for the NFL season in 2009.

The New England Patriots will once again become the class of the AFC East with Tom Brady back from injury, an arsenal of new offensive weapons and several new young defensive players. With an offense featuring Brady, Welker, Moss, Fred Taylor, Laurence Maroney and Joey Galloway, I don't see how the Pats will ever score less than the competition. The Big question will be on defense. Can the secondary of Meriweather, Bodden, Springs and Sanders stop the top offenses? How big will the trade of Richard Seymour be? Despite these questions I expect the Pats to go about 13-3 and take the AFC East.

Miami should improve off of last year's successful campaign. The offense is pretty much the same, but Ted Ginn Jr. should breakout as a big play receiver this year. The defense will only gain from the additions of Jason Taylor, Sean Smith and Gibril Wilson and could become one of the league's best. The Dolphins will only go as far as Rad Chad's arm will take them though. I see them at about 10-6 this year with a chance for a wild card berth.

In Buffalo, everyone is abuzz with the addition of 35 year old prima donna Terrell Owens. While he could make their offense very dangerous with Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch, how long before he throws a temper tantrum? Moreover, the offense lost Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters to the Eagles, which will not help. On defense, the Bills added Aaron Maybin, which could give them a formidable front line. The return of Paul Posluszny from injury will also help their linebacking corps. In another division the Bills might do better, but I have them at about 8-8 or 7-9 this year and missing the playoffs.

Finally we have the Jets. Their certainly is hope in New York, but it is still a few years from fruition. The Brett Favre fiasco led them to draft Mark Sanchez, but I doubt he is going to repeat the success of Stupid Flacco Hair or Matty Ice (both 4 year players in college). Also, with Thomas Jones already unhappy, I sense trouble in the locker room. On defense, the addition of Lito Sheppard (speaking of cry babies) will strengthen the secondary, but this team just does not have enough fire power to compete in this division. Especially with a rookie QB. Bill Billabill will give Sanchez nightmares in the two games against the Pats. Look for the Jets to go 5-11 and begin to stockpile young talent. Sorry Dave.

The reigning Super Bowl champs are primed to make a run at a repeat. Their lineup on both sides of the ball is almost exactly the same as it was last year, and WR Santonio Holmes only promises to get better, RB Willie Parker is healthy, and Troy Polamalu could be Defensive MVP. Lookin' tough. Expect the Steelers to be challenged by the Ravens, but ultimately come out atop the AFC North at around 12-4. Free Ben Roethlisberger.

Baltimore finally has what they have been searching for for about 12 years, a reliable QB to go with their amazing defense. Through the years, guys like Tony Banks, Elvis Grbac, Kyle Boller, Jeff Blake, Anthony Wright and Randall Cunningham have all failed to provide enough offensive support for the awesome Ravens D. This year, they come in with hope. An offense featuring Flacco and his stupid hair, the three headed monster of Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and Mark Clayton will certainly be enough to outscore opponents. The Ed Reed and Ray Lewis led defense will not be a question mark for the team either. Looks for the Ravens to make the playoffs again this year going 11-5 or 10-6.

Cincinnati has always been a sexy team, but has never lived up to the hype. I don't see them doing so this year either, despite how awesome they all looked in Hard Knocks. The Bengals offense should be upgraded with a healthy Carson Palmer, but they lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the offseason and Chad Ochocinco might have lost his mind this year. Moreover, nobody will respect RB Cedric Benson in the backfield, leading to more blitzes on the fragile QB. The defense will be improved with the additions of guys like Ray Maualuga, Roy Williams and rising star Keith Rivers, but it will still not be enough to do any real damage in the AFC North. This could be Marvin Lewis' final year in Cincy. Look for improvement, but not enough as the Bengals go about 7-9.

Which brings us to Cleveland. I already am starting to despise the Mangenius for his stupid secret starting QB plan. He is further proving that Bill Billabill's lackeys are nowhere near as talented as Bill Billabill himself. As a matter of fact, the Browns website would have you believe that they don't have any quarterbacks at all. Regardless, Brady Quinn will only have Braylon Edwards to throw to this year, and I suspect he will be double covered. Jamal Lewis has gotta be on his last legs at RB, and Kellen Winslow was traded out of town in the offseason. That offense doesn't sound too good. On defense, their only stud is Brodney Pool (born 5/24/1984). The Mangenius gets off to a rocky 5-11 or 4-12 start to bring up the rear in the AFC North.

The AFC South could be one of the closest races of any conference with no team really separating itself from the pack, but I see the Houston Texans making the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history. Provided Matt Schaub can stay healthy, the offense should have no problem scoring with guys like Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton, Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter. However, it is the Texan defense that I think will push them over the edge. Newcomer Brian Cushing joins studs Mario Williams, Amobi Akoye and DeMeco Ryans to make a very intimidating front 7. That pressure should be enough to make the secondary better as well. I see the Texans going about 10-6, which will be enough to take the AFC South.

The only other team that could make a run at this division is the team that has been winning it for years: Indy. Their offense is certainly high powered with guys like Mr. Manning, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Anthony Gonzalez (big sleeper in '09) and Dallas Clark, but their O-line is getting old and rickety. So is their defense for that matter. Moreover, the loss of Tony Dungy could spell disaster for this team. The Colts will probably go about 10-6 or 9-7 and possibly challenge for a wild card spot on the back of Peyton Manning.

Tennessee I forecast taking a big step back this season. The loss of $100 million man (ridiculous) Albert Haynesworth will lessen the impact of guys like Kyle VandenBosch et al., which in turn will put more pressure on the secondary. However, this guy should someday be a star. On offense, I don't think Kerry Collins can repeat what he did last year. Defenses won't respect Collins and in turn bring more guys up to stifle Lendale White and Chris Johnson. Fans might be calling for Vince Young early into the season. I see the Titans going about 7-9 this year and missing the playoffs.

Jacksonville is just a big old mess. I really don't think David Garrard is the answer at QB, and Torry Holt will disappoint in a Jaguars uniform, just like every other Jaguars receiver besides Jimmy Smith. Maurice Jones-Drew might suffer as well form the loss of Fred Taylor to spell him, watch out for injury here. On defense, the Jags added stud Derrick Harvey to the line, but everyone other than him is pretty bad. I see the Jags as a 6-10 type team.

If the AFC South was the closest race, look for the AFC West to be the most distant. The Chargers will win this division pretty easily. Rivers, Tomlinson, Sproles, Jackson, Chambers, Gates and Co. are all healthy and primed for another big offensive year in San Diago. Meanwhile, Shawne Merriman is back to strangling strength and ready to lead that suffocating Chargers "D" past any small asian women that get in their way. The Chargers once again have the total package. They will probably go about 13-3, but fail in the playoffs as usual.

Next in the AFC West, I like the Raiders. Their offense has got some stars ready to breakout with JaMarcus Russell at QB, Darren McDadden at RB and Derrius Heyward-Bay burning up the sidelines. Moreover, their defense will become even better with the addition of Pro Bowl DT Richard Seymour. The Just Win Baby era is not quite back yet, but the Raiders are certainly headed in the right direction. Look for them to go about 8-8.

The Chiefs look like they have some upside, but they are still a long way from contending. I don't think Matt Cassel is ready to be a leader in KC and has already injured himself due to his fat and flabby O-line. His inexperience will make Larry Johnson and Dwayne Bowe's jobs a lot harder and the entire offense will suffer. On defense, the Chefs will be better with guys like Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, Tamba Hali, and Mike Vrabel in their front 7, but it will not be enough to counteract the offense. New Head Coach Eric Haley will struggle in his first year as the Chiefs go about 6-10.

Last and certainly least, we have the Broncos. Josh McDaniels has ruined this team (see previous article). Now they have no franchise QB, and their franchise receiver is ready to leave town. Good luck Knowshon Moreno! The Broncos defense is also pretty weak with Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams as the only bright spots. Josh McDaniels will battle Eric Haley for who is the worst Bill Billabill protege and ultimately lose. I see the Broncos going about 3-13 this year and being one of the worst teams in football.

NFC Predictions to come tomorrow. Let me know what you think!