Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 12 Picks

Green Bay (-11.5) @ Detroit

Packers 30 Lions 10 (GB)

Oakland @ Dallas (-14)

Raiders 14 Cowboys 21 (OAK)

New York (n) (-6) @ Denver

Giants 17 Broncos 20 (DEN)

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-11.5)

Buccaneers 14 Falcons 20 (TB)

Miami (-2.5) @ Buffalo

Dolphins 27 Bills 20 (MIA)

Cleveland @ Cincinnatti (-13.5)

Browns 10 Bengals 28 (CIN)

Indianapolis (-3.5) @ Houston

Colts 27 Texans 30 (HOU)

Chicago @ Minnesota (-9.5)

Bears 17 Vikings 30 (MIN)

Carolina @ New York (a) (-3)

Panthers 24 Jets 20 (CAR)

Washington @ Philadelphia (-9.5)

Redskins 14 Eagles 27 (PHI)

Seattle (-3) @ St. Louis

Seahawks 28 Rams 17 (SEA)

Arizona @ Tennessee (-2.5)

Cardinals 27 Titans 17 (ARZ)

Kansas City @ San Diego (-13.5)

Chiefs 14 Chargers 31 (SD)

Jacksonville @ San Francisco (-4)

Jaguars 20 49ers 14 (JAX)

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-2.5)

Steelers 13 Ravens 24 (BAL)

New England @ New Orleans (-3)

Patriots 31 Saints 28 (NE)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

Quickie version (really, a real quickie) because I have to go bake some cheesecakes.

32.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-9)

Reason to Smile: Josh Freeman looks like a real NFL prospect. If this were baseball, he would be the Steven Strasburg like prospect that will get those old Tampa Bayans (say it in a Will Ferrell/Ron Burgundy voice and it makes sense) to the games.

Reason to Frown: They just fired their Defensive Coordinator, thirteen weeks after firing their Offensive Coordinator. They might be the first team ever to start training camp and reach thanksgiving with different coordinators and a coach that has not yet had his balls descended.

31.) Cleveland Browns (1-9)

Reason to Smile: That was actually offense on Sunday. Brady Quinn might not suck eggs for his whole career and Josh Cribbs (the Strasburg of Cleveland) is still playing football and not hurt in Mangini's schemes.

Reason to Frown: Mangini is a total douchebag, and they are still named the Browns. They are the most boring team ever, they are named after a color (screw Paul Brown, as he created the Bengals, so its stupid to still honor his name). They have no logo. WHY NOT THE CLEVELAND DAWGS??

30.) St. Louis Rams (1-9)

Reason to Smile: Steven Jackson is a fantasy Zeus, and he is charging up those "best player on an awful team" rankings. He is way, way up there.

Reason to Frown: the latter half of that ranking: their an awful team. Also, Marc Bulger broke his leg, so that puts us back into the god-knows-who era in St. Louis. Man, did Martz curse that team with his "Marc Bulger is our quarterback" press-conferences?

29.) Detroit Lions (2-8)

Reason to Smile: Matthew Fucking Stafford. I told you he was good? Did people never believe me?? Well, he had the greatest game statistically of any NFL rookie, with an overrated running back and only one legitimate threat. That is a massively amazing impressive.

Reason to Frown: Matthew Fucking Stafford's shoulder. Honestly, do the Lions fans have to be subjected to Daunte Culpepper after that game?? Come on, football gods, have you any sou?

28.) Buffalo Bills (3-7)

Reason to Smile: Terrel Owens decided to play for once. It is amazing that he actually could "run" with that walker all of 98 yards. That was more impressive than his not busting out a nice "who the fuck are you, go play with a sliderule" face to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Reason to Frown: You still lost on a two-minute drill to the Jaguars. Come on.

27.) Seattle Seahawks (3-7)

Reason to Smile: Well, Seattle's a bueatiful place, right? Seattle is a bueaty, with great landscapes and great coffee, and great music.

Reason to Frown: Your teams run of great years are done, and that only means that there is about a six year suck period and this is only year two. Matt Hasselbeck is aging faster than Favre. TJ Houshmanzadeh is evidently a production of Chad's brilliance.

26.) Kansas City Chiefs (3-7)

Reason to Smile: You just beat the World Champs!!!!!!! That is the first time where you could put the words "Kansas City Chiefs" and "World Champions" and not laugh uncontrollably and lose control of your bowels.

Reason to Frown: You were still outplayed, and got lucky with some fluke breaks to win that game. Matt Cassel is still the definition of mediocre (up from the definition of overrated - a title that is now permanently clamped to the mug of Matt Ryan).

25.) Oakland Raiders (3-7)

Reason to Smile: Bruce Gradkowski. It does not take much to impresse the faithful of the black hole. After JaMarcus Russell, I probably would have been a step up (I throw a mean right-out). Also, that defense might be not terrible.

Reason to Frown: Good lord, where to start. How about the virtual certainty that we will pick "the rocket arm" of Ryan Mallett in the draft, when he is just a white form of J-Ru (Russell ate the "ss").

24.) New York Jets (4-6)

Reason to Smile: That defense showed some life in the second half. They played with a pride they have not shown since that Saints game back in Week 4.

Reason to Frown: They are now 1-6 in their last seven games. Mark Sanchez is doing an excellent mexican J- (damnit, JaMarcus, stop eating letters!!) impression.

23.) Washington Redskins (3-7)

Reason to Smile: That defense was all over the place in that game. They deserved that win. They played amazing. The team probably loves o-coordinator Sherm Lewis as much as a neo-nazi, but they love Greg Blache as much as a rainbow-spotted puppy.

22.) Chicago Bears (4-6)

Reason to Smile: Jay Cutler didn't throw an interception until desperation time!!!

Reason to Frown: Jay Cutler overthrew two easy touchdown passes (I'll give him a pass for missing the bomb to Johnny Knox as hitting a 60 yard passes is not easy for even good quarterbacks). Also, that defense continues to give up big plays, which is specifically what the defense is designed to LIMIT.

21.) San Francisco 49ers (4-6)

Reason to Smile: Michael Crabtree finally caught his first touchdown pass, and it was a nice veteran type near-pushoff catch. It would make the king of the pushoffs, Randy Moss, proud.

Reason to Frown: They are 1-5 since that Crabtree signing, and also there is the fact that Alex Smith may be what we thought he was. He became overrated after that cameo in Houston, but maybe he's just not that good.

20.) Denver Broncos (6-4)

Reason to Smile: God knows, that defense is still not the worst defense in teh NFL as it was last year.

Reason to Frown: Josh McDaniel's is now trash-talking linebackers, and the team is know losing by 29 at home. Also, they are still over .500 so maybe the fans have some gigantic false hope.

19.) Atlanta Falcons (5-5)

Reason to Smile: They showed nice cajones in that quick comeback in the Meadowlands. Lost in that game was the comeback. They played well without Michael Turner and Matt Ryan had a game that almost made him not overrated.

Reason to Frown: They lost their biggest game of the year. Now, all the Falcons fans probably know they are not playoff-bound, so they can return to not caring about sports.

18.) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4)

Reason to Smile: They are somehow over .500, they are finding ways to win games. Mike Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew is giving great hope to all those kids of divorcees, and other hyphenated last named humans.

Reason to Frown: Right, how about they are clearly playing over their head, and were being outscored for 59 minutes by the Bills.

17.) Carolina Panthers (4-6)

Reason to Smile: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are sick right now. They are in pure 2008 form, and are making 5-7 yards every carry seemingly.

Reason to Frown: Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith connection has not returned to 2008 form. They can still make the playoffs, but they will need a great run to finish out the season. Losing to the Dolphins at home did not help.

16.) Houston Texans (5-5)

Reason to Smile: Andre Johnson is seriously like a fucking tiger playing football out there. He is a tyranasourus rex. He is a giant mastadon. That man can catch everything, run by everyone and kill anybody in his path.

Reason to Frown: They just cannot win close games. Winning close games in a skill (ask Indy), and they don't have it yet. They are the youngest team in teh NFL, so they have time to learn and when they do, look out. Right now, they need to win a single close game.

15.) Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

Reason to Smile: Ray Rice is the fourth most exciting running back in the NFL. That little speeding bullet is a ball of fun to watch play. Plus, he is hope for all those suckers at Rutgers.

Reason to Frown: They cannot win close games either. Their field-goal kicker is playing in Indianapolis, and it seems they are giving away that job in some fan competition. Matt Flacco has returned to normal and that defense is still average.

14.) Miami Dolphins (5-5)

Reason to Smile: My lord, this team has heart. They lose their best player, and go into a hostile environment, and kicked ass. That team is everything San Diego should have in the heart department.

Reason to Frown: They still have a long way to go for the playoffs, and, did Ted Ginn even play in that Carolina game. Was he out there, was he CGI'd on the field. Really, what a wasted pick.

13.) New York Giants (6-4)

Reason to Smile: They won a game, a big game. Sure they did not play well, but that was a game they needed badly, and they showed up and sprung out a lead. Of course they blew it, but they regrouped and got a win they needed.

Reason to Frown: They blew that lead. This team should be D-first. They have the deepest D-Line ever. They cannot blow 14 point leads to teams missing their best player at home.

12.) Tennessee Titans (4-6)

Reason to Smile: Vince Young is making plays. The defense is playing well. The.... oh, who the fuck am I kidding, Chris Johnson is the Andre Johnson of running backs.

Reason to Frown: They screwed themselves by waiting so long by playing that geriatric of Kerry Collins. Jeff Fisher should get credit for turning this team around, but he wanted Collins to keep playing and needed to be overruled by their obscene owner.

11.) Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

Reason to Smile: They found a way to win a key game and stayed a leg up on that division.

Reason to Frown: What the hell happened to that offense. Its not December, Tony. Its definitely not December. They basically scored 7 points in two games, because the TD against the Packers was in garbage time. They are not ready to take control and make a case that we have to take them seriously.

10.) Green Bay Packers (6-4)

Reason to Smile: Aaron Rodgers has been kepy upright, and that defense is making PLAYS. Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant have seemed to wake up from their hibernation.

Reason to Frown: Aaron Kampman is gone for the season. They can cover up the loss of Al Harris, but Kampman was a huge part of that team's scheme. That is not going to help them at all. They still have a managable schedule, but it just got alot harder.

9.) Philadelphia Eagles (6-4)

Reason to Smile: Michael Vick actually did something, and DeSean Jackson is the new Devin Hester. That man can make huge plays seemingly at will.

Reason to Frown: That game was a little too close. Something just felt off on Sunday Night. Maybe it was that the Bears were fighting for their lives, but they seemed sloppy and unprepared.

8.) San Diego Chargers (7-3)

Reason to Smile: They are now in control of that lame division. They have their shot at the two-seed. LT looks alive (although for anyone else those are mediocre stats at best the last two weeks).

Reason to Frown: Chargers fans probably don't have anything to frown out right now, but I'll say that Vincent Jackson has been a little quieter the past couple weeks.

7.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

Reason to Smile: The Bengals lost a winnable game so they have a shot again at that division, and Big Ben seems to not be seriously hurt from that knee to the head.

Reason to Frown: They give up huge turnovers in the Red Zone, they give up returns every week. And, oh by the way, let's not gloss over the hard to forget fact that THEY LOST TO THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS!!!!!!

6.) Arizona Cardinals (7-3)

Reason to Smile: They are now roadbeaters, they would have crushed that team if Warner stayed in the game. They could play at 50% level for a solid half and still win the game.

Reason to Frown: Just seeing what Matt Leinart could accomplish against one of the worst defenses in football is probably scaring the Jesus out of every Cards fan (all three of them). If Kurt Warner gets hurt, they will be killed.

5.) New England Patriots (7-3)

Reason to Smile: They crushed a team they hate, and their Wes Welker 15 catch game had a classic 2007 swagger. Laurence Maroney actually looked like a NFL caliber back.

Reason to Frown: They are just not that good in the second half of games. They have been held to 10 points in their three losses, but even in the Dolphins and Jets games, games that were really never in doubt, they just lacked any sense of urgency and explosiveness in the second half.

4.) Cincinnatti Bengals (7-3)

Reason to Smile: Pittsburgh lost so they still control the division. Since NE, SD and CIN are all in virtual locks to the fourth tiebreaker, they control that since they play San Diego in two weeks, and it will be extremely hard for New England SOV to get up to them.

Reason to Frown: That was a classic Bengals loss. They have had two of them, and that is scary. Now, credit them for beating every good team they have played, but they cannot drop even one more of their winnable games.

3.) Minnesota Vikings (9-1)

Reason to Smile: Brett Favre is playing the best football of his career. 21 tds to 3 ints after 10 games is sick. It makes me want to throw acid in my face after he hold the NFL's media hostage again and this time it looks like it will not all shit in his face like last year.

Reason to Frown: Other than those two wins over the Pack, they still have not beaten a good team. That was an impressive domination, but really it was the Seahawks.

2.) New Orleans Saints (10-0)

Reason to Smile: That was the Saints of the first seven weeks. That was pure dominance on the road. Their running game is the most underrated running game in the NFL, and Robert Meachem is a legitimate threat.

Reason to Frown: With a loss on Monday, they drop to a virtual tie with the Vikings and home-field is suddenly in jeopardy.

1.) Indianapolis Colts (10-0)

Reason to Smile: They just keep winning. This is classic 2003-2004 Pats, but they know they can reach a higher level. Winning four straight games with B level performances is impressive.

Reason to Frown: Can they win in dominant fashion again. Those games were so much more easy on my heart and my arteries. I don't want to die in the AFC Title Game this year, I really don't.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Week 11 NFL Picks


Miami @ Carolina (-2.5)

Ronnie Brown's injury reminded me of something very, very important about my "10 predictions for the second half" column, and that is everything is void if one of the major players on that team has a season-ending injury (other than Favre, because, come on, the guy's on borrowed time). Ronnie Brown is arguably the most important Dolphin, because he is the guy who makes that Wildcat work. I just don't think Lusaka Polite taking direct snaps are the same. On the other side, DeAngelo and J-Stew are supposed to play, so there is no injury problems there, other than Jordan Gross. However, the Panthers looked mighty fine even after losing Gross against the Falcons. Consider that home teams historically do very well on these Thursday games and the Panthers fans will probably be at their loudest and most violent becuase they realize that with a win the Panthers are right back into it. Honestly, I love this Panthers team right now, love them.

Dolphins 13 Panthers 24 (CAR)

Washington @ Dallas (-10.5)

I would love to pick the Redskins to give the Cowboys a game, but I just can't. The Redskins suck, they just suck. Portis is still hurt, Chris Cooley is still hurt, Jason Campbell is still Jason Campbell, Jim Zorn is still a foolish figurehead. Dallas on the other hand will want to make the fans know that they are not the Eagles after that awful performance in Green Bay. I could see a classic Romo 4 td game to sucker all the fans back in again. It's scary that they will be 8-3 after their slaughter of the Raiders next week and this win. Now, there is no better way to kill off every remaining Cowboys fan than to miss the playoffs for a second straight year after a good start.

Redskins 17 Cowboys 31 (DAL)

Cleveland @ Detroit (-3.5)

What is the point talking about this? Here we have two teams, one whose fans would rather fight and curse each other than care about the goings-on on the field, and the other who just injured their best player with a silly trick-play at the end of the game. Detroit is at home, they have a better coach, they have a better QB, they have a better team.

Browns 13 Lions 20 (DET)

San Francisco @ Green Bay (-6.5)

Alot of half-point lines this week. I always love those, since you can't tie those. Ties are honestly the most devastating thing in the world. Worse than swine-flu, or bird-flu or even Belichick-disastrous-semi-correct-flu. Anyway, Green Bay is alot better than San Francisco. Even the porous (and by porous, I mean fucking Saran-Wrap thin) offensive line couldn't stop this team from just owning Dallas. That defense was suffocating, and Charles Woodson finally played like the old Charles Woodson for the first time in years. Al Davis may be bad at many things, namely running a football team, picking players, pumping blood out of his heart, but the guy can draft cornerbacks. The niners on the other hand are now not playing a team whose QB will throw 5 ints to them. Except for those teams, and the truly crap teams, that 49er team is just not very good. Blame it on Mike Crabtree, blame it on Alex Smith, blame it on the Gods paying them back for their run of luck. I blame it on the coach.

49ers 10 Packers 27 (GB)

Buffalo @ Jacksonville (-8.5)

Teams usually play well the first week after a coach firing to show support for the interim. Now, since the interim is actually an alive man, as opposed to the zombie-ghost form of the guy formerly known as Dick Jauron, that should even improve more. Also, Fitzpatrick is back, and that also has to be an improvement over Trent Edwards, whose ability seemed to die when Jauron did. Jacksonville is easily the worst team in the race, and will continue to be after beating this happless Bills team, but I think it will be closer than expected. That is a high line for an average team whose record is above their skill level of play.

Bills 20 Jaguars 24 (JAX)

Pittsburgh (-9.5) @ Kansas City

After having their manhood stripped from their manly souls last week on their home turf, there is really nowhere to go but up. A little nugget: in 2005, they lost to the Bengals at Heinz which basically conceded the division. They never lost another game that year. Now, I don't think they will run the slate and win the Super Bowl again, but this game is totally in the bag. Kansas City cannot block for shit, they can't protect for double shit and they can't defend for triple shit. Add that up, and you have a full-fledged ass-kicking in Arrowhead. I will be fearing for Matt Cassel's life. Honestly, he might join Dick Jauron in heaven after this game. Over/Under 7 for times Matt Cassel asks out of the game.

Steelers 27 Chiefs 6 (PIT)

Seattle @ Minnesota (-10.5)

Just a hunch, they give Minnesota a game. I still can't trust this Viking team. Also, indoors Matt Hasselbeck and his bunch can go to work. Minnesota still has not beated anyone great, and the only big games they had were a close special-teams induced win in Lambeau and a sloppy loss in Heinz. Seattle is still a very, very frisky 3-6 team and can give a good team fits, like they did with Arizona last week. Also, Detroit had the ball down 7 in the fourth quarter last week, and Detroit could not lick Seattle's coffee-soaked balls.

Seahawks 20 Vikings 26 (SEA)

Atlanta @ New York (n) (-6.5)

Giants are coming off a bye. Falcons are off a Michael Turner injury. Eli Manning has a broken foot, and Matt Ryan has a broken gold-aura-of-brilliance. Honestly, things like Matt Ryan's "sudden slump" are the type of things that make me feel so much smarter than nearly every media member. That guy was never that great to begin with. The Giants have to show that they are for real, and that the four-week losing streak is over with. A good way to do it is against the primary rival for the wild card, and they will. That defense is better than that ballet show they put on the last four weeks, and certainly good enough to get pressure on a now-suddenly below-average Falcons offense. The Giants should be able to run wild on the Falcons front, especially after seeing how a Jordan Gross-less Panther team run roughshot on them. This is a perfect matchup for the Giants to get back on track, and put massive pressure on a Cowboys team that still has to come to the Meadowland Mausoleum.

Falcons 17 Giants 27 (NYG)

Indianapolis @ Baltimore (PK)

This is the dumbest line I have ever seen. Honestly, the disprespect shown to the Colts is absolutely stunning. They just ran off their 18th straight regular season game by destroying the Patriots in the fourth quarter. Sure, they were outplayed in quarters one through three, but there are four quarters for a reason. On the other hand, the Ravens are missing Suggs, and their offense is not clicking like it was early in the season when they were putting up 30 on the Chiefs and Browns of the world. Also, there is the historical advantage that the Colts have. What historical advantage, you ask. The Colts have won the last 7, including their 31-3 drilling of a better Ravens team last year, and their 15-6 slugfest over them in the 2006 playoffs. The Colts are just the better team, in nearly every statistical and analytical way. Every way.

Colts 27 Ravens 13 (IND)

New Orleans (-11) @ Tampa Bay

Now this is an interesting line. This, like last week, is a perfect trap game for the Saints, with the Pats showdows looming on Monday. However, I have a feeling the two-week honeymoon is over for the Bucs. We are now back to your regular-scheduled Tampa Bay Buccaneers programming. And I can't wait. New Orleans needs to show up in close to full flavor, just to get back on track. Ask the Colts, you don't want to enter really big games playing less than your best. I say they show up, throw the ball all over the place, and return to the Greatest Show on Turf that they are.

Saints 34 Buccaneers 14 (NO)

Arizona (-8.5) @ St. Louis

St. Louis looked spoiler-y last week, but after years of watching football, you learn that there are two types of spoilers: 1.) Teams that are legitimately good, but just too far behind the race to get in; Miami and Tennessee are good examples; 2.) teams that suck that will get up once a month and give a earnest effort against a good opponenet; Oakland and St. Louis are good examples. So, St. Louis gave their monthly appearance last week. It was a good show, boys! Arizona is 4-0 on the road, and some of those are against teams that, how do you say, do not suck. In an interesting matchup, this is the Mike Martz QB bowl, as Warner and Bulger square off in the Home that Kurt Warner built. Honestly, every time I watch the infamous clip of an arrogan SOB Martz mocking reporters and disclaiming "Marc Bulger is my quarterback" I have to be resucitated after passing out due to laughter clogging my pipes.

Cardinals 38 Rams 17 (ARZ)

San Diego (-2.5) @ Denver

Come on, people. Is San Diego really all that great. They just beat Oakland by a measly 8 points two weeks ago (and if you think, "8 points, that's pretty impressive", just to remind you, it was the Oakland Raiders). Denver is still a good team. Denver beat San Diego easily in Qualcomm, this is in Denver. Denver at home has beaten New England. They were just outclassed by Pittsburgh at home, but this is not Pittsburgh, this is the worst 6-3 team in the league, a team with no heart and soul. (Yeah, my "Chargers have no heart and soul" parade is back!)

Chargers 16 Broncos 20 (DEN)

Cincinnatti (-9.5) @ Oakland

Bruce Gradkowski is now the starting quarterback. If Russell was still the starter, I would give you some Raider biased spiel about how Russell will play well, and the Raiders get up for every other big home game, and all that crap. However, I can do no such thing. Bruce Gradkowski is just all kinds of garbage. He is the worst. Yes, worse than the fatty remains of JaMarcus Russell. Cincinnatti on the other hand is a team that is still underrated, and even though I feel that they are clearly the second best team in the AFC, probably underrated by me. Good teams win this game with a professional cool, and that's what they will do.

Bengals 31 Raiders 14 (CIN)

New York (a) @ New England (-10.5)

I don't believe this whole "The Pats will be motivated after losing last week and being beaten by the Jets earlier". That's shit, that's what that is. The last time Tom Brady lost a regular season game to the Colts, they lost the following week hosting the Jets. Also, two years ago I was force fed this whole line of "The Pats will want to beat the Jets 100-0 after outing them for Spygate" and the Pats beat them 20-10. Honestly, the only thing more overrated about this team is the Pats supposed vengeance. Every time I am told how the Pats will kill some team or the other becuase of some alleged disrespect, nothing major happens. Same thing here. Rex Ryan has always had success against this team. Now, even after all that, I don't think they will win, keep it close or even cover, but it won't be some 30 point beatdown that all the same idiots who think that the Colts got lucky will expect from this game.

Jets 17 Patriots 28 (NE)

Philadelphia (-2.5) @ Chicago

Why did NBC not flex this? Seriously, Baltimore Indianapolis would have been much, much better (I believe CBS protected Jets @ Pats so that was not an option). That is seriously dissapointing to me. Now, the Eagles are a dramatically better team and the Bears are experiencing a complete team-wide meltdown. It's not all Jay Cutler's fault, as even most of those picks were due to slipping wide-outs and umpire's getting in the way of receivers. That said, they stink. Matt Forte is the biggest fantasy bust (that's right, Steve Slaton, you can't even win that title). Devin Hester has gone from being the scariest, most exciting player in the NFL to a marginally good receiver. Congratulations, Lovie Smith. That's great management.

Eagles 24 Bears 17 (PHI

Tennessee @ Houston (-4.5)

Much of the media seems to like Tennessee in this game. I think it is mainly due to the fact that Houston did not play last week. Byes make people forget teams, but I am not "people." I fucking remember the Texans, and what they are capable of doing, and what they did to Tennessee in Week 2. That was in Tennessee, and the Texans are quite good in home primetime games. Those Texans fans, like the Panthers fans, are great when the Texans are good. Now, the Texans are rarely good, but they finally are. It will also, I assume, be Battle Red time in Houston, and they are undefeated in those. This will also be a very entertaining game.

Titans 20 Texans 31 (HOU)

Enjoy the Games!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

War of 18,12 - aka 4th and 2

However, this is not all about Bill Belichick's decision. Not at all. This is more about the Colts getting outplayed for three quarters, looking like paper tigers, and then DOMINATING the Pats in the fouth quarter.

That said, I feel compelled to start with the 4th and 2 decision. It was an extremely risky decision, but one that was mathematically defendable. This was their scenario: punt and let the Colts drive 70 yards in two minutes and win the game, or go for it and either win the game or give it back to Manning at the 29 with two minutes to go. Now, the chances of the Pats winning (either making the two yards or stopping the Colts) are basically the same either way in a vaccuum, taking away the account of who they were playing and game scenario. The math states that converting a 4th and 2 is done roughly 63% of the time. Adding that to the chances of the Pats stopping the Colts if they do not convert the fourth down, which is roughly 40%, gives the chances of the Pats winning by going for it at a clean 77%. The Chances that the Colts drive 70 yards for the touchdown are roughly 30%, so the Pats have a better chance of winning going for it. That said, that does not adjust for the fact that the opposing QB is Peyton Manning, or that the Colts defense was winning nearly every important play in the fourth quarter. Anyway, it is a debatable call, but definitely not a brilliant move or a idiotic one. It was a risky one, and one that would have either coronated Belichick as the ballsiest coach of all time or the loser in the greatest football-related version of Russian Roullette.

Now, let's get to the actual game. Leaving the game, the general public's perception was "Pats Dominated", "Colts were lucky", "Belichick cost his team the game." This is complete bullshit. Complete. The Pats dominated a one and a half quarter portion of this game starting from the middle of the first through the end of the half. Their drives in this portion netted them touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown and Indy's drive netted them Punt, Punt, Punt, touchdown (I'll throw in that touchdown just to make the amount of drives even). The Pats got 273 yards and the Colts got 91. Now, that is Florida vs Alaska A&M type domination but was just one and a half quarter. Here was the end of the third through the end of the game: Pats: touchdown (after the long Welker punt return), punt, field goal, downs. Here is Indy's drives in the same part of that game: touchdown, interception, touchdown, touchdown. In that part of the game the Pats got 54 yards and the Colts got 153. Pretty much equal domination. People always seem to overrate the team that jumps out to a big lead and underrate the team that made the comeback. Just becuase the Pats outscored the Colts in one stretch 24-7, does not mean the Colts cannot outscore them similarily. The Pats did not outplay the Colts for the entire game. Also, the Colts were not lucky. They probably score on that drive even if the Pats punted it to them. Finally, Belichick's decision was not the reason the Colts won, it was the reason the Pats did not win easily. Also, many of the big plays by the Pats early were schematic problems by the Colts, as they played a deep zone against Moss, instead of manning him up with safety shadow help like they did in 2007 when they held those Pats to 24. They can correct those problems. We all know that the arrogant Pats would not simply play ball-control, clock-draining offense and still try to pour on, and they were held to 10 points in the second half, when the Colts made the defensive adjustments.

The game was a total domination in the fourth quarter by the Colts and a total breakdown by the Patriots. The Patriots were simply outplayed for the entirety of the fourth quarter. The Patriots managed two first downs in the fourth quarter, and the Colts scored three touchdowns, spanning 153 yards in a total of five minutes and forty seconds. Contrary to popular belief, the Pats were not playing prevent for either of the first two touchdown drives. Manning made adjustments to what Belichick was doing, which was essentially doubling Clark and Wayne and forcing Garcon and Collie to beat them, and then Belichick had no answers. The only negative play was the interception which was a result of lack of communication. As for the Pats offense, what people failed to remember due to Belichick's boner, was their inability to gain yards when it mattered. Four times Brady threw on third or fourth down in that quarter, and he was 0-4. The Pats ran the ball six times for three (yes, THREE!!!) yards in the fourth quarter. The Colts defense dominated them. The Pats are one of the better teams at playing smart, clock-draining football in the fourth quarter (remember the 07 Title game against San Diego when they ran out the last 9 minutes of the game), but were simply awful. Even when the Colts handed them a short field, they went 5 and out, and kicked a field goal. It was awful. The Colts dominated when it mattered, in the fourth quarter. The reason the Colts were totally outplayed early on was schematic, and of course the Pats playing exceptional defensively and Moss playing like Moss. The reason the Colts dominated was great adjustments by the offense (again), and the defense changing schemes and dominating an awful Pats running game and suddenly plodding passing game. The Pats blew it, the Colts earned it. The Colts dominated them in the fourth quarter, and as anybody will tell you, that is the quarter that matters in a close game.

Now, this is where I will start to wax poetic about the rivalry at this point.

It is absolutely stunning how the dynamic of this rivalry has completely changed in the past four years. From 2001-2004, and mostly in 2003-2004, the Pats were the team that had the no-name defense, with street defensive backs like Randall Gay and a young Asante Samuel, and Jarvis Green, and the quadro of stout, smart linebackers. The Colts were the flashy team with high-powered offense and a defense that was fine against the Dolphins or the Titans but could not hold up against the big boys. The games, at least the regular season games in 2003-2004, played out to a diametric opposite of Sunday Night's. In both meetings the Colts "outplayed" the Pats, coming one yard away from winning the 2003 game, before Willie McGinest stoning Edgerrin James on the one yard line (if anything personified those Pats teams, and how the physically and mentally intimidated the Colts, it was that McGinest tackle and the play in the 2004 Divisional when Tedy Bruschi literally ripped the ball out of the hands of Dominic Rhodes). Then, a year later in the 2004 game, the Pats were outplayed, except Manning threw an interception in the red zone and James fumbled at the 2 yard line (much like Maroney did), and missed a 48 yard field goal to send it into overtime. Now, all the Colts fans, including myself, thought "they got lucky, the Colts were two plays away, they will win come playoff time." Then, come playoff time, it did not happen. Belichick's defense was in Manning's head. Our defense was helpless against Brady. Each time we played, regardless of how the stats played out, how the game played out, when we looked at the scoreboard, the Colts had fewer points than the Patriots. It was a matter of life, we could roll against the Bengals, and the Bears, but when we needed to man-up and fight, the Colts wanted to fence, the Pats wanted to box.

It is crazy how it has changed. The Pats are now the high-flying team, with the insanely good receivers and the QB with all the stats. They are now the team whose defense could shut down the Titans and the Bucs, but are just average against good offensive teams. The Colts are a team missing many offensive and defensive starters, but have Manning. They play next-man-up to a Patriot level on defense. They are now the smarter, more focused, more tough football team. The Colts are the team now who execute in crunch time. Save for the 2007 game, where the Pats came back valiantly from 10 down in the fourth quarter, which can be contrasted with the 2003 game when the Colts nearly came back from a 21 defecit in the last 20 minutes as the exception to the norm, the Colts have dominated since 2005. For all the "Manning can't beat the Pats" stories that circulated the media-world much like swine-flu is supposed to infiltrate the human-world, there should be similar "Brady can't beat the Colts" headlines now. It was not Manning, but the Colts that could not mentally play smart in late, close games, and now it is the Pats, not Brady. Much like Belichick was clearly in Manning's head in 2003 and 2004, Manning is now in Belichick's head. Belichick can say what he wants, but if the team they were playing was 30 other teams, he punts on 4th and 2. It might be respect, it might be abject fear, but it is really both. Manning has owned Belichick in late game situations, save for that 2007 game. Remember, Manning came within one yard of leading the Colts back from a 31-10 deficit with 20 minutes left in 2003, and then overcame a 21-3 deficit in the 2006 Title Game. Now, he has done the trifecta, coming back from a 34-17 4th quarter deficit. Belichick now knows that games are NEVER over against Peyton. Never. He supposedly preached "60 Minutes" till the cocks crowed after the 2006 meltdown, but it is stunning that it happened again, and although the stakes were certainly greater than, the order of diffuculty of the comeback was more this time. These teams may very well meet again in the playoffs, but I am sure that Manning and the Colts have the mental edge.

In 2003 and 2004, we entered those playoff games with an offensive arrogance, "we cannot be stopped... pffft Patriots defense". We entered those games with the knowledge that we were centimeters away from winning the earlier game. We were slaughtered like lambs in those playoff games (although it must be said that the 2003 Title game was amazing, since even though there was really shoddy officiating, and we handed the Pats 5 turnovers and a safety, Manning had the ball with the opportunity to tie the game in the fourth quarter). This is now the opposite. Pats fans can console themselves in their perceived domination, the can console themselves that they nearly beat the Colts, that they should have, would have. They can enter their game off thier 31-20 beating of Cincy or whatever it may be. They will not win. We have the mental edge. The players know it. If the Pats would win a game against the Colts, it would have been this one, with Gonzalez and Hayden out, with Garcon playing one of his worst games, with Manning throwing two picks of uncharacteristic natures, and with the defense playing a scheme so irrational that it deservedly lended us to spotting them a 24-7 advantage. Yet, at the end of the day, the same team was ahead. The same team pulled out the game. The same team won every critical fourth down battle, stopped the high-powered Pats offense when it mattered late, and took advantage of mistakes and stuck a stake in the Pats home-field advantage aspirations. I could have written those last five sentences and switched "Pats" with "Colts" and I could have been describing a 2003 game, when there was, as we know now, a mental edge that the Pats just had. It has all changed, and it is so sweet. Now, the Pats want to fence, and we want to box.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

32.) Cleveland Browns (1-8)

That was despicable Monday Night. Now, I know they suck, have management problems rivaling that of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Brady Quinn became the first QB ever to throw at least 30 passes and less than 100 yards. That is a y/a of 3.3. To put that into consideration, JaMarcus Russell has a y/a of 5.2. Also, smart move by the Mangenius to run a double reverse, lateral-a-thon on the last play and injure their only NFL caliber player.

31.) St. Louis Rams (1-8)

That was a nice performance. They gave the Saints a real run for their money, and they have now played 2 straight NFL quality games. This is nice to see for a deserving guy in Steve Spagnuolo, although I think I speak for every Giants fan when I say: Give up that darned Rams job, and come back to Gotham and coach this defense.

30.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)

I would move them higher, but that was a despicable performance by the team. Not the game, that was actually good, but their celebration after scoring the TD to take the 23-22 lead. They acted as if they had just won the Super Bowl, or rather some Big Ten title. That was not what a winning team does. Finish the game!

29.) Detroit Lions (1-8)

They also played like a real football team. In fact, Week 10 was the week that the dregs of the league all collectively decided to play football (evidently this message did not penetrate the mucousy membrane of suck blocking Cleveland from the rest of the world). That was much closer than a 17 point game, and the Lions had the ball with a chance to tie the game in the metrodome. Nice performance, and I still like Matthew Stafford and Megatron as a combination.

28.) Kansas City Chiefs (2-7)

Sure they beat Oakland, but they also lost to Oakland earlier in the year in Arrowhead. They have beaten Oakland seven straight times in Oakland, but they have also lost three straight to the Raiders in Arrowhead. I will judge both teams in a vacuum and not against each other, and I still don't think the Chiefs are better than Oakland. Sure, I am a Raider fan, but honestly, after seeing Matt Cassel suck eggs consistently, I cannot back this team. Plus, their coach is a rabid maniac.

27.) Oakland Raiders (2-7)

They still have two worldbeater performances in them, just don't expect it this week. I think we have reached the end of the JaMarcus era, and for one I am glad. Can we just go and pick a Big Ben type. My guy is Jake Locker from University of Washington. That's right, I gone did some scouting. That guy has an arm that rivals that of JaMarcus, but unlike him, Locker is not morbidly obese or idiotically stupid.

26.) Washington Redskins (3-6)

That was a good win, but it came against Chris Simms. Chris Fucking Simms! I'm pretty sure that Phil is totally embarrassed to be related to such an awful QB. Anyway, I still think this team is the worst 3 win team of all time, and has no end in sight to thier long line of awfulness. Also, not sure what high-priced coach they will go after, since Holmgren and Shanny want full autonomy, and Dan Snyder is having a gay tyst with Vinny Cerratto.

25.) Buffalo Bills (3-6)

Actually, the Bills can easily be the worst 3 win team of all time. Trent Edwards came back, and it did not look like it helped at all. Terrel Owens is about to commit murder. All of Buffalo has already given up on the Bills and put all their efforts into the Sabres, and thank god. At least the Sabres are good. In related news, Dick Jauron has reportedly been fired. Or died. No one knows, since his heart hasn't beated in about three weeks.

24.) New York Jets (4-5)

Don't take this as a slight, since I like them to hang with (HANG WITH and not BEAT) the Patriots on Sunday. However, after Mark Sanchez's Obama-like speech and Rex Ryan's crying performance on Tuesday, I cannot take them seriously. All I wonder is what the fuck happened to that defense that flew around the field early on. They are still the team that best defensed New Orleans' attack. I wish that defense came back, but I love teams in eternal chaos, mainly because it takes away from the Raiders being in eternal chaos.

23.) Chicago Bears (4-5)

Jay Cutler is still a good QB. Thankfully, with the Broncos having lost their luster, and them now not being a team destined for a '01 Patriots-like run to the Super Bowl, people can stop the "Broncos won the deal, Orton is better" cries. Three of those picks were plainly not Cutler's fault, and the fourth came on the last play of the game. Cutler will, before he retires, show Bears fans why he is worth it. Just not now, becuase that defense sucks.

22.) San Francisco 49ers (4-5)

They finally won a game with Crabtree!!!! Too bad Crabtree did basically nothing to earn it. Alex Smith had one of his worst games, and Frank Gore was largely ineffective. Yet, they came to play and their defense was opportunistic. However, if they gave up that touchdown there at the end to Cutler, they would have been far, far down on these rankings. In fact, they might be in the middle of a Kansas City - Oakland sandwhich. Yum!!

21.) Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

They're frisky. That is all I can say. Hasselbeck gets no protection, but he can run around and throw it to four good targets. Justin Forsett ran the ball pretty well against a good run defense. Their defense is average, but they can probably get the job done at home more often than not. All that said, they are no more than spoiler fodder.

20.) Tennessee Titans (3-6)

The great escape of 2009 continues. Not the team, but Jeff Fisher's job. Jeff Fisher will keep his job, and thus continue to creep up to Landry's 29 straight years, with this finish. Chris Johnson is absolutely amazing. Just amazing. He is so far and away the most exciting player in the league. He is now what Devin Hester was three years ago. Every time he touches the ball something special might happen, and often does. I never got to really watch Barry Sanders, but I assume it was something like what CJ is doing now.

19.) Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)

God knows how they are 5-4. God knows how they will be two games over .500 after they take care of Buffalo at home. I guess I have to assume that they are good, but how can that be after they lost 41-0 in Seattle. That is probably the worst performance by any team this season, and now this team is a wild-card contender? Really? How is this happening, they are technically ahead of Houston. I am stunned beyond belief.

18.) Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

Thank God those Matt Ryan is the next Peyton Manning comparisons have stopped. Those were always insane. What about these rookie year numbers: 3440 yds, 16 tds, 11 ints made anyone think he is the next Manning. Those are Delhomme numbers. Sure he was a rookie, but come on. What did he show that made people think he was a sure-fire hall of famer, or "One of the ten best QBs in the game today" as some put it at the start of the season. Sure, I had him in the top-10 in my QB rankings not long ago, but that was for now and the future. He is not top-10 now, especially after a JaMarcus-ian regression the past few weeks.

17.) Miami Dolphins (4-5)

Wildcat fever may be leaving Miami after Ronnie Brown's injury, and that may be the death knell to a whimpering playoff hope, but they are a hard, tough out every week. They are alot like the Parcell's Cowboys teams (pre-Romo), when you could beat them, but you have to play physical smart football and not make mistakes. They will be great in a couple years if, you know, they get people who can actually catch the ball.

16.) Carolina Panthers (4-5)

I don't think I could have changed my opinion on the outlook of a team any more than I did about the Cats, but I am fully entrenched in the "They have a legitimate shot of stealing the 6th seed." Look at it, Delhomme has stopped throwing ints, their running game is in near-2008 form and their defense is stout enough. They are only one game behind the Philly/Giants/Green Bay platter at 5-4. Those, and the Cowboys, are the real teams fighting for those two wild cards, and why can't they do it? Why not?

15.) Green Bay Packers (5-4)

Nice performance, plus I called it! That was a man-up game against the Cowboys. That was a great defensive performance for a team that was just shredded by Tampa Bay. Aaron Rodgers is still getting all the protection of a thrice-used condom, but Ryan Grant has started to move the ball again. They are in that Carolina/Giants boat, and it will be an interesting case of roullette for those wild-card spots.

14.) Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

Thank you, Philly, for reawakening the dormant heart of San Diego. Also, thanks for rejuvenating LaDainian Tomlinson. I have never seen a game where every team RedZone turns me over to it, one team is making all the plays but still losing by 19. Also, I am shocked they did not make that comeback. I guess I forgot to realize that after San Diego the most emotionless team is Philadelphia.

13.) Dallas Cowboys (6-3)

I am scared that Tony Romo might turn into Tony Romo again, and leading to the mass killings of hundreds in Dallas, and the loss of Wade Philips snarky gloom grin's job and Jerry Jones' sanity. Why did they not run the ball more? How could they essentially get shut out by Green Bay? How could Roy Williams continue to suck when he actually was good in Detroit? How could I still have them this high?

12.) Baltimore Ravens (5-4)

If they are for real, they beat the Colts. The Colts are ragged, tired from that draining comeback, and the Ravens are still fighting for their lives. If they are real, they play the same defense they have been for three straight games. However, as their defense has become better, their offense has regressed. Flacco is still outperforming his fellow sophomore Matty Ice, but their offense is slowly resembling the Tony Banks/Scott Mitchell/Trent Dilfer/Anthony Wright Ravens (I could have gone on for 10 more crappy QBs).

11.) New York Giants (5-4)

I still believe they are the best team in their division. This was a radically different team, but the 2002 Raiders are a good comparison to what the Giants are going through. (Get off the ledge, Giants fans, that was a good Raider team, this is a good thing.) The Raiders, like the Giants, started 4-0, and then dropped 4 straight and were passed by 6-2 San Diego and 6-2 Denver, much like Philly and the Cowboys passing 5-4 Giants. Those Raiders finished the year off with a 7-1 run and ended with a trip to the Super Bowl. There, Giants. You Happy?

10.) Denver Broncos (6-3)

This team cannot be as bad as they have been the last three weeks. Now, if Kyle Orton is out for any considerable amount of time, they can easily be as bad as they have been the last three weeks, but reports look good. They beat San Diego easily a month ago, and they could easily do it again this weekend, but right now something is amiss. We will hear from the fighting McDaniels again. We will.

9.) San Deigo Chargers (6-3)

I hate this team. They are about as schizophrenic as they come, and I know that if they play the Colts, they will show up, but if they play any other great team come playoff time (Steelers, Pats, Bengals) they will fold like cheap napkins. I hate them, I hate them. But give them credit, as they beat two similar teams the last two weeks. I'll give them credit, for now.

8.) Houston Texans (5-4)

Yeah, they are this good. People have forgotten about them as they had the bye, but the Monday Night game will help bring the focus right to Houston. They can be great, great, great on offense and their defense has improved alot recently. I still think that they will hand the Colts their first loss in two weeks, and they will a tough, tough out come playoff time.

7.) Arizona Cardinals (6-3)

They finally won at home, even though they started out playing awful, but outscored the Hawks 31-6 the last three quarters. That was impressive. They are still undefeated on the road, and I still think that they have a shot at that #2 seed. They have a level that they can reach at times that only two teams in the NFL can match. Their peak is Everest high, and that is why I can actually see this team returning to the Super Bowl. Larry Fitzgerald continues to amaze. Beanie Wells in finally ending the "hyped-up Ohio State skill players sucking ass in the NFL" curse that has been prolonged by Tedd "What are these things at the end of my arms for?" Ginn and Bobby "Why is that large black man running at me. Oh my God, I have to run away" Carpenter. They are a good team, and their run is coming. I just hope they don't decide to give up after clinching the division like last year.

6.) New England Patriots (6-3)

Full opinion of the Sunday Night Classic will come in the next post, but that was an impressive second quarter on Sunday Night. That really was it. They scored 10 points in the entire second half. When they really wanted to get first downs late in the fourth quarter they could not. I think that Tom Brady would not be able to shred the Colts again like he did, and he won't be able to do that against the Jets on Sunday. However, that defense does impress me. Their young guys are all players, and they will be hard to throw on consistently.

5.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

Losing to the 4th ranked team is no big deal. I still feel like they can be a 12 win team, however that is not going to be good enough to get that division back. The division is gone, much like in 2005 when they lost the game to the Bengals in Heinz Field. That year, they went on a spree in the playoffs and ran off with "one for the thumb" and Jerome Bettis walked (fatty can't run) off to the limelight. They will have to be dealt with, I just hope before they get to Lucas Oil Stadium.
4.) Minnesota Vikings (8-1)

They are 8-1, and they have two easy games coming up. So, they will be 10-1 with one of the most distinct home field advantages. Yet, I still feel like something is missing. Maybe it is the fact their coach is awful as hell, and wears a McDonald's drive-through like headphone piece. Brett Favre is not some new Chad Pennington game-manager, he's the same guy. The old Favre will show up sooner or later.

3.) Cincinnatti Bengals (7-2)

Damn, that was impressive. They have now the most impressive resume of any NFL team not named Indianapolis, sweeping both Baltimore and Pittsburgh, going to Lambeau and beating the Packers, absolutely destroying the Bears and beating the Bengals before the Gods graced Brandon Stokley for his courageousness as a white-receiver in the NFL. They are impressive. They have a relatively easy schedule, and if the Pats lose to the Saints, they are almost guaranteed the second seed. We all have to get used to the fact that one of the games in divisional weekend will be the Bengals hosting a team. That is scary.

2.) New Orleans Saints (9-0)

They are still undefeated, and that is all that matters. Sure they played a close game against the Rams, but remember the '07 Patriots needed a last-minute defensive stand to beat an AJ Feeley coached Eagles team. Indy needed a defensive stand to beat the 49ers. It happens. If they play badly this week against Tampa then I would be worried slightly. However, I guarantee you that they show up for the Monday night showdown against the Pats in two weeks.

1.) Indianapolis Colts (9-0)

Welcome back, boys. Sure they benifited from Belichick's call, but there was not one person, or fan, or even Patriots supporter, that thought that if they had punted on 4th and 2 Manning was not going to drive down the field and win the game anyway. So, it is purely a Colts comeback and a Pats defensive meltdown that changed this game. It was the Colts great play in the 4th quarter on defense. Here were the drives by the Pats in the first quarter: 1 first down and punt, 1 first down and FG (off the Wilhite Interception) and 0 first downs and turnover on downs. The Colts violently outplayed the Pats to the level that the Pats outplayed them in the late first and early second quarter. This team avoided its sure loss game (like how the Pats somehow escaped the Ravens game in 2007 with a win), and that is a great sign. The AFC runs through Indianapolis, and that is a good thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 10 NFL Picks

Doing this on Thursday because of the new Thursday Night Games.

Chicago @ San Francisco (-2.5)

Interesting game. Both of these teams are in a free-fall. For the Bears, the reason is simple. Brian Urlacher's gone, the backup is gone, the corners have lost the ability to cover and Tommie Harris went full-Mike-Tyson last week. Not good, not good at all. All I have to say is that the Lovie Smith era has been fun. There were some great moments, mostly occuring back in 2005 and 2006, when Rex Grossman was your quarterback (God, is that scary). In all seriousness though, the Bears are in bad, bad shape. As for the 49ers, they are in worse shape. They are losers of four straight. They are 0-3 with Michael Crabtree in the lineup. Crabtree may already have five times as many catches, but at least Darrius Heyward-Bey has won two games. I would be all set to pick the Bears, but on a short week and a pretty long travel for Chicago, I just can't do it. The 49ers also need this game more. Now, Chicago does as well, but with Atlanta being inconsistent, the Giants sputtering and the Eagles propensity to, let's say, lose games to Oakland types, no one is running away with the last WC spot. The niners take a game in what will probably be their only alive crowd all year.

Bears 20 49ers 27 (SF)

Atlanta (-1.5) @ Carolina

My first prediction in my "10 Second Half Predictions" was that Carolina and Miami would make runs. Looking at the schedules, I was having a hard time sorting through the clusterfuck that will become the NFC Wildcard race. Let's break it down: As of right now, the Eagles and Falcons are your wild card team if the playoffs start today. Now, they are both only a half game up on the Giants, who get one more meeting against both of them. The Bears and Packers are both playing some truly shitty football at this current point, but are only a game back. The Panthers, Niners and Seahawks are all 3-5, and I predict that the Dallas resurgence is not for real, and Dallas will begin to resemble hard excrement come December. My guess is that the Eagles leapfrog Dallas. The Giants are the best team of all that I have mentioned, so I say they take the game against Atlanta and step up to the plate. Now, I could legitimately see Carolina jumping into this thing. 9-7 may be good enough to do it, and since Carolina will probably have lost to three AFC teams, their 9-4 potential NFC record could actually get them a wild-card spot. I cannot believe that I am actually talking myself into Carolina as the last wild-card team, but either way, it starts this week. BTW, all of that meandering means that Jake Delhomme will promptly go out and throw 4 picks.

Falcons 17 Panthers 27 (CAR)

Tampa Bay @ Miami (-9.5)

Even though I expect Miami to make a nice spoiler that is an awful lot of points to a team that looked like it finally realized that NFL is in season last week. Miami should win this game, and they will, because Tampa's defense still lacks any semblance of an identity. That is not good against the Wildcat/Pistol offense that Miami runs. Still, I just see that line and it strikes me as being way, way too high. Josh Freeman was great last week when it mattered, and Miami is also suited for a let-down after they fought their fins off (get it, "fins". OK, sorry, I will do better) against New England. Now, considering that Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano may get into a mafioso gunfight if they lose to their Floridian rivals, I have to believe they still win.

Buccaneers 16 Dolphins 23 (TB)

Detroit @ Minnesota (-16.5)

Man, that is a high line. The Vikings beat Detroit by that much in Detroit. Of course, that became the game infamous for a hot drunken lionness being arrested after cursing out random Lions fans. Sadly, Vikings fans won't do the same. Now that is not to say that they wont fight, because those norseman will throw helmet around all the time, but it will not include any fan hot enough to turn me on in a weird, unexplainable way. Anyway, the Vikings are just better than the Lions in every conceivable way, and it will show. It is amazing that they are about to be 8-1. Just amazing, because I know it will all be for not come January.

Lions 13 Vikings 34 (MIN)

Jacksonville @ New York (a) (-6.5)

This is an odd line for a team that has not beaten anyone not quarterbacked by JaMarcus Russell since September. Honestly, I think that Rex Ryan has gained weight, not because of nervously eating at roughly 10 buffets per week, becuase he has stopped burning calories after opening his gaping wide mouth. Him and Bart Scott (yet another LB that has lost his luster when leaving the protective shadow of Raymond Lewis - however, the other ones had the decency to shut the fuck up when their play started to decline, unlike Bartabus Scott) have been oddly quiet recently. Somehow, the Jaguars are 4-4 and with a win will have the same record as Houston, although being about a 50 times less scary team. Somehow, they can be in the title race. They killed Kansas City last week, before a flukey onside kick made it interesting, but that game was never in doubt. Now, that's what every team should do when they play inferior competition, drill them like a fucking cheap hooker. When the Jets got their opportunity Sanchize played like complete gar-bage agianst the Bills. I cannot believe I will do this, since I thought the Jags would have a 3-13 season and I still think they suck, but they get it done and go above .500. Maybe, just maybe, they will get 50% attendance at their games now.

Jaguars 23 Jets 20 (JAX)

Buffalo @ Tennessee (-6.5)

Stupidest line of the week. As in, it should be higher. If any line should be -16.5 it is this one. Seriously, the Titans are practically good now with a competent QB (it is nearly decapitatingly shocking that the competent QB in question is Vince Young). Chris Johnson makes Adrian Peterson look like a fat slug. Vince Young makes Jeff Fisher look dumb for sticking with his shuffleboard-buddy Kerry Collins for so long. By the way, the Bills stink. They have few redeeming qualities, other than their sadist ability to lose a game where the opposing QB goes 2-17. They are the worst 3-5 team in the NFL. How they beat Carolina a few weeks back is a mystery that is puzzling Einstein in his grave. Trent Edwards is back, and I am even less excited for their prospects now as before. They had a good head coach, Mike Mularkey, who they stupidly fought with and let go four years ago. All that has followed in four years with the Dick "I'm actually dead, it is just that there are fantabulously good taxidermists in Buffalo so no one knows" Jauron and his running 7-9 seasons.

Bills 10 Titans 27 (TEN)

New Orleans (-13.5) @ St. Louis

How is this line not 20. Seriously, St. Louis can play well and lose by 20. New Orleans can play badly to a good Miami team, fall behind 24-3 and win by double digits. St. Louis fans will need police protection, as when they see Brees flinging it around, they will all get inevitably depressed and dangerous with serious Greatest Show on Turf withdrawal. I will not be shocked when I hear a report on Monday morning that there were 2,000 people who jumped off the top of the Gateway Arch.

Saints 38 Rams 13 (NO)

Denver (-3.5) @ Washington

There seems to be a sudden "Denver has been exposed as a Madoff-ian Fraud" movement permeating the NFL media-lyse. I don't get it. All I can say is that media members are so endlessly narcisistic that they want Denver to fail with every living fiber of their being just so they look good when they slammed McDaniels in the offseason. That's why even after they started 6-0, beating the 6-2 Cowboys, 6-2 Patriots and then traveling to San Diego and beating every media member's favorite whore team the "resurgent" 5-3 Chargers, people questioned just how good they are. Now, when they lose two in a row, everyone is shitting out. Maybe, just maybe, they were beaten by a murderously hungry and desperate Ravens team and outclassed by a better Pittsburgh team. Pittsburgh is a great team, that is why they won on Monday Night. Not because Denver suddenly forgot how to play football. Sure, Kyle Orton and that offense has its limitations, namely: the act of throwing a football further than 20 yards, but they are not suddenly worse than the Chargers who they beat in San Diego in a "must-win, critical" game for San Diego. And, by God's almighty grace, they are not worse than the Redskins without Clinton Portis and with a fucking bingo-caller calling offensive plays, and the biggest figurehead leader since George W. Bush (yeah, I fucking said it).

Broncos 28 Redskins 14 (DEN)

Cincinnatti @ Pittsburgh (-6.5)

If the Steelers did not look like the '85 Bears on Monday Night, I would have been really, really tempted to pick the Bengals. The Bengals are a damn good football team. Carson and Ocho have their mojo going strong. Everyone is counting them out again. They were stupidly underdogs last week against a team they had already beaten at home. Now, they are probably stupidly underdogs against a team they have already beaten. In fact, I will still pick the Bengals, although I think the Steelers take the game. The Steelers are loaded. Their defense is finally resembling the 2008 Steelers Championship winning defense. For all the talk of Peyton, Brees and Tommy Boy, Big Ben is completing an insane 70.6% of his passes and has numbers right up there with that trio. Rashard Mendenhall has a Fast Willie 2006 look going on. This is about to get scary. Now, I really hope the media does not overreact to a Bengals loss here, since they are a good team, just not as good as Pittsburgh at home.

Bengals 17 Steelers 20 (CIN)

Kansas City @ Oakland (-1.5)

Amazingly, this is not the first time Oakland has been favored. But this is the first time they have deservedly been favored. The other time was back in Week 3, when they hosted Denver who everyone thought, including yours truly, was still a fraud. Since then, we have learned that Denver is for real, although many people unlearned that fact recently, and we have learned the true fraud is JaMarcus Russell. Honestly, only Ryan Leaf and Cade McNown come close to him in terms of just overall puditry. It is staggering how bad he is. What is more staggering, is that I'm not sure he is any worse than Matt Cassel. Having Randy Moss and Wes Welker can make anyone look good, and now that he is throwing to fuckers name Lance Long, the wrap has come off. This is a game full of frauds, but the only real man is Tom Cable.

Chiefs 14 Raiders 24 (OAK)

Seattle @ Arizona (-8.5)

When these teams met earlier, Arizona killed Seattle in Qwest, which is no easy feet. That was the worst home loss in history of the building (its probably not, but I'm too lazy to fact-check that statement). Luckily for Seattle, this game is in Arizona, where Arizona has stunk (save for one mysterious performance against a good Houston team). Unluckily for Seattle, they flat-out pussy up on the road. They have failed to get within 13 on the road. Arizona will make a run for the two seed, and it starts here. Also, note to Ken Whisenhunt from one of my fantasy teams, can you stop your silly power-trip and inform us of your plan to rest Anquan. I don't care if you don't tell him. Fuck him. But don't fuck all of us Boldin owners. You are better than that, Whizzy!

Seahawks 14 Cardinals 31 (ARZ)

Dallas (-2.5) @ Green Bay

I am a huge believer of the desperate game theory, which states that when two closely-matched teams play, if one needs the game alot more than the other, that team will win. This is one of those games. Dallas is probably at a stage where they can collectively get themselves off to a team picture. They seem so happy. Miles Austin and Tony Romo are seen smiling at each other. Wade Phillips has discovered a facial expression other than suicidal bewilderment. It is all rolling. On the other hand, Green Bay just gave the Buccaneers their first win, and just made Raheem Morris a winner. Now, conventional wisdom would believe that these opposing forces continue in their opposing direction. Well, I fuck conventional wisdom. Green Bay is in desperation mode, and you can't tell me otherwise. They absolutely need this game to get on the right track. Dallas probably thinks they wrapped up the division after last weeks lucky win over Philly.

Cowboys 20 Packers 27 (GB)

Philadelphia @ San Deigo (-2.5)

If I could hate the Chargers any more, I now do. They are such bastards. That was the second time this year that they played like theis weasel, soulless selves for 59 minutes, only to put together a drive out of thin air and win. This is absolute crap. Now, they suck dick at home. They had a putrid performance when hosting Oakland, only winning by 8. They lost to not-so-hot Baltimore at home back in Week 2. Then, they laid an egg in a must-win to Denver (somehow, the "Denver is fraudalent" supporters seem to have forgotten the presence of that game). They have no heart, and I will still believe that. Philly is better than them. I will always believe that. BTW, I am picking a whole lot of underdogs, but that changes dramatically in the next two games.

Eagles 26 Chargers 17 (PHI)

New England @ Indianapolis (-2.5)

Pats fans may like to think that there is a Colts-bias in the media, but look at that fucking line. The Colts are 8-0, they have won 17 straight regular season games. The Pats are 6-2, and are 1-1 in games that are against teams with winning records (the Colts are 2-0). They just had an extra week to prepare for Miami, and won by only 10 at home, yet people seem to think Tom Brady is back. The Colts injuries in the secondary are vastly overrated, as Sanders was barely playing this year and Marlin Jackson was the nickelback. Also, the Pats best QB they have faced this year was Flacco, and they didn't shut him down. Seriously, here is the list of QBs the Pats faced: Edwards (ass), Sanchez (overrated), Ryan (violently overrated), Flacco (good - but they did not stop him), Orton (average - he tore them up), Collins (gave up), Josh Johnson (I don't even need to say anything), and Chad Henne (first big road game). Now they get to face Peyton. That is like going from Pro to All-Madden in Madden. Big statement win for the Colts.

Patriots 17 Colts 31 (IND)

Baltimore (-10.5) @ Cleveland

Honestly, after pushing through those good games above, I feel bad just talking about this game. Honestly, I feel like this is talking about the Florida - Vanderbilt game. This is not even worth discussing. All I will say is that if Mike Holmgren had any sense, he would stay far, far away from Cleveland.

Ravens 31 Browns 10 (BAL)

Enjoy the Games!!

Last Week: 7-6
Season: 75-54

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 NFL Predictions at the Halway Point

With every NFL team having played 8 games (HOU and NYG have both played 9), we are at the half-way point of the season. Here are 10 predictions for the second half, along with updated Playoff Projections and Predictions at the end.

1.) Miami and Carolina both end up 8-8 or 9-7.

They are the best of the 3-5 teams. They have both played the Saints extremely well. They can both run the ball really, really well. Both of their defenses will keep them in games. Both of their QBs can manage the game. They both have good solid coaches. They both started out too slow for them to make a strong push, but believe me. They won't quit. You don't quit on Tony Sparano. Their schedules are not too tough either.

2.) Pittsburgh goes on a huge run that makes them everyone's favorite.

They finally got the major publicity a defending champion on a 5 game winning streak deserves with that blowout of Denver yesterday. However, people, like they often do in the NFL, overreacted after their 1-2 start. They lost a game in Chicago where their usually reliable kicker (when sober) Jeff Reed missed two game-winning kicks and then last second in Cincinnatti, a very good team. Now, check this upcoming slate of games: vs CIN, @ KC, @ BAL, vs OAK, @ CLE, vs GB, vs BAL, @ MIA. I'm saying they beat Cincy this weekend, and then one of two things happen. They either sweep Baltimore, in which case will win out and rest their starters in the last week, as Indy will be 14-1 at the time, or go 1-1 against Baltimore, in which case they don't rest their starters against Miami in Week 17. They are primed to go 13-3. Now, assuming one of those two scenarios plays out, they will be on a 12-1 tear since that 1-2 start. Will be a one loss team (I think 9-1) with Polamalu. Honestly, I am dead scared of them sneaking out the #1 seed under Indy's nose. They will gather all the media attention with their scorching hot play, the return of the best defense in the league and the subtle fact that they won the Super Bowl (that's right, the Steelers won last year. Not the New England Patriots, as you, and Las Vegas, might have heard). This will make them everyone's darling to go into Indianapolis and upset the Colts again. More on that scenario later.

3.) The Cowboys fold late and miss the playoffs, and the Giants take their spot.

I just do not trust them. Sure, they won the Eagles game, but I was not impressed. They got another bullshit Miles Austin TD. How many more weeks can that facade work. I'll say two. In fact, I'll say zero, as I think they will lose in Green Bay this weekend. On the other hands, everyone has seemed to give up on the Giants, on account of their 4 straight losses. Now, everyone was orgasming over the Manning-Bowl possibilities after their 5-0 start. Now, they are not as good as that team, but nowhere near as bad as the 0-4 team. They outplayed the Chargers, they did. That was a good performance. They have alot of tough games ahead, but alot of those games can greatly help their cause if they turn it around. They have Dallas again, in New York. If they win that, they essentially make up two games against the Cowboys, as they would have swept them. They have Atlanta after the bye in New York, another team they should beat and another prime WC competitor. Now, here is the scenario I see playing out. The Giants lose to the Eagles and at Denver, and enter the last weekend 9-6. The Cowboys enter the last weekend, after losing at NY, GB and New Orleans, at 10-5. The Eagles, who lose @ Atlanta and Chicago enter Week 17 at 10-5. Now, here is where it gets interesting. The Eagles play the Cowboys in St. Jerry's Basilica in Week 17 for the division title. The Eagles, in a nice rekindling of last years 44-6 guilliotining, beat the Cowboys in their shrine to win the East. Then, in Minnesota the Vikings and Giants play. The Vikings need the game to clinch the #2 seed, but the more desperate (and honestly, possibly more talented) Giants need it to get it. If the Giants win, they are in, having swept the now 10-6 Cowboys. A desperate Giants team wins it, knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs, and forcing Wade Philips to return to his papaya-fields.

4.) The Saints and Colts both lose, however not where you would expect.

Ok. After that long, long, circuitous one, heres an easy one. Conventional wisdom says that both of these teams hardest tests are against the team defending its perch atop the 16-0 mountain, the Pats. The Pats get the chance this weekend to end the Colts shot at perfection and then the Saints host the Pats on Monday Night two weeks later. However, when you think of the recent teams to threaten the 16-0 threshold (the '08 Titans (10-0). '06 Colts (9-0), '05 Colts (13-0), '03 Chiefs (9-0), and '98 Broncos (13-0)) it is never the obvious team that ends it. In the case of every team, except for the '06 Colts, it was a non-playoff team that ended it (NYJ beat TEN, SD beat IND (05), CIN beat KC, NYG beat DEN). And in the '06 Colts case, it was the 9-7 Broncos, who at the time no one really thought could beat the Colts. It won't be the Pats. When you have teams as good as the Colts and Saints, there is a pride they take in playing home primetime games. Of course, since Indy has only had road games in primetime this year (@ MIA, @ ARZ, @ TEN), I am basing this theory off the old Colts. However, the Saints have hosted the Falcons and beat them up (some late flukey fumbles and onside kicks made it seem much, much closer than the real game itself). They have been great in the dome at night historically (last years 51-24 win over GB, the 06 return to the Dome game). They won't lose to NE on Monday Night. They will be too charged up, and frankly, NE is not good enough defensively to beat them. I say they lose on the road to the Falcons. I say, at that point, Atlanta is 7-5, fighting for its playoff life, while at 12-0 the Saints have locked up the division, and essentially home field. The more desperate team wins in front of its charged up crowd. As for Indianapolis, they too have a pride in night games. Excluding the playoffs, they are a pristine 16-3 in primetime games. The losses were two games pre-Manning recovery in 2008 (vs CHI on opening Sunday Night and @ TEN) and the 6-int game @ SD in 2007, where Vinatieri missed a game-winning 26 yd FG at the gun. They are amazing in night games. They are better than New England, and they will want to show the world this little fact on Sunday Night. Now, I say they will lose @ Houston in Week 12. Houston, which I say will be 6-4, will be a desperate ballclub, and will play for their season, against a 10-0 Colts team which has wrapped that division up. I also say the Colts other loss will come in the yearly Sorgi game in Week 17, unless the Steelers win out, and they need that game.
5.) Regardless of the outcome of this week's game, the Bengals are playoff bound.

They are damn, damn good. They probably are not as good as Pittsburgh, especially against a suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh defense in Heinz. Say they lose to Pittsburgh, as I predict they will, and they drop to 6-3. They have a two-game tough road trip in Weeks 14-15, with trips to San Diego. Now, they are good enough to sweep that, but say they split, they go to 7-4. Here are their other five games: @ OAK, vs CLE, vs DET, vs KC, @ NYJ. That is beautiful. That is absolutely stunning. Considering the lack of true playoff contenders, 11-5 is almost assuredly good enough to get to the playoffs, so they can even throw up a stinkbomb in that group. Considering this team has swept a good Baltimore team, already beaten Pittsburgh, crushed the Bears and gone into Lambeau and beaten the Pack, I think its safe to say they will take care of business against this week schedule. Carson, welcome back to the scene of the crime 4 years ago. I just hope that he gets more than 2 plays this time.

6.) Regardless of the outcome of this week's game, the Colts will have home field.

I already detailed why I think the Colts will win this weekend, but for humor's sake, say they lose. It will be a travesty. However, the Pats would still have a tough slate, including a trip to New Orleans, which I say they lose, which puts them at best 13-3. Now, the Colts would be 8-1. They don't really have two tough games left. The trip to Baltimore (a team they totally own - and I mean tyranny own) and a home game against Denver (a team they own to a level that makes the Baltimore games look competitive) as their only hard tests other than the possible loss @ Houston. Even if they lose that game to Houston, they can still sweek the other games, putting them at 14-2. That is good enough for the top spot, and that is if they lose to New England, which I don't think they do. This is a great, great time to be a Colts fan, a full two games up on the whole entire conference. I would caution Colts fans that they had a 2 game lead on the entire conference in 2006 (they were 8-0, BAL, SD and NE were all 6-2). They ended up going 4-4 and getting the three seed. I would also like to uncaution Colts fans by saying that was the year the Colts won the Super Bowl. It's all gravy in naptown.

7.) Passing numbers heavily decrease, and go back to normal year's standards.

Bear with me on this one. Right now, Manning is on pace for 5050 yds, Schaub for 4700, Brady for 4700, Brees for 4670, Ben for 4600, and Flacco, Rodgers, Warner, Rivers, Cutler and Romo on pace for over 4000. The 11 players over 4000 would break the 2007 record of 7. It is getting ridiculous. Total Yardage by teams is not up, and neither is scoring, but passing yardage is skyrocketing. Making this weirder is that just last year, passing was relatively down from 2006-2007. I see nearly every QB's pace going down (with the possible exception of Brees and Schaub). Cutler, Brady, Rodgers, Ben and surprisingly Warner all have mutliple games in cold weather places. Teams like New England, New Orleans, Minnesota, Arizona, Indianapolis could rest starters, which limit passing yardage. This is the biggest untold story of the year. The total increase of passing numbers. What will also assuage this is the historical fact of numbers decreasing over the second half, as injuries pile up, and film on teams passing games increase. December and January are for the runner. Honestly, I will be stunned if Ben, Flacco and Cutler are still over 4000 at the end of the year. All the other have realistic to bear certain shots at the number. It is still alot, but expect passing numbers to go down.

8.) There will be 4 teams that go 3-13 or worse.

This is depressing to even write. I'm too lazy to go back historically to see if this has ever happened before. However, we have the following teams at one loss: DET, KC, CLE, STL, TB. I say only one of those teams wins three games in the second half. Who is that team? God only knows, but having all five stay this awful is just impossible. It is a sad, sad day when the list of crap awful teams is this long, but that is what we find ourselves in in 2009.

9.) The Minnesota @ Arizona game decides the #2 seed in the NFC.

This is probably one of my bigger shockers. Minnesota is swimming smoothly at 7-1, with three easy games up coming (and when I say easy, I mean DET, SEA, CHI all at home). Now, I wouldn't be stunned if they lose the Chicago game at home, but either way, even if they are 10-1, they are not a shoo-in for the two seed, let alone the top seed. They have a brutal last five games, starting with the showdown against Zona. Now, leaving out that game, they play CIN, @CHI, @ CAR, NYG in the last four weeks. I see 2-2 in that stretch. I see them losing to a desperate NYG team (detailed in point 2) and one of the other three. Going to Carolina, against a team that prides itself on playing spoiler in some years, or even Chicago, fighting for its playoff life are both tough. Cincinnatti is good enough to beat Minnesota in Minnesota. I say they go 2-2 (not sure which is the other loss from the first three, but it happens, OK). That puts them at 12-3. Arizona, on the other hand has really no truly diffucult game other than the Minnesota game. Honestly, if they run the table, I would not be overly shocked. These are their other 7 remaining games: vs SEA, @ STL, @ TEN, @ SF, @ DET, vs STL, vs GB. They get the luck of playing the last two at home (although they have been strangely better at home). Now, the one that stares out at me is the game @ Tennessee. Tennessee will be in full fight mode, and they, much like Carolina to Minnesota, are a proud team that has the ability (as seen in 2008) to beat them. However, I cannot see them dropping more than one of those games. So, if they go 7-0 or 6-1, they are essentially 12-3 or 11-4 outside of the Minnesota game. Amazingly, with Minnesota at 12-3 and Arizona at 12-3 or 11-4, its purely winner take all. No matter what record Arizona has, that game is for the #2 seed. People may be totally engulfed in Favre-mania, but it may be the other old QB that gets the better of him, and lead the resurgent Cards into a first-round bye. If you told most people now that the game in three weeks would be that important, they would most certainly laugh at you. But, with the relative easiness of the Cards sked against the relative diffuculty of the Vikings, its just that. A hidden, but super important game.

10.) The Colts and Saints defy the odds and make the Super Bowl

Here were the best teams by conference at the midway-point this past decade
2008: TEN (8-0); NYG (7-1)
2007: NE (8-0); DAL & GB (7-1)
2006: IND (8-0); CHI (7-1)
2005: IND (8-0); SEA, NYG, CAR (6-2)
2004: PIT (7-1); PHI (7-1)
2003: KC (8-0); CAR & MIN (6-2)
2002: DEN & SD (6-2), GB (7-1)
2001: MIA, PIT, OAK (6-2); STL (7-1)
2000: TEN & OAK (7-1), STL (7-1)

What strikes you about this list is that alot of these teams did nothing come playoff time. Ironically, all the teams in 2002 and 2008 did not win a playoff game. The only year when the two teams both made it to the Super Bowl was 2006 with the Colts and Bears. Also, only the 2007 Pats, 2005 Hawks, 2004 Eagles, 2003 Panthers and 2001 Rams made it. That means of the 26 teams that either had or tied for the best record in their conference through 8 games, only 8 made the Super Bowl. That means odds are the Colts and Saints don't make it. Well, fuck logic. The Saints, with all their competitors having either hard schedules (MIN) or multiple losses (DAL, PHI, ARZ), are almost assured of that #1 seed (if not 16-0), and they will be unbeateable in that dome come January. There is still the karmic overtone of Katrina. Also, it may have taken three extra years, but they will finally fullfill all the promise they showed in 2006. As for the Colts. One, I am a Colts fan, but two, they two are great in their dome. They have a two-game lead over everyone. This weekend should show you that they can beat New England without guys who presumably will be there come January. The only team that I feel can dent this is Pittsburgh, but I just feel that we need revenge for the Bettis Fumble game. It is happening, people. The exact Super Bowl that everyone wanted in 2006 (seriously, fuck the Bears and Rex Grossman) we will finally get.


AFC: 1 - Colts (14-2); 2 - Steelers (13-3); 3 - Patriots (12-4); 4 - Broncos (11-5); 5 - Bengals (12-4); 6 - Texans (10-6)

NFC: 1 - Saints (15-1); 2 - Cardinals (12-4); 3 - Vikings (12-4); 4 - Eagles (11-5); 5 - Giants (10-6); 6 - Falcons (10-6)

Wild Card Round
AFC: Texans 31 @ Patriots 27; Bengals 24 @ Broncos 16
NFC: Falcons 20 @ Vikings 31; Giants 14 @ Eagles 27

Divisional Round
AFC: Bengals 17 @ Steelers 20; Texans 21 @ Colts 38
NFC: Vikings 27 @ Cardinals 21; Eagles 17 @ Saints 30

Championship Games
AFC: Steelers 13 @ Colts 24
NFC: Vikings 24 @ Saints 37

Super Bowl XLIV
Colts 34 Saints 24 MVP: Manning

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings

32.) St. Louis Rams (1-7)

Welcome back to the basement, boys. Hope you enjoyed your week in the sun, but its back to the black box underground in the jail. They still don't have any redeeming qualities other than the continued fantasy success of one Steven B. Jackson, which I am exhilerated by right now. Keep it going Steven. Please, please, for the love of God, don't tank at play down to the level of your shitty team.

31.) Cleveland Browns (1-7)

I think ESPN wants a mulligan for putting them on MNF next week. ESPN really has been awfully lucky with their MNF games. Except for the Philly @ Washington game two weeks ago, all their MNF games have either been close or between two good teams. I'm pretty sure the world-wide leader is having a collective hemorrhage just thinking about a Baltimore-Cleveland game. Honestly, they should just put a running loop of PTI's and that would be alot more popular.

30.) Detroit Lions (1-7)

How do you jump up by 17 and still lose, and not only lose, but not cover a 10 point line. That's really something special. Vegas should give them all a week in the penthouse of the Wynn, because their ineptness just gave Vegas about a trillion dollars. Honestly, they are special.

29.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-7)

Larry Johnson is done. Man, I feel old. I remember when Larry Johnson was a beast (in a great football way, not a racist homophobic-bashing way), and that was a full 4 years ago. Those were the days, before everyone thought San Diego was the most talented team and before people said things like "Your 2008 NFC Champions: the Arizona Cardinals!!!". Those were the days.

28.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7)

Impressive win. Josh Freeman played quite well. That was a man-up performance. Honestly, as a Raider fan, I just die another death when I see another rookie starting QB play approxamately 40 times better than JaMarcus. Honestly, what are the chances that we get the worst 1st round QB since Joey Harrington. Seriously, Josh Fucking Freeman is better?? Really?? Yes, yes he is.

27.) Washington Redskins (2-6)

I'll give them credit for being competitive against the Falcons. Of course, they waited until they were down 24-3 to show up, but they did show up, even without Chris Cooley and Portis out for much of the game. On a semi-unrelated note, was I the only one who thought the LaRon Landry shove of Matt Ryan was not nearly as bad and dirty as it was made out to be??

26.) Buffalo Bills (3-5)

Worst 3-5 team of all time. Absolute worst. They are good for 6 good games a year, but they have an odd propensity to lose 6-3 games to really shitty teams. No, Buffalo, I did not forget about that shitstain against the Browns.

25.) Oakland Raiders (2-6)

Ohh, I love these Chiefs games, because I can feel like I am watching a real NFL team in the Raiders. Of course, it would be better if Darren McFadden decided to take out the tampon and actually play a game. But I'll take the small steps first. God, I love the Chiefs.

24.) San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

They've lost 4 straight. Not so coincedently, all of those games came after they signed Michael Crabtree. Now, Michael Crabtree may be a fucking Anaconda, or whatever the media makes him out to be, but sadly he has not yet won a professional football team. Not even a singular one. Mike Singletary may need to pull down the pants again. Also, for all the talk about the Alex Smith resurgence, he's 0-2 as a starter.

23.) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)

This is not a .500 team. What is sad is they, incredibly, have legitimate playoff aspirations. I think those aspirations will end when they realize that they have yet to beat an actual good team. They can make a statement if they go to the Meadowlands and win a game. Nothing much to say about them. They are average, they are boring and they will NOT make the playoffs.

22.) Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

I would love this team to be better. They have good fans, who whether the rain constantly. They also whether the most injury-plagued team of all-time, and what seems like a real dipshit as a head coach. Jim Mora has done absolutely nothing to deserve a second job. Nothing.

21.) Tennessee Titans (2-6)

They hit their rock bottom (the fucking Marinas Trench of rock bottoms, with that give up 59-0 game) and they've climbed back to respectable spoiler. They have tough games, so they don't really have a shot at the unbelievable 9-7 playoff bearth, but they believe they do. Vince Young is prefecting the game manager role (another guy that makes me cry when I think of him vs. Russell. Honestly, I thought I could always fall back on the fact that Russell was not a basket-case like VY). Also, this just in. Chris Johnson is amazing.

20.) New York Jets (4-4)

They are just not that good. Honestly, I am so ashamed that after this weekend either they or Jacksonville will be over .500. If there ever should be a mandated tie game in the NFL. Both of those teams are so pleasantly mediocre it is really fun. Also, it seems like a ice age ago that this team took it to New England. I guess its good, as Bart Scott has finally learned what the mute button does.

19.) Chicago Bears (4-4)

Oh my God. They have been so bad recently on defense that it has masked the fact that Jay Cutler was really, really good last week. And that is why I don't have them lower (or higher, depending on your viewpoint). They can be great. They can be a 10-6 playoff team. Of course this is assuming that Matt Forte realizes that the season has started and he wakes up from his first-half hibernation.

18.) Carolina Panthers (3-5)

I'm back on the "They may make a miracle wildcard push". Those were the real Panthers the last 2 weeks. Good enough on defense and passing, and explosively awesome enough at rushing that they can beat anyone. Anyone. They easily could have beaten New Orleans. Now, it seems like we say that alot these days, but they played with them in the Dome, which no one has done. Impressive job by John Fox keeping this team focused, and impressive job by Steve Smith for not punching out Delhomme.

17.) Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

If Bart Scott was still a Raven, he probably would smack me in the nads for putting them this low. However, what choice do I have. They looked lifeless against the Bengals. They reverted back to the 2004-2005 Ravens, a good defensive team that will hold the opponent from 14-24 points, but whose offense sucks. Now, I have been saying for weeks that their offense was smoke and mirrors early. That they had little offensive talent. Finally, I am being vindicated. That was a pitiful offensive performance. Somewhere, Brian Billick is jumping for joy, and Trent Dilfer is smiling a fucking chesire cat grin.

16.) Miami Dolphins (3-5)

They are still the best 3-5 team in NFL history. They played step-to-step with the Pats, but just made one critical mistake of not doubling Moss. Other than that, and more drops by Ted "What are these things at the end of my forearms. Why are they made of granite?" Ginn, they could have beaten the Pats. Still, no one has played Indy or New Orleans close. They are good. Watch out next year, when Henne gets better.

15.) Green Bay Packers (4-4)

If they could just block, and if Aaron Rodgers could just break the "I have to hold the ball for 10 seconds or I will suffer the wrath of Zeus" curse that has been hexed upon him, they would be great. Their defense was not all to bad against the Bucs. They gave up 14 points off ST and and INT-return, and Tampa had a short field all day. They are what they are. A good team, with one glaring, enormous, elephant-sized flaw.

14.) San Diego Chargers (5-3)

That was the most impressive and simultaneously un-impressive win ever. Sure, they finally showed some emotion with their last second TD for the win, but they still were outplayed and should have lost. That win said alot more about the Giants than the Chargers. Now, if they beat a quality team again, with Philly going to SD this week, then, after dodging the lightning bolt signifying the end of the world, I will move them up.

13.) Atlanta Falcons (5-3)

Quietly, they are the 5 seed if the playoffs started today. Now, I would absolutely pick them to lose that opening playoff game, and I would bet every single penny I ever made on it, but still. They are a team that is really flying under the radar, which is shocking considering they have everyone's orgasm of the year in Matt Ryan.

12.) New York Giants (5-4)

Call me a believer. We will hear from them again. Now, what we may hear is the cry of a gap-toothed Strahan saying how much the team needs him, or the cry of Tom Coughlin as the team becomes only the first team to completely strike out at a field-goal attempt in NFL history, but its still something. They cannot be this bad.

11.) Houston Texans (5-4)

They are the best 4 loss team in the NFL. Their loss to Jacksonville is inexplicable, although a very questionable call negating a touchdown did not help. Their loss at Arizona is more explicable, as Arizona is a better team. They hung tough with Indy, after being thoroughly outplayed in the first half. They had me sweating. They will make the playoffs, and also, Matt Schaub is not going to get hurt. It's just not going to happen. So, for all you fantasy guys who used the "Schaub always gets hurt logic" suck on my dick. I believed in him.

10.) Philadelphia Eagles (5-3)

Andy Reid should get chastised for that field-goal call. That was pointless. However, the second challenge, on the McNabb sneak, was not. How that was not overturned is beyond me. He easily picked up the three chain-links he needed for a first down. Sometimes, I think all the refs do is watch a porno when they go over to "review" a call.

9.) Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

Speaking of pornos..... Tony Romo and Miles Austin are both quite good Porno names. Especially the last name of Romo. Anyway, they are playing really well right now. Except, really do you trust them? Many people will have them above Arizona, but really, if those two played tomorrow, I'll pick Arizona, whether the game was in Glendale or the St. Jerry's Basilica. It's just a matter of time before Romo shows those true INT-machine colors.

8.) Arizona Cardinals (5-3)

If they just learned how to win at home, they would be special. They have the second-highest peak of any NFC team behind only the Saints. They can be amazing if they want to. Larry Fitzgerald astounds me every week. His hands are basically vacuum gloves. You get the feeling like Kurt Warner could just heave up a Frozen Turky into the sky, shooting it out of a canon, and Fitz would get it.

7.) Denver Broncos (6-2)

Let's not overreact to the last two games. Baltimore was playing for its life, and Pittsburgh is just better. They still have enough easy games (hello Kansas City, Washington and Kansas City again!!!!) to win that division. They are still a good team, they just got outclassed yesterday. Of course, I could just be saying all this because I, for the life of me, do not want any part of the Chargers come playoff time.

6.) New England Patriots (6-2)

So, Tom Brady says Joey Porter trash-talk motivated him and his team. Thank God for that motivation, because had Joey Porter not opened his mouth, I guess the Pats would have lost. If that was the Pats extra-motivated in a big game then I fear for their future. Honestly, they were playing an average team at home, starting two rookie CBs and a second-year QB and you were trailing late in the 3rd quarter. Call me not impressed.

5.) Cincinnatti Bengals (6-2)

Now, that WAS impressive. Sweeping Baltimore is big, regardless of how good Baltimore is. Division games are always harder. Honestly, even if they lose this game against the Steelers, they have the best medicine coming up after for a loss like that. It is called the "OAK-DET-CLE" trifect. 9-3 Here we come. They will be a loud out in the postseason. I do not really want them in Indy either.

4.) Minnesota Vikings (7-1)

It feels like they have not played in years. However, maybe that is because I have trained myself to just block out all discussions of one Brett Favre and replace those memories with running loops of Dolphins jumping through Rainbows. Honestly, they will probably cruise to 10-1 with three straight home games coming up, but they have a murderous end to the season. Couple that with their inevitebly getting "late-season Favre suckiness" syndrome, and this could get interesting for their home-field advantages/bye chances.

3.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Finally, the true Steelers emerged last night. That was the performance I have been expecting from this team all year. Honestly, anyone who does not think Ben is one of the top-5 QBs is just plain stupid or in denial. He is amazing. That defense is amazing. They have won 5 straight, and show no signs of slowing down. Plus, those were two semi-fluky losses. They have a realistic shot at 13-3, assuming they win the showdown with Cincy and split against Baltimore. Watch the fuck out for the defending champs.

2.) Indianapolis Colts (8-0)

Still, they are better. They are the best team in the AFC. Even if they lose to New England, its hard to see them not getting the top seed, with only two real hard games left (@ HOU, vs DEN). They are better than the team that played the last two weeks. Believe me, and you will after Sunday Night. We have not yet seen the best of the 2009 Indianapolis Colts.

1.) New Orleans Saints (8-0)

And we have not seen the best of the 2009 Saints. The Greatest Show on Turf comparison just gets more and more accurate. They honestly don't care about turnovers, or trailing. They know, and you know they know, that they will make a run. They will score and score alot. They can come back at any time. They can force you to make mistakes and are at a historic pace of returning turnovers to the hizz-ouse. They are amazing.

Playoff Projections

1.) Colts 14-2
2.) Steelers 12-4
3.) Patriots 12-4
4.) Broncos 11-5
5.) Bengals 11-5
6.) Texans 10-6

1.) Saints 15-1
2.) Cardinals 12-4 (more on this later)
3.) Vikings 12-4
4.) Eagles 11-5
5.) Falcons 10-6
6.) Giants 10-6

About Me

I am a man who will go by the moniker dmstorm22, or StormyD, but not really StormyD. I'll talk about sports, mainly football, sometimes TV, sometimes other random things, sometimes even bring out some lists (a lot, lot, lot of lists). Enjoy.