Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 13 Power Rankings

Well, I still have not gotten over the Colts de-balling the Chargers laid upon them. I don't even care if that it was the Chargers who did it. They deserved to win the game (unlike their wins in the 2007 and 2008 playoffs). They were the (much) better team. Here we go, a quick version as I need to go back to studying, of the Power Rankings

32.) Carolina Panthers (1-10)

Fear not, Panthers fans. The Panthers went 1-15 in 2001. Two years later they were in the Super Bowl. So, when Super Bowl XLVII kicks off in February 2013, don't be surprised to see Matt Moore throwing lobs to David Gettis.

31.) Arizona Cardinals (3-8)

That was a despicable performance. I am very surprised that Derek Anderson's outburst to a dick of a reporter was given as much airtime as it was. Who gives a shit? The Cardinals suck. Can't their players laugh about it at least?

30.) Detroit Lions (2-9)

They might be the "best 2-9 team in NFL history" but they still are 2-9 and let a winnable game get away. Honestly, nothing was better than first seeing the score of the Pats-Lions game as 14-3 Detroit. What the hell happened, Lions?

29.) Denver Broncos (3-8)

So the Broncos get caught videotaping another teams actual practice and there is no public outcry. Even the biggest Patriots hater in, well, NYU thinks that this is unfair to the Pats. There at least needs to be one senator to ask for a congressional hearing.

28.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-9)

Eight straight losses. When they started 2-1, I really thought this team would be what I thought it was. Instead, it was worse than what anyone thought it would be. There were people who did not like the Bengals heading into the season, but even they would have thought the teams would be better than 2-9.

27.) San Francisco 49ers (4-7)

They are just one week removed from being shutout at home. Even Bill Walsh would say that the 49ers would be one of the least deserving playoff teams in the history of the NFL.

26.) Buffalo Bills (2-9)

Steve Johnson should honestly stop crying. At the end of the 2010 season, the Bills will still suck, even if Johnson caught that pass. Plus, no one will remember Johnson's drop, but remember the fact that he swung a shitload of fantasy leagues with his great season.

25.) Dallas Cowboys (3-8)

I know I am setting myself up here by putting them this low, but I still don't think they are all that good. Their defense, espeically pass defense, is still abhorrently bad, which is not good when facing Peyton Manning who might finally get some people back.

24.) Washington Redskins (5-6)

That was just a flat performance. They lose close games (apart from that clusterfuck on Monday Night a couple weeks back) which is probably more maddening for their fans. It was nice to see Albert Haynesworth do something other than eat beef.

23.) Cleveland Browns (4-7)

In Bill Belichick's first year in New England, they went 5-11, and in the second he unearthed essentially a rookie named Tom Brady. In Eric Mangini's first year in Cleveland, they went 5-11, and in the second he unearthed a real rookie named Colt McCoy. Stranger things have happened. Actually, they haven't.

22.) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5)

If they win the division because of a hail mary to win one game and a 59-yard field goal to win another, I will never watch football again. (I am almost serious about that threat). This team's ability to stay around .500 is truly commendable.

21.) Seattle Seahawks (5-6)

What happened to that home field advantage. That division is still their's for the taking if they can win their second game over St. Louis, but holding fort at what usually is one of the league's best home fields would have helped.

20.) Oakland Raiders (5-6)

They still are a massive improvement over any Raiders team since 2002 and I will take it. Also, Darren McFadden's seems to still be affected by that injury. If he keeps putting up crap stats, I would IR him and wait till next year.

19.) Tennessee Titans (5-6)

If Rusty Smith was their starter for the rest of the year, they would be 29, not 19. Also, Chris Johnson oficially should not say another word for the rest of the 2010 season after that pathetic showing against the worst defense in the NFL.

18.) St. Louis Rams (5-6)

A 1-15 had never made the playoffs the following year until the Dolphins did it in 2008. However, they had to go 11-5 in a division with three teams over .500 and the last place team at 7-9. The 1st place team in the NFC West may be 7-9, but the Rams have a chance to be the second team in three years to make the playoffs following a 1-15 season.

17.) Miami Dolphins (6-5)

Speaking of the Dolphins. It was nice to see that vaunted running game, if only for one day, roll an opponent. On the negative side, their pass rush has really diminished the past couple of weeks.

16.) Minnesota Vikings (4-7)

I think they will be a solid team under Frazier. They seem to really love him (unlike Garrett), and there seems to be a distinct possbility that if the Vikings approach the .500 number, Frazier may be coach full time. Me thinks that Jared Allen, the Williami, and co. like that idea.

15.) Houston Texans (5-6)

My biggest fear is the Texans winning out and stealing the division from the Colts. With that in mind, I am SO happy the Texans have to be a road team for a Thursday Game. I am so not happy to hear that Roger "I Bend Over for Owners" Goodell didn't have the decency to suspend Andre Johnson.

14.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)

That was the most impressive loss of the weekend. The Bucs have now hung tough with a good team on the road twice (Atlanta as well). The Bucs used to be a mirage of a team that capitalized on an easy scheduled. Now they are a solid team that is one year away.

13.) Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Matt Cassel's numbers have been amazing of late. Not Dwayne Bowe amazing, but somewhere close. I really want them to win the AFC West, because I love the idea of San Diego being out of the tournament, and love the idea of one of the AFC's Big 4 (NYJ, NE, BAL, PIT) to go to Arrowhead on Wild Card Saturday.

12.) New York Giants (7-4)

Any team that has to come back from 11 down against Jacksonville on the road should be reprimanded for such behavior. That was the weakest I have seen the Giants against the run since the 2006 season.

11.) Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

I guess I don't have to worry about any "rest starters" scenarios in Week 17. Not because the team is not that good to have things locked up, but because the Colts don't have enough players to "rest" people.

10.) San Diego Chargers (6-5)

Over the next five weeks, everyone around everywhere will say "You don't want to play the Chargers in the playoffs". Of course, since they have entered the playoffs with 10, 6, 4 and 11 game winning streaks in the last four years and never even made the Super Bowl, there is always one team that very much would want to play the Chargers.

9.) Philadelphia Eagles (7-4)

Well, I think it is time to reevaluate the stance that Michael Vick is the greatest player on earth. The Bears showed that if you can cover the deep throw, and actually get a rush up the middle (not allowing Vick to step up and run forward, but force him sideways), he is beatable.

8.) Green Bay Packers (7-4)

That was a tough loss, but one that showed that they can hang with the best team in the NFC at home. The Packers are still very much a question mark to even make the playoffs, but with a win over the Eagles and them hosting the Giants, they could get some good wild card draws. Plus, the division is still possibly there's.

7.) New Orleans Saints (8-3)

Quietly, the Saints have had one of the best defenses all year long. This is not like last year, when their defense was great in a "they force a ton of turnovers and do things that are not at all sustainable." Now they are just good, and that is really scary.

6.) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)

Any team that needs the luck of a drop to beat a Bills team in OT, after blowing a 13 point halftime lead to that same Bills team, needs to be dealt with. They are not the 2008 Steelers at all. That team threw the hammer down against the few bad teams they played. That would have been a 31-3 thrashing if that was the 2008 Steelers.

5.) New England Patriots (9-2)

For all the orgasms about their amazing offense, they were still tied entering the 4th quarter. Sure, the Lions self-destructed, and Brady was perfect, but they were still tied entering the 4th quarter. The Patriots defense continues to suck, and as a Colts fan who has had followed teams in pretty much the same circumstances (2003, 2004), it doesn't end well.

4.) Chicago Bears (8-3)

That was the Bears team I expected all year long. That game was not close. The Eagles had good field position early, which helped them even be in that game. Cutler, taking out that Washington game, has 6 picks in 10 games, and has been playing within himself. The defense is starting to lay the smack down. They have the surest tackling defense in the NFL. Barely a missed tackle.

3.) New York Jets (9-2)

I hear all this whining from Pats fans and Jets haters that "The Jets haven't been impressive". So what. Their defense is still very good, and Santonio Holmes is getting better each week. This Monday Night game is the true test of the Jets mettle. In the Brady era, the Jets have actually had more success in Foxboro than in the Meadowlands, so it should be fun.

2.) Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

The only team with no bad losses. All on the road, all by four points or less (one with a losing TD in the last minute and the other in OT). What I love is that the Colts absolutely own this team, so any way I can sign up with a playoff game against the Ravens (whether it be in round 1 or 2) I will take it. Please, football Gods, give us Baltimore.

1.) Atlanta Falcons (9-2)

Matt Ryan is really the next Peyton Manning in terms of his ownership of the game. He will never put up the stats Manning did (or still does). But he has a control of the position I have never seen from a guy so young. He changes plays, he barks signals, he knows where to go with the ball. Most importantly, he is absolute money in two minute situations. Love the guy.

Playoff Projections

1.) Baltimore Ravens 13-3
2.) New York Jets 12-4
3.) San Diego Chargers 11-5
4.) Indianapolis Colts 10-6
5.) New England Patriots 12-4
6.) Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5

1.) Atlanta Falcons 13-3
2.) Chicago Bears 12-4
3.) Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
4.) St. Louis Rams 8-8
5.) New Orleans Saints 12-4
6.) New York Giants 11-5

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rock Bottom

I was happy. I was excited. One possession for each team into last night's game and the Colts had a 7-3 lead with the ball. The offense drove right down the field with throws to running backs and banged home a TD courtesy of a beautiful pass to Jacob Tamme. Rivers and the Chargers bogged down in the red zone and got nothing deep, a win for the Colts. The game was in hand. God, was I wrong. Three hours later I was not mad, just depressed. The Colts were dying in front of me. The "window" is not closed, because the NFL is not the NBA. Teams rise and fall year to year, and just because the Colts might go 10-6 in 2010 does not mean they can't go 13-3 in 2011. However, what the next season holds does not help me. The Colts in 2010 have been worse than a tease. They have turned into a virus that is slowly killing me.

The Colts are one of my teams, and other than the Devils, they have been the most successful. This is probably why what I will write will seem hilariously bitter considering the team is still the favorite to win the AFC South and make the playoffs, again. The Colts had their '12 or more wins each year' streak snapped, at the ludicrous number of 7 (the next highest is four). Peyton Manning is putting up his worst statistical season since 2002, with a QB rating of 91. All that said, the Colts really have been a massive disappointment. Sure, injuries have hurt. Dallas Clark is gone. Joseph Addai has missed longer than anyone hoped. Austin Collie has a lingering concussion. Gary Brackett has missed games. Anthony Gonzalez played six quarters. Bob Sanders has played a three quarters. Still, I expected this team to stay good and stay competitive, and until yesterday, they were.

The Colts kept drawing me in with close explainable, excusable losses. They lost a game where their opponent hit a 59 yarder at the gun to win by three, after the Colts had two fluke turnovers inside the opponents 10 yard line. The Colts lost a game where Michael Vick went all Michael Vick, and they still had a chance to win. The Colts lost a game where they lost the turnover battle by three and still had the ball twenty-five yards away before a tough interception. Those games were close, were defendable. This was not. After the second pick-6 (the one that absolutely should have been called back for an obvious pass interference) the team quit. Reggie Wayne started dropping passes that he usually could catch with his feet. The o-line started sucking ass even more. The run defense wore down, and the pass rush disappeared. For the first time in years, the team quit and were embarrassed, at home. That was the worst home loss in the Manning era, and it felt worse.

Losing a game like the one to New England was tough to deal with, but this loss was different. This is rock bottom (at least what could be considered rock bottom for a team still tied for first place with all winnable games ahead). This is what it is like to be a Lions fan, or a Jaguars fan, or a Browns fan. This was the most depressing loss. I did not need to throw anything, like I did at the end of the Pats game. I did not need to stew on all the fluke plays for hours like I did at the end of the Jaguars game. No, all I needed to do was go into a shell and forget about it.

That game ruined my day, and have really ruined the season. I absolutely do not think the Colts are a team that currently constituted would sniff the conference title game. Not without Addai, or Collie, or Brackett, or Sanders, or Session. However, all those guys may come back, which herein lies the problem. I don't want to be dragged back in, especially when it will probably end with a harrowing loss in Baltimore or Pittsburgh or, God forbid, Foxboro. I want to leave this team, I want to get myself cured of the disease of the 2010 Colts, a team that simply, with the injuries, are not good enough. They might become good enough, they might get those guys back, they might miraculously get Bob Sanders to stay healthy. They might win the Super Bowl, but I don't care anymore. I, just like the Colts, have hit rock bottom.

I will say that the Colts win never make it easy. The years where everything goes right (2005, 2009) always goes the same: some tough event in the end of the year that shakes things up (Tony Dungy's son's suicide in 2005 and the Week-16 pulling of starters at 14-0 in 2009), followed by a loss in the playoffs. The one year that really nothing was going right was 2006. The run defense was absolutely ridiculously bad, giving up 176 yards a game (yes, that is right, 176 yards). Bob Sanders was oft injured. The team had no real third wide receiver and Dwight Freeney was in a two-year malaise. That team ended up beating the first, second and third scoring defenses in the NFL on the way to the Super Bowl. Hey, you never know. That year had the other abhorrently embarrassing performance, a sullen 17-44 loss in Jacksonville, and the team was at rock bottom. No one really thought they were any good heading into the playoffs. It will be the same thing if the Colts enter the playoffs at 10-6 as the AFC 4th seed. The Colts today are at rock bottom. Very often, the eventual Super Bowl Champion hits a rock bottom point during the season, one where everyone around the medias say "This team has No Shot of winning it all". This is that moment, and the Colts might dig themselves out of this. I just might be too sick of them to truly care.

Blog Update

Yes, I have not posted picks the last three weeks. The first week of the three I actually made picks but didn't have time to post them. Other than that, I have no excuse. I probably won't do picks for a big reason. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that the Colts are going through a disastrous (for their standards) season. It has more to do with my impending trip to India for weddings and other things starting on December 22nd and going until January 20th. This means I am missing the last two weeks of the season, and what's worse, the first two weeks of the playoffs. I might still be able to catch the games, but writing about them, breaking them down, and all of that might be difficult. This was a big problem before the season started. I was worried about missing the playoffs. Now, with the Colts in flames and the Pats somehow 9-2 despite being outgained by 600 yards, I am looking forward to being disconnected from the NFL for a while. Anyway, I am here to say that I might do power rankings, but no more picks. With four finals coming up within two weeks and me not being there for the conclusion of the regular season, it just is not worth it.

Instead, I am taking whatever time I have on the blog to write about other stuff. I still have to do Stories for 2008 and 2009, and reveal my pick for the Player of the Decade. I will also do some other Decadium related things. It should be interesting to see if I can really distance myself from the NFL. The NFL, and the Colts in general, have been as addicting and hard to let go of as crack (I am assuming). I am going to try my best.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Sitcom of the 2000s: Arrested Development

"It Ain't Easy Being Bright"

What was the best sitcom of the 2000s? Annyong, Mr.F?!?! The answer is obvious. It is the show that for three years was as "stable as a table" in its humor, turned "illusions" (not tricks) all the time, and was as straight as Tobias for 53 episodes. Now, it is time I "lay my sweet crown upon her head."

So, sit back, grab a bucket of candy beans, bite into a sweet Bluth Frozen Banana, make a trip to Tiny-Town, hire a surrogate to attend meetings for you, put up your hair, and your glasses, act frightened by acting like an angry old coot, visit Dorothy in prison, pick up Stan Sitwell's "Just Woke Up" hair, put "Annhog" in the trunk, do a chicken dance, pop in your copy of "Franklin Comes Alive" [I can keep this going longer...], look for "Hermano", deal some seals, buy some diamond cream, watch out for a "looseseal", be aware of hop-on's, get a margarita made in your mouth at Senor Tadpoles, never be seen nor heard at the Milford Academy, and of course, "Always Leave a Note."

There were shows that were more popular. Hell, there were shows that were exponentially more popular, more watched and more profitable. No sitcom will ever reach the 20 million viewers plateau like Friends and Seinfeld did, but some got to double digits (Two and a Half Men, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory). Arrested Development rarely cracked five million. Arrested Development's viewership was so bad that FOX cut the second season from 22 episodes to 18, and then not only cut the 3rd season to 13 episodes, but presented the last four in a 2-hour block running against the opening of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, basically as filler. None of that matters. It doesn't matter that the show lasted three seasons, two of which were truncated, and was unceremoniously ushered out while everyone was watching something else. No, what matters was that no comedy was better written, better acted, better produced, and purely just better than Arrested Development. It is the best sitcom of the 2000s, and it is not really all that close.

One of the show's more famous gags, the Chicken Dance was a running joke to perfection

In fact, I am truthfully happy that Arrested Development ended after three seasons and 53 episodes, because its short life-span never gave it the chance to grow stale. The biggest problem any sitcom has is that the longer it goes, the more old it gets. Nostalgia is TV's biggest enemy, as what happened in Season 1 or Season 2 of a series always seems better than what happens in Season 6 and 7. Of course, usually that is the case because the show runs out of great ideas (Seinfeld, to a point), or every character becomes a pointed caricature of themselves (Friends). Arrested Development never got the chance, and although I think if anyone could have kept new ideas going for eight seasons, Mitch Hurwitz and the Arrested Development guys were it. Each episode was brilliant. Each episode was funny, and not just ha-ha funny, but funny to a deeper level, something never really seen in comedy. It was smart funny, it was layered funny, it was the focused man's funny.

The reason Arrested Development is so great is because there is just so much to love. The cast goes nine deep, legitimately. There's the patriarchal sarcasm of George Bluth (who the actor, Jeffrey Tambor, doubled with his hippie twin brother Oscar), the even bitterer sarcasm of mother Lucille Bluth (one of the funniest female characters in the history of television, based on pure humor), the deadpan humor of Michael Bluth, the timing and delivery based humor of magician GOB, the just silly humor of socialite Linsday, the double-entendre genius of Tobias, the awkward humor of Buster, and the two kids, who are as funny as everyone else. There were nine lead roles, and all were written well and acted well. No show ever starred more people, and shows who had far fewer main characters didn't even share the humor as well among all of them. For example, for all that Modern Family has done right in its year and a half on TV, the one thing it is starting to struggle with is splitting airtime between 10 characters. It already seems to rotate the spotlight between houses each week. Arrested Development had the problem, but had a solution. It almost is unthinkable how amazing Arrested Development was at incorporating nine characters and never making it seem like there were too many. It is hard to have a favorite character. Their all tied, because they were all brilliant.

He wasn't the best character, but he may have been the funniest

Then there are the jokes (and more jokes, and jokes). The sheer volume and depth of the jokes enhances the show as a whole, as it makes Arrested Development among the most rewatchable shows ever. Every time you watch an episode, one more joke will show up, something you never noticed before. Whether it be that in the episode "Spring Breakout" Tobias is always shown coming out of a fireplace, or that in "Notapusy", when Rita falls over, she covers up part of the banner "Wee Britain" revealing "Wee Brain", or the amazing amount of references foreshadowing the impending loss of Buster's arm. No line was read without a meaning attached. There was no wasted time in any of the episodes. There were episodes of Friends that did not have many jokes. There were strings of episodes in the Office's later seasons that were not funny. There wasn't a string of five minutes in any episode of Arrested Development that did not contain a joke. If you think there were, rewatch it. You will find one, guaranteed.

Herein lied the biggest problem with Arrested Development. It was too broad. The viewer had to search to uncover all the jokes. With the vast amount of callbacks (like the cornballer, or Kitty being "horrible, disgusting thing", or Senor Tadpoles) Arrested Development was not a show that someone could enter during the middle of Season 2 and understand what was going on. No, it required time and attention, but for the one's that did, or the ones that wanted too, the reward was the greatest package of "funny" in sitcoms in the decade.

Didn't think that clip was all that funny? The joke lies in the numbers.

Arrested Development was never going to be as mainstream as a show that never tried to bring things from its past, or one that highlighted its jokes with sex, or laughtracks. No, it was a show that was loyal to its viewers, viewers that wanted to not only laugh, but think as well. The Arrested Development viewer was a treasure hunter, and each episode was an old, buried ship that required multiple dives to find it all. Arrested Development did not try to reinvent the format of a sitcom, like The Office (a show that has forever been overrated, both in its humor and in its originality). It was a show that took a traditional sitcom format (a dysfunctional family), and added enhancers all over the place. There was nothing that Arrested Development did not want to tackle, whether it be the (rampant) incest, or its own unsuccessful run on television (just watch the episodes Save Our Bluth's and watch self-aware humor at its best), or even the prison system.

Annyong's best moment. This one is a little soft, so turn the volume up.

However, this underscores the a truth rarely talked about when discussing Arrested Development: not only is it the smartest funniest show, it is the funniest show in the normal sense as well. Even the obvious humor is the best of the decade, whether it be Lindsay and Lucille's fight at Klimpy's, or Tobias becoming Dorothy, and singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow, there's another Rainbow" or even the surrogate. Arrested Development was even the king of straight in-your-face comedy, being able to get a laugh at will when necessary. Arrested Development's humor was 75% hidden, or presented through double meanings, or wordplay, or timing, or callbacks, but that other 25% of just situational humor was still as good as it gets.

One of the funniest moments in the show, that gave us "Tiny Town" and the epic line "God Knows They're squinters"

Arrested Development may or may not come back as a movie in the next couple of years (I, for one, don't want it too, as it could ruin what was a perfect show), but it still lives on. The internet has spurred the popularity of the show far further than television ever did. It probably has more short clips than any other show on Youtube. Seemingly 40% of all blog usernames are some variation of an Arrested Development joke. Loyal viewers can have a conversation of just alternating lines from the show for hours on end without stopping (that is a good thing, in a way). Arrested Development is probably the most popular show to last less than five seasons ever, and it merits that accomplishment. It also probably holds the record for the difference between the buzz it generated, and the actual viewers. But this is not a contest of viewership, or even overall popularity. A sitcom's main goal is to be funny, to entertain, and Arrested Development did that better than any show since Seinfeld. Every episode was a 30 minute collection of absolute brilliance in writing and acting. The show didn't do anything new, but just pushed the medium as far as it could go currently. Arrested Development has been off the air for almost five years now, and it is still as relevant as it was the day it left air, and it will continue to be for years. Arrested Development, in all its glory, was the best sitcom of the 2000s, and at 53 episodes, is the most watchable sitcom, and its brilliance lies in the fact that it is the most rewatchable as well.

The ones that just missed the cut (these are all shows that I have seen every episode of, and I think are right up there.... I have never seen Community, or Parks, or Flight of the Choncords, and Curb seems way too much like Seinfeld to merit a spot).

- Chappelle's Show

It overtook Saturday Night Live as the best sketch comedy of the decade, and like Arrested Development, was weirdly better served by lasting for such a short period of time. The show probably wasn't as consistently good as it is remembered as being (it did have its down episodes), but at its best, Chappele's Show was the funniest thing on television, and did more to tear down racial barriers than anything else on TV in the 2000s. The most memorable thing it did was probably give Rick James something to be remembered for by a whole new generation, but it also put one of the best comedians of our time into a new spotlight. When Dave Chappelle mysteriously walked away from 50 million to end the show after two seasons, a lot of people thought he was crazy. Chappelle later said that he walked away because he thought people were starting to laugh at him, and not with him. The show was its best when the viewer could laugh along with Dave, laugh along at the incredible density of our culture, so Chappelle's Show might have ended at the perfect time.

Two of my favorite clips for Chappelle's Show, showing Dave at his best. First putting the term "Rick James, Bitch" into comic history, and then pulling his best political act yet.

- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The best Seinfeld since Seinfeld, Always Sunny (as it is more affectionately called) had the luxury of being able to swear, but had the ills of being relegated to FX (not noted for their comedies). Still running as strong as ever six years later, "The Gang" is about where it started: a self-absorbed, petty, vindictive bunch that is as funny as anything currently on television. The addition of Danny DeVito in Season 2 hasn't been perfect, but it is hard to envision the show without it. The fact that the first Season was only seven episodes long now makes the pre-DeVito era seem strange. The writing of the show is great, and Dee has been able to become the 2000s answer to Elaine, showing again that the best way to write a woman is write her as a pseudo-man (unless you are Arrested Development, and you have Lucille). Of course, the show has started to push the boundaries of what it was starting with the musical episode that ended Season 4, but the show is still as relevant as ever, mainly because the characters haven't changed. Weirdly, the actual actors' appearance never seems to change either.

Nothing really embodies the show more than Day Man and Night Man.

- How I Met Your Mother

No show combined, and possibly still combines, emotion and comedy like How I Met Your Mother. That is why we fell in love with the five late-20-year-olds from New York. Of course, Barney had become the best-written sidekick until the team made him into too big of a major player, and the actual story of meeting the mother might be lost at times, but that doesn't make it any less good at pulling our emotional heartstrings right after pulling our legs. Also, few shows have done a better job of expanding its media base. How I Met Your Mother is the leader in the clubhouse of using the internet (not as many recently, but HIMYM has created eight different websites on the show that they later created on the real internet, like "ihatetedmosby.com, or "barneysvideoresume.com". They have also perfected using music. They had the musical crescendo of "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit" to end their 100th episode, and also great character of Robin Sparkles. At its best, no traditional sitcom was more creative, and none could make you tear up laughing and crying at the same time the way How I Met Your Mother could.

Barney's best moments.... and then arguably the show's best (at least in showing off its uniqueness)

'Till Next Time.

Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

They are ranked so low..........

32.) Carolina Panthers (1-8)

Because I am still embarrassed that I thought this could be a playoff sleeper.

31.) Detroit Lions (2-7)

Because due to all the optimism they are a major disappointment.

30.) Buffalo Bills (1-8)

Because winning one game by two points at home to a 2-6 team is not a great achievement.

29.) Arizona Cardinals (3-6)

Because even though they are in a division where 5-4 is the best record, they don't really have any hope of the playoffs.

28.) Denver Broncos (3-6)

Because they are still the team that lost 59-14 at home.

27.) Dallas Cowboys (3-6)

Because winning one game doesn't erase giving up 121 points in the previous three.

26.) San Francisco 49ers (3-6)

Because they might somehow make the playoff and that will be a travesty.

25.) Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)

Because they again are over .500 but no one thinks they can sniff the playoffs.

24.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-7)

Because they long for the days when "Carson Palmer is awful" since they were at least winning back then.

23.) Minnesota Vikings (3-6)

Because Tarvaris Jackson doesn't look so bad now, Chilly?

22.) St. Louis Rams (4-5)

Because that was a loss they never should have lost, and their playoff chances are now a question.

21.) Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)

Because they were who we thought they were.

20.) Seattle Seahawks (5-4)

Because with Matt Hasselbeck they have a chance, but with Whitehurst they have a chance... to lose by 40.

19.) Washington Redskins (4-5)

Because that was the most embarrassing home game in the history of Monday Night Football.

They are ranked so averagely....

18.) Cleveland Browns (3-6)

Because They are the best 3-6 team in the NFL, and just 9 days ago slaughtered the team that everyone loves now.

17.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)

Because they have lasted long enough that the playoffs are now a real possibility.

16.) Miami Dolphins (5-4)

Because Tony Sparano probably never thought that his QB roullette would land on the "Tyler Thigpen" spot.

15.) Houston Texans (4-5)

Because, knowing the Texans M.O., they aren't dead yet (they are).

14.) Tennessee Titans (5-4)

Because Randy Moss will make Chris Johnson explode, and make Vince Young into something other than Vince Young.

13.) San Diego Chargers (4-5)

Because I am deathly afraid of this team sneaking into the playoffs.

They are ranked so high....

12.) Oakland Raiders (5-4)

Because guess who is in first place in the AFC West, bitches!!!

11.) Chicago Bears (6-3)

Because guess what team doesn't suck (directed at Bill Simmons).

10.) Green Bay Packers (6-3)

Because they have the best scoring defense in the NFL, and they have earned it.

9.) New Orleans Saints (6-3)

Because after all the shit about their downfall, they are tied for the second best record in the NFC.

8.) Philadelphia Eagles (6-3)

Because Michael Vick is great, and ironically, they only coaches who could routinely stop him are dead (Jim Johnson) or in college (Monte Kiffin).

7.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

Because with the o-line injuries and Aaron Smith out (again) that is not the 2008 Steelers.

6.) Indianapolis Colts (6-3)

Because they are winning games with their third and sixth string WR in the 3-WR sets, their second string TE, their second and fifth string RBs, their third string SS, and three LBs who did not start on opening day.

5.) New York Giants (6-3)

Because shit happens, and at least they came back.

4.) New England Patriots (7-2)

Because even I can't admit that that was a stellar performance.

3.) New York Jets (7-2)

Because they still have crushed the Patriots, and just beat a team that beat the Pats by 20.

2.) Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Because I like what I saw on Thursday. Playing well on the road on Thursday Nights is really tough, and making a comeback is even tougher.

1.) Atlanta Falcons (7-2)

Because why not give it to the only 7-2 team in the NFC, and a team that took the 6-3 Steelers to OT, and beat the 6-3 Ravens, and who's defense is better than anyone thinks.

Playoff Projections

1/2/3.) Indianapolis Colts 12-4
1/2/3.) Baltimore Ravens 12-4
1/2/3.) New York Jets 12-4
4.) Oakland Raiders 9-7
5.) New England Patriots 11-5
6.) Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5

1.) Atlanta Falcons 13-3
2.) New York Giants 12-4
3.) Green Bay Packers 11-5
4.) Seattle Seahawks 9-7
5.) New Orleans Saints 11-5
6.) Chicago Bears/Philadelphia Eagles 10-6

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Previewing & Reviewing the Previews: Looking Back at my Predictions

It's the halfway point of the NFL Season, my favorite time of year (it's not). Now is a good time to look back at all the things I said before the season started, update some picks, pat myself on the back (there be a shit load of that), and scold myself (come on, that won't happen). Let's do an updated predicted standings for the league, and look back and review what I said would be each teams' record before the season started.


AFC East
1.) New York Jets 11-5 (3)

Preseason Prediction: 10-6; 1st AFC East (3)

I still think that this is the best team in the division, but I don't see them as that bad. I think the Jets win 11-12 games. Their defense is about where I expected: a tad below the 2009 Jets. The offense got good contributions from LT, but I don't think that Sanchez has really improved enough.

2.) New England Patriots 10-6

Preseason Prediction: 7-9; 3rd AFC East

I let my hate push them down a bit, but I still think they aren't as good as the Jets. The Patriots won games that they really did not do that much to win (Baltimore, Chargers). They looked awful in the Browns game, and now have three really tough games in four weeks. Suddenly, that thanksgiving game in Detroit doesn't seem so easy after all.

3.) Miami Dolphins 7-9

Preason Prediction: 9-7; 2nd AFC East

They might match this number, but I think they are a 7-8 win team. Chad Henne has regressed a bit. He's still young, and still has developing receivers, so I think there is room and time to grow, but Sparano's decision to go back to Pennington speaks volumes.

4.) Buffalo Bills 1-15

Preseason Prediction: 2-14; 4th AFC East

Nailed this one so far. They might not even get to two wins. The Bills have actually been better than I thought, but have not found ways to win games, which is a skill. They will easily be one of the best 0-3 win teams of all time.

AFC North
1.) Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3 (1)

Preseason Prediction: 11-5; 2nd AFC North (5)

Now we're talking. I thought they would be worse without Ben, but I really did think the Steelers would be the best defense in the NFL, which I hit. Ben Roethlisberger still seems rusty, but he has played a bunch of talented defenses so far (that ends with this upcoming game).

2.) Baltimore Ravens 11-5 (5)

Preseason Prediction: 10-6; 3rd AFC North

I said it would be sad that a 10-6 team misses the playoffs. There might be two ten win teams that miss the playoffs in the AFC, but I don't think the Ravens will be one of the teams that miss the playoffs. I thought their defense would take a step back, and it has to a bit, but their pass rush has been better this year. Haloti Ngata is a BEAST.

3.) Cincinnati Bengals 6-10

Preseason Prediction: 12-4; 1st AFC North (2)

I'm ducking from cyber-eggs right now. The Bengals defense has regressed so much. Their pass rush has been non-existent. The team actually has lost a bunch of tough games, and is really more like a .500 team, but they have been a total disaster.

4.) Cleveland Browns 5-11

Preseason Prediction: 5-11; 4th AFC North

I said that the Browns are a frisky team that is one of two years away. I'll pay myself on the back for that one. The Browns are a frisky team that is one or two years away. I could not have been more right (not entirely true).

AFC South
1.) Indianapolis Colts 13-3 (2)

Preseason Prediction: 14-2; 1st AFC South (1)

They already lost more games than I predicted, but they have been way more injured than I predicted. The Colts will be healthier come playoff time, and damn dangerous. Their schedule is a lot easier than it looked as the season started with the Bengals being weaker and the Cowboys being ass.

2.) Houston Texans 10-6 (6)

Preseason Prediction: 11-5; 2nd AFC South (6)

The Texans will probably not win eleven games, and might not even make the playoffs, but they are a better team than they were a year ago. Matt Schaub hasn't had the same year, but to me the defense has been better and the running game has come out of nowhere.

3.) Tennessee Titans 10-6

Preseason Prediction: 9-7; 3rd AFC South

I undersold the Titans, and my Titan fan friend repeatedly called me out on it before the season started. He was right. They are a perfect regular season team. I think if they make the playoffs that they go one and done (unless that first game is in New England or KC), but they are a better team than I ever thought.

4.) Jacksonville Jaguars 6-10

Preseason Prediction: 4-12; 4th AFC South

I have no idea how they have already won four games, but they have. They inexplicably straddle the .500 mark for years, never falling too far down, which is really bad. It is better to have a crap team and get a top pick QB than wallow in mediocrity with Garrard and Del Rio.

AFC West
1.) Oakland Raiders 9-7 (4)

Preseason Prediction: 9-7; 1st AFC South (4)

Good call. Not sure if they win that division, but 9-7 is certainly attainable. It really helps that they are 3-0 in the division, and have two out of conference losses. They have tiebreak advantages up the wazoo.

2.) San Diego Chargers 9-7

Preseason Prediction: 8-8; 2nd AFC South

The defenses amazing step up has proppelled this team to a should be 6-2 record, but their disastrous special teams may have them wind up around this spot anyway. Philip Rivers is amazing (more on him to come on a later column).

3.) Kansas City Chiefs 8-8

Preseason Prediction: 4-12; 3rd AFC South

I thought it would be due to the coordinators that they sneak out four games. The coordinators might push them through to the playoffs. They still have only one win of note, over the Chargers on Monday Night, but their ability to win all the games they should win is absolutely 2008-Dolphin-esque.

4.) Denver Broncos 4-12

Preseason Prediction: 3-13; 4th AFC South

They'll be lucky to match my expectations. The Broncos are every bit as bad on defense as I thought they would be. McDaniels has to be held accountable for letting go of Mike Nolan for no good reason.


NFC East
1.) New York Giants 13-3 (1)

Preseason Prediction: 13-3; 1st NFC East (1)

Yes, your damn right I predicted that before the season started. I wasn't looking too hot after their 1-2 start, but right now, this is probably my best call on the board. The Giants are, right now, the class of the NFC, and a real good bet for that one seed.

2.) Philadelphia Eagles 9-7

Preseason Prediction: 5-11; 4th NFC East

They are one win away from beating my total already, which puts them in rare company. In my defense, I thought that Kevin Kolb would be starting all year long, which probably makes them a 6-7 win team. Not in my defense, I never thought Vick would be this good anyway.

3.) Washington Redskins 8-8

Preseason Prediction: 9-7; 2nd NFC East

This record could happen, but after Shanahan started feuding with the other major offseason acquisition of the past two years in McNabb, I heavily doubt it. They Redskins need a QB for the future and a QB that Shanny won't belittle.

4.) Dallas Cowboys 3-13

Preseason Prediction: 7-9; 3rd NFC East

I've never been happier to overrate a team, ever (unless the Pats lose out - then you won't see me for weeks). They are just amazing to watch. Don't they have any pride?

NFC North
1.) Green Bay Packers 11-5 (3)

Preseason Prediction: 12-4; 1st NFC North (2)

I doubt they win 12 games, but this was also a good call. The Packers are still the class of that division. Ryan Grant probably pushes them to a 12 win team. They are underratedly hateable, I should mention. Not entirely sure why. Probably Rodgers stupid belt celebration.

2.) Chicago Bears 10-6 (6)

Preseason Prediction: 10-6; 2nd NFC North (6)

Their defense does have a chance to be good after all, being 4th in scoring. Devin Hester is still ridiculous, and Jay Cutler has stopped throwing horrible interceptions (save for that Washington game - Lord knows what happened there). The Bears are still a good team, and I have a good feeling about this prediction coming somewhat close to right.

3.) Minnesota Vikings 8-8

Preseason Prediction: 8-8; 3rd NFC North

I actually changed my mind one week into the season, despite their opening loss, I thought after a week that I underrated the Vikings. In fact, I rated them quite well. With the return of Sidney Rice, they have a chance to get to eight wins, and their schedule eases up. The pass rush is finally back.

4.) Detroit Lions 3-13

Preseason Prediction: 5-11; 4th NFC North

I thought Stafford would be healthy, which is where the 5-11 pick came from. He's probably not coming back this year. In a weird way, this sets up well for the Lions who can get a top flight corner with a really high draft pick for 2011. This team will skyrocket next season.

NFC South
1.) Atlanta Falcons 12-4 (2)

Preseason Prediction: 10-6; 2nd NFC South (5)

Thankfully I had the sense to get off the Panthers and get on the Falcons before the season started. I didn't think they would be able to upend the Saints at the top of the division, but I do now. They are amazingly tough to beat at home, and have an easy enough schedule to lock up a bye.

2.) New Orleans Saints 11-5 (5)

Preseason Prediction: 11-5; 1st NFC South (3)

11-5 isn't good enough to win the division easily anymore. The team is finally out of the doldrums of the first third of the season. What is surprising is that their defense has taken another step up this year. Their remaining schedule is really light.

3.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-8

Preseason Prediction: 3-13; 4th NFC South

I did not get the NFC South right at all. The Buccaneers have beaten all the teams that they had a chance to beat, which is really gallant of them. They are set up nicely for the future if they can short up that o-line and get a pass rusher. Josh Freeman has been way better than I ever expected.

4.) Carolina Panthers 2-14

Preseason Prediction: 9-7; 3rd NFC South

With Matt Moore done for the year, as well as Dan Conner and Jeff Otah, the Panthers are a total mess. The Panthers suck ass right now, and John Fox is coaching the team with all the urgency of a coach who knows that his tenure is all but over. I was so, so, so wrong.

NFC West
1.) St. Louis Rams 8-8 (4)

Preseason Prediction: 4-12; 4th NFC West

Yup, I'm predicting that for the second time in three years a team will make the playoffs the year after going 1-15. Sam Bradford is just good enough to get the Rams to eight games, which I do believe will get the job done. The Rams are really good in the Eddie Jones Dome.

2.) Seattle Seahawks 7-9

Preseason Prediction: 4-12; 3rd NFC West

I also didn't have a good time picking the NFC West before the season began. The Seahawks are now a mess as long as Charlie Whitehurst is the QB. Their defense can be solid, but they just are a year or two away from serious contention.

3.) Arizona Cardinals 6-10

Preseason Prediction: 7-9; 2nd NFC West

Whether it be Max Hall or Derek Anderson, this team desperately needs a new QB for 2011. Donovan McNabb? Marc Bulger? Troy Smith? Whoever it is, all he needs to do is be a caretaker. The Cardinals defense still has a lot of young pieces on it.

4.) San Francisco 49ers 4-12

Preseason Prediction: 10-6; 1st NFC West (4)

I said that the QB might doom a team that should be better than 10-6. Well, the QB and coach are dooming this team, but with the way that Aubrayo Franklin and Shawntea Spencer have fallen off, they probably couldn't sniff 10-6 even with Joe Flacco.

New Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round

Saints (5) 27 Rams (4) 21
Texans (6) 20 Jets (3) 28
Bears (6) 23 Packers (3) 20
Ravens (5) 28 Raiders (4) 16

Divisional Weekend
Ravens (5) 17 Steelers (1) 20
Bears (6) 16 Giants (1) 27
Saints (5) 27 Falcons (2) 30
Jets (3) 14 Colts (2) 27

Championship Weekend
Falcons (2) 17 Giants (1) 24
Colts (2) 23 Steelers (1) 20

Super Bowl XLV
Colts (A2) 31 Giants (N1) 20

Super Bowl Champions

Indianapolis Colts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 10 NFL Power Rankings

I'm finally free of all exam tethers, so I'll do my enhanced writing this week. Anyway, I'm planning to write something later tonight, so the power rankings will be the short version.

32.) Dallas Cowboys (1-7)

Just like we found out with the English National Team, maybe they aren't all that talented. They have to have pride in their own work. The Bills have pride, the 49ers have pride. Hell, the Raiders have pride. The 2010 Cowboys are a total embarrassment to the history of that club, and their performance over the last three weeks are probably the lowest in the history of the franchise.

31.) Carolina Panthers (1-7)

That was not a good performance, but I feel for them. This club has talent, as evidenced by their 8-5 finish to last season, but the Panthers o-line has not been anywhere near as good as it was for each of the last two years. DeAngelo Williams' injury really hurts, as does Matt Moore turning into Jake Delhomme circa 2009.

30.) Buffalo Bills (0-8)

Another week, another three point loss. This one wasn't as close as either of the last two, but the Bills really can't keep giving these chances away. I don't see many games ahead for the Bills that they could win, and even if they play better than quite a few other teams they might not be able to luck into wins.

29.) Denver Broncos (2-6)

The week off took some of the heat on the McDaniels' seat, but he has a chance to either douse the flames or ignite them even more with this game hosting the Chiefs. The Broncos have a chance to make a statement, but if they have another listless loss at home, the writing will be on the wall for Joshua F. McNasty.

28.) San Francisco 49ers (2-6)

Amazingly, they have the possibility of winning that division, as they are just two wins back. I really doubt they pull it off, but it should be fun to watch. The 49ers have some talent but they just dug themselves too far a hole to climb out of (and yes, I am trying to put in as many cliches in this column as possible).

27.) Detroit Lions (2-6)

I don't think Matt Stafford is injury prone, but extremely unlucky. Either way, there comes to a point where a player is no longer valuable because he is unlucky in injuries, and that point may be fast approaching for Stafford. Also, the Lions had no one else better at kicking than Ndomakung Suh? The punter can't even get a better extra point off?

26.) Arizona Cardinals (3-5)

That would have been a huge win, as all road wins in the NFC West are basically like two wins in any other division. The Cardinals have been the luckiest team in the league, winning one game because their opponent missed two makeable kicks (yes, we are one Sebastian Janikowski kick away from the Raiders being a 6-3 team), and another where they scored three non-offensive TDs. The luck has to run out at some point.

25.) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)

We'll see if they really deserve to be a middling .500 team this Sunday when they play host to Houston. I still don't think the Jaguars are anything better than a 4-12 or 5-11 team, but they inexplicably win a decent amount of games every year, kind of like the pre-Katrina Saints who were so average that you almost expected them to go 4-12 each year, but were surprised to find out they were around .500 most years.

24.) Seattle Seahawks (4-4)

Well, that NFC West spot is not a shoo-in anymore. People will overreact about the possibility that a NFC West team will get into the playoffs with a likely 8-8 record, but it isn't like this hasn't happened before. Just two years ago, the Chargers won the AFC West with a 9-7 record. Plus, the NFC West may seem to have been horrible since forever, but they are one of just three divisions to have a team in the Divisional Round of the playoffs each year since realignment, with the NFC East and AFC West being the other two. It was San Fran in '02, St. Louis '03-'04, Seattle '05-'07 and Arizona '08-'09.

23.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-6)

They are the best two win team in the NFL, if that says anything. Every single one of their losses in the five game losing streak has been by a touchdown or less. Essentially, they are the exact opposite of the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals, who won a string of close games. Also, there is nothing wrong with Carson Palmer, but Jermaine Gresham has been a major, major disappointment.

22.) Cleveland Browns (3-5)

You know Eric Mangini was orgasming during the end of that game. My God, what an ass-kicking. That was the greatest day the Browns franchise has had since the return of the Browns. Not only were they able to beat a 6-1 team, but Bill Belichick's horrible coaching job in Cleveland was part of the reason the relationship between the team and the city was beyond repair the first time.

21.) St. Louis Rams (4-4)

I really think they can win that division, and teams who haven't hosted a playoff game in years are usually hard to defeat (of course, there are many counters to this, but I like the sound of that). The Eddie Jones Dome was loud as shit back in the GSOT days, and it could come back as this team gets better. Steve Spagnuolo has also turned the Rams into an insanely competent defense.

20.) Miami Dolphins (4-4)

I find them a touch overrated. That Dolphins game was a big game. So far, the Dolphins are noted for their losses (to teams that were all before Week 8, one loss teams), but their wins haven't been impressive. The Ravens were a test for the Dolphins, and they failed miserably. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams haven't come anywhere close to matching their 2009 production.

19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3)

If you can ever have an impressive six point loss, that wasn't it. Like the Bengals the next night, they should have finished it off. Good for them for staying close, but when you get two yards away from taking the lead, if you think you have a future that resides in the 2010 NFL Playoffs, you get those two yards.

18.) Washington Redskins (4-4)

They had the bye week at the perfect time, cooling off some of the stories of Shanny skewering Donovan McNabb. They have a great chance to reclaim some magic against Philly, and go an amazing 3-0 in the NFC East. Will it happen? Who the fuck knows. Will it matter ultimately? Probably not, since you probably need ten wins to claim a wild card spot in the NFC.

17.) Kansas City Chiefs (5-3)

I'm not sold. That was a horrible loss, even after the refs handed them the ball when they were down four to get back in that game when the refs called an obvious down by contact a fumble. Matt Cassel just cannot make critical plays to win games. Also, that amazing running game really brought the wood against an average run defense, right?

16.) Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

That was a nice comeback, but it is probably delaying the inevitable. I will say that there still is no QB more fun to watch, emotionally, than Brett Favre. Sure, he throws abhorrently bad interceptions. Sure, he usually ends up one step short, but this is the third time he's almost pulled off amazing comebacks in the past month. Brett Favre has a penchant for playing in great endings, although he usually loses them.

15.) Chicago Bears (5-3)

That was a nice win. There is no shame to losing to the Bills by three. The Ravens and Chiefs both beat the Bills by just three, and those two did it on home. Of course, no one is going to have the Bears in the same class as those other two, but that doesn't matter to me. Julius Peppers' injury late in that game is a concern.

14.) Oakland Raiders (5-4)

There is a Raider column coming up really, really soon. The Raiders are back, finally. The Oakland Coliseum was rocking. That place is so open and spacious, yet is loud as fuck when it is packed. The Raiders can defend their house (4-1 at home). The Raiders can play great defense when they want to. They can rush the passer with anyone. The Chiefs had allowed eight sacks in seven games. The Raiders put up three. That Richard Seymour trade doesn't seem as bad, anymore.

13.) Houston Texans (4-4)

That was a tough loss. The Texans played well enough to win that game, but they couldn't stop Seyi Ajiratutu (I have no idea if I spelled that right or not), or Kris Wilson. The Texans have a lot of games against teams that are in the playoff hunt (two against Tennessee, one against Baltimore, one against the Jets). If they don't go at worst 2-2 in those games, they are not making the playoffs.

12.) San Diego Chargers (4-5)

I will pull so hard for the Chiefs the rest of the year. I want no part of the Chargers come January. I think their defense is still beatable, and their o-line is not great, but that offense is great. They can't run the ball still (Ryan Mathews was so, so, so overrated), but that passing offense is just so good. Come on Chiefs and Raiders, keep this team out of the playoffs.

11.) New England Patriots (6-2)

Yes, I did just drop them five spots, and I do it because that was not a total fluke. Yes, they did not get the breaks in that game; however, here is an equation: In the games that the Patriots got all of the breaks (Minnesota, San Diego), they won by three points. In the game that they got no breaks: they lose by 20 to a 2-5 team. They need all the breaks to win games. This was the third time the Patriots have been outgained by at least 100 yards. That was a classic butt-whooping, which is not what good teams do against 2-5 teams.

10.) Tennessee Titans (5-3)

The Randy Moss show (Act III) is up and running starting this Sunday. I don't think it is a perfect fit for Moss, because I'm not sure VY can consistently get him the ball, but he will take some pressure off Chris Johnson, who needs it to spark his 2010 season. The Titans are also widely outplaying their yards numbers with scoring, which isn't very sustainable.

9.) Philadelphia Eagles (5-3)

That was the second best game I have ever seen Michael Vick play (after his rookie playoff game against the Packers in 2002). If the Eagles started McNabb, or Kevin Kolb, they lose that game. The Colts bottled up McCoy (after that first long run), and put the Eagles into 3rd downs time after time. Outside of not converting two 3rd and Goals, Vick was able to convert a ton of 3rd downs. He was the difference, and good for him.

8.) New Orleans Saints (6-3)

The Saints might finally be over their mid-season doldrums, and in good time, since their schedule gets a lot easier coming up. I think the Saints noticed after that Browns loss that this is a new season, a new team. Brees still seems off, and that offense is still not in total sync, but with Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush set to come back, they may approach that level.

7.) Atlanta Falcons (6-2)

That was a good win, with two physical, game-winning plays to win the game, stuffing the Buccaneers two yards away from victory. The offense was nice. The key for the Falcons is to get one of those top-2 seeds. Matt Ryan is an incredible 17-1 in the Georgia Dome. If they can get a Divisional Round game at home, lock them into the NFC Championship Game.

6.) New York Jets (6-2)

That is three straight average performances, but there is something to winning those types of games, especially when the breaks don't go against you. Coming back from 10 points down with five minutes to go showed good resolve. Mark Sanchez really throws a beautiful deep ball. The Jets defense has to start playing better, though.

5.) Green Bay Packers (6-3)

I don't want to overrate a blowout win over that Cowboys team, since the Jaguars essentially did the same thing the week earlier in Dallas, but they should get credit for being the team who finally killed off the last vestiges of the Wade Phillips era. Well done, Aaron. By the way, Aaron Rodgers' stupid belt celebration thing is so horrible and bitchy. If you throw a TD fine, but when you run for a first down? No need, Aaron, no need.

4.) Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

They had a short week against a team coming off a bye. That seems patently unfair. Still, they were one semi-miracle drive away from beating the Eagles on the road with those scheduling disadvantages. Also, it seems unfair that the Colts have played three teams coming off their bye already, as well as 5 out of 8 on the road. They have had one of the toughest schedules in the league.

3.) Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

Good win, solid win. Teams that want to win a title should lay the wood against average teams at home. The Ravens were able to take the Dolphins out of that game, and Ray Rice just went off. Joe Flacco had a good game against a solid defense for once, which was a nice change. Also, Ed Reed: 2 games played, 3 interceptions. Yes, that man is a sure-fire hall of famer.

2.) New York Giants (6-2)

Five straight wins. They haven't beat many good teams, but they have crushed four of the teams in the five game winning streak. Eli Manning is great when his receivers don't tip balls for interceptions, right? Their defense is great. Their pass rush is great. The only problem is we could have said all of the same things about the 2009 Giants in their 5-0 start as well, and they finished 3-8. I don't want to be burned again.

1.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

They nearly blew it, but they won a game against a team playing for its life, which is big. The Steelers defense got tons of pressure on Palmer, and their running offense was quite good in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger still looks rusty, but if that throw to Hines Ward for the TD is any indication, he'll be back soon.

Playoff Projections

1.) Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
2.) Indianapolis Colts 12-4
3.) New York Jets 11-5
4.) Oakland Raiders 9-7
5.) Baltimore Ravens 11-5
6.) New England Patriots 10-6/Houston Texans 10-6/Tennessee Titans 10-6

1.) New York Giants 13-3
2.) Atlanta Falcons 12-4
3.) Green Bay Packers 10-6
4.) St. Louis Rams 8-8
5.) New Orleans Saints 11-5
6.) Philadelphia Eagles 10-6

- Not sure who would win tiebreakers in the Texans, Titans, Patriots threesome. Head-to-head won't matter, but conference wins do. The Pats have two conference losses, which is the same as Houston. The Titans have three.
- The Saints have an easy enough schedule to go 6-2 over the second half.
- I think the Colts lose only the Thursday Night game @ Tennessee. Going on the road on Thursday Night games are really, really tough. Of course, the Colts have played a road Thursday Night game three straight years now.
- I think the Raiders and Chargers end up 9-7, but the Raiders win with a better divisional record.

Coming back later today with some Raider-centric ramblings.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Week 9 NFL Picks

Thought I would have more times this week. Sadly, I was mistaken, because I forgot just how much timed fucking EGB demands. My Grade demanded curve is shifting a shit-load. Quickly, the picks.

Last Week: 7-6
Year to Date: 69-46-2

New York Jets (-5) @ Detroit Lions

The Jets are the better team, and they are angry after that awful performance. The Lions only solid unit on defense is their pass rush, which will not be as impactful against one of the best o-lines. I like the Jets to jump back with a win.

Jets 24 Lions 17 (NYJ)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5)

This is a huge line considering the Bucs are 5-2, but they have played two teams that I would quantify as good, and been beaten handily both times. The Falcons are great at home, and Matt Ryan has only one home loss in his career. Give me the Falcons.

Buccaneers 16 Falcons 31 (ATL)

Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens (-5)

The Dolphins are not a team that gets blown out, especially on the road, where they are 4-0. I don't think that will continue, but I think they cover a line that is a little high. The Dolphins have the pieces on defense to make life tough for the Ravens offense.

Dolphins 17 Ravens 20 (MIA)

New England Patriots (-4.5) @ Cleveland Browns

Belichick will always beat Mangini (despite him losing their last meeting). Colt McCoy doesn't stand a chance (he's already beaten the defending champs, in their building).

Patriots 27 Browns 13 (NE)

Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings (-8)

The Vikings players are obviously incensed at the shit Brad Childress just proved, but they still are talented. Arizona is a bad matchup for them, but the Vikings defense is a worse defense for Max Hall, or Derek Anderson, or any other ass QB the Cards play.

Cardinals 14 Vikings 27 (MIN)

Chicago Bears (-3) @ Buffalo Bills

A lot of media types seem to love the Bills, despite being 0-7. Losing two back-to-back games is historically a bad thing, as the wear and tear mentally of coming so close should be tough. If this was in Buffalo, I would give them a chance, but in Toronto, give me the Bears.

Bears 24 Bills 16 (CHI)

San Diego Chargers (-3) @ Houston Texans

Really? The team that is 3-5, and now might be without Antonio Gates is favored by 3 on the road against a team that just three weeks ago the entire media was going apeshit over? I'll take the team that used to be the media's fancy, especially at home.

Chargers 24 Texans 30 (HOU)

New Orleans Saints (-6.5) @ Carolina Panthers

I might have taken the Panthers to cover if DeAngelo was playing, but without him, that team cannot run the ball with any effectiveness, which is what they need to stay in this game. The Saints continue their march towards the levels they reached in 2009.

Saints 27 Panthers 14 (NO)

New York Giants (-7) @ Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are really good at home, and the Giants have suffered two embarrassing losses in Qwest Field in the Eli Manning era, but Charlie Whitehurst is starting against a d-line that has knocked out 6 QBs.

Giants 28 Seahawks 13 (NYG)

Indianapolis Colts @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

Michael Vick may have had two good starts against the Lions and Jaguars. But that was against the Lions and Jaguars. The Colts can still defend the pass, plus Manning is great against NFC Teams.

Colts 27 Eagles 20 (IND)

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (-1)

The Autumn Wind Is A Raider!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Silver and Black are back motherfuckers. If they win this game, the AFC West is ON. I say they win, because I want the Raiders @ Chiefs game in Week 17 to be important.

Chiefs 17 Raiders 23 (OAK)

Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)

Man, this game would have been fun if Romo were playing. Sadly, he isn't, and judging by last weeks performance, neither are Felix Jones (who, btw, doesn't look to be the better pick than Darren McFadden anymore. Right, fuckheads at ESPN??), DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff.

Cowboys 14 Packers 31 (GB)

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals

This is where the Bengals made their hay a year ago, going 6-0 in the division. The Bengals have already beaten the Ravens, but this is a different animal. I like the Bengals to come out energized and ready, put to ultimately fall just short.

Steelers 20 Bengals 17 (CIN)

Enjoy the Games.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Week 9 Power Rankings

I have some other plans for writing this week, so the power rankings will be a lot shorter. Two sentences for each team. Let's do this.

32.) Denver Broncos (2-6)

They are a disaster right now, which was reinforced by the Broncos' inability to be able to hold onto a seven point lead against a team that is 1-6. The Josh McDaniels era will be over pretty soon, and even though I hate the Broncos, even I wouldn't wish the continuation of that era on that franchise.

31.) Buffalo Bills (0-7)

They are the best 0-7 team ever by far, as shown by their two straight road losses in overtime. I really feel bad for Chan Gailey, because Bill Walsh couldn't even have this team close to .500 with the talent on that team.

30.) Dallas Cowboys (1-6)

Even the clusterfuck that is the Josh McDaniels era does not elicit the same amount of joy as the Cowboys sucking ass in the year that they are hosting the Super Bowl. Honestly, getting blown out at home by the Jaguars has got to be one of the darkest hour in the franchise's history.

29.) Carolina Panthers (1-6)

Well, that was the opposite of an inspired performance by them, and continues what will be a long, dreary lame-duck season for John Fox. At least they can take solace in the fact that the Cowboys have the exact same record.

28.) San Francisco 49ers (2-6)

That was not an inspiring win, considering the team they beat is now ranked 32 on my list, but it was a win. The 49ers can at least claim to be the best team in Europe (yeah, I realize that I am about the 20th person to make that joke this hour).

27.) Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

I guess Max Hall can take solace that at least he is better than Matt Leinart. The fact that the Cardinals are just one game behind the division-leading Seahawks is really humorous for some reason.

26.) Minnesota Vikings (2-5)

The Randy Moss fiasco is exhibit A of why you never, ever give a not-excellent head coach full control of the roster. The fact that Brad Childress could make that move without even needing the support or acceptance of his OWNER just shows what a mess the Vikings are.

25.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)

For a second there went it was 14-6, and the Bengals defense was dominating the Dolphins, I considered maybe becoming slightly infatuated by the Bengals again. Thank God they ended up losing, because I might have had to justify me liking the Bengals, again.

24.) Cleveland Browns (2-5)

The Mangenius gets the most out of his players, as he led an untalented Jets team to the playoffs in 2006, and is getting the untalented Browns to play tough each week. I really hope Mike Holmgren doesn't go out and fire him after their 4-12 season and hire some schmuck like Marty Mornhinweg.

23.) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)

For once I can love this sorry team for inflicting that on the Cowboys. Good for them to finally play hard against a team that is not the Colts, and good for them for doing something on the road, and good for David Garrard to play better than Jon Kitna.

22.) Washington Redskins (4-4)

This McNabb thing is ridiculous, considering Shanahan went through years of starting Brian Griese, Bubby Brister and Jake Plummer. Shanahan would have had better luck on that 2 minute drill putting in Albert Haynesworth at QB rather than Rex Grossman.

21.) Detroit Lions (2-5)

Well, it was sure good to have Matthew Stafford back and slinging it, and Calvin Johnson mega-tron-ing up. The Lions are really, really fun to watch, which is more than really any team above them (not counting the Cowboys deathmarch to 3-13).

20.) St. Louis Rams (4-4)

It may not be the Greatest Show on Turf (in fact, it is nothing like the Greatest Show on Turf), but the Rams own the dome again. They are now 4-1 at home (albeit against three average teams, and the Chargers), which means they have won more home games in this half season than they won total games in the past two years, combined.

19.) Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

The loss of Red Bryant is huge (alert: actual football information coming up). The best part of the Seahawks was their run defense, and now that is really, really hurt by the loss of Red Bryant, their best run stuffer.

18.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)

All the Buccaneers do is win football games, bitches. The Buccaneers are now one win back of having the best record in the NFL, and despite not beating any team that is any good, are legitimately halfway to ten wins.

17.) Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Am I the only one not enamored by them and wonder what it is that they exactly do well? The running game isn't near what it was last year, and Henne is not really progressing, and that defense can be had.

16.) Oakland Raiders (4-4)

Huge game coming up, and really the biggest game for the Raiders since Super Bowl XXXVII, or in other words, the biggest game since I was in 6th Grade. The Raiders have had two weeks that combined are more dominant than any team in a two-week span since the 2007 Patriots.

15.) Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

Huge game coming up for them too, as that division lead will go down to half a game with a loss (since the Raiders will hold the h2h win). The Chiefs continue to get by without a great passing game, which means that their success has an expiration date, but it is looking more and more likely that the expiration date is in January.

14.) Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)

Mike Vick is reported to be the starting QB again, which is nice, as this team is entering a critical stage in their season. They are just one game behind the Giants, but after seeing the Eagles blow a 9-point 4th quarter lead, it really seems like they are a lot further behind in terms of quality.

13.) Chicago Bears (4-3)

Let's see if the Bears can stop losing winnable games in which they outplay their opponent. If the Bears cannot give Cutler protection in this game (against the Bills), then the Bears really have no hope for the rest of the season.

12.) San Diego Chargers (3-5)

I am really terrified of this team sneaking into the playoffs, especially in V-Jax gets into form. They have a real uphill climb, since there are two teams to overcome, and they have a tough schedule here on out, but it looks pretty possible.

11.) Tennessee Titans (5-3)

The Kenny Britt injury really hurts this team, who might be a logical place for Randy Moss to "take his talents" to. They need some explosiveness, and Moss can give them that, and they would have the best home-run threat at receiver and running back.

10.) New Orleans Saints (5-3)

That was a critical win, but I have a feeling that the Saints can rise to the moment, but have a hard time getting up for day games. The Saints have played their best in their three biggest games (@TB, the opener, and that last one), but during the other day games, have looked really flat.

9.) Houston Texans (4-3)

That was a tough loss, and I came close to dropping them further, but their excellent running game keeps me attached. I have noticed that Matt Schaub has very low pocket presence for a player as good as he is, and he needs to improve it.

8.) Green Bay Packers (5-3)

The Packers defense can go through stretches where they play absolutely dominant, but you know that they can also inexplicably have a game like the Wild Card game last year where they can't stop Boise St. Aaron Rodgers needs to play better, quickly.

7.) Atlanta Falcons (5-2)

They became largely forgotten over the bye, but get the chance to enter spotlight if they can put away the Buccaneers this weekend. Look for them to try to force the run, as they need Michael Turner better for the stretch run.

6.) New England Patriots (6-1)

I can't put a team that is outgained on average 50 yards a game any higher. Sooner or later, their inability to sustain drives will haunt them, and their ability to get inexplicable breaks (like the two fumbles that they got against San Diego or the missed interception and their own lucky-ass interceptions) will stop.

5.) New York Jets (5-2)

That was a humiliating game, but their defense played really, really well against a good offense. The Jets offense probably won't be that bad again, because I can't see the receivers dropping almost every pass, so they will be fine.

4.) Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

They have won four out of five and still boast talent on that roster. Hopefully they spent the bye week well, as they need to pile up wins before their rematch with the Steelers in Baltimore in early December.

3.) New York Giants (5-2)

I called that this Giants team would be the number one seed in the NFC, and unless Atlanta goes on a major run against weaker competition, or Aaron Rodgers starts playing like Kurt Warner circa 1999-2001, I can't see them not getting it. I really nailed this team.

2.) Indianapolis Colts (5-2)

That was the unhealthiest they will be all year, with both corners expected to be back, and D-Brown and Gonzo getting healthier each game, and Addai and Collie back by December, and they beat a good team easily. The Colts just don't lose primetime games.

1.) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)

That was a buzzsaw game, and if Heath Miller doesn't fumble there, they have a pretty good shot to sneak it out. Needless to say, that will probably be the toughest atmosphere they play in all year (with the possible exception of the aforementioned game in Baltimore), so it is hard to dock them too much for that loss.

Postseason Projections

1.) Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
2.) Indianapolis Colts 13-3
3.) New York Jets 11-5
4.) Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
5.) Baltimore Ravens 12-4
6.) New England Patriots 11-5

1.) New York Giants 12-4
2.) Atlanta Falcons 12-4
3.) Green Bay Packers 10-6
4.) Seattle Seahawks 9-7
5.) New Orleans Saints 10-6
6.) Chicago Bears 9-7

- The Steelers get the top seed because I think the Colts and Steelers both lose an AFC Game, giving the Steelers a better conference record.
- I think the Jets sweep the Pats, giving the Jets the division title
- The Giants will have a better conference record than the Falcons
- The Saints have a really easy schedule, and I don't think any other NFC team has a better chance than the Bears (yes, even Tampa

Back later this week with a Decadium piece (Gasp of Surprise!!! - yes, I'm not done with those).
Plus maybe something about the Raidas.

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.