Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week Eight Picks

Really like:
PACKERS -3 over Vikings
Jaguars +3 over TITANS

Also like:
Texans -3.5 over BILLS
RAVENS -3.5 over Broncos

If forced to choose:
COLTS -12.5 over Niners
BEARS -13 over Browns
LIONS -4 over Rams
EAGLES +1 over Giants
Falcons +10.5 over SAINTS
Raiders +16.5 over CHARGERS
Panthers +10 over CARDINALS
COWBOYS -9.5 over Seahawks
Dolphins +3.5 over JETS

Three Team Teaser of the Week:
EAGLES +11 plus COLTS -2 plus Jaguars +13

Lock season record: 0-0
Really like season record: 3-3
Also like season record: 20-26
If forced to choose season record: 20-30-1
Teaser season record: 0-2
All games season record: 43-59-1

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week Seven Observations

1. There are some things I observe every week. Here are some things we will just assume the rest of the way, givens that don't need to be mentioned from here on out:
  1. Peyton Manning is ridiculously good
  2. JaMarcus Russell is ridiculously bad
  3. Drew Brees never misses a throw in the Superdome
  4. Reggie Bush is a wuss
  5. Steven Jackson runs hard
  6. Kyle Orton and Shaun Hill live to throw the ball away
  7. Marc Bulger struggles with pressure
  8. Donovan McNabb is inconsistent
  9. Buffalo's offensive design is horrendous
  10. Cleveland has no talent on offense
  11. Brandon Marshall and Percy Harvin are tough to bring down
  12. Seattle plays much better at home
  13. LaDainian Tomlinson is over the hill
  14. Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson is unstoppable
2. Derek Anderson has the toughest job in the NFL. Situation plays such a huge role in a quarterback’s success, or really any player’s. Look at Anderson in ’07. Look at Kurt Warner’s career. Look at Kyle Orton.

3. The Browns do not have much of a running game, but they should be using it more. Their pass attack is a joke. The Mangenius has always passed too much. Could he be fired within his first 365 days? What a terrible hire.

4. Green Bay, surprisingly, ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed per game. Schedule is part of it.

5. Tampa Bay is this year's version of the '08 Detroit Lions. They are deceptively bad. Their defense is really quite atrocious. Their offensive design is pitiful. They have a little bit of talent on O, just as Detroit did last season, but negative plays and turnovers kill them. They are always patching leaks and springing new ones.

6. The chances of Josh Freeman helping the Bucs more than Josh Johnson are not good. This is a Fitzpatrick/Edwards situation. The offensive design is so hideous, no quarterback could win for the Bucs.

7. Well, maybe Peyton Manning. This could be the best anyone has ever played quarterback.

8. Man, Ricky Williams looks spry. He could be a top 10 running back right now. Williams is old for a back, but he doesn't have the mileage

9. Miami's offense now has everything but a #1 WR. Drops and poor efforts on jump balls are killing them.

10. So is bad tackling in the secondary.

11. Jairus Byrd is the leading contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year, with five interceptions in the last three games. Byrd can play, but most of his picks have been gifts from Mark Sanchez and Jake Delhomme.

12. Jay Cutler gets the blame, but if you look at Chicago’s roster, there isn’t much talent to give him and Forte a fighting chance. I laugh hearing this argument the Bears would be better off with Kyle Orton. There isn’t much coaching either. This is a team with serious long-term problems, and they don’t have a first or second round draft pick in next year’s draft. Superstar Coach X will have his hands full in 2010.

13. Best performance from Carson Palmer in years – maybe the best game he’s ever played.

14. It all starts with the offensive line, which was stunningly dominant for the Bengals on Sunday. When the line plays like that, the Bengals are very hard to stop.

15. The Bengals appear to be an emotional, high-variance team capable of playing great football or wetting the bed. Psychology is paramount in evaluating this team week-to-week.

16. Cedric Benson – legitimately good. His style is unique in today’s game. No one runs with more patience than Cedric Benson. To think I passed twice on Benson in the fantasy draft in favor of Lee Evans and Eddie Royal, who have seen the ball fewer times this season than Benson saw it in one game against the Bears.

17. On the other side of the coin there is Michael Turner, who has turned into Jamal Lewis. This guy was one of the best last season, he really was. And now he stinks. He’s below average for a starting running back. Football Outsiders crapped the bed on most of their preseason predictions, but the "Curse of 370" theory continues to build steam.

18. Jason Snelling, on the other hand, looks like the ’08 Michael Turner. Much like Darren Sproles was better than LaDainian Tomlinson last year, Snelling is now better than Turner.

19. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for almost a year that Matt Ryan is overrated. It seems he goes into each play knowing where he’s going to throw the ball, and then executes that like a robot. If things break down, if the defense confuses him, if his guy isn’t open, he throws the ball away or jams it into double coverage. He is not an improvisational quarterback. Stick Ryan on a bad offense and I’m not sure they move the ball. This season he doesn’t appear to be any better than last. It seems he looks for Tony Gonzalez a little too stringently. It all goes back to the running game though. Turner isn’t scaring anyone right now, the Falcons can’t rely on the run, defenses cheat back, and thus Atlanta’s offense lacks consistency.

20. The other Football Outsiders prediction that has come through is Miles Austin, their #1 “prospect” for 2009. His gait is gorgeously smooth for a big guy.

21. I keep trying to defend Tony Romo, who possesses the 5th best passer rating in NFL history. As I said before the season, Romo is the only quarterback in the league who makes plays and throws accurately. Romo’s weakness is pressure. As usual, Mike “Old Whitey” Smith forgot to blitz.

22. Strong also-rans for the weekly awards: Niners Michael Crabtree and Alex Smith for Offensive Breakout Player of the Week, Adrian Wilson, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Meriweather for Defensive MVP of the Week.

23. Gambling mistake of the week: Underrating Arizona’s run defense and defense in general. The Cardinals comfortably lead the league in rush yards allowed and yards per rush.

24. The Cards are thwarting the Super Bowl Hangover through evolution. Nice job by Ken Whisenhunt, who didn’t try to mimic last season’s lightning-in-a-bottle ethos. Whisenhunt joins a crowded Coach of the Year conversation.

25. I told you to hang in there, Beanie Wells fantasy owners. It’s only going to get better.

26. You can blame Jason Campbell. You can blame Washington’s wide receivers. You can blame Jim Zorn. You can say Clinton Portis is running out of gas (which he is). You can blame bingo/play caller Sherman Lewis. But the biggest reason Washington stinks on offense is their line. It is godawful. They do nothing well. They have a great coach in Joe Bugel, so you know it is the talent. These guys suck. You can only get away with a shaky line if you have a top-flight quarterback like Brees, Warner, Rodgers, or Roethlisberger AND stud WRs AND great scheme; Washington has none of those things. Not only that but their offensive line could be the worst in the league with Chris Samuels out. Stephon Heyer looked dreadful in Samuels’ stead.

27. Senseless coaching trend of the season – no one is attempting field goals longer than fifty yards. What’s going on here? I thought a fifty-three yarder was no big deal in this league. Teams are just automatically punting rather than attempting long field goals. I miss Lane Kiffin, who called for this ludicrous 76-yard attempt shortly before (precipitating?) his firing last season.

28. Andy Reid threw the ball twice in his own red zone with a 17 point lead and less than five minutes left on Monday night. Passing in that situation should never enter your mind. The game is over if you do nothing but run the ball the rest of the way, but passing opens the slightest crack of opportunity for the opponent. Andy Reid has a disease. The man calls pass plays like he has a quota. I really cannot believe how bad some of these coaches are at game management.

29. Need to settle a bet – does anyone know if there is a difference in the balls used in college vs. the balls used in the NFL? And if so, what is that difference?

Defensive MVP of the Week: Will Witherspoon, Philadelphia
Offensive MVP of the Week: Carson Palmer, Cincinnati
Defensive Breakout Player of the Week: Alan Branch, Arizona
Offensive Breakout Player of the Week: Jason Snelling, Atlanta
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Mike Zimmer, Cincinnati
Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Bob Bratkowski, Cincinnati

32. Cleveland (32)
31. Oakland (31)
30. Kansas City (30)
29. Tampa Bay (29)
28. St. Louis (27)
27. Buffalo (28)
26. Washington (26)
25. Tennessee (25)
24. Carolina (24)
23. Detroit (23)
22. Jacksonville (22)
21. Seattle (21)
20. San Diego (20)
19. San Francisco (16)
18. Houston (19)
17. New York Jets (18)
16. Chicago (12)
15. Miami (14)
14. Atlanta (9)
13. Dallas (15)
12. Arizona (17)
11. Philadelphia (10)
10. Green Bay (13)
9. Cincinnati (11)
8. Baltimore (8)
7. Denver (7)
6. New England (6)
5. New York Giants (3)
4. Minnesota (5)
3. Pittsburgh (4)
2. New Orleans (2)
1. Indianapolis (1)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #29

Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

I think this is the saddest song Bob Dylan ever wrote.

Pet Peeve of the Week


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week Seven Picks

Also like:

DOLPHINS +6 over Saints
Jets -6 over RAIDERS
GIANTS -7 over Cardinals
Falcons +4.5 over COWBOYS
BENGALS -1 over Bears

If forced to choose:

Eagles -7 over REDSKINS
TEXANS -3 over Niners
Colts -13.5 over RAMS
CHIEFS +4.5 over Chargers
Bucs +14.5 over PATRIOTS
Vikings +5.5 over STEELERS
Packers -9 over BROWNS
PANTHERS -7 over Bills

Three Team Teaser of the Week:
Vikings +15.5 plus DOLPHINS +16 plus Falcons +14.5

Lock season record: 0-0
Really like season record: 3-3
Also like season record: 18-23
If forced to choose season record: 17-26
Teaser season record: 0-1
All games season record: 38-52

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week Six Observations

1. Can we just ship New Orleans the NFC title right now? How can they be stopped? Their schedule has only 3-4 losable games. It’s hard to imagine them losing in the Dome, and they should get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Even injuries likely won’t be too much of a problem – they have only one indispensable player.

2. But wait…here comes Miami and their great coaches off a bye week in a classic Trap Game.

3. Washington is coming off five straight games against the dregs of the league. They won two and lost three. The rest of their schedule: Philadelphia, BYE, @Atlanta, Denver, @Dallas, @Philadelphia, New Orleans, @Oakland, NY Giants, Dallas, @San Diego. Will the Skins win five games this season? They will be favored 0-2 times the rest of the way.

4. Carolina has not thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver this season.

5. Tampa Bay is 2/7 on field goals this season.

6. I used to think Minnesota's offense was poorly designed, but not anymore.

7. On the other hand, Minnesota's defense springs a lot of leaks. The back end of their defense isn't doing much.

8. Kansas City vs Washington was a very, very bad football game.

9. Larry Johnson's longest run of the season is fifteen yards.

10. Detroit fans should pray they never see Drew Stanton in a regular season game again.

11. Donald Driver must lead the league in "spectacular catches" over the last five years.

12. Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post pointed out this telling stat – ranking yards per pass attempt by team:

23. BUFFALO 5.1 2-4
24. DETROIT 5.0 1-5
25. ST LOUIS 5.0 0-6
26. TENNESSEE 5.0 0-6
27 SAN FRAN 5.0 3-2
28. TAMPA BAY 4.9 0-6
29. CAROLINA 4.9 2-4
30. KANSAS CITY 4.6 1-5
31. OAKLAND 4.5 2-4
32. CLEVELAND 4.1 1-5

13. The most boring subplot of the season: Michael Vick. If ever there was a time to use Vick, it was Sunday in that offensive apocalypse against the Raiders.

14. Would this play ever have happened if Brian Dawkins still played for the Eagles?

15. The Reid/McNabb Eagles have always had dumbfoundingly bad offensive games like they had Sunday against Oakland, games in which they just cannot figure anything out during the game and can't find a play to win a game against a bad opponent. It's maddening. Remember that they had a few of these games last season (Cincinnati, Washington) and should have missed the playoffs because of them.

16. Donovan "I didn't know NFL games could end in a tie" McNabb tried to call a timeout against the Raiders while the Eagles had none, resulting in a delay of
game penalty.

17. Basically nothing targeted at Jeremy Maclin Sunday was close to a completion.

18. Seriously, how bad is Tim Hightower? The Cards have to keep playing him because Beanie Wells fumbles and can't block.

19. The key difference between the Cardinals and Saints: Offensive tackles.

20. Gambling mistake of the week: Betting on a team starting a fourth-string left tackle. There has not been a poorer performance from an offensive line than Seattle's against Arizona.

21. Vince Young led the Titans with 0 passing yards. Kerry Collins had -7. Old men do not fare well in the snow.

22. I have come to despise LaDainian Tomlinson. I wish he would retire. Every week I think about flat-dropping his ass in fantasy. I hate watching him run. I hate the Chargers. My ten most hated players:

10. Marcedes Lewis
9. Kenneth Darby
8. Tim Hightower
7. Roy E. Williams
6. LaDainian Tomlinson
5. JaMarcus Russell
4. Marc Bulger
3. Brett Favre
2. Thomas Jones
1. Philip Rivers

23. Although Philip Rivers put up solid numbers against them (he puts up good numbers against everyone), you could see how effective Denver’s secondary is. You could see them making Rivers wait to throw the ball, allowing Dumervil & co. time to get to him. And you could really see how important Brian Dawkins is to that defense. The 36 year-old Dawkins is emerging as a Defensive MVP candidate.

24. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen comes off as a bit of a nincompoop in public appearances but he does seem to be one of the league’s better owners. Mike Shanahan had nothing but positive things to say after Bowlen let him go and Pat clearly found the right guy to replace Shanahan.

Defensive MVP of the week: David Harris, New York Jets
Offensive MVP of the week: Drew Brees, New Orleans
Defensive breakout player of the week: Jairus Byrd, Buffalo
Offensive breakout player of the week: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Defensive coordinator of the week: Billy Davis, Arizona
Offensive coordinator of the week: Pete Carmichael Jr., New Orleans
Goat of the week: Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Power Rankings:

Very Bad:

32. Cleveland (28)
31. Oakland (32)
30. Kansas City (27)
29. Tampa Bay (29)
28. Buffalo (30)
27. St. Louis (31)
26. Washington (26)
25. Tennessee (24)


24. Carolina (25)
23. Detroit (23)
22. Jacksonville (22)

Not sure yet:

21. Seattle (19)
20. San Diego (16)
19. Houston (21)
18. New York Jets (11)
17. Arizona (20)
16. San Francisco (17)
15. Dallas (13)
14. Miami (18)


13. Green Bay (15)
12. Chicago (14)
11. Cincinnati (12)
10. Philadelphia (6)
9. Atlanta (10)

Very Good:

8. Baltimore (8)
7. Denver (9)
6. New England (7)
5. Minnesota (4)
4. Pittsburgh (5)
3. New York Giants (1)
2. New Orleans (3)
1. Indianapolis (2)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


1. I am going to Chicago Thursday to play the WSOP Circuit Hammond 5k event. I pessimistically bought a Saturday flight out although the tournament starts Friday and ends Sunday. I won't have much down time in Chi-Town though I have several friends there and adore the place. This will likely be my only poker tournament of the Fall. There's a good chance the next one will be the PCA in Bahamas in January.

2. Softball season is over. Sigh.

3. You may have noticed the 777 banner to the left. I have received overtures from advertisers for awhile now but never felt the money was worth defiling the blog. I finally decided putting up the ad and giving the money to charity was the most utilitarian option.

4. You may have also noticed how terrible I am at picking NFL games, even though I "work" harder at this than any "job" I've ever had. Battle plan: relax, step back, calm down, have fun, go Broncos.

5. I have a puppy. This is worthy of its own post, coming soon.

6. This one goes quite a ways back...I really enjoy auctions. Going to an auction is a guaranteed good time even if you don't wind up with anything.

7. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg on a flawless, joyous wedding. This one is worthy of its own post too. You've changed my life. You are my inspiration.

8. I've been watching Friday Night Lights first season - and loving it.

9. My Survivor fantasy team is Monica, Mick, and Laura.

10. I bought a yellow shirt the other day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week Six Picks

Also like:

JETS -9.5 over Bills
FALCONS -3.5 over Bears
BUCS +3 over Panthers
PATRIOTS -9 over Titans

If forced to choose:

SEAHAWKS -3 over Cardinals
Eagles -14 over RAIDERS
Giants +3.5 over SAINTS
Broncos +3.5 over CHARGERS
JAGUARS -9.5 over Rams
Lions +13.5 over PACKERS
Texans +5 over BENGALS
Chiefs +6.5 over REDSKINS
Ravens +3 over VIKINGS
STEELERS -14 over Browns

Three Team Teaser of the Week:
JETS +.5 over Bills plus PATRIOTS +1 over Titans plus JAGUARS +.5 over Rams

Lock season record: 0-0
Really like season record: 3-3
Also like season record: 16-21
If forced to choose season record: 13-20
Teaser career record: 0-0
All games season record: 32-44

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week Five Observations

1. Josh Johnson could be the closest thing we have to Michael Vick in today's NFL - closer, even, than Michael Vick. I'm not sure how Johnson dropped to the fifth round - his talents are immense. His feet are as quick as a running back's. His arm is huge. From what I can tell, his accuracy is good too. There's a reason Johnson made the team and Luke McCown did not. I know last year I said Dante Rosario was "the most athletic tight end to enter the league since Antonio Gates" so take it with a grain of salt when I tell you that Josh Johnson is going to be a star quarterback in the National Football League.

There are several things he needs before that happens:
1. Practice
2. Film study
3. A better running game
4. An offensive coordinator
5. Practice with the first team
6. A holster
7. A defense
8. Receivers who catch the ball
9. More playing time
10. Practice

The situation clouds even further when one considers the other Josh, '09 first round pick Josh Freeman. The Bucs are a bad football team and bad football teams like to get their first round picks on the field. It would be a shame if the Bucs played Freeman for no reason other than obligation, because they've got something in Josh Johnson.

2. Maybe I missed the boat on Rosario but I nailed it on Ahmad Bradshaw. I've been hyping this guy for two years. No doubt about it now - he's one of the best. His electricity rivals Adrian Peterson's.

3. The Giants offense was scary good on Sunday. They've got it all right now.

4. Their only chink in the armor against the Raiders was Sinorice Moss fielding kicks.

5. David Carr looked competent against a worn-out Raiders defense.

6. Shane Lechler is living a punter's fantasy right now. He gets paid more than any of his peers. He punts more than any of them, and he often has the length of the field to blast away at.

7. Question for college football fans - was JaMarcus Russell good in college? Did he play well? I understand he's enormous and has a cannon and why he was drafted #1 overall, but I wonder, was he ever good at playing football? He's like that 6-5 friend of yours who should be a monster on the volleyball court but just isn't good. There are direct measures of athleticism like size, speed, and strength and then there is actually being good at the game.

8. Yes David Hoedeman, I am ready to admit Ray Rice is a stud.

9. The only game the Bengals have lost was to an undefeated team. They have wins over the Ravens and Steelers, two consensus top-ten squads. The other two teams they beat, the Packers and Browns, have only lost games to powerhouses. So why don’t I believe in the Bengals? They’re definitely a solid team but I see them more in the San Francisco/Miami category than the Pittsburgh/Baltimore one…even though they beat both of the latter teams.

10. I didn’t think we’d see a worse game than Chiefs/Raiders in week two…but I was wrong. It can’t possibly get worse than that Browns/Bills debacle.

11. Derek Anderson was TWO OF SEVENTEEN FOR TWENTY THREE YARDS and the Browns won the game!

12. I don’t know what it is about D.A., but everybody drops his passes. On Sunday the Browns dropped at least four times as many balls as they caught.

13. Jamal Lewis and Ricky Williams are two older running backs who looked surprisingly spry this week; Clinton Portis and Brandon Jacobs are two who look worn-down.

14. As bad as things have gotten in Buffalo, they’re about to get worse with the losses of linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs. The Bills could be the worst team in the league.

15. Watching the games there is not much that pisses me off more than watching a quarterback throw a two-yard checkdown on third and ten with plenty of protection – aka “the Brady Quinn.” Trent Edwards is throwing a lot of Brady Quinns.

16. It hasn't really showed up on the scoreboard yet because of red zone turnovers, but the Rams are improving on offense. They are getting things spaced out, which we haven't seen from them since 2007.

17. Another guy in the Josh Johnson mode who should make it in the NFL is Tarvaris Jackson. His strength is throwing short to intermediate passes in the face of pressure.

18. You often hear about quarterbacks "running for their lives." Game after game, it really does appear like Matt Cassel is running for his life. I think he's playing pretty well overall.

19. Todd Haley is trying anything and everything he can think of to get that offense going, but not much is working. It all looks very laborious.

20. Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett continues to call too many pass plays.

21. Limas Sweed is a poor man's Braylon Edwards. He can't catch anything.

22. Detroit's schedule so far: @New Orleans, Minnesota, Washington, @Chicago, Pittsburgh. Many teams would be 1-4 with that schedule. The Lions are going to pick up some wins against the weaker teams. They have more going for them than the bottom-barrel squads.

23. I honestly think the Texans have a better shot at converting a third and 5 than a third and 1 right now.

24. Matt Schaub is very good at throwing to wide open guys when he gets protection - and not much else.

25. ***Softball analogy of the week***
The last few weeks I have seen a few players on our teams suddenly and unexpectedly smack the ball over the heads of outfielders pushed in to take away the short single. The outfielders have shaded correctly based on the information available - these blasts shocked everyone in attendance. The players broke through in unexpected fashion. They made a leap forward. They got better.

We saw it last year with Kyle Orton, and I'm hopeful we're seeing it again this season. He got better. Watching the first few games Chicago played last season, there was no reason to believe Orton had the ability to be an above-average quarterback in the NFL. Same story this season with Denver. But then he suddenly put it together, and looks like a top-half NFL QB.

26. Welcome back to the NFL, Eddie Royal!

27. I am having a hard time deciding if there are any elite defenses out there. Baltimore’s defense, for sure, is not as good as it was last season. Pittsburgh’s is not as good due to injury. The New York Jets were pushed around by Miami’s offensive line. San Francisco was shredded by the Falcons. Minnesota gives up big pass plays. The Denver Broncos may just have the best defense in the league, and the Saints might not be far behind. I am not shocked that these teams are winning, not completely stunned that they are undefeated, but I am just blown away that their defenses have improved this much. It doesn’t seem possible. These defenses were awful in ’08. There seemed to be little to build on. Denver having the best defense in the league is the biggest surprise of the season.

28. I think we can conclude the Broncos have the best secondary in the league.

29. Josh McDaniels has excelled in game management, clock management, play-calling, adjustments, and game-planning. The Broncos have played better every game than the one before. McDaniels is the early leader of a large pack of Coach of the Year candidates.

30. Denver is 5-0, 5-0 against the spread, coming off two straight wins as a dog…and they are four-point underdogs to the 2-2 Chargers this week.

31. Another funny line – Jacksonville is a double digit favorite (over the Rams) a week removed from a 41-0 loss to a team with a losing record.

32. It’s hard to fault a team that wins by five touchdowns on the road, but I thought the Falcons weren’t sharp in San Francisco. One thing we know is the Falcons can handle teams that don't have a vertical passing game.

33. Shaun Hill is the poor man’s Kyle Orton – no mobility, no pizzazz, no playmaking, no mistakes, mediocre accuracy. If the Niners continue to win games with Hill, they may fool themselves into thinking they don’t need a quarterback. They do. When your offense can only put up ten points at home against a bad defense like Atlanta, you have a long ways to go. Of course, it’s not all on Hill –

34. San Fran’s offensive line was atrocious on Sunday.

35. I thought the Monday night game between the Jets and Dolphins was the best of the season so far. There are so many things I look for watching a game, things like clock management and play-calling, that were well executed by both teams. This was mistake-free football from two well-coached teams.

36. Although we had a large bet on the Jets, I found myself pulling for the Dolphins at times. Every year I develop crushes on certain teams (last year the Chiefs, Falcons, and Ravens), usually because of innovation and overachieving. So far this season, Miami is the only team that has really endeared itself to me in. Even falling asleep that night, I was smiling thinking about how the Miami Dolphins pulled this game out. Some guys visualize pretty girls as they lie in bed at night; I think about Tony Sparano.

37. My favorite teams will always be the ones I have money on, but there are some I root for a little more than others. My ten favorite teams at this moment:

1. Broncos
2. Dolphins
3. Packers
4. Steelers
5. Lions
6. Falcons
7. Ravens
8. Saints
9. Giants
10. Colts

Defensive MVP of the Week: Dave Zastudil, Cleveland
Offensive MVP of the Week: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Defensive coordinator of the week: Mike Zimmer, Cincinnati
Offensive coordinator of the week: Dan Henning, Miami
Defensive breakout player of the week: Aaron Curry, Seattle
Offensive breakout player of the week: Austin Collie, Indianapolis
Goat of the Week: Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville

Power Rankings:

1. New York Giants (1)
2. Indianapolis (2)
3. New Orleans (3)
4. Minnesota (6)
5. Pittsburgh (5)
6. Philadelphia (8)
7. New England (7)
8. Baltimore (4)
9. Denver (13)
10. Atlanta (10)
11. New York Jets (9)
12. Cincinnati (17)
13. Dallas (11)
14. Chicago (14)
15. Green Bay (15)
16. San Diego (16)
17. San Francisco (12)
18. Miami (24)
19. Seattle (25)
20. Arizona (18)
21. Houston (21)
22. Jacksonville (19)
23. Detroit (26)
24. Tennessee (22)
25. Carolina (20)
26. Washington (23)
27. Kansas City (30)
28. Cleveland (28)
29. Tampa Bay (29)
30. Buffalo (27)
31. St. Louis (32)
32. Oakland (31)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #30

Nada Surf - Inside of Love

Not sure if this belongs in this category or "Single Thought of a Single Man."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pet Peeve of the Week

Squib kicks.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week Five Picks

Really like:

Colts -3.5 over TITANS
Jets -1 over DOLPHINS

Also like:

Cowboys -7.5 over CHIEFS
PANTHERS -4 over Redskins
Steelers -10.5 over LIONS
GIANTS -15 over Raiders
CARDINALS -5.5 over Texans
RAVENS -9 over Bengals
Browns +6 over BILLS

If forced to choose:

EAGLES -15.5 over Bucs
Vikings -10 over RAMS
BRONCOS +3 over Patriots
Jaguars +1 over SEAHAWKS
Falcons +2.5 over NINERS

Lock season record: 0-0
Really like season record: 2-2
Also like season record: 13-17
If forced to choose season record: 9-19
All games season record: 24-38

Friday, October 09, 2009

Week Four Observations

1. Just as Detroit’s offense was starting to emerge, injuries to their Big Three could derail the Plan. Detroit’s defense is still atrocious.

2. ***Softball analogy of the week***
One of our best outfielders, Napoleon, is moving to Vietnam. Napoleon has the speed to cheat up and take away a lot of the lighter hits to left field. With him out of the lineup, we have to use slower, less-experienced outfielders. These players have to position themselves further back. Even if they catch all the balls hit at them, the defense has softened.

The insertions of Derek Anderson, Jerome Harrison, and Mohamed Massaquoi into Cleveland’s lineup make the Browns a completely different team. Defenses can’t cheat up like they could on the armless Quinn and the speedless Lewis. Anderson and Harrison can burn them. With Braylon Edwards working vertically and Massaquoi exploring the secondary’s underbelly, the Browns were starting to look like a reasonable offense. But the Edwards trade leaves them without any speed at wide receiver. Once again, teams will not have to respect their vertical game.

3. It is hard to imagine anyone other than Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, or Philip Rivers winning MVP this season.

4. Kansas City averaged 2.8 yards per pass vs. the Giants.

5. The Giants keep suffering injuries, and they just keep steamrolling. The Giants must have the best personnel men in the business - they are shrugging off these injuries like they're nothing. There might be only one irreplaceable player on the team.

6. Before you get too excited about the Jaguars, realize David Garrard’s 323 passing yards came without CBs Cortland Finnegan, Nick Harper, and Vincent Fuller in Tennessee’s lineup.

7. Houston’s offense is starting to resemble last season’s prolific attack, with Matt Schaub getting time to connect with wide open receivers and Steve Slaton darting through holes.

8. Tom Brady played his best game of the season Sunday vs the Ravens. The Pats could still wind up being the best team in the league.

9. The Patriots have yet to play a team that wasn't undefeated entering the game.

10. Other than one bomb to Santana Moss, Washington's offense was reduced to Chris Cooley and desperation scrambles by Jason Campbell. And this was against Tampa Bay.

11. I was surprised to learn Darren Sharper leads all active players in interceptions and pick-sixes.

12. Buffalo’s offense is kind of like Washington’s – I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with it. Blocking and coaching are suspect.

13. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ronnie Brown finished the season as the #1 or #2 fantasy running back.

14. Steven Jackson takes the handoff, runs straight into a brick wall, then either
a) fights like a fish with a hook in its gills for a couple seconds and winds up gang-tackled by five guys after a two-yard gain, or
b) bounces it outside, outruns two guys, then gets heaved out of bounds by three others after a 1-8 yard gain.

15. Goat of the week: Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

16. For his career, Kyle Orton has thrown 25 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the red zone.

17. I hear talk about how the Chargers sometimes don’t show up for games, how they seem to take games off, how they seem to turn it on and off. People think their problems are related to effort or focus or coaching. The truth of the matter is they have no strength in the trenches. Their defensive line could be the worst in football. Their front seven cannot tackle. Their offensive line could not run-block if their lives depended on it. They are really lacking in size and strength. They do not have a running back. These are not problems that are going to magically be solved overnight, or even this season. This team has Philip Rivers, they have great athletes at the skill positions, they have great special teams, and nothing else. They could be the best flag football team in the league but that is not the game the Chargers are paid to play.

18. The dirty little secret of the Pittsburgh Steelers is game management. I first started noticing these issues last season – spiking the ball when they don’t need to, calling timeouts at the wrong times, play-calls that don’t make sense given the context of the game. The wins are masking some major game management mistakes.

19. If Minnesota has the best defensive line in football, the best running back, and now a vintage Brett Favre, how come they haven’t blown anyone out? Something doesn’t quite add up and his name is BRAD CHILDRESS. Childress tried to keep the Packers in the game by calling a ridiculous pass play on third and ten very late when running the ball would have crippled Green Bay’s chances.

20. When your quarterback is sacked eight times in a game, you clearly have protection issues. But several of the sacks would have been avoided by QBs more intent on self-preservation than Aaron Rodgers. Other than holding onto the ball a little too long, Rodgers is playing phenomenally right now – much better than he did last season.

Defensive MVP of the Week: Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Offensive MVP of the Week: Brett Favre, Minnesota
Defensive Breakout Player of the Week: Brandon Meriweather, New England
Offensive Breakout Player of the Week: Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Gregg Williams, New Orleans
Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Dan Henning, Miami

Power Rankings:

1. New York Giants (1)
2. Indianapolis (2)
3. New Orleans (3)
4. Baltimore (2)
5. Pittsburgh (5)
6. Minnesota (6)
7. New England (10)
8. Philadelphia (7)
9. New York Jets (8)
10. Atlanta (11)
11. Dallas (9)
12. San Francisco (14)
13. Denver (15)
14. Chicago (18)
15. Green Bay (17)
16. San Diego (12)
17. Cincinnati (16)
18. Arizona (20)
19. Jacksonville (23)
20. Carolina (19)
21. Houston (24)
22. Tennessee (13)
23. Washington (21)
24. Miami (26)
25. Seattle (25)
26. Detroit (26)
27. Buffalo (22)
28. Cleveland (32)
29. Tampa Bay (28)
30. Kansas City (30)
31. Oakland (31)
32. St. Louis (29)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #31

Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down

Yeah, I know no one has any interest in these posts. The truth is they are just filling time while I work on the NFL.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pet Peeve of the Week

T9 mode on my cell phone doesn't recognize "broncos." I have to type "bron", change it twice, then type "cos" and change that twice.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

September Top 15

15. INXS - Devil Inside
14. Three Dog Night - An Old Fashioned Love Song
13. The Black Crowes - Jealous Again
12. Coldplay - Death And All His Friends
11. O.A.R. - Love and Memories

10. Augustana - Hey Now
9. Everclear - I Want To Die A Beautiful Death
8. Augustana - Fire
7. Everclear - Blackjack
6. Everclear - The New York Times

5. Neko Case - Hold On, Hold On

4. The Black Crowes - Twice As Hard
3. The Black Crowes - Seeing Things
2. Everclear - A Beautiful Life

Song of the Month: Everclear - Sunshine (That Acid Summer)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Week Four Picks

Also like:

VIKINGS -3.5 over Packers
Lions +10 over BEARS
Rams +9.5 over NINERS
Ravens +2.5 over PATRIOTS
Bengals -6 over BROWNS
Giants -8 over CHIEFS
Seahawks +10 over COLTS

If forced to choose:

Jets +7.5 over SAINTS
Titans -3 over JAGUARS
REDSKINS -7.5 over Bucs
Raiders +8.5 over TEXANS
STEELERS -6.5 over Chargers
BRONCOS +2.5 over Cowboys
DOLPHINS +1 over Bills

Lock season record: 0-0
Really like season record: 2-2
Also like season record: 11-12
If forced to choose season record: 6-15
All games season record: 19-29

Friday, October 02, 2009

Week Three Observations

1. Make no mistake about it, Detroit outplayed the Redskins on Sunday. This was no fluke. I am having a tough time diagnosing what’s wrong with the Skins. Their offensive line is a bit of a mess and they can’t get the running game going. Their defense isn’t creating turnovers. They just don’t seem that bad to me though. They are the kind of team that gets 11 yards on third and 12, the kind of team that can’t overcome a holding penalty, the kind of team that doesn’t confuse a Matt Stafford into turning the ball over, the kind of team that will have a new coach in three months.

2. Jim Schwartz has to be my favorite coach in the league – even ahead of Mike “Olde Whitey” Smith. He reads Football Outsiders, rocks a bit of a fauxhawk, doesn’t draw attention to himself, and coaches well. Some of my other favorites:

QB: Tyler Thigpen
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw
TE: Brandon Pettigrew
WR: Eddie Royal
WR: Larry Fitzgerald
OL: Ryan Clady
DE: Jared Allen
DT: Jay Ratliff
LB: Ray Lewis
CB: Champ Bailey
S: Adrian Wilson
P: Mike Scifres
K: Mason Crosby

3. Lions rookie S Louis Delmas is left cleaning up a lot of messes on the back end.

4. The Packers stick with Ryan Grant and the ground game, though it’s unimpressive.

5. Someone explain to me the difference between Greg Jennings and Lee Evans. How does Jennings always seems to be available for a couple bombs, while Evans is rarely targeted and always blanketed?

6. Kyle Boller could be better than Marc Bulger at this point in their careers. I know one thing – Boller was VERY excited to get his opportunity.

7. Shaun Hill showed me what I needed to see. Hill, Vernon Davis, and Josh Morgan flashed enough of a passing game to make the Niners a comprehensive team. The game was snatched cruelly away from them, but Sunday was still a good day for San Fran – each of their division rivals lost.

8. Minnesota is not blowing teams away, but they are not going to be easy to beat. The Vikings have unstoppable players on offense and defense.

9. Michael Turner hasn’t lost a step, or a half-step, but he may have lost a quarter-step.

10. Atlanta had a nice matchup week one against the Dolphins, but since then it has become obvious this team has no defense. They can’t get off the field.

11. Houston’s defense looks just like Atlanta’s: one good pass rusher and a bunch of stiffs. Not enough speed or strength, poor tackling, and little playmaking. These teams have explosive offenses but they can’t get a hold of the ball.

12. Jets rookie RB Shonn Greene has yet to set foot on an NFL football field.

13. The funny thing about the Chiefs is that Matt Cassel is as good or better than advertised, and they still completely suck.

14. It’s staggering to think that of all the wideouts that have come out of USC the last decade, Steve Smith of the Giants is easily the most productive pro.

15. Derek Anderson gives the Browns just a sliver of hope, as he can deliver the ball downfield to Braylon Edwards. Brady Quinn really needs dynamic short-pattern receivers to succeed. A legit tight end would have helped him out.

16. I’m not the first to say this: the three worst words in sports are Doctor James Andrews.

17. The Bears would really be in trouble without Jay Cutler. There are not many things they do well. Cutler has already bailed them out of two games they should have lost.

18. Underrated coaching performance of the week: Sean Payton grinding out a win in Buffalo, leaving the ego on the shelf, and using a low-risk game plan which virtually insured a New Orleans victory.

19. Second year LT Ryan Clady has given up half a sack in his career for the Broncos. Clady may be the best offensive lineman in the world.

20. Correll Buckhalter is averaging 7.4 yards per carry.

21. Denver’s defense, one of the worst in NFL history last season according to several statistical models, currently ranks in the top ten of every category you can think of. Some of the more

Yardage – 1st
Passing yardage – 2nd
Yards per pass attempt – 3rd
Opposing QB rating – 3rd
Pass touchdowns – 1st (0 on the season)
Interceptions – 5th
Sacks – 1st
Rushing yardage – 7th
Yards per rush attempt – 7th
Rushing touchdowns – 4th
Forced fumbles – 1st
Recovered fumbles – 2nd
Points per game – 1st (averaging a ridiculous 5.3, less than half #2 NY Jets)
First downs – 1st
Third down stop percent – 4th
Fantasy points – 1st

22. ***Softball analogy of the week***
You see some pretty weak girls step up to the plate playing coed softball. Girls that have little chance at getting the ball out of the infield, let alone getting on base. At the same time, almost every guy is at least competent – and many are terrifying bashers who always hit the ball hard. I play third base, which is positively terrifying when one of those big boppers steps in. There are men who threaten to reconstruct my face Anquan Boldin style. Now, throwing strikes is not that easy. Throwing accurately underhand is challenging. But when our pitcher walks a weak girl, I lose my mind. Not only did we just put someone on base who is probably going to come around and score, not only did the chances of my teeth spilling onto the infield just increase, but we lost a great opportunity to record an out.

The Denver Broncos lucked out in a win over the Bengals, then took care of business against the Browns and Raiders. The Broncos haven’t walked any girls so far this season.

Which is mandatory, because Denver’s next eight games look like this:
New England
@San Diego
San Diego
NY Giants

Late-season trips to Indianapolis and Philadelphia lurk as well.

23. Pittsburgh looked like a behemoth to me on Sunday. Their loss to the Bengals was the flukiest of the NFL season thus far. The Steelers dominated a solid team on the road.

24. Marvin Lewis is officially the worst clock-managing head coach in the league.

25. In retrospect, the Colts couldn’t have had a better matchup than they had against the pass-first Arizona Cardinals, who can’t run the ball and can’t protect Kurt Warner.

26. In 2009, I am convinced that the name of the game is defensive line. Carolina, who lost Ma’ake Kemoeatu before the season began, does not have a defensive line.

27. Once every 381 days, you can count on a big game from Dante Rosario.

Defensive MVP of the Week: Kevin Burnett, San Diego
Offensive MVP of the Week: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Defensive Breakout Player of the Week: Kevin Burnett, San Diego
Offensive Breakout Player of the Week: Lynell Hamilton, New Orleans
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Dean Pees, New England
Offensive Coordinator of the Week:

Power Rankings:

32. Cleveland (32)
31. Oakland (29)
30. Kansas City (30)
29. St. Louis (31)
28. Tampa Bay (26)
27. Detroit (28)
26. Miami (18)
25. Seattle (25)
24. Houston (24)
23. Jacksonville (27)
22. Buffalo (20)
21. Washington (21)
20. Arizona (23)
19. Carolina (17)
18. Chicago (15)
17. Green Bay (16)
16. Cincinnati (12)
15. Denver (19)
14. San Francisco (22)
13. Tennessee (14)
12. San Diego (13)
11. Atlanta (10)
10. New England (11)
9. Dallas (10)
8. New York Jets (7)
7. Philadelphia (8)
6. Minnesota (6)
5. Pittsburgh (5)
4. New Orleans (4)
3. Indianapolis (3)
2. Baltimore (2)
1. New York Giants (1)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #32

Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me

The most addictive chords I have ever heard.