Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NFL: Fired

I'm going to update this as NFL coaches get fired.

Mike Shanahan (Denver Broncos)

Was it time: Yes. I hate the Broncos which means this dude did his job. Having said that, the current winning structure is to hire a GM and then let the GM get a head coach that's on the same page as him and you create a checks and balances system (see Falcons or Dolphins). Shanahan was both GM and head coach and did alright, but seeing other teams that suck all of a sudden start owning makes you jealous. Plus, 12 years with one team is just boring. Good move for both parties.

Eric Mangini (NY Jets)

Was it time: No. This move showed how stupid Jet admin is. Mangenius is still solid a coach starting 8-3 and then Farve threw a million INTs and like 2 TDs. You can't coach around that. When Mangenius was listened to, run, run, run, run, pass, run, run, run that shit works. Then as 8-3 Farve was like "I'M THE SHIT" and just threw, threw, threw. Fuck the Jets. They are going south next year. This dude's going to find a job this month.

Romeo Crennel (Cleveland Browns)

Was it time: Yes. I like this guy, but it was time to go. Last year's 10-6 season was really luck, and this year was unlucky because his QBs went down, but I think he lost this team this year. Romeo isn't really a head coach. I know everyone hates the recently fired Mike Martz, but I think as a head coach if I put Romeo as my Defensive Coordinator and Martz as my Offensive Coordinator, I'd be alright. Regardless, I wouldn't hire Romeo again as a head coach anyway.

Rod Marinelli (Detroit Lions)

Was it time: No. How you going to break this guy off when he ran the dream season of 0-16? Alright, I'm just messing. Yes. When a reporter asked if Marinelli wished his daughter married someone else (one of Marinelli's coaches was his son-in-law), you know shit was bad because that's pretty fucking mean. I never saw what the Lions saw in this guy. Lions need to get Parcells and pay him a young girl every month to keep him there.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bill Parcells's 11 Commandments Applied

Parcells, while controversial with his "Jap plays," is a genius. When he talks, you listen because he actually knows what he's talking about. I want to use his 11 Commandments for quarterbacks and grade three quarterbacks: Tony Romo (who apparently reads them in the beginning and end of each season), Brett Farve, and Matt Ryan, different age groups in the NFL.

1. Press or t.v., agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers on, ignore them on matters of football, they don't know what's happening here.

Romo: F - Stop listening to Colin Cowherd who says your team owns and stop listening to Jessica Simpson. She's not stupid; she dupid.
Farve: C - He didn't listen to his wife to stay retired.
Ryan: n/g - No one told him to do shit.

2. Don't forget to have fun, but don't be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don't mix. Clowns can't run a huddle.

Romo: F - Fucking clown shoes.
Farve: A - One thing Farve isn't is a clown. But that speech before the Miami game brought more insight into Farve's leadership skills. He obviously leads more my example than by words because his speech sucks.
Ryan: A - No personality, had fun because all he had to do was hand off to Michael "I'm Larry Johnson now" Turner.

3. A quarterback throws with his legs more than his arms. Squat and run. Fat quarterbacks can't avoid the rush.

Romo: B - Well, he ain't fat, but did he really need to fumble the ball so much?
Farve: A - At 39 he was still avoiding the rush by throwing INTs.
Ryan: A - Young guys aren't fat.

4. Know your job cold. This is not a game without errors. Keep yours to a minimum. Study.

Romo: C - He more like crammed.
Farve: F - He showed up to class and was like, "Oh snap, there's a test? I just wing dis shit."
Ryan: B - He made errors, but for a rookie, they weren't too bad. It does help that if shit goes bad you can just hand the ball off to Turner. Ask Philip Rivers last year.

5. Know your own players. Who's fast? Who can catch? Who needs encouragement? Be precise. Know your opponent.

Romo: D - He really sucked at this. I felt like TO was more a leader than Romo, and that's not good.
Farve: F - PICKED OFF.
Ryan: A - "Michael Turner really runs the ball well. I should encourage myself to hand the ball to him. A lot."

6. Be the same guy everyday. In condition, preparing to lead, studying your plan. A coach can't prepare you for every eventuality. Prepare yourself and remember, impulse decisions usually equal mistakes.

Romo: F - "Shit, Bill was right about that impulse shit. 44-6 :("
Farve: F - This guy is 90% impulse.
Ryan: C - Rookies are streaky, even the good ones. I couldn't depend on Ryan for my fantasy team and had to bench him for Cassel mid-season.

7. Throwing the ball away is a good play. Sacks, interceptions, and fumbles are bad plays. Protect against those.

Romo: D - 44-6.
Farve: F - Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttt.
Ryan: B - He had an INT problem sometimes, but I don't remember him having a game where he had more INTs than TDs.

8. You must learn to manage the game. Personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock, clock, clock, don't you ever lose track of the clock.

Romo: F - "Is it time to end the season yet?"
Farve: F - "It's not time for me to retire yet."
Ryan: A - "Time for the playoffs!"

9. Passing stats and td passes are not how you're gonna be judged. Your job is to get your team in the end zone and that's how you're gonna be judged.

Romo: F - 44-6.
Farve: B - One thing's for sure, he don't care about stats.
Ryan: A - For a rookie, he did well managing his team into the end zone whether through the air or ground.

10. When all around you is in chaos, you must be the hand that steers the ship. If you have a panic button, so will everyone else. Our ship can't have panic buttons.

Romo: F - Panic Button hit when Williams was crying for the ball.
Farve: B - He didn't really panic; he just was Farve and threw a bunch of INTs. His completion percentage is 70%, half of that percentage are completions to the other team.
Ryan: C - No real drama. Was it Ryan's doing? Probably not, but we'll never know and that's how it should be.

11. Don't be a celebrity quarterback. We don't need any of those. We need battlefield commanders that are willing to fight it out everyday, every week, and every season, and lead their team to win after win after win.

Romo: F - Me and Jessica sitting in a tree, EFF - YOO - SEE - KAY - EYE - EN - GEE my career.
Farve: F - Madden: "He's a God, BOOM!"
Ryan: A - Who the fuck are you?


Obviously, being a rookie and having a stud for a RB helped Ryan do well. Romo is overrated, but really not even Parcells was able to handle the Cowboys when it was just TO being TO. Now TO was more of the sane head on the team, which shows how bad things are. Farve is Farve and led to Mangini getting fired. OOPS. Who would have thought you needed to keep Chad Pennington over Farve to keep your job?

Lions livin' the dream. Thank you for doing it. I poured one for the homies in homor of your historic season. I'm buying a Lions jersey today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

8 In the Box- AFC

1. Kudos for the NFL for hiring time traveling bunnies to make their 2008 schedule. They managed to fandangle showdowns for home field advantage between the 4 best teams in the league in both the AFC and the NFC on the same weekend. The AFC's win and go home for the rest of the season matchup took place in Nashville, between a Steelers team who had won 5 in a row and has a defense some are calling the best in NFL history (some, not me) and a Titans team that has been kind of meh the last month of the season, going 2-2 in their last 4 and coming off a loss in Houston.

So, of course, momentum meaning nothing in this year's NFL, the Titans won by 17 points, stepping on the gas in the third quarter to close the game with 21 unanswered points. Ben Roethlisberger got sacked 5 times, and the Steelers turned it over 4 times. The moment that had everyone talking came on the sidelines though, when with the outcome in hand, LenDale White produced a yellow "Terrible Towel" and he and Keith Bulluck began stomping on it. Oooooooh...its on now. Pittsburgh got served and its on like Donkey Kong.

2. With big, wet, chunky snowflakes falling all over the place in Seattle, you would have figured the setting was perfect for Brett Favre and his childlike joy to carry the Jets to an important victory. Much to my astonishment though, no amount of tongue snowflake catching or snowman making would save the Jets on this day. They get held to 3 points by a 3-11 Seahawks team, and Mike Holmgren wins his final game as Hawks head coach, dealing a devastating blow to the Jets playoff chances. Now, unless the Jets can beat their old buddy Chad Pennington and the Dolphins this week, AND either NE loses to Buffalo or Baltimore loses to Jacksonville (neither of which is likely to happen), we'll be hearing another retirement speech from Favre in a couple of days.

3. Ah yes, the Dolphins. This team that went 1-15 last year, won their 10th game of the 2008 season last week in KC. Now all they need to do is beat the Jets this week, and they are in the playoffs as the AFC East Champs.

This brings to mind some commentary I heard while watching the games last week. I really wish I remember who said it, but one of the sages doing the either the Jets or the Dolphins game said, “That Pennington trade was a trade that helped both teams.” Really? Please fill me in how trading a QB to a team in your own division, and then having that team go from 1 win to 10 wins after that trade “helps” your team? Am I missing something or would the Jets not have been better off letting the Dolphins see if they can win 10 games with Josh McCown or John Beck at quarterback, because I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t have. Then there’s the small matter of fact that Chad Pennington will probably be the Dolphins QB for the next 5 years while Favre is most likely gone after this year. That was not a “trade that helped both teams”, it was a horrible trade for the Jets, it will look even more horrible if Chad and the Dolphins end the Jets season this week.

4. I really do find it ironic that while the BCS is an annual target of just about everybody, this year it’s the NFL’s playoff system that is turning out much more jacked up and unfair. To wit, last week the Patriots beat the Cardinals 47-7, and in all honesty the game wasn’t even that close. Nevertheless, the 8-7 Cardinals are going to the playoffs while the 10-5 Patriots have to not only win this week but hope for either the Dolphins or the Ravens to lose as well. Then there’s the guy in the picture above who ran out of the stands and tackled Junior Seau on the sideline, providing us with a poignant example of WTF Dadaism in a world gone to hell.

5. The Chargers are doing the same thing they do every year, which is to lay down for the first 10 games or so then come on strong at the end of the year. This team that was 4-8 at one point now controls its own destiny and can not only reach the playoffs but host a playoff game if they can beat the Broncos at home this week. They have had to earn this situation though, last week they went into Tampa and beat the Bucs behind 4 TD passes from Philip Rivers in what shall be heretofore known as "The Jeff Garcia 5 Alarm Great Muta Blade Job Face Game".

6. Speaking of the Broncos, they continue to be as tough and gritty as a tub of Cool Whip. They blew their second chance to clinch the AFC West, this time losing at home to a Bills team that had lost seven out of their last 8. The Bills had 2 chances to tie it on the last 2 plays of the game when Brandon Stokely twice got open in the end zone, but on the first play Cutler threw it over his head, and on the second play Stokely dropped the ball. Thankfully, there was no more time left on the clock after that so they couldn't try again and both break their legs or something. Now the Broncos have to win in San Diego this weekend to avoid missing the playoffs. Says WR and geography major Brandon Marshall, “Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to go up there and take it easy,” “Up there” being San Diego. Someone please tell Marshall he plays for Denver, not Tijuana.

7. Give kudos to Joe Flacco. One day he’s laying on his back on the cover of SI, which is not a good thing unless you are a swimsuit model, or better yet with a swimsuit model on top of you, the next he is leading his team into the final game at Texas Stadium where they are expected to quietly play Jerry Flynn to the Cowboys’ Goldberg, but instead Flacco and the Ravens actually WIN the durned game and send the entire Cowboys organization into a raging case of premenstrual syndrome. Actually, Flacco didn’t do too much, it was mostly LeRon McClain and Willis McGahee (247 rushing yards combined), but hey, he was the guy taking the pile driver on the cover of SI, so I have to give him some credit.

8. And finally, the quietest 11-4 team you have ever seen, the Indianapolis Colts, won again, this time a 31-24 nail biter in Jacksonville. Sure, the Colts play terrible opposition pretty much every week (their last 4 wins have come over Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Jax), but 8 wins in a row is 8 wins in a row I guess. With their high scoring offense, lack of a running game, questionable defense, and soft schedule, consider them the NFL equivalent of a team going into a BCS bowl out of the WAC conference, which if Hawaii taught us anything last year (and this year too…good God..getting spanked at home by Notre Dame??) is not really a good thing. Also note that since I visited Lucas Oil Field in October and bought my goofy looking Colts stocking cap and giant Peyton Manning bobblehead, the Colts have not lost.

8+1. So before I wrap here, let's review the playoff implications of the Week 17 games:

- The only way the Ravens can miss the playoffs is if they lose to Jacksonville, and New England beats Buffalo. So let's for the sake of simplicity assume Baltimore beats Jacksonville and is in as the sixth seed.

- That leaves the AFC East division champ berth as the last available slot. Miami can sew that up with a win over the Jets. If the Dolphins lose, they are out. This game is a straight up elimination playoff game for them.

- If the Jets win against the Dolphins, then the Patriots can win the division with a win over Buffalo. If the Jets win AND New England loses, the Jets are in as the AFC East champs.

So if you are a Patriots fan, go paint yourself Green and buy yourself an Eric Mangini Fathead, because unless the Jaguars are feeling really frisky, you will need their help this weekend. If you are a Jets fan, keep hating the Patriots like you already do, because you need them to lose.

- And of course, Denver at San Diego is a playoff game. Winner is in as the #4 seed and AFC West Champ. Loser is done.

Merry Christmas Patrick

Here are your NFL BCS Bowl Matchups

Kohler Porcelain God Bowl
#32 Lions v. #31 Rams

Immodium Irritable Bowel Syndrome Bowl
#29 Browns v. #30 Bengals

Kleenex It's Sad What's Become Of These Franchises Bowl
#27 Chiefs v. #28 Raiders

Disappointment Bowl Brought To You By "Quantum of Solace"
#25 Jaguars v. #26 Seahawks

GM Slow Starter Bowl
#23 49ers v. #24 Texans

Lucky Charms Horseshoe Up The Ass Bowl
#21 Cardinals v. #22 Broncos

Isotoner Long, Cold, Sad Winter Bowl
#19 Packers v. #20 Bills

History Channel French and Indian War Bowl
#17 Patriots v. #18 Redskins

Ripley's I Can't Believe You Can Blow a Game in 11 Seconds Bowl
#15 Bears v. #16 Falcons

Xerox These Teams Just Played Each Other Bowl
#13 Chargers v. #14 Bucs

Buffalo Wild Wings Wildcat Single Wing Bowl
#11 Colts v. #12 Dolphins

Starcaps Urine Bowl
#9 Vikings v. #10 Steelers

Wrangler Jeans Childlike Joy Bowl
#7 Jets v. #8 Saints

Pets.Com Year 2000 Throwback Bowl
#5 Ravens v. #6 Giants

There's Nothing Left In the Bowl Because Andy Reid Ate It All Bowl*
#3 Panthers v. #4 Eagles
*This Bowl cannot end in a tie, per special Donovan McNabb Rule

PacMan Jones Make It Rain Bowl
#1 Titans v. #2 Cowboys

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

8 In the Box- NFC

Sorry I missed Week absolutely do not want to know how busy work has been for me lately. I am currently on my 9th consecutive day of work with no days off. Merry Fucking Christmas.

Here's a quick one sentence recap of what happened in Week 15:

The Giants lost their second in a row, this time losing to the Cowboys 20-8, the Bears kept their seasons alive by beating the Saints in OT on Thurs Night, a win they had to have as the Vikings beat up on the Cardinals on Sunday, Atlanta won a big wildcard spot showdown against the Bucs in OT, while Philly continued its late season resurgence by thumping Cleveland, Pittsburgh set up a showdown for AFC homefield in Week 16 by beating Baltimore while the Titans lost to red hot Houston, Detroit lost again to fall 0-14, as the Colts beat them to win their 6th in a row, all the AFC East hopefuls (New England, the Jets, and the Dolphins) won, while the AFC West leading Broncos failed to clinch their division because they got dusted in Carolina.

So that was Week 15 and that was a runon sentence, now on to the return of the world-renowned EIGHT IN THE BOX..covering the NFC happenings in Week 16.

1. Exactly as they are supposed to, the BCS computers matched up the top 2 teams in the NFC to decide who gets home field advantage like men, on the field.

The Giants entered this showdown against Carolina having lost two games in a row, and arterially wounded just like Plaxico Burress' leg. The running game had been unable to compensate for the loss of Burress, due in part to a knee injury to Brandon Jacobs, and in part just to plain old "disgraceful" performances, as Derrick Ward put it.

Against Carolina though, the only thing "disgraceful" about the Giants running game was the way they performed public sodomy on the Panthers defense. Ward rushed for 215 yards, and Jacobs had 87 and 3 TDs, as the Giants came from behind to beat the Panthers, who got 4 rushing TDs from DeAngelo Williams, 34-28 in OT. The loss of home field advantage was a big one for Carolina, as they are 8-0 at home this year, and 3-4 on the road.

2. On the other end of the good/suck continuum, the Lions are one game away from completing their magical 0-16 season. I thought maybe a home game against a Saints team who had nothing to play for was a good opportunity for the Lions to get that victory. But they lost 42-7, so maybe not. Next week they go to Lambeau Field to face a Packers team that has lost 5 in a row and 7 out of their last 8. I smell "flex game".

3. There may yet be hope for the Lions, though. Just look at the Falcons. Only 1 year after the Michael Vick Experience ended in him mopping floors in the joint for 40 cents and 3 cans of mackerel an hour, the Falcons have completely turned it around. They are now officially in the playoffs as a wildcard thanks to a 24-17 win in Minnesota. The Falcons entered the game ranked 29th in the league in yards per rushing attempt against, but pulled it together to hold Adrian Peterson to only 76 yards on 22 carries.

4. I am officially declaring it completely impossible to predict how the Dallas Cowboys will play from week to week. They're good, then they're bad, then they're fighting, then they love each other, then Wade Phillips is fired, then he's not, then they're going to the Super Bowl, then they are not going to the playoffs. I give up.

As Oprah would say, what I know for sure is, the Cowboys stunk it up this past Saturday night, losing the final game at Texas Stadium 33-24 because LeRon McClain and the undead Willis McGahee combined to roll up 247 rushing yards against them. I also know that they need to beat the Eagles this weekend to make the playoffs, and that Jerry Jones has said Wade Phillips will be back next year whether the Cowboys make the playoffs or not, which I also know I do not believe for a second.

A funny stat in this Ravens game was the Ravens fumbled 5 times and only lost 1 of them. Pro Football Prospectus tells us that who recovers a fumble is essentially a random outcome, so chalk some of it up to bad luck for the Cowboys. You can also chalk some of it up to Marion Barber's toe still hurting him. If I were an NFL GM, order of business #1 would be to amputate every one's toes as a prophlyactic measure.

5. The Eagles may end up being a yard short of the playoffs. Down 10-3 with 12 seconds left against the Redskins, Donovan McNabb hit Reggie Brown on the Redskins 1 yard line, Brown went airborne, but couldn't get into the end zone. The final seconds ran out, and that was it, Eagles lose, and now need to beat the Cowboys next week and get help to make the playoffs. Some sweet play selection in this game by Andy Reid, who despite all the success the Eagles had running the ball against the Giants and Browns the last two weeks, called 48 pass plays versus 14 running plays this week. The result was 3 points.

6. Entering Week 16, the Bears had a 6.25% chance of winning the NFC North. They needed the Vikings to close the season with 2 losses, and they needed to win their final 2. Exiting Week 16, that 6.25% chance has become a 25% chance. The Vikings, as you already know, lost to the Falcons, and the Bears came from behind to beat the Packers in OT on a Monday Night in Chicago so cold that the temperature had to measured in Kelvin. It took a blocked field goal as regulation expired, and a few fortunate bounces on punts, but the Bears are still alive. If they can go to Houston and beat the Texans next week, and the Vikings lose to a convalescing Giants team, the Bears will be NFC North champs at 10-6.

7. One will have to forgive the Bears and their fans if they are a little upset if the Bears finish 10-6 and miss the playoffs, while the Cardinals get in at 8-8. The Cards have been horrible since about Thanksgiving, losing 4 out of 5 and giving up 38 points per game in those 5 games. Their latest ass kicking came at the hands of the Patriots in snowy Foxboro, in a 47-7 flogging that saw the not so triumphant return of cross eyed Matt Leinart. The Cards, I will remind you, are your 2008 NFC West champs, and will open the playoffs at home in 2 weeks. And people think the BCS is jacked up.

8. So, with the Falcons having clinched 1 wildcard spot (and can still actually win the NFC South with a win and a Carolina loss, but whatever, the Panthers and Falcons are both in, we know that), and the Bears and Vikings to decide the NFC North this upcoming weekend, that leaves 1 precious wildcard spot that about a million teams are fighting over. A quick rundown of the contenders:

- Dallas will be in if they beat Philadelphia. There are a whole lot of people who should be rooting for the Eagles this week, because none of these other scenarios come in to play unless the Cowboys lose.

- If Dallas loses, the next team with a clear shot is Tampa Bay. The Bucs are at home against the Raiders, so it would seem that if Dallas loses than Tampa will be in, but Tampa's lost 3 in a row, so who even knows if they can beat the Raiders anymore.

- The Bears can still sneak into the playoffs even if the Vikings win this weekend. If Dallas and Tampa both lose, and the Bears win at Houston, then the Bears get that final wildcard spot.

- And finally, the Eagles will get the final spot if they beat Dallas, Tampa loses to Oakland, and the Bears lose to Houston. When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars.

Tomorrow..8 In the Box for the AFC. I promise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bowl Picks

As much as the BCS system is the most nonsensical system to determine a champion in the near and far universe, me and Voltron (the lion one; fuck the vehicle one) love this time of season because bowl represent the Superbowl for a bunch of schools. Here are some of my picks that I'm walking the walk with in a Bowl Pick'em.

Patrick N picks are in bold


Poinsettia Bowl: Favorite TCU (11) vs. Boise St. (9)

This is a toss up with TCU's defense and Boise's offense. Boise St. is going to be one of those schools that has the most undefeated seasons without a BCS Championship. Vegas has this as an even match up with most casinos having TCU up by 2-3 pts, but I think Boise has the intangibles and want this game more than TCU to bitch the BCS system.

Hawaii Bowl: Favorite Notre Dame vs. Hawaii

Hilariously, Notre Dame, the crappiest, overhyped team in any sport, is favored. Notre Dame's d sucks, o sucks, and is flying into a Hawaii home game because, shit, IT'S THE FUCKING HAWAII BOWL. Vegas has Hawaii favored by a point, but all the casinos have Notre Dame by 1.5 pts. go to the Hilton Casino or right now, put money on Hawaii and make the easiest coin in your life.

BCS Bowls

The Orange Bowl (AKA The Dogshit Bowl): Favorite Cincinnati (12) vs. Virginia Tech (21)

Mary Star of the Sea vs. Braille Institute. Deaf U vs. Amy Grant State. Who gives a donkey dick about this BCS bowl? These teams make it while Boise St. and Texas Tech didn't. Damn, BCS is so awesome. Vegas has this as even, most casinos have this as Cincinnati as two pt favorites, I see Virginia Tech win because I took a dump and it was in the shape of a VT. Don't ask how that happened.

Sugar Bowl (AKA The BCS Rig Bowl): Favorite Alabama (4) vs. Utah (7)

See, this is just messed up. BCS wants to make a point that the Utahs and Boise Sts are not worthy of BCS bowls by pitting Utah against Alabama. Why couldn't Utah play Cincinnati or Virginia Tech? Hell, Even Penn State I think Utah would have a chance to beat, but Alabama? Really. Alabama/USC or Alabama/Texas would have been better, but BCS didn't want a co-champion problem again. I hate Utah, but I feel sorry for them here. Vegas has Alabama favored by a 2nd to highest 11 points making it the second most guaranteed win right next to the South Florida rapage over Memphis. Whatever, BCS. Whatever.

Fiesta Bowl (AKA The BCS Rewards Whispering Eyes Not Manliness Bowl): Texas (3) vs. Ohio State (10)

Thanks to USC, we didn't have to see Ohio State get raped again in the BCS Championship and USC gets cheated from a National Title game. Wow. This match up is ironic because Texas put 4 super hard games to screw themselves over, and Ohio State rigs their schedule to lose early so they can build back up the rankings. If Ohio State wins this, I will uninstall my face with my fist.

Rose Bowl (AKA The USC Bowl): Favorite USC (5) vs. Penn State (6)

A home game for USC, the only way Penn State has a chance in this is if USC's mind isn't in this because they wanted a different bowl just to change things up. Then Pete Carroll will be like, "Dawgs, 7 of you defensive bitches will be going to the NFL. If anyone else wants to get paid, better bukake Penn State." Then USC will surpass the 10 pt favorite mark given to them by Vegas and I'll give half my BCS title vote to USC. The other half is to Texas. And the other half is to Boise St.

BCS Championship: Favorite Florida (1) vs. Oklahoma (2)

Look, based on the BCS system, this was probably the best match up. But that's like saying me and your mom was the best match up when I had to choose a dog, a monkey, a rock, and a man. And picking the monkey would have been alright. And maybe the man if he looked like Angelina Jolie. Would it really be that wrong to see one of these teams as champions? No. But this would be like having the Patriots playing the Cowboys last year leaving the Giants to not win the title. This title game just feels empty to me. Congrats to Florida who are 3 point favorites in the casinos and probably will get higher as we get closer to this bowl's date.

I wait in anticipation for Nicky P's final NFL Power Rankings so I can put them in bowl games and play them on autoplay in NFL 2009. And if Nick put them in bowl games himself, that would be even better. HEHE

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Fantasy Football Path to Greatness

I have never won Fantasy anything. But this weekend I may reach Fantasy greatness as my team, the Dutch Rudders (see Zack and Miri Make a Porno), is ready for some domination nation. Here is my path to greatness in fantasy football. (You can click on the pictures to see more clearly.)

This is how the tourney ended up:

Now I know what you're wondering. Patrick, how the hell did you get to 7th rank when you own so much? Well, I was falling in Nicky P's trap he falls into of picking the best players. After starting 0-5, I figured out to use Vegas Odds to help determine who I pick. That meant I made these pickups:

Matt Cassel QB(I had Hasselback POS as QB before)
Matt Forte RB to back up the often injured Steven Jackson
And Jets as DEF backup

These a-holes led me to the playoffs and I raped my opponent in the first round against #2:

In the semifinals, I picked up Devin Hester (WR), Davone Bess (WR), and Neil Rackers (K) because Yahoo scouted them as 4 star players for this particular weekend. Well, Bess sucked, Hester made a difference but only by drawing penalties, and Rackers sucked more than Jenna Jameson. But, Matt Cassel avenged his dad and got 5 TDs, and Andre Johnson went apeshit and I beat my projective odds and sucky advice from Yahoo to advance to the finals:

So this weekend I may win my first Fantasy anything. I picked up Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas because New Orleans is projected to dominate the Lions. Everyone group hug with me:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Week 15 NFL

So this is my first Fantasy Football- free week of the season. Both of my teams are done. What happened to my one team that made the playoffs was truly something that should make me never go near the FF Bitch Goddess again. My team had a 27 point lead heading into MNF, and the one guy my opposition had left to go was Antonio Bryant, who was out of the league last year due to an unattractive combination of ineffectiveness and general being a tremendous asshole. Of course, we all know that Bryant had 200 yards and 2 TDs in that Monday Night game, which translated to not only the 28 fantasy points needed to beat me, but 8 more than that. It's the most disgusted I've been with fantasy football since Joe Horn pulled a cell phone out of a goalpost a few years ago on a night where he had a similar game to knock me out of the playoffs. What a stupid game, this fantasy football.


1. NY GIANTS (11-2)
Last Week- L v. Philadelphia 14-20; This Week- at Dallas
What was I saying last week about the Giants being an unstoppable juggernaut, and them being better than last year's Patriots ever were? Someone please email me and remind me to get my carbon monoxide detector checked. Actually, I still think the Giants are by far the best team in the league. Every team tosses in a clunker every now and then, and since they had all the Plaxico Burress hoo hah going on last week, I give them a pass. Besides, if it was the Diva WR Distraction that did them in last week, well, they play the Cowboys this week, and TO is livid that Tony Romo is Jason Witten's BFF and not his, so all that should work in their favor this week.

Last Week- W at Tampa Bay 38-23; This Week - v. Denver
You know, given they got a huge divisional win on national TV last week, and they have a pair of running backs who had a breakout game against one of the best defenses in the league, I could very easily write a whole bunch of nice things about the Panthers right now. Fuck that, I'm not doing that. They gave up 200 yards to Antonio Bryant, and their defense is getting 20+ points hung on them every week and sometimes 30 (vs. Green Bay) or even 40 (vs. Atlanta). If Antonio Bryant gets 200 yards against them, what I ask, will Jay Cutler do to them this week?

Last Week- W at Detroit 20-16; This Week- at Arizona
The good news, Pat and Kevin Williams will NOT be suspended this year. The bad news, well, there's a lot of that. First, there was a pretty crappy performance against the Lions last week. Then there's the unwanted development of Tarvaris Jackson being back in all of our lives, and then, there's the fact that even though the Vikings D does have the Williams twins back, a couple of 400 pound defensive tackles won't do a whole lot to help you stop Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, which is what the Vikings will have to do on the road this week.

Last Week- W v. St. Louis 34-10; This Week- v. Minnesota
Nothing like a visit from Dr. Ram to get you feeling good about yourselves again. The Cardinals clinched their first playoff berth since 1998 with their spanking of St. Louis last week, but it should be noted that in 1998 the team that won the NFC had Chris Chandler at quarterback, Jamal Anderson at running back, and Tony Martin as their top receiver, and a team with a geriatric Randall Cunningham at quarterback and Denny "The Gerbil" Green as head coach went 15-1, so apparently there was some sort of retardation going on in the NFL last year, or a players strike or something.

Last Week- L at Carolina 23-38; This Week- at Atlanta
It looked dangerously like the Panthers discovered the way to beat the Bucs last week, and that is to not be afraid to run it right at them. Tampa may be hard to throw against, but they are 19th against the run. Now they go to the Georgia Dome to face Atlanta's second ranked rushing offense. A win and a loss by either Dallas or Philly, and the Bucs clinch one of the NFC's two wildcard spots. They do have the greatest receiver in the history of the NFL, Antonio Bryant, so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

Last Week- L at Pittsburgh 13-20; This Week- v. NY Giants
Well, we all knew that getting TO is like getting a present from Jokey Smurf. It comes in a nice big box with a nice bow, and it makes you happy for a little while, but of course it inevitably blows up in your face. TO has now sparked a rift with the Cowboys where the wide receivers are angry at the QB and the TE for conspiring to only give the ball to each other and make everyone else in the offense sad. TO seems to think that Smilin' Tony only throws the ball to Jason Witten, but I could have sworn I saw Romo throw the ball to a guy on the Steelers in a tie game with 1 minute left and the guy on the Steelers ran it in for a TD, so there.

The Outsiders
The Bears are already in the clubhouse for the week with a 24-21 OT win on Thursday Night over the Saints. Matt Forte, who is their whole offense, suffered a toe injury in that game, and if Marion Barber and Darren McFadden have taught us anything, they've taught us that a toe injury is bad news. The Falcons happy time express got kind of unexpectedly derailed with a 29-25 loss in New Orleans last week. They are 8-5, and have pretty much a guarantee of 9 wins since they close the season at home against the Rams. They'll need 10 wins to make the playoffs, and being that they go to Minnesota next week, this week's home game against the Bucs seems like one they have to have to achieve that. The Eagles beat the Giants last week thanks to a gameplan that involved putting the ball in Brian Westbrook's hands every single play. Since we all know Brian Westbrook cannot play two consecutive games without hurting himself, they better figure out some thing else soon The Redskins are 7-6 and lose every week now and Clinton Portis has gone renegade or commando or whatever they call it, criticizing head coach Jim Zorn this week. Looks like Bill Cowher may end up coaching the Skins in 09 after all.



Last Week- W v. Cleveland 28-9; This Week- at Houston
The Titans can wrap up home field with a win and a Steelers loss this week. You may be thinking that even if they don't wrap it up this week, big deal, they'll do it either next week or the week after. Maybe not. They play the Steelers next week, and at Indy the week after, and they could lose both of those. The Titans are good, but they've got a really tough last 3 games on their schedule, and this game in Houston is no automatic, as the Texans have been playing as well as anybody lately.

Last Week - W v. Dallas 20-13; This Week- at Baltimore
There's just something about this Steelers team I don't like. It's like, yes, they do pick up big wins against big time teams, but it's always like something is a little off about the team they are playing against, (like the Cowboys being without Marion Barber last week) and it always seems like the Steelers are at home every week. That, and out of nowhere this year Hines Ward has joined my A-List of NFL personalities who I can't stand. I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing them get it handed to them in Baltimore this week.

Last Week- W v. Kansas City 24-17; This Week- at Carolina
I've been hearing a lot this year about dur dee dur dee dur the NFC South this and the NFC South that and everyone in the NFC South is over .500 and the NFC South has the hairiest balls of all and so on. Well, the Broncos are 3-0 against the NFC South, and this is a team that has lost to the Raiders AND the Chiefs. So really how good can the NFC South be? The Broncos can make it a perfect 4-0 against the NFC South if they can win in Carolina this week, and they can do it too, because the Panthers defense has been piss poor lately, and the Broncos have an offense that can definitely take advantage.

4. NY JETS 8-5
Last Week- L at San Francisco 14-24; This Week- v. Buffalo
The Jets have lost two in a row since their win over the Titans that had me putting them in the Super Bowl. They seem to have run out of childlike joy. How can that happen to a team that has Brett Favre? I don't know. Lucky for them, they get a visit from the Bills this week, and the Bills could play 100 more games this year and not win any of them .

Last Week- W v. Cincinnati 35-3; This Week- v. Detroit
Wow, back to back December home games against the Bengals and Lions. They should force Manning to play these games in flip flops and a bathrobe, drunk.

Last Week- W v. Washington 24-10. This Week- v. Pittsburgh
I love how all the old guys on the Ravens defense are enjoying a second summertime of their careers in their early and mid 30s. It reminds me of the halcyon days of the 1998 baseball season. I heard on the pregame show that the Ravens have the highest scoring offense in the league the second half of the season. How's that Kyle Boller guy doing? Is Brian Billick still a genius?

The Outsiders-
The Patriots and Dolphins are both 8-5 and tied with the Jets for the AFC East lead. You have to presume that only one of the Jets, Patriots, and Dolphins are going to the playoffs, because I don't think the Ravens and Colts are giving up those 2 wildcard spots. The Patriots are coming off an underwhelming 24-21 win at 2-11 Seattle last week, and this week stay on the West Coast to face the Raiders. The Dolphins went up to Canada and beat a Bills team who always plays like the field is 150 yards long last week. This week they've got an interesting matchup at home against a Niners team that has shown a pulse under Mike Singletary. They may catch a break though, as Frank Gore may not play. That Frank Gore thing makes me feel even better, because had Antonio Bryant not had 200 and 2 last week I would be facing a team who has Frank Gore, and I'd also have Peyton Manning as my QB at home against the Lions. Fantasy football can burn in hell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Premier League Update

1. LIVERPOOL 11-1-4 +15 GD
Recent Form: 12/1 D v. West Ham 0-0; 12/5 W at Blackburn 3-1
Off the pitch issues are swirling around the Premiership's first place team, and they seem to be taking at least a small toll on its play. Liverpool had gone 2 matches without scoring (or conceding, to be fair) a goal, and they were matches against Fulham and West Ham, who aren't exactly league titans. They got on track with a 3-1 win over a Rovers team that can't beat anyone lately. This is going on while Liverpool's manager, Rafael Benitez, has been fighting off rumors that he has demanded a very large raise and very long extension to keep him at Liverpool. The club also continues to spend time denying that they are set to sell Robbie Keane, who they bought from Tottenham in July, in the upcoming transfer window.

2. CHELSEA 11-2-3 +29 GD
Recent Form: 11/30 L v. Arsenal 1-2; 12/6 W at Bolton 2-0
Mixed results in the past couple of weeks for Chelsea. They ended November with a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Arsenal, but rebounded nicely the next week by winning their Premiership record 11th straight away match by beating Bolton. Nicolas Anelka, who has 5 more goals than anyone else in the Ship, scored his 99th career goal in the win over Bolton, with Deco scoring shortly after to give Chelsea an early 2-0 lead which they held the rest of the way. The win was much needed, as the loss to Arsenal touched off some jibber jabber that Chelsea's players were getting bored and disinterested under manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, and that Scolari had been unable to incorporate both Anelka and injury-hampered striker Didier Drogba into the offense effectively.

Recent Form: 11/30 W. at Man City 1-0; W v. Sunderland 1-0
They haven't been playing dazzling football, but you can't argue with six points out of six. The Devils fought thru a red card to Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Manchester Derby 1-0 thanks to Wayne Rooney's 100th career goal with Man U. The goal was Rooney's first in a month. United followed this up with a 1-0 win at home against a Sunderland side playing its first match following the unexpected exit of their manager, Roy Keane.

4. ARSENAL 9-5-2 +9
Recent Form 11/30 W. at Chelsea 2-1; 12/6 W v. Wigan 1-0
Could the Gunners finally be getting their act together? A big 2-1 win at Chelsea would indicate that maybe they are. A pair of second half goals by Robin van Persie gave Arsenal the huge victory, which they followed up by grinding out a 1-0 home win over Wigan. Emmanuel Adebayor scored early in that match, and Wigan was unable to equalise. Adebayor said in a recent interview that at this point the Gunners need to just worry about winning, and not "playing with elegance".

5. ASTON VILLA 8-4-4 +7
Recent Form 11/29 D at Fulham 0-0; 12/7 W at Everton 3-2
Villa had gone two matches without scoring a goal, and three without conceding a goal, heading into its match at Everton last week. That all changed against the Toffees, as both sides combined to find the net 5 times. Villa got the one that counted, getting their second goal of the game from Ashley Young moments after Everton's Joleon Lescott had equalised with his second goal. Young fought thru a calf injury that was hampering him during the week to be the star of the match.

6. HULL CITY 7-4-5 -2
Recent Form 11/29 D at Stoke City 1-1; 12/6 W v. Middlesbrough 2-1
The Tigers trailed at home against Boro with only 10 minutes remaining, but then got a pair of goals, one an own goal and one a penalty kick, to pull yet another 3 points out of the fire. When it's your magical, enchanted year, it is your magical, enchanted year.

7. PORTSMOUTH 6-5-5 -4
Recent Form 11/30 W v. Blackburn 3-2; 12/7 D at West Brom 1-1
Pompey's got kind of a Cleveland Indians in Major League thing going on right now, as they continue to move up the table despite organizational chaos. First, they sold their manager to Tottenham weeks ago. Now their owner, 32 year old Alexander Gaydamak, has confirmed that he is trying to sell the club, and the new manager, Tony Adams, has had to deflect rumors that the team is going to start selling its best players during the January transfer window. On top of that, there is an actual criminal investigation going on looking to apprehend a group of fans who were shouting racial and homophobic slurs at defender Sol Campbell during a HOME match against Tottenham. For the record, Campbell is Jamaican, and presumably at least kind of heterosexual since he has fathered a child.

8. EVERTON 6-6-4 -3
Recent Form- 11/30 W at Tottenham 1-0; 12/7 L v. Aston Villa 2-3
Manager David Moyes got a win in his 300th match in his current gig at Everton when the Toffees won at Tottenham 1-0. It came at a heavy price though, as they lost star and leading scorer Ayegbeni Yakubu to injury. The Yak ruptured his Achilles, and he is done for the season. That's a tremendous blow to Everton, and probably will put the kabosh on any designs they had of crashing the top 4.

9. FULHAM 5-5-5 +1
Recent Form- 11/29 D at Aston Villa 0-0; 12/6 D v. Man City 1-1
Sure, they may be draw specialists, but ninth place is a whole lot better than the 17th place showing Fulham had last year, so this will work. Only one club, last place West Brom, has scored less than Fulham's 13 goals this year, but no team outside of the top 3 has given up less than Fulham. Defense alone may not win championships or Premierships, but it will keep you out of the relegation zone.

10. BOLTON 6-8-2 -1
Recent Form- 11/29 W at Sunderland 4-1; 12/6 L v. Chelsea 0-2
Johan Elmander is finally beginning to justify the club record 11 million pounds Bolton paid to import the Swede from French club Toulouse. He got a pair of goals in a 4-1 spanking of Sunderland, giving him 3 in his last 2 matches after having only 1 up until his current hot streak. The win completed a very strong November for Bolton that moved them out of relegation danger and into the top half of the Premiership.

And the Rest..
Rumors were flying around about Roy Keane's job at Sunderland, so Keane basically said, "Screw you guys, I'm going home" ala Eric Cartman, stepping down with the Cats in 18th place. The next manager to go may be Blackburn's Paul Ince, who's first season with Rovers has been a disaster that finds them in 19th place with a -13 goal differential. This from a club that has finished in the top 10 of the Premiership each of the last 3 seasons. Wigan continues to drift in and out of the top 10, all the while fending off speculation that a cadre of its players, including their leading scorer, Amr Zaki, will be sold to Chelsea during the upcoming transfer window. Middlesbrough managed only 1 point out of a pair of matches against Newcastle and Hull City, blowing a good chance to give themselves more breathing room than the 3 points they currently have clear of relegation. There are currently 6 clubs who find themselves in a full on relegation fight. That's not counting last place West Brom, who is almost definitely going down. In addition to Sunderland, Stoke City is a club who nobody is surprised to see in this group. Tottenham, West Ham, Man City, and Newcastle, though, are all top 4 strivers who have had miserably disappointing campaigns so far.

1. Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea, 13
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Man U 8
Robinho, Man City 8
Amr Zaki, Wigan 8
5. Peter Crouch, Portsmouth 7
Jermain Defoe, Portsmouth 7
Darren Bent, Tottenham 7
Robin van Persie, Arsenal 7
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa 7

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week 14 NFL

Before we start with the pros, let's acknowledge that the College Boys look like they have their national title game set. Oklahoma duly destroyed Missouri in the Big XII title game 62-21, rolling up an insane 627 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the magically enchanted Tim Tebow threw for a scintillating 216 yards and ran for a jaw dropping 3.4 yards per carry to valiantly lead Florida to a 31-20 win over Alabama in the SEC Championship game and into the BCS Championship Game. Just you wait until Tebow gets into the NFL. You think I ride Donovan McNabb hard, ho ho ho, ha ha ha....ooooh boy.

1. NY GIANTS (11-1)
Last Week- W at Washington 23-7; This Week v. Philadelphia
One of the nice things about having this blog is that I can go back months and even years later and look at old posts to see what was going on at a particular point in time, be it in the the League or in my life. So humor me for a second here, I know everyone knows this, but I want it recorded for posterity's sake. Plaxico Burress went to Da Club with a gun tucked into the elastic waistband of his sweatpants, and Da Gun accidentally went off and shot him in Da Leg. After this Antonio Pierce played Vincent Vega to Plax's Mia Wallace and rushed him to some doctor-type guy's house in the middle of the night to administer to the wound. This on the one year anniversary of Sean Taylor, who was no Boy Scout while he was alive, getting shot and killed in his home.

I remember when the ESPN show Playmakers was on a few years ago that I thought it was stupid, because I spent 6 years of my life around an NFL locker room and I never saw any of that shit that they had on the show going on. The league has apparently changed a lot in 15 years, because now I think Playmakers is stupid because it did not go far enough. These players do shit far more ridiculous than any TV show writer can dream up.

As for the Giants, they are an unstoppable juggernaut and the way they are playing now, you'd have to shoot all of them in the leg to keep them from getting back to the Super Bowl. They are better than the 16-0 Patriots were last year. There I said it.

Last Week- W v. New Orleans 23-20; This Week- at Carolina
In the NFL there's a big difference between winning your division and coming in second. If the Bucs case, if they win it, they will get a first round bye and merely have to win a home game to get to the NFC Championship game. If they come in second, not only do they not get a first round bye but they will probably have to win 3 straight road playoff games to get to the Super Bowl. For that reason, this game they've got in Charlotte this weekend means everything to both them and the Panthers. Personally, I don't think this run of success (the Bucs have won 6 of 7) this team is having is sustainable. This is a team that completed nine of 23 passes, against the Saints, who are not good at stopping the pass. I am going out on the proverbial limb and saying the Bucs get exposed this week.

Last Week- W v. Chicago 34-14; This Week- at Detroit
Here's another team with a considerable amount of off the field drama. The Vikings emphatically took over first place in the NFC North last Sunday Night, when a goal line stand followed immediately by a 99 yard Frerotte to Bernard Berrian TD pass opened the floodgates to a 34-14 pounding of the Bears. However, whether the Vikings make the playoffs or not may hinge on what happens in federal court as much as on what happens on the field. The Vikings do two things well, run the ball and stop the run. They stop the run well because they have two all-world defensive tackles, Kevin and Pat Williams. The Williams twins are this close to being suspended for the rest of the year for use of a diaruetic called StarCaps which contains a substance banned by the NFL because it can be a masking agent for steroids. Never mind that the only steroids Kevin and Pat Williams probably have in their bodies are the residual ones given to the copious amounts of hog and steer that they eat, they are in trouble. A federal judge blocked the league from suspending them today, so it's looking like they may actually play this weekend against the Lions at the very least.

Last Week- L at Philadelphia 20-48; This Week- vs. St. Louis
The Cardinals have not beat a team that is not the Rams, Niners, or Seahawks since October 12. That's guaranteed to be a 2 month gap of not having beaten anyone who is not terrible, because they play the Rams this Sunday, Dec. 7. They've given up a combined 85 points in their last 2 games, losses to the Giants and Eagles. Their leading rusher had 10 yards in the Eagles game and 21 in the Giants game. They can thank their lucky stars the Niners choked on the goal line on Monday Night against them a couple of weeks back, otherwise the Cards would be 6-6 and the Niners 5-7, with the Niners playing much better football than the Cards have the last two months. On the plus side, neither Anquan Boldin or Larry Fitzgerald have shot themselves in the leg yet. So they've got that over the Giants.

Last Week- W at Green Bay 35-31: This Week- v. Tampa Bay
After we as a nation were subjected to a Monday Night crap session between the hopeless Texans and the nutless Jaguars, the Worldwide Leader makes it up to us this week with a showdown between a pair of 9-3 teams both hoping to win the NFC South. In Part I of Bucs-Panthers this year, Jake Delhomme was terrible, throwing 3 picks, and the running game awful, averaging 2.0 yards on 20 carries. Offense has not been the problem lately for the Cats though. Defense has. In their last 3 games, they've given up 31 points to the Packers, 45 to the Falcons, and 22 to the Lions. They may be 9-3 now, but if the defense doesn't tighten up, like now, they are going to start losing a lot of games down the stretch here.

Last Week- W at San Diego 22-16; This Week- at New Orleans
I challenge you to find me a better QB/RB/Receiver triumvirate than the Falcons have right now in Matt Ryan/Michael Turner/Roddy White. Don't kill yourself on this because you won't find one. The win over San Diego last week was a perfect illustration of this. Ryan was about as efficient as you can be, throwing 2 TDs and posting a 130.2 passer rating. Turner carried 31 times for 120 yards, and White caught 6 passes for 112 yards. You get teams fearing both the run and pass equally, which every team playing the Falcons right now should be doing, and you can do some great things. There are 3 NFC South teams in the running for the playoffs right now, and probably only 2 of them will get in, because I think the Cowboys are going to get one of the wildcard spots. I'll tell you this, Carolina and Tampa better be worried, because I think it's one of them that are going to miss the playoffs, not the Falcons.

Every year it seems like there is one team that is playing better at the end of the year than 90% of the teams that are in the playoffs, but doesn't get in. Could the Cowboys be that team this year? Their schedule down the stretch is murder, and this week they go on the road without Marion Barber to face a hot Steelers team. Then they come home to face the Giants the very next week. It's conceivable they could be out of it by Week 16. The Redskins are 7-5, a game behind the Cowboys and Falcons in the race for the last wild card spot. Their offense has completely gone bye-bye, and I doubt it will show up against the Ravens tonight. The Bears are 6-6, and will have to win the NFC North to get in. They've gotten absolutely driled on the road against division opponents in 2 of the last 3 weeks. The Vikings need only to beat the Lions this week to clinch the tiebreaker over them, making it in essence a 2 game lead. The Bears are in trouble.

Last Week - W at Detroit 47-10; This Week- vs. Cleveland
On Thanksgiving Day, the Titans came out angry, and took it out on the Lions. They can clinch the division with a win over the Browns today, and they are almost a lock to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Still, that spanking they took at home against the Jets places them under suspicion until they can prove otherwise. Of their 11 wins, only 3 have been over teams with winning records.

Last Week- W at New England 33-10; This Week- vs. Dallas
The Steelers had both Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore healthy and effective in the impressive win in Foxboro, with sexy results. Nobody in the AFC is playing better than the Steelers are, and their defense is one of the better ones we've seen this decade. They rank 1st in yards/attempt against both the run and the pass. Last week they slowed down the Matt Cassel Canton Express by inducing him to have a horrible 19 of 39, 2 INT outing. They catch a break in that the Cowboys will be running Tashard Choice instead of Marion Barber at them this week, which is good, because the one area they struggled in against New England was stopping the run. Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris ran for 118 yards on 16 carries.

3. NY JETS (8-4)
Last Week- L v. Denver 17-34; This Week- at San Francisco
I think last week I was spouting some nonsense about the Jets going to the Super Bowl. Forget it. The win over the Titans had a lot of people smoking banana peels and making bold pronouncements about the Jet. The more logical explanation is, the Titans aren't all that, and neither are the Jets. The Jets have the 31st ranked pass defense in the league, and they've now not only lost to the Raiders themselves, but they've lost at home to a team that lost to the Raiders at home. Not only did Jay Cutler throw for 357 yards against them in that rainy debacle against the Broncos, but the Jets gave up 129 yards to a fullback/tight end, Peyton Hillis. Now they go cross-country to play a 49ers team that got a sassy road win over the Bills last week.

Last Week- W at NY Jets 34-17; This Week- vs. Kansas City
The Broncos are a team that is impossible to figure out. They haven't won a home game since September, despite playing the awful Jaguars and Raiders at home during that drought. At the same time, they've won 3 road games in a row, culminating in a spanking of the Jets last week that confounded everybody. Now they are back home, where they never win, facing a Chiefs team, that never wins period, but did beat the Broncos 33-19 earlier this year. Larry Johnson ran for 198 yards in that game.

Last Week- W at Cleveland 10-6; This Week- vs. Cincinnati
The Ravens, Dolphins, Patriots, and Bills need to take note that the Colts are pretty much a lock to win 11 games this year, and probably 12. It's not that the Colts are that good, Lord knows any illusions anyone had about that were dissolved during that 10-6 piece de resistance of awfulness in Cleveland last week. The Colts are going to go 11-5 or 12-4 because their remaining schedule is at home against Cincy, at home against Detroit, at a Jacksonville team that has quit, and then closing up at home against the Titans JV who will most likely have nothing to play for. So the Colts are getting one of the wildcard spots, leaving those 4 teams to fight over the #6 seed.

Last Week- W at Cincinnati 34-3; This Week- vs. Washington
Nobody in the AFC is playing better than the Ravens are right now. In their last two weeks, they've outscored the opposition 70-10. The defense is one of the best in the league, and Joe Flacco and the offense gets better every week. Now, think back to a couple of years ago, there was a Steelers team with a strong defense and an inexperienced quarterback (Roethlisberger=Flacco), and a bowling ball running back (Bettis=LeRon McClain) that got hot at the end of the year, got into the AFC Playoffs as the #6 team, then won 3 road games and then the Super Bowl. There's a precedent here, I'm just saying.

The Dolphins and Bills meet in Canada today, the first NFL regular season game played in America Jr. The Bills are playing like a team that could play 100 more games and not win any more this season, so expect the Dolphins to knock them out of the playoff picture. The Patriots go out to the west coast for the 3rd time this year, which is a good thing because all the west coast teams suck this year. Seattle's incompetent offensive boobery should be just what the Patriots beleaguered defense needs to not look as awful as they've looked recently.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

pnfm 12/04/08

1) Plaxico Burress shoots himself HAHAHAHAHHA
2) Racist chants on Mido
3) Suspended NFL players

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Week 13 NFL

Anyone whose been reading my stuff over lo these past 4 NFL seasons, knows that at the end of the season I zero in on the teams that are in the playoff race, mercifully rolling the credits on the Raider-esque squads who are waiting for another horrible season to end. Now in Week 13, it's that time of year again.

1. NY GIANTS 10-1
Last- W at Arizona 37-29; Week 13- at Washington
That the Giants went out to the desert, without their most dangerous weapon Brandon Jacobs, and still won relatively easily has brought into focus that the NFC is a two horse race between the Giants and the Cowboys, and everyone else is a pretender. They were also missing Plaxico Burress for that Cardinals game, and will be for the forseeable future, because Plaxico Burress got shot on Friday night. Can you release somebody for getting shot in da club 2 days before a game? If not, you should be able to. It is really amazing how the Giants keep shedding all these players, some of them boobs like Jeremy Shockey and now Plaxico Burress, some of them a little too me-first like Tiki Barber, and some of them pretty much OK guys like Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora and Brandon Jacobs, and yet they just keep getting better and better and better. When did Tom Coughlin get kidnapped by the pod people and become the best coach in the NFL? Because he is, you all realize that right?

Last- W at Detroit 38-20; Week 13- v. New Orleans
Remember earlier this year when we all kept hearing about how the balance of power in the league had shifted to the NFC and dur dee dur dee dur. Well, here we are entering the home stretch of the season, and the #2 team in the NFC is a team that has an offense comprised almost entirely of guys who were B and C listers 7 years ago. Jeff Garcia, Warrick Dunn, Ike Hilliard, Antonio Bryant? This is an 8-3 team? I guess with a defense like Tampa's, yes, this year it is. Their mission down the stretch will be to win the NFC South and get a first round bye. To do that, they will probably need to beat the Saints today. In Week 1, the Saints beat the Bucs 24-20, thanks in large part to Reggie Bush having 8 catches for 112 yards. Bush will be playing this week for the first time in a long time, trying to stop the Bucs from running their home record to 6-0 this year.

Week 12- L v. NY Giants 29-37; Week 13- L at Philadelphia 20-48
It's really just the same old Cardinals. Suspect defense, complete inability to run the ball. The only difference is the NFC West is so much worse this year and may be the worst division since the NFL went to the 8 division format in 2002, making it the worst division ever. They are going to make the playoffs, and get a home game, by default, but it says here that they are going to be one and done once they get there.

Last- W at St. Louis 27-3; Week 13- at Minnesota
The Bears took care of business in a gimme game against the Rams last week. This week, they play their most important game of the year. They have a primetime showdown with a Vikings team they beat 48-41 at Soldier Field earlier this year. That would have been a Vikings win had Gus Frerotte not been picked off 4 times. The last big divisional test ended in a 37-3 castration at Lambeau for the Bears, they'll have to be a lot better tonight.

Last- L at Atlanta 28-45; Week 13- at Green Bay
For one quarter in Atlanta last week they couldn't get a first down or offer anything more than non-violent resistance on defense. They fell behind 17-0 to the Falcons before coming back to close within a field goal only to lose by 17. This despite getting a 100 yard rushing game from DeAngelo Williams and 168 receiving yards from Steve Smith. Now the Panthers find themselves in a first place tie with Tampa, and have to go up to Lambeau to face a Packers team who needs to win really badly.

Week 12- W v. San Francisco 35-22; Week 13- W v. Seattle 34-9
Everybody happy now? Romo is back and the Cowboys look like the juggernaut we all know they can be. Yes, back to back home games against NFC West weaklings were by design made to get the Cowboys back on a roll, but if you are looking at teams you definitely do not want to play in the postseason right now, the Giants are 1 and the Cowboys are 2. Of course, the Cowboys do get Cubby like yips in the postseason, and their ineptness during the Brad Johnson-Brooks Bollinger era insures that they are going to probably have to win 3 road games to get to the Super Bowl, so there's still a good chance they will come up short again.

The Redskins broke a 2 game losing streak last week with an uninspiring 20-17 win in Seattle. Things are going to be considerably more difficult this week when they face the Giants at home. Meeting #1 against the Giants came in the season opener, and the Skins generated barely any offense. Me, I was cruising along the Na' Pali coast of Kauai while that game was going on, and I guarantee I did not care. There were a fleet of dolphins swimming about 50 miles an hour alongside the hull of the boat, and life just will not get any better than it was that day.

-The Falcons picked up a win over Carolina last week that is going to keep them in the playoff picture for a while. They still trail both Carolina and Tampa by a game each, and a loss to Carolina would have put them at 0-3 against those teams and probably would have ended things. They now have back to back road games against San Diego and New Orleans, two teams with barely flickering playoff hopes.

- The Packers and Vikings both will have to win the NFC North to make the playoffs. Green Bay fell a game off the pace after getting embarrassed on Monday Night against New Orleans in a 51-29 loss that probably could have been 100-29 had the Saints felt inclined to make it so. Minnesota has won 3 of their last 4, including a 30-12 walkover in Jacksonville last week. They play the Bears on Sunday Night this week. A loss puts them essentially 2 games behind the Bears, because it will be their second loss to Chicago this year.

Week 12- L v. NY Jets 13-34; Week 13- W at Detroit 47-10
Consider the Titans armor chinked. The Week 12 game against the Jets was a matchup of the two best teams in the AFC, on the Titans home field. The Titans got killed. Their super powers are the ability to run the ball and stop the run, and the Jets green uniforms may as well have been made of kryptonite, because the Titans couldn't do either against them. The Jets rolled up an unthinkable 196 rushing yards against them, and the Titans could manage only 45 yards on 11 carries. The Titans still have the best record in the AFC, and in the league, but that game showed me that in reality they are at best the #3 team in the league behind both the New York teams.

Week 12- W v. Cincinnati 27-10; Week 13- at New England
Because there are sooo many bad teams in the NFL this year, if you can field a team of 11 guys who all run in the right direction you have a pretty good chance of having a decent record. The Steelers have definitely been a benificiary of that. This week though, they are going to have to beat a good team and they are going to have to do it away from home after having 3 straight home games. They need to prove something to me, and they'll have a chance to do it this afternoon.

3. NY JETS 8-3
Week 12- W at Tennessee 34-13; Week 13- v. Denver
Does everybody realize that the way it looks right now we are going to have a Giants-Jets Super Bowl? A Giants-Jets Super Bowl that Brett Favre is playing in? Is there ANY way at this point that the NFL does not pay off all its officiating crews to make sure this happens? I mean, when a possible alternative is Tampa Bay vs. Tennessee?? Come on.

Week 12- L v. Oakland 10-31; Week 13- at NY Jets
Just when the Broncos start to look like a worthy playoff team by virtue of beating the Falcons on the road, they go and get blown out, at home, by the RAIDERS!? By Ashley Lelie?!?! By Darren McFadden and his voodoo cursed toe? You almost have to pull for the Chargers to get their shit together and win this division. On another note, regarding the Raiders, I had a dream this weekend where I was working for the Raiders, and met Al Davis. In the dream, Al Davis was just a prince of a guy, and he bought me a black on black ensemble so I would fit in on the sideline during the games. I doubt Al Davis is like this in real life. There is also something seriously wrong when I am dreaming of Al Davis.

Week 12- W at San Diego 23-20; Week 13- at Cleveland
Make it 4 wins in a row for the Colts. Not against cupcakes either. 3 of those wins have come against New England, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. Adam Vinatieri drilled a 51 yard field goal to cap off a 1 minute dril that was an absolute work of art to win it for the Colts. They go back on the road this week where they get to face Derek Anderson and his magical 15 of 40 arm. One note of caution though, the Colts are going to be without their center, Jeff Saturday. Teams tend to go a little goofy when their offensive line gets messed up, see Jaguars, Jacksonville for more details.

Week 12- W v. Philadelphia 36-7; Week 13- at Cincinnati
The Ravens' 36-7 clobbering of the Eagles shall live on forever in my heart as the game that saw Donovan McNabb benched, and bundled up like an Eskimo on the bench, yawning. Yes, I know Donovan "silenced his critics" with the Thanksgiving win over the Cardinals. I will never be silenced in my criticism of McNabb though. I had about 10 schadenfreudegasms watching this game. As for the Ravens, they are just playing Baltimore Ravens football as good as it can be played right now. That's usually good for a playoff berth and a quick exit, but it beats the alternative.

The Patriots would be out of the playoffs if they started today based on conference record tiebreaker. At this stage of the game that dosn't mean a whole lot. They are riding high right now on the crest of the return of weekly 400 yard passing performances, and now we have 20 minute pregame show segments devoted to wondering if the Patriots are better off with Matt Cassel as their quarterback than they are with Tom Brady. We'll see what Matty Magic does with Pittsburgh's D this week before we consider that silliness.

The Dolphins and Bills both lurk a game out of the final playoff spot. The Dolphins had a lot of air let out of their blowholes when they dropped a big showdown at home against the Pats last week. They visit the healing waters of the Edward Jones Dome this week though, and could get back even with New England with a little help from the Steelers. The Bills broke a 4 game losing streak by thumping the Chiefs 54-31 last week. They have another game they should win this week when the Niners come to Orchard Park, but really, are there any games that a team that has lost 5 out of 7 games should win? Doesn't that mean they are just bad?

So that's where we stand heading into Week 13's Sunday action. It's a great time of year where the focus begins to move from Fantasy silliness to the actual action on the field, enjoy the games!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Premiership Update

It's been a few weeks since we've done our Premier League Update. Work has just been nuts for me and I've barely had the time or wherewithal to cover the NFL, so our lads in short pants across the pond have gotten the short shrift. Today, I catch up, big time. Let's take a look at what's what.

1. CHELSEA 10-1-3 +28 GD
Recent Form- D v. Newcastle 0-0; W at West Brom 3-0; W at Blackburn 2-0
The Blues tied a 48 year old record by winning their 10th straight away match in England's top league when they beat West Brom 3-0. Nicolas Anelka lit things up with 2 goals apiece in a win over Rovers and the win over the Baggies. Then they came home and tossed in a scoreless clunker against Newcastle. Offensive help may be on the way though, as rumors continue to fly that Robinho may be flying the coop from Manchester City and headed to Stamford Bridge.

2. LIVERPOOL 10-1-3 +13 GD
Recent Form- D v. Fulham 0-0; W at Bolton 2-0; W v. West Brom 3-0
The form of the League's top 2 teams pretty much has mirrored one another recently. Both have not surrendered a goal in eons, but both had disappointing draws at home against weak clubs their last time out. Robbie Keane scored his first two EPL goals for Liverpool in their 3-0 win over West Brom, and the Reds followed up with a physical 2-0 win at Bolton that saw goals from Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard. They then missed an opportunity to vault into the League's top spot when they produced a humdrum scoreless draw at home against Fulham. They are now missing Gerrard, who has a torn groin. They hope to have Gerrard back for this week's Champions League match against Marseille.

Recent Form- D at Aston Villa 0-0; W v. Stoke 5-0; L at Arsenal 1-2
What was with all the big shots playing scoreless draws last weekend? Man U is 8 points back of 2 teams, and desperately needs to pick up some points when Chelsea and Liverpool fail to if they are going to have a hope of repeating as Premiership champs. They missed a golden opportunity to do that when they could only manage a scoreless draw at Villa. Wayne Rooney launched one over the crossbar from close range that could have been the winner. The draw came on the heels of a 5-0 blowout win over Stoke that saw 2 goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, and a 2-1 loss at an undermanned Arsenal side that was missing big guns Emanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie. Ronaldo continues to play thru a leg injury, which has slowed him and drawn taunts from opposing fans.

4. ASTON VILLA 7-4-3 +6
Recent Form D v. Man U 0-0; W at Arsenal 2-0; L v. Middlesbrough 1-2
Villa rebounded in a big way from a WTF 2-1 loss at home to Middlesbrough. Staring down the barrell of two matches against Big 4 members after that Boro loss, Villa came away with 4 out of an available 6 points, and they themselves vaulted into the top 4 in the League. They got a a huge win at Arsenal behind a pair of goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor (actually 1, the other was ruled an own goal), and then held firm for a 0-0 tie against Man U, ending a string of 14 consecutive matches against the Red Devils that had ended in defeat.

5. ARSENAL 7-5-2 +7

Recent Form- L at Man City 0-3; L v. Aston Villa 0-2; W v. Man U 2-1
Things seemed to be looking up for Arsenal when they beat Man U 2-1 on the strength of 2 goals from Samir Nasri. They're not anymore. Arsenal is in complete upheaval after following that win with back to back shutout losses, 2-0 at home to Villa, and an ugly 3-0 loss at Man City. They've stripped William Gallas of his captaincy (more on that in the current PNFM), who questioned his team's heart, and have been struggling to score without Emanuel Adebayor.

6. HULL CITY 6-4-4 -2
Recent Form- D at Portsmouth 2-2; D v. Man City 2-2; L v. Bolton 0-1
Everyone's favorite Cinderella Boys have cooled off a little, but are still managing to grind out points here and there. A 1-0 home defeat to Bolton was probably their most disappointing outing of the year. They bounced back, though, to get a 2-2 draw at home against Man City thanks to a goal by former MCFC man Marc Geovanni, who is the Tigers leading scorer this year. Hull then went on the road to Portsmouth and took advantage of Pompey missing its leading scorer, Jermain Defoe, and got a 2-2 draw on a late goal by Dean Windass. Windass. I bet he had a great-0 childhood.

7. EVERTON 5-5-4 -3

Recent Form- L at Wigan 0-1; D v. Boro 1-1; W at West Ham 3-1
Other than a 10 minute stretch late in a match at West Ham where they exploded for 3 goals, it's been a pretty uninspired November for Liverpool's other club. They managed a 1-1 draw at home against Middlesborough when Ayegbeni Yakubu equalised in the second half against his old club, then sleepwalked thru a 1-0 loss at Wigan, ending a 5 game unbeaten streak.

8. PORTSMOUTH 5-5-4 -5
Recent Form- D v. Hull 2-2; D at Portsmouth 0-0 D; W at Sunderland 2-1
Pompey's a team that continues to fight on after selling their manager, Harry Redknapp, to Tottenham for 5 million pounds, and thru losing their leading scorer, Jermain Defoe, who suffered a calf injury playing in a World Cup qualifier for England. They responded to a 2-1 home loss to Wigan with a 3 game unbeaten streak that has put them in the top half of the table.

9. FULHAM 5-5-3 +1
Recent Form- D at Liverpool 0-0; W v. Tottenham 2-1; W v. Newcastle 2-1
November has seen a surprising run by perennial relegation candidates Fulham that has seen them take 7 out of 9 points recently, including snagging a point at league co-leaders Liverpool. Prior to that draw, the Cottagers treated their fans to a pair of home wins. Danny Murphy's second half PK gave Fulham a 2-1 win over Newcastle. Fulham got its second home victory in as many weeks when they handed Tottenham their first defeat under new manager Harry Redknapp, 2-1.

Recent Form- L v. Bolton 1-3; D at Everton 1-1; W at Aston Villa 2-1
A pair of hard fought matches against upper half sides has put Boro, appropriately enough, right in the Middle of the table, which for them is pretty good. They got a big 2-1 road win against Villa with 2 goals from Turkish forward Tuncay Sanli, then got another road point with a 1-1 draw at Everton. A win in their homecoming against mediocre Bolton would have given them their sixth straight unbeaten and vaulted them to the dizzying heights of 7th place in the league, but they laid an egg and got pounded in front of their home fans 3-1.

It looks like there are going to be a lot of teams fighting the good fight to stay in the Premiership in teh second half of the season. Only 6 points separate 11th place Man City from last place West Brom. City has reason to feel good about themselves coming off a 3-0 thumping of Arsenal, but they continue to fend off rumors that their star Robinho is going to bolt to Chelsea. Bolton is on an impressive little run of wins in 3 out of 4 matches, which has gotten them clear of relegation. West Ham continues to struggle to find consistency, and continues to play below expectations. Stoke City got its signature win earlier in the month when they beat Arsenal, as a lot of teams seem to be doing lately. Since then, they've added 4 more points with a scoreless draw at Wigan and a 1-0 win at West Brom sandwiched around a 5-0 beating at the hands of Man U. Wigan has had an undefeated November, with a tie earned at Newcastle in the waning minutes, and a nice 1-0 home win over Everton taking some of the sting out of a stinkeroo scoreless draw at home against Stoke in a match you know they were counting on getting 3 points out of. Tottenham escaped the relegation zone they've been inhabiting all year when they beat a 10 man Blackburn side 1-0. Rovers have not won a match since Sept. 27 and have plummeted into the drop zone, and Paul Ince has challenged his players to "stand up and be counted.". Sunderland has also been sinking, although they are clear by a single point right now. Their only points out of their last 5 matches came in a win over scuffling Blackburn. Newcastle is still in the drop zone in 18th place, but they've been playing well of late, as evidenced by their getting a scoreless draw at Chelsea their last time out.

1. Nicolas Anelka- Chelsea 12 goals
2. Cristiano Ronaldo- Man U 8
Robinho- Man City 8
Amr Zaki- Wigan 8
5. Darren Bent- Tottenham 7
Gabriel Agbonlahor- Aston Villa 7

- Barcelona leads La Liga, and has just been destroying all comers of late. They've outscored their Spanish competition 37-9 this year, and Samuel Eto'o leads the league with 13 goals. Archrival Real Madrid is only 1 point behind, despite having some shaky outings lately and not being nearly as dominant as Barca have been this year. Real is led by the relatively anonymous Gonzalo Higuain with 9 goals. Villarreal, Valencia, and Sevilla lurk 4 or 5 points back of the perennial powers should one of them slip up. Valencia's David Villa ranks second to Eto'o in the league with 11 goals.

- Inter Milan, led by Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, leads the Italian league, and has surrendered only 7 goals in 13 matches. Their last match was a big 1-0 home win over third place Juventus that could have produced a tie atop the standings if the result went the other way. In second place 3 points back is AC Milan, the only side to beat Inter this year. Ronaldinho is finally starting to heat up for them with 3 goals in his last 4 league matches. A 2-2 draw in their last match, at Torino, is the kind of slip up though they cannot afford if they are going to win their first Scudetto since 2003/04.