Tuesday, October 7, 2008

NFL Week 5

(4-0) TITANS AT (2-1) RAVENS
The Setup
In my world, the story of this NFL season so far has been the swing of the football shaped pendulum back to defense. Just when you think the spread offenses have turned this blood and guts league into something less physical than an SAE vs. Sigma Chi flag football game, everything does a 180 and the teams that are having the most success are the caveman teams that bash the ball up the middle 30 times a game and play suffocating defense. Yes, the NFL sure is unpredictable. This is as opposed to say, baseball, where you know that without fail the Cubs and their fans will act like they are going to win the World Series all year, then get swept in the first round of the playoffs.

The Result
A 15 yard personal foul by Terrell Suggs on 3rd down keeps a drive alive that turns into the game winner when Kerry Collins and Bo Scaife play pitch and catch down the field in the last 5 minutes. Collins finishes the drive with a TD pass to Alge Crumpler, and the Titans remain undefeated.

Fantasy Heroes: LeRon McClain RB BAL 12 pts

Dude, You Are 5-0, Not 0-5, Get Your Head Out Your Ass

The Setup
The Chiefs convincing win over the previously unbeaten Broncos last week resulted in the revocation of their membership in the Axis of Awful. The Lions and Rams are now the sole members of that club. They take their newfound respectability to Charlotte, where the Panthers are in a dogfight in a division that it looks like any of the 4 teams can win, the word "dogfight" being especially appropriate because this is Michael Vick's old division.

The Result
Uh oh, guess who's back in the Circle of Suck. Larry Johnson follows up his one-man wrecking crew performance against Denver with a 2 rushing yard clunker, and the Panthers throw smallpox infested blankets all over the Chiefs. 3 TD for DeAngelo Williams.

Fantasy Heroes- Panthers DST 19 pts; DeAngelo Williams RB CAR 40 pts; Mushin Muhammad WR CAR 13 pts; Jake Delhomme QB CAR 20 pts

(2-2) BEARS AT (0-3) LIONS
The Setup
It's morning in America, or Detroit at least, as the dawning of the Lions Matt Millen-less era will take place this weekend. The Bears saved their season with a goal line stand against the Eagles last week, and actually find themselves tied for first place with the rapidly unraveling Packers as they enter this game.

The Result
The Yahoo recap of this game says that Kyle Orton looked like a star. I think he looks more like Dave Grohl, but whatever. A reporter pointed out to Orton that he must love playing against the Lions, due to all the success he has had against them in his career. Orton said "Yeah, I do for some reason." I'm pretty sure that reason is the Lions suck. The ouster of Millen left the Detroit fans with no reason de etre, they just kind of looked at the mess on the field, looked at each other, and sat there quietly. Very, very, quietly.

Fantasy Heroes: Kyle Orton??? QB??? CHI?? 28 pts??; Bears DST 14 pts; Matt Forte RB CHI 17 pts

The Setup
Last week brought us the spiritual depantsing of Aaron Rodgers. He got battered and beaten by the belligerent Buccaneer befense, I mean defense, while Packer Nation's ex-wife, Brett Favre, got a boob job and looked all hot throwing 6 TD passes and having so much childlike fun doing it. Now everyone is waiting for Aaron's world to cave in and for him to come running off the field crying like a little girl, while Brett Favre enters into his kingdom and sends all the sinners to hell. So that should be interesting.

The Result
Rodgers took a cortisone shot in his shoulder, then went out and threw for 313 yards and 3 TD. But the Packers lost their third in a row, and this one at home to the Falcons. I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. Aaron Rodgers is not the problem here. The problem is the Packers defense, which used to be good but has become horrible. Roddy White and rookie QB Matt Ryan shredded the supposedly strong Packer secondary. The run defense is even worse. It entered 29th in the league in yards allowed per carry, and after giving up 179 rushing yards at 4.9 per carry in this game, it's probably worse than that now. This Packer team is now officially in trouble.

Fantasy Heroes- Michael Turner RB ATL 20 pts; Roddy White WR ATL 21 pts; Greg Jennings WR GB 14 pts; Donald Driver WR GB 12 pts; Aaron Rodgers QB GB 31 pts

(1-2) COLTS AT (0-3) TEXANS
The Setup
Usually when you play like you did the year you won the Super Bowl, that's a good thing. Except when you're the Colts. For them, that means playing with a complete inability to stop the other team from running the ball on you. I'm not sure how they won the Super Bowl that year in that condition, but they did, so apparently they are trying it again. It's not working out so well, as they've dropped 2 out of their last 3 and needed a furious comeback at Minnesota to avoid losing all 3. The Texans enter this game as the best team not to have won a game yet this year, so hey, that's something.

The Result
Matt Schaub apparently had a creature jump out of his abdomen and start singing "Ragtime Gal" minutes before kickoff, so Sagebrush Rosenfels got the start in his place. The Texans reeled off 27 unanswered points to grab a seemingly insurmountable 27-10 lead with a little less than 7 minutes in the game. Seemingly. Then this chain of events transpires:

- Peyton Manning takes the Colts downfield and hits someone named Tony Santi to make it 27-17 with 4 minutes left.

- Houston recovers the onside kick. Then in what has to be one of the top 5 most retarded play calls I've ever seen, Rosenfels runs a naked bootleg for about 10 yards, then gets helicoptered and fumbles after he goes into Edwin Moses mode and tries to hurdle someone instead of just sliding. Incredibly stupid play call with incredibly stupider execution. Fumble, of course, gets returned for a TD. Now it's 27-24.

- Texans get the ball back on the kickoff. On 3rd and 8, Sage rolls out of the pocket, and he's directing traffic. He's pointing, he's orchestrating, he's..fumbling..again. I see Texans cheerleaders in knee high red stripper boots in the background gasping in disbelief.

- Reggie Wayne shortly thereafter makes a pirrouhetting one handed grab in the corner of the end zone to give the Colts the lead.

- There's still a minute left though, and the Texans will get one more shot. A shot which is quickly extinguished when Sage throws what looks like some sort of flightless bird in the middle of the field where there is not even a navy blue uniform on the screen. It's picked off and the game, and Sage Rosenfels' career, is over.

Fantasy Heroes: Colts DST 14 pts; Joseph Addai RB Colts 13 pts; Reggie Wayne WR Colts 15 pts; Steve Slaton RB HOU 21 pts; Andre Johnson WR HOU 21 pts

The Setup
The last time we saw the Dolphins, Ronnie Brown was scoring touchdowns every other play and looking like the greatest Single Wing quarterback since Slingin' Sammy Baugh. They've had a bye week since then, and the league and the Chargers have had 2 weeks to watch game film of the 1931 Canton Bulldogs to figure out how to stop this offense.

The Result
The 1930s are so hot right now. First we enter a new Great Depression, now the Dolphins are 2-0 using an offense from that era. I predict we will soon see a great upsurge in the prominence of Dance Marathons, the American Communist Party, and people going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Meanwhile, I don't know what happened with the Chargers offense here. They entered this game 2nd in the league in yards per pass attempt, facing a defense that was 28th in that stat, and got completely shut down. Maybe it's because the Chargers defense is so bad right now that the offense couldn't get on the field. Miami held the ball over 13 minutes more than the Chargers.

Fantasy Heroes: Ronnie Brown RB MIA 20 pts; Greg Camarillo WR MIA 12 pts

The Setup
Watch out Giants! The Seahawks have all their wide receivers back now! The magical Bobby Engram! The scintillating Deion Branch! The bon vivant party animal Koren Robinson! They're comin to get ya! And you, you don't have your Plaxico Burress. You suspended him. You've got something called a Dominic Hixon in his place. Oh woe to you.

The Result
And the Dominic Hixon merely steps in and puts up 102 receiving yards and a TD. The Giants roll up an unconscionable 523 yards of total offense, 254 of which came on the ground. Mike Holmgren's face is now red out of embarrassment and years of obesity, instead of just years of obesity. The jig is up for the Seahawks. Not even the perpetually crappy NFC West can save them now. They may as well call up Dan McGwire and make them their QB again.

Fantasy Heroes- Domenik Hixon WR NYG 19 pts; Brandon Jacobs RB NYG 27 pts; Eli Manning QB NYG 22 pts; Sinorice Moss WR NYG 16 pts

The Setup
In many quarters, and this website's power poll is no exception, the Eagles are considered one of the best teams in the league. If they are going to keep that distinction, they're going to have to win this game, because, well, if you have a losing record after 5 games, you're really not that good. The Redskins, on the other hand, have outperformed all expectations, and a win here would give them a 2 game lead over the Eagles with a home game against them still to go.

The Result
It's official. The Eagles are officially the best team who never beats anyone. They've won exactly 1 game this year against a team who isn't the Rams. Whoopeee. They even had Brian Westbrook for this one and they still didn't win. They tried to sell us a big "Donovan McNabb Is Back and Better Than Ever" storyline at the start of this season and that has turned out to be a big load of boolsheet. I don't want to hear about the Eagles anymore. They are bad.

The Redskins don't get off easy here either, even though they won and are playing inspired football this year. Clinton Portis said after the game that
"I think the NFL was trying to throw us to the fire, to get rid of the ‘Skins out of this division.” Right, sure, because it's in the NFL's best interests to have one of their best supported franchises' season be over in October. Got it.

Fantasy Heroes: Clinton Portis RB WSH 23 pts; Chris Cooley TE WSH 18 pts

(3-1) BUCS AT (3-1) BRONCOS
The Setup
I haven't done the math, but I think if you add up the win/loss records this is the best matchup of the week? It's two teams with polar opposite styles. The Broncos are all offense, the Bucs are all defense. The Bucs also bring Brian Griese back to the birthplace of his career, and the place where he tripped over his dog and fell on his face on a driveway or something. You youngsters may not remember this, but back in the old days Brian Griese used to act like a drunk 15 year old girl quite a bit. Finally, if you rearrange the letters in "Bucs" it spells "Cubs", and that can't be a good thing.

The Result
Griese got knocked out of the game, and the Broncos defense played better than they have all year to grind out a win. The Bucs rendered Denver's biggest weapon, Brandon Marshall, ineffective, but Jay Cutler showed he's learnding how to deal with that, as he countered by dunking it underneath to Brandon Stokley, who is still playing football apparently, all day long.
It was a hit on the elbow on a blitz from Champ Bailey that knocked out Greise. Bailey was upset that he didn't get the sack, saying “That goes down as nothing, I don’t think. I don’t know how you put that down on the stat sheet.” I think I put that down as a "Fiery Kablammo", and you are now leading the league in them. Congrats.


The Setup
Here we've got one of the few undefeated teams in the league meeting a team who just somehow gave up 56 points to the Jets and whose quarterback had to have a come to Jesus meeting with his wife and probably Jesus to keep him from retiring after almost getting one of his receivers killed at the end of that game. It's obvious who will win this game. Right? Right???

The Result
Of course it's obvious, this is the NFL, remember, where nothing makes sense and nothing that happens one week has any correlation to what happens the next. So of course the Cardinals would win this game by three touchdowns, and the Bills would lose their starting quarterback most likely sending their season into a death spiral. Okay, maybe not a death spiral, but Jesus and Kurt Warner's wife help them if JP Losman ever has to see the field again.

Fantasy Heroes: Kurt Warner QB AZ 23 pts; Tim Hightower RB AZ 15 pts; Larry Fitzgerald WR AZ 17 pts; Lee Evans WR BUF 18 pts

The Setup
We all know the Cowboys are the NFL version of nitroglycerin, so explosive, yet so volatile that the slightest upset to their environment can cause an explosion at the wrong time that would be considerably more destructive and messy than anyone would like. Will last week's loss to the Redskins be that sudden jolt that causes blood and entrails to fly everywhere? Possibly, but unlikely given that the Bengals are even more fucked up than they are. I mean, they are starting Cedric Benson at running back. That's really all that needs to be said.

The Result
A win for the Cowboys, but they are still very much under suspicion. They pissed away a 17 point lead at home against a team that is not known for rising to the occasion in the face of adversity, but held on to prevent a loss that would have caused fire and brimstone to rain down thru the hole in the Texas Stadium roof. TO summed up the team teetering on the brink of insanity vibe surrounding the Cowboys by stating after the game, "God used me today for his glory. Reality is where glory resides. That’s all I’ve got to say."

Fantasy Heroes- Tony Romo QB DAL 22 pts; Felix Jones RB DAL 15 pts; TJ Houshmandzadeh WR CIN 20 pts; Jason Witten TE DAL 13 pts; Terrell Owens WR DAL 12 pts

"You So Crazy!", "Nooo..YOU So Crazy!", "Nooo Nooo, YOU So Crazy!"

(2-1) PATRIOTS AT (2-2) 49ERS
The Setup
The last time we saw the mighty Patriots, it was 2 weeks ago, and they were getting the same treatment that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg gave Indiana Jones in this week's South Park; from the Dolphins, who were riding a 1-20 hot streak coming into that game.

The Result
The Patriots offense may be crippled by the loss of Tom Brady, their defense may be woefully deficient in many areas, but they are still the Patriots, and they won this game pretty much because they are the Patriots. That, and because they ran almost twice as many plays from scrimmage as the 49ers did. They ran the ball 43 times, which I think was more than they did all of last season, and even ran a Dolphin-esque Wildcat direct snap to Kevin Faulk for a TD. So, they may not be the Patriots we all remember, but they are 3-1. Gritty!

Fantasy Heroes: Kevin Faulk RB NE 17 pts; Randy Moss WR NE 19 pts; JT O'Sullivan QB SF 20 pts; Isaac Bruce WR SF 16 pts; Frank Gore RB SF 13 pts; Stephen Gostkowski K NE 15 pts

The Setup
These 2 teams played a couple of classics last year, and the Jaguars won them both even though they were both in Pittsburgh. One of them was a playoff game that looked like it was going to vault David Garrard to stardom, and the Jags to elite team status. The Jags haven't looked elite this year though. They're struggling to get their offense going, and they meet a Steeler team that has been winning with smoke and mirrors despite having no offensive line and no viable running backs.

The Result
The Jaguars can go ahead and start trying to run the ball any time now. Seriously there is not one team in the league that has suffered more from idiotic game planning than the Jaguars. Why don't they run the ball when they have 2 good running backs? Why? Contrast this with the Steelers, who ran friggin Mewelde Moore for 99 yards in this game. This is why the Steelers are 4-1, and the Jaguars are 2-3. Because the Jaguars make this game harder than it needs to be, and the Steelers just do what they do regardless of who is or isn't in the lineup. Mike Tomlin is my Coach of the Year right now. Ben Roethlisberger's balls get bigger every week too.

Fantasy Heroes: Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT 31 pts; Nate Washington WR PIT 15 pts; Hines Ward WR PIT 15 pts


The Setup
If the Vikings lose this game and fall to 1-4, it's panic time. Well, actually, with the stock market going the way it is it should be panic time for everyone right now, but especially for them. With the Vikings picked by many to go the Super Bowl this year, a 1-4 start could mean we will soon be seeing the end of the Brad Childress/Ziggy Wilf Axis of Moustaches.

The Result
Have you ever seen a game where a team runs 2 punts back for TDs and they still lose? I know I haven't. Until this one. Reggie Bush took 2 back, but it wasn't enough to mitigate the awesome sucking power of the Saints' secondary, which got torched on 3 long pass plays to Bernard Berrian. It also wasn't enough to account for the Martin Gramatica factor, as the only guy I've ever seen play football with his wedding ring on missed a 46 yard field goal which at least may have made this an OT game, and had a field goal blocked which went back for a TD.

Fantasy Heroes: Saints DST 13 pts; Bernard Berrian WR MIN 19 pts; Devery Henderson WR NO 18 pts; Vikings DST 16 pts

Next Time Try Running 3 Back, Maybe You'll Win

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