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.
2. CAROLINA PANTHERS (10-3)
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?
3. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-5)
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.
4. ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-5)
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.
5. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (9-4)
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.
6. DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5)
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 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.
1. TENNESSEE TITANS 12-1
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.
2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS 10-3
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.
3. DENVER BRONCOS 8-5
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 .
5. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 9-4
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.
6. BALTIMORE RAVENS 9-4
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 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.