Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Week 7, Confidence Pool Style

So since way back in 2001, my friends and I have been doing a weekly confidence pool. That's the old office pool style picks that start with picking the winner of the game you are least confident in and putting 1 point on it, all the way up to putting the most points on the game you are most confident in. When the smoke clears each week, it's interesting to look back on the results and either pat yourself on the back for being a genius, or do the facepalm and wonder what the hell you were thinking. This week was definitely the latter for me. Patrick has been kind enough to point out how good my picks have been this year, but in Week 7 they were terrible. Let's run them down.

13-COLTS 42, RAMS 6

There was a time in this thing where if the Rams were at home you automatically laid a whole bunch of points on them. That time was a long long time ago. Now the Rams are the kind of team prognosticators love because you can count on them to get drilled every week. The Colts are the best team in the league right now, so that made this really, really easy. Everyone in my pool put at least 10 points on the Colts here, and they didn't disappoint. The Colts blow out the Rams, although Pierre Garcon's troubling disappearing act continues. Troubling for my fantasy team, not for the Colts. One bright spot for the Rams, Steven Jackson got in the Halloween spirit by returning from the dead to rush for 134 yards. Why you would be running the ball when you are losing by 36 points is beyond me though.


Only 3 TD's against the Yucks, Captain Terrific? And 2 INTs to drop 4 points off your fantasy total to boot, so really its like 2 1/2 TDs. I feel disappointment. I'm looking at the Bucs schedule, and I think you can go ahead and put them down for 0-16. I don't see any wins here for them. They may have a chance in Week 13 at Carolina, maybe the next week at home against the Jets, but I really have to suspend disbelief to see them winning those games. Other than that they all pretty much look like automatic losses to me. 0-16. Write it down.


Wellity, wellity, wellity, welcome to big boy table for real Arizona Cardinals. Somehow, this team made the Super Bowl last year despite completely crapping their pants on pretty much every visit to the East Coast. Who can forget when they gave up 56 points to the Jets at the very same Meadowlands they played in this past weekend? Or the 48 the Eagles hung on them in Philly, or their 47-7 loss when they went up against the Patriots and their Super Snow Powers in Foxboro last year? Surely they would go East and get clobbered again? That's what I thought, that's what everyone else in my pool thought (we placed an average of 10 1/2 points on them). Everyone thought wrong. The Cardinals got Eli Manning to throw 3 picks, and won despite the Giants getting a very fortunate Football Follies TD on a tipped pass to Hakeem Nicks. Take that out and this was complete domination. As a cherry on top, Beanie Wells looks like he might actually give the Cards a viable running threat. I have to say, the Cardinals are surprising me by not going away this year.


We've seen this movie before with the Rams and the Bengals, already bad team loses their starting quarterback for the year, plan B is Ryan FitzHarvard, team quits on inept quarterback, runs the table in the opposite direction losing by 30 every week. I think that's what we all expected to happen when the Bills found themselves in that situation. Instead, they've won 2 games in a row on the road, against teams which fancy themselves playoff contenders. The Panthers may fancy themselves that, but after this debacle it's obvious this thing has gone off the rails. Jake Delhomme should not throw the ball 44 times in a game, not when you've got 2 running backs like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. If he does, he's going to get picked off 3 times, like he did in this one. The Panthers outgained the Bills 425-167 in this game and it was still a double digit loss. How is that even possible? I guess it's because the Bills won the turnover stat 4-0, but my God. Buffalo is 3-4 now by the way. Dick Jauron can be a dangerous coach when he doesn't have to have his team pretend to play 21st century football. This is how he likes it, horrible quarterback necessitating ridiculously conservative gameplan, let other team that makes things harder than they need to be for themselves turn it over 4 times, win game and leave everyone confused.

In retrospect, it was really stupid of me to put only 9 points against the Browns. The other 6 guys in the pool all put 11. On the plus side, check out this song I wrote...
(to tune of "Magnificent" by u2..
"MANGENNNNNIUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! MANGENNNNIUSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! I was bornnnn...I was bornnn..to coach your team for you....MANNNNGENNNIUSSSS!!....oooooh opportunity period for youuu...no shoulderpads for youu...MANGEEENNNIUSSS!!"


I knew that the Vikings were not long for being undefeated, so credit to me for picking them to lose this one. Really, this should have been their 3rd loss of the season. The Favre to Greg Lewis pass against the Niners should have been loss #1, and the 4th quarter collapse against the Ravens last week would have been #2 if Steven Hauschka didn't blow what should have been the game winning field goal. Minnesota's 6-1, but they should be better than they are, if that makes any sense. I don't see how a defense with that much talent gives up that many points, and I don't like the path they are going down with making this Brett Favre's offense rather than Adrian Peterson's offense. This isn't going to end well for them. Meanwhile, the Steelers score 2 defensive touchdowns and are now back on top of the AFC North at 5-2. The funny thing about them is they seem to play close games every week whether they are facing the Lions and Browns or the undefeated Vikings. They're not going to get anywhere near the Super Bowl this year, but I admire their moxie.


Although I picked the Eagles here and a goodly number of points on them, I also needed Clinton Portis to have a decent game to win in Fantasy. Thus violating one of my 10 life axioms, that if ever you find yourself rooting for the Redskins, something has gone horribly wrong. Unfortunately for me Sherm Lewis' bingo card was filled with plays that called for Portis to line up in front of the quarterback and hip bump a pass rusher like he's Alfonso Soriano after a Cubs win. And when Portis did get the ball he stumbled around like Larry Johnson on payday. Not good. The Eagles, meanwhile, get the taste of losing to the Raiders out of their moufs. Not very impressively though, they were still outgained by the Deadskins, and won only because the Dan Snyder All Stars turned it over 4 times.


I invited my dad over to watch this game with me to calm his nerves before he underwent invasive bladder surgery on Monday. Little did I know that invasive bladder surgery would be much more enjoyable than watching the Bears piss themselves in this game. My favorite part was Lovie Smith's interview with the sideline reporter on the way to the locker room after a Robbie Gould field goal pulled them to within 31-3, Lovie said, "We've got some momentum." This was probably the worst I've ever seen the Bears play since the late Wannstedt era, when they were rolling out Steve Stenstrom at QB. Possible exception is late in the year they played in Champaign, when Henry Burris and Corey Sauter were at QB. The difference here is that Bears are now paying Jay Cutler a bajillion dollars so that they don't ever get embarrassed like this, because in theory even if the defense sucks as bad as it did against the Bengals he can gunsling them back into the game. In theory. Didn't work out that way here. The magical Cutler has put up an 82.9 rating in 6 games, nestling him 0.3 points above Seneca Wallace..awesome!


I was absolutely sure the Saints were going down this week. I loved the way the Dolphins had been playing, and it just seemed to make perfect sense that with the Saints having to go on the road to play them on grass that the Dolphins would hang an L on them. Nobody else in my pool picked Miami, in fact they all put at least 5 points on the Saints. Miami got out to a 24-3 lead, and I felt like I was Stephen Hawking. Just as I was proving the existence of the Higgs Bosom, the Dolphins started collapsing in the 4th quarter. Next thing I knew the Saints were up by 2 scores and my iron clad upset of the week had gone down the drain. Well, you can't have 2 INTs run back for touchdowns and expect to beat a team like the Saints that certainly does not need their defense to score for them to win. Chad Henne looked very un-Brady like in this game. Kudos to Ricky Williams for scoring 3 TDs here against his old team, he and Ced Benson were like cosmic twins this week.


Remember what I said about the Cardinals getting to sit at the big boy table after going on the road and beating the Giants? The Falcons could have sat at that table too with a win here, and I believed in them. The assignment shouldn't have been that hard, go down to Caligula's Palace and beat some of the little remaining life out of the wheezing carcass of the Cowboys. I mean, the Boys had to go to OT to beat the Chefs their last time out, so how hard could it be? They seemed to be following the script for most of the first quarter, unti Tony Romo found out the Falcons were completely unable to cover Miles Austin. Austin took over the game for the second time in a row (he did the same thing in the win over the Chiefs), and finished with 171 receiving yards and 2 TDs as the Cowboys cruised to their most impressive win of the year. They are right there in the NFC East, just a half game behind the Giants for the lead. The Falcons, meanwhile, are 2 games behind the Saints and going to have to duke it out with a bunch of other teams for the wildcard in all likelihood.

TEXANS 24, 3 49ERS 21
I think the Niners have failed me for the last time. I was on board with them after they got off to a 3-1 start, with the one loss being a game in the Metrodome they should have won, but they are going backwards now. They fell behind 21-0 in this game, before Mike Singletary finally pulled the plug on Shaun Hill and put in Alex "David Carr v 2.0" Smith. Miracle of miracles, Smith was completely effective, throwing 3 TD passes to Vernon Davis to bring the Niners within 24-21. Unfortunately, that's as close as they would get. The Texans now have a winning record, and have won 3 of their last 4 with the only blemish being a loss on the road against what is turning out to be a very good Cardinals team. For the 4th week in a row, they held their opponent to under 60 yards rushing, and Matt Schaub and the offense rank 4th in yards per pass attempt. The Texans finally seem to be putting it together, and if they can get Steve Slaton and the running game going, they are going to make the playoffs for the first time ever. And Liverpool beat Man U last week. Everything is coming up Oli.

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