Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fantasy Flash

Just a quick look at who the top 10 Fantasy Players were at each position in Week 3, and so far this year...this is by the scoring system in one of my leagues, may not match yours.

Week 3

1. Michael Vick PHI v. JAX 38
2. Peyton Manning IND v. DEN 33
3. Drew Brees NO v. ATL 32
4. Chad Henne MIA v. NYJ 29
5. Tom Brady NE v. BUF 28
Mark Sanchez NYJ v. MIA 28
Joe Flacco BAL v. CLE 28
8. Aaron Rodgers GB v. CHI 27
Kyle Orton DEN v. IND 27
Matt Cassel KC v. SF 27

1. Adrian Peterson MIN v. DET 33
2. Chris Johnson TEN v. NYG 26
3. Cedric Benson CIN v. CAR 26
4. Peyton Hillis CLE v. BAL 23
5. Rashard Mendenhall PIT v. TB 22
6. Michael Turner ATL v. NO 20
7. Darren McFadden OAK v. AZ 19
8. Ahmad Bradshaw NYG v. TEN 17
9. Frank Gore SF v. KC 16
10. Thomas Jones KC v. SF 15
Benjarvus Green-Ellis NE v. BUF 15

1. Anquan Boldin BAL v. CLE 34
2. Austin Collie IND v. DEN 31
3. Lance Moore NO v. ATL 28
4. Roy Williams DAL v. HOU 25
5. Brandon Lloyd DEN v. IND 24
Brandon Marshall MIA v. NYJ 24
Mike Wallace PIT v. TB 24
8. DeSean Jackson PHI v. JAX 23
9. Jeremy Maclin PHI v. JAX 20
Santana Moss WSH v. STL 20


1. Dustin Keller NYJ v. MIA 21
2. Tony Gonzalez ATL v. NO 19
3. Antonio Gates SD v. SEA 18
4. Jermichael Finley GB v. CHI 13
Jeremy Shockey NO v. ATL 13
6. Greg Olsen CHI v. GB 12
John Carlson SEA v. SD 12
Tony Scheffler DET v. MIN 12
9. Tony Moeaki KC v. SF 10
Zach Miller OAK v. AZ 10
Ben Watson CLE v. BAL 10
Rob Gronkowski NE v. BUF 10

1. Sebastian Janikowski OAK v. AZ 13
Dan Carpenter MIA v. NYJ 13
3. Josh Brown STL v. WSH 12
Rian Lindell BUF v. NE 12
5. David Buehler DAL v. HOU 11
Rob Bironas TEN v. NYG 11
7. Mike Nugent CIN v. CAR 10
Graham Gano WSH v. STL 10
9. Matt Bryant ATL v. NO 9
Olindo Mare SEA v. SD 9
Jeff Reed PIT v. TB 9

1. Seahawks v. SD 26
2. Eagles v. JAX 16
3. Steelers v. TB 14
4. Titans v. NYG 11
Bengals v. CAR 11
6. Chiefs v. SF 10
Bears v. GB 10
Cowboys v. HOU 10
9. Chargers v. SEA 9
Bills v. NE 9



1. Peyton Manning IND 32.7
2. Michael Vick PHI 29.7
3. Philip Rivers SD 25.3
4. Tom Brady NE 25.0
5. Aaron Rodgers GB 24.7
6. Jay Cutler CHI 24.0
7. Kyle Orton DEN 23.3
8. Drew Brees NO 23.0
9. Matt Schaub HOU 20.0
10. Tony Romo DAL 19.3

1. Arian Foster HOU 23.0
2. Adrian Peterson MIN 22.7
3. Jahvid Best DET 20.0
4. Chris Johnson TEN 19.3
5. Darren McFadden OAK 18.3
6. Frank Gore SF 17.7
7. LeSean McCoy PHI 16.7
8. Rashard Mendenhall PIT 16.3
9. Matt Forte CHI 16.0
10. Peyton Hillis CLE 15.3


1. Austin Collie IND 21.0
2. Anquan Boldin BAL 16.7
3. DeSean Jackson PHI 15.7
4. Brandon Lloyd DEN 14.0
5. Miles Austin DAL 13.3
6. Hakeem Nicks NYG 13.0
7. Jeremy Maclin PHI 12.7
Roddy White ATL 12.7
9. Brandon Marshall MIA 12.3
Kevin Walter HOU 12.3

1. Antonio Gates SD 16.0
2. Dustin Keller NYJ 13.7
3. Dallas Clark IND 10.7
4. Jermichael Finley GB 9.7
5. Chris Cooley WSH 8.3
6. Greg Olsen CHI 8.0
7. Tony Gonzalez ATL 7.7
Tony Moeaki KC 7.7
Aaron Hernandez NE 7.7
Marcedes Lewis JAX 7.7

1. Mike Nugent CIN 11.0
Neil Rackers HOU 11.0
3. Matt Bryant ATL 10.3
Jeff Reed PIT 10.3
5. Sebastian Janikowski OAK 10.0
6. Graham Gano WSH 9.3
Nick Folk NYJ 9.3
Mason Crosby GB 9.3
9. Robbie Gould CHI 8.0
10. Adam Vinatieri IND 7.7

1. Steelers 14.7
2. Seahawks 14.3
3. Chiefs 10.3
4. Eagles 9.7
5. Lions 9.3
6. Titans 8.3
Packers 8.3
Colts 8.3
Patriots 8.3
Redskins 8.3

Week 3 Rubdown - NFC South


WK 2 W v. Arizona 41-7, WK W at New Orleans 27-24
Offense Rank 6th, Defense Rank 21st

The last two weeks saw two teams really step forward in the conversation of who is the best in the NFC. We talked about one of them yesterday, the Bears. The other is the Falcons. They performed an unadulterated beatdown on the Cardinals in Week 2, then pulled off a thrilling victory in Week 3 against the Super Bowl Champs, in their own house. Matt Ryan has shaken off the sophomore slump of 2009, and has put up a 94.3 passer rating, which is better than his rookie year. He's completing 5% more of his pass attempts this year than last year. The defense has given up yardage, but it also has been very opportunistic. The Falcons D has generated 7 turnovers, 6 of them interceptions, including 2 in the win over the Saints. This team is going to be tough to beat all season, and has a lot of weapons. Roddy White is a top 5 receiver, Michael Turner had a bounceback game in week 3, and Tony Gonzalez had probably his best game as a Falcon in that win. We all know a different team wins the NFC South every year, it very well could be the Falcon's turn in 2010.

Your Steroids Can't Help You Now, Roided Up Kicker

WK 2 W at San Francisco 25-22, WK 3 L v. Atlanta 24-27
Offense Rank 14th, Defense Rank 22nd

It's a little scary how close the Saints are to an 0-3 start. Minnesota had them on the ropes in Week 1, but refused to deliver the Adrian Peterson knockout punch. They needed a last second field goal to beat a Niners team that is a complete mess, and of course, the loss this past weekend at home to the arch rival Falcons. True, they would be 3-0 had Garrett Hartley not missed a chip shot field goal in OT. But look at those offense/defense rankings. The offense has been nothing special, 14th in the league. Reggie Bush is out for the year, which whatever you want to think about Reggie Bush does impact the Saints adversely. Pierre Thomas is averaging a dismal 3.2 yards per carry, so the entire offense is resting on Drew Brees, and so far, it's been just so-so. The defense is getting gashed by opposing running backs. The Saints rank last in the league against the run, and Atlanta rushed for over 200 yards against them.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that the Saints have a cupcake run coming up with games against Carolina, Arizona, Tampa, and Cleveland. That should leave them at a 6-1 start, which is nothing to feel bad about. But I don't think this team is going back to the Super Bowl based on what I've seen so far.

If Only the Football Team Were As Good


WK 2 W at Carolina 20-7, WK L v. Pittsburgh 13-38
Offense Rank 27th, Defense Rank 19th

If you need further proof that at least 75% of a team's performance (most teams, not the Steelers) depends on their quarterback, look at the Bucs and the team below them in this division, the Panthers. The Bucs have 2 wins pretty much only because Josh Freeman has been adequate at quarterback, while the teams they beat, Cleveland and Carolina, are a complete disaster at that position. The Bucs are good enough to hang with and beat teams that are in the bell jar like they did the first two weeks, but we saw just how far they have to go when Pittsburgh blew their doors off in Week 3, with the Bucs defense making Charlie Batch look like an All Pro. Tampa's spent 3 of their 4 first and second round picks the last 2 years on defensive tackles, and yet they are 28th in the league in run defense. That's a bad sign. Freeman, however, looks like he could be the answer long term at QB, and he's got some interesting receivers around him, so that's a start.

Now It's Time for my Douchebag Dance!

WK 2 L v. Tampa Bay 7-20, WK 3 L v. Cincinnati 7-20
Offense Rank 31st, Defense Rank 14th

Not a whole lot of analysis needed here. The Panthers put up a grand total of 14 points in back to back home games against a couple of teams that are OK at best. Matt Moore was benched after a horrible first two weeks and rookie Jimmy Claussen hasn't been any better. Because of this, the "Double Trouble" running game has been no trouble for anybody, running into brick walls regularly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Expanding to 18 games is the best idea ever

I must be the only guy in the world that would rather be shot in the face than see another 16 game season. All those bitches that want to feel the bukake of laziness because they don't want to man up and play two more fucking games because they don't want to walk off a broken leg. People who cry about seasons moving from 16 games to 18 games usually have these pussy gripes:

1) Waaaah my cock is stuck between my legs to look like a vagina because I might get hurt in 15 games and a bye week.


3) Their penis is too small to enjoy 18 games

There's nothing worse than fantasy football guy crying about anything. Waaah my players will get hurt and I actually have to research Vegas odds combined with trends and offensive and defensive statistics and take a chance on an unproven player (also known as "play fantasy football like a man"). Look you pansy, fantasy football ends three weeks early anyway because all the good teams rest their starters. What's two more games to research you fucking idiot?

And there's nothing more titty slapping than a football player cry about too many games. Your sport has the least amount of games compared to every other sport. Your sport is like high school amount of games and you get paid millions for it. If you get hurt, that just means a vacation during the season for you. Stop crying and play two more games instead of making me watch four preseason games. By the way, my cock is big.

Week 3 Rubdown - NFC North

Behold the Sword of Urlacher


WK 2 W at Dallas W 27-20, WK 3 W v. Green Bay 20-17
Offense Rank 11th, Defense Rank 15th

Thru 3 weeks, the last team standing in the NFC is not the Saints, not the Packers, not the Vikings, not the Cowboys, not the 49ers, not any of those preseason darlings. It's the Bears. They've earned it too. It's not like they've beat up on the dregs of the NFL here, they have wins against the Packers and Cowboys, two teams pretty much everyone had in the playoffs heading into the season. Is it real? Well, for starters, throw out everything you think you know about the Bears from last season. The reason is, Brian Urlacher is healthy. There is a very simple formula when it comes to the Bears, Brian Urlacher Healthy=Bears Good, Brian Urlacher Hurt=Bears Bad. There is little or no variation here. As long as Urlacher remains healthy, the Bears have the best pair of linebackers in the league in him and Lance Briggs. Without him, they are lost, like they were last year.

Offensively, Jay Cutler has been good so far. He could have had 5 INTs in the Monday Night win over the Packers, had some balls been held on to or plays not negated by penalties, but he didn't so we'll give him a pass for now. The Martz Offense is working, and all of a sudden the Bears are pretty strong on both sides of the ball. Not only that, but their next game against a team who currently has a winning record is Week 11 at Miami. Things could not be looking any better for the Bears right now.

What? 15 Yards For Illegal Grass In the Face? You're Kidding Me.

WK 2 W v. Buffalo 34-7, WK 3 L at Chicago 17-20
Offense Rank 12th, Defense Rank 2nd

If the Packers didn't get flagged 18 times for 152 yards worth of penalties (and it could have been more, I'm sure the Bears had some declines), and allow a punt return for a touchdown, and drop a couple of should have been interceptions, they'd be 3-0 right now, and have the inside track on an NFC North title. But all those things happened, and they're not 3-0, and they're in second place. That still can change very soon though. The Packers are a very good team. Clay Matthews is a demon, he already has 6 sacks, and the Packers rank 2nd in the league in defense (excluding penalty yards, a big exclusion given Monday Night's performance). The offense has been humming behind Aaron Rodgers and his merry band of receivers, no running game required, but turned it over at the worst possible time late in the Bears game, leading to the winning field goal (another PI penalty and a dropped INT helped too after the James Jones fumble).

The Packers have Super Bowl talent on both sides of the ball. It's possible they have the best offense in the league and the best defense. However, as the loss to the Bears showed, there are things that Super Bowl teams don't do, like racking up 150 yards of penalties, turning it over late in the game, and not capitalizing on mistakes by the other team. That's what separates a great team from the Packers right now.

One Man Gang

WK 2 L v. Miami 10-14, WK 3 W v. Detroit 24-10
Offense Rank 16th, Defense Rank 5th

Hmmm, it is a bye week for the Vikings this week. Think they will have to send Jared Allen and helicopter down to Hattiesburg to get Brett Favre to come back after it? It's possible. Things are not looking good for the Vikings. So far it's looking like the Brett Favre as Vikings QB thing is like a bowl of guacamole, absolutely sublimely transcendent at first, but brown and disgusting after too much time passes. Favre's passer rating so far this season is 60.4, which rates him one notch below Jason Campbell, who has been benched, and one notch above Trent Edwards, who has been released. There may be some hope for the Vikings though if they decide to go back to the pre-Favre offense and lean exclusively on Adrian Peterson. AD is averaging 5.6 yards per carry so far, which is his best since his 2007 rookie season. You can bet there will be some re-tooling of the offense going on during the bye week, and Peterson should rest up, because he'll be carrying a heavy, heavy load the rest of the way.

Same Ol' Lions

WK 2 L v. Philadelphia 32-35, WK 3 L at Minnesota 10-24
Offense Rank 22nd, Defense Rank 30th

I know that we have to measure the progress the Lions make with the same instruments they use to measure the movements of glaciers, but can you really say they are making progress? The defense should be better. They have a totally rebuilt front line that includes 3 time Pro Bowler Kyle Vandenbosch, and rookie monster Donkey Kong Suh (for the record they've combined for 3 1/2 sacks in 3 games, not horrible). But the defense isn't better, it's 30th in the league, and it should be receiving a fruit basket from Michael Vick for resurrecting his career in Week 2. I guess it should be improving as the season continues, maybe? Do we really believe that? I don't know. The offense has held up surprisingly well while Matt Stafford's shoulder heals in preparation for his next shoulder injury. Jahvid Best had an insane Week 2, and a sedate Week 3. His real level of production probably lies somewhere in between. An interesting matchup will be Week 5, when a presumably 0-4 Lions team (they are at Lambeau this week) takes on a Rams team that has started from the same post-apocalyptic starting point as the Lions, but seem to be making more progress.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 3 Rubdown - NFC East

Top Dog


WK 2 W at Detroit 35-32, WK 3 W at Jacksonville 28-3
Offense Rank 9th, Defense Rank 11th

This Michael Vick thing is a very sticky wicket. There are many, many sides to this argument. Here's one. I don't think Michael Vick coming back to the NFL, and not only getting back to his former level of play but far surpassing it, does a whole lot for young people's fear of committing crimes and being sent to jail. Maybe there's one kid out there who is a talented athlete, and 2 years ago was saying, "Shit I better stop hanging out with these thugs because I might end up like Michael Vick." Well, that same kid is now saying, "Shit I don't need to stop hanging out with these thugs, even if I go to jail I can end up like Michael Vick." You see what I mean? I'm concerned more about humans than dogs here, as I should be, and I think this could be setting a bad example for some of them. Anyway, back to the Eagles, Vick has been a revelation so far, against two horrible teams in Detroit and Jacksonville, posting a triple digit passer rating (unexpected), and being a rushing threat (expected). DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are tearing it up and LeSean McCoy has even given them a respectable running game, something they lacked last year. Next week is the big Donovan McNabb homecoming, so expect the eyes of the NFL to be on that in Week 4.

Me So Longhorny

WK 2 L v. Chicago 20-27, WK 3 W at Houston 27-13
Offense Rank 5th, Defense Rank 8th

I've got to hand it to the Cowboys. They came out in a game where I'm surprised Wade Phillips wasn't on the sidelines with a blindfold and a cigarette, and dominated a team that some think is the best in the AFC, on the road, to save their season. Even more surprising, was their biggest offensive weapon was the redoubtable Roy Williams, who usually is best known for wearing an ascot on the field, hearing footsteps, and collecting a huge paycheck. Ol' Roy had 117 yards and 2 TDs, while the defense was able to hold Andre Johnson to just 64 yards on 4 catches, which was the most yards any Houston receiver had in that game. There's no reason for the Cowboys to panic. The offense and defense are both holding their own, even if Jason Garrett apparently will never figure out how to properly use Marion Barber and Felix Jones. DeMarcus Ware continues to terrorize with 4 sacks in 3 games, and Miles Austin already has two 10 reception 140+ yard games. The Cowboys are good. The NFC East is bad. Be patient, they'll be fine.

WK 2 L v. Houston 27-30, WK 3 L at St. Louis 16-30
Offense Rank 13th, Defense Rank 32nd

Nobody is more game for a round of Donovan McNabb bashing than me, but it wouldn't be fair to do that at this point. He's been OK. Adequate, completing 60.8% of his passes, (about 1 point better than his career average), and only throwing 1 INT against 2 TDs. Yes, it's looking like the Eagles lucked into making the right decision so far, because Michael Vick has been so superb, but McNabb hasn't been bad. Check out that defense though, it's ranked last in the league in yardage against. The Skins gave up 497 passing yards to Matt Schaub in blowing a 20-7 lead at home against Houston in Week 2, then got 30 points hung on them last week by the Rams, who had not scored 30 or more since Week 6 of the 2008 season. Things aren't going to get any easier for them in Week 4, when they take on a scalding hot Philly offense on the road. Chances are, after such a promising opening week, that we've got yet another failed Dan Snyder gambit, and the Redskins will begin the season in a 1-3 hole that's not easy to climb out of, no matter how yellow their pants are.

If You Keep Throwing INTs I Will Lovingly Stroke Your Hair

4. NY GIANTS (1-2)
WK 2 L at Indianapolis 14-38, WK 3 L v. Tennessee 10-29
Offense Rank 8th, Defense Rank 10th

Statistically, the Giants don't look all that bad. They rank in the top 10 in both offense and defensive yardage, so why are they 1-2 coming off a pair of double digit losses? The answer lies in Eli Manning and the bad case of Interceptionitis that Jay Cutler seems to have gotten over and passed on to him. Eli's thrown 6 picks in 2 games, many of them the drive-killing variety deep in opponent's territory. He's getting picked off at almost double his career rate in terms of INT/Attempt. He's not the only one serving up the turnovers, as in all the Giants have turned it over 10 times in three weeks. The good news is, that's something that you can fix thru more conservative game planning, or just better luck. The bad news is, they better fix it fast, because their next two games are against the 3-0 Bears, and a really good Texans team, so they could be staring down the barrel of 1-4 without having even faced the Cowboys or Eagles yet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 2 Rubdown - AFC West

Chiefs Not So Achy Breaky Anymore


WK 1 W v. San Diego 21-14; WK 2 W at Cleveland 16-14
Offense Rank 30th, Defense Rank 24th

Might want to do a screen capture of this Rubdown, because I'm pretty sure this is the last one you'll see that has the Chiefs in 1st place. Yes, they are 2-0, but a truer picture of this team's abilities lies in those offensive and defensive ranks, which are both in the bottom 3rd of the league. Matt Cassel is proving to be the second coming of Scott Mitchell, meaning he parlayed a few good games as a backup (Mitchell in Miami behind Marino, Cassel in Foxboro behind Brady), into a huge contract with a team foolish enough to give him one, then showing why he's a backup. The saving grace has been a strong running game driven by two quality backs. Thomas Jones has gotten around 60% of the carries, mainly serving the function of keeping Jamaal Charles fresh which has helped him to average over 6 yards per carry. I'm thoroughly unimpressed by the Chiefs, but the Week 1 win on national TV in a driving rainstorm over the Chargers was a nice day for the franchise. The pain is in the mail though.

A WACk First Couple of Weeks for Mathews

WK 1 L at Kansas City 14-21, WK 2 W v. Jacksonville 38-13
Offense Rank 3rd, Defense Rank 8th

Given that it's well established that the Chargers don't get things going usually until after Halloween, I would think they have to be at least kind of pleased with their start. The potential for disaster was certainly there. They opened with an ugly, ugly loss in the rain at Kansas City. Philip Rivers was lobbing water balloons all over the place and the team looked like they had never touched a wet football before, which maybe they haven't. On top of that there's the Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill contract impasses, and the great, future Hall of Fame running back Ryan Mathews not living up to expectations so far. All those things together would have made it very easy for them to go into early season shock, but they pulled it together and blew out the Jaguars in their home opener, behind a great game from Rivers and some bruising running by fullback Mike Tolbert. The Chargers still look like the best team in this bad division.

WK 1 L at Jacksonville 17-24, WK 2 W v. Seattle 31-14
Offense Rank 7th, Defense Rank 19th

The Broncos have played pretty well so far. Kyle Orton has posted a stellar 103.9 passer rating, and rookie WR Demariyus Thomas had a huge game in his debut last week. RB Knowshon Moreno will be out this week against the Colts, and if newly acquired Laurence Maroney can perform well in his absence, Moreno might be spending a lot of time on the bench even after he comes back.

And while I don't want to be ghoulish, it has to be mentioned. I'm sure you all know by now, Broncos player Kenny McKinley died of an apparent suicide early this week. Unfortunately in the NFL it's really not all that unheard of for players to die. The Bears just had Gaines Adams die in a car accident last winter, you'll remember Sean Taylor was murdered during the season a couple of years ago, and the Broncos have now had 3 players die in a relatively short amount of time. It sucks and I can't think of another sport that has this happen so much, it's only slightly less worse than pro wrestling at this point. Rule #1, no NFL team should allow its players to own a gun. Too many bad things have happened and these often violent young men can't be trusted with them. Start there, it's a start.

Turn Around, Home Plate is That-A-Way

WK 1 L at Tennessee 13-38, WK 2 W v. St. Louis 16-14
Offense Rank 9th, Defense Rank 9th

It would be easy to look at the Raiders getting blown out at Tennessee in their opener, barely beating the perennially awful Rams in week 2, and already pushing the abort button on their new QB Jason Campbell, and conclude that the Raiders still suck. Well, maybe they do, but one thing that surprised me is that they are in the top 10 in both offense and defense. I know it's only through 2 weeks, and playing the Rams doesn't hurt that, but I think that should give the Raiders a little reason for hope. Darren McFadden has finally turned it on, and in 2 games has averaged 5 yards a carry, is on pace for 1900+ yards, and generally not looked anything like the Reggie Bush/Felix Jones-esque bust he has been up until this point. So the Raiders finally have one real offensive weapon, and that's something. Bruce Gradkowski may not be a good quarterback, but it can't be ignored that the Raiders do seem to show some life when he is in the game. Don't get me wrong, the Raiders are still bad, but they've improved, a little.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 2 Rubdown - AFC South

Yee Hah!

WK 1 W v. Indianapolis 34-24, WK 2 W at Washington 30-27
Offense Rank 1st, Defense Rank 31st

It's been a very successful two weeks for the darlings of the Fantasy Football Era. The Texans are an interesting test case of a team that all the Fantasy guys, which is pretty much anyone who is a football fan these days, already knows about, because their strength is their offensive skill position players. The catch is that anything that's not an offensive skill position hasn't really been up to snuff, as evidenced by their 31st ranked defense. Both the Colts and Redskins torched them for 400+ passing yards, and it's hard to really take them seriously as a Super Bowl contender until they fix that. One thing they have fixed is their running game. Arian Foster has been a revelation, averaging over 5 yards per carry. A good running game can eat time off the clock and make a shaky defense better, as can getting Brian Cushing back from suspension soon. I'm not saying the Texans aren't a very good team, because they are, but they've got get better on defense or else it will be a quick exit from their first postseason tournament.

Big Brother Is Watching You

WK 1 L at Houston 24-34, WK W v. NY Giants 38-14
Offense Rank 2nd, Defense Rank 14th

After the Colts did the unthinkable and lost to the Houston Texans in Week 1, there predictably was lots of "Is this the end of the Colts dynasty dur dee dur dee dur", then, just as predictably, the next week they went out and blew the doors off of what should be a pretty decent Giants team, emphatically answering the question of whether this is the end of the Colts dynasty. This Colts team is no different than any of the Colts teams we've seen since Jim Mora left after bleating "PLAYOFFS!!?!?!". They still have a spectacular passing offense, two top shelf pass rushers coming off each end, and an Achilles heel of a bad run defense (257 rushing yards surrendered against Houston) made worse by the fact Bob Sanders is hurt (like always). This is the same Colts team we all know, and will probably be until Peyton Manning retires. Now, is that still good enough to win a division where it looks like the Houston Texans have made a leap forward? We'll see.

At Least I'm Not Matt Leinart, or Reggie Bush..

WK 1 W v. Oakland 38-13, WK 2 L v. Pittsburgh 11-19
Offense Rank 22nd, Defense Rank 1st

Conversely to the Colts, you have the Titans. The Colts have ruled this division for centuries, in large part because they have achieved a level of consistency unlike any other in the league. The Titans, on the other hand, in Week 1 they blow out a Raiders team that supposedly is better this year than usual, then the next week they lose at home to a Steeler team playing a shopping cart at quarterback, and bench Vince Young in the process. Now we're back to annual benching and unbenching of Vince Young that usually ends in him either attempting suicide or leading the Titans on a nine game winning streak.

Maybe two years ago benching Vince was a viable option, but it isn't anymore. Kerry Collins is not going to be the Titans QB the next time they reach the Super Bowl, so unless Jeff Fisher thinks this is for Vince's own good to have him ride the bench, I don't see the point in doing this anymore. They've either got to resign themselves with taking the good with the bad with Vince Young (much like the Eagles did for a looong time with Donovan McNabb), or cut bait with him Matt Leinart style and move on. This jerking him in and out of the lineup has to stop.

Here Comes an Interception!

WK 1 W v. Denver 24-17, WK 2 L at San Diego 13-38
Offense Rank 14th, Defense Rank 29th

In an opening day win against a respectable Broncos team, Dave Garrard threw 3 TDs and no picks, then last week in a blowout loss to the Chargers, he threw 1 TD and 4 picks. So it would appear that there is some sort of correlation between the Jaguars chances of winning and their quarterback's not throwing interceptions all over the place. On the other hand, Maurice Jones Drew looks like he's running with his eyes closed again, as he sometimes done. He's averaging under 4 yards a carry an hasn't scored a TD yet, and I know nobody measures this but he has to be approaching an NFL record for carries of 2 yards or less in a career. I dunno, the Jaguars are just this funny little team with two toned helmets the color my old 1995 Dodge Avenger, who play in front of Major League Soccer sized crowds on the dark side of the moon, and have 1 player anyone cares about. They are as close to invisible as any NFL team has been in a long time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 2 Rubdown - AFC North

What's Happenin Hot Stuff?


WK 1 W v. Atlanta 15-9, WK 2 W at Tennessee 19-11
Offense Rank 31st, Defense Rank 6th

One of the things I've been hearing a lot about these first two weeks is that there's no clear cut best team in the league. Maybe so, but I know who the best story is, and that's the Steelers. They are 2-0, with wins over two teams that probably will be playoff contenders, and they've done this basically without a quarterback. They passed for 29 yards in the win over the Titans. 29. They are now down to thawing out Charlie Batch and plugging him in, and bringing back Byron Leftwich, who is so horrible they cut him for Dennis Dixon, who is only slightly less horrible. I guess the question is then, how good will this team be when that handsome devil in the picture above comes back? The possibilities are mind boggling. You can tell because it looks like Ben is thinking about them in that photo. Look how mind boggled he is.

WK 1 L at New England 24-38, WK 2 W v. Baltimore 15-10
Offense Rank 10th, Defense Rank 18th

I have to hand it to the Bengals, they surprised the shit out of me in Week 2. They opened the season exactly the way I expected them to, failing on a colossal scale and getting pounded by New England in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Then last week they go and maintain their spooky dominance over their own division by beating a Ravens team that a large percentage of the NFL cognoscenti have as the AFC's Super Bowl representative this year. I'm still not sold on them though. That win over the Ravens was more a function of how epically bad Joe Flacco played, then how good their defense is, and I say that because Tom Brady made them look silly in Week 1, and you don't get that much better overnight. Carson Palmer's switch still looks like it's set to "Meh", and Cedric Benson is plodding along at 3.2 yards per carry. Without question a great Week 2 win for the Bengals, but I'm still not convinced.


WK 1 W at NY Jets 10-9, WK 2 L at Cincinnati 10-15
Offense Rank 25th, Defense Rank 2nd

Just like the Steelers are playing without a QB, so are the Ravens. The only difference is Joe Flacco is supposed to be good. So far he's been anything but. Flacco was picked off 4 times by a Bengals defense the Patriots laid waste to a week earlier, and on the season he's completed just 48% of his pass attempts, and posted a passer rating of 41.2, last among starting QBs. I think it's safe to say he's better than that, but we'll see, maybe he isn't. Ray Rice is another guy who was supposed to be setting the world on fire this season and isn't, he's averaging under 4 yards a carry and hasn't done much as a receiver out of the backfield either. What hasn't disappointed is the defense, they are still elite. Basically so far this has been the same Ravens team we've all known for the past 10 years, great on defense, endlessly questionable on offense. That won't be good enough to get where they want to go, but there's still plenty of time for the talent they have on offense to perform up to expectations.

I Wonder If On His Resume He Identifies Himself as "Mangenius"?

WK 1 L at Tampa Bay 14-17, WK 2 L v. Kansas City 14-16
Offense Rank 17th, Defense Rank 13th

Having talented offensive players underperform is not a problem for the Browns, because they don't have any talented offensive players. You just know that they looked at the schedule heading into the year and thought, "Hmm, Tampa Bay and Kansas City, we could very easily be 2-0". Well, they're 0-2, and things aren't going to get any easier. Really though, nothing that happens with Browns this season matters anyway. Anything Mike Holmgren has ever done has always started with a young quarterback. In Green Bay it was Brett Favre, in Seattle it was Matt Hasselbeck. In Cleveland, that guy probably isn't on the roster right now. Maybe it's Colt McCoy, but I'm thinking probably not. In the long term, nothing the Browns do will matter until they see whether McCoy can play in the NFL or not, and I'm thinking we'll see him sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 2 Rubdown- AFC East

In case you haven't caught on yet, the way I plan to work things for most of the season is to cover the NFC one week and the AFC the next. I think this does 2 things, one, it gives a 2 week perspective rather than the overheated game to game overreaction every other outlet gives you, and secondly, well, it's just easier for me that way.

So without further Apu, here's the AFC East Week 2 Rubdown!

I Wear My Sunglasses Indoors

WK 1 W at Buffalo 15-10, WK 2 W at Minnesota 14-10
Offense Yards Rank 27th; Defense Yards Rank 5th

All of the AFC East drama swirls around the Jets (Hard Knocks, daily Rex Ryan bloviating on ESPN), and Patriots (last week's cover of SI), but thru two weeks the best team in the AFC East is the Miami Dolphins. True, they beat a Buffalo team that might not win a game this year, and a Minnesota team who has been offensively inept so far, but still, two road wins and they both count. They've done it with defense, particularly pass defense, in which they rank 4th in the league in Y/A. That could be a function of playing the Bills and Vikings, but so far so good. The offense has been just good enough to win. Chad Henne's taking care of the ball, with no INTs so far, and Ronnie Brown is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. We'll find out a lot about this team when they play their home opener against the Jets next week, in what should be a case of immovable object meeting immovable object.

We Won! This Calls For a Drink!

2. NY JETS 1-1
WK 1 L v. Baltimore 9-10, WK 2 W v. New England 28-14
Offense Yards Rank 29th; Defense Yards Rank 11th

The Jets are a great case for covering teams every other week, like I'm doing, rather than every week. After the Week 1 loss the Jets were the worst team in the world and the J-E-T-S fireman was ready to set himself on fire. A week later they beat the Patriots, who everyone was throwing hosannas at after week one, by 2 touchdowns and now the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl again. There is not enough lithium in the world to calibrate the emotions of NFL followers.

In reality, this team is severely challenged on offense. Mark Sanchez was fantastic against New England, terrible against the Ravens. He's a second year QB, and giving him the benefit of the doubt that he's actually good, which I'm still not convinced of, at the very least he's going to be inconsistent. Shonn Greene has been ineffective at 3.5 yards per carry, and LaDanian Tomlinson looks rejuvenated so far but you have to wonder how long that will last. The defense looks good, not once in a generation good like they were being hyped as, but still very strong. So, to me, in essence what the Jets look like is a lot what they looked like last year, which was a 9-7 team. That's not a Super Bowl team.

WK 1 W v. Cincinnati 38-24, WK 2 L at NY Jets 14-28
Offense Yards Rank 13th; Defense Yards Rank 26th

Until they prove otherwise, my opinion of the Pats remains set by their preseason game against the Rams, in which they gave up 36 points, to the Rams. They've done nothing so far to change my view that this team has no defense. Carson Palmer and TOchocinco roll up a bunch of yards against you when you're playing prevent with a huge lead, that's one thing, Mark Sanchez torches you for 3 TDs, that's a very different thing. I think you can hold out some hope that they'll get things fixed and turn in another 10 win season, because defenses can be a lot easier to fix than offenses, but at this point the Patriots look like nothing more than a fringe playoff team.

No, You Can't Hand It Off to the Defensive Lineman

WK 1 L v. Miami 10-15, WK 2 L at Green Bay 7-34
Offense Yards Rank 32nd; Defense Yards Rank 20th

After a spunky week 1 in which they took the Dolphins down to the wire, the Bills looked a lot more like we all expected in a Week 2 slaughter at Lambeau. They've already hit the eject button on Senator Trent Edwards and are back to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for Week 3. CJ Spiller, who was really the only hope for anything worth watching on this team, is averaging 1.1 yards on 8 carries. Will they go 0-16? They have home games against Cleveland and Detroit, so it's unlikely, but I'm not ruling it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 1 Rubdown- NFC West

W v. San Francisco 31-6
I said last week that Seattle was a mystery team this year, and that mystery got a little more interesting with their completely unexpected pummeling of the preseason darling Niners in Week 1. The Hawks have the best QB in this division, with the "if he can stay healthy" caveat, which is a big if. The defense, which has a couple of studs in Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry looked way better than expected too. Keep an eye on them.

W at St. Louis 17-13
The first test of the Cards' new incarnation as a running team went pretty well. Yes, it was against the Rams, but 5.3 yards per carry is impressive, and that was without Beanie Wells. Derek Anderson looked just fine as a caretaker QB, throwing for 297 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, and Steve Breaston's 132 yards shows he is ready to step in for Anquan Boldin as the #2 receiver.

3. ST. LOUIS RAMS (0-1)
L v. Arizona 13-17
I know Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive guy, not an offensive mastermind. But is it really the best thing to do to have a guy playing in his first NFL game throw 55 passes, when it's a close game and you have the supposedly great Steven Jackson healthy for one of the 5 or 6 games you'll have him this year (because he's another guy who's always hurt)? I'll tell him the same thing I told Brad Childress, you're still allowed to run the ball in this league.

L at Seattle 6-31
I think the picture says it all.

Or, for a more current example,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 1 Rubdown- NFC South

W v. Cleveland 17-14
Sure it was against the Browns, but a win is a win for a young team that didn't get a lot of them last year and won't get a lot of them this year either. Amazing what staying close and waiting for Jake Delhomme to self destruct can do for you. There's really only one thing that matters in watching this year's Bucs, and that's how much Josh Freeman develops. One game in, not too bad. He completed 60% of his passes and threw 2 TDs against only 1 INT.

W v. Minnesota 14-9
Covered this last week, but this one goes straight in Sean Payton's win column. He outcoached Brad Childress.

L at Pittsburgh 9-15
The Steelers have made a LOT of running backs look bad over the years, so it's not time to panic on Michael Turner just yet. But, he was in and out of the lineup all year last year, and you have to be concerned how he comes back from his first big professional injury, and 1 game in it's not looking so good. Matt Ryan kind of the same thing, he took a step back last year, his Y/A down by almost 20%. Didn't look a whole lot better in Week 1.

L at NY Giants 18-31
Matt Moore made Jake Delhomme look like, I don't know, a better quarterback than Matt Moore. How do you force 4 turnovers and still lose? That's easy, turn it over 5 times yourself. Matt Moore just would not stop sucking and yet John Fox refused to try and run the ball to take some heat off of him. Not a very good game for a coach who is in danger of getting launched.

Week 1 Rubdown- NFC North


W at Philadelphia 27-20
Dominated the Eagles until they went into prevent mode up 20-3 midway thru the 3rd quarter. Aaron Rodgers not as sharp as you'd like him to be, but the Eagles have a pretty good defense so I'll give him a pass. 7 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble for Clay Matthews. With Rodgers at quarterback, and Matthews anchoring the defense, I think you can pretty much pencil in the Packers being good for the next 10 years. Ryan Grant is out for the season, although I saw him running to the locker room on one leg and I don't see why he can't just saw the broken one off and play with the one.

W v. Detroit 19-14
By now you've all seen the ridiculous enforcement of a ridiculous rule that kept the Bears from losing their season opener at home to team that was on a 2-30 run coming in. It doesn't feel like a very convincing win, but statistically the Bears dominated. Julius Peppers has already made a huge impact in one game, if for no other reason than he made the Lions bring in Shaun Hill. Matt Forte's pass catching prowess will fit in very nicely in Martz' offense, and the defense looks a lot better with Urlacher healthy. We'll get a much better read on this team this week when they go to Dallas.

L at Chicago 14-19
Matt Stafford won't be having surgery, which is a good thing because he'd probably leap onto the operating table throwing shoulder first. Staying healthy is a skill, and maybe that crazy old man Lou Holtz knows what he's talking about a little when he says a QB needs to learn how to fall. The Lions looked like a 4 win team last week instead of a 0 or 2 win team, which I guess is improvement. Donkey Kong Suh and Kyle Vandenbosch give the Lions a bona fide D line, but I was non plussed by Jahvid Best and Calvin Johnson was virtually invisible against a questionable Bears secondary up until that last drive. And this team isn't beating anybody with Shaun Hill at QB.

L at New Orleans 9-14
Already posted on this earlier this week. In a nutshell, not sure what Chili was thinking refusing to run the ball in the second half. I blame the loss almost entirely on this weird decision.