Week 17 NFL Notes

December 29, 2008
Romo commits more no-no's and the Boys lose.  Photo from The AP.

Romo commits more no-no's and the Boys lose. Photo from The AP.

The league giveth and the league taketh away.  You know, watching Tampa self destruct against Oakland yesterday had my blood pressure shooting up to unsafe levels but then a beautiful thing happened to restore order to my personal land.  Firstly, the dream was achieved, with Green Bay hanging on to a much too close victory over Detroit.  0-16…I have finally seen the day!  Then, even better, Philly destroyed Dallas, slapping them all over the field like they were red-headed step children (apologies to all the red-headed step children that may read this, it’s just a saying!)  And all of a sudden I didn’t care that my morons choked away a 10 point lead to the Raiders.  Dallas was out of the playoffs and all was well yet again.  On to the thoughts:

  • I, of course, must begin with 0-16…a pinnacle as of yet unheard of in the league.  Someone always manages to sneak in a win, like Miami last year (thanks again Ravens) to destroy my hope.  But this year Detroit came through for me.  For that I will always love them.  Thank you, Matt Millen, for building the perfect team of suckery!  Thank you, Rod Marinelli, for being incapable of eeking out one win this season.  Thank you Dan Orlovsky, just for being some random QB that lost a lot of games.  Thank you, Dante Culpepper, for not saving the day when you unretired.  Sorry, Calvin Johnson, that Detroit stole you from my Bucs.  I will miss you til the day you retire.
  • Farewell Cadillac Williams.  Another blown left knee.  I’m so sorry for you, I hate to see that happen to any player, let alone one of my own who worked so hard to come back.  I really think losing you knocked all the wind out of our sails, though you aren’t to blame for the crappy tackling exhibited by my once vaunted defense.
  • What happened to my Bucs?  Well, a mediocre offense that can’t be bothered to score unless they’re running the 2 minute drill or coming from behind in the second half was a big contributor.  A defense that is unable to get any pressure on the QB was another BIG contributor.  Tampa needs a pass rush like yesterday.  I better see D-line addressed heavily in the draft this year.  Garcia was also an issue, not patient at all, happy feeting all over the place and making some bad decisions, missing some wide open receivers.  It was really ugly and I have no more words for my team.  They sucked, moving on.
  • Luckily the Bucs were not alone.  The Bears had everything on the line and managed to lose to Houston.  The real pisser of this game was that I initially was picking Houston to win and then I second guessed myself and changed it.  For that I blame the Bears more heavily.  The Bears loss didn’t hurt them in the end, due to Minny’s win over the Giants, but still, they could have won to make things more interesting when Minny was going for that game winning FG.
  • Another team that tanked was the vaunted NY Jets.  News broke early today that Mangini got shit canned.  As a Patriots supporter, I won’t deny this made me laugh.  Karma’s a bitch, Eric.  And I’m sure the great folks in Green Bay were laughing watching Favre throw 3 picks in a must win game…sounds familiar doesn’t it?  All credit, though, goes to Miami.  From 1-15 to a 3rd in the AFC.  Fantastic.  Bill Parcells must have a deal with the devil.  Also congrats to Chad Pennington, nothing feels better than sticking it to your ex team and getting a playoff spot to boot.
  • The Miami win knocked the Pats out of the playoffs, which is very disappointing as I would have liked to see how Cassel performed in the playoffs.  With news that Brady might not be back next year, it’ll be interesting to see if they hold on to Matty or if they’re spreading lies to jack up the asking price.  Wouldn’t put it past Bill, would ya?
  • The game of the day must have been Carolina/New Orleans.  It looked like NO was gonna pull the upset and knock Carolina to the 5th seed but instead Delhomme found Steve Smith (who else?) for a big gainer and they kicked a game winning FG.  Hilariously Drew Brees still had a chance at Marino’s yards record with one second left but his receiver broke off the route and the ball hit the ground, leaving Brees 16 yards short of the mark.  I find that amusing, probably because I don’t care about the Saints.
  • One of the most interesting teams heading into the playoffs has to be the Chargers.  They’ve been on fire in recent weeks and they demolished Denver last night to claim the final slot.  It’ll be interesting to see them play Indy next week, I’m not as confident in an Indy victory as I was a day ago.  Well I’ll do my picks in a few days, so we’ll see which way I go then.
  • Congrats to Minnesota for edging into the playoffs with a 20-19 victory over the Giants.  And thank you, Giants for the nice little David Carr sighting you provided.  My mom and I appreciated it.  So pretty!  On topic, Minny has to be a bit concerned about Adrian Peterson’s fumbling issues.  He needs to be more careful with the ball.  I don’t think Minny will make any noise in the playoffs but if they do it will be because of AD, so he needs to hold on to the football.
  • Yesterday wasn’t a good day for injuries.  Caddy with his knee, Madison in NY, Big Ben in Pitt…we’ll see if this effects anything for these teams.  Losing a corner won’t help the Giants any and Big Ben’s head better be straight before the playoffs hit.
  • Lastly, can I just state again how friggin hilarious it was to see Philly smack the shit out of Dallas?  How many fumbles did Romo lose?  5?  Alright I think it was 2 or 3, but it sure felt like 5.  Not to mention an interception.  And that fumble by Barber that got returned 96 yards for a TD…a thing of utter beauty.  I haven’t laughed that much watching a football game in years.  Loved every shot of TO yelling on the sidelines in the first half, I think he quickly figured out it wasn’t worth it though, he was quiet in the second half.  Pacman had a fumble, Roy Williams was a nonentity and Romo looked like a lost little boy out there.  Just perfection.  Congrats to Philly, an interesting addition to the playoffs and a potential threat to every team there.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.  Funny how a few weeks ago they wanted McNabb and Reid run out of town huh?  Also a shout out to Brian Dawkins who caused a couple of the fumbles and was all over the field, including directing the crowd in their Eagles song.  Classic.

I had a hard time coming up with the Douchetard this week, there were so many great choices really.  And I have to bestow two because that’s just how we roll on a week such as this.  So, the first Sage Rosenfels Memorial Douchetard of the Week award winner is my own Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Yep, the whole team gets this one for losing 4 straight and playing their way right out of the playoffs.  It took a team effort to lose to Oakland and make Michael Bush look like Walter Peyton, so the whole team gets props.  Our other Douchetard goes to living legend Brett Favre, for his 3 pick day against Miami with the playoffs on the line.  Ok, they were on the line for NE at that point but still, inexcusable that he comes up so lousy in yet another big game.  Even more, the reason he’s really getting this reason is because now I have to go through another few months of the Favre Retirement Watch.  I thought I was blissfully free of it after last year but then they came back and we have to go through it all again.  So, Brett Favre, congrats on your Douchetard Award…more special hardware to follow I imagine!

Those are the main highlights I wanted to hit this week.  It has been an interesting year and week 17 lived up to the rest of the season as well.  I went 10-6 this week, so that feels much better than last week’s terrible showing.  Back later in the week with a look at the playoff match ups and bestowing some awards.

Last Week:  10-6

Season Record:  160.5-94.5


Week 17 NFL Picks

December 26, 2008
ESPN.com Illustration
ESPN.com Illustration

Happy holidays, football fans.  I’m back and coming off a rather putrid 7-9 week, so things have got to be better this final week, right?  Although of course this is the week that wacky things happen and teams that clinched rest people and all sorts of stuff, so maybe not.  We’ll shoot for better anyway and see how it goes.

Atlanta over St. Louis:  The Falcons are in the playoffs and still have a chance to win the division with a Carolina loss, so they still have much to play for.  Not to mention momentum.  The Rams have been playing for a top draft pick, as they’ve been doing all season.  No incentive here so the Falcons get the pick.

New England over Buffalo:  The Patriots still have a chance to hit the playoffs with some help but of course they first have to win.  I don’t see this being an issue.  Has any team tanked more than Buffalo after their hot start?  NE rolls.

Kansas City over Cincy:  In the game that means absolutely nothing, this week’s Suck Bowl, I’ll go with the team that has been far more competitive each week than the one that has a win over the lowly Browns.  KC has lost several heart breakers but they’ve not quit, not sure I can say the same for all the Bengals players.  KC with the win.

Green Bay over Detroit:  And here it is…the quest for 0-16 comes down to this week, to this team, to this moment.  And I’ll admit it, I’m scared as can be over this one.  Will my dreams be dashed the final week of the season?  Will Green Bay continue to choke away games they should have won?  I’m going with them to hold on, pride on the line and all that, and give us the dream season.  Come on Lions, don’t let me down.

Indy over Tennessee:  Tenn has clinched and Indy is in as well, so not sure what teams we’ll see out there.  I think Dungy will keep his starters playing for awhile and I’m not sure about Tenn, thus I’m going this way.  Frankly I would go this way even if both teams played everybody, Indy has shown something in recent weeks while Tenn has been more of a wild card.

Minnesota over NY Giants:  The only reason I’m going with this one is because the Giants have clinched and Minn is fighting for its playoff life.  They still have a chance to take the north.  Again, I’m going with the team that has the motivation.

Carolina over NO:  Carolina still needs a win to clinch the division, even though they’ve earned a playoff spot.  NO has nothing to play for, except hatred of Carolina perhaps.  I nearly went with the Saints but their defense is crappy and Steve Smith will likely have a field day.  Carolina wins and claims the NFC South title.

Pittsburgh over Cleveland:  And now we know that a team with no quarterback really can’t survive in this league.  I mean, we knew that before, but it’s been reconfirmed.  Ken Dorsey?  Did anybody really know he was still in the league?  I sure didn’t.  Perhaps this week when they lose Brady Quinn will get punched again by another random player.  The Browns are fun at least!

Tampa Bay over Oakland:  Unbelievably Tampa is still in the playoff hunt after 3 terrible weeks of football.  They should be able to beat Oakland, but who can say with this team anymore?  The Raiders have shown signs of life in recent weeks so I can’t be as comfortable about this pick as I would like to be, but I will again go with the team that has the most on the line.

Chicago over Houston:  Hmm this one is tough.  Houston has actually played well in recent weeks but the Bears are fighting for a playoff spot so they should be going all out here.  I’m not going with an upset even though I don’t think that much of the Bears, despite their being on the cusp of the playoffs.  Orton still has not won me over and their offensive game plan, just chuck the ball down field and hope Hester catches it or gets a flag doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me.  However they are fighting to make the post season so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and pick there here.  I’m sure Houston will make me pay for that.

Baltimore over Jacksonville:  This game could go the other way but Balt is hungry and they’ll want to keep the Pats out of the playoffs.  I believe that is the scenario…there are so many going through my mind that I can’t keep track of them all.  Jax is one of the disappointing teams of the year, no reason they should rise up now.

Washington over San Fran:  Just because someone has to win.  Chalk the Skins up as another team that was a major disappointment.  I still can’t figure out what went wrong with them, it seems like they have the pieces there they just can’t put them together.  I’m happy the 49ers are signing Singletary longterm, I do think he’s the right man for the job and he has them playing hard at a time when they’re not playing for much of anything.

NY Jets over Miami:  Here we go to the big games…and I honestly have no idea what to expect here.  Every time I pick against Miami I end up regretting it, and every time I pick the Jets I end up regretting it too.  But for some reason I am inflicting a double whammy on myself by predicting the Jets to beat Miami.  So either I’ll really get it wrong or whatever voodoo these teams have working against me will cancel out and I’ll get it right.  Should be interesting at any rate.  The Jets get the nod because they’re at home and desperate.

Dallas over Philly:  Yep, I am predicting that my morons miss the playoffs due to Dallas winning at Philly.  It seems like the kind of thing that would happen to Tampa, after all, doesn’t it?  Frankly they don’t deserve to make the playoffs anyway.  I am hoping that Philly takes it but I have no confidence in them and Dallas feels like that team that’s going to luck into the playoffs and maybe make some noise once they’re there.

Arizona over Seattle:  Who cares really?  Zona is one and done in the playoffs and Seattle has nothing going on.  This game bores me.

San Diego over Denver:  Here’s the other big win and you’re in game we have this week.  I really couldn’t begin to guess what is going to happen in it either, but I do know that Rivers shredded Tampa’s defense last week and Tampa’s defense is a heck of a lot better than Denver’s is.  Of course, this is a divisional game and it feels like everything gets thrown right out the window in those games.  San Diego has been playing well in recent weeks and I think they’ll continue the trend and win that division.  Hard to believe that they can come back from their terrible record early in the season but there you go.

So that’s it for the final week in the NFL.  Let’s hope that my picks are a bit more accurate than last weeks were! I’ll be back next week with playoff predictions and individual awards.  Enjoy your final week of regular season football!  Oh, I forgot to name a Douchetard of the Week for last week…tough call but I think Big Ben gets his second award of the season.  With home field advantage on the line he lost two fumbles and threw a pick 6 when the game was still not out of reach.  Congrats Big Ben!

Last Week:  7-9

Season Record:  150.5-88.5

2008 NFL Football Season: Week 16

December 24, 2008

Before discussing the games I saw this week, I would like to make some observations as we move into the pivotal Week 17 where many playoff spots will be decided.

AFC East: The AFC East is the wildest and most intriguing playoff race in the NFL. Patriots’ fans will find themselves in the ironic position of having to root for the rival New York Jets to beat the Miami Dolphins so they can secure the AFC East, or root for the Jacksonville Jaguars to beat the Baltimore Ravens so they can secure a wild card spot. It would be a shame if the Patriots end up with a record of 11-5 and miss the playoffs. They have overcome numerous injuries on defense and of course the biggest blow, the loss of Tom Brady at the start of the season. Matt Cassel has developed into a legitimate starting quarterback and if they beat Buffalo Sunday, they deserve a playoff spot. It has been 23 years since an 11-5 team did not make the playoffs, the 1985 Denver Broncos. Usually the last playoff spot goes to a 9-7 or even 8-8 team.

AFC West: Meanwhile, two mediocre teams will be fighting it out for the AFC West crown, the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. If the Chargers win, an 8-8 team makes it in. I can’t stand either of these teams but I like Denver better this year so I hope the Broncos beat the whiney Chargers Sunday.

New York Giants and Tennessee Titans: The Giants and Titans have reestablished themselves as the teams to beat in the NFC and AFC. Each did it by beating the teams, at home, that many considered to possibly be the best teams in their respective conferences. The Giants beat the Carolina Panthers in a game that secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Titans defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, also securing home field advantage in the playoffs. By winning their respective games, these are the two best teams in the league in my opinion and we very well may be seeing a Giants-Titans matchup in the Super Bowl.



New England Patriots over Arizona Cardinals, 47-7

Matt Cassel continues to prove that he is not only a viable starting QB in the NFL, but possibly even an elite one. In a cold, snowy, icy game, the Patriots used a short passing game and the run to dominate the Arizona Cardinals from start to finish. The Cardinals didn’t even seem to show up for the game and put up an embarrassing performance for a playoff team who already won their division. It looks like they will be going into the playoffs on a down note, regardless of what happens in their game Sunday.

New England could end up 11-5 and still not make the playoffs, which would be a real shame. Go JETS and JAGUARS on Sunday.

MVP: Matt Cassel, QB, New England Patriots


Indianapolis Colts over Jacksonville Jaguars, 31-24

Jacksonville actually showed up and played a competitive game against the Colts in their Thursday night matchup. The Jaguars jumped out to a 14-0 lead but with Peyton Manning at QB, a 14-0 lead is as ephemeral as an early morning fog. But the Jaguars hung in the game to the very end. The death knell occurred when Keiwan Ratliff picked off David Garrard and ran it back for a touchdown with a little over four minutes to go, giving the Colts their 31-24 margin of victory.

Peyton Manning is playing extremely well and the Colts could run the table in the playoffs. Their biggest weaknesses are a suspect running game against the better defenses and their defense, as usual, gives up a lot of yards and points. But with Peyton looking like he’s hit his stride, anything is possible.

MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts


Baltimore Ravens over Dallas Cowboys, 33-24

The Ravens defense tore the Cowboys and Tony Romo up. Dallas looks dysfunctional and their offensive line has gone south. How they get so many false start penalties at home is beyond me. It’s unfortunate Dallas is still in the running for a playoff spot given how things shook out this week, because their play the last few weeks isn’t deserving of the playoffs.

The Ravens defense continues to be dominating and intimidating, which could take them far in the playoffs. Joe Flacco continues to look like the real deal at quarterback and they can run the ball well. The Ravens still struggle on offense against really good defenses, but they almost beat Tennessee earlier in the season so that can definitely compete with any team in the league. I hope they lose against the Jaguars next week to open up the wild card spot for the New England Patriots. But if the Ravens make the postseason, they will be fun to watch.

MVP: Ed Reed, FS, Baltimore Ravens


Atlanta Falcons over Minnesota Vikings, 24-17

The story of this game is four Minnesota turnovers and two botched shotgun snaps, which pretty much took the Vikings out of any chance to pull this game off. My offensive player of the year, Adrian Peterson, fumbled the ball twice and had problems with ball security all game long. Much of his troubles were from trying to do too much, allowing the Falcons defense to swarm to the ball. Other than the turnovers the game was competitive. The Vikings are another team I look forward to seeing in the playoffs because they have played some of the wildest games this year, have a stout defense, and big play ability.

Visanthe Shiancoe, the Vikings tight end, had a phenomenal game with seven catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Falcons guard Justin Blalock made the play of the game when he recovered a Matt Ryan fumble in the end zone for touchdown, which was the difference in the game. He had an excellent day blocking as well.

With this win the Falcons have secured a playoff spot and completely turned their franchise around after the Michael Vick debacle.

MVP: Justin Blalock, G, Atlanta Falcons


New York Giants over Carolina Panthers, 34-28 OT

The New York Giants served notice to the league that they are the best team in the NFC with their overtime win over the Carolina Panthers in frigid conditions. The Giants went back to their bruising running game, rushing for over 300 yards. Derrick Ward pounded out 215 yards on only 15 carries, while Brandon Jacobs got goal line duty turning in three short runs for touchdowns.

Carolina had a lead for much of the game riding the heels of DeAngelo Williams who had over 100 yards rushing and four touchdowns, but the Giants were resilient in the second half and pulled off the win.

The Giants secured home field advantage in the playoffs with this win and we could see a rematch of this game for the NFC Championship.

MVP: Derrick Ward, RB, New York Giants


Chicago Bears over Green Bay Packers, 20-17 OT

How have the Bears been able to pull off two overtime wins despite being outplayed by their opponents? The Bears overcame a few turnovers and being more or less beaten in this game, but in the fourth quarter they were able to tie the game and pull out the win in overtime on the legs of Matt Forte. While Forte didn’t have eye popping statistics, and was out for part of the second half, he dominated on the ground in the fourth quarter. The Bears are still in the running for a playoff spot as a result.

MVP: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears



Offensive Player: Derrick Ward, RB, New York Giants. 215 yards rushing

Defensive Player: Jason Jones, DL, Tennessee Titans. 3 ½ sacks and 3 forced fumbles.

Offensive Lineman: Justin Blalock, G, Atlanta Falcons

Special Teams: John Carney, K, New York Giants

Rookie of the Week: Jason Jones, DL, Tennessee Titans

NFL Football Season: Week 15

December 20, 2008

This is coming a little late this week and probably will next week but here it is.

New England Patriots over Oakland Raiders, 49-26

Huge kudos to Matt Cassel for playing such a great game after his father passed away. I can’t say enough about the dedication to the game and team.

I am not going to make a big deal out of the Patriots beating the Raiders. The Raiders are a woeful team we should beat any given Sunday. But given the injuries to Tom Brady and most of the defense, I will say we are the San Diego Chargers or Jacksonville Jaguars. They had a lot of injuries, but less than the Patriots, and they collapsed this year. That just goes to show you what a great coach and team the Patriots are.

MVP: Matt Cassel, QB, New England Patriots


Chicago Bears over New Orleans Saints, 27-24 (OT)

Danieal Manning’s opening kickoff return for a touchdown, his 50+ yard return later in the game resulting in another score, and an untimely interception by Drew Brees in the red zone late in the game, is the story of this contest. Other than special teams and Brees’ interception, this was a very closely contested game that came down to a field goal in overtime.

The Saints are one of the more disappointing teams in the league. Despite the injuries at receiver, the way Brees is playing they really should be doing much better than they are. They have lost some real barn burners this year but I really expected more of them. Both teams put on a good show in this game though, but the Saints just couldn’t overcome the kickoff returns and interception.

MVP: Danieal Manning, KR, New Orleans Saints

New York Jets over Buffalo Bills, 31-27

J.P. Losman is a douche bag. I have obviously followed the AFC East closely my entire football watching life and I have always called J.P. “Loser” Man. I laughed when the announcers said he wanted to put a highlight reel together since he is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. J.P. better burn every tape he ever made, and make triple sure this game doesn’t see the light of day. What an idiot. The Jets mostly outplayed the Bills all game long but the Bills were fortunate enough to have a three point lead with less than two minutes to go around their own 20 yard line. Okay, so they call a passing play, which probably wasn’t the smartest call. But J.P. rolls out, gets hit, and fumbles the ball away which the Jets run in for a touchdown. Game over.

On the bright side for Bills fans, J.P. will be GONE next year. Marshawn Lynch ran like a beast. And the Bill’s offensive line played extremely well. In fact, both teams’ offensive lines dominated the game from start to finish with Lynch and Thomas Jones having great days. The difference in the game? J.P.

The Jets seem to be struggling just a bit, and I was surprised how well the Bills controlled Kris Jenkins. The Bills were very competitive in this game, except for J.P. Loserman’s inaccurate passes and ill timed gift touchdown to the Jets.

Leon Washington had a sterling day on special teams and offensive.

MVP: Leon Washington, KR/RB, New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens, 13-9

This was a matchup of two of the nastiest defenses in the league, as the score shows. If you like watching defenses whack the offense for four quarters, like I do, this was a fun one to watch. Baltimore has struggled against really good defenses this year and they could not get anything going in this game. Joe Flacco and the running backs where mostly held in check all game long. The Steelers benefited by a controversial touchdown catch that was called down on the one yard line on the field, but overturned by replay. I think it was a touchdown so I am not going to get into all the controversy over that. I will say, despite some struggles, Flacco is the real deal. He’s going to be great barring injury.

And Pittsburgh, as of now, is the best team in the league because of its defense.

And people who think Big Ben should be in the Pro Bowl must be inhaling gas fumes. I like Big Ben, but other than his ability to take punishment and throw with defenders hanging on him, he is not playing that well this season. A better quarterback would get rid of the ball, even if it means no yards, and let the defense do its business.

MVP: Aaron Smith, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Dallas Cowboys over New York Giants, 20-8

This was another nasty defense struggle. The score might not say that but it was up for grabs until near the end. Romo took a huge beating but hung in and got the job done against one of the toughest defensive lines in the league. The Giants offense seems to have totally lost is moxie with Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress out of the line up. They did lose a starting tackle, which showed as DeMarcus Ware got three sacks, but in general it was one of the worst games I’ve seen the Giants’ offensive line play. The Cowboys weren’t much better, they just had a little bit more of a running game and their defensive backs played a huge game. Despite DeMarcus Ware getting three sacks, I think Terrance Newman is the MVP of the game for his tight coverage. Overall, the Cowboys defensive backs really blanketed the Giants receivers, which was the real difference in the game.

MVP: Terrance Newman, CB, Dallas Cowboys

Philadelphia Eagles over Cleveland Browns, 30-10

If it hadn’t been for two interceptions in the end zone by the Eagles (one by DeSean Jackson lined up at QB) this game would have been a blowout by halftime. Instead, it took me well into the third quarter for me to start drifting off into sleep as the Browns got their behinds handed to them again.

MVP: Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia Eagles


Offensive Player: Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans,

Defensive Player: Terrance Newman, CB, Dallas Cowboys

Offensive Lineman: Derrick Dockery, G, Buffalo Bills

Special Teams: Danieal Manning, KR, Chicago Bears

Rookie of the Week:  Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys


Bowl Blitz

December 20, 2008
Do these guys look like champions?  Photo from The AP.

Do these guys look like champions? Photo from The AP.

I haven’t forgotten about college football, friends, it’s just that the 3 weeks of no games period kinda diminishes my love for and interest in the game.  Also the fact that my team sucked balls at the end of the year did nothing to inspire my love for the old NCAA either.  But the bowl season kicks off tomorrow so I felt it was time to talk a little about each game.  We’ll go in order, but I forewarn you that some of these games have no meaning for me and nor do I know jack about the teams involved.  In those cases, I will pick a winner and move on.  I’m sure you understand.

Before I start, how about we take a moment of celebration to gloat over Sam Bradford winning the Heisman.  Do I care about Sam Bradford vs. Colt McCoy vs. Grant Harrell?  No, I do not.  They’re all good and interchangeable to me.  But I do care about Tebow not being a two time winner, so thank you voters.  All 3 of those QB’s had better years statistically and were equal in the win/loss column, so you did the right thing.  Go to the NFL, Timmy, I’m sick of you and I have it on good authority that the Jags are dumb enough to take you.  Take the money and run!

Dec. 20th, Eaglebank Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Navy

What the hell is the Eaglebank Bowl?  Who is Eaglebank?  Clearly this game is not in my area of the world.  Navy has a decent offense but Wake Forest has a confounding offense that drives me insane.  They’ve beaten my morons 3 years in a row, so they ought to be able to beat Navy.  The Demon Deacs get the pick.

Dec. 20th, New Mexico Bowl:  Colorado State vs. Fresno State

Who knew Colorado State even qualified to go to a bowl?  I’ll take Fresno State here.

Dec. 20th, Magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl:  Memphis vs. South Florida

Alright, I live in Tampa and I have no idea what Magicjack is.  The hell?  A friend informed me that it’s a phone jack, I’ve seen the infomercials.  This might be the lamest sponsor I’ve ever heard of.  I’ll take USF, it’s a home game in their home stadium.

Dec. 20th, Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl:  BYU vs. Arizona

Is BYU even allowed in Vegas?  Isn’t that some kind of religious violation or something?  I’ll take them anyway, Arizona did nothing all year.

Dec. 21st, R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:  Southern Miss vs. Troy

Hee, you can tell we’re in the games I know jack about, because all I want to do is comment on the damn bowl names.  I miss the days of the old Independence Bowl.  Although the Independence Bowl did sell out and become my favorite bowl name of all time, the Poolan Weedeater Independence Bowl.  Good times.  My spelling may be wrong on that but that’s how it was pronounced.  Awesome.  Uhhh..pick…Troy, why not?

Dec. 23rd, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:  Boise State vs. TCU

Hmmm, this appears to be the second bank already on this very short list.  Is this where our bail out is going?  To fund the ludicrous out of date bowl system?  I best not dwell on this idea or rage will overtake me.  I love Boise State here, their offense is awesome; I’ll love them for all time for taking down Oklahoma a couple of years ago,  Innovative team and I want their OC as the new FSU head coach (you know, next century sometime when Bobby is gone).  This could be a good one but I like Boise State.

Dec. 24th, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl:  Hawaii vs. Notre Dame

I wonder, is Notre Dame the only 6 win team that made a bowl?  I recall hearing that 7 wins were the guide this year, but of course the guide doesn’t count when it comes to the Irish!  I’m too lazy to look it up, but we’ll go with it, conspiracy theorist that I am.  Why should it matter to them, they’re college football U baby.  Ok…they WERE college football u….like 30 years ago.  When will people get the hell off their jocks?  How many bowl games have they lost in a row?  Yet you keep on inviting them.  And they get to go to Hawaii of all places.  Whatever.  I’ll take the home team because I refuse to pick Notre Dame, even though they should win this one.  Maybe Weis will get another 10 year extension if they achieve the pinnacle of awesomeness by winning the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Dec. 26th, Motor City Bowl:  Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan

Um, we’ll go with Central Michigan, this is almost a home game.

Dec. 27th, Meineke Car Care Bowl:  West Virginia vs. North Carolina

Oooh this is a tough one.  North Carolina has played some great games this season but they were tailing off by the end of the year.  I don’t think a whole lot of the Big Least conference, so I’m not overly enamored of this pick, but I’m going with West Virginia here.

Dec. 27th, Champs Sports Bowl:  Wisconsin vs. Florida State

My Noles have had a couple of heartbreaking bowl losses in recent years but this one does not scare me at all.  Wisconsin’s running game can be a force but I think the Nole D will be more than ready to handle it.  I also think the team speed is something Wisc isn’t used to facing.  Noles roll.

Dec. 27th, Emerald Bowl:  Miami vs. Cal

I think this is essentially a home game for Cal but you all know by now how I feel about the Pac-10 Conference.  Miami had a roller coaster year and I just found out their QB is suspended.  My pick just magically changed, funny how that works.  Cal gets this one.

Dec. 28th, Independence Bowl:  Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

How about that?  Earlier I was whining about the lack of normal bowl names and I cited the Independence Bowl and here it is, intact yet again.  Who knew?  Not only that but my alma mater is actually playing in it.  This shows you how very closely I have been following the bowl selection process doesn’t it? hehe  I’ll go with Northern, since I got my degree from there.  Funny, when I went there the concept of Northern being in a bowl was unheard of.  I transferred there from FSU (yes, I was insane) and my friends made me go to a game with them.  They were in the band and I got to sit with them.  Northern was in the midst of the longest losing streak in the nation.  I watched with horror as that terrible team played in their tiny stadium and I told my friends they would never see me set foot in that stadium again.  My high school could have beaten them.  I was true to my word and stayed home and watched real football on TV from then on!

Dec. 29th, Papajohns.com Bowl:  NC State vs. Rutgers

Hee, it’s our first bowl named after a website.  And a pizza place of course.  I don’t like Papa John’s.  Rutgers underachieved all year, Schiano has to be sickened that he didn’t take the Michigan job.  Hee.  Meanwhile NC State blew all year and then came out of nowhere to start beating teams like UNC and Miami.  I have no idea who to take here…I guess I’ll go with momentum and take NC State.  I don’t like it though.

Dec. 29th, Valero Alamo Bowl:  Missouri vs. Northwestern

This actually has the makings of a good game.  NW can be kinda decent on offense, could be a shoot out.  I’ll go with the underachieving Missouri and Chase Daniel though, I trust him a lot more than whomever helms Northwestern’s offense.

Dec. 30th, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl:  Maryland vs. Nevada

Roady’s?  I don’t think I wanna know.  Aren’t Roady’s those guys that lug bands equipment from city to city?  Are they humanitarians?  Maryland is the pick, I haven’t a clue.

Dec. 30th, Pacific Life Holiday Bowl:  Oklahoma State vs. Oregon

I’m still pissed at Oregon for beating Oregon State and thus giving USC the Pac-10 title.  Shouldn’t they have intentionally lost just to ensure that USC did not get the title?  How hard is this?  Every team in the Pac-10 has to hate them don’t they?  Anyway, OK State has a potent offense, I don’t see the Ducks hanging with them.

Dec. 30th, Texas Bowl:  Western Michigan vs. Rice

I’m pretty sure Rice is in Texas…so there you go.

Dec. 31st, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl:  Houston vs. Air Force

I don’t know about you but I’m not picking against a military academy in a bowl that is named after the Armed Forces.  That would be just wrong.

Dec. 31st, Sun Bowl:  Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh

I think I’ll go with what should be considered an upset here, since Pitt is ranked and Oregon State isn’t.  I’m thinking my boy Jacquizz will be healthy again and make the difference.  He’s why they beat USC, I think they can take Pitt.

Dec. 31st, Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl:  Boston College vs. Vanderbilt

Ahh Vandy, how quickly we devolved from the dream season to the forgotten one.  I don’t see the dream returning here, BC should win this one rather easily.

Dec. 31st, Insight Bowl:  Kansas vs. Minnesota

Not sure which way to go on this one, Minnesota has had a surprising season and Kansas was not nearly as good as everyone thought they’d be.  I guess I’ll go with Kansas, their QB should be good enough to push them over the top.

Dec. 31st, Chick-Fil-A-Bowl:  LSU vs. Georgia Tech

Awww, didn’t this used to be the Peach Bowl?  I miss the Peach Bowl.  This is essentially a home game for the Yellow Jackets and I like them to edge LSU.  LSU’s QB is error prone and GA Tech likes to blitz quite a bit.  They run that triple option offense that can confuse even the best defensive teams.  I like Tech in a close one.

Jan. 1st, Outback Bowl:  South Carolina vs. Iowa

Hmmm…this is another one that’s hard to call.  When I’m in doubt, you know who I’m going to go with, just out of sheer love for the names.  What will I do when Smelley and Succup are gone from the Cocks?  It’ll be  a sad, sad day.

Jan. 1st, Capital One Bowl:  Georgia vs. Michigan State

How far the mighty Dawgs have fallen, from #1 to the Capital One Bowl.  That’s okay, I don’t see them having much of a problem here.  As long as their defense can shut Ringer down, Knowshon and the offense should carry the Dawgs to victory without much of a problem.  Michigan State’s decent but they’re nowhere near UGA’s level.

Jan. 1st, Gator Bowl:  Nebraska vs. Clemson

This could be interesting, Nebraska’s big bruisers against Clemson’s speedsters.  I like Clemson here, not for any particular reason other than a gut feeling though.  The blackshirt defense hasn’t been around for years and I think Spiller and Co can do some damage.

Jan. 1st, The Rose Bowl Game Presented By Citi:  Penn State vs. USC

How obnoxious is it that the Rose Bowl gets referred to as The Rose Bowl Game Presented By?  No other bowl gets that distinction.  I loathe the Rose Bowl and I blame them and the Big 10 and Pac 10 for that fact that we’re without a playoff today.  Them and their antiquated ideas.  HATE.  Do I really have to talk about this game?  I think we all know damn well that USC is going to beat Penn State.  Penn State looked extremely mortal by the end of the year and I think the Trojan defense is going to smack them around something good.  Then Pete Carroll will gloat about his victory and declare himself the real national champion.  You know it will happen.  While I’m talking about good old Pete, who are you people who are searching out information about his girlfriend and his affair?  I get blog hits every single day on this topic and I can’t help but wonder why anybody cares?  Please, one of you who will inevitably find me, leave a comment and tell me what’s so friggin fascinating about Pete’s woman?  Thank you in advance.

Jan. 1st, Fedex Orange Bowl:  Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Why is it that every year we get at least one crappy match up in the big games?  This is of course one of them.  But I’m done yet (what up Bama/Utah?)!  I get that Cincy is a surprise winner of the Big Least but do they really need to get rewarded with a BCS game?  I’m all for abolishing the Big Least from contention.  I know, the ACC isn’t that much better but at least it was competitive this year.  And Va Tech will probably kick the crud out of Cincy, limited on offense though they may be.  That defense is gonna have a blast.

Jan. 2nd, Cotton Bowl:  Mississippi vs. Texas Tech

Good lord, I didn’t even know Mississippi was in a bowl game.  I don’t think this is going to be much of a game, but TT is fun to watch on offense and Harrell and Crabtree, unfairly left out of the Heisman ceremony, ought to have a big day.  If Crabtree is healthy that is.  Crud, I forgot he was injured.  See how little attention I’ve been paying?  Well regardless, TT is gonna roll here.

Jan. 2nd, Autozone Liberty Bowl:  Kentucky vs. East Carolina

Why is this on Jan. 2nd?  I thought there would be one game but there are 3.  I don’t get it.  I’m going to take the Wildcats because I haven’t a clue.  I’ve liked ECU in recent years but I think they fell off this year.

Jan. 2nd, Allstate Sugar Bowl:  Utah vs. Alabama

Bama, you were so close to the national title game but instead you’re stuck playing Utah of all teams in the Sugar Bowl.  I know Utah was once coached by the immortal Urban Meyer, god of everything, but I don’t see them defeating Nick Saban, coach who never saw a job he didn’t like, no matter what they do.  Keep an eye on that freshman, Julio Jones, that Bama has.   He’s awesome.

Jan. 3rd, International Bowl:  Buffalo vs. Connecticut

Not sure why this bowl hits on Jan 3rd, but whatever.  I’ll go with UConn.

Jan. 5th, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:  Ohio State vs. Texas

While Ohio State has improved from it’s early poor showing against USC, I think the Buckeyes are outgunned against Texas.  McCoy, still smarting from his Heisman loss, should be able to lead the Longhorns over Ohio State.  OSU has given up a lot more big plays on defense than I’m used to seeing in recent years, I expect Texas to exploit that.  Pryor is a phenom but he’s young and not good enough yet.

Jan. 6th, GMAC Bowl:  Ball State vs. Tulsa

This pick’s for Letterman, Ball State it is.

Jan. 8th, Fedex BCS National Championship Game:  Florida vs. Oklahoma

And here we have it, #1 vs. #2, also known as Nole’s nightmare bowl.  Could you pick two coaches that I loathe more than Meyer and Stoops?  Maybe, maybe if you had Spurrier and Paterno, then sure.  But it’s pretty hard to do.  Gators everywhere I turn…yeah I haven’t forgotten where Stoopsy came from.  Gah…I truly hate this game.  So we have Heisman winner this year vs. Heisman winner last year.  These match ups never seem to work out well for the current Heisman winner, they’re usually bested by the runner up.  So that favors Florida.  But for some reason I was actually rooting for Oklahoma to make this game, despite my Stoops hate.  I felt like OK was the one team that might be able to hang with the Gators offensively while occasionally stepping up on defense and making a stop.  My gut says to go with Florida but the bile rising up within refuses to let me do it.  I’m going with the Sooners, heart above logic.  I just can’t tolerate the Gators winning another title under Tebow.  Boomer Sooner…it hurts to say it but there you go.

So that’s my longest blog of all time right there…hope it was as fun for you as it was draining for me.  I really am looking forward to watching some football again tomorrow.  So many boring Saturday afternoons stretch out ahead of me after bowl season is done.  I always miss football when it’s gone, flawed though it may be.  I hope you enjoy the games…I’ll check in periodically to talk about what we’ve seen in some of the lesser bowls, then we’ll look at the big ones as they go, provided they are remotely interesting.  Happy Bowling friends!

Week 16 NFL Picks

December 17, 2008
Can Carolina run past the Giants this week?  Photo from the AP.

Can Carolina run past the Giants this week? Photo from the AP.

Last week was not one of my best weeks but it wasn’t as dire as I thought it was initially.  10-6 is not so bad…I got lucky with some last second scores, what up SD and Pitt?, so I sat a little prettier than I thought.  Still, we need to do better and try to finish the year strong!

Indy over Jax: While Jax is coming off a surprising win over GB last week (and one of my losses, not that I’m bitter or anything), they’re still not playing that will.  Indy let Detroit hang around longer than was comfortable for your faithful forecaster, but they held on to win.  Manning’s back to being Manning and there’s no reason to think he’ll lose to the depleted Jaguars.

Dallas over Baltimore: Not what I need to happen at all but the implosion in Big D seems to have been staid off somehow.  Very disappointing.  I want TO sulking and Romo and Witten laughing and then maybe TO running up and punching Witten…sigh.  This game could go either way and I frankly hope it does go the other way but I don’t trust Baltimore to be able to shut down Dallas enough.  Hope I’m wrong!

Cincy over Cleveland: Whoo hoo, could the Bengals actually go on a winning streak?  It looks good, what with playing the immortal Ken Dorsey and the Browns this week.  Hmm, that sounds like a band name…any drummers and guitarists out there need it?   I think the state of Ohio should get a refund for pretty much all their pro teams…I guess LeBron and the Cavs are good but who else really is?  And no, I don’t follow hockey so if I missed that, sorry.

San Fran over St. Louis: The 9ers gave it a valiant effort against Miami but came up a little shy.  The Rams are nowhere near as good as Miami…I really can’t believe I typed that sentence and it’s not sarcasm.  I still don’t know where the Dolphins came from.  Well that’s a convo for another game isn’t it?  The Rams let a lead against Seattle slip slide away and I really don’t think they care anymore.  I still thing Singletary is awesome so he gets the win.

New Orleans over Detroit: Ha!  Drew Brees against the Detroit defense.  I really kinda love it.  I think Manning had 300 yards or thereabouts against them, no reason to think Brees won’t do the same thing.  The Saints D isn’t much to write home about but even they should be able to stop Detroit.  0-15 boys…you can do it!

Pittsburgh over Tennessee: I couldn’t be more torn over a pick if I tried.  Pitt is coming off another last second win and Tenn is coming off a bad coaching decision loss.  Haynesworth is going to be out I believe, so that’s a minus for Tenn.  I think this will be another gut punch low scoring game but Pitt will pull one out.  They’re quickly becoming my favorite in the AFC.

Miami over KC: This will probably be the week that KC manages to hold on to a lead and take the wind out of my sails, but I’ve picked against Miami enough this season to have finally learned my lesson.  The Dolphins are apparently a good team.  I can’t figure out why, but they are.  Parcells is magic and right is wrong and black is white.  Whatever.  I can’t believe they’re going to the playoffs.  What a strange year.

NE over Arizona: I am torn here but if Arizona taught me nothing else last week, they’ve taught me that if they’re playing a decent team they are going to find a way to lose.  I don’t know how good NE is but they are decent in my eyes.  Cassel seems to get better weekly.  I worry about the Pats secondary against Boldin and Fitzgerald but Warner is probably good for a few turnovers that could turn the game.  This could be a fun one, I hope I get it.

Tampa Bay over San Diego: This pick scares me, but I think the Bucs will pull it together and get it done.  San Diego is a roller coaster of a team and they had an up last week so I’m counting on a down this week.  The Bucs have got to stop the run but Tomlinson really hasn’t been Tomlinson this year so I’m not as scared of him as I would have been in years prior.  I reserve the right to change this pick if the Bucs injury bug keeps Hovan and Garcia and Brooks out, however.

Houston over Oakland: Look what team suddenly came to life!  Houston has won several games in the late going and has been in the games they’ve lost too.  I can’t help but feel that naming the DT award after Sage has ignited them and made them strive to do better.  That and having Sage safely on the bench…but I’ll take the credit anyway.  I think Oakland just exists to give me the hope that vampires might be real (hot vampires though, not Al Davis ones). Er, for some real football commentary, Andre Johnson is on fire this year, nice to see him playing so well.

Denver over Buffalo: I still don’t have Denver figured out but Buffalo is pretty easy to put a finger on.  They really kinda suck.  And JP Losman…well he is the reigning DT of the week, so we’ll see if we can get our first consecutive award winner here.  Why not?  Denver’s D still leaves a lot to be desired but Cutler is playing well right now and that offense can be quite potent.

NY Jets over Seattle: I know the Jets have a crappy record on the west coast but I’m betting they will take this game.  Seattle had to fight tooth and nail to beat the Rams last week, so that doesn’t inspire me as to their ability to beat a decent team.  As long as Favre doesn’t have a zillion turnovers (which is never a safe bet) the Jets should take this.  Oh, and give Leon Washington the ball some more will ya?  He’s been making plays happen all year long.

Minnesota over Atlanta: Man this is a tough one to pick.  Atlanta could easily take the win, but you know what?  I need them to lose so that’s why I’m making this pick.  I won’t lie about it…they’re a great story but my Bucs need this, so that’s the way I go.  Minny put on a show in Arizona last week and I figure in the comfort of home they can pull out a close one.  Winfield needs to pick off Ryan once or twice to help the cause.

Philly over Washington: As you all know, I jumped off the Skins bandwagon weeks ago.  I haven’t been impressed with them in weeks really.  I don’t know what it is about that team but they just don’t seem to have the special “it” that other teams do.  Portis is crying and carrying on, Jason Campbell is just an okay qb, Santana Moss has been relatively quiet…nothing stands out about them.  Philly, meanwhile, perhaps reacting to my scorn, has decided to start winning again.  Their blitz schemes have really been confusing their opponents and Donovan seems to have his act together for now.  Philly gets the win.

Carolina over NY Giants: Ugh…I so do not like making this pick but Carolina has looked like world beaters two weeks in a row and the Giants have not.  If the Giants get a few players back I might be tempted to change this pick, but right now I just feel that Carolina is playing better.  I’m hoping this is one of the games I get wrong this week, I’ll happily take that.  This is another good match up though.

Chicago over Green Bay: I give up on Green Bay, I’ve obviously overvalued that team most of the year.  I’ll have to go back and see just how many picks they cost me.  As for Chicago, hey, somehow they’re managing to win with Kyle Orton behind center.  I don’t get it, but I’ll roll with it.  Matt Forte was a real find and that defense is playing pretty well right now.

So that’s what I see happening this week in the NFL.  Hopefully there will be less surprises than last week held for me.  Happy viewing and I’ll be back with you for NFL Notes on Sunday or Monday.

Last Week:  10-6

Season Record:  143.5-79.5

Week 15 NFL Notes

December 15, 2008
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  From the AP.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. From the AP.

It was not a pretty week for your faithful forecaster my friends.  I think I’m something like 8-7 or thereabouts…I’m really too annoyed by the week that was to go back and take a look at this moment.  I’ll survey the damage later in the week when it’s time to make my picks.  I cannot do worse than I did this week though.  It was a real wild one to say the least, many games came down to the last minute and fortunes were made and lost with each second that ticked by.  Not that I bet on myself, I’m too smart for that!  Let’s look at the week that was, shall we?

  • The dream is still alive but it was very nerve wracking for me til midway through the fourth quarter.  I don’t know why Indy allowed Detroit to hang with them for so long but then Manning remembered that he was Manning and took control of the situation.  Maybe Dungy was feeling bad for Marinelli?  Not bad enough to throw the game though, never that!  Two more weeks to hope that our Ofer can be achieved!  I can feel it, can’t you?
  • I think I’ve finally got Denver figured out…in that they’re impossible to figure.  They seem to change weekly, don’t they?  They got shredded by Carolina yesterday to the point that my local coverage switched to Pitt/Balt.  I was thankful for this because watching Carolina just irritates me to no end.  They’re looking really good right about now and they’re giving off that vibe that the Giants were giving off at the end of last year.  I am leaning toward making them the NFC rep in the super bowl right now.  That running game is a force and they’re not letting Delhomme blow the game for him like he was early in the year.
  • Speaking of Pitt/Baltimore…how you feeling today Raven’s fans?  I’m actually not as up in arms about the call reversal as some people are, I thought it was a TD in the first place.  I agree that there really wasn’t enough visual evidence to overturn the call but the ball would have been at the inch line and I imagine Tomlin would have had Ben sneak that in for the final play to win the game anyway.  Plus I don’t like the Ravens.  Never liked them, never will, especially after they gave Miami their lone win last year.  They ruined my Ofer hope last year and I do not approve.  Also I wanted the Bucs to get Flacco.  It would have been nice to have him, wouldn’t it?
  • Tampa…I really don’t know what to say about my beloved team right about now.  They’re getting killed in the 4th quarter by the running game.  Now two of the D-lineman were out but jeez.   Of course I don’t lay the blame on this game on the D, this week the O gets that one.  They could do nothing as usual when they approached the red zone and were a missed FG away from winning anyway.  The playoffs are looking like a very distant possibility right now but I can’t even let that bother me…if they got in they’d do nothing anyway.
  • At least one east coast team can play well on the west coast.  NE pounded Oakland 49-26 and they were up 35-14 in the first half.  That was one game that was never in doubt.  Moss got to score two TD’s against his former team and Cassel was an efficient 18-30 for 218 yards and 4 td’s, with one pick.  Not bad.  It might be too little too late for them thanks to Miami and the Jets both getting wins, but they’re hanging in hoping for some help to get into the playoffs.
  • I am so glad that I picked Arizona to win at home yesterday.  I figured they’d put on a good show after having clinched their division and a playoff spot, but not so much.  They gave up well over 200 yards rushing and had a couple of turnovers and that was that.  I’m not looking for the Cards to do anything in the playoffs, they’ll probably be one and done.  Minny meanwhile is looking pretty good.  Jackson is coming into his own and Peterson is a beast, they could make things interesting in the NFC North and the playoff race.
  • We can officially add Washington to the list of playoff has-beens this year.  They can join Jacksonville and San Diego and Seattle in that ignominous category.  They managed to lose to Cincinnati on Sunday, pretty much ending their hopes of sneaking into the playoffs.  Mike Sellers lost a fumble while diving in for a tying score and Cincy recovered and took the game.  I wonder what Portis has to say about his 25 carries for 77 yards…seems like he was given the ball and didn’t do jack with it to me.  Perhaps he should let his play do the talking instead of his mouth from now on, no?
  • In the match of the day, the Seahawks managed to edge the Rams 23-20…yes I was being sarcastic there in case you missed it.  The Rams had a 17-7 lead but of course gave up 10 points in the final 3 minutes to lose the game.  I’m sure they can’t believe that the Lions won’t win a game or two to give them a shot at the first draft pick, but it is what it is.
  • I really thought that Miami was going to lose a game they should win this week and went so far as to pick against them but of course they made me pay for that. San Fran won the stats battle but Miami won the score battle, which is all that really matters.  That defense continues to impress and surprise and Bill Parcells continues to work whatever voodoo he does to each team he’s a part of.  I don’t get it, but it looks like we’re looking at a playoff team.
  • Oh Herm…I really don’t know what to say to you at this point.  How many times has KC managed to blow a game late in recent weeks?  SD managed to score two touchdowns within the span of 1:13 to win the game by one.  I’m not sure how that happens…I mean I get it, score, get an onside kick, score again, but how often does it really happen?  Especially in the NFL?  I guess I can compliment them that at least they’ve been competitive lately…kind of hollow as compliments go but it’s something, right?
  • What happened to Green Bay?  I mean seriously, early in the year they looked like they’d run away with the NFC North but they sure have fallen off the map in the second half haven’t they?  They lost to Jacksonville, who’s played terribly all year long.  This was yet another game that was lost, or won, in the last quarter, with the Jags coming back from a 13-7 deficit to win 20-16.  I really haven’t a clue what’s happening there but obviously GB isn’t playoff bound.
  • The Titans are suddenly looking a bit more mortal after losing to Houston yesterday.  Not that they couldn’t have won the game…Coach Fisher eschewed going for a 49 yard field goal that would have won it to throw long on 4th and 3, a very questionable play call.  I understand the wind was swirling, but why throw long on 4th down when you only need 3 yards?  Haynesworth was hurt right at the end of the game and if he’s lost for any time that could really hurt Tenn’s chances.  Suddenly the AFC looks a little more open than it did a couple weeks ago.
  • Finally we’ve arrived at the Sage Rosenfels Memorial Douchetard of the Week Award! I know you were anxiously awaiting it, but I bet you already knew who the winner was before you started reading, didn’t you?  It could really only be one person this week, even in a week with a lot of close games.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, the DT of the Week is none other than JP Losman!!!  I could also split this award with his coaches for calling a passing play when they should have been running out the clock, but still, he made the gaff so he gets the glory.  I’m sure you’ve all seen it, and I got to see it live as my Bucs were boring me, but if you didn’t Losman was sacked by Abram Elam with less than 2 minutes to go as he scrambled around looking for someone to throw to.  The ball flew toward Shaun Ellis and he smacked it and it bounced on the ground and back to him and he rumbled 11 yards for the TD to take the lead 31-27.  This was the most nonsensical play calling that I’ve seen in a long time.  The Jets of course were thrilled, they’re still sitting pretty for the playoffs even though they’ve played terribly for the past few weeks.  The Bills have been long dead and their wonderful start is nothing but a distant memory.  Old JP also managed to throw 3 picks in this game and only get 148 yards passing, so it’s not like he was having much of a day prior to his fumble.  Bills fans are no doubt thrilled to have him back behind center.  Congratulations, JP, on your Douchetard Award, it was clearly well earned!

Well that was the week that was in the NFL this week.  I hope you enjoyed it, at least things were interesting this week, right?  The next two weeks will settle everything and we’ll see who the real players are in the league.  Right now I like the Steelers, they’re not winning pretty but they are winning tough, and unfortunately Carolina.  Who knows what the next couple of weeks will hold though, I get the feeling we’re in for some surprises.  Back with picks on Wednesday!