Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday Morning Kick Returns

If ESPN was naming this past weekend in the NFL (and you can bet they will), it would have to be called "What the F--- Happened Sunday?" How else do you describe a week in which the defending Super Bowl Champs lost to a 1-5 team despite giving up only 132 total yards, 2 teams that fired their offensive coordinators posted big victories, and a team that had only allowed 44 points in 6 games allowed 34 in one? Just another wacky week in the NFL, where parity rules and bettors are fools.

Giants 17, Bucs 3
MY PICK: Giants 27-13

"I know, bro, I'm sick of hearing about my retiring, too"

Into the wind, gone with the wind, against the wind, wind beneath their shoulder pads. All of these excuses will be heard by the Bucs as they were blown away by 50+mph gusts at Giants Stadium, and by Eli Manning & the suddenly streaking Giants. Despite the blustery conditions for some unfathomable reason Chucky decided to have rookie Rocket Gradkowski throw the ball 48 times versus the staunch New York defense. Seriously, who in their right mind would have a rookie signal caller in his 4th game throw the ball nearly half a hundred times in the Meadowlands on a gusty day against a good defense? Chucky Gruden, that's who. Despite trailing only 14-3 in the 4th quarter the Bucs ran the ball only 13 times for 40 yards; Caddy had 8 carries for 20 yards. WHAT?! I mean let's face it, Chucky obviously LOVES Gradkowski; did you see the two of them on the rug of the Meadowlands testing the wind conditions before the game? It looked like a father taking his son out to fly a kite. I thought it was a Hallmark commercial. But to completely abandon the run on a day like that when you are only trailing by 11 points is flat out stupidity. Toss in the fact that the Bucs had about 5 drops, including 2 deep balls by Galloway, a huge missed TD by Clayton, and a big fumble by Caddy on a poor toss play, and that was even more reason to "pound the rock." Oh yeah, that was Gruden's philosophy 2 years ago, when Michael Pittman was the coach's pet.
MY REC: 1-0

Bears 41, 49ers 10
MY PICK: Bears 39-9
That's it, I'm heading to Vegas. I'll have all you degenerate gamblers out there know that I make my picks without the aid of a spread or over/under- just pure, unadulterated guessing. But it doesn't take an expert to realize that at 7-0 these Bears are damn good. They are by far the best team in the NFC, and they would give the Colts a serious run for their money as the best team in the NFL if the Super Bowl were played today. Chicago just keeps whaling people, this time scoring all their points by halftime, ending up with 402 yards of offense and forcing 5 turnovers on defense. Rex Grossman (23- 29, 252 yds, 3TDs) continues to impress, and former Buc castoff Thomas Jones (23 carries, 111yds, 1TD) has anchored the running game while keeping touted youngster Cedric Benson anchored to the bench.

Even more amazing, they did while wearing those atrocious orange "throwbackup" jerseys.
MY REC: 2-0

Falcons 29, Bengals 27
MY PICK: Falcons 28-24
Vegas, baby, Vegas. But seriously, the Bengals had their chances to win this one, leading 17-13 at the half and holding the vaunted Atlanta rushing attack(nearly 200/YPG) to just 143 yards. But these are the new-look Falcons, where QB Mike Vick is just as deadly with his rocket arm as with his magic legs. For the second straight week Vick carved up a team through the air, passing for 291 yards & 3 TDs on incredible 20-28 accuracy. He still kept 'em honest with 55 on the ground, but if this new Vick is here to stay, and they can still pound the rock on the ground, the rest of the NFC is in a lot of trouble. Meanwhile the Bungles, and blustery receiver Chad Johnson (he did have 6 recs for 78 yards & a TD, but didn't come close to matching his windy "Ocho Cinco" idiotic speech from earlier in the week) need to rethink their game plan if they have any hopes of making it to the playoffs.
MY REC: 3-0

Chiefs 35, S'Hawks 28
MY PICK: Chiefs 35-21
Alright, you guys can admit it, I'm on a roll right now. Unfortunately for Seattle, they are not. With their 3rd loss in 4 games it is clear that the defending NFC Champs are suffering from the losses of RB Shaun Alexander & QB Matt Hasselback. But backup QB Seneca Wallace did his part to keep Seattle competitive: he threw for 198 yds & 3 TDs, but he also had 2 picks and made some mistakes. Still, the Seattle defense, although they forced 3 turnovers, allowed the Chiefs to gash them on the ground (LJ rushed for 155 on 39 carries with 3 scores) and through the air (gimpy backup QB Damon Huard threw for 312 yards & a score.) To top it all off, prized acquisition Deion Branch had 2 catches for 45 yards; he now has a whopping 17 catches for 261 yards & 2 TDs in 5 games with Seattle. For $13 million guaranteed. Nice. Must be the gloves. MY REC: 4-0

Packers 31, Cardinals 13
MY PICK: Pack, 19-10
Well the Packers finally found someone they could beat up on- everybody's favorite punching bag, the Arizona Cardinals. Green bay got healthy courtesy of Dennis Green's Desert Desserts, as Brett Favre stepped back(17-25, 180, 1TD) and let his running backs carry the load for a change. Ahman Green (26 carries, 106 yards, 2TDs) and Vernand Morency (11 carries, 101yds) helped Green Bay torched the Cardinals run defense, and the Cards could only muster 218 total yards. rookie QB Matt Leinart continues to struggle(14-35, 157, 1TD,1INT) and Edge James (84 yards on 24 carries, 1TD) continues to act like a lost puppy away from his Indy home. Pack your bags, Denny, and start looking for an analyst job.
MY REC: 5-0

Jags 13, Eagles 6
MY PICK: Eagles 27-13
Okay, so everyone was fooled on this one. The Eagles were coming off of 2 last-second losses and appeared to be hungry for some home cookin, and the Jags had been struggling lately, losing to the lowly Texans a week ago. But J'Ville took it to Donovan McNabb & the rest of the Eagles; despite missing three starters on defense the Jags held Philly to 85 yards rushing and kept McNabb off the scoreboard for the first time all season. To make matters worse, J'Ville ran for 209 yards, including 103 from Fred Taylor, whose early score set the tone that it would be a long day for Philly. The Eagles were booed off the field after their 3rd straight loss, and Andy reid & his coaches are left searching for answers during the bye week as a once promising season goes up in flames.
MY REC: 5-1 (leave it to freakin' Philly to screw me up!)

Titans 28, Texans 22
MY PICK: Titans 10-9
I forgot that both teams have horrible defenses or I would have gone higher with this one. But the real story in this one was how Tennesse QB Vince Young made the Texans regret the day (that would be Draft Day 2006) they chose to go with Mario Willimas over hometown favorite VY. His numbers weren't impressive (131 total yards, 1TD run, 1TD pass), but the fact that he beat the Texans after they spurned him , and Houston had to change QBs, from mistake-prone starter David Carr to perrennial backup Sage Rosenfels, was the epitome of adding insult to injury. While the hometown boy celebrated defeating the team that snubbed him, that team is laying in a state of turmoil and now has a bona fide quarterback controversy after Rosenfels threw for 3 TDs in the final 17 minutes of play. My best guess as to Young's reaction after the game: "na na na na na, you didn't draft me, now you gotta go pee!"
MY REC: 6-1

Ravens 35, Saints 22
MY PICK: Saints 23-17
Okay, so who else saw this one coming? The Saints were 3-0 at home and had been playing terrific ball back in the Bayou. The Ravens were coming off consecutive losses, their QB had a concussion/neck injury, and head coach Brain Billick had fired his "good friend", offensive coordinator Jim Fassel during the week. So all the offensively-challenged Ravens did was go out and hang 300 yards on New Orleans with McNair accounting for 3 TDs(2pass, 1 run)and although the defense allowed 400 yards to the Saints they forced 5 turnovers that led to 28 points. to top it off the Ravens knocked rookie RB/WR/KR Reggie Bush out of the game in the 4th with an ankle injury. But hey, my prediction to keep an eye on NO receiver Marques Colston proved prophetic: the rookie tallied 163 yards & 2 TDs on 6 catches. So I got that going for me...
MY REC: 6-2

Chargers 38, Rams 24
This was an upset alright- I was upset I was so stupid to make this pick. The Chargers played like men possessed in what could have been LB Shawne Merriman's last game for a month. San Diego used LaDanian Tomlinson as a battering ram, as LT rolled up 240 total yards & 3 TDs to help overcome St. Louis QB Marc Bulger's 327 yards passing & 2 TDs. If this was his last game for a while Merriman made it a memorable one, sacking Bulger 3 times and displaying his "Lights Out" sack dance each time; obviously not a man showing any remorse for his positive steroid test. Enjoy the win, Chargers; it may be the last one like this for a while.
MY REC: 6-3

Raiders 20, Steelers 13
MY PICK: Steelers 21-6
Wow. The impossible has happened. The defending Super Bowl champs were defeated by a 1-5 team despite totalling only 132 total yards (51 passing, 81 rushing.) How? By forcing concussed Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger into throwing 4 picks, one of them returned 100 yards for a score as the hapless Raiders beat the helpless Steelers. Questions will abound about whether or not Pittsburgh should have started A-Ben-dicitis after suffering his second concussion in 4 months. Backup Charlie Batch had performed well subbing for Ben all year, and it was apparent that he was not completely healed from the pounding he took versus the Falcons last week. Ben is definitely not himself after all he has gone through this year, and now that the Steelers (2-5) are out of the playoff hunt, I would shut him down and let Batch run the show. What do they have to lose?
MY REC: 6-4

Colts 34, Broncos 31
MY PICK: Broncos 17-14
Well it was looking like that low-scoring, Bronco type game for a while. Denver took a 14-6 lead into the half, and thier league-leading defense (only 2 TDs all'd all year, 44 tot pts all'd) was holding the Manning scoring machine out of the end zone. Then the second half started. The Colts scored on 7 of their last 8 drives as Manning sliced & diced the Denver D for 345 yards & 3 TDs, 138 yds and all the scores going to WR Reggie Wayne. But Denver still had a chance after they tied it on a Jason Elam 49-yd FG w/ 2:00 to go. But after driving down to the Denver 18 the Colts were finally able to utilize their valuable off-season addition: K Adam Vinateri booted a 37 yd FG with 6 seconds left to seal the win and prove to the rest of the NFL that the Colts are most definitely the best in the AFC, and perhaps the best in the NFL.
MY REC: 6-5

Browns 20, Jets 13
MY PICK: Jets 19-6
A wacky call, questionable ruling, and incredulous explanation cost the Jets a game-winning touchdown in the waning moments of their game against Cleveland yesterday, but relly, if you have to rely on a last-second, desperation TD against one of the worst teams in the league, then what does that make your team? A joke. Or maybe I'm just pissed off because my record is sinking faster than Janet Jackson's new album. No, the Jets suck.
MY REC: 6-6

Cowboys 35, Panthers 14
MY PICK: Panthers 24-13

The Panthers held a 14-10 lead entering the 4th quarter against Tuna's team and their shiny new QB, Tony Romo. But then a funny thing happened: the "Boys ripped off
a 25-pt 4th quarter en route to scoring 35 unanswered points against the supposed Super Bowl contender Panthers, in their crib, on national TV. Ouch. But I am so sick of the talk about the Cowboys, Romo, Parcells, Bledsoe, and T.O.D. that I am not even going to recap this one. I'm just going to take my sub-.500 record and enjoy my Pats on Monday Night Football.
MY REC: 6-7

No comments: