Tuesday, December 19, 2006

NFL Week 15 Wrap up

There is still 9:00 minutes to go in the third quarter of the Poinsettia Bowl and already my picks are getting trashed like Britney Spears at a birthday party.

TCU is up 30-0, but I hold out hope that NIU will rip off 24 unanswered points and hold the Horned Frogs scoreless the rest of the way to make my prediction come true.

So I thought it would be a good time to do my reveiw of the week that was in the NFL.

But first I have a couple of issues I need to address. First, Miss America Tara Conner will keep her crown after all but will enter rehab to help curb her enthusiastic partying. Perhaps The Donald felt bad for stringing her along for weeks, but that would imply that The Donald has a heart, which we all know to be impossible. No my guess is that Mr. America decided to give poor Tara another chance because he sees the value in her exploits (snorting coke, sleeping with C-listers and drinking like a fish) and wants to exploit her for himself as soon as her reign is over in April.

Therefore Conner was given a reprieve, forced to enter rehab to help her curtail her habit of shoving marching powder up her nose and gallons of Grey Goose down her gullet. As she gave a teary speech thanking His Hairness for giving her a second chance (at what I'm not sure) you can't help but envision this girl starring in the newest version of Taradise on E!

Second, the Denver Nuggets pulled the trigger on a deal for disgruntled 76er Allen Iverson this afternoon. I'm sure it's pure coincidence that the deal finally went down, after Philly haggled for over a week to find the right trade partner, the day after Nugget- headed Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games for his part in the MSG brawl.

What better way to replace the immature, trouble-seeking leading scorer in the NBA than with the trouble-seeking, ball-hogging 2nd leading scorer in the league?

In my opinion this deal is going to blow up in Denver's face. Everything will seem hunky dory while Melo sits out his 15 games as AI takes up some of the scoring slack from the loss of Anthony and Denver's second leading scorer JR Smith, who will sit out 10 games. But as soon as the two of those spotlight hogs try to take the court together....

...well let's just say maybe David Stern will let Anthony use the new ball and Iverson the old, that way there will be enough to go around.

Okay, let's get to the No Fun League report.

-Indy mauls Bengals on MNF to get back on winning track
Indy 34, Cincy 16 MY PICK: Indy 37-35
The Mannings held up their end of the bargain in this supposed sequel to last season's high-scoring shootout. Unfortunately for Cincy and its fans the Bengals didn't come close.

Indy's much-maligned defense held the potent Cincy offense to just 278 total yards and one touchdown and Peyton Manning carved up the improved Bengal defense with a 29-36/282/4TD performance. The victory stopped a 2 game slide for the Regular Season Wonders and ended a run of 4 consecutive wins for the Bengals.

Three of Peyton's four TDs went to his favorite target Marvin Harrison. Harrison (8recs, 86yds) just destroyed the clueless Cincy defenders at the goal line, corralling scores of 5, 3, and 1 yard, while Carson Palmer (14-28, 176 yds) could get nothing going through the air.

To make matters worse the Bengals couldn't even gash the ghastly Indy rush defense despite a game plan that seemed designed to go after the worst unit in the league. Cincy did gain 133 yards on the ground and Rudi Johnson was effective early, but the Bengals were forced to abandon the run after getting down 31-13.

(Side note: it takes a supremely smarmy jackass like Joe Theismann to say Cincy "made a mistake by coming out and running the football" against the worst rush defense in the league. Where's the logic in that logic, Joe?)

With the win the perennial AFC South Division Champs (11-3) kept hope alive of snagging a first round bye while the Bengals (8-6) fell into the middle of the wild card pack with Denver, Jacksonville and the Jets. But while Indy may have stopped the bleeding regarding its defense, all it will take is a guy like LaDanian Tomlinson to rip open those bandages and derail the manning Express in January yet again.

San Diego (9) and Chicago (7) lead the way; Tom Terrific notably snubbed
The NFL's annual Mai tai-laced luau team was announced today and to no one's surprise the teams with the best records in the league sent the most players to the party.

The NFC leading Bears have seven selections, most on defense (of course Urlacher) and phenomenal return man Devin Hester, while the 12-2 San Diego Chargers will send nine men to the Feb. 10th event including the obvious (Tomlinson), the curious (LB Shawne Merriman, fresh off a 4 game 'roid suspension) and the downright ridiculous (QB Phillip Rivers.)

Look, Rivers is a nice young quarterback who has had a decent season. But when you put his numbers next to Tom Brady's, well...

Rivers: 255-406 (63%), 2,976 yards, 18 TDs, 8 INTs
Tommy Boy: 276-453 (61%), 3,055 yards, 22 TDs, 12 INTs

Very similar numbers, Brady with more yards & TDs but also slightly more INTs and lower completion percentage. But there is one big factor being left out: Rivers is a first year starter on a dominant running team while Brady is a 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 3-time champion and dater of starlets. Perhaps that last part is why the coaches and players kept the guy who was second in the fan balloting off the roster. Jealous bastards!

Other major AFC selections include Chad Johnson, Harrison, Wayne and Texas' Andre Johnson at receiver; Tony Gonzalez & Antonio Gates at tight end; Larry Johnson & Willie Parker backing up LT at running back; and Carson Palmer along with Rivers backing up Peyton.

Defensive selections include Miami DE Jason Taylor, CB Champ Bailey & S John Lynch from Denver; LBs Terrell Suggs & Adaelius Thomas, CB Chris McAlister and S Ed Reed from the Ravens; and little-known DE Aaron Schobel from the Bills gets to make the trip to paradise.

The NFC offensive roster includes Anquan Boldin, Donald Driver, Steve Smith and Torry Holt at receiver; Tiki Barber, Stephen Jackson and Frank Gore at running back; Shockey & Crumpler at tight end; and ...drum roll please.... Drew Brees, Marc Bulger and TONY ROMO at QB.

That's right the man that the Tuna said had no shot at heading to Hawaii made the grade after languishing on the bench for 3+ seasons and playing in only 30 games in his entire career. Can you say "league darling" please.

The good news is that Romo's expectorating teammate Terrell Owens did not make the cut despite being third in the fan balloting. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he just got fined $35,000 for spitting in the face of Falcons cornerback D'Angelo Hall on Saturday, and the fact the he's a total a-hole.

Ironically, or hilariously, Hall made the team.

NFC defensive selections include DE Julius Peppers and DT Kris Jenkins of the Panthers; Julian Peterson & DeMarcus Ware at LB; Brian Dawkins and Roy Williams at safety; and Lito Sheppard and Ronde Barber join Hall at cornerback.

Aside from Brady & Owens other notable snubs were Raiders DT Warren Sapp, who despite 8 sacks and leading the fan voting wasn't even selected as a top three alternate (talk about a bad reputation amongst your peers); Raven linebacker Ray Lewis, who despite some drop off is still the leader of the fierce Baltimore D; and my man Assante Samuel.

I posted the other day that the Patriot cornerback needs more pub, and this would have been the perfect time to give it to him. But instead of selecting the man tied for the league lead in interceptions (8, with Bailey) they took McAlister; Samuel has 19 more tackles and 3 more INTs than McAlister, yet he gets the snub. Go figure.

Anyway, enough about the annual popularity contest that most players try to avoid like Roger Clemens does the first half of the baseball season. The funny thing is the league is talking about moving the game to other locations out of the country. Good luck trying to get spoiled players to fly halfway around the wortld to play in a glorified scrimmage.



North: Baltimore (11-3)
South: Indy (11-3)
East: New England (10-4)
West: San Diego (12-2)

Wild Cards: Jacksonville (8-6); Cincy (8-6); NY Jets (8-6); Denver (8-6); 4 tied at 7-7

The Ravens, Mannings & Chargers have wrapped up their divisions while the Pats still need to win and hope the Jets lose in order to wrap up the East.

That will be no easy task as New England travels to play the Jekyll & Hyde Jags then finish at the surging Titans. The Manginis meanwhile only have to defeat the fading 'Fins in Miami and then the hapless Raiders in Jersey to keep hopes of a division crown alive.

As far as the wild cards go Jacksonville, which also must play at KC after the Pats leave town, and Cincy (@DEN, PITT) have the worst chance of making it based on the schedule.

With Denver playing the Niners at Mile High after the Bengals, and the aforementioned Jets schedule, those two teams would appear to have the inside track on playing postseason ball.

But this being the No Freakin Logic league even the four 7-7 squads (PITT, TEN, KC, BUF) still have outside shots at playoff spots.


North: Chicago (12-2)
South: New Orleans (9-5)
East: Dallas (9-5)
West: Seattle (9-5)

Wild Cards: Philly (8-6); NY Giants (7-7); Atlanta (7-7)

The Bears, Saints and Cowboys have wrapped the divisions up, and Seattle could win the West with a victory over the Chargers this week. Anyway, the Hawks play the Yucs the following week, so it should be okay.

As for the WCs the Eagles are in position to not only steal a playoff spot but possibly win the East, but it would have to start with a win at Dallas on Christmas day. The way Jeff Garcia is guiding this team right now anything is possible, but it might have to settle for a wild card instead.

The G-Little Men really hurt its postseason dreams with that horrid loss to the Eagles last Sunday. Now it must play a superior Saints team at the Meadowlands and then travel to hostile DC for the last game of the season; Eli Manning is sure to meltdown in that New Years Eve tilt.

Atlanta has been my wild card pick all along before they shit the bed by going 2-5 down the stretch. But a date with the reeling Panthers should keep the Falcons' hopes alive until the finale in Philly, and right now to me it looks like Philly & the Falcons will be the Dirty Bird Dynamic Duo in the postseason.

Last thought: Why couldn't the league let Chad Johnson wear his special mural-encrusted cleats? Why must the league try to legislate all the fun out of this game we all love so much?

Just wondering.

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