Ah yes, back again for another week. There's much to get to...so...yeah...
So glad I switched my pick on the Indy/Detroit game...yeah that didn't have any negative consequences at all. When am I going to learn to stick with my guns and not switch out mid-week? Anyway, not a bad week...not necessarily a good week either. Let's recap some of what happened:
- The "Trap Game Theory" is in full swing after the Houston/Tennessee game went exactly the opposite of what basically everyone would think would happen at first glance. Does that make any sense? In any event, the Titans simply didn't have it against Houston. What more can you say about how well the Texans have played the last few weeks? This is a team that I have been high on ever since they picked up Matt Schaub. Plus, they have a young, but exceptionally talented D, and Steve Slaton has given them an element in the running game that they have not had since Dominick Davis (yes I remember him...and yes, that's how he spells his name).
- I could not believe the end of the Bills/Jets game. Furthermore, I love how Dick Jauron came out after the game and said that because it was so close to the two-minute warning, he felt it was a "good time to pass." Did he realize who his quarterback was? J.P. Losman! It's questionable for J.P. Losman to throw passes through a tire in his backyard, let alone put the game in his hands with a lead and two minutes remaining. Plus, Marshawn Lynch was running all over them (21 carries, 127 yards)...this was one of the most illogical moves I may have seen this season. Seriously, that's a firable offense. He should take the George Costanza defense like when he was accused of having sex at his office:
- I picked Denver while completely forgetting how not only Tatum Bell totally sucks, but that Mike Shanahan will literally run anyone he can find and forget that, while he's not #7, Jay Cutler is actually a really good QB. Of course I laid out the plan about setting up the run with the pass, and they did the total opposite. How did that work out for you? This is stupidity at its finest, and why Denver does not deserve to go to the playoffs. Cutler had just 33 attempts, completing 21 for 172, a TD, and a pick. Meanwhile, they not only ran Bell, but P.J. Pope...who? Look, I'm all for getting the backups some PT (BenJarvus Green-Ellis), but this was a big game for Denver. Until they have clinched the division, the Broncos cannot rely on Norv Turner to sink the Chargers to get into the postseason.
- Speaking of San Diego, I don't know how they won, but despite Norv Turner, they pulled one out in KC. I had the Chargers covering because basically I didn't think it was possible to beat a lousy team by one point twice. Just throwing this out there: Philip Rivers: Highest rated QB in the league. Is it possible that he goes before LT in fantasy drafts next year? Tomlinson had another lousy game. What happened? I know many have already commented on this, but you had to have figured LT would have started declining in like five years...not now. Again, just throwing this out there: Of the last three MVPs of the league, Shaun Alexander was released by two teams, LT is now being talked about like a backup, and Tom Brady, of course, went on IR in Week 1...no conspiracy theories, but it's amazing how fast those three came back to Earth (although I will contest that Brady will be...Brady next year).
- Here's why the Dallas situation ended up in a win against the Giants on Sunday night:
- Brandon Jacobs did not play a down for New York, causing Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw to carry the load, which they obviously can't do yet, which then gave more responsibility to Eli Manning, which he definitely cannot handle without a healthy Plaxico Burress.
- Tony Romo can be gotten to. Look, he's a good quarterback...one of the better ones in the league, but I can't see him being able to stand up for himself in this situation. Wade Phillips is more concerned about keeping his job than caring about if T.O. comes out and riffs on Romo. This is different than Owens' last two spots, when Steve Mariucci had Jeff Garcia's back in San Fran, and Andy Reid, while not appearing to be doing so anymore, did support McNabb during their ongoing fracas. Not to say that Romo is unproven, or that he's somehow a coward for backing down to Owens, but he's young, and right now, he does not have the support from the higher-ups that he needed to have to defend himself. He kind of had to sit there and take it, and likely from this, and the alleged receiver meeting that took place with T.O., Roy Williams, and Patrick Crayton, Romo had no choice but to come off of his favorite target, Witten, and throw to other receivers to make it look like he does not favor Witten, which he obviously does. By the way, if you caught T.O.'s postgame comments, you may have heard him bash Ed Werder and say that he was "lacking in unprofessionalism." Hmmm...see, that's one of those double negatives that probably reversed the point you were trying to make...and if I caught that, I'm pretty sure the rest of the media will be on this soon. One thing you can't blame T.O. for is having any clue about anything he says...the NFL's Mike Tyson.
- If someone can please explain how Pittsburgh keeps winning outside of telling me they have a great defense, or simply shrugging your shoulders, please let me know. For the second week in a row, the Steelers were beaten, and then, they find a way to win. I give a lot of credit to Mike Tomlin. I remember writing him off big time last year, thinking that the job, given its location and the history the two guys before him (Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher) might be a bit much for a guy who was a D-coordinator for one year before getting hired on. Sure, the Holmes TD was controversial at the end, but what was Pittsburgh doing that close to the end zone anyway? The Ravens had been shutting them down all game, and all of a sudden, Pittsburgh drives it all over them in the game's closing moments for the win. The Ravens are a great D, but it's a 60-minute game...they cannot expect to win many games when the offense scores just three field goals, so the defense needed to step up at the end, and did not.
- Oh yeah, and the Pats played too...almost forgot. Even though New England won by a ton, that was a forgettable game on Sunday against Oakland. The one good thing that came out of it was the fact that Matt Cassell played exceptionally well in light of everything that happened. Good to see him in good spirits. The funny thing is how everyone's perception of him changed after the Pittsburgh game. While I was obviously excited about his two 400-yard games in a row, you do have to realize that this is, technically, his rookie year. He played bad against a really good defense...what QB hasn't played bad against Pittsburgh this year. So, it was good to see him rebound on the west-coast trip. Next up is Arizona in the final home game of the year. The secondary is going to have to come up with a giant effort to stop Warner and Co., which I fully think they are capable of doing, believe it or not. I think this secondary has one monster game in them. Will it happen this week? One would hope so considering how poorly 'Zona runs the ball. The thing that scares me is that they got absolutely run in their own building by a Tarvaris Jackson-led Vikings team, which means Ken Whisenhunt will probably be chewing out everyone this week, which means they could be in line for a bounce-back performance. Another good sign on Sunday was that Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork played together for the first time in three weeks, and appear to be back to full strength. This will be huge this week in terms of occupying O-Lineman on the pass rush, and in the few occasions when 'Zona will look to run Tim Hightower or J.J. Arrington.
- Random Note: Rob Ryan, Oakland's defensive coordinator, looks like a cross between Big Daddy Cool Diesel and the Gorton's fisherman, which was especially true in the rain. He looked like he just got the last boat in from Anchorage.
One last note: Wes Welker was named to the Pro Bowl today. He is the eighth guy in the history of the NFL to record back-to-back 100 reception seasons. Names like Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, and yes, Randy Moss are on that list, so it's an incredible accomplishment for Welker, a guy who has been a rock since arriving on the scene in Miami, and has not only continued to be solid, but is just scratching the surface of his brilliance (by the way, thank you Matt Cassell for getting Wes a TD...the guy had over 100 receptions with just one touchdown all year long going into the Oakland game). That Pro Bowl jersey will be mine...oh yes...it will be mine.
So the Pats are making a playoff run, the B's and C's are dominating their respective leagues, and what's the biggest story in New England?...Mark Teixeira! Unbelievable. Again, I am totally skeptical of three things:
- If this deal goes down in Boston, you know the Sox will not get full value on Mike Lowell because A.) he's banged up, and B.) because the rest of the breathing baseball public knows that if the Sox get Tex, they have to move Lowell, meaning that teams can get him at a discount. Also, in any event, despite how much of an upgrade Tex would be in the lineup, it's a very Yankee-like move considering Tex brings little to the clubhouse, and it would require an eight-year deal, something I thought the new ownership was not doing.
- I have to believe that Anaheim, Baltimore, and Washington will be making bigger offers to Teixeira. Plus, in the cases of Balitmore and Washington, they likely will be willing to throw in "opt-out" clauses, meaning that if the O's or Nats are stinking for the first three or four years that he's there, then he can get out of his deal. Anaheim is the "contender" that he's seeking, but apparently, he wants to be on the east coast, and while Boston satisfies both the "east coast" and "contender" statutes, he will be getting more money elsewhere, and from all the things I hear about Teixeira following Boras' advice of getting every penny humanly possible, I don't see it happening.
- This move makes way too much sense for the Yankees to not do it. Am I really supposed to believe that Nick Swisher is going to be a #3 or #5 hitter in this lineup? Seriously, think about it. They will have Damon leading off, Jeter at two, and then what? They have no lineup considering Giambi and Abreu are now both gone. So, they need either a right fielder or a first baseman. If they sign Tex, and then go after Manny, which could definitely happen, then that would actually cause me to be nervous. Here's something to consider if you're Brian Cashman right now: The two moves he's made have not only not struck any kind of fear into Boston fans, but we are laughing at him right now. Okay, first, they spend the most money ever spent on a pitcher who has absolutely no postseason success, and reeked of desperation considering they could have had Johan Santana for $40 million less last season if they had parted with Phil Hughes, who got hurt, and Ian Kennedy, who, for now, sucks. Then, they give A.J. Burnett, a guy who has pitched over 200 innings three times, has gone to the DL five different times, and has had six different rehab stints in eight years, a five-year contract. I'm just laughing at all of this. It's completely ridiculous. They could have gotten Derek Lowe, who not only would have been cheaper and not as lengthy of a commitment, but who actually has postseason success, and yet they go for the riskier investment? They just got Carl Pavano off the books...you would think they would have learned. Now you're looking at Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Joba, and Hughes for a rotation. I love it. Four out of the five have gotten hurt, three of them last year. Their top two pitchers, Sabathia (1-3 with a 7.92 ERA) and Wang (4-4 with a 7.58 ERA) are horrendous in the postseason (because I know you're curious, at least I was...Derek Lowe: 6-5, 3.33 ERA in October). Seriously, what is Tampa up to? Who cares about this team anymore in terms of them contending for the division? The Yankees should be crossing their fingers and hope they can slip past Toronto for third this year.
I am going to start working on the bowl previews this week. Look for them to be up in the not so distant future. Also, hopefully, I will be putting up some thoughts about what's going on with the Bruins and Celtics because, you know...they're playing still, and oh yeah, they're, record-wise, the best teams in their respective leagues right now. So, that should be plenty good reason for that. Until then, stay safe...watch out for the black ice. Peace.