9:31: Ayyyyyyyy-ohhhhhhh! Good morning, good morning (good underrated Beatles song by the way). Gearing up for Week 2 at world headquarters in the people's republic. First item on the agenda today: Re-watch the Belichick special I DVR'd off of NFL Network. A guy at work is referring to this show as "Patriots porn"...which really it is...do you have any idea how many times I've watched the Rams/Pats Super Bowl off NFL Network or ESPN, and I own all the "Three Games To Glory?" The moral of the story is that we can't get enough Pats coverage, and we certainly can't get enough of "behind-the-scenes" Belichick (how great was it when he cusses out Derrick Mason?).
9:41: Okay a few quick things before we get into pre-game coverage (again, this is for the NFL addicts who simply can't get enough, for people who can't wait any longer to hear about football, and the people who got up early because they're hungover, vanquishing their Saturday night hookups (some perhaps vanquishing at a faster pace than others), and were on Facebook, and decided to stop by, and to them, I say "heeeeeyyyyy buddddddddyyyyy!").
- The "Chalk" Best Game of the 1:00'ers: Chicago vs. New Orleans: Two of arguably the top 8 or 9 teams in the league, which by definition makes it the highlight game of the early session, but the game I'm looking forward to is...
- The Best Game of the 1:00'ers: Oakland vs. Buffalo: This game has me written all over it. Two teams that no one outside of their fan bases a.) care about, b.) before the season gave absolutely no chance to do anything, c.) will care what happens today, and d.) two teams who were the laughing stocks of the NFL like two years ago, but now suddenly have become two teams looking at perhaps .500, with Oakland having an outside chance of winning the division (San Diego did look really good last week though). Orton had over 300 yards passing on the Raiders last week, look for Fitzy and Co. to exploit the hell out of that (give it to the big guy! (Scott Chandler)). Buffalo brings a more balanced attack, but Oakland counters with the ground game that can control time of possession. RUN DMC looked like an elite back...it's just nice to be able to watch him now, and not think "when is he going down," much like I think about Steven Jackson (and it took exactly one week for that prophecy to come true).
- The "Chalk" and "Best" Game of the 4:00'ers: Da Bolts vs. Daaaaaaaaaaaa Pats: Okay, so I do have my reservations about this one. I think everyone in Patriot Nation does to, but whether they admit to it or not is another story. Philip Rivers keeps losing and losing to the Pats, and it seems like the margin of the difference is getting slimmer and slimmer with every passing year...remind you of anyone? For me, this is like Peyton Manning and the Colts 2.0...the guy keeps coming and coming, and I think eventually he's gonna beat us once right? I mean I hope not...but I'm real. Plus, a seven point spread? Also, you have Tom Brady coming out and saying we need to be drunk because we have to make a lot of noise? I mean I appreciate the suggestion, but I mean we're already going to be drunk anyway...we probably didn't need the push right there. He knows the Chargers are going to need something completely out of their control (drunken fan noise, tipped passes, wind gusts) to totally have control over this game.
- Biggest Story of the 4:00'ers: The Return of Arian Foster: I think this is probably more of a bigger fantasy story than real story...I gotta tell you, if the Texans can't win the AFC South this season, they have literally no hope for the future. The other QBs in the division are Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins, and the Luke McCown/Blaine Gabbert two-headed attack...if not now, when? Foster is nasty. At his peak, he is at least on the Adrian Peterson level...he can own opposing defenses...and yet, the Texans don't really even need him this week. Against the 'Fins, all they need is a passing offense and a decent running attack (which they have with Ben Tate). Foster is starting today, but Kubiak says he's not going to get the "normal" workload...has Bill Belichick taught you anything? NEVER SAY HOW MUCH A GUY IS GONNA PLAY!!! Watch the Belichick show man!!! Anyway, it will be good to see if this guy remains at his current level, or the injury plagues him off the bat.
- Chargers (+7) vs. Da Pats: These are the games when the offense will for some reason become constricted, and we're probably going to be too cute about everything, and if we know anything, cute doesn't work in football (just ask Latimer from The Program). If we have the same offensive attack as we did against Miami, we'd never lose...even if the other guy throws for 400 yards. Our passing game almost doubles as a run game, just picking away at the defense, controlling the clock, and wearing out the defense. Tolbert is going to have a big game as well...was there any more overlooked RB than Tolbert in fantasy? Pretty sure not.
- Saints (-6.5) vs. Da Bears: The Saints have a weak secondary, but call me skeptical for believing that the Devin Hester/Roy Williams combo will be enough to outscore the Saints at the Dome (by the way, the Superdome will now be referred to as "The Dome," and the Metrodome will go by "The Bubble," "The Trash Bag," or "The Baggie"...we'll go with Baggie in reference to the old right field wall the Twins had). If the Bears win, it will be entirely due to either Matt Forte having 300 all-purpose yards, or the Bears D/ST scoring 80 points in fantasy.
- Chiefs (+9) vs. Lions: Everyone is completely dismissing the Chiefs and anointing the Lions as the hottest team alive right now. Losing Eric Berry is a tremendous loss for them, but you still have a decent defense despite that, and Matt Cassell will look better this week...he has to right? Also, Dexter McCluster, not Jammal Charles, was the leading rusher for KC last week. Barring injury, that should never, ever...ever happen again! Having said that, if you told me one defensive player totally changed the outcome of a game, my first guess would be Ndomukung Suh...and it's his second year! The Lions' pass attack will be great, but so will KC's...it's just really tough for me to say with 100% likelihood the Lions are covering 9 right now...they might, but it's tough.
- Jets (-9.5) vs. Jags: This spread would be 14 if the Jags lost last week. It would be probably 9 or 10 if the Jets lost, which makes me feel like we're giving the Jags just a little bit too much credit considering they don't really have a good defense, they have one healthy running back (who I admit is nasty but he is one man), and Luke McCown going against that D? Okie-dokie artichokie.
- Bills (-4) vs. Raiders: The game of the day! No, but again, I really am looking forward to this one. I can't get over the Rob Gronkowski cyborg the Bills have otherwise known as Scott Chandler.
- Redskins (-3.5) vs. Cards: Here's my pick for the surprise 2-0 team in the NFL. Hey, look what happens when you get rid of all the overpriced free agent signings...a good team! Hoooooooraaaayyyy! The 'Skins finally figured it out (this isn't baseball, you can't buy rings). Rex Grossman could be the leading passer in the NFL by the end of this game.
- Ravens (-5.5) vs. Titans: The spread screams "trap," but the Titans scream "shitty," so I hear that over the trap yells.
- Steelers (-14) vs. Seahawks: Still no Sidney...I'm completely bummed out for him outside of the fact that he's making a ton of bank to rehab. So long as the QB1 remains Tarvaris Jackson, I continue to have little to no faith in the Seahawks (I would look at Bruce Gradkowski, who is backing up Andy Dalton in Cincy...he actually wins big games...it's proven!!!...seriously, I would absolutely take the 'Hawks if he were there, or someone else that was breathing at the time).
- Panthers (+10) vs. Packers: This could be a mistake, but rooting for Cam Newton on a team like the Panthers feels right...it's tough to really hate the Panthers (unless you're from Baltimore and they inexplicably got an NFL franchise before you). The Panthers, Bills, Bucs, and Lions...I would find it tough for anyone to have legit beef with them (these things happen when the group has won a combined one Super Bowl).
- Bucs (+2.5) vs. Vikings: The Vikes for some reason decided to not open things up with Harvin, Berrian, and Jenkins, and decided to use the "Marcus Lattimore Strategy" with Adrian Peterson (I will call this the "Lattimore" from now on...Spurrier may run this kid into the ground before he even gets into the pros). I refuse to accept the fact that LeGarrette Blount is going to rush five times today (it should be at least in double figures), and Freeman right now is a waaaaaayyyyy better QB than McNabb. Minny could use the home turf to their advantage, but the Bucs should have a much better attack on both sides of the ball.
- Browns (-1) vs. Indy: Did you ever think it could come to this? Indy is a 'dog at home to Cleveland??? Well, far be it for me to slow down the apocalypse.
- 49ers (+3) vs. Cowboys: This game is either going to be a blowout for the Cowboys or a grind it out, let Dallas choke again game...I'm pulling for the latter. Is there a line on if Ted Ginn has another return TD? I'll set it at +450 and take it.
- Dolphins (+3) vs. Texans: Either the Cowboys or Dolphins are winning, and I couldn't really decide who. If Arian Foster is actually healthy, this game should be a laugher. However, I feel like the Dolphins know they are totally screwed at 0-2 (welcome to the AFC East), and get back-to-backers at home. The Texans have to know they're the better team (and with good reason because they are), but I feel a little Chad Henne magic today (that could mean 4 TDs or 4 picks...either way, it's magic!).
- Bungles (+3.5) vs. Broncos: In the weekly edition of "this game does not deserve to be on TV anywhere but within five miles of each city's limits," I'm taking the Bungles expecting that this is going to be a down-to-the-wire game, which is why whenever you see the "this game does not deserve to be on TV," Gus Johnson should be calling it, because then, it does (by the way, looking through the announcer guide...no mention of Gus?...as Vince Lombardi would say: "hey what the hell is going on out there?!?!")
- Philly (-1.5) vs. Hotlanta: This is by far the most intriguing game of the week in Mike Vick's return to where it all started...and ended (the first time). Ummm...this is a close spread I think just due to the fact that people may suspect that the Falcons are good and that Vick may get the shakes upon his return...while I know very little of prison outside of what I hear through rap and the allusions that people make towards the show "Oz" (which I never personally watched because the premise alone really freaked me out), I'm going to go ahead an bank that entering prison for the first time is likely a little bit more nerve-rattling than entering a stadium you used to play in. I would not be surprised if Philly wins by 30 here.
- The G-MEN (-6.5) vs. Rams: Who at ESPN is allowing this continuous tipped see-saw effect to happen between the Sunday and Monday night games? I've been noticing this for two years now, and it seems that every week, the Sunday night game is good-to-amazing, while the Monday night ones are totally shitty-to-absolutely boring outside of about five minutes. Why would ESPN pay billions of dollars ($1.9 billion a year allegedly) to broadcast such awful games? You would think they would have top billing on what games to show, so either they don't or the people who run the NFL broadcasting department in Bristol are total morons. In any event, the Rams have a chance to keep it close so long as Sam Bradford is up against Eli Manning...you always have a chance if the Eli factor is in play.
12:40: Just got back. Watching ManU/Chelsea, and Torres missed a literal empty-netter (I say "literal" because sometimes the net is kind of empty, and sometimes it's completely vacant, like today). He's been J.D. Drew/John Lackey-esque upon his arrival to the Blues. And after watching that, I'm officially switching over to football.
12:46: Roy Williams is out for Chicago...big money on New Orleans now.
12:47: Poll question on CBS: "Who would be better/is better in Atlanta, Vick or Matty Ice"...I mean I love me some Matt Ryan, but he has absolutely no chance in a better QB race against Vick. The only loophole to all of it would be if you thought Vick would have a bunch of haters, but to that I say that if he started winning games in Atlanta, the haters would slowly be removed from that situation. All about winning.
12:57: Jeff Otah, Carolina's starting left tackle, is out today...still going Panthers.
1:05: Jeremy Shockey's getting mad looks early on. Already w/ two receptions (should have been three but he dropped one right in his hands). Steve Smith gets two quick receptions. It's early, but the Carolina Panthers are in business!
1:08: Cam runs the option for five...has any option play after the year 1965 gone for more than 10 yards? You could say the wildcat was kind of an option package, but we're talking about a QB running down the line and pitching...needless to say it's tough to do
1:11: The Jets are wearing the "Titans" throwbacks, which combine the perfect look of "ugly as shit" and the feeling that they haven't lost a game in those yet (have they?...I don't remember it happening).
1:12: Despite two ridiculous stupid penalties nullifying a TD, the Panthers are first and goal from the 2. Cam lobbed a great ball to Brandon LaFell for a TD (for now, it's under review...it looked good though)
1:18: Jets score a safety off the Jags. This is like the foreword for a blowout.
1:29: Jammal Charles just totally did something terrible to his leg. Wow, the luck I have with a Charles/Steven Jackson fantasy combo.
1:30: Minny's offense looks improved, or Tampa's defense totally sucks...Adrian Peterson literally bull-rushed the entire D almost into the end zone. Third and goal for Minny, and at last check, Josh Freeman's mouth stopped bleeding (did I mention that before?...oh yeah, by the way, Josh Freeman was QBing with a mouth full of blood. Is this the end of my fantasy relevance this year already? Shit like the last two posts make ya wonder.
1:40: Official verdict on the Bills' home uni's: Love 'em. 3rd and goal Oakland at the 1 though...and they just had a neutral zone infraction, but if you're gonna do it, ya might as well do it when it's only going to cost a half a yard.
1:46: Nick Mangold is the next victim of "nasty players who are getting hurt way too early" list. Charles' has a knee injury they're saying. No word on the severity, but one of my teams is totally f***ed.
2:10: Wow, Roethlisberger barely walking off the field. A rash of injuries to stars. At least one person in this world is thinking about a who's year is going to end office pool...hopefully for somewhat my conscience's sake, at least two.
Ray Rice: #2 RB in the league...I'm pretty sure if the first two weeks haven't done it for ya, dunno what's gonna.
2:11: Tampa's offense has been horrifyingly anemic. It's getting to the point where I question if I know what I'm talking about...and then really, I say it's okay...like everyone hits 100%?
2:19: Brownies take the lead in Indy off a Peyton Hillis TD. Again, this is a landmark moment for the Browns being favored in a meaningful game on the road vs. Indy.
J-Camp makes it 21-3 Oakland...man Oakland has the line and the RBs to make it happen. Basically no starting receivers today. Quite impressive. WHERE IS SCOTT CHANDLER??? Haha, give it to the big guy!
2:27: I would like to use this as a podium to take back everything I've ever said negatively about Matthew Stafford. Wow can he just burn throws in there. I dunno what happened during the last rehab stint, but he's made some serious adjustments. Detroit up big, Matt Cassel has entered the "I want to kill all my teammates" phase of this game. That can't be good for them.
2:36: Defining screwed up fantasy moment of the day: I am now pseudo rooting against Matt Schaub tonight to at least attempt to justify starting Josh Freeman this week (who, again, I'm convinced in nasty). After the first half, Freeman is 7-11 for 52 yards....reeeeaaaaaalllllyyyyyyy??? 52 yards man? Shouldn't that be how much Mike Williams has by now?
2:45: Yes LeGarette Blount! FINALLY!!!! He's broken through!!!
2:47: Sorry to abruptly cut this short, but a friend is in need at the airport, and drinking alone is just not acceptable when you're a guest in Titletown, so I'll be back later for ramblings about how awesome the Pats are...or how shitty it all went. Fred Jackson just scored. Circle the wagons!
Tuesday (obviously time not really an issue...it is 7:33...there ya go): So due to my love of airport bars and kickball, I haven't really been able to throw...anything up about anything, so this will kind of be long-but-not-annoying-long winded summation and what the dilly yo is and could be yo...
Okay, the Pats were great, but first, THANK YOU TAMPA! JOSH FREEMAN AND LEGARRETTE BLOUNT ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! Oh man was that Detroit game so tough to watch (more on Detroit in a bit...to Detroit, I say hey why not?), but the Bucs responded in a big way at the Baggie. Blount was ruining guys, Freeman was sharp (his mouth not bleeding profusely like earlier in the game may have helped)...haha, I mean I have to tell you, I benched Blount for Wes this week (I was envisioning a Welker bonanza again because for some reason I think he has found a nose for the end zone...or the Miami game totally suckered me in, either way). So it's good to see Tampa back to pulling off the comebacks.
Sooooo, the Pats are a machine, but man, the injuries just seemed to keep piling up. This is up-and-down clearly a solid team (even with the Brandon Meriweather getting released, which could have got bad but Sergio Brown is really playing well for them and got a pick Sunday), but Aaron Hernandez, Patrick Chung, Ras-I, the other big Z (Zoltan Mesko, who had a look like his own lineman falling on his leg while punting was not in his intentions)?...Man, how fun is the Gronkowski/Hernando combo to watch? Two tight ends literally have dominated the opposing defense in the first two games being critical to equal 14 point wins (did you see how many passing yards Henne and Rivers threw up?...I don't even want to know...haha, >700 for sure, wow).
Ocho may have not had his defining game as a Patriot, but I really love watching him play, and whatever it is that he does when he's on, just go for it. Everyone, EVERYONE loves Chad in New England. Seriously, Randy Moss...how are you not coming out of retirement to play with these guys?...Deion Branch is like the fifth passing option, and he's still pretty great. He could be like how he was in the Cunningham-Vikings era...just bring him out for like 15-20 plays, and when he's open, throw him the ball...and that's pretty much it. There is a reason that when you say the phrase "Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time," you absolutely have to at least think about it. I think Moss is now fully aware, and I think he could be like the bizarro Favre/Jordan and be amazing coming back from retirement (the second time for both of them) and could benefit him getting his first ring (as of right now, he's the greatest player to EVER play the game and not win a ring...but I do love Earl Campbell, Steve Largent and Eric Dickerson...I'm totally getting a Dickerson Rams throwback in blue...already have the white!).
So the injuries are mounting...I have to say Buffalo is absolutely gonna play this week completely out of their minds (if you're a Pats fan, and you've always wanted to go up to Buffalo to see them destroy the Bills like they have in the past, I would not suggest this game). The crowd is going to be totally nuts, at least until we hopefully take them out of it. I know those secondary injuries are going to be apparent, but right now, if you are a fan of this team, you must believe that Tom Brady and his accompaniment will show you the promised land. That's not supposed to be a knock on the D in any way (the Vince Wilfork pick?...I love this man), but I really do think he at least spends some of his time in the Fortress of Solitude that was organically made for Tom Brady to go to, and when he emerges, he...is...the...man. When he gets the Tom Brady "you're mine, bitch!" look, it is over. It's like the alley-oop through the legs Vince Carter dunk (I'm pretty sure 1,000,000 people have linked this up, make it 1,000,001...the reactions are almost as good as the dunks...Dikembe was literally thanking God).
Elsewhere, Jamaal Charles going down for the season? Wow did they not need for that to go down in KC (I just re-read what I wrote earlier and I mentioned something about Jamaal should be the #1 back on KC always "barring injury"...sorry buddy). Getting blown out once, it's like "okay, shit happens, we just weren't there...that happens...twice?...not to good teams at least. Thomas Jones is going to make some things happen, but KC just lost everyone, and it's going to take them at least a few weeks just to get back to somewhat even-kilter (just need an easy team...okay, I think they have two winnable games...annnnnndddd for now, that's about it...why couldn't we have gotten KC's first round pick instead of New Orleans?!?!
PATRIOT DRAFT WATCH:
The Saints handled the Bears, moving them to 1-1. In picking that game, I didn't even let my biasedness of hoping the Saints don't do anything too terrific this year block me on that one. As of right now, the highest the Pats would be picking 9th, but I'm sure with tiebreakers and however they determine draft order, they would be lower (hopefully something a bit higher than 24th, the other end of the spectrum currently).
The Bills and the Lions were the spotlight-stealers this week, with a surprising Titan performance being the runner-up (Baltimore looked so good and Tennessee looked so bad in Week 1, I guess that's why I went with the Ravens despite knowing the -5.5 spread was a trap). The Bills came all the way back from a double score deficit late to go to 2-0 with a huge win over Oakland, another upstart coming off a big win last week. Again, Ryan Fitzpatrick...the guy can play. Steve Johnson has left off right where he left us at Week 7 or 8 last year when he basically became a non-factor due to constant double-teaming. Once again, I'm not 100% like I was against Miami. If anything, I'm probably about the same as I was against San Diego...like 70-75% confident. Without looking, I'm going to go ahead and say the spread is 5.5 (and now the look-up...9.5???...really???...thank God I'm not playing Cousin Sal in "Pick The Spread). I just don't like any of the circumstances with Buffalo perhaps bringing their best possible game, and again, they probably have a 25-30% chance of winning...that makes me a little nervous.
Detroit has looked amazing. Again, Matthew Stafford went through some kind of awakening during his injury (he basically has only played one year, and that first year he was not anything like he is now). Him and MegaTron are absolutely killing it, and there's no sign of that letting up.
Last thought: HUUUUGGGGGGEEEEE win for Atlanta against Philly. Sure Vick got hurt (no word yet on if and when he's coming back...it's looking like "questionable" for the G-Ment this week), but when you're trying to win division titles, you get them how you can, and when they give you the hats and the shirts, they don't come with asterisks. Falcons had a great day from Gonzo and the Burner when they absolutely needed them considering Nnamdi and Asante were heads-up vs. Rowdy Roddy and Double J (that could have actually been a tag-team partnership in WCW). The two combined for 52 yards receiving on the night. Kafka played well in Vick's absence, but this would be a devastation if he had to miss any extended amount of time. I would say by Week 7 or 8, he has to come back or all of a sudden you're competing against a combo of New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa (2 of those 3) and Detroit for the remaining two playoff spots. The way things are looking in the NFC East, you have a suddenly hobbling Cowboy team sneaking out a victory in San Fran due to a giant pass reception by a guy I've never heard of (and still don't know), a suddenly hot Redskins team coming off another big win vs. two teams that were completely outmatched due to different reasons (the G-Men with their injuries, the Cards with their defense), and the aforementioned Jersey Giants who looked bad against half of the Rams. If Philly can stay the course with a Kafka/Vince Young combo (VY is still inactive mind you), and stay like 5-2, or 4-3, they should get to 11 W's and take that division.
Alright, well, sorry the live diary didn't go as according to plan, but there's always next week right? We'll see how it all goes down. Take care until then though huh. CAN WE GET SOME WINS RED SOX! COME ON!!!...haha, take it easy. Peace.