Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Offensive Line: 9/23-9/25

So, if the first week is any indication, the Offensive Line knows a good deal about College Football (8-1, with my only loss coming when Boise State failed to cover by .5, probably because they were focusing on diving season), and pretty much nothing about NFL (2-3, although all of my warning games were just that, only Baltimore covered, because Oakland really just is that, that bad.)

This week is the opposite of last weekend in terms of excitement. We're back to the doldrums of non-conference whuppings and trying to figure out who's for real (Atlanta?) and who's not (Baltimore?) in the NFL.

Regardless, here's your Offensive Line.

NFL:
Virginia (+17.5) at Georgia Tech (-17.5):
Makes me a little nervous, that's a heckofa spread, but Virginia is just really, really bad. They lost to Western Michigan last week, and they're ranked 111th in scoring. Tech has Reggie Ball and a stifling defense. Plus, when you think about it, the name "The Cavaliers" is pretty weak.

Pick: Georgia Tech to cover.

(Friday update: GT failed to cover by .5. Seriously. Could they not kick a completely spiteful, unsportsmanlike field goal when they were up by 17 on the Virginia 21 with less than 30 seconds to go? Is that too much to ask?)

Northwestern (+7) at Nevada (-7):
I don't necessarily like Northwestern to win straight up here, but that spread is just a little loose for my tastes. I think Northwestern figures out how to keep this close. And as usual, the farther from the center, the better the food, the closer to the center of the country, the better the football. Unless it's USC and barbecue. Then switch.

Pick: Northwestern to cover.

Wisconsin (+14) at Michigan (-14):
So, it's the opener of Big 10 play for both teams, both teams are undefeated, and Michigan is coming off it's biggest win in years, reestablishing itself as a major player in the top 10. That's ripe for an upset in a letdown ga...wait. What the fuck am I talking about? Haven't I been preaching "Do not underestimate Henne and Hart!" to everyone I know? Meanwhile, Wisconsin beat San Diego State but only 14-0 last week, behind only 85 yards from QB Stocco. And all this from a team that had a LB suspended for stealing a moped. Hermmm.... yeah, the Wolverines are way better than the hangover.

Pick: Michigan to cover.

Minnesota (-3) at Purdue (+3):
They haven't set the over. Doesn't matter. Take it. This is no.4 vs. no.5 in scoring. Purdue is 6-1 in last seven against the spread versus Minnesota, and the Gophers have let me down hardcore in terms of looking ferocious. I like Boilermakers here, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just cold.

Pick: Purdue.

Louisville (-14.5) at Kansas State (+14.5):
I know. They beat Miami. And that makes them hotter than a two dollar pistol (or a fresh fucked fox in a forest fire, apparently). But Miami is not as good as we thought they would be. And, losing Michael Bush was one thing. Losing Brohm is something else all together, especially when they're facing KState, who's biggest strength is their defense. I still think Louisville will win, but I think the Wildcats will keep it under 14.

Pick: Kansas State inside the spread

North Carolina(+17) at Clemson (-17):
You could double this spread and I'd take Clemson with the points. This spread is wide enough even for this hunk-a-hunk.

Pick: Clemson covers.

Cincinnati (+27) at Virginia Tech (-27):
Ditto for VT.

Pick: VT covers.

Colorado (+27.5) at Georgia (-27.5):
If you're Georgia, who do you have to maim to get consideration as a powerhouse? It won't be Colorado, because they are horrible. Of course, I'm waiting for the inevitable "Big 12 North crappy team gets it together after their season is already wrecked and starts knocking off the good teams in the division to once again ensure the suckery of the Big 12 North" effect to kick in once they start conference play. However, probably not a good idea to start talking smack to one of the best defenses in the country when ASU holds you to three points. Rejoice, Colorado!

Pick: Georgia to cover eleventy billion.

Buffalo U (+42.5) at Auburn (-42.5)
They're just trying to find spreads Auburn can't cover, aren't they? And you know, Buffalo is 8-3-1 in it's last 12 versus the spread. I think Auburn will get close, say 48 to 7, but not quite close enough. That's an over under right there. If you're the Buffalo coach, how do you prepare for this game? Lobotomy? Scotch? Whores? What do you do to get yourself in a mindset to play these guys? I love the attitude of the guys over at BfloBlog.com . "There will be no shame in this beat-down, especially if the Bulls can look respectable while taking their beating. " I can appreciate that kind of positive attitude in the face of a giant, scary, "I'm going to eat your children" SEC juggernaut.

Pick: Buffalo U to cover.

Arizona State (+8) at Cal (-8):
I'm not drinking the KoolAid. Cal lost to Tennesee, period. Tennessee is questionable at QB, and the Sun Devils lead 1A with 18 sacks. And that spread is just a bit too wide. The best part about this matchup is that after this week there will be one less Pac10 team in the top 25.

Pick: Arizona State, straight up.

West Virginia (-21.5) at East Carolina (+21.5):
And the gauntlet of West Virginia's schedule keeps rolling on. Next week? Krispy Kreme.

Pick: Um... yeah.

Notre Dame (-4) at Michigan State (+4):
Stay away from this one. It's not good for you. Drew Stanton is the best quarterback I've seen play this year, and Notre Dame is in that treacherous point of either snapping back or self-destructing.

Pick: Avoid like the black plague. Or spinach.

NFL:
Tennessee(+10.5) at Miami(-10.5):
One team has to get their shit together in this game. It's been an absolute disaster for the Fins. Daunte Culpepper has looked like Courtney Love at the end of "The People Versus Larry Flynt." Meanwhile, Tennessee isn't bad. No, they, along with the Raiders and the Packers, are redefining the term bad. We're talking epic bad. The kind of bad that makes fans question how they got here. The thing is, everyone knows Miami is a better team than they've been. They have all the weapons. They have the coaching. They just haven't performed. And given this team's propensity for December meltdowns, this really doesn't look good for Miami in terms of a playoff run. However, I still think they can get it together, and maybe playing a team this awful is just what the doctor ordered.

Pick: Miami to cover.

Bears (-3) at Minnesota (+3):
So I guess Brad Johnson ran across my preseason picks and posted it on the bulletin board, huh? Minnesota goes two weeks of making my head hurt, beating teams they have no business beating. Maybe new coach Brad Childress just really is that smart. Maybe I should start rethinking some other things I thought were givens. Maybe alcohol isn't a necessary component of family holidays. Maybe Brad Lidge doesn't wake up in the middle of the night crying, screaming about Albert Pujols. Maybe I have underestimated REO Speedwagon.

Or maybe the Bears cover, because reality is still stable.

Pick: Chicago to cover.

Carolina(-3) at Tampa Bay (+3):
This should be a tough matchup between two great defensive teams that haven't quite clicked. This could be an epic battle between two closely matched teams...

What?

Steve Smith is back?

Nevermind, Panthers kill.

Pick: Carolina to cover.

Washington (-4) at Houston (+4):
Houston's gotta win sometime, right? 'Skins gotta win sometime, right? Hmm... David Carr versus Mark Brunell. It's like in Back to the Future Part 2 when young Jennifer sees old Jennifer. Luckily, the time/space continuum will not be destroyed because they will never see each other. You can't see the sideline if you're constantly falling backwards. The Texans have actually played tougher teams, but they've also been beaten more soundly.

Pick: Washington

NY Jests (+5.5) at Buffalo (-5.5):
Well, slap my ass and call me Suzy. The Bills are actually pretty good. J.P. Losman apparently was at the magical circle jerk with Brad Childress and the entire New Orleans Saints. And the hits just keep on coming, because they've got Pennington and the game comin' along. And Buffalo has played inspired. However. I think they'll win, but I don't think they cover. this one wraps up in four or under.

Pick: NY Jests barely cover spread.

Cincinatti (+2) at Pittsburgh (-2):
Road Rash McGee and the Joey Porter Experience struck out on Monday Night when the devil came to collect. I'd also like to add that Mellissa Stark's in depth presentation on appendectomies included this nugget: "(symptoms can include) bowel shutdown. None of it pleasant, Mike." No shit, Melissa. Wait, no, that's wrong. That's the opposite...nevermind. Anyway, Chad Johnson, who's cookoo for CocoPuffs, and Palmer have got a better team this year, as opposed to last year. Wait, they had a better team last year. Oh, that's right, the difference is there "probably" won't be any late hits that split Carson's ACL like they were Paris Hilton's legs.

Pick: Cincinatti to win and cover.

Green Bay(+2) at Detroit (-2):
Go back and read that again. Go ahead. I'll wait. ... Yes, the Lions are favored. Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Packers are underdogs to a team led by John Kitna and whose fans have led protests to get the GM fired. Trying to figure this one out makes my brain hurt.

So I'm going to go with the rational thought. Never bet against Brett Favre, and never bet on Matt Millen.

Pick: Green Bay

Jacksonville (+7) at Indianapolis (-7):
People are saying this line is too wide given how well the Jags are playing. And I like the Jags. A lot. And they almost won last year. And I heart Matt Jones.

I heart Matt Jones so much, I'm going to go out and buy his jersey. Using my Mastercard! Hey didn't I just see a commercial for Mastercard? Who was on that?

Oh, yeah, the MVP with the unstoppable offense.

Pick: Indianapolis to cover.

Baltimore (-6.5) at Cleveland (+6.5):
I give! I give! The Ravens actually got better. Steve McNair is pulling the Tom Petty gig. Been doing it forever, and everytime he comes around, he puts out the same quality stuff he did before. Somebody buy Romeo Crennell some bourbon, please. And a weight watchers guide.

Pick: Baltimore to cover.

NY Giants (+3.5) at Seattle (-3.5):
Yeah, because if and when the Seahawks build a lead, they're going to blow it. If I were Seattle, I'd go into military intelligence. Because they could be awesome at spying. No one notices what they do, anyway.

Pick: Seattle to cover. Eli to cry like a girl.

St. Louis (+4.5) at Arizona (-4.5):
Irony: Arizona now plays in a stadium that is likened to a spaceship, quarterbacked by a guy that people used to say was an alien. Let's call it: Close Encounters of the Spread Offense. Meanwhile, St. Louis is living the sports equivalent of the Bourne Supremacy. "I don't know who I am, I don't know what I'm doing, but sometimes, I'm fucking terrifying. Hey, hot chick!"

Pick: Arizona to barely cover.

Denver (+7) at New England (-7):
This was a huge game last year. This year it's two teams that have remarkably underachieved. This one's a hard one to figure out, since it's Jake The Snake versus Tom Brady and that's one of those tooth and nail matchups that...

Pick: New England whups the shit out of the Broncos, premier receiver or not.

Stay away from Philadelphia at San Francisco. I got a hoodoo voodoo feeling about Alex Smith.

Atlanta (-4) at New Orleans (+4):
Everyone's convinced Atlanta is amazing and the Saints have no chance. People said the same thing last year in the opener versus Carolina. Some things outweigh stats. And what better way for Michael Vick to completely crush his newfound respect than on Monday Night Football?

Pick: New Orleans, and the Reggie Bush coming out party.

Good hunting!

God Bless:
Deadspin
Arbiter Online
Awful Announcing
BfloBlog
Everyday Should Be Saturday
ESPN
Georgia Sports Blog



Mack Strong: Superb Fullback



We give you today the unveiling of our official mascot for the blog. He is a man that needs no introduction. He is the Pro-Bowl fullback of the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. He hails from Columbus, Georgia.

He is... Mack Strong.

Congratulations, Mack. Carry our banner high. And if you go into overtime, step on Hasslebeck's foot before he says ANYthing.

Just so you know, Mack has a TD last week at Arizona, to go along with 30 yards on 3 rushes. He has 5 career touchdowns, with 2 of them this year. It's fate. How strong is he? He's too strong!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life Imitating Baseball Imitating Life

Tonight, it became official. The New York Mets are the NL East champions. The Atlanta Braves are not. The run is over.

I do not come to bury the Braves, but to praise them. Many like to belittle the streak of division titles, using their one World Series title in that time as proof they were chokers. Anyone who follows baseball knows anything can happen in a seven game series. The Braves performed over the long haul, and they should be commended for their accomplishments.

I could go on and on about the team, but I'd rather use the Braves as a backdrop to my childhood, adolescence and college years. I was nine when the streak began in 1991, and now I find myself at the end of the streak at 24. I'm sure you could find psychologists who would say that's a pretty important stretch of a person's life: we generally discover our identities, experience love and loss for the first time and grow from children into adults all during that span.

Before the 1991 season even started, I was excited. I was in the dentist's office reading Sports Illustrated's preview, and I saw where they expected the Braves to finish: fourth in the NL West. You might wonder why that would make a nine year-old so excited. The answer: the Braves had finished dead last the previous two seasons (the first two seasons I really knew what was going on), so to see the almighty Sports Illustrated predict a fourth place finish practically guaranteed they wouldn't be the worst team in baseball again. I can't remember much about the season, but when they made it to the World Series I was beside myself. I begged to stay up late to watch one of the games when I was in Fairhope, AL, visiting my grandparents. For another game, I remember using a small telescope to do the Tomahawk Chop since I was bereft of any tomahawks, foam or real. I don't remember Kirby Puckett's catch, but I do remember Lonnie Smith running into the catcher and getting called out -mostly because he was bloodied up from the collision. I don't remember much about Game 7, probably because I fell asleep. I do remember seeing a kid at school in the following days with a Twins shirt on and being mad at him for wearing it.

When the next season rolled around, again I can't remember much about the regular season. I didn't have the attention span for most games (side note: During college football season, I always thought of the games as what came on between scoreboard shows.), so I just kept track of the games through the paper. I'd also track how many steals Otis Nixon had and tried to keep up with him during my Little League seasons. When my season came to a close, though, it was time to follow the Braves in earnest, and like any self-respecting Braves fan, I still remember watching Sid Bream slide safely into home to clinch the pennant. Then I remember all the white towels in Toronto, and I started to think the white towels were an anti-Braves thing more than anything else.

Fast forward three years to 1995. I knew more about the Braves than anyone at school, but for the life of me I can't remember them winning the World Series. I was having a particularly hard time in my life at that point, and since I've never been the kind of person to stake my everyday mood on the performance of a sports team, I was more focused more on my depression than the Braves' good fortune. I wish I could say the sole World Series win was enough to boost my spirits, but that entire postseason is a blank. Cruel irony, I guess, but somehow after that season I became more attuned to the game.

During the 1996 NLCS, the Braves and Cardinals went to Game 7, so naturally I went to a party instead of watched the game (Go find me a 14 year old boy that'll turn down the chance to slow dance with girls...seriously, go do it). But I thought about the game all night and couldn't wait to ask my dad how we did.

Then came the World Series.

Peter Gammons said it would likely be nothing more than a "coronation of the Braves." Those words sounded so sweet to me since I didn't experience the joy of the previous season. I was all ready to watch them thrash the Yankees and take home a second consecutive World Series trophy. We took the first two games in convincing fashion - in Yankee Stadium, no less - so when the Series came to Atlanta I was ready for the party to start. The Braves lost Game 3, but still no reason to worry. Then came Jim Leyritz.

I never hated a player before. I was too young to hate Jack Morris (although I do now). I hated Jim Leyritz. His homerun in the 10th in Game 4 turned the tide of the Series. I watched Charlie Hayes close his glove around the last out of Game 6 and for the first time I felt a real pain from watching my team lose. The pain became a numbing ache as the Braves lost in the postseason for years on end. I remember watching part of the 1999 World Series, knowing we had no chance against the obligatory Yankees dynasty of my generation. I always held on to the hope we would have another championship run in us, but deep down I knew our best days were behind us.

I kept watching in college, but knowing it was going to happen. They were going to lose, and I was going to have to listen to all the obnoxious Cardinals fans compare the Braves to the Buffalo Bills. That one World Series title wasn't enough, not when you had won the division for a decade running. I became a staunch defender, lashing out at anyone calling me a bandwagon fan. Just because the Cubs turned Turner Field into the southernmost North Side suburb in the 2003 NLDS never meant I didn't love the Braves with all my heart. That part of me hadn't wavered one bit, even if the public perception of the Braves had.

However, every life experiences change, and for me one of the most profound changes I experienced was watching the Braves take different incarnations. I had had a grandparent and our family's dog die before I hit the fifth grade, but nothing was quite like the changes to the Braves. I cried the day Dale Murphy was traded and the day Fulton County Stadium was blown up. I watched General Manager John Schuerholz bring in new faces almost every year. I still pine for the days of Ron Gant and Mark Lemke - they were the guys I grew up with. But, like the rest of life, our sports teams can't stay the same forever. The Braves are still my team, and I'll keep cheering for them just like I did as a toddler on my dad's lap. Come on, Braves - start another run next year.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oh, the Possibilities

With Matt's preview of the NFL season complete, it's time to take the predictions even further. I present to you the even less likely picks for the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Remember, not only are we predicting the order of the teams, I'm also predicting which players will come out early, Most Awkward Rookie Moments, and even a blockbuster trade in the first round! Speaking of which, here's the draft order:

1. Vikings
2. Titans
3. Browns
4. Jaguars
5. Raiders
6. 49ers
7. Texans
8. Jets
9. Bills
10. Saints
11. Giants
12. Eagles
13. Falcons
14. Ravens
15. Packers
16. Dolphins
17. Cowboys
18. Chargers
19. Lions
20. Cardinals
21. Steelers
22. Bengals
23. Buccaneers
24. Broncos
25. Rams
26. Chiefs
27. Redskins
28. Bears
29. Patriots
30. Seahawks
31. Panthers
32. Colts

Let's go to New York...

The Vikings are on the clock after a miserable 1-15 season. "Love Boat" jokes still won't die, Brad Johnson retired and Tavaris Jackson was exposed as not ready for NFL defenses, performance in the preseason notwithstanding. The team needs a new leader, a new face for the franchise, and providence has provided such a visage. Brady Quinn, everyone's All-American, unanimously sits atop draft boards around the country. Notre Dame's golden boy would be a perfect fit for a team in the heartland searching for direction.

As Roger Goodell announces Minnesota is on the clock, the football world expects him to return in record time to announce the pick. But he doesn't. Five minutes pass with no explanation. Chris Mortensen reports the Vikings are considering Adrian Peterson and Paul Posluszny, but only because he's supposed to come up with something. Ten minutes gone - five to go. Minnesota has a history of mismanaging the clock on Draft Day, but there's no way they let zeroes hit without making a selection, is there? Two minutes left. One minute. Thirty seconds...

Goodell emerges to the largest cheer ever heard at a draft, and Chris Berman jokes the Vikings will be plundering again once they sign Brady "Ain't Seen Nothing Like the Mighty" Quinn. But, as Lee Corso likes to say, not so fast, my friend.

Goodell speaks into the microphone, "There has been a trade..." and the rest is unintelligible as Madison Square Garden erupts into a confused combination of cheers, boos and idle chatter. The roar dies just enough to hear, "With the first pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select Brady Quinn, quarterback, University of Notre Dame."

Pandemonium.

Quinn cannot believe what's going on. He's elated to be the first pick - it's a dream come true - but to have it happen in a whirlwind of chaos, he's not sure what to think. From Touchdown Jesus to the Black Hole. Golden Dome to the Silver and Black. He dons his Raiders cap to confirm the transformation. He has become the real-life Anakin Skywalker, but this was not a choice. He walks to the stage and shakes hands with the commish, still in a haze. He says all the right things in his post-draft interview, but at the very end a slight smirk rides across his face. Maybe he's waited for this all along...

As the confusion dies down, Mortensen reports that the Raiders have traded their first round pick, their third rounder and next year's first round pick for the #1 slot. Al Davis wanted to bring back the glory to Raider Nation before he dies and bet the farm on Quinn. Davis poses with Quinn for the PR staff, but tells his new QB quietly, "You're a long way from South Bend, pretty boy. Time to be a man."

"The Tennessee Titans are now on the clock."

The rest of the draft will be done without the drama. We all know the '07 Draft is really only about Quinn, anyway.

2. Titans - Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Tennessee can't pass up the easiest bet in the draft. Chris Henry and LenDale White aren't the complete package, and Peterson is. His combination of size, speed and vision takes the pressure off Tennessee's QB next year, whoever it is.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon going to his first karaoke bar in Nashville, Peterson realizes he doesn't know any country songs.

3. Browns - Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Romeo Crennel is committed to building his team by dominating the line of scrimmage first and worrying about the rest later. Thomas gives Reuben Droughns a huge body to run behind and Charlie Frye will definitely be jumping for joy as Thomas' name is announced.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Kellen Winslow II stares blankly at Thomas for 60 seconds because Thomas asked Winslow to block.

4. Jaguars - Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
Jacksonville really wanted to pull the trigger and take Michael Bush, but they couldn't justify using such a high pick on someone who spent the year injured. They entertained notions of trading down, but instead went with solidifying their linebacker corps. Posluszny will be a leader on that defense for years.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Posulszny, with only the best intentions at heart, tries to start a charity that gives children heavy coats before the winter.

5. Vikings - Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
The Vikes get their NFL ready quarterback anyway. Brohm has the same physical tools as Quinn without the name recognition. We'll see if he can handle the pressure of being "The Guy Minnesota Traded Brady Quinn For."
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Brohm, not knowing that a "hotdish" is a food item, refuses to touch one unless the fan offering it puts it down on the table.

6. 49ers - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
The Niners are getting a foundation on offense with Alex Smith and Frank Gore, so it's time to focus on the other side of the ball. Losing LB Julian Peterson last offseason left them without a player who could disrupt an entire offense. Adams is capable of picking up where Peterson left off.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Uhhh, how about Adams going from small-town South Carolina to San Francisco?

7. Texans - Justin Blalock, OT, Texas
This is the year the Texans finally get it and shore up their woeful offensive line. Blalock is a mauler who can open up huge holes for Reggie Bush...oh, wait, that's right, they didn't draft him. Well, David Carr will still be happy to hear he'll only get sacked three times every game now.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon moving into his new house in Houston, Blalock finds Carr, Carr's family and Carr's insurance agent in the driveway waiting for him with food and offers to set him up with their nice female friends.

8. Jets - Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn
Curtis Martin's retirement left the Jets without an everydown back. Irons can step right in as the starter - he's fast but strong enough between the tackles to handle the workload. Glaring weakness, meet player with exceptional talent. This is how the draft is supposed to work.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: At a reception with Jets legends, Irons is backed into a corner by a drunk Joe Namath, who yells "Roll Tide!" for a good 15 minutes before anyone notices and eventually drags Namath out of the party.

9. Bills - Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
The most physically ready wideout lands on a team desperate for playmakers. J.P. Losman may not be the long-term solution at QB, but even Peyton Manning would have a hard time with Buffalo's current receiving corps. Johnson is 6'5'' with blazing speed and tremendous agility. He'll make Buffalo's QB, whoever he is, look good.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Pretty much whenever he sees snow.

10. Saints - Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
Hardly a slouch himself, Jarrett will make for an excellent compliment to Joe Horn and can slide in at the #1 receiver spot when Horn's skills begin to erode. Jarrett is a polished receiver after working in USC's pro-style offense for three years and can contribute immediately.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Jarrett arrives to practice 90 minutes early because he assumed all traffic was like Los Angeles.

11. Giants - Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida
The G-Men have a great pair of DEs in Strahan and Osi, but they need someone to stuff the run on the inside. Thomas will eat up space and command double teams, giving the end rushers more opportunities to make big plays.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Thomas gets confused when the drills change over and ends up on the Jets' side of the Meadowlands for practice.

12. Eagles - Rufus Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
The Eagles' D, while solid, could use an upgrade at OLB. Alexander can fly from sideline to sideline dragging down the ballcarrier. His speed will also help Jim Johnson's blitz-heavy defensive schemes.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: In an attempt to be friendly to his new cohabitants, Alexander smiles and waves at passersby. He's in Philly, so you can guess how well that goes over.

13. Falcons - LaRon Landry, FS, LSU
After shoring up the two corner positions, Atlanta can turn to safety in its quest to make its defense impenetrable. Landry can come up to stop the run or step back in coverage. He has great instincts and would have been a first-rounder if he had come out last year. The extra year of seasoning in the SEC will make him that much smarter and ready to step in from the first snap.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Landry somehow picks the same fake name to use at a hotel as QB Michael Vick.

14. Ravens - Ted Ginn, WR/PR, Ohio State
The speedy Ginn gives Baltimore a deep threat they currently don't possess. He can stretch the field and open up the running game - unless the opposing defense is willing to let him run behind the coverage and burn them all en route to the endzone, of course. Ginn is also a very accomplished punt returner who will shorten the field for the Ravens offense more times than not.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Ginn scores on his first play in training camp and points his finger at Ray Lewis for 0.004 seconds before realizing what he just did.

15. Packers - Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia
KGB needs a playmate on the other end of the D-line, similar to a Strahan/Osi situation. Moses can help Green Bay with his agility and relentless pursuit of the quarterback. Look for A.J. Hawk's tackles to skyrocket with all the double teams opposing offensive lines will need to employ to stop the Pack's new end.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Moses goes out in Green Bay looking for the hot clubs.

16. Dolphins - Sam Baker, OT, USC
Baker is a very intelligent player who won't be overwhelmed by NFL offensive schemes. He'll probably start at RT but could move to LT with experience; either way, the Dolphins pass protection has gotten a significant upgrade.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After one too many requests by one of his hangers-on, Baker yells, "I told you! Ricky Williams doesn't play here any more! I can't hook you up!" in earshot of Nick Saban.

17. Cowboys - Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
Dallas just can't get enough of QBs named Drew. This newer model is slightly more agile than Bledsoe (but then again so are my dead ancestors) with just as powerful an arm. He doesn't have the polish of Quinn or Brohm, so I'd recommend the Carson Palmer Treatment and sit him for a year before bringing him into the spotlight. If given the opportunity to fully digest the offense in a stress-free environment he should shine.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Stanton runs onto the field after hearing Parcells bark out, "Drew, let's take it to 'em." The Cowboys suffer a penalty for too many men on the field.

18. Chargers - Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
San Diego has done it again. They've patiently bided their time until a defensive standout fell into their laps. Carriker is a beast who can either muscle his way through a blocker or use his speed to run around him. Combining him with Shawne Merriman equals long days for AFC West quarterbacks for the foreseeable future.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Carriker tries to surf.

19. Lions - Brandon Meriwether, SS, Miami
The Lions failed in the efforts to create a devastating passing attack, so they might as well try to take away everyone else's vertical game. At the very least the addition of Meriwether will make receivers think twice about running across the middle. I'll go out on a limb and say this will be a safer pick than Charles Rogers.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After scanning the 'scenery' at a club in downtown Detroit, Meriwether asks the vets, "So when do the hot chicks show up?"

20. Cardinals - Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
After the tragic death of Pat Tillman, Arizona's defense has gone without a leader. Carlos Rogers and Karlos Dansby are fine players, but neither is the type to rally the unit. Willis played the majority of his junior year with a cast and multiple injuries. He can provide the leadership that will inspire the rest of the defense and raise its level of play overall.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Before a game, Willis recounts the previous evening to the rest of the locker room, including an episode in which he rebuffed Paris Hilton's advances claiming he'd "catch something just from standing next to her."

21. Steelers - Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame
Few players shot up the draft boards last season like "The Shark." He's always been a natural athlete (signed with the Cubs, as many of you know), but under Weis he's learned the nuances of route running. As loved as Hines Ward is in Pittsburgh, he can't make all the catches. Besides, can't you see Pittsburgh falling in love with someone with a nickname like "The Shark?" If anything else, he and Polamalu can have a contest to see who can have the longest hair.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Samardzija goes on to pitch for the Cubs, and is slated to start against the Pirates the day before a Steelers game.

22. Bengals - Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
The offense is stacked, but the defense doesn't scare quite enough. Fearmongering begins up front, and the down lineman have done little in that department. Yes, even my alma mater's Justin Smith isn't living up to his responsibilities as the #4 draft pick from 2001. That could change if he had Jackson lining up opposite him, though. Jackson has been referred to as "Mr. Mayhem" for his boundless energy and ability to blow up plays. That spark could be what sends Cincinnati's defense into the ranks of the elite.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Jackson is found out after he tries to fit in with the rest of the defense by telling fake stories about his time in jail.

23. Buccaneers - Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
The Bucs did a lot of work in last year's draft to shore up the offensive line with Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood, but the work's not done. Brown can play either side, but right now operates the LT spot. He might need to move to RT in the future to protect lefty Chris Simms' blind spot. Meanwhile, Cadillac starts to think the last weekend in April is better than Christmas.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Brown buys snowblowers as gifts for all the veteran offensive linemen.

24. Broncos - Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
If there's one person in the NFL who thinks he can take a RB and make him a star, it's Mike Shanahan. Denver's coach won't care about the injury; he'll just see what Bush was beforehand - an everydown back that the Broncos haven't had in years. No more Bell on Bell action, just one reclamation project to run for 1,600 yards a year.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Bush scores a TD in the preseason and tries the Mile High Salute, only to inadvertently poke one of his offensive linemen in the eye.

25. Rams - Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
The U has been referred to as a linebacker factory and a runningback factory, but maybe it's time to think of it as a tight end factory, too. Olsen is merely the latest 6'5'' athletic TE with pass-catching ability, and Linehan won't be able to resist giving Bulger a safety net when Bruce and Holt are covered like flies on...well, you know.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Upon his first visit to St. Louis, Olsen remarks, "Oh, I thought the Arch was in Kansas City."

26. Chiefs - Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Does anyone else wonder how Trent Green threw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons? Who did he throw to? Rice will provide the answer in the years to come, whether it's Green or Brodie Croyle at the helm. Rice probably would have gone higher if he came with more publicity, but he'll get his due soon enough. He's big and fast, and with a little more polish he'll make more than a couple Pro Bowls.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: After a trip to Gates, remarks, "The barbecue is better down South."

27. Redskins - Quinn Pitcock, DT, Ohio State
Not all important acquisitions have to be made through free agency, Mr. Snyder. Pitcock is very quick for a DT and can help not only in stopping the run but in the pass rush as well. The 'Skins need to get better up the middle and Pitcock is as good a starting point as any.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Pitcock can't help but laugh as he meets Dan Snyder for the first time and sees just how short he is.

28. Bears - Tom Zbikowski, FS, Notre Dame
I can see the reaction from Packers fans now... "Yes, this is exactly what the Bears need: a hard-hitting FS with a mohawk to improve the only possible weak link on their defense." Zbikowski is the yin to Brady Quinn's golden boy yang, and the Soldier Field faithful will quickly embrace him as yet another Monster of the Midway.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Let's see, a Polish guy from Notre Dame playing in Chicago...nope, I've got nothing here. He'll be right at home from Day 1.

29. Patriots - Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State
I think everyone agrees the Pats' secondary could use an overhaul. McCauley is the kind of unheralded player Belichick loves to groom into the next unassuming assassin for New England. McCauley's great instincts will lead to an immediate starting role...or the fact that the Patriots have been letting season ticket holders play corner. Either one.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: During the Patriots' bye week, McCauley gets to the film room three hours early because he forgot that the early game was at 1, not the late game.

30. Seahawks - Jason Hill, WR, Washington State
Matt Hasselback should be commended for his performance as Seattle's field general despite underachieving talent at wideout. His reward? A 6'4'' receiver with great hands who'll make everyone forget all those dropped balls of seasons past.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Hill walks into a Seattle bar during the Apple Cup wearing all his old Wazzu gear.

31. Panthers - Matt Spaeth, TE, Minnesota
Seeing as how Carolina's D is about as stacked as you can ask for in a league with such a tight salary cap, the Panthers have no choice but to look to the other side of the ball. Luckily, Spaeth is not exactly an exercise in compromise. He can block for DeAngelo Williams or run routes with equal aplomb. Is he the final piece of the Super Bowl puzzle?
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Spaeth goes to a NASCAR race with Jake Delhomme. Enough said.

32. Colts - Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Indianapolis did so well drafting Marlon Jackson, so why not take his protégé? Hall can begin his NFL career as a nickel cover man while learning Tony Dungy's defense. With better footwork he can be a solid cover man in the pros.
Most Awkward Rookie Moment: Before practice he makes a bet that the offense won't score all day, and if they do, each defensive player has to buy an offensive player a Hummer.

And that's how it'll happen.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Feature: The Offensive Line

Every week I'll be running picks and analysis of lines for NCAA and NFL football.

This sophisticated advice comes from a casual fan, with absolutely no experience, no qualifications, and very little insight. If you actually use this as your guide, you should probably enjoy the smell of fresh garbage, because you'll be living in it soon.

Remember, betting is bad, and if you do it, you go to the hell.

On to damnation!

NCAA
Maryland (+17.5) at West Virginia (-17.5): You know, the BCS is a lot like the vagina. You can learn all you want to about it, and it's probably still going to mistify you. West Virginia has to be scared of the BCS like a 13 year old-mormon is afraid of the female reproductive system. They know how it's supposed to work, but Lord knows what's actually going to happen. Western Virginia is going to go undefeated, barring a complete meltdown. They've got NO ONE on the schedule. Unfortunately, that may hurt their national title hopes. Either way, WVU is a pretty safe one here, althought I feel it's important to note that Maryland is 4-1 against the spread in last 5 times versus WVU.

Pick: WVU and the points.

Syracuse (+3.5) at Illinois (-3.5): Upset alert! I know, I know. It's Syracuse. But remember, it's also Illinois. The Illinois that got shut out by Rutgers last weekend. Syracuse is coached by Gregg Robinson. You may remember him as the architect of the Chiefs defense from 2000 to 2005. Wait! Before you run for the hills, before that he was defensive coordinator for the Broncos during their SuperBowl run, and defensive coordinator at Texas for 2004, when they were phenomenal. This guy has Syracuse holding the unders in each game. Syracuse lost a heartbreaker in OT to Iowa last week. I think the defense will hold and Syracuse will come away at least inside the spread on this one. Call me crazy.

Pick: Syracuse.

Michigan State (+3.5) at Pittsburgh(-3.5): I also like the Spartans here. Drew Stanton is maddd. Pittsburgh is eehhhh. Michigan State has more offense, and if this thing goes past the over/under, the Spartans are rolling. Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but the Big East is the football conference version of David Sedaris (there's some smart stuff there, but you wouldn't pick them in a fight), and the Big East is a multi-billion dollar form or Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots.

Pick: Michigan State straight up.

Alabama Birmington (+17) at Georgia (-17): Georgia is the only SEC powerhouse not facing a titanic game this weekend, and should be in solid form to shine while the others are beating the crap out of one another. Let me put it this way. UAB couldn't cover versus East Carolina, and Georgia whumped the Gamecocks and the spread 18-0. I know, Freshman quarterback for Georgia. However, he was expected to start eventually anyway. Points, for the love of God, pick Georgia to cover. Forget Oklahoma, it was the first game of the season and the Sooners are way overrated.

Pick: Georgia, to cover, and cover, and cover some more.

Boise State (-7.5) at Wyoming (+7.5): This looks like a bookie adjustment to get action on Wyoming. Boise State obliterated Oregon State last week, while Wyoming was edged out by Virginia. Boise State's offense is high-powered right now behind Ian Johnson. Even though they're not playing on the field that makes me think I'm at Willie Wonka's, I like the Broncos here.

Pick: Boise State to cover.

LSU (+3.5) at Auburn (-3.5): In what will be the game of the week, Auburn faces LSU in an SEC West showdown, early in the season. Both teams have been dominant, both teams know each other well, both teams foster a healthy disregard for the other's safety. That's a recipe for some SEC whoopins! I think Auburn and Iron's offense will be too much for the Tigers, especially on the road. Auburn's 8-0-1 against the spread last 9 games. If this were any other two SEC teams, I'd think a fieldgoal differential was possible, but with Auburn, they're either losing, or covering.

Pick: Auburn to cover.

Games to stay away from:
Michigan (+6.5) at Notre Dame(-6.5): I like the Irish here, but the spread is just too tight with Hart on the field.
Oklahoma (+4.5) at Oregon (-4.5): This just reeks of a trap either way. Oregon has been fantastic against the spread at home, but the Pac 10 has been getting killed outside of conference versus major conference teams this year, and Oklahoma looks like they've remembered who they are. The Ducks have got the edge statswise, but they've also never beaten Oklahoma. This is a no-go, Houston.

Gimme-Gimme's (Me First!):
USC over Nebraska to cover
Missouri over New Mexico to cover.
Texas A&M over Army, but not to cover

Prop Bets:
Over/Under for Confederate Flags in parking lot at LSU vs. Auburn game: 250
Over/Under for references to Hurricane Katrina during LSU vs. Auburn game: 7
Odds of Adrian Peterson declaring for NFL draft after Oregon game: 10 to 1

Last note: How bad is Colorado? Well, last week they were defeated by Colorado State, who this week is getting 2... from Nevada. Can the Big 12 trade Colorado for someone, please? Anybody?

NFL:

So, after going 9-7 for the first week of my pre-season, things could have been worse. I'm at +.500, so I'm not Clarretting yet.

So, after reviewing what actually happened last week, let's look at the spreads a little closer on some games.

Tennessee "Oh My God, Who's Starting?!"(+12) at San Diego (Super)Chargers(-12): The over/under is 37.5, I'd take the Chargers, and Merrimann to hit the over...on sacks. If I were Jeff Fisher, after the way Merrimann dismantled the Raiders last week, I'd hide Vince Young in the locker room, under some towels, covered with netting, in a closet, with the lightbulb removed from the light. And a lock on the door.

Pick: Chargers to cover, under on points.

New Orleans Saints (-3) at Green Bay Death Rattle (+3): If the Saints manage to win and cover the 3.5, here, they will have officially turned into the 2006 NFL Team You Do Not Bet Against. Last year it was the Panthers, this year it could be the Saints. I like Brees to carve up a weak secondary, and the ever-present Reggie Bush factor convinces me all the more. Until Brett Favre has that moment where he walks in front of a mirror and goes "Wait a minute! I'm Brett Favre!" I like the over on this at 38. I think Favre will be able to get some offense going against the Saints, turning this one into a shootout.

Pick: New Orleans to cover, over on points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6) at Atlanta Falcons (-6): Helllo, instant history! Yes, the Falcons looked good last week. Yes, Michael Vick acted like an actual pro quarterback. And yes, the Bucs looked absolutely pathetic. However, Tampa is 9-2 in it's last 11 versus Atlanta, including 5-1 against the spread. I think Gruden will settle Simms down, and not having Ed Reed and Ray Lewis across the line will help a lot. Take the under, because this is going to be a lot of "Cadillac Williams...carries for 2 yards" and "Vick, back to pass... incomplete."

Pick: Tampa Bay to cover, under on 36.

New York Kid Es (+3) at Philadelphia Playa Haters(-3) : Hi! My name's Donte Stallworth! I enjoy fishing, the company of close friends, and having a quarterback as pissed off as I am! So, you've got the Eagles...at home... versus a suspect Giants defense... after beating a surprisngly not that bad Houston team last week... only giving 3. At home. Good to know Rush Limbaugh is still setting lines for the sports world.

Pick: Eagles to cover, under on 43.

Pittsburgh Official...I mean, Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars should first watch film of Superbowl XL, then of the Red Flag incident in week one. Then watch the movie 'Real Genius' with Val Kilmer. There's a line they should pay attention to. "Even if you pass, you don't pass." Steelers will win by more than the 2 they're giving. And even if they don't, they will. Savy?

Pick: Steelers by hook or by crook to cover, under on over/under 37.

Stay away from:
Bills (+7) at Miami(-7): Unless you have one of those doors like in 'Being John Malkovich' and can figure out what the hell is going on in Dante Culpepper's head.
St. Louis Rams (-3) at San Francisco 49ers(+3): 49ers are feeling frisky this year, and St. Louis loves da letdown game.
Kansas City Chiefs(+11) at Denver Broncos(-11): AFC West game. KC has no QB. Denver has no RB. Jake Plummer and Ty Law are involved. Stay away. No good for you.
Oakland Raiders (+12) at Baltimore Ravens (-12): Don't drink the KoolAid! Don't do it! It's the same Ravens team! Don't! Put the McNair down! I know it's Aaron brooks, but the points, man, think of the points!

Prop Bets:
Aaron Brooks awarded AFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week2: 150 to 1
Over/Under on times you will see Peyton or Eli Manning if you watch football all day including either the Colts or Giants game: 60.
Odds on a Week 2 TO blowup: 15 to 1.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Your 2006 NFL Co-op

To all that were directed to this site (because nobody reads this thing on its own), we present to you our 2006 NFL predictions. We don't act like little pussies and only give you the records, oh no. Matt gives you EVERY MOTHERFUCKING GAME. He's hardcore like that. And in the days to come Jason will build on these predictions by creating his 2007 Mock Draft. Yes, we're both gainfully employed and no longer live with our parents, shut your mouth. On to the picks!

Week 1:
Miami 24, Pittsburgh 13
Atlanta 13 at Carolina 28
Baltimore 9 at Tampa Bay 16
Buffalo 3 at New England 21
Cincinatti 28 at Kansas City 13
Denver 13 at St. Louis 10
New Orleans 20 at Cleveland 10
N.Y. Jets 10 at Tennessee 24
Philadelphia 31 at Houston 16
Seattle 28 at Detroit 6
Chicago 17 at Green Bay 13
Dallas 21 at Jacksonville 20
San Francisco 10 at Arizona 21
Indianapolis 35 at N.Y. Giants 24
Minnesota 13 at Washington 20
San Diego 21 at Oakland 17

News, Scores, Highlights: Baltimore fans saddened to find that moving Steve McNair several thousand miles does not magically make him younger... Eli found in locker room post-game crying "No fair!"... Chicago vs. Green Bay first game in NFL history with all touchdowns scored by interception returns... Titans coach Jeff Fisher livid with team's sorry inability to beat Jets by more... The Aaron Brooks era begins... Minnesota sucks.

Week 2:

Buffalo 10 at Miami 24
Carolina 31at Minnesota 7
Cleveland 14 at Cincinnati 21
Detroit 10 at Chicago 21
Houston 10 at Indianapolis 41
New Orleans 24 at Green Bay 21
N.Y. Giants 17 at Philadelphia 13
Oakland 13 at Baltimore 16
Tampa Bay 24 at Atlanta 13
Arizona 10 at Seattle 27
St. Louis 31 at San Francisco 24
Kansas City 13 at Denver 20
New England 35 at N.Y. Jets 10
Tennessee 15 at San Diego 21
Washington 17 at Dallas 21
Pittsburgh 31 at Jacksonville 28

News, Scores, Highlights: New Orleans finds new hope post-Katrina, discovering things could be worse, they could be the Packers. Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks fined $27,000 by the NFL for physically tattooing "Derrick Brooks owns me" on Michael Vick during a dogpile, Vick afraid to remove it... LaDainian Tomlinson scores touchdown crawling on hands and knees, slowly, while eating a doughnut and sipping a martini, Pacman Jone unable to make tackle due to legal problems... Pittsburgh amazed to discover that the Devil really does get his Due... Minnesota really sucks.

Week 3:

Carolina 17 at Tampa Bay 15
Chicago 21 at Minnesota 17
Cincinnati 35 at Pittsburgh 14
Green Bay 28 at Detroit 13
Jacksonville 31 at Indianapolis 38
N.Y. Jets 6 at Buffalo 12
Tennessee 20 at Miami 41
Washington 31 at Houston 0
Baltimore 6 at Cleveland 7
N.Y. Giants 17 at Seattle 24
Philadelphia 20 at San Francisco 21
St. Louis 13 at Arizona 16
Denver 24 at New England 20
Atlanta 17 at New Orleans 13

News, Scores, Highlights: Simms disturbed to find lactations and foam on his uniform following loss to Panthers... Carson Palmer throws for 400 yds and 4 touchdowns, has to be forcibly removed from field by teammates while screaming "Tear my $#@%ing ACL, now B*tches! Tear my ACL now!"... Jacksonville holds Indianapolis to 250 yards of offense and produces 31 points, including a career day for Matt Jones... and still finds a way to lose... McNair frustrated that Willie McGinest is in fact, older than him, yet still McGinest still kicks his ass with the Browns... Arizona players handing out t-shirts to fans; "No, really, we're actually better, we mean it"... Jake Plummer begins 2006 campaign to trick sports world into believing he's an adequate quarterback... Minnesota might suck less than the Jets...


Week 4:

Arizona 24 at Atlanta 21
Dallas 28 at Tennessee 17
Indianapolis 42 at N.Y. Jets 16
Miami 31 at Houston 13
Minnesota 21 at Buffalo 20
New Orleans 13 at Carolina 20
San Diego 30 at Baltimore 16
San Francisco 14 at Kansas City 24
Detroit 21 at St. Louis 13
Cleveland 10 at Oakland 17
Jacksonville 28 at Washington 27
New England 28 at Cincinnati 20
Seattle 28 at Chicago 24
Green Bay 13 at Philadelphia 20

News, Scores, Highlights: Peyton Manning has a career day but takes no joy in it; he was facing the Jets... the TO show comes to Tennessee; before the game, Tennessee security is placed outside of locker room to make sure TO has absolutely no influence on already volatile Vince Young... Mario Williams has three sack day; unfortunately, it was on Joey Harrington, all in the fourth quarter... Kansas City takes frustration with difficult schedule out on 49ers, no one notices... Sports world mistified at incompetence of Madden curse... Minnesota wins! Minnesota wins!

Week 5:

Buffalo 13 at Chicago 10
Cleveland 7 at Carolina 10
Detroit 28 at Minnesota 21
Miami 17 at New England 31
St. Louis 35 at Green Bay 18
Tampa Bay 17 at New Orleans 10
Tennessee 20 at Indianapolis 31
Washington 28 at N.Y. Giants 21
Kansas City 17 at Arizona 7
N.Y. Jets 10 at Jacksonville16
Oakland 16 at San Francisco 20
Dallas 20 at Philadelphia 34
Baltimore 10 at Denver 35

News, Scores, Highlights: Haha! Buffalo manages to find a way to victory despite Brian Urlacher killing J.P. Losman... or is that, because of... St. Louis unleashes the 'Greatest Show on Lambeau Field This Year, but That Has Mostly To Do with the Packers"... Reggie Bush begins to discover why Michael Vick fell into maniacal laughter when Bush said "I'm looking forward to all the tough teams in our division"... Jason Campbell takes the helm in Washington, Gibbs reluctantly admits that a young'n did something right... TO experiment starting to go horribly wrong; in completely unrelated news, Donovan McNabb does 10 minute post-game on TO cardboard cutout... No, no wait. Minnesota still sucks.

Week 6:

Buffalo 13 at Detroit 16
Carolina 21 at Baltimore 24
Cincinnati 31 at Tampa Bay 28
Houston 3 at Dallas 17
N.Y. Giants 20 at Atlanta 38
Philadelphia 13 at New Orleans 21
Seattle 17 at St. Louis 28
Tennessee 10 at Washington 14
Kansas City 14 at Pittsburgh 24
Miami 42 at N.Y. Jets 6
San Diego 19 at San Francisco 16
Oakland 16 at Denver 23
Chicago 16 at Arizona 21

News, Scores, Highlights: Detroit continues to annhiliate NFL prop bettors left and right... Steve McNair wills his way to victory, has to be resuscitated following game... Chad Johnson attempts complex TD celebration, only to find Simeon Rice give him the "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" treatment... Dallas gets back in that feel good state of mind with the easiest of remedies. Playing the Texans... Um... Have I mentioned Ben Roethelisburger returns to form this week?... San Diego enjoys only yearly opportunity to feel like it's better than San Francisco... Al Davis chokes Art Shell on live TV using the force... Kurt Warner rushes for a carrer-high 67 yards and the winning touchdown...out of fear... Minnesota ties with bye week, analysts speculate the bye week let them off easy...

Week 7:

Carolina 24 at Cincinnati 7
Detroit 13 at N.Y. Jets 7
Green Bay 17 at Miami 10
Jacksonville 17 at Houston 10
New England 31 at Buffalo 6
Philadelphia 21 at Tampa Bay 20
Pittsburgh 20 at Atlanta 35
San Diego 10 at Kansas City 24
Denver 10 at Cleveland 16
Arizona 19 at Oakland 13
Minnesota 7 at Seattle 35
Washington 28 at Indianapolis 13
N.Y. Giants 21 at Dallas 20

News, Scores, Highlights: Carolina decides it's time to start trying... The Jets decide it's not... Brett Favre has can of spinach, declares pre-game, "I have all I can standsk and I can't standsk no more!"... Eagles continue to irk opponents and spread-bettors... Larry Johnson goes bezerk when Herm Edwards brainwashes him into believing linebackers are all ex-girlfriends... Universe explodes when entire former Browns line play actual Browns line... and lose... after a Kurt Warner concussion from Michael Huff, Matt Leinert leads Cards (Buzzsaw, anyone?) to victory, quietly muttering "You cost me $5 million in signing bonuses, assholes"... Indianapolis found to be comprised of humans after all, Texans demand more tests... T.O. drops winning touchdown catch, cries on field. ESPN covers crying episode with Full-Circle coverage, featuring analysis on ESPN2 from Dr. Phil and Mr. T... Minnesota sends formal letter of request to only play bye week for the rest of the seson to league office...

Week 8:

Arizona 10 at Green Bay 24
Atlanta 7 at Cincinnati 31
Baltimore 42 at New Orleans 21
Houston 21 at Tennessee 13
Jacksonville 13 at Philadelphia 7
Seattle 17 at Kansas City 35
San Francisco 10 at Chicago 28
Tampa Bay 20 at N.Y. Giants 28
St. Louis 31 at San Diego 27
Indianapolis 34 at Denver 31
N.Y. Jets 13 at Cleveland 7
Pittsburgh 17 at Oakland 13
Dallas 24 at Carolina 27
New England 35 at Minnesota 21

News, Scores, Highlights: Brett Favre wallops Cardinals (Buzzsaw, anyone?), kisses Ahman Green, thinking he's Olive Oil... Chad Johnson brings out Jagged Edge for touchdown celebration... Kansas City reminds Seattle that though it may have escaped the AFC West and gone to a soft-ass division and gone to the Superbowl, they are still the Chiefs' bitch... St. Louis proves once again that European Catholics are more powerful than Spanish Catholics... The sound heard is Al Davis' patience running out on the Art Shell experiment 2.0... Keyshawn Johnson and T.O. cancel each other out, Julius Jones and DeShaun Foster cancel each other out, Jake Delhomme and Drew Bledsoe cancel each other out, Dan Morgan cancels the rest of the Cowboys forever... Minnesota begins to miss "Good ol' days of the sex boat scandal..."

Week 9:

Atlanta 10 at Detroit 16
Cincinnati 17 at Baltimore 21
Dallas 17 at Washington 24
Green Bay 20 at Buffalo 24
Houston 13 at N.Y. Giants 10
Kansas City 38 at St. Louis 20
Miami 7 at Chicago 13
New Orleans 13 at Tampa Bay 28
Tennessee 16 at Jacksonville 13
Minnesota 17 at San Francisco 21
Cleveland 17 at San Diego 35
Denver 28 at Pittsburgh 21
Indianapolis 35 at New England 24
Oakland 13 at Seattle 28

News, Scores, Highlights: Michael Vick found postgame muttering to himself and rocking, "The Lions? The fucking Lions?"... Barbecue defeats Toasted Ravioli in a shocker... Reggie Bush confused by box containing tattoo ink sent to his hotel room before game... Brad Johnson surrenders helm of "barely adequate, always bordering on overrated/underrated white, smart QB" to Alex Smith... LaDainian Tomlinson runs through hole bigger than a whale's vagina on way to 3 touchdown performance... Adam Vinatieri sends New England into bloodlust with cocky smirk, receives hugs and presents from Peyton Manning... I'm serious. Minnesota is fucking horrible...

Week 10:

Baltimore 20 at Tennessee 10
Buffalo 16 at Indianapolis 49
Chicago 14 at N.Y. Giants 13
Cleveland 20 at Atlanta 23
Green Bay 21 at Minnesota 17
Houston 20 at Jacksonville 10
Kansas City 17 at Miami 10
New Orleans 34 at Pittsburgh 42
N.Y. Jets 10 at New England 28
San Diego 35 at Cincinnati 27
San Francisco 13 at Detroit 20
Washington 24 at Philadelphia 23
Denver 10 at Oakland 24
Dallas 21 at Arizona 13
St. Louis 20 at Seattle 35
Tampa Bay 21 at Carolina 20

News, Scores, Highlights: Revenge is Steve McNair's! His non-playoff team with older talent, an unstable core of veterans and a lunatic head coach on the hotseat is way better than your young and up and coming group of talented athletic players headed by a highly succesful coach with an electrifying young quarterback! That'll show you!... Indianapolis trying to put on cruise control keeps destroying teams... Chad Pennington's arm finally falls off, Deion Branch recommends it hold out for more money... Detroit acquitted in mass suicide of NFL prop bettors... Randy Moss crosses all sorts of lines after touchdown celebration featuring Denver mascot... Minnesota proves that even a Quarterback that has jumped the shark on a bad team can beat them...

Week 11:

Atlanta 20 at Baltimore 28
Buffalo 24 at Houston 17
Chicago 16 at N.Y. Jets 13
Cincinnati 42 at New Orleans 7
Indianapolis 38 at Dallas 20
Minnesota 10 at Miami 16
New England 13 at Green Bay 21
Oakland 17 at Kansas City 13
Pittsburgh 13 at Cleveland 7
St. Louis 24 at Carolina 13
Tennessee 13 at Philadelphia 28
Washington 16 at Tampa Bay 21
Detroit 6 at Arizona 12
Seattle 13 at San Francisco 10
San Diego 14 at Denver 24
N.Y. Giants 28 at Jacksonville 16

News, Scores, Highlights: Steve McNair paints an example to Michael Vick of what a real underachieving but E for effort mobile quarterback looks like... Buffalo and Houston mutually agree to pretend like people care about the outcome of their game... "That Peyton Manning, he's so hot right now"... Brett Favre taking Popeye thing a little too far, only refers to Tom Brady as Pluto in press conferences... Carolina irritated at inability to defeat teams it knows it won't play in the playoffs... Aaron Brooks defies probability by not screwing up for three whole quarters... you should probably stop betting against Philadelphia now... Jake Plummer paints an example to Philip Rivers of what a real underachieving but seemingly clutch, however ultimately overrated QB looks like...Minnesota is shown up close and personal from Daunte Culpepper what suck means...

Week 12:

Miami 16 at Detroit 17
Tampa Bay 21 at Dallas 13
Denver 28 at Kansas City 31
Arizona 31 at Minnesota 13
Carolina 17 at Washington 13
Chicago 27 at New England 24
Cincinnati 31 at Cleveland 16
Houston 10 at N.Y. Jets 17
Jacksonville 16 at Buffalo 10
New Orleans 21 at Atlanta 17
N.Y. Giants 17 at Tennessee 14
Philadelphia 31 at Indianapolis 34
Pittsburgh 31 at Baltimore 28
San Francisco 28 at St. Louis 35
Oakland 13 at San Diego 20
Green Bay 10 at Seattle 42

News, Scores, Highlights: Tampa Bay drives a cadillac from one end of TOland to the other... Kansas City places nail in front of Jake Plummer's coffin... Dennis Green takes no joy in annhilating Minnesota with his new offense... well, almost no joy... Rex Grossman outperforms Tom Brady, no kidding!... Cincinatti reminds feisty Browns why it helps to have a quarterback...
St. Louis starts to move into playoff hunt...Oakland moves into Brady Quinn hunt... Minnesota blows, not sucks, this week.

Week 13:

Baltimore 17 at Cincinnati 20
Arizona 20 at St. Louis 24
Atlanta 7 at Washington 13
Dallas 17 at N.Y. Giants 10
Detroit 13 at New England 24
Indianapolis 31 at Tennessee 25
Jacksonville 13 at Miami 28
Kansas City 42 at Cleveland 10
Minnesota 6 at Chicago 12
N.Y. Jets 16 at Green Bay 20
San Diego 17 at Buffalo 14
San Francisco 14 at New Orleans 13
Tampa Bay 21 at Pittsburgh 17
Houston 17 at Oakland 21
Seattle 31 at Denver 34
Carolina 13 at Philadelphia 7


News, Scores, Highlights: Tom Brady freaks out people with his robot impression again... Kansas City calls police on Saturday night before Bengals showdown, easily defeat 10 remaining players... Chicago and Minnesota narrowly avoid destroying the universe via a vaccum in the space/time continuum due to negative offense... Drew Brees throws three interceptions following the media's ne nickname for him: Po'Boy... Oakland relieved to find its not THE crappiest team on Earth... Jake Delhomme at this point would like to mention that he's kind of a big deal. Just sayin'... Minnesota knees knee pads...

Week 14:

Cleveland 21 at Pittsburgh 35
Atlanta 31 at Tampa Bay 35
Baltimore 17 at Kansas City 28
Buffalo 28 at N.Y. Jets 31
Indianapolis 35 at Jacksonville 24
Minnesota 10 at Detroit 13
New England 17 at Miami 16
New Orleans 10 at Dallas 21
N.Y. Giants 13 at Carolina 20
Oakland 16 at Cincinnati 20
Philadelphia 13 at Washington 20
Tennessee 24 at Houston 31
Green Bay 17 at San Francisco 10
Seattle 24 at Arizona 21
Denver 28 at San Diego 21
Chicago 17 at St. Louis 13


News, Scores, Highlights: Michael Vick throws for 280 yds, 3 TDs before Derrick Brooks decides to start trying... Jets win "Paper Bag Bowl".... Jacksonville petitions league for realignment to any division but the one Peyton's in... Bill Bellichek informs Nick Saban that there's only room for one cold-hearted evil genius in this division... Cincinatti defeats Oakland when players woo over Black Hole based on mutual appreciation of degredation and chemical entertainment... Brett Favre pretends Alex Smith is Steve Young, leads Pack to victory with 3 TDs... Lovie Smith reminds St. Louis why he was worth so much...Minnesota asks for first game next year to be against "Little Giants..."

Week 15:

San Francisco 20 at Seattle 28
Dallas 28 at Atlanta 31
Cleveland 16 at Baltimore 13
Detroit 13 at Green Bay 10
Houston 13 at New England 24
Jacksonville 17 at Tennessee 20
Miami 24 at Buffalo 21
N.Y. Jets 35 at Minnesota 28
Philadelphia 31 at N.Y. Giants 20
Pittsburgh 17 at Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 13 at Chicago 20
Washington 20 at New Orleans 10
Denver 16 at Arizona 20
Kansas City 17 at San Diego 20
St. Louis 24 at Oakland 6
Cincinnati 20 at Indianapolis 28


News, Scores, Highlights: Seattle escapes with a win, spends week trying to figure out how San Francisco scored 20 on them... Ron Mexico is greater than TO... Lions fans reluctantly agree to cease fire with Matt Millen... Tampa Bay/Chicago annihilates over/under set at '6'... Jake the Snake returns to the desert from whence he came, only to find that no, thanks, we've found ourselves another overrated white Quarterback... Randy Moss states for the record that this is, in fact, "no fun..." Cincinnati loses to Indianapolis in Monday Night Football, fortunately most of their suspended teammates are unable to watch as County lockup doesn't get cable... Minnesota settles the "Who sucks more, the Vikings or Jets" question once and for all...

Week 16:

Minnesota 17 at Green Bay 20
Kansas City 24 at Oakland 21
Baltimore 24 at Pittsburgh 21
Carolina 28 at Atlanta 13
Chicago 17 at Detroit 6
Indianapolis 17 at Houston 16
New England 16 at Jacksonville 10
New Orleans 35 at N.Y. Giants 28
Tampa Bay 17 at Cleveland 13
Tennessee 20 at Buffalo 28
Washington 13 at St. Louis 28
Arizona 28 at San Francisco 14
Cincinnati 14 at Denver 7
San Diego 17 at Seattle 28
Philadelphia 10 at Dallas 20
N.Y. Jets 20 at Miami 34


News, Scores, Highlights: Chiefs gathering momentum for exciting first round playoff home loss... Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher wakes up to find that the Ravens have actually come back and won, impales Ben Roethelisburger on chin... Michael Vick totally willing to trade divisions with Jacksonville... The Legend of Reggie Bush begins officially... Indianapolis withholds first team offense, still beats Houston... Miami wishes it could play the Jets three times a year... Minnesota decides to help out the Brett Favre retirement tour...

Week 17:

N.Y. Giants 17 at Washington 20
Atlanta 21at Philadelphia 17
Buffalo 17 at Baltimore 21
Carolina24 at New Orleans 20
Cleveland 13 at Houston 20
Detroit 10 at Dallas 17
Green Bay 17 at Chicago 13
Jacksonville 10 at Kansas City 24
Miami 16 at Indianapolis 28
New England 31 at Tennessee 20
Oakland 17 at N.Y. Jets 21
Pittsburgh 31 at Cincinnati 28
Seattle 13 at Tampa Bay 10
St. Louis 10 at Minnesota 6
Arizona 17 at San Diego 14
San Francisco 14 at Denver 28


News, Scores, Highlights: Brett Favre wins final Game as a Packer, retires gracefully...maybe...well, let him think about it... Houston picks up steam, oh wait, that was just Frye... Seattle sets tone for playoffs, almost manage to screw up easy game... Denver slips into playoffs via Alex Smith's colon... Minnesota mulling offer to switch from USC...

AFC Offensive Season Stat Leaders:
Passing Yards: Peyton Manning
Passing TDs: Tom Brady
Interceptions: Aaron Brooks
Passing %: Peyton Manning

Rushing Attempts: Larry Johnson
Rushing Yards: LaDainian Tomlinson
Rushing TDs: Adai Stevens
Rushing YPC: LaDainian Tomlinson

Receptions: Marvin Harrison
Receiving Yards: Hines Ward
Receiving TDs: Travis Taylor
Receiving YPR: Randy Moss

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Santonio Holmes

NFC Offensive Season Stat Leaders:
Passing Yards: Matt Hasselbeck
Passing TDs: Jake Dellhome
Interceptions: Alex Smith
Passing %: Jake Dellhome

Rushing Attempts: Larry Johnson
Rushing Yards: DeShaun Foster
Rushing TDs: Shaun Alexander
Rushing YPC: Shaun Alexander

Receptions: Steve Smith
Receiving Yards: Steve Smith
Receiving TDs: Santana Moss
Receiving YPR: Steve Smith

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Reggie Bush

AFC Defensive Season Stat Leaders:
Sacks: Jared Allen
Tackles: London Fletcher-Baker
Interceptions: Champ Bailey

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Michael Huff

NFC Defesive Season Stat Leaders:
Sacks: Julius Peppers
Tackles: Brian Urlacher
Interceptions: Chris Gamble

Defensive Rookie of the Year: A.J. Hawk

Final Records (for those clever enough to skip to the end):

AFC EAST
Patriots: 12-4
Miami: 9-7
Jets: 5-11
Buffalo 5-11

AFC NORTH
Cincinnati 10-6
Pittsburgh 10-6
Baltimore 8-8
Cleveland 3-13

AFC SOUTH
Indianapolis 15-1
Jacksonville 4-12
Tennessee 3-13
Houston 5-11

AFC WEST
Kansas City 11-5
Denver 10-6
San Diego 9-7
Oakland 4-12

NFC EAST
Washington 11-5
Dallas 9-7
Philadelphia 6-10
NY Giants 5-11

NFC NORTH
Chicago 12-4
Green Bay 9-7
Detroit 9-7
Minnesota 1-15

NFC SOUTH
Carolina 13-3
Tampa Bay 10-6
Atlanta 6-10
New Orleans 5-11

NFC WEST
Seattle 13-3
St. Louis 10-6
Arizona 10-6
San Francisco 4-12

Playoffs:

Seedings:
AFC_
1.Indianapolis
2. New England
3. Kansas City
4. Cincinnati
5. Denver
6. Pittsburgh

NFC
1. Seattle
2. Carolina
3. Chicago
4. Washington
5.Tampa Bay
6. St. Louis

First round:
Pittsburgh 20 at Kansas City 21
Cincinatti 31 at Pittsburgh 28

St. Louis 13 at Chicago 24
Tampa Bay 13 at Washington 20

News and Notes: Kansas City falls behind 14-3, but come out from halftime and limit the Steelers to just 38 yards in the 3rd quarter, finally taking the win on a last second 45 yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes. Ben Roethelisburger is hammered by a resurgent Chiefs defense, is sacked 4 times and throws 4 interceptions, has beard knocked off in a loss...Cincinatti rolls the Broncos, holding off a late rally from Jake Plummer. On the game winning drive, Jake Plummer throws a killer interception to end the game... Chicago's offense finally decided to come out and play and St.Louis was unable to get Steven Jackson going, especially with a late snowstorm that developed... Washington rumbled behind Clinton Portis, edging out Tampa Bay in a classic...


Divisional Round:
Kansas City 14 at Indianapolis 28
Cincinatti 24 at New England 31

Washgington 17 at Seattle 31
Chicago 17 at Carolina 20

News and Notes: Kansas City's offense sputtered, while Peyton Manning played with renewed determination, and Indianapolis dominated time of possession... New England was able to outrun Cincinatti behind a record day yards wise from Tom Brady and a late sack on Carson Palmer... Washington seemed overmatched in every capacity in an easy win for Seattle that saw 3 TD passes from Matt Hasselbeck...In an ESPN Instant Classic, Carolina and Chicago slugged their way through 5 quarters, needing double overtime for Carolina to finally notch the game winning field goal. Brian Urlacher's 13 tackles and 2 INTs earned him a standing ovation from the Carolina crowd...

AFC Championship Game
New England 17 Indianapolis 20

NFC Championship Game
Seattle 17 at Carolina 31

Revenge is Indy's, as Peyton Manning finally closes the door on his choke artist reputation. Adam Vinatieri, who struggled all year, hits the game winning 48 yd field goal with time expiring to send the Colts to the Superbowl. Afterwards, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning share an emotional handshake/hug combo, as Tony Dungy approaches Bill Bellichek for the same, only to be met with an icy glare... Carolina's defense was the showcase here, scoring the game deciding 14 points off of turnovers, including an 85 yard fumble return in the 4th quarter to crush Seattle's spirit...

Super Bowl
Indianapolis 24, Carolina 21

SuperBowl XLI: In the first ever Superbowl to go into Overtime, Adam Vinatieri put another notch in his Hall of Fame career belt, as Peyton Manning led the Colts with 370 yards and 2 TDs...Carolina stormed back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to tie the game with 8 seconds remaining in regulation, but could not stop Manning as he took the opening drive of Overtime 85 yards setting up an Adam Vinatieri 28 yard field goal.

SuperBowl MVP: Peyton Manning