Friday, November 30, 2007
1. New England Patriots (11-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-1) (3) NFC East
3. Indianapolis Colts (9-2) (2) AFC South
4. Green Bay Packers (10-2) (4) NFC North
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) (5) AFC North
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) (6) AFC South
7. Cleveland Browns (7-4) (8) AFC North
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-4) (11) NFC West
9. New York Giants (7-4) (7) NFC East
10. San Diego Chargers (6-5) (13) AFC West
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) (12) NFC South
12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) (20) NFC East
13. Detroit Lions (6-5) (10) NFC North
14. Houston Texans (5-6) (15) AFC South
15. Tennessee Titans (6-5) (9) AFC South
16. Buffalo Bills (5-6) (16) AFC East
17. Denver Broncos (5-6) (14) AFC West
18. New Orleans Saints (5-6) (21) NFC South
19. Minnesota Vikings (5-6) (25) NFC North
20. Chicago Bears (5-6) (23) NFC North
21. Arizona Cardinals (5-6) (17) NFC West
22. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7) (26) AFC North
23. Washington Redskins (5-6) (19) NFC East
24. Baltimore Ravens (4-7) (22) AFC North
25. Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) (18) AFC West
26. Carolina Panthers (4-7) (24) NFC South
27. Oakland Raiders (3-8) (28) AFC West
28. Atlanta Falcons (3-8) (27) NFC South
29. San Francisco 49ers (3-8) (31) NFC West
30. St. Louis Rams (2-9) (29) NFC West
31. New York Jets (2-9) (30) AFC East
32. Miami Dolphins (0-11) (32) AFC East
Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 38 (+6 from last week)
NFC East - 46 (-3)
NFC North - 56 (-6)
AFC North - 58 (-3)
AFC West - 79 (+6)
AFC East - 80 (+1)
NFC South - 83 (-1)
NFC West - 88 (no change)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It was already at the point where Pardon the Interruption was the only show I could watch on ESPN. Now that Tony Kornheiser is paid to promote the NFL and Michael Wilbon is paid to promote the NBA, PTI has lost all objectivity. All Wilbon does now is bash blogs for speculating and then speculates. Kornheiser seems intent on promoting this dirty old man image.
Mel Kiper's scouting report, rating Taylor as the #2 prospect behind Larry Fitzgerald, dated January 28, 2004.
2. Sean Taylor (jr.), S, Miami-Florida (6-2¼, 225) | previous ranking: 6 Taylor is to the safety spot at Miami what Ray Lewis was to the middle linebacker position. He follows in the footsteps of former Miami safeties Bennie Blades, Darryl Williams and Ed Reed (all were first-round picks). I expect Taylor to be even better. In fact, he could be the best safety in the NFL early in his career. Taylor is the prototypical Pro Bowl safety: tremendous speed, a nose for the ball, aggressive, a great tackler and terrific in coverage (team-leading nine interceptions). He has such tremendous instincts and awareness. Worthy of being a top-five pick.
Taylor held Fitzgerald to 3 catches for 27 yards in a 2003 matchup and led the country with 10 picks as a junior.
Joe Gibbs called the Redskins decision to draft Sean Taylor over Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Ben Roethlisberger "one of the most researched things in the history of sports." This was in response to what was previously his most serious of a myriad of off the field issues - his armed assault charge for pointing a handgun at someone he suspected of stealing two all terrain vehicles in June 2005. The charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement in June 2006, and Taylor went on to make his first Pro Bowl as an alternate, where he memorably annihilated Bills punter Brian Moorman on a fake punt. Taylor was playing like an All Pro in 2007, leading the league in interceptions before missing the last two games with a knee injury.
Monday, November 26, 2007
It's been reported that there have been multiple robberies or attempted robberies at Taylor's house, 18050 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, Florida, in the past few weeks. I'm hearing twice in the last eight days, with a knife being left on Taylor's pillow in one of those incidents. Taylor apparently was brandishing a machete when he was shot in the groin and or leg; he cannot own a firearm due to the ATV incident from a few years ago.
It's possible this was just a random act of violence, but the fact is if you asked 1000 NFL fans which Redskins player was most likely to be shot, at least 950 are going to say Sean Taylor. Somewhat ironic is the fact that the Redskins' other starting safety, LaRon Landry, was shot in the groin by a paintball gun in a training camp team activity.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
1. New England Patriots (10-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Indianapolis Colts (8-2) (2) AFC South
3. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) (3) NFC East
4. Green Bay Packers (9-1) (5) NFC North
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (4) AFC North
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) (6) AFC South
7. New York Giants (7-3) (10) NFC East
8. Cleveland Browns (6-4) (8) AFC North
9. Tennessee Titans (6-4) (7) AFC South
10. Detroit Lions (6-4) (13) NFC North
11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (11) NFC West
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) (14) NFC South
13. San Diego Chargers (5-5) (9) AFC West
14. Denver Broncos (5-5) (16) AFC West
15. Houston Texans (5-5) (15) AFC South
16. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (12) AFC East
17. Arizona Cardinals (5-5) (19) NFC West
18. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6) (20) AFC West
19. Washington Redskins (5-5) (17) NFC East
20. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) (21) NFC East
21. New Orleans Saints (4-6) (18) NFC South
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-6) (22) AFC North
23. Chicago Bears (4-6) (24) NFC North
24. Carolina Panthers (4-6) (23) NFC South
25. Minnesota Vikings (4-6) (27) NFC North
26. Cincinnati Bengals (3-7) (25) AFC North
27. Atlanta Falcons (3-7) (26) NFC South
28. Oakland Raiders (2-8) (28) AFC West
29. St. Louis Rams (2-8) (31) NFC West
30. New York Jets (2-8) (29) AFC East
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-8) (30) NFC West
32. Miami Dolphins (0-10) (32) AFC East
Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 32 (+2 from last week)
NFC East - 49 (-2)
AFC North - 61 (+2)
NFC North - 62 (-7)
AFC West - 73 (no change)
AFC East - 79 (+5)
NFC South - 84 (+3)
NFC West - 88 (-3)
"Nowadays, you don't see too many spreads over 16 or 17 points," said Sean Van Patten, an oddsmaker at Sports Consultants in Las Vegas. "That's because most teams take their starters out in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game. The Patriots don't. I call this phenomenon The [Bill] Belichick Factor."
The Eagles are 5-5 and have won 3 out of 4. Bill Belichick probably doesn't hate them and might respect Andy Reid, but you never know. Imagine when the Patriots play the 2-8 Jets, who touched off this scorched earth offense with Spygate, at home. A 40 point spread is absolutely unheard of in the NFL, but it's not out of the question. Or the 0-10 Dolphins, whose ex-players and coaches have been making their typical inane comments about how great they were?
I just can't believe that NBC is choosing to air these mismatches. They've got to be losing at least 80% of their audience at halftime, at least based on the people I've talked to, and they're people who don't tend to give up on an NFL game. If you look at Sunday's slate, the three games featuring two playoff contenders are Buffalo at Jacksonville (-7.5), Houston at Cleveland (-3.5), and Washington at Tampa Bay (-3). Philadelphia at New England also is a matchup between playoff contenders, but it's obviously more of a mismatch. The problem is the the NFL has become a purely quarterback driven league, and the only games that get any play are the ones with marquee quarterbacks. So this is what we get in primetime.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Now sacks are a somewhat flukish statistic - a player's sack total can suffer even if he's still playing at the same level. But after watching the Chargers this year it's obvious Merriman isn't the same disruptive force he was the last two seasons. It's also obvious his neck is half as big.
Brady came out in the fourth quarter up 56-10, from which point the Patriots passed three times and ran seven times. And then starter Adalius Thomas, playing on the punt coverage team with 3:56 remaining, was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. At this point if you're not rooting for Tom Brady to blow out his ACL tripping over a supermodel then you don't believe in karma.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The only alternatives is that he did it out the kindness of his heart or that Bonds was threatening to do something he found more repugnant than jail. Now I've got some good friends, but I don't know if I would spend more than an hour in jail for any of them. And Bonds is a bad guy, but I doubt he was going to kill Anderson's mother is he ratted him out. It's pretty safe to assume that he was paid off, especially in light of the fact that Bonds was indicted on obstruction charges. If you connect the dots it's pretty clear he got to Anderson.
Now Bonds signed a one year, $15.8 million deal in February, which there's no way he could have gotten after being indicted, so it would worth giving Anderson as much as low eight figures for his silence. To say nothing of the fact that Bonds broke the career home run record, maybe the most hallowed record in sports, in the time that Anderson was in jail. Which begs the question - did Bonds pay off Anderson specifically to put off the indictment until after he broke the career home run record?
Is this really so far fetched? You'd have to figure if the grand jury could have indicted before he broke the record, they would have. So it's likely some new piece of evidence became available, and it's likely that evidence is the testimony of Anderson. So what recent event could have set off this change of heart by Anderson? How about the completion of the 2007 Major League Baseball season two weeks ago? We'll see how this plays out, but don't be surprised if this further devalues the already cheapened mark of 762 home runs.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
1. Sin City (2005). 8.4 on imdb, 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. Featuring an all star cast, this masterpiece stayed incredibly faithful to Frank Miller's graphic novels.
2. Batman Begins (2005). 8.3 on imdb, 84% on RT. Nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography, this grounded in reality loose adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One has set the tone for a new generation of superhero films.
3. X2: X-Men United (2003). 7.9 on imdb, 87% on RT. Closely based on the transcendent X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills this sequel featured fantastic action sequences and a relatively coherent story arc, even if the ending feels unnecessary.
4. Road to Perdition (2002). 7.7 on imdb, 82% on RT. Won an Oscar for Cinematography and receiving five other nominations, Sam Mendes's follow up to Best Picture American Beauty features fantastic performances by Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. Based on a series of graphic novels.
5. Spider-Man 2 (2004). 7.8 on imdb, 93% on RT. The reverse Empire Strikes Back of the Spider-man franchise, because part 1 ends on a downer and part 2 ends on a happy note. Didn't falling into the trap of every other superhero franchise which brings in multiple villians for the sequel (see Superman II, Batman Returns, X2, The Dark Knight, TMNT 2, ...).
6. American Splendor (2003). 7.7 on imdb, 94% on RT. This beats out Ghost World for the most unconventional comic book movie, but the Harvey Pekar biopic starring Paul Giamatti is a great watch.
7. 300 (2006). 8.0 on imdb, 60% on RT. The third movie on this list based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, the mechanisms on the home front were added so this wasn't 117 minutes of gore, but I would have preferred it that way.
8. V for Vendetta (2005). 8.2 on imdb, 72% on RT. The third movie based on the work of Alan Moore (From Hell, LXG) and the first one that is good, this Orwellian look at a future UK is an underrated adaptation.
9. Spider-man (2002). 7.4 on imdb, 90% on RT. This origin movie hit all the right notes. Many scenes feature shots incredibly similar to comic book panels in composition, making by far the best directed comic book movie at the time of it's release.
10. Superman: the Movie (1978). 7.3 on imdb, 93% on RT. There are so many points in this movie that get your blood pumping: the opening rift of John Williams' theme, when he bumps into the cat burgler, when he opens Lex's safe, when he throws the crystal. Christopher Reeve is one of the best casting choices ever, and Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando are as good as it gets as actors.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
My dad loves to say "Lord and Lady Douche Bag" when he enters the room, so this might be the ideal Christmas gift for him. I don't know if my mom will acknowledge their sovereignty, though.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Prior to the 2004 season the Orioles big signing was Rafael Palmeiro, who had his worst two seasons as a regular before wrecking the team by accusing Miguel Tejada of giving him steroids. In the 2004 offseason the Orioles traded for a washed up Sammy Sosa in an effort to add some buzz. Sosa had by far his worst season. Two years ago the Orioles big acquisition was Kris Benson. He had career lows or close to it in every category and had Tommy John surgery in the offseason. In that same offseason the Orioles big pickup was Huff, who set career lows in every category. Their other big signing was Denys Baez, who had career worst numbers and is already out for 2008. So the good news is the Orioles' streak of horrible personnel moves in intact.
1. New England Patriots (9-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East - 2 1/2 lead on the Colts with 7 to play, just give them homefield
2. Indianapolis Colts (7-2) (2) AFC South - should have beat Chargers, but injuries hay have caught up with them
3. Dallas Cowboys (8-1) (4) NFC East - did have a 2nd half lead against New England
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) (3) AFC North - besides at New England, their 2nd half schedule is favorable
5. Green Bay Packers (8-1) (6) NFC North - Ryan Grant has run for 100+ in 2 out of 3, starting to become a complete team
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) (13) AFC South - take away loss to Colts and they've won 6 out of 7
7. Tennessee Titans (6-3) (5) AFC South - 3-2 in games decided by 4 points or less
8. Cleveland Browns (5-4) (8) AFC North - Thomas, Winslow, Edwards, and Cribbs are cinch Pro Bowlers; they've had only 1 since 1999
9. San Diego Chargers (5-4) (12) AFC West - get blown out by Vikings one week, beat the Colts the next?
10. New York Giants (6-3) (10) NFC East - their most impressive win is at Washington, could be staring at another 2nd half slide
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) (11) NFC West - could easily run the table in the second half
12. Buffalo Bills (5-4) (15) AFC East - Dick Jauron, 2 time Coach of the Year?!?
13. Detroit Lions (6-3) (9) NFC North - they play Green Bay in 2 weeks in their biggest Thanksgiving day game ever
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (17) NFC South - if they drafted Peterson they'd be the NFC favorite
15. Houston Texans (4-5) (18) AFC South - they're getting Andre Johnson back and could make a run
16. Denver Broncos (4-5) (21) AFC West - play 4 out of the next 6 on the road
17. Washington Redskins (5-4) (16) NFC East - still have to play Dallas twice and Giants in New York, probably not making playoffs
18. New Orleans Saints (4-5) (14) NFC South - Bush had no chance on 4th and 1, exactly why he can't be a #1 back
19. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (24) NFC West - have lost 3 games in the last 30 seconds
20. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) (10) AFC West - LJ injury was huge, could easily lose out
21. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) (25) NFC East - they have 2 flukish losses, but 2 flukish wins as well
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (19) AFC North - 0-4 against AFC North, 3-0 against NFC West
23. Carolina Panthers (4-5) (20) NFC South - are you surprised Testaverde turned into a pumpkin?
24. Chicago Bears (4-5) (27) NFC North - is Grossman the starter now? Who cares?
25. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) (26) AFC North - 1-6 against teams not named the Ravens
26. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) (28) NFC South - 2-0 coming out of their bye
27. Minnesota Vikings (3-6) (23) NFC North - without Peterson this is generous
28. Oakland Raiders (2-7) (22) AFC West - JaMarcus Russell is too well paid to be 3rd string
29. New York Jets (1-8) (29) AFC East - time to see what they have in Clemens
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-7) (30) NFC West - time to cut the cord on Nolan and Alex Smith
31. St. Louis Rams (1-8) (32) NFC West - their schedule was too weak to go winless, will target Jake Long in draft
32. Miami Dolphins (0-9) (31) AFC East - at home against Buffalo coming off a bye was their best shot at a win
Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 30 (-8 from last week)
NFC East - 51 (-1)
AFC North - 59 (+3)
NFC North - 69 (+4)
AFC West - 73 (+8)
AFC East - 74 (-2)
NFC South - 81 (+2)
NFC West - 91 (-6)
Friday, November 9, 2007
"But - thanks to what has been put down as a booking error - a female stripper turned up in place of the gorilla-suited man the unnamed mother had apparently asked for.
Each coupon can be used once per account, so theoretically you could place 15 separate orders. Please shop through my affiliate link, which I put all over this post along with in the left column under stores.
I ordered NFL America's Game Super Bowls I-XL for $62.96 - 40 discs of NFL films goodness spotlighting each each of the first 40 Super Bowl winners. I've only seen the episode with the 2001 New England Patriots and it was spectacular. The players and coaches were surprisingly candid, and if the Patriots weren't speaking in cliche I can only imagine what straight shooters like Buddy Ryan and Shannon Sharpe have to offer. There are also deals to be had on Ratatouille ($13.50) and Planet Earth ($43.12).
Greenberg: You were a player in the National Football League for nine years.
Greenberg: And you were clean. You didn't use steroids.
Golic: No, no. I did try steroids. For about six weeks in an off-season. Yeah. When I had blown my shoulder out. I actually didn't do it for six weeks. I did it for a few weeks and stopped because it had kind of a bad effect as I was lifting.
Greenberg: Okay. Let's say for the sake of this discussion you did not.
Maybe he should have asked about the bad effects, like any reasonable person might do. According to Profootballtalk, a caller today asked Golic about steroid use, slipping it in among Troy Williamson questions. Greenberg cut the caller off, going back to talking about Williamson. Just another example of the sorry state of ESPN's reporting.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger (March 2, 1982, 4th year). This came down to Big Ben or Vince Young. Take away the fact that Roethlisberger has won a Super Bowl and played through a massive head injury, appendicitis, and concussion, all in the same season. He's got a career QB rating of 91.9, while Young's is 65.2.
Running back: Adrian Peterson (March 21, 1985, 1st year). If Peterson wasn't takng the league by storm, this would have been a tough call between Stephen Jackson and Joseph Addai.
Wide receiver: Roy Williams (December 20, 1981, 4th year), Larry Fitzgerald (August 31, 1983, 4th year), Braylon Edwards (February 21, 1983, 3rd year). It was easy picking these three; I'm not ready to anoint Calvin Johnson just yet. This is the order I'd take them, because Williams is the most dangerous of the three after the catch and Fitzgerald might have the NFL's best hands, but I'd love to have any of these three. Marques Colston would be my fourth wideout.
Tight end: Kellen Winslow, Jr. (July 21, 1983, 4th year). KW2 may have come back from microfracture surgery with more explosiveness than he had before. Jason Witten finishes a distant second.
Offensive tackles: Marcus McNeil (November 16, 1983, 2nd year), Joe Thomas (December 4, 1984, 1st year). McNeil should have been Rookie of the Year last year, and if it weren't for Peterson Thomas might get my vote this year. If I had to pick a right tackle I'd probably take Willie Colon, but I'd be crazy to take Colon over Joe Thomas.
Offensive guards: Logan Mankins (March 10, 1982, 3rd year), Shawn Andrews (December 25, 1982, 4th year). Chris Snee also received some consideration, but these are two of the league's best.
Center: Nick Mangold (January 13, 1984, 2nd year). The former 1st round pick is an easy choice for the pivot.
Defensive ends: Osi Umenyiora (November 16, 1981, 5th year), Jared Allen (April 3, 1982, 4th year). Both of these guys are a little old for this squad, but they're also two of the top ends in the league. Allen is a free agent after this season and is likely to be franchised.
Defensive tackles: Tommie Harris (April 29, 1983, 4th year), Haloti Ngata (January 21, 1984, 2nd year). Harris is probably the best DT in the league, and Ngata is probably the league's strongest player. Ngata's upside gave him the nod over Luis Castillo.
Outside linebackers: Shawne Merriman (May 25, 1984, 3rd year), DeMarcus Ware (July 31, 1982, 3rd year). As the league's two best linebackers, these picks were easy. Kamerion Wimbley would probably be a distant third.
Inside linebacker: Patrick Willis (January 25, 1985, 1st year). My preseason pick for R.O.Y. and the likely winner, Willis gets the nod over a stacked field with DeMeco Ryans, Jonathan Vilma, Ernie Sims, Lofa Tatupu, and A.J. Hawk. Willis is the one mike I've seen this year that consistently moves the pile backward.
Cornerbacks: Dunta Robinson (April 11, 1982, 4th year), DeAngelo Hall (November 19, 1983, 4th year). Hall has played well this year but has been a constant distraction; he'll likely be on the market in the offseason. Robinson stands out over Nathan Vasher and Ellis Hobbs, who both might be products of their system.
Safeties: Sean Taylor (April 1, 1983, 4th year), LaRon Landry (October 14, 1984, 1st year). Taylor is an obvious choice. At first I was deciding between Donte Whitner and Kerry Rhodes for the other spot, but if you were picking teams and were looking and Landry, Whitner, and Rhodes without pads, you'd take Landry in a second.
Kicker: Stephen Gostowski (January 28, 1984, 2nd year). Gostowski gets the nod over Nick Folk on the strength of his kickoffs: sixth in the league in touchback percentage.
Punter: Daniel Sepulveda (January 12, 1984, 1st year). The rookie is dropping punts inside the 20 at a league leading 51.5%, an absurd number.
Return specialist: Devin Hester (November 4, 1982, 2nd year). Another slam dunk.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
About Green Bay's Donald Driver, Smith said: "Tonight he's looking to get back to paydirt so he can right size the ship right now."
About the Cowboys' quarterback, Smith said: "Tony Romo has the mentality to have the sense to make the play."
When asked to summarize his thoughts in two words, he once said, "Cowboys lose big-time."
And about this season's grand possibilities, Smith said, "If you want to stay perfect, you can not go undefeated with a blemish on your record."
It's one thing when Profootballtalk and SI unload on you, but when a Dallas newspaper says "Smith has dispelled most of the belief and trust he started with," it starts to affect endorsement opportunities and possibly his businesses. ESPN needs to man up and pull the plug on this experiment.
People in the crowd actually gasped.
The Call of Duty franchise has consistently delivered over the years, but has been limited to World War II combat. COD4 Modern Warfare is based in the present and makes the outstanding Tom Clancy franchises, which are also set in the present, look archaic. I played some COD4 and watched some of this week's episode of The Unit at lunch, and I honestly got the storylines and setting confused. That's high praise.
The likely outcome of this is that Reggie Bush will have to give up his Heisman trophy to Vince Young, although Bush has indicated that he wouldn't willingly give up the physical trophy. The worst case scenario is that USC will have to vacate their 1.5 National Championships won with Bush.
As for this year's Heisman, Dennis Dixon is the clear winner. Two weeks ago, after throwing five touchdowns against Florida, Andre Woodson had my vote, but Dixon's four TDs against ASU clinched it. If you take away his 1 TD, 2 interception game against Cal, Dixon has 19 TDs and 1 pick on the year. He also has a rushing TD in every game except against ASU.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
1. New England Patriots (9-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Indianapolis Colts (7-1) (2) AFC South
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) (3) AFC North
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-1) (4) NFC East
5. Tennessee Titans (6-2) (6) AFC South
6. Green Bay Packers (7-1) (7) NFC North
7. New York Giants (6-2) (10) NFC East
8. Cleveland Browns (5-3) (11) AFC North
9. Detroit Lions (6-2) (15) NFC North
10. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) (9) AFC West
11. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (12) NFC West
12. San Diego Chargers (4-4) (5) AFC West
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) (8) AFC South
14. New Orleans Saints (4-4) (21) NFC South
15. Buffalo Bills (4-4) (17) AFC East
16. Washington Redskins (5-3) (13) NFC East
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (19) NFC South
18. Houston Texans (4-5) (23) AFC South
19. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) (16) AFC North
20. Carolina Panthers (4-4) (18) NFC South
21. Denver Broncos (3-5) (14) AFC West
22. Oakland Raiders (2-6) (20) AFC West
23. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) (27) NFC North
24. Arizona Cardinals (3-5) (22) NFC West
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) (24) NFC East
26. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) (25) AFC North
27. Chicago Bears (3-5) (26) NFC North
28. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) (30) NFC South
29. New York Jets (1-8) (29) AFC East
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) (28) NFC West
31. Miami Dolphins (0-8) (31) AFC East
32. St. Louis Rams (0-8) (32) NFC West
Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 38 (-1 from last week)
NFC East - 52 (+1)
AFC North - 56 (+1)
NFC North - 65 (-10)
AFC West - 65 (+17)
AFC East - 76 (-2)
NFC South - 79 (-9)
NFC West - 97 (+3)
I haven't mentioned the best player in the division over the last four years - Brian Urlacher. Urlacher has been playing with an arthritic back and might never again be an elite player. I also haven't mentioned the rookie that was expected to make the biggest impact this year - Calvin Johnson. If Johnson's back injury doesn't linger he'll be another star in the NFC Norris division.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The title of this post is of course a reference to Chris Rock famously saying "the only black people in Minnesota are Prince and Kirby Puckett." With Torii Hunter a free agent, it's really going to be down to Prince and Adrian Peterson.
It's interesting that the Colts built the lead on their running game, the Patriots leaned on the best receiver in the league to come back, and the Colts couldn't hold on without their go-to receiver, while in the AFC Championship Game last year the Patriots built a 21-3 halftime lead on the strength of their running game, and blew the lead largely because they didn't have a go-to receiver. New England has a completely different look this year - they can play with a lead and they can come from behind.
Friday, November 2, 2007
There are six games slated for Sunday between teams separated by three spots or less on my power rankings; four of those games have 1 o'clock kickoffs. I agonized over my picks for Broncos/Lions and Packers/Chiefs. Even the games at the bottom of the standings should come down to the fourth quarter - there's no way 49ers/Falcons won't be up for grabs with two minutes left. Bill/Bengals has a 1 point spread. All I'm saying is don't sleep on the early games Sunday.
But focusing on Reid, he needs to take a leave of absence or the NFL should suspend him immediately. If the sons of a prominent NFL player were in jail on guns and drugs charges, there's no way he would escape repercussions. Especially if their house was described as a "drug emporium." Even if he successfully distanced himself in the illegal activities that took place at 1915 Moonlight Road, Michael Vick would not have escaped a suspension. Goodell told him "People living in your house and people on your property is your responsibility." And the Vick comparison is in line with the distraction this is causing his players. It was also disclosed yesterday that "Garrett and Britt had used steroids as young athletes." If Wade Wilson got a five game suspension for HGH, I'd be shocked if Reid didn't at least get a nudge toward sitting out the year and getting his house in order.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
You have to pray that the Colts at least keep it close. If the Patriots roll in and hang a 40-20 win or some shit like that in Indy, what little suspense there is left in this NFL season is gone.
I'm expecting New England to win, something like 28-13, but if it's a double digit game in the fourth quarter then what hope do the Chargers, Steelers, Wild Card contenders, or NFC teams have? Pray that someone pulls a Kimo Von Oelhoffen and explodes Brady's knee? And for that matter, if the Patriots can bring back Asante Samuel and/or Randy Moss, to go along with the 49ers 1st round pick, what's to stop them from winning next year and making it five since 9/11? Maybe the Colts pull off the upset, maybe even in a blowout, or maybe it will be a classic game. But I can't help but worry that the NFL is even worse off than it was in the 80s and early 90s when only three teams were relevant over a 11 year span (49ers, Giants, and Redskins).
In a related note, I considered starting a second blog which would be more focused on Washington, DC area sports, but I was heartbroken to find out that crabcakesandfootball.blogspot.com was taken. And they've never made a single post.
Drug testers contracted by the league routinely alert team officials a day or more before their arrival at ballparks for what is supposed to be random, unannounced testing of players. By eliminating the surprise factor, the practice undermines the integrity of the testing program, antidoping experts said.The night before testers arrive at major league stadiums to take urine samples from players, officials for the home team receive a call from the testing company requesting stadium and parking passes for the drug testers...
Hopefully, these officials will get year round passes like those issued to beat reporters. The article goes on to say how team officials would accompany players as they gave urine samples, which is an even bigger joke. Let's say Miguel Tejada says he can't provide a urine sample immediately. An Orioles employee would accompany him to the bathroom, and there's no chance he's going to demand to see him actually give the sample. If Tejada thinks he's not clean, what's to stop him from asking his coworker to provide the sample himself? But to MLB's credit they fixed that loophole so an independent chaperone now accompanies the player.