Sep 292010

They say a ship screams before she sinks. Jack Del Rio and Tom Coughlin definitely scream.

They say a ship screams before she sinks. Jack Del Rio and Tom Coughlin definitely scream.

Titans 29 Giants 10 – The ship is sinking as the crew mutinies in New York. The Tom Coughlin watch begins in earnest. No such watch will start in Tennessee, where Jeff Fisher is firmly entrenched. Even if Vince Young regresses, the Titans will still have Chris Johnson to fall back on. The only question is this: at what point will all those carries start to wear on Johnson?

Cincinnatti 20 Carolina 7 – Cincinnatti overachieved last year. The Bengals defense is better than I have given it credit for, but the offense still is what it is. Carson Palmer has never been the same player he was before the elbow injury and it looks like he may never be the same player again. Carolina is rebuilding and has correctly started the Jimmy Claussen era, but John Fox needs to worry a little bit if he will be there to see it through to the end. The Carolina running game has regressed, but it’s hard to run when you have such a weak passing offense and a group of receivers who could be replaced by uniforms filled with straw (once you get past Steve Smith.)

Pittsburgh 38 Tampa Bay 13 – Wow, watch out for the Pittsburgh Steelers when Roethlisberger comes back. If Ben comes back ready to play at the same level he always does there’s no reason Pittsburgh shouldn’t be considered the favorites in the AFC. Tampa Bay is still in the process of rebuilding, but they have to be heartened by the development of Josh Freeman thus far. LeGarrett Blount is a big son of a bitch who may be a powerful runner in the future. The dented wheels of the old Cadillac can only go so far.

New England 38 Buffalo 30 – A heartening effort by Buffalo, although New England isn’t what they used to be. That pass defense is awful with a capital “A.” How good would the Patriots have been if the past couple seasons if you replaced Tom Brady with an average QB? Is Bill Belichick such a genius if he doesn’t have a hall of fame QB all these years? I could possibly think of 4-5 defensive coordinators I would want to run my defense before Belichick nowadays. The release of Trent Edwards is an odd move by Buffalo, as he was a fairly cheap and solid option for a #2 QB. I wonder what was going on behind the scenes…

Baltimore 24 Cleveland 17 – The talent isn’t quite there for the Browns yet and Brian Daboll is possibly the worst offensive coordinator in the NFL, but this team is playing hard. Peyton Hillis ran like Brandon Jacobs used to against a tough Ravens defense. I’m still a little wary of Joe Flacco even though I have an ongoing lovefest with his skill set. Did anyone doubt that Anquan Boldin would be this good in Baltimore? The guy is a hell of a player. Todd Heap hasn’t been the receiving threat he was early in his career for years due to declining speed, but the guy is still a heck of a TE.

The Vikings better hope that the Great Pumpkin rises from the Pumpkin Patch.

The Vikings better hope that the Great Pumpkin rises from the Pumpkin Patch.

Minnesota 24 Detroit 10 – Well, at least Minnesota can still beat the Lions when they’re starting their second string QB. Detroit is on an uptrend while Minnesota is on a downtrend. Jahvid Best’s toe injury is a big worry. Toe injuries seem like nothing but they can significantly limit a player’s ability to perform. Remember: Johnathon Ogden retired due to a toe injury that wouldn’t go away and Antonio Gates’ ’08 season was significantly hampered by a toe injury. Brett Favre has reverted to his pumpkin self again. AP proved he is still a monster. I knew it as soon as I saw the preaseason game where he turned back into the field and ran over David Barrett for a few extra yards instead of going out of bounds. High character guy too.

Atlanta 27 New Orleans 24 – Atlanta looked pretty terrible in week one but they’re clicking now. New Orleans will rebound, they are still a great and talented team. Losing Reggie Bush will hurt their offensive options but with people like Sean Payton and Drew Brees at the helm they will adjust. Look for more touches for Lance Moore. Also, DEAR GARRET HARTLEY: AT LEAST YOU’RE NOT SCOTT NORWOOD.

Dallas 27 Houston 13 – Same old Texans. I am not liking Gary Kubiak as a coach lately. Even Dallas can get motivated when everyone is kicking dirt in their face. The challenge will be to keep this up. Both of these teams should be in the playoffs this year based off of their talent and if they fail heads will roll. Alarm for Cowboys: Jason Witten is banged up pretty bad, but is toughing it out. Alarm for Fantasy Football Players: Despite a sighting of famous pizza delivery man Roy Williams, don’t expect that kind of production from him on a weekly basis.

Kansas City 31 San Francisco 10 – I love that lunatic Mike Singletary, but this coaching staff isn’t getting the job done. The teams’ performance is very uneven. Romeo Crennel is doing a heck of a job with the Chiefs’ offense and Charlie Weis no longer has a gall bladder. Hey, has anyone seen Michael Crabtree lately? Me neither. The Chiefs will come back to earth soon but the fans have to love the progress this team is making. Dexter McCluster is electric. Chiefs fans deserve it: they are some of the best fans in the NFL.

Even DeAngelo Hall has friends.

Even DeAngelo Hall has friends.

St Louis 30 Washington 16 – The Rams are closer to being a winner than the Redskins are right now, as sad as that is. Without McNabb the Redskins would be in an even more sorry state. Sam Bradford is coming along much faster than expected but the Rams have to start thinking about the future at running back. Steven Jackson has a lot of tread on his tires, is injury prone and a little long in the tooth. Oh, and DeAngelo Hall, please close your mouth. You are a third tier cornerback who thinks way too much of himself.

Philadelphia 28 Jacksonville 3 – The biggest sinking ship in the NFL besides the New York Giants is Jacksonville. If it wasn’t for MJD Jaguars fans would pray to have the games blacked out every week. The Eagles are winning ugly when they aren’t playing Jacksonville, but with players like Michael Vick, Maclin and Jackson in that offense they will at least keep their fans entertained. Michael Vick is still not an accurate QB. What is it they say? “There’s two things you can’t teach a QB : arm strength and accuracy.” Important words to remember. Vick has arm strength, at least. The Eagles will get by as McNabb wasn’t the most accurate QB in the world either… a curiosity as Philadelphia runs perhaps the purest version of the West Coast Offense in the NFL.

Indianapolis 27 Denver 13 – It’s not fair to have to go up against Peyton Manning after the tragedy the Broncos endured this week. Perennially underappreciated Kyle Orton is getting the job done. He is somewhat akin to a poor man’s Chad Pennington with a greater ability to win the game on his own and a greater propensity for bad decisions. Peyton Manning has rightfully (IMO) panned the NFL’s decision to go to an 18 game schedule, mostly because he won’t have time to work with the undrafted free agents and castoffs Indianapolis likes to identify and work with in preseason, which will be shortened. I also think players undergo enough wear and tear in a 16 game format. We’ll break here for a reader question, since it is Denver related:

Anthony Roselle writes: “This isn’t exactly a question, but more of a topic of discussion. What do you make of teams that don’t have a clear cut #1 WR. Example Broncos, Bears, and Chargers. They don’t have a clear cut #1 WR. One week Naanee tears it up the next week nothing, similiar for Malcolm Floyd. Also who is the #1 for the Bronco’s Gaffney, Royal, or the rookie Thomas. Does it pay to start any of these WR’s from these teams. It seems like one week they’re hot, and the next week nothing.”

Some teams will have receivers who are targeted more regularly than others. Denver is not one of them. It is characteristic of the Josh McDaniels offense to spread the ball around a lot, and unless there’s a stud there like Brandon Marshall or Randy Moss targets will vary a lot from week to week. With the Bears, I think you can expect Johnny Knox to get consistent targets but the ball will be spread a bit, albeit to a lesser degree than the Broncos. With the Chargers, they throw the ball so much that all their receivers should have no difficulty getting sufficient targets each week. It’s hard to identify a “#1” for the Broncos, but Thomas has the most obvious physical skills for the role. Royal will remain a slot receiver. Floyd and Knox will tend to be solid starts every week.

Arizona 24 Oakland 23 – Both of these teams just aren’t that good and lack talent at the QB spot. I think they’ll both focus more on running as the season goes on, as that is where their strengths lie. Fitzgerald will continue to underperform as long as the Arizona QB situation fails to change and his injuries linger. Darren McFadden has finally arrived. If you’re in a fantasy league I would pick up Fitzgerald if I could do so cheaply, in case he turns it around. Just don’t give up much for him.

Seattle 27 San Diego 20 – Seattle is better than expected, and it’s great to see Leon Washington succeeding in Seattle. He doesn’t look as explosive as he did before that absolutely horrific leg fracture last year, but he’s still a game changer. The Jets were fools if they thought they could replace him with Joe “Vomitorium” McKnight. Couldn’t they have kept Chauncey Washington (Now lost to the Rams) on the roster instead of McKnight? San Diego continues to find ways to lose despite immense talent. That said, Seattle is a difficult place for San Diego to play since it’s very loud and they run an offense with a lot of long winded playcalling terminology. It’s a recipe for false start and delay of game disasters, and they contributed to the San Diego loss. The San Diego offense will continue to remain explosive with Rivers at the helm. If the Seattle offense can continue to get at least some production out of its receivers John Carlson could be a useful fantasy TE.

Well,"Wildcat" was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular... Wildcat....

Well,"Wildcat" was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular... Wildcat....

New York Jets 31 Miami 23 – Mark Sanchez is looking much more developed than Chad Henne despite having less experience as a starter. If I looked at them play and didn’t know anything about them I would assume Henne is the younger QB. Henne is bigger and has a stronger arm than Sanchez, but in all other facets of his game Sanchez is superior. The Jets pass defense was abused by Henne, Marshall and the Dolphins and Kyle Wilson, although talented, has been a liability in the secondary so far. The Jets passing defense was scary bad in this game. Opponents take advantage of Jim Leonhard’s size, Eric Smith’s coverage skills, Kyle Wilson’s lack of experience and on occasion Antonio Cromartie. They need Revis and Pace back. The Jets still may be the class of the AFC after Pittsburgh, but Matt Slauson is a gaping hole in the left side of their offensive line. Vladimir Ducasse is not ready to play in the NFL yet. Prepare for big Sanchez numbers when Santonio Holmes rejoins the offense, which will also mean more room for Dustin Keller. The Jets out wildcat’d the Dolphins, just as they said they would. The Dolphins are one of the few teams that run the wildcat in a sensible manner but it looks like defenses have finally caught on. Jason Allen is an absolute joke – an Antonio Cromartie without the coverage skills and without the hordes of illegitimate children.

Chicago 20 Green Bay 17 – Wow, who saw the 3-0 Bears coming? Certainly not me, although I took the Bears in this matchup with the spread. Cutler still makes some god awful decisions and the offensive line is poor, but the run defense is surprisingly stout despite the fact that Tommie Harris is a liability nowadays. The Bears might continue to surprise this year, but they are still a borderline wild card team. The number of penalties the Packers accrued on Monday night was downright embarassing and lost them the game, but they will rebound. Aaron Rodgers is a magnificent QB and Jermichael Finley is in the top tier of NFL tight ends.

Sep 212010
Which one of these three quarterbacks will lead the Buffalo Bills to victory? If you guessed "NONE OF THE ABOVE", you are CORRECT.

Which one of these three quarterbacks will lead the Buffalo Bills to victory? If you guessed "NONE OF THE ABOVE", you are CORRECT.

Green Bay 32 Buffalo 7: I don’t think this result surprised anyone. What is surprising is that Chan Gailey is already giving up on Trent Edwards as a starting quarterback and replacing him with Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s hard to believe that Bill Walsh thought he was the second coming of Joe Montana. Brandon Jackson seems to lack the finesse or power to be a decent starting RB, which makes sense since Green Bay gave him every chance in the world to win the starting running back job in 2007 but was beaten out by the more talented Ryan Grant. Marshawn Lynch got the lion’s share of Buffalo’s carries and is worth a flier in fantasy football.

Miami 14 Minnesota 10: Brett Favre has turned into a pumpkin a little earlier than usual this year. Chad Henne isn’t looking much better. I didn’t like Henne coming out of college and I still haven’t warmed to him. He’s not the most accurate QB in the world and he has been terrible in the red zone in his short career. I saw a Scouts Inc. article saying Henne is better/more promising than Sanchez and I projectile vomited all over my monitor. I don’t think Sanchez has arrived yet but I like his future potential much more than Henne’s, and so did most of the NFL when they came out of college: just look at their respective draft positions.

Kansas City 16 Cleveland 14: KC at 2-0 : WHO WOULDA THUNK IT? It’s amazing that Scott Pioli, who saw Cassel with the Patriots, paid him so much money. Cassel is a very limited QB and New England made it work with him, Cassel did not make it work for New England. Jamaal Charles and some of the other youngster at least give this offense some flash. KC fans who were excited about bringing a back with Thomas Jones’ stat line from last year should take note of the fact that two of his big games were against the Buffalo Bills who fielded one of the worst run defenses in history last year. Jones looked like a worn out, old running back by the end of the Jets’ season.

Chicago 27 Dallas 20: Does anyone think Jason Garrett is a genius anymore? It’s a crime that a team this talented performs so poorly. Despite the mistakes of the players the blame falls on the coaching staff, including class act and nice guy Wade Phillips whose teams consistently underperform. They can only ride so far on Parcells’ infrastructure. Martz and the Bears just adjusted far better than the Cowboys who have a great deal more talent than Chicago. It will be interesting to see The Greatest Show on Frozen Tundra play a talented Green Bay defense next week. The GB matchup will let us know if the Chicago offense is for real.

Upon being awarded the starting job in Arizona, Derek Anderson was quoted as saying "HERP. DERP."

Upon being awarded the starting job in Arizona, Derek Anderson was quoted as saying "HERP. DERP."

Atlanta 41 Arizona 7: OUCH. If anyone forgot how bad Derek Anderson is, perhaps now you remember. If they had a barn run a route in the endzone maybe then Anderson could hit it at a percentage greater than 50%. Dark days lie ahead for Cardinals fans.

Tampa Bay 20 Carolina 7: Speaking of dark days and terrible QB play, the Bucs beat the Panthers 20-7 on Sunday. Matt Moore is hopelessly outclassed and it doesn’t help that it’s more productive to smash your genitalia over and over with an unabridged dictionary than start Dwayne Jarrett at wide receiver. The Jimmy Claussen era begins and it should have begun a week earlier. It’s too bad the young QB has no one to throw to at wide receiver besides famous pugilist, Steve Smith. Fun fact: I once saw Carolina TE Dante Rosario referred to on a fantasy football site as “Rosario Dawson.” Freudian slip?

Philadelphia 35 Detroit 32: While we’re on the topic of dark clouds, Jamal Jackson and Leonard Weaver are hurt and Kevin Kolb looked awful last week, surprising everyone but me. Sean McDermott cannot replace Jim Johnson, who is one of the all time greats. I was amazed the Eagles felt comfortable enough to deal away McNabb, but the new management in Philly obviously appreciated McNabb about as much as the fans did. Kolb threw for nearly 400 yards last year against the Saints while the Eagles were routed and tried to play catch up and also chalked up three interceptions. He then torched an awful Chiefs defense the next week. This seemed to be enough to convince the entire world that Kevin Kolb is awesome except for me. Vick has played decently in his stead, but he is not the future, so Kolb will get another chance. I hope for Eagles’ fans’ sake that I am wrong, but nearly blowing a huge lead to the Shaun Hill-led Detroit Lions has to make you worry. Two games into the season it looks like I was wrong to chastise the Lions for trading up for Jahvid Best – he looks like the real deal. I have the utmost respect for Jim Schwartz who is one of the most intelligent NFL coaches out there and if anyone can make a winner of the Lions, he can.



Cincinnati 15 Baltimore 10: I didn’t think the Bengals were that good last year and I don’t think they are this year, but man do Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis have the Ravens’ number. I believe I read that the Palmer/Lewis combo is 9-3 against the Ravens. If they could play the Ravens every week they’d be that much better. That said, it’s pretty hard to win when you have a -4 turnover margin and the Ravens are lucky it was even this close. If Flacco keeps this up I’m not going to be able to rave about Captain Unibrow much longer.

Pittsburgh 19 Tennessee 11: Charlie Batch was absolutely awful after Dixon was knocked out of the game. Steeler fans should be praying for the quick return of famous lover and stunt motorcyclist Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers defense saved the day and held Chris Johnson to 34 yards on the ground. I was impressed by one of Kerry Collins’ frozen ropes tossed down the field in the 4th quarter, but Tennessee will and should continue to go with Vince Young.

Denver 31 Seattle 14: A Demaryius Thomas sighting! Eddie Royal with two weeks in a row of production! Don’t get too used to this. Now that Brandon Marshall is gone I suspect the amount of targets each receiver gets during a game will fluctuate a lot week to week, just like the 2006 Patriots’ offense coached by McDaniels which had even more pedestrian wide receiver options. The Seattle Seahawks reminded us why no one expected them to go anywhere this season under famous sinking ship escapee, Pete Carroll.

Oakland 16 St. Louis 14: This was a sloppy game for St. Louis, but Sam Bradford looks like the real deal. My misgivings about Sam Bradford as a #1 overall choice may have been unfounded. Campbell was pulled for Gradkowski and I can’t imagine that Darth Davis was happy with this. Gradkowski can make some nifty plays and he’s a great leader, but when he tries to throw the ball downfield things can get a little scary. Darren McFadden is suddenly the back he was expected to be. Surprising: Darrius Heyward-Bey nearly equaled his output from last year with six catches (he had seven all of last year) Not Surprising: Louis Murphy also had six catches. Murphy was a heck of a polished WR for a rookie when he came into the league last year.

Gary Kubiak enters combat against his most dangerous enemy - the Windmill.

Gary Kubiak enters combat against his most dangerous enemy - the Windmill.

Houston 30 Washington 27: There were nearly 1000 passing yards in this game. YIKES. McNabb is still a good QB but I doubt he’s good enough to salvage this Washington disaster. Kubiak used Shanahanigans against their originator when he iced Graham Gano with a timeout. Gano nailed the 50+ yard field goal on the negated first try, and then missed the second one. Karmic retribution for Shanahan. Gary Kubiak makes some quixotic decisions at times. Unless he knows something I don’t about Neil Rackers, I don’t understand why he punted instead of allowing Rackers to attempt an approximately 52 yard game winner. (The punt was a touchback, by the way.) Also, when the Texans needed to run out the clock on fourth down they snapped the ball to punter Matt Turk and had him run around aimlessly for a second or two before collapsing in a heap on the ground instead of having Schaub do it. It seems like there’s more chance for disaster with a punter running around with the ball than a QB.

New York Jets 28 New England Patriots 14: This one wasn’t that surprising to me. The Patriots clowned a Cincinnati Bengals team that I don’t think is that good in week one and the NE secondary is awful. The Jets aren’t as bad as their week one performance on offense would have you think. However, I don’t think they’re as good as their performance against New England this week would have you think. LaDainian Tomlinson looks younger than he did last year. Brian Schottenheimer didn’t call a very good game against the Ravens but he rebounded against New England. There will be a lot of shootouts against New England this year unless they can do something to stop the the pass.

San Diego 38 Jacksonville 13: David Garrard went right back to being a goat in week two. Tolbert reminds me of Jerome Bettis although his footwork isn’t as good. The Kansas City game was scary for San Diego fans, but I think a lot of that had to do with the Chargers having difficulty with the weather. Something the Chargers should worry about is their offensive line, they really miss McNeil – moreso than Vincent Jackson. There’s nothing really positive to say about Jacksonville right now except that they have a great player in Jones-Drew and a better than average receiver in Sims-Walker. They’re really cornering the market on talented players with hyphenated names. Maybe they can sign Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff to play quarterback for them next year.

This group of scrappy alpacas could easily hold Brandon Jacobs to less than 2 yards per carry.

This group of scrappy alpacas could easily hold Brandon Jacobs to less than 2 yards per carry.

Indianapolis 38 New York 13: Well… the better team won. I think this team has been tuning out Tom Coughlin for a while now. He’s not the most exciting coach in the world and I think it happens faster with him than with some other coaches, which is a shame because he’s a talented coach. If you told me this was a Tom Coughlin coached team I’d never believe it. This could be his last year in New York. Brandon Jacobs needs to stop crying and stop running sideways. The Giants dared the Colts to run the ball down their throats, so they did and did so successfully. Who would’ve thought two years ago that Darren McFadden would be running more powerfully and with more authority than Brandon Jacobs?

New Orleans 25 San Franciso 22: San Franciso played their butts off after being annihilated by the crappy Seahawks in week one. Alex Smith actually looked pretty good and can still salvage his career. The San Franciso defense is fearsome and has taken on the personality of Mike Singletary. Alex Smith orchestrated a great drive to tie the game in the 4th quarter but they couldn’t stop the Saints one more time, despite getting a hand on the game winning field goal.

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