Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Future posting

I just wanted to let you all know that I'll be reducing the amount of posting I do once I'm finished with the NFL preview. I'll be done with that sometime next week. As I'm sure some of you know, the rigors of stay-at-home parenthood only allow for so much free time. I wanted to start the site off on a good note by posting as often as possible early on. Hopefully I accomplished that. You'll also probably realize that above all else, I am a college football fan so don't be surprised if I fail to acknowledge the other major sports like cheerleading and bull riding for the next four months. The good news is that I think most of the people that read this are big college football fans too. If you need something everyday, there are other blogs that have way too much free time on their hands like mgoblog. As it stands now, my blog is for sale. It can be yours for the low price of $152. I do accept payment plans.

The Green Bay Packers aka Arn Anderson

Double "A" Arn Anderson was a fearsome wrestler in his hey-day. He was one of the presitgious members of the IV Horsemen. He teamed with Tully Blanchard to form one of the most dominant teams in the WWF as the Brain Busters. Much like a lot of wrestlers, Arn stuck around past his athletic prime. He required surgery to repair his vertebrate. Despite this, he managed to make some noise in the "nWo" storylines in WCW as well as a special advisor to the "new" IV Horsemen. However, his days of being a title threat and a force to be wrecken with were long gone.

The Packers are like an older Arn Anderson sticking around to "stir the pot". Don't get me wrong here. I'm simply talking about the Packers as a whole, not Brett Favre. From what I saw last season, Favre is as good as he's ever been. I remember when Joe Montana and Dan Marino were at the end of their careers. Their skills diminished just enough to where they could no longer win games on their own. Favre still has those skills. The media seems to want him to retire because it makes a good story but Favre should play five more seasons. I hate what he's done to the Lions over the years but he's a gamer.

The offense will be there. Ahman Green is easily one of the top five running backs in the NFL. He's as reliable as they come. Javon Walker is a T.O. in the making. He's big and strong and he could really explode fantasy-wise this season. Donald Driver is a legitimate second wide receiver. Tony Fisher, William Henderson and Najeh Davenport make this backfield one of the deepest in the NFL. The offensive line lost two starters in Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle. Despite the potential dropoff in the OL production, the offense is not a problem for Green Bay. Favre will be psyched to play possibly his last season. He has the ammunition on offense to do some damage in fantasy leagues.

Unfortunately for Favre, the defense doesn't have the same bite. They were already experiencing problems two years ago before they gave away Mike McKenzie to the Saints last season. They didn't address any defensive needs in the draft or free agency. The Packers management basically said, "Brett, it's all on you." We saw how effective that strategy is when Green Bay played the Colts last year. Favre threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Javon Walker had 200 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Peyton Manning, on the other hand, threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns as the Colts smoked the Packers by two touchdowns. You need to play defense to be taken seriously in the NFL. The Packers don't play defense so I can't take them seriously. They'll score points and beat some teams but Favre can only do so much on his own.

The schedule isn't as easy as it looks. They do get Cleveland and Cincinnati as well as Chicago (2). Other than that, the Packers have a very daunting schedule. They play Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Philly, Baltimore, Minnesota (2), Detroit (2), Seattle, Tampa Bay, Carolina and New Orleans. I would not want to face that schedule with a "matador" defense. The Packers should go 3-1 against Cleveland, Cincy and Chicago (2). I think they can go 6-6 against the rest of the schedule but 5-7 seems more realistic to me.

Predicted record: 8-8

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Dallas Cowboys aka "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich

“The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich burst on to the WWF scene by winning the intercontinental championship two months after entering the federation. Just one and a half years later, he was addicted to cocaine and without a job. One year after that, he died of a drug overdose. There’s no question that Von Erich’s window of opportunity was small but he capitalized and made himself a huge star before his addiction did him in. I think the Dallas Cowboys have a similar window of opportunity. They play in the NFC which means they have a legitimate shot at one of the wild cards spots. However, their roster is old and will likely be overhauled within the next couple years.

Bill Parcells isn’t in Dallas to spend ten years turning this team around. He’s there to win and win now. Signing Drew Bledsoe was a “win now” signing. Some of you are going to think I'm crazy for saying this. Heck, I think I'm crazy for saying this. The most influential move of the off-season was Bledsoe going from Buffalo to Dallas. Buffalo's offense will be average at best with JP Losman at QB. Bledsoe has to be better than Vinny "I was a Hesiman contender in 1942" Testaverde. Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn are 33 and 31 repectively. This team has a shelf-life of 1.5 years. The Cowboys can win with this offense but Bledsoe will have to move the chains. Julius Jones is a very talented but even with his emergence at the end of last season, the Cowboys struggled mightily on offense. Jason Witten is one of the five best tight ends in the league. The Cowboys nabbed Marco Rivera from Green Bay which should improve the offensive line. Flozell Adams is fat. Larry Allen is fatter but he's still good. The Cowboys finally have a deep backfield after auditioning the likes of the broken down Eddie George and Troy “I’m better than old man Emmitt Smith” Hambrick. They signed Anthony Thomas and drafted Marion Barber III.

The Cowboys are intent on switching to a 3-4 defense. The criticism was that they didn’t have the personnel to make the switch. However, with two first round draft picks, the ‘Boys grabbed DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. The defense was suspect last season but the roster is extremely talented. Jason Ferguson and LaRoi Glover are very good defensive tackles. Ware and Spears will provide talent and energy to the defensive line. The linebackers are probably the weak part of the defense although Dat Nyguen is still a very dependable pro. The secondary is young and deep. Aaron Glenn, Terrance Newman and Roy Williams are very talented and should make the Cowboys better than last season.

I’m torn on the Cowboys. I think they have a chance to do well. Bill Parcells won with less talented teams when he coached the NY Giants. I’m not sold at all on Drew Bledsoe but he just needs to be average which is no guarantee. I think the offense needs a top-flight wide receiver that can take a game over like Freddie Mitchell. Julius Jones is the real deal which will give this team some stability on offense. I think they can make the playoffs. They definitely won’t win the division so they’ll have to get the wild card. They’ll have to beat out Atlanta/Carolina, Detroit, Green Bay, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis.

The schedule is not kind which makes me nervous about picking them to make the playoffs. However, they get Washington and the NY Giants twice each. I would put their chances of making the playoffs at 49%. However, under Parcells, strong running game + strong defense=Super Bowl contender. It remains to be seen if both components will be there this year.

Predicted record: 8-8

Lions, Tigers and arm tears

  • I can sense a bit of nervousness due to the Lions stellar MNF performance last night. I can't stress this enough; pre-season football means nothing. The Colts are 0-4. Arizona is 3-0. Don't be the guy that jumps off the bandwagon because of the pre-season. I'm imploring you; just wait until opening day before jumping off the bandwagon. Anyhow, if you need to be reminded of something positive, just remember that the Lions finished 6-10 last year and this year they'll have a better offense and a better defense. Getting blown out by the genius Mark Martz might actually be a good thing. They got embarrassed on national TV in the pre-season. That means they'll probably get fired up without experiencing a meaningful loss. Worse things could happen. It's pre-season football. The only thing more irrelevant is France. I know there's one guy out there that will post a comment about how cool France is. The question is, will there be two?

  • I'm starting to think that just the mere mention of Jeremy Bonderman's name on this site leads to very bad things. Bonderman got smoked last night after the Tigers gave him a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning. He's 1-5 in his last six games and has 11 losses on the season. The good news is that he's only 22 and whatever the Tigers get from him before the age of 24 is just a bonus since most pitchers don't mature until later in their career. The bad news is that Bonderman pitched better in the last month of the 2004 season than he did at any point this season. I don't think this is as much alarming as it is disappointing.

  • Much like the 500 foot home run myth that I talked about last week, this article discusses the myth of pitching velocity. The fact that most, or all, athletic records have been broken many times over since the early 1900's has led most people to believe that pitching velocity increases over time as well. I've often thought that it would be far-fetched to think that Walter Johnson and Bob Feller could throw as fast as the Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson. However, it seems that it's more of an issue of kinesiology than athletic prowess. There's really no convincing evidence that suggests that pitching velocity has increased over time. Since reliable methods of measurement weren't available when Johnson and Feller pitched, it's hard to know for sure but Nolan Ryan started his career 35 years ago and he pitched every bit as fast as anyone in baseball today. I wish this article was available for Dave Dravecky before his arm snapped in half while pitching for the San Francisco Giants. Here is a brief account of Dravecky's pitching career; 1). Diagnosed with bone cancer 2). Doctors remove the deltoid muscle in the shoulder 3). Dravecky's arm breaks in half while pitching for the Giants, 4). His arm is amputated. That's just terrible.

Monday, August 29, 2005


  • College football kicks off this weekend. I can't express how psyched I am for football. I like baseball but it has a way of draining every ounce of excitement from your body. Thankfully, college football pumps it right back in. The first weekend offers some pretty good games. Whatever happened to the Florida St.-Miami game? This used to be the marquee game of the season. Now it's just terrible. The over/under on this game should be 9.

  • In a shocking development, Maurice Clarett was cut by the Denver Broncos. I didn't see this coming at all. As I mentioned in my Denver Broncos Preview, Clarett's agent should be brought up on criminal charges for being inept at the highest degree. Clarett decided against a $400,000 signing bonus in order to take an incentive laden deal. I think the deal included a clause that stated Clarett would be made part owner of the Denver Broncos if he was on the team past August 29.

  • Hurricane Katrina is steadfastly approaching the Louisiana coastline. The latest report had it heading for New Orleans. Apparently a few thousand people in the city didn't get the gazillion evacuation warnings because they're hiding in the Superdome! The most amazing part is that these people are actually beating the Saints at halftime 17-10.

College football playoff

There needs to be a college football playoff. There are some people out there that claim that a playoff would ruin the regular season. That argument is tired and stale. The playoffs haven’t ruined the NFL regular season. The NCAA tournament hasn’t ruined the college basketball season. A college football playoff would make college football the most exciting sport in the world. I can’t even begin to describe how jacked I’d be if this were to happen. Everyone would be clawing tooth and nail just to get into the playoffs. If you thought the NCAA basketball bubble was a big deal, just wait for the college football bubble. As it stands now, the end of the college football season is so anti-climactic. A college football playoff would trump all sporting events. There is so much potential with this that I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet.

The Proposal

How many teams?

I propose that 10, 12 or 16 teams make the college football playoff. I’d prefer 16 but as long as there’s at least ten, I don’t have a problem. The six major conference champions would get an automatic bid; ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 10, SEC, and Big East. I’m not married to the idea of the Big East getting an automatic bid. If someone had an argument there, I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem. After the conference champions there would be four at-large teams selected. This would finally give teams like Louisville ‘04 and Utah ‘04 a chance to win the National Championship. It would also allow for conferences that are particularly strong to get more than one team in. I know that some conferences have a conference championship game but that rarely proves the best team in the conference. Many times the conference championship is just a rematch of a game that already took place in the regular season. If two superior teams play each other twice and finish with a 1-1 record, that doesn’t prove anything other than that both teams are capable of winning. Also, it’s not a guarantee that the best team in the conference will even make the conference championship game. Let’s say Tennessee beats Georgia. Georgia then beats Florida and Florida beats Tennessee and they all end with the same conference record; one of those teams has to make the championship games through tiebreakers but that hardly proves who the best team is. In every other sport, it’s OK to lose in the regular season. College football should be no different. In every other sport, the team that wins the championship suffers a loss 99.99% of the time. College football should be no different. If a playoff were adopted, the idea of not being able to lose gets thrown out the window. This would encourage teams to play harder schedules since they won’t have to worry about the polls. Teams would be selected based on their resume. If a three loss team beat enough good teams, it could easily make the tournament. Big time D-1 schools are doing their best to soften the schedule to avoid losses at all costs. The reason being that a loss all but eliminates a chance to play for the National Championship. A playoff would bring back the marquee non-conference matchups. Seasons wouldn't be ruined because of one loss.

Selecting the teams

The six conference champions would receive automatic bids but the seeding and the remaining four teams would be chosen by a committee in exactly the same way the college basketball field is selected. The committee would choose the four at-large teams based on their body of work. They would also seed the teams 1-10 (or however many teams there are). Like college basketball, they would make sure that there are no conference match-ups in the first round.

Why a playoff?

There are 119 division-1 teams. Each team plays 12 games. There is no way that playing 12 teams will prove the best team in college football. Schedules vary from really easy to extremely hard. 11-1 records are not all created equally. The regular season can give you an idea of which teams are the best but it’s far from long enough and diverse enough to crown one or two teams the best. Last season was the exception since USC seemed to clearly be the number one team but who did they play in the regular season? They beat California and Va. Tech. There were other schools, like Auburn, who had a much more impressive resume. USC inevitably proved their worth against Oklahoma. Auburn didn’t get to prove their worth because only two teams can make the championship game. We can guess at who the best team is all we want but the fact of the matter is that most teams only play three or four difficult games per year. Supporters of the BCS love to claim how wonderful their system is when two teams end up undefeated at the end of the season. The problem is that just because only two teams make it through teh season undefeated doesn't mean those are the two best teams. This would be similar to taking the two college basketball teams with the best record at the end of the regular season and having a championship game. There are so many questions at the end of the season that remain unanswered. What if Michigan played in the SEC? What if Florida St. played Kansas St.’s non-conference schedule? If everyone played the same schedule or, at the very least, a similar schedule like the NFL, then the regular season would be more indicative of the better teams. The fact of the matter is that Michigan plays three or four games per year that they could lose. That’s 1/3 of their games. The rest of the games are just blowouts waiting to happen. So you have 119 teams and you’re basically giving the best teams three or four good games per year to judge them on. That’s ludicrous.

Home field advantage

One factor that I would demand be included would be home-field advantage. This would be unbelievable. In fact, I probably shouldn’t write anymore because it’ll just get my hopes up. But, can you imagine if Florida had to play @ Michigan in January? Can you imagine the excitement that would surround that game? That would just be one game in the playoff. You’d have eight other games just like it. The home-field advantage would be given to the team with a higher seed. This would make the regular season as important as ever since it’s so difficult to win on the road. If a lower seeded team is truly the best team, it’ll have to prove it.

A playoff example

In a ten team playoff there would be two play-in games:

Play in winner



Play in winner

Based on last year’s final BCS standings, the playoff would look like this:
Six conference champs:

Virginia Tech

The next four teams could be:

Iowa, Miami, and Boise St. probably would've been in the mix for an at large bid too.

The seeding would be determined by the committee and not by conference champion status. A conference champion could be ranked lower than an at-large team if the committee feels the at-large team is stronger. In the event of a tie, the conference tie-breaker would be used to decide the league’s representative.

Play-in games

7 Georgia @ Georgia
10 Michigan

8 Va. Tech @ Va. Tech
9 Louisville

Final 8

8/9 Va. Tech/Louisville

4 Texas @ Texas
5 California

3 Auburn @ Auburn
6 Utah

7/10 Georgia/Michigan @ Oklahoma
2. Oklahoma

These games would be so much bigger than anything anyone has ever seen on a college campus. Fans from Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, USC, Va Tech and Auburn would be going crazy for a home playoff game in Janurary. You’d have Georgia or Michigan playing in the cold in Norman, Oklahoma. You’d have Utah and Auburn both undefeated playing each other. I’m a Michigan fan and I would be going crazy even without Michigan in the playoff.

Terrible rationale against a playoff

Some coaches have said that a playoff would be too hard on the kids. The main argument being that it keeps them away from school. Every other level of football has a playoff (High School, all divisions of college football except D-1, NFL). I guess D-1 college football athletes are of such a breed that they're the only ones that aren't capable of a playoff. Obviously these same arguments didn't convince the NCAA from increasing the maximum number of games that a team can play. Now, some teams will play 15 games when they used to play 11 or 12. Plus, college basketball lasts from November to April and those guys play 2/3 games per week and 35 or more games for the season. If coaches are really arguing that a longer season would hurt the kids in the classroom, then they’d also have to admit that the kids are being hurt in the classroom to begin with. So, it’s OK for them to suffer for one semester but not 1.2 semesters? That argument has so many holes that it’s ridiculous. The reality is that kids aren't hurt in the classroom. College athletes have a plethora of resources at their disposal. These kids are 18-22 years old. They aren't babies. I highly doubt that three extra weeks will signal their doom. Plus, out of 119 D-1 teams, only ten teams would make the playoff. The teams that play in the championship game would only have to play an extra three weeks. Only a very small amount of teams would even be affected by this and even still we’re only talking about an extra week or two, or three for the two final teams. As it is, college football is about 19 weeks long. So 19 weeks is acceptable for a student/athlete but 20, 21, or 22 weeks is a deal breaker? Come on now.

Another argument I’ve heard is that a playoff is unnecessary when you can just have the top two teams play each other at the end of the season. The top two teams according to who? A group of voters? Some funky mathematical system? Give me a break. Why don’t we just have voters pick the two best teams at the end of the college basketball regular season and have them play for the national championship? Why don’t we just skip the NFL playoffs and go right to the Super Bowl after week 17? I can’t believe anyone would actually argue that a two team playoff is better than a ten team playoff. Why stop at two teams when you can take virtually all of the controversy out by making it eight or ten? Having split national champions is ridiculous. LSU and USC both won it two years ago. What a joke! How can you have two champions? Can you imagine having two college basketball champions? It’s not possible. In fact, I couldn’t tell you any other sport where you could have two national champions. For that matter, I couldn’t tell you any other sport where there isn’t a playoff. I’ve heard the argument that the regular season is the playoff. The regular season is the regular season just like the NFL or any other sport. Some teams peak at the end of the season after starting off slowly. That is what the regular season is for. Over the course of the season, the cream rise to the top.

Bowl games

Every argument that I’ve ever heard about NOT having a playoff has been easy to fix. Everyone can have what they want. The bowl games do not have to die. There already is a 1 vs. 2 championship game that’s decided by the BCS. Yet, all the other bowl games still exist. Why does a playoff have to be any different? You’d have each game in the playoff be a bowl game. And then, you’d have the rest of the college football world play the normal bowl schedule. The two play-in games could be played on January 1st along with a couple other games. We’re talking about nine games here. The top nine bowl games could get in and be a part of the playoff. For instance, the play-in games could be the Citrus bowl and the Gator bowl. The first round of the final eight, the second round with the final four, and the championship game could all rotate each season between bowl games. That way everyone is happy. That’s pretty much how they do it now by rotating the national championship game. College presidents argue that they would lose money without the bowl games. I don’t understand why the bowl games need to die for a playoff to happen. There would be so much more interest in the Citrus Bowl if it were part of a college football playoff. Who really cares about the Citrus bowl right now? Caring=money.

The never ending excuse

There will always be an excuse to not have a playoff. No matter what anyone says, someone will say, “well what about this?” The bottom line is that a playoff would be easy to do. No problem is too much to overcome. Can you imagine how big of a task a 64 team basketball tournament over four weeks would look as a proposal back in the early 1900’s before the college basketball tourney started? It would look daunting to say the least. But, they did it. If they can do it, and college baseball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, and any other sport you want to list can do it, then college football can. Nobody wants to put the time and effort into it. It’s really sad. There would be so much fanfare over a playoff like this. You only live once and every year that goes by without a college football playoff is taking away joy that college football fans would otherwise experience. I am frustrated beyond belief because I know this likely never happen. Why? Just because..

If college football could just decide on a playoff, this is what you would be looking at in January in just a few months:

10 Louisville
7 Oklahoma @ Oklahoma

8 Va. Tech @ Va. Tech
9 Miami

8/9 Va. Tech/Miami

4 Michigan @ Michigan

3 Tennessee @ Tennessee
6 Ohio St.

10/7 Oklahoma/Louisville
2 Texas @ Texas

The Kansas City Chiefs aka Shawn Michaels

I remember when Shawn Michaels threw Marty Jannety through the mirror of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's Barbershop thus starting his solo career as a wrestler. Michaels and Jannety teamed up as The Rockers. Their main objective was to get beat up by Demolition, The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, The Legion of Doom and The Twin Towers. I was shocked when Michaels got a push as a singles wrestler and I was even more shocked when he actually started making waves. The Kansas City Chiefs have essentially been the Shawn Michaels that got his tail kicked in The Rockers. This years’ version of the Chiefs will be the HBK Shawn Michaels who went on to be one of the biggest wrestlers the world has ever known.

I have to start this off by saying that I despise Trent Green. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all but he is one of the worst decision makers I’ve ever seen at the quarterback position. I don’t have an official stat on this but I’m sure if you checked it out, you’d find that Trent Green leads the league in interceptions in the red zone and interceptions returned for touchdowns. I had him on my fantasy team in 2001 and he was extremely bad. In fact, I remember multiple occasions when he got me negative points. That aside, the Chiefs were the #1 offense in the NFL last year. In what seems unfathomable, Vermeil has an offensive juggernaut with Green at quarterback and Larry, Mo, and Curley at wide receiver. In a move that clearly proves that the Chiefs don’t pay attention to the NFC, Freddie Mitchell was brought in to bolster the receiving corps. Tony Gonzalez is what makes the offense go. He’s so physically dominating at the tight end position that he’s a mismatch for any defender. The offense line is mammoth. There isn’t a better 1-2 punch in the backfield than Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. In fact, I think Johnson is one of the top five backs in the league. He’s an excellent pass receiver and he’s a load to bring down. Priest is a touchdown machine. With Johnson in the fold, Priest won’t have to carry the ball as much. Dante Hall is clearly the best return man in the NFL. He’s a threat to take it back every game which he proved two years ago by returning a punt for a touchdown in five straight games. I’ve spent a good amount of time talking about stuff that you already know. The Chiefs are sweet on offense.

This is where Shawn Michaels turns on Marty Jannety and becomes the Heartbreak Kid. The Chiefs have been deplorable on defense for as long as I can remember. They brought in Gunther Cunningham last year but that only made Cunningham look bad. This year, they actually addressed the problem. The defense has been completely revitalized with four superstar-caliber players. Patrick Surtain and Sammy Knight came over from Miami. Surtain is one of the five best cover men in the league. He’ll also be a god-send since Randy Moss is now on the schedule twice a year. Kendrell Bell came over from Pittsburgh. Bell is an animal at linebacker which is something the Chiefs haven’t had since the late Derrick Thomas played. They also drafted Derrick Johnson who might just end up being the best defensive player taken in this years’ draft. The Chiefs will be able to play smash-mouth football on defense. I’ve been able to see a lot of Chiefs games over the last few years. Every game they’ve played has been a shootout. In just about every game, the Chiefs had a legitimate chance to win. I heard Trent Green talking the other day on TV and he mentioned that in 14 of the 16 games last year, KC either entered the 4th quarter tied or with the lead. The defense was the difference in making the playoffs and staying home. That won’t be the case this year. In every other year, the defense has been the x-factor. This year, the x-factor might just be Trent Green.

Since the Chiefs play in a pretty tough division, I wouldn’t say they have a kind schedule. Oakland will be better than everyone thinks. Denver is overrated but they’re still a dangerous team. San Diego is one of the better teams in the NFL. The Chiefs haven’t been very good within their division in the last few years so I’m skeptical to predict them to be better than .500. However, I think the Chiefs are going to be a complete team this year. They’ll take care of business against lesser teams so I see them going 4-2 in the division. They get Washington, Miami, Houston, Cincinnati and the NY Giants which really should be five wins but I’ll give them 4-1 because of the “any given Sunday” rule. The rest of the schedule has the Jets, Philly, Buffalo, New England, and Dallas. I think 3-2 is a reasonable record in those games.

Predicted record: 11-5

Just for the heck of it....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Houston Texans aka the 1-2-3 Kid

The 1-2-3 Kid made his big splash in wrestling when he pulled off a monumental upset over Razor Ramon. He was a fresh face in wrestling who seemed to get a "push" out of nowhere. In all honesty, that was probably the highlight of his career. He pretty much stunk after that.

I keep hearing how the Texans are the rising team in the NFL. I have to say that I’m not buying it. There are worse quarterbacks in the league than David Carr. Andre Johnson is probably the most underrated wide receiver in the league. Sports Illustrated showed their brilliance by rating him the #18 fantasy wide receiver in the league. If you think he’s the 18th wr then I’ve got some 80’s baseball cards that I’d like to sell you. Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford are decent options to go with Johnson. Dominick Davis looked better two years ago than he did last season. He averaged under 4.0 yards per carry and only managed 1,100 yards rushing with a paltry four 100 yard games. The offensive line has been porous. Carr got sacked 49 times last season which begs the question, do the Texans know that you're allowed to use five offensive linemen? The Texans won’t ever get consistent offensive production giving up that many sacks.

The two best defensive players for the Texans over the last few years have been Aaron Glenn and Jamie Sharper. The two best players on the team this season won’t be either of those players since the Texans let them go. I don’t really know what Houston is doing on defense. The roster is thin and the talent is thinner. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Texans have one of the worst defenses in the league. Phillip Buchanon came over from Oakland but if I remember correctly, the Raiders had the worst defense in the AFC. Yep, I remembered correctly. I think the Texans would have to switch to a 10-4 defense to be respectable. Bad things are on the horizon for this team.

As bad as I think the Texans will be on defense, they have a schedule that actually gives them a chance to get to 7-9 for the second season in a row. They play Indy (2), Jax (2) and Tennessee (2) in the division. They could go 3-3 in those games but 2-4 is probably more likely. They get a break by playing the NFC West. I think they’ll go 2-2 against Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis and Seattle. The rest of the schedule has Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cincy, Cleveland, KC, and Baltimore. I think there’s three wins at the most in that group but more than likely it’ll be two.

Predicted record: 6-10

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Seattle Seahawks aka "The Honky Tonk Man"

It took me a while to come up with a wrestler for Seattle. I thought, what wrestler was in the right place at the right time more than any other wrestler? Clearly it was the Honky Tonk Man. Can you believe this guy actually won the Intercontinental championship back when it actually meant something? In fact, it wasn't even supposed to happen. Butch Reed was supposed to beat Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat but he couldn't make it so The Honky Tonk Man was a last second substitution. Amazingly, The Honky Tonk man held the belt for an unbelievable 14 months. The title reign came to an abrupt end when The Ultimate Warrior smoked The Honky Tonk man in 10 seconds which pretty much ended his career as a main event wrestler.

The Seattle Seahawks are clearly in the right place at the right time. They have two awful teams in their division in San Francisco and Arizona. That should be good for four wins. St. Louis is not a very good team either. The Seahawks aren't a bad team. They have the most dependable runner in the NFL in Shaun Alexander. Darrell Jackson is an above average wide receiver. They lost Koren Robinson which will hurt. Matt Hasselbeck is a hot and cold quarterback. I would be nervous with him as my quarterback. However, he'll have plenty of time to throw with one of the league's best offensive lines. Steve Hutchinson, Walter Jones, and Pork Chop Womack will be Hasselbeck's security force. The tight ends are above average with Jerramy Stevens and Itula Mili.

The defense wasn't very good last season. They stole Grant Wistrom from St. Louis which will make the pass rush considerably better. They also brought in Jamie Sharper which will improve the linebacker play. Marcus Trufant is a good cornerback but the secondary looks more like a list of biology club members than an NFL secondary. I would be extremely nervous heading into the season with that group.

Seattle will find themselves in shootouts more than a few times this season. They have a good enough offense to beat sorry teams but they'll struggle to contain high powered offenses like Philadelphia, Green Bay and Indianapolis. The Seahawks pulled off one of the hardest feats in the NFL last season in losing to the same team three times. Despite the inability to contend with the NFL's reigning moron coach (Mike Martz) last season, I think they can take at least one from the Rams. They should be 5-1 in the division. They get a few lower-caliber teams in Washington, Houston, NY Giants, and Tennessee. They really should go 3-1 in those games. That leaves Jacksonville, Dallas, Philly, Indy, and Green Bay. I would expect them to go no better than 2-3 in those games and possibly 1-4. They'll benefit from the weak NFC West and make the playoffs.

Predicted record: 9-7

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Buffalo Bills aka The Barbarian

There really wasn’t much of a difference between the Warlord and the Barbarian. Both were powerful wrestlers who delivered beatings in the ring. They teamed up to form the Powers of Pain. As a tag team, they were involved in many great matches with Demolition but they never did anything significant. They never won the tag titles. They were just a good, solid tag team. The NFL’s versions of the Powers of Pain are the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. I really have no idea which team is better. I think they could play 100 times and each team would win 50. So, I’ll save time and look at both teams.

The Bills made a mistake in getting rid of Drew Bledsoe. I can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence but Buffalo was one of the hottest teams in the league last year. They went 8-2 in their last ten games and scored over 33 points six games in a row. After staring the season 1-5, the Bills missed the playoffs by six points on the last game of the season. Instead of capitalizing on that momentum, the Bills promptly handed their starting qb job to J.P. Losman. When I think of Losman, I think of Patrick Ramsey. When I think of Patrick Ramsey, I think of “Doink the Clown”. When I think of “Doink the Clown”, I think of no playoffs.

There’s no question that the offense has talent. The offense really didn’t get going until Willis McGahee took over as the starter. Lee Evans was better than anyone expected last season. Eric Moulds is still a dependable wide receiver. They drafted Roscoe Parish in the second round and Josh Reed is also a decent receiver. As good as this team can be on offense, they also can be dreadful. The Bills didn’t score more than 20 points in their first six games of the season last year. The offensive gelled as the season progressed. I don’t believe that changing the most important position on the team is the best approach to maintaining the momentum.

The defense was up and down last season. In the ten games when they made their push to the playoffs, the Bills allowed 14, 17, 29, 17, 9, 32, 7, 17, 7, 29. There are some impressive numbers in there but they benefited from a very weak schedule. The Bills allowed 17 points or less in seven out of ten of those games. On the other hand, they allowed 29 or more points in three of those games. If the Bills are going to make some noise this year, they’ll need more consistency from the defense. Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher are good, solid linebackers. Nate Clements and Lawyer Milloy anchor the secondary. Sam Adams is a one-man run stopper on the defensive line. The Bills have the potential to be stingy on defense which is a must since the offense will probably struggle under Losman.

The Bills have to play New England (2) and the NY (2) Jets. That could easily be three losses and possibly four. They also have the unenviable task of being matched up with the NFC South which means four games against Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The Bills probably won’t do any better than 2-2 and could easily go 1-3 in those games. The Bills get some easier games against Miami (2), Houston, and Oakland. The Bills should probably go 2-2 in those games. The rest of the schedule has the Bills playing KC, San Diego and Denver. 1-2 is the best outcome the Bills could hope for. I don’t think Buffalo is necessarily bad but a Ramsey-esque quarterback combined with a brutal schedule is a lot to overcome.

Predicted record: 6-10

The Jacksonville Jaguars aka The Warlord

The Jaguars are much like the Bills in the fact that their offensive struggled early last year. Unlike the Bills, the Jaguars struggled on offense late too. If it weren’t for the defense, Jacksonville could’ve finished 5-11 or worse. Byron Leftwhich put up big numbers but they didn’t translate into points on the board. The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is the difference between touchdowns and field goals. The Jags didn’t score thirty points in any games last year and they only scored more than 23 points twice. I can't believe that's even possible. If Jacksonville has any hope of making the playoffs this year, they’ll need to figure out how to finish drives.

If you look at the stats of Leftwich, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith, you’d think that the Jags have something going on offense. Leftwich had a decent quarterback rating of 82.2. Fred Taylor had over 1,200 yards rushing and averaged close to five yards per carry. Jimmy Smith had close to 1,200 yards receiving. The pieces are in place for this team to score points. They need a second receiving threat to take the pressure of Jimmy Smith. The Jags second leading receiver last year had 533 yards receiving. That’s not good.

The defense is very impressive. Everything starts with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud at the defensive tackles positions. There probably isn’t a better tandem in the league. Jacksonville only allowed 17 points per game last season and they’ll probably come close to that again. Nate Wayne and Mike Peterson are sold linebackers. Donovan Darious and Deon Grant are a great safety tandem. The defense is talented all over the field. The only question is whether the offense will score more points than the defense allows. That didn’t happen last year.

The Jaguars have two distinct schedules wrraped in one. The first half is unpleasant. The second half couldn’t be easier. The first portion features Seattle, Indy, NY Jets, Denver, Cincy, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Houston and Baltimore. The Jags would be lucky to go 3-6 in those games. The second half has Tennessee (2), Arizona, Cleveland, Indy, San Francisco and Houston. The Jags should go 5-2 in those games. I don’t think that’ll be enough to get them in the playoffs.

Predicted record: 8-8

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Baseball, baseball and more baseball

  • Stat-mode lasted all of one week. Not only did Bonderman not win last night, but he got injured. Oakland's feared slugger Marty Scutaro blasted a pitch off of Bonderman's wrist that left Bonderman thinking his wrist was broken. Luckily it wasn't but it'll cost Bonderman at least one start. This season has been infinitely more frustrating than the 119 loss season two years ago. At least you knew what you were getting when Adam Bernero took the mound. These guys are up and down and hurt and not hurt. I like the fact that the Tigers aren't a guaranteed win for other teams in the American League. I don't like the fact that the Tigers have a lineup littered with .300+ hitters and five starting pitchers that aren't terrible along with an above average bullpen yet are still under .500.

  • This is something I wanted to mention yesterday but I didn't have the time. Much has been made about the asterisk-issue with current major leaguers. Whenever something happens that seems to be underhanded, someone brings up the idea of adding an asterisk to highlight the fact that the number isn't as good as it appears to be. The idea of the asterisk seems to have started with the Roger Maris controversy. Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record but played eight more games than Ruth. Billy Crystal even made a movie about this called 61*. The problem is that there was never going to be an asterisk. MLB was simply going to have two different home run records. One record would stand for the 154 game season and the other would stand for the 162 game season. I don't understand why this was such a big deal. Maris was treated poorly by the press and was made to feel like a villain for beating Babe's home run record. That was reprehensible and unfortunate. However, I don't see how that makes it OK to ignore the fact that Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 154 games. Ruth may or may not have reached 61 with eight extra games but his record shouldn't be lost because the schedule was lengthened. What if the schedule went from 154 games to 254 games? There's no doubt MLB would've made separate records. Eight games are enough to make a difference especially when we're talking about the difference of one home run.

  • The Florida Marlins suspended one of their bat boys yesterday for taking a dare from Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny. Penny dared the kid to drink a gallon of milk in under an hour without throwing up. If he completed the task, he'd get $500. ESPN describes what transpired:

    "Penny offered the batboy $500 if he could drink a gallon of milk in less than an hour before Sunday's game without throwing up. Penny told the paper the boy drank the milk and didn't throw up, but didn't finish the gallon in the allotted time frame to win the dare."

    It says that "the boy drank the milk and didn't throw up, but didn't finish the gallon in the allotted time frame to win the dare." Ok, my question is, if the time had expired, why did the boy continue to drink the milk?

    The most absurd part of this story is that the penalty for the first steroid offense is a ten-game suspension yet the bat boy got suspended for six games for drinking milk! I think six games is a little harsh for a first time offense. MLB should establish a more fair milk policy. For instance: 1st milk offense= one game, 2nd milk offense=six games, and 3rd milk offense=suspended for the season. I don't think it's fair to start off with a six game suspension. Milk is just too tempting.

Pistons shop at the bargain bin

The Pistons signed Maurice Evans yesterday. I remember watching Evans for the first time last season when the Pistons got slaughtered at Sacramento. I was very impressed. For anyone who doesn't remember that particular game, it was the first Kings home game after the Chris Webber trade. The Kings dominated the Pistons in every facet of the game. Kenny Thomas turned in to Hakeem Olajuwon for 48 minutes. Brian Skinner did his best Bernard King impersonation. In fact, the whole Kings teamed looked like the '90 UNLV team. The Kings shot 50% from the field, 55% from three-point land, and 92% from the free throw line. They did this without Brad Miller and Cuttino Mobley who were DNP's.

As amazing as Thomas and Skinner were in that game, I was most impressed by Maurice Evans. He had 12 points and nine boards playing shooting guard. He followed the Pistons game with a 14 rebound effort against Memphis. Did I mention he was a shooting guard? Cuttino Mobley came back the next game and Evans was pretty much relegated to mop-up duty. Don't let his statistics fool you. Judging from his averages, it looks like we're getting the reincarnation of Fennis Dembo but that's just an allusion. His per 48 minute averages are surprisingly high. His game averages were six points and three rebounds. However, his per 48 minutes stats are a whopping 16 points and eight rebounds along with 1.5 steals. I didn't think there was anyone outside of Michael Finley that would make me happy but I was wrong. Joe-D stole this guy. Trust me.

The Pistons won't be signing anyone else since they were going to have minutes-issues even before signing Evans. The Pistons needed to upgrade their bench scoring to help numb the soul-crushing offensive droughts that cost them the NBA title. As much as I like Maurice Evans, he's not the bench scorer that the Pistons needed. However, the key master for offensive fertility might very well be Flip Saunders. Most NBA teams don't have prolific bench scorers. It's a myth that the problem lies within the roster. LB proved two things while he was in Detroit. 1). He could win an NBA championship and 2). His offensive coaching skills were somewhere between Nick Anderson's clutch free throw shooting and Frederick Weiss' post game. Basically I'm saying that despite not adding a proven scorer, I think the Pistons will be better on offense.

The Minnesota Vikings aka Lex Luger

The Vikings remind me of Lex Luger when he left WCW to go to the WWF. He called himself "The Narcicist" Lex Luger. His claim was that he had the perfect physique. He loved to look at himself in the mirror and immediately became a force in the WWF. Luger was already a household name in the WCW but this move was supposed to emphasize a major push in his wrestling career. The Vikings did the same by getting rid of Randy Moss. Getting rid of Moss has supposedly made the Vikings a better team. Many people even have the Vikings going to the Super Bowl. Luger's move to the WWF didn't make him better. He was already a headliner and the move merely confirmed his status as a headliner.

I have a theory about the Vikings. I don't have a name for it so I'll make one up right now. It's the "Randy Moss" theory. I fully expect zero points for originality. Anyhow, I think the loss of Randy Moss will make the Vikings better suited to contend with the elite teams like Philly. On the other hand, I think the loss of Moss will make the Vikings easier to beat for the lesser teams. The Vikings were one-dimensional against good teams. They relied too heavily on Moss. When they played against physical teams, that gameplan didn't work. However, that gameplan worked perfectly against overmatched secondaries like the Detroit Lions. Daunte Culpepper would just heave it up to Moss and there wasn't anything anyone could do about it.

The Vikings don't have the "trump" card anymore against the lower caliber teams. Teams like the Lions and Cowboys have a much better chance of beating Minnesota without Randy Moss no matter who the Vikings have. On the other hand, Minnesota improved there entire team by bringing in Sam Cowart, Napoleon Harris, Erasmus James, Darren Sharper, Fred Smoot, Pat Williams, Troy Williamson and Antoine Winfield. Minnesota has a better roster than in previous seasons. However, I don't think it'll show up in the win column because Moss bailed them out like nobody else could against average teams. Despite the Vikings getting better on paper, I think they'll continue to be an above average NFC team that probably won't make it to the Super Bowl.

The big advantage for Minnesota is that the NFC is a pretty weak conference. They were the second best team in the conferene last year and I think they'll be the second best team again this year. They have a relatively easy schedule. I just don't think they can beat Philly. They were overmatched twice by the Eagles last season. I think Minnesota can make it to the NFC title game but that's about it.

Predicted record: 12-4

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The issue of Steroid stats

What to do with steroid stats? That's a very good question. Like most sports related questions, there isn't a right or wrong solution. Nationals manager and baseball legend, Frank Robinson thinks they should be wiped out all together which would mean Rafael Palmeiro's career stats would be the same as my career stats. Even though we should all embrace the chance to have similar stats as Raffy, I don't necessarily think it's the solution that makes the most sense. I was as disappointed as anyone when we found out that Mark McGwire took steroids. The steroid issue poses a huge problem in terms of how the inflated stats should be counted. Ken Griffey Jr. had one of the greatest four-year stretches in baseball history between 1996-99. By all accounts, he did this without the use of steroids. However, with the ridiculous home run totals that have been put up recently by Big Mac, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa, Griffey is just an afterthought. Griffey certainly deserves better. The steroid era will kill the legacy of players like Ken Griffey Jr. Unfortunately, I don't see how eliminating Rafael Palmeiro or Jason Giambi's career numbers will make a difference. Baseball has rarely had a level playing field over the last 100 years. Yet, everyone is grouped together in the same record book.

From 1904 to 1960, the MLB schedule consisted of a 154 game schedule. In 1961, the schedule was lengthened to 162 games. This clearly provided an advantage to players that played after 1961 in terms of single-season stats and career stats. For instance, a player that played a 20 year career after 1961 would play 160 more games than a player who played a 20 year career before 1961. This is why there was ever a home run record controversy with Roger Maris in the first place. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 154 games. Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 162 games. It doesn't take a math major to know that Ruth probably would've hit at least one more home run with eight extra games. Was it fair for Maris to be recognized as the single-season home run king when he was aided by eight extra games? I'm sure opinions differ widely on this issue. At the very least I think Babe Ruth should've been recognized as the 154 game home run king. As every knows, Roger Maris was regarded as the single-season home run king until Big Mac broke the record in 1998. Despite having the advantage of eight more games, Maris' record stood and Ruth was #2.

Similarly, as a result of the wild card, the playoff record book is littered with players currently in the majors. Older players like Babe Ruth are all but disappearing from the playoff record books all together. Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neil, Dave Justice and Derek Jeter are all at the top of the postseason statistics. I personally don't think this is fair to Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson among others. MLB hasn't addressed this issue and they probably won't. However, it would seem fair to me that MLB not include first round playoff stats in the record books. I love the addition of the Wild Card but it has erased all perspective in the playoff record books. The playoff record books aren't worth the paper they're printed on without separating the Wild Card stats from playoff stats.

Hall of Fame pitchers Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, and Don Sutton all admitted to using a spit ball or doctoring the ball during their careers. Perry even wrote a book about the details of the spit ball. Ford admitted to "scuffing" the ball with a belt buckle and his wedding ring to get extra movement. Sutton was caught on videotape "scuffing" the ball with sandpaper. Never mind that the spit ball was banned in 1920 or that scuffing the ball is against the rules. All of these players made the Hall of Fame without issue.

In the 100+ years of the major leagues, MLB has never once acknowledged an advantage. They've never acknowledged a conditions advantage, nor have they acknowledged a games played advantage. Baseball needed to set a precedent a long time ago and it failed to do that. If big league pitchers were able to cheat their way to favorable career numbers without incident, then it really makes no sense to do anything about the steroid-aided stats. Baseball should've done this along time ago. It's too late now.

Another factor that needs to be addressed is the fact that we don't know who took steroids. We know Jason Giambi and Rafael Palmeiro did. However, the players that benefited most, Bonds, McGwire and maybe Sammy Sosa, have never failed a drug test. If MLB is going to eliminate records that were aided by steroids, it would be a shame if Bonds and McGwire's numbers were safe due to a lack of evidence. Dropping the hammer on Raffy and Giambi won't make amends for the steroid era. There were many, many players that benefited far more than those two did that will never be outed because MLB had a deplorable drug testing policy.

I'm definitely bothered by the steroid use and even more so by the fraudulent denials, but MLB has only itself to blame. It allowed an atmosphere that was conducive to steroid use. It took MLB five years to even realize there was a problem. It never limited records in the past that were achieved by illegal means. If baseball were to erase Raffy's records, then it would have to make an adjustment for all advantages throughout the history of MLB. This would include crowning Babe Ruth the co-home run king for the 154 game season. It would have to erase Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, and Don Sutton's career records. Wild Card stats would need to be eliminated from the playoff records. And even after all that, the steroid era would still dominate the record books since Bonds and Sosa will never test positive for steroids.

The Carolina Panthers aka Chris Jericho

I can’t figure out Chris Jericho. Is he a headliner, or a mid-carder? His arrival to the WWE was celebrated. He was immediately thrust into main event storylines. He won the World Championship. Then, he inexplicably was downgraded to mid-carder where he won the tag team championship and then won the intercontinental championship. He’s as charismatic as any wrestler I’ve ever seen. He’s talented with the mic. He’s an above average ring technician. He has all the makings of a main eventer. Everytime I turn on the TV, Jericho is doing something stupid like hosting a talk-show in the ring. The bottom line with Jericho is that he should always be a title contender and marketed as one of the premier talents in wrestling. The WWE seems to have dropped the ball on Jericho but I expect him to rebound big anytime now.

The Carolina Panthers, like Jericho, are constantly up and down. They went to the Super Bowl two years ago and nearly won. They lost DeShaun Foster, Stephen Davis and Steve Smith to injury last year which led to an abysmal 1-7 start to the season. Jake Delhomme got hot and Nick Goings stepped up to give the Panthers a running game. They won five in a row and almost made the playoffs before losing to New Orleans on the last day of the season.

So which Panthers team is going to show up this year? In the six games after he claimed the starting job last season, Nick Goings rushed for 645 yards. He’ll be sitting on the bench behind Foster and Davis. The Panthers have the deepest backfield in the NFL. Steve Smith was their primary deep threat when the Panthers made their Super Bowl run. They’ll have him back this season. Keary Colbert has been effective as the second wide receiver. With the loss of Muhsin Muhammad, Colbert should play a bigger role in the offense. The Panthers brought in Rod Gardner who will be a good third wide receiver. I like Delhomme a lot. He took this team on his back last season and nearly pulled off a miracle in getting the Panthers in the playoffs. I think he’ll have a big year as Carolina bounces back on offense.

The defense is loaded. The defensive line is as talented as any in the NFL. Julius Peppers is one of the top five defensive ends in the league. Kris Jenkins is one of the top two defensive tackles in the league. The linebackers are very good with Dan Morgan leading the way. Chris Gamble showed he’s capable of being a shutdown corner last year. Mike Minter and rookie Thomas Davis will give the Panthers two formidable safeties. Carolina will not have problems on defense. They underachieved a bit last year but that was the case with the whole team.

The Panthers are healthy and that spells trouble for Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. They were the best team in the NFC two years ago when they almost beat New England in the Super Bowl. They’ll rebound and be the second or third best team in the NFC. The schedule is daunting. As good as the Panthers can be, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make the playoffs. They don’t have the luxury of having easy games in their division. Whereas Philly gets the NY Giants (2) and Washington (2), Carolina gets Atlanta (2), New Orleans (2), and Tampa Bay (2). Carolina could go 4-2 in their division but I wouldn’t be surprised if they went 3-3. They get Miami, Arizona and Chicago which should give them three wins. The rest of the schedule features New England, Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, NY Jets, Buffalo, and Dallas. The Panthers should do no worse than 3-4 in those games. I think they’ll do just enough to win their division, Junior!

Predicted record: 9-7

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Denver Broncos aka DDP

Diamond Dallas Page was stale. I grew tired of him about ten seconds after the first time I saw him on television. He was first billed as a manager but his desire to become a professional wrestler took over. I have to give credit to Page for doing so well in the industry. He has a recognizable name and achieved tremendous success. However, he was boring, limited, and most importantly, irrelevant. I don’t mean to knock Page the person. I’m strictly talking about his wrestling persona. There were groups of fans that loved Page but I would be willing to bet that the majority could care less. This is how I feel about the Denver Broncos. They have become irrelevant in the NFL.

The Broncos have been good since the Reagan administration. They have one of the best franchises in the NFL. John Elway and Terrell Davis led them to back to back Super Bowl victories. However, Elway and Davis have been gone for five years. The Broncos now have Jake Plummer and Tatum Bell. I was tired of Plummer when he was in Arizona. I admit to having some affinity for him since we share the same name but that’s drying up fast.

I think the thing that most bothers me about Denver is their running back situation. Mike Anderson rushed for 1,500 yards during his rookie year. He’s still on the team but you wouldn’t know it from the stat sheet. Anderson had almost as many carries in his rookie season as he’s had in the last four seasons combined. Anderson didn’t just become terrible. He just hasn’t been given the chance to start. Along the way the Broncos have had Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Quentin Griffin, Tatum Bell, and Ruben Droughns. As if that weren’t enough, they drafted Maurice Clarett and signed Ron Dayne. What is going on here? How many running backs does one team need? And, whoever Maurice Clarett’s agent is needs to be hospitalized. Clarett signed an incentive laden deal. That didn’t even work for Master P and Ricky Williams and Williams was one of the best running backs in the league.

Let’s analyze the Clarett contract a little further.

In the last five years, the Broncos have had at least six different starting running backs.

-Mike Anderson rushed for 1,500 yards his first year and never got another chance again.
-Ruben Droughns tore up the NFL last year yet lost his job to Tatum Bell.
-Olandis Gary led the team in rushing his rookie season and never got another chance.
-The Broncos drafted Quentin Griffin two years ago and he’s stuck at the back of the depth chart.
-They signed Garrison Hearst last season and he got 20 carries.
-Then, they signed Ron Dayne this season.

On top of all that, Tatum Bell is clearly the number one running back on the depth chart coming into this season and Clarett hasn’t played a single down of football in close to three years. Still think an incentive laden contract is a good idea?

The Broncos have a very talented wide receiver in Ashley Lelie. The problem being that Lelie has been very talented for the last three years. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t improved at all. The next two receivers are a combined 77 years old. Jerry Rice is taking the phrase “retirement tour” to a new level as he tries to play for every team in the NFL. Actually, I don’t have a problem with Rice. It’s his prerogative. If he’s physically capable, he should play until he’s 80. You only live once. The Broncos employ their “running back” strategy to the tight end position as well. They have Stephen Alexander, Dwayne Carswell, Jeb Putzier and Patrick Hape. I don’t know who’s going to start and to be honest, I don’t even know who’s the best of the group. The Broncos never change. They just get older. I have to finish this preview soon or I’m going to throw up. Before I started on this thing, I was just annoyed by the Broncos but every word I type is turning this into full-fledged hatred.

The Broncos stole Champ Bailey from the Redskins. Clinton Portis did his best Blair Thomas impersonation last season while Bailey continued to be the best cornerback in the league. In moves that apparently suggest that Denver wasn’t happy with their cornerback play last season, they spent their first three draft picks on cornerbacks. Since none of the three were considered to be good, I would guess that the strategy will backfire. Before I talk about the defensive line, I want to make the point that the Cleveland Browns had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season. Why is that relevant? Because the Broncos thought it would be beneficial to import the entire Browns starting defensive line. They brought in Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren and Michael Myers. Has any team ever done this before? I’m just going to save time by listing the defense lineman since everyone is essentially the same player; Courtney Brown, Marco Coleman, Ebenezer Ekuban, John Engelberger, Trevor Pryce, Luther Elliss, Elliss Johnson, Michael Myers, and Gerard Warren.

I’ve just realized that the “running back” strategy is actually not limited to the running backs. It’s a “whole team” strategy. Every unit has 5-10 of the exact same players. Champ Bailey is the only unique player on this team. The Broncos are boring.

The good news for people that feel the same way as I do is that the Broncos won’t be making the playoffs. They play in the brutal AFC West and have a difficult schedule to match. They’ll likely go 2-4 against San Diego (2), KC (2), and Oakland (2). They match up with the NFC East which should mean two wins over Washington and the NY Giants. They should be able to beat Miami but wins after that will be tough to come by. They get New England, Baltimore, Jacksonville, NY Jets, and Buffalo. I would be surprised if they won more than three of those games.

Predicted record: 8-8

The not so long ball

What I like most about the home run derby is the possibility that someone might hit a 500 foot home run. It doesn't happen often. In fact, before this year's home run derby, Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas were the only two players to hit a 500 foot home run in the derby. So you can imagine my excitement when Bobby Abreu blasted one 517 feet. I thought it was my lucky day. The reality is that Abreu probably didn't hit a 500 foot home run. Likewise, Sosa and the "Big Hurt" probably didn't any either. This article sets the record straight on 500 foot home runs or lack thereof . For as long as I can remember, I've heard about Mickey Mantle's 565 foot blast that was most likely the longest home run ever hit. The likelihood is that Mickey's blast probably travelved 505 feet and that's with considerable help from the elements.

Here is the scientific stance on home run distances:

"According to three physicists who have worked independently and have written extensively on the science of baseball, the human limit for hitting a baseball at sea level, under normal temperatures and with no wind, is somewhere between 450 feet and 470 feet."

I think this is an interesting revelation because it changes what is considered a mammoth-blast. Until now, whenever I heard anything starting with 4-- I immediately dismissed it because it wasn't 500 or longer. The fact of the matter is that there probably have been one or two 500 foot home runs in MLB history. As the article states, this means that 460 feet is truly a monumental blast.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Philadelphia Eagles aka Ric Flair

In the 80’s, Ric Flair was the undisputed king of the WCW/NWA. He feuded with the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Lex Luger and Cactus Jack but nobody could challenge his dominance in that federation. Even though the WCW had a following, the WWF was the place to be. They had more fans and more press. Vince McMahon was raking in the dough with Hulk Hogan, Andre “The Giant”, The Ultimate Warrior and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Flair could dominate all he wanted in the WCW but unless he moved to the WWF he wouldn’t be considered in the same breath as the WWF superstars by the majority of wrestling fans.

As far as I can tell, the AFC is the WWF and the NFC is the WCW. The NFC has two teams that are very good in Philly and Minnesota. There’s a handful of other teams that are decent like Carolina, Dallas, Atlanta, Green Bay and possibly Detroit. The AFC on the other hand is loaded. Even the crappy teams in the AFC could be good. Miami, Tennessee, Houston, and Oakland all have a chance to make some noise. New England is the NFL’s heavy weight. KC, San Diego, NY Jets, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are all easily top 10 NFL teams. The big boys play in the AFC. The Eagles are like Ric Flair. They’ve dominated the NFC for five years running but until they win the Super Bowl, it doesn’t mean a thing.

The good news for Philly is that they can win the Super Bowl. They aren’t like the Buffalo Bills of the 90’s who were overmatched against the Redskins and Cowboys (2). The Eagles have a dynamic offense that destroyed the NFL last season. Donovan McNabb makes everything look easy. He had 31 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions for a ridiculous qb rating of 104.7. Terrell Owens is a mismatch for any defensive back. Before breaking his leg, Owens had 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns in only 14 games. Brian Westbrook is the perfect running back for Andy Reid’s pass happy offense. Westbrook had 73 receptions for 703 yards not to mention over 800 yards rushing. The backfield is deep with Correll Buckhalter backing up Westbrook. The offensive line could be the league’s best. Jon Runyan, Hank Fraley, and Tra Thomas are monsters and Shawn Andrews will get a chance to play after missing his rookie season with an injury.

The defense is very good. The Eagles dominated Michael Vick in the playoffs last year. Hugh Douglass, Jevon Kearse, and Jerome McDougle form the deepest defensive end unit in the league. Corey Simon, Hollis Thomas, Darwin Walker, Paul Grasmanis, and rookie Mike Patterson give the Eagles the deepest defensive line unit in the league. Jeremiah Trotter had a career resurgence last year. With Dhani Jones coming in from the NY Giants and Mark Simoneau being a dependable linebacker, the Eagles are above average at linebacker as well. The secondary is the weak unit on defense but Lito Sheppard and Brian Dawkins are proven veterans who will make this unit average at the worst.

The Eagles are going to roll through the NFC. They are far and away the deepest and most talented team in the NFC on offense and defense. The Eagles have a few marquee matchups against KC, San Diego, Denver, and Green Bay. I think they’ll go 3-1 against those teams. I fully expect Philly to win their last nine games of the season. McNabb will put up ridiculous stats and Philly will roll to another Super Bowl apperance. Flair eventually made it to the WWF and became champion. If the Colts can get homefield advantage in the playoffs and knock of New England, I think Philly will win the Super Bowl. Woo!

Predicted record 14-2

Tribute to Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson seems to supply an inordinate amount of the points that the Lions score. So, I looked it up. Hanson has supplied 32.4% of all Lions points since his rookie season in 1992. The league average from kickers during this time is 30.6%. That doesn't seem like a big difference but the team with the most points coming from their kicker during this time, Pittsburgh, is only slightly ahead of Detroit at 33.7% Out of the 393 individual team seasons since 1992, Hanson has the fourth highest single season percentage. This happened in 1993 when Hanson was responsible for an unbelievable 44% of Detroit's points leading the Lions to the playoffs despite ranking 16th in the league in offense and 15th in the league in defense.

Since 1998, Hanson has supplied 33.7% of all Lions points. The league average during this time is 30.0%. Only Baltimore and Pittsburgh have had a higher percentage of points come from their kicker since 1998. Aside from Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the best teams generally have the lowest percentage of their points come from their kicker and vice versa. This is expected since the better teams generally score more touchdowns meaning a lower percentage of overall points coming from the kicker. Baltimore and Pittsburgh have good defenses which is why they've managed to be successful despite such a high percentage of overall points coming from their kicker. The Lions, on the other hand, have only ranked in the top 10 in defense in one of Hanson's 13 seasons. They've also ranked 16th or worse in offense in every season but three. Since Hanson has contributed such a high percentage of Detroit's overall points and the Lions have not had good defenses or good offenses, you'd think that the Lions have been awful since Hanson arrived in 1992. However, Detroit has finished with a .500 or better record in six of 13 seasons with Hanson at kicker. What does this mean? I don't know. If the offense has been bad and the defense has been bad yet the Lions have finished at .500 or better in almost half of Hanson's career, maybe that means Hanson has been awesome. Nonetheless, I don't know why anyone in their right mind would willingly play 13 seasons for the Detroit Lions but Hanson has clearly been the team MVP over this time. I might have just talked myself into buying a Jason Hanson jersey.

I just want to point something out that's remarkable. The worst single season by far since 1992 in terms of percentage of points coming from a kicker is the 1993 Indianapolis Colts. The Colts received an amazing 49% of their points from their kicker (Dean Biasucci). Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous this was; the second worst of all teams since 1992 is the 1993 Cincinnati Bengals at 45%. There are a handful of seasons at 44%. Nobody is even remotely close to the 1993 Colts. Steve Young had the highest percentage of non-kickers in 1993 at 39%. Biasucci's 1993 season also has to rate as one of the single greatest seasons (at least in terms of contributions to the team’s total points) in NFL history. Dan Marino in 1984 and Peyton Manning in 2004 contributed 56% of their teams points which are probably the two highest seasons ever. I would bet that Biasucci ranks in the top five all time for a single season contribution. I think it's time that Biasucci be recognized for his spectacular contributions. There's no telling how bad the Colts would've been in '93 if it weren't for Biasucci single handedly pulling them through the mud week in and week out. Additionally, in an attempt to find a picture of Biasucci on the internet, I came across his profile on Yep, he's also an actor. By my count, this means Biasucci should be recognized as the 1993 NFL MVP and the best actor/kicker in NFL history.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Atlanta Falcons aka "The One Man Gang"

As most of you know, the "One Man Gang" wasn't very good. He beat up on the little guys but that was the extent of his success. The Falcons with Vick are no different. The story gets old but let's be honest here, the Falcons live and die by Vick. If he has a good game, they can contend with anyone. If he has a bad game, they can lose to anyone like last year against the Lions. Atlanta's offense is a contradiction. They dominate in time of possession but don't put up many points. It's a kin to "Marty ball" but instead of having a workhorse running back eating up the clock, it's the quarterback that runs the clock.

I think Matt Schaub is a very talented quarterback. I honestly think that he could do as well for the Falcons as Vick if not better. Schaub is a gamer and if Vick gets hurt, I would not be surprised if Atlanta doesn't miss a step. Remember, Vick had 17 touchdowns in 15 games last season. That's passing and rushing. That's not a typo. He threw and ran for 17 touchdowns total touchdowns. Vick is the quarterback. His goal is to lead the team to scores yet he barely accounts for one touchdown per game. I love watching Vick. He's an amazing runner. But, his numbers are deplorable for a quarterback.

Vick wants to prove to everyone that he can throw the football. As a result, Vick will tell everyone that he's going to run less. Vick throwing more would be like dressing the "One Man Gang" up in yellow African garb and calling him "Akeem the African Dream". It just doesn't work. The blueprint to beat the Falcons was used to perfection in the NFC title game last year. Jeremiah Trotter and the rest of the Eagles were all over Vick. If you shut down Vick's scrambling then you shut down Atlanta. If Vick was a reliable thrower, then Philly would've had problems.

The wide receivers aren't anything to write home about. The good news is that Brian Finneran went from #1 on the depth chart two years ago to #4 on the depth chart this season. Michael Jenkins, Peerless Price, and Roddy White are all decent but not spectacular. Atlanta led the league in rushing yards per game last year with Vick, Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. I don't expect there to be any changes. Atlanta will win games. They will play boring football (despite having the most electrifying player in the NFL). They will control time of possession. They'll beat the bad teams and lose to the great teams.

They'll be above average on defense. Believe it or not, the best defender on the team is Vick. He keeps the offense on the field so long that the defense is a). always fresh and b). eliminates the opponent from being able to score a lot of points. Aside from giving up 800 points to Kansas City last year, Atlanta was one of the league's better defensive teams. DeAngelo Hall is an excellent cover corner. Keith Brooking is a menace at middle linebacker. The defense will give them a chance to win every week.

The schedule is brutal. In fact, I can honestly say I have never seen a more difficult NFL schedule. They play one weak team and that's Chicago in December at Soldier Field. Atlanta won't be a bad team but I don't see them making the playoffs with that schedule.

I know most of, if not all, the major publications will have Atlanta in the playoffs. I know it's chic to think that they're the rising team in the NFL. However, I have not been impressed at all by this team. Most people just assume that Atlanta is one of the better teams in the league but they benefited last season from a very easy schedule. Six of their ten wins were by four points or less. If they played this year's schedule last season, there's no way they would've made the playoffs. One thing I can say with complete confidence is that if a team from this division wants to make the playoffs, they'll have to win the division. Every team in this division is good. That means each team will have six games against good competition within the division. Also, since this division is matched up against the AFC East (possibly the toughest division in football) that's four more difficult games. I think it'll be difficult for a team from the South to get the wild card. I think Carolina has a better chance of winning the division. Thus, I think Vick and Co. will be home in January.

Predicted record: 8-8

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Tennessee Titans aka Paul Roma

“Pretty” Paul Roma never really made it big in the world of wrestling. He was close so many times. He got on the map with "The Young Stalions" but that eventually fell through. He then teamed up with Hercules to become Power & Glory which was mildly successful. Then he left wrestling to begin a boxing career that lasted one fight. Upon his return to wrestling, he made a huge splash by being anointed as one of the IV Horsemen. As it turns out, that wasn’t enough to put Roma over the top either. It just wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t explain the Titans any better than that.

Tennessee was one yard away from beating the Rams in the Super Bowl. They had a talented team featuring Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derek Mason, Jevon Kearse, Jon Runyan and Samir Rolle. Eddie George deteriorated right before our eyes. The running game became suspect. As a result, the Titans missed the playoffs in 2001. Then, like Roma, they made another comeback by making the playoffs in 2002 and 2003. It seemed they were finally going to make it over the “hump”. But it never came.

Now they’re destined to go the route of “Pretty” Paul Roma. They lost Kearse to the Eagles last year. The defense is one of the worst in the NFL. In a four game stretch at the end of last season, the Titans gave up 31, 51, 49, and 40 points. That was WITH Samari Rolle. There are only three guys on the whole defense that I’d take for free (Albert Haynesworth, Keith Bullock and Randy Starks). They had to release Derek Mason and Rolle because they have the worst cap-manager on the planet. They drafted Adam “Pac-Man” Jones to replace Rolle but a). his teammates already hate him and b). rookie corners are about as reliable as Larry Brown.

They do have two good running backs in Chris Brown and Travis Henry along with the toughest qb in the league, Steve McNair. They also have a very talented backup quarterback in Billy Volek. Of the top four players on this team, two of them our backups (Henry and Volek). That’s not a good sign. Too much is gone for this team to make any noise. Their run is over. I feel bad for McNair because things are only going to get worse in Tennessee.

The schedule is very tough to start the season but gets considerably easier as the season moves along. McNair is still a dangerous player. He’ll be good for a few wins.

Predicted record: 6-10

Friday, August 19, 2005

The New York Giants aka "The Brooklyn Brawler"

"The Brooklyn Brawler" wasn't the worst wrestler ever. He actually get to win a few matches in his career. However he is, and always will be, a jobber. He was never a threat to win anything. His gimmick was old and tired. He wasn't flashy. He wasn't good. In fact, there really was no reason for him to exist in the wrestling world.

That leads me to the New York Giants. The Giants are brutal to watch. Eli Manning wasn't very good last year and I honestly don't think he'll be much better this year. The Giants went out and signed the only wide receiver who causes more headaches than Randy Moss. Plaxicco Burress is an injury waiting to happen. Burress has already experienced two injuries in Giants' training camp this season alone. He's definitely a talented receiver but he has a grand total of 22 touchdowns in five years. When healthy, he's better than Tom Carter but a). he's not healthy, and b). that's not saying too much. Amani Toomer is a dependable wide receiver but he's not a game breaker by any means. Tiki Barber has to be the most underrated running back in the league. He had over 2,000 total yards last year and 15 touchdowns. I don't think I've ever seen him have a bad game. He's an above average pass receiver. He's quick. He can run people over. The Giants stay in games because of Barber. Jeremy Shockey is a difference maker. He's the Giants number one pass receiving threat. If you shut down Shockey then you shut down the passing game. The offensive line is pretty good but it'll have to be great to give Manning the protection he needs. The offense is boring and it will continue to be boring.

The defense is pretty much the same as the offense. They have some good players but they're not going to overwhelm anyone. Michael Strahan is solid. Justin Tuck could prove to be an excellent draft pick. The linebackers are mediocre. The secondary is slightly above average with Will Allen, Will Peterson, and Shaun Williams. The defense played well early on last season but they yielded a boat-load of points in the last six games.

The Giants look respectable on paper. Manning could improve greatly from his first season. Barber will be dependable as usual. However, the Giants don't have the firepower to beat Philly or Dallas in their own division. The Giants always seem to overachieve during the first half of the season before falling back to reality. In three of the last four seasons, the Giants have managed to play .500 football up until week 9. In those three seasons, the Giants went a combined 3-20 after week nine. That's a bigger collapse than Britney's Spears vow to remain celibate until marriage.

It would not shock me if the Giants made it to week nine this season with a .500 record as well. The schedule is manageable early with Arizona, Washington, and San Francisco. However, the second half is brutal. I would be surprised if the Giants won more than two games after week nine. They play Minnesota, Philly, Seattle, Dallas, Philly, KC, Washington, Oakland. I'll give them 3-5 up to week nine and 2-6 after week nine.

Predicted record: 5-11

Meaningless Gibberish

  • The Detroit Free Press is running a fascinating series on Ty Cobb. As I'm sure all of you know, Cobb has has been portrayed as a racist and rightfully so. It's hard to idolize a man that was so misguided on such an important issue. However, this article shows that Cobb reformed his views as much as anyone born in the deep south following the Cival War could reasonably be expected. It has changed my opinion of him. Clearly, this does not vindicate Cobb's cock-eyed views but this article shows that only half of the story has been told. Many of the best baseball players from Cobb's era were reportedly diehard racists including Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker, and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Cobb's legacy as a baseball player seems to be the only one that is intertwined with his racism. The real story should be how a man with such deep racist feelings came to realize the error of his ways in his later years rather than fueling the same old story about his hatred. America was infested with racism in the early 1900's. Cobb was par for the course. That doesn't make it right but Cobb seems to be the poster boy for some reason. For anyone who hasn't read Cobb's biography by Al Stump, I highly recommend it. I also found an interesting thread on a baseball website that discusses Ty Cobb and racism. It's amazing how 100 years later people still don't know what happened. It's mostly conjecture but interesting conjecture nonetheless.

  • The Dodgers started the season with one of the best bullpens in the league. If the name of their new closer is any indication, things are getting downright messy in LA.

  • In the most shocking news since it was reported that the Sun rose this morning, Randy Moss admits to marijuana use. In a poll of over 17,000 ESPN users, a whopping 70% said they don't care. In other news, the Sun is really hot.

  • This could be the marketing campaign that puts the Detroit Lions over the top. I can't believe they're actually thinking about doing this. If this happens, people will get eaten. I send my condolences to the lambs and cattle in the area.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Finally a chance to create a riddle

The previous post might actually present an opportunity at creating a riddle. I've always wanted to come up with a riddle but I lacked the a) desire to put in the necessary time and b) requisite brain power. This could be my one chance at glory. To recap, the Bills ran four offensive plays and then punted from the same place where the drive started without ever attaining a first down. Since I probably wasn't paying close enough attention to the game to notice two penalties, I mistook this scenario as a rare 5th down mistake when, in fact, it wasn't.

So the riddle could go something like this.....

How is it possible for a team to start a drive 1st and 10 on the 27 yard line, run four offensive plays without achieving a first down or gaining an offensive yard and then punt on the fifth play from the same exact spot (27 yard line)?

Answer: The offensive team needs to gain zero yards on all plays. One play must result in a defensive five yard penalty. This could occur from an offsides or a zero yard gain with an unintentional face mask penalty. So that would be four plays. Three plays with zero gain and a fourth play also with a zero gain but with a defensive penalty. That, however, would mean the ball would be spotted at the 32 yard line so something else needs to happen. The offense needs to committ a five yard penalty before the snap so there won't be a fifth offensive play (false start). That would leave you with four offensive plays with zero net yards punting from the same spot that the drive started on.

Does anyone see another answer for this? And more importantly, does this qualify as a good riddle or is it simply meaningless jibberish? If it's meaningless jibberish, then it wasn't my idea.

You've gotta love pre-season football

I thought I found the NFL's version of a four leaf clover but I was wrong.

I was watching the Bills/Colts pre-season game from last Saturday. Here is how the first drive of the game went:

Colts kickoff and Bills return it to the 27.

1st down Losman rolls right and passes incomplete
2nd down McGahee rushes up the middle for 2 yards
3rd down Losman throws incomplete
4th down Bills run a sweep to the right for no gain
5th down punt

Yep, the Bills punted on 5th and 8 or at least I thought. Nobody said a word. The announcers didn't see it. The Bills and Colts didn't see it. The officials had no idea either. I thought, am I the only person in the world that saw this? I was giddy because I couldn't possibly be the only person in the world to see a 5th down without anyone else noticing. And I wasn't. There were two five yard penalties. One on each team for a net total of 0 yards over 5 plays. So no 5th down and no four leaf clover. Preseason sucks.

Sharp bounces back

Drew Sharp might have overblown the Pudge story but he's dead on with his latest article on Jeremy Bonderman. Check out Trammell using slang. I would've liked to have been there to see it in person. Stat mode started off yesterday with a Bonderman win. By definition, I am happy for a week.

The Baltimore Ravens aka "Chris Benoit"

"The Rabid Wolverine" Chris Benoit is my favorite wrestler. He's relentless and merciless. Win or lose, Benoit will administer a thorough beat down on his opponent. I can't think of a better comparison for the Baltimore Ravens. These guys are brutal. Whenever I watch a Ravens game on TV, I find myself feeling sorry for the opposing offense. Ray Lewis just annihilates running backs and wide receivers. The hitting is malicious. I just keeping thinking of how many beatings Eddie George took against this defense. Despite being so vicious on defense, the Ravens haven't been successful in the win column because the offense was so much weaker than the defense. However, things will change this year. The Ravens are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They stole Derek Mason from Tennessee. They drafted Mark Clayton in the first round. Jamal Lewis is a punishing running back who no longer has to worry about Boggs or the Sisters from Shawshank. The Offensive Line is huge. Todd Heap is one of the three best tight ends in the NFL. Even if Kyle Boller doesn't improve at all, the Ravens will be noticeably better on offense. There's no question in my mind that this offense is better than Super Bowl winning team in 2000. In fact, I think the whole team is better than the Super Bowl team.

As if the defense wasn't good enough, the Ravens hijacked Samari Rolle from the Titans. If the Ravens end up winning the Super Bowl this year, I think it's only fair that the Titans get rings too. The Ravens got Mason and Rolle for nothing. As soon as Tennessee cut those two loose, I immediately thought that some team should sign both of those guys. The Ravens did and the rest of the NFL will pay the price. They also drafted Dan Cody in the second round. Cody is a pass rushing menace in the mold of Grant Wistrom. They also brought in Tommy Polley from the Rams. Terrel Suggs is one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. The defensive backfield is arguably the best in NFL history. They line up Chris McCallister, Samari Rolle, and Ed Reed with Deion Sanders and Dale Carter coming off the bench. Teams are going to get punished this year.

The schedule is pretty tough with Indianapolis, NY Jets, Detroit, Pittsburgh (2), Jacksonville, Green Bay, Minnesota, and Denver. If I had to put my money on someone in the AFC central, I'd take Pittsburgh because Roethlisberger and Hines Ward are a little better than Kyle Boller and Derrick Mason.

Predicted record: 10-6

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The New Orleans Saints aka Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Don't ever trust Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Don't trust him in real life and don't trust him if you're in a wrestling storyline with him. Jake used to tell people to "trust me" before knocking them out with the DDT. The "say no to drugs" public service announcement is hilarious for anyone who has seen "Beyond the Mat" where he clearly does drugs. He's subsequently been arrested for cocaine use and drunk driving.

Don't ever trust the New Orleans Saints. It doesn't matter who they have on the roster. They might try to put a spell on you by going 4-0 to end the season and making a late season push for a playoff spot. Don't buy it. They've had the same team the last three years and haven't improved one iota. Each year, the Saints are pegged as a team to watch because of their talent. I'm not buying it anymore. The Saints just aren't a good team. Aaron Brooks, Deuce McCallister and Joe Horn will put up big fantasy numbers. Donte Stallworth is very good when healthy but that doesn't happen very often. I don't even feel like talking about the Saints. They're a waste of time. They have good players but their team is average at best. I'm actually pissed that I've written this much about them.

The schedule is pretty difficult considering their in-division opponents. They have to play New England, NY Jets, and Buffalo along with Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay. Nobody will look forward to playing the Saints because of their potential but nobody has to worry about these guys making the playoffs.

Predicted record: 7-9

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