Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Random thoughts in my head

-The San Diego Chargers will be one of the best teams to not make the playoffs in NFL history. They will be right there with the ’91 San Francisco 49ers. That Niners team was #3 in the NFL in total offense and #5 in total defense. They lost six games by a total of 26 points. They outscored their opponents 393-239. I don’t believe the Washington Redskins would’ve won the Super Bowl if SF would’ve made the playoffs.

- I think the Big Ten is going to go 3-4 in its bowl games.

-Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson are two of the top ten running backs ever. Alexander has a combination of size and speed that very few other backs in NFL history can match, if any. Tomlinson is a perfect back. They are single handily giving respect to the Chargers and Seahawks. Those two teams had been irrelevant for a long time.

-There is no way that the Lions will lose to the Saints. The Lions are bad but when have they ever done anything right? Well, losing to the Saints would be the right thing to do.

-The Pistons have to keep playing the regular season with playoff-like focus. They have to finish with a better record than the Spurs to get homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Pistons had homecourt last year, they would still be the NBA Champs.

-The #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament will be Duke, Memphis, Connecticut, and the final #1 seed will be between Illinois, Villanova, Gonzaga, and Washington.

-The Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) will get three teams into the NCAA tourney.

-The Tigers are still the 4th best team in the Central division. You can thank Mike Illitch for his “show me first” stance. Illitch says he’ll invest money into the team if the team shows him something. Doesn’t 15 years of neglect preclude the team from being able show him something before he puts money in? If Jim Leyland is the greatest manger in MLB history, the Tigers might be in a playoff hunt. If Leyland is merely a good manager, the Tigers will lose 90 games again.

-I’m officially rooting for the Patriots to win another Super Bowl. There isn’t an NFC team that is good enough or deserving enough to win the Super Bowl. The only teams in the AFC that are good enough are the Colts and Broncos. I can’t stand Manning so I won’t root for him. I’m not a big Broncos fan either. So, go Pats!

-I think Ron Artest could put an NBA franchise over the top. If an average NBA team could acquire Artest without hurting their nucleus, there could be a new title contender.

-I think the Michigan basketball team will go 8-8 in the Big Ten and make the NCAA tournament giving the Big Ten seven teams in the Big Dance.

-The Big East will set the all-time record for teams in the NCAA tournament with eight. Only three of those teams will be better than the worst tournament team from the Big Ten or ACC (UCONN, Villanova, and Louisville).

-I think this year’s Stanley Cup winner will be a totally off the wall team. 21 of the 30 NHL teams are above .500.

-I think the Red Sox made the steal of the off-season by acquiring Mark Loretta from the San Diego Padres for Doug Mirabelli. I can’t believe that trade happened. Loretta could possibly be the most underrated player in MLB.

-I don’t think the Red Sox have any idea how to run their team. They let Pedro go after they won the World Series. They got booted from the playoffs this year because they didn’t have pitching. If you’re going to give Pedro the boot, you better have another dominating pitcher in mind to replace him. Then, they let Johnny Damon go to the Yankees. The Red Sox may not make the playoffs this year. That would be amazing considering how good they were two years ago. You can’t let superstar players go without replacing them with equally talented players.


Anonymous said...

This is the only thing that surprised me: "There is no way that the Lions will lose to the Saints. The Lions are bad but when have they ever done anything right? Well, losing to the Saints would be the right thing to do."

You're talking about the DETROIT Lions in this example correct? The Saints are playing game by game for pride purposes so i think they have more to play for despite somewhat inferior talent. Lions are no better than the 49ers at this point.

Anonymous said...

I feel you on the Pats. I dislike the whole Manning clan. I'm rooting for the Patriots only because I believe they are the only team that is capable of beating Indy outside of San Diego and it doesn't look like they're going to make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

"That Niners team was #3 in the NFL in total offense and #5 in total defense. They lost six games by a total of 26 points. They outscored their opponents 393-239. I don’t believe the Washington Redskins would’ve won the Super Bowl if SF would’ve made the playoffs."

You really think that?

the 91 redskins were 4th in total offense, and 3rd in total defense

but beyond that.

they were freaking #1 in points with 485 and #2 in points allowed with 224.

but beyond that.

they opened the year with 11 straight wins, many of them spankings. They opened th eseason spanking the detroit lions 45-0 and then spanked them again in the NFC championship 41-10!

but beyond that.

they only allowed 9 sacks the entire season!

the 91 redskins team was by far and away the best NFL team that year.

Jake said...

Lombaowski, I hope you're right. I have my doubts.

Anonymous #1, I agree with you about the Pats being the only team that can beat Indy. I think it could happen. NE is on a roll plus there's the Brady factor. It's too bad SD won't be in the playoffs.

Anonymous #2,

I appreciate your opinion on the Redskins/49ers issue but I’ll make a few points on some of the things that you said…

First, point differential does nothing to prove which team was better. Washington scored more points and allowed slightly less points. If you break it down, Washington scored 30+ points in 8 games. San Francisco scored 30+ points in 6 games. Washington only scored more than 28 points in three of its last nine games. San Francisco scored more than 28 points in four of its last five games. You can spin stats either way to make a case. SF clearly had more impressive wins in the latter part of the season when they got rolling. Washington’s point differential was mainly due to its performance in the first half of the season. Nobody cares about the first half of the season come playoff time. The 49ers were a totally different team come playoff time. I only mentioned SF’s differential in my original post to highlight how crazy it was that a team with that big of a discrepancy didn’t make the playoffs. I wasn’t trying to say they were better than Washington because of the point differential.

As for beating the Lions, SF also beat the Lions 35-3. Suffice it to say, Washington’s two victories over Detroit does nothing to sway my opinion.

As far as Washington only giving up 9 sacks that year, that’s as obscure as me saying that the 49ers were better because Steve Young had a better QB rating than Mark Rypien. When you compare these two teams in terms of what would’ve happened if SF would’ve made the playoffs, you can’t just take the average stats for the whole season. Like I said before, SF was a totally different team once they got the ball rolling in week 10. Compare SF and Washington after week 10. I’d like to see stats on that.

Although the points that you made about Washington are impressive, none of it really has anything to do with which team would win.

I remember that season well and San Francisco was playing better than anyone at the end of the season. I’m sure you understand that in the NFL, it’s not how you play in Week 8 rather it’s how you play going into the playoffs. San Francisco won its last six games of the regular season including three wins over playoff teams by 14 points or more. Washington, on the other hand, finished 3-2 in its last five games. None of those three wins came against a team with a winning record. Washington did turn it on in the playoffs by hammering Atlanta, Detroit and Buffalo but none of those teams were even close to being as good as SF at the end of the season. Buffalo was 27th in defense (out of 28 teams!!!). There were at least six NFC teams that would’ve beaten Buffalo in the Super Bowl that year.

Before I read your comment, I was on the fence on which team was actually better come playoff time. I said in my post that “I don’t believe the Washington Redskins would’ve won the Super Bowl if SF would’ve made the playoffs." I probably should’ve said something less certain because I really have no idea who would’ve won. The Skins were very good and very well could’ve won.

But, your post got me thinking so I started looking some things up.

In 1990, the 49ers went 14-2 and beat Washington 26-13

In 1991, the 49ers finished the season on a six game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 32-16 in those games. Included in those six wins were three wins by 14 points or more over three playoff teams.

1n 1992, the 49ers went 14-2 and beat Washington 20-13

Is it really a stretch to think that once SF began playing like their 1990 and 1992 teams during the latter part of 1991, that they could’ve beaten Washington again?

The 1990 and 1992 SF teams were essentially the exact same team as the 1991 SF team. The only difference was that Steve Young took over the starting QB job from Joe Montana. That explains why SF was merely an average team (started 4-6) at the beginning of the 1991 season. It is obvious now, and it was obvious then, that the 49ers were a totally different team at the end of the season once Young got comfortable. So, if the 49ers beat the Skins in 1990 with the same team they beat the Skins with in 1992, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the 49ers could’ve very well beaten the Skins in 1991? Granted, the Skins were obviously better in 1991 than in 1990 or 1992 but just because the 49ers started the season poorly because of their quarterback switch says absolutely nothing to how good they were at the end of the season. The Redskins were extremely lucky that the second best team in the NFL that season didn’t make the playoffs. No other Super Bowl champ in history can say they were that fortunate.

Anyhow, that’s how I look at the comparison. Judging from your comments, I can see you look at it differently. That’s the nature of sports.

Anonymous said...

No thoughts on the 10-2 Michigan State Basketball squad, eh?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 and Jake,

You say that the the 1991 49ers team was essentially the same as the 1990 and the 1992 49ers teams?
Well the the 90 and 92 teams went 1-2 in the playoffs and neither team reached the superbowl. So that would not convince me that they could have beaten the 1991 Redskins. Plus I believe that none of those playoff teams that played against those 49er teams were better than the 91 Redskins.

Jake, you also mention that the first half of the regular season does not matter. You're just cutting down the season. I could cut the season down even more and make the same case with the 91 New Orlean Saints. They won their last 2 games of the regular season by a combined score of 54-3. One of the teams they beat had a winning record. Look how the Saints turned out in the postseason, they lost in the wildcard round to the Atlanta Falcons, the team that swept the 49ers in 1991 and averaged 28 points per game against them. Might I add that the 1991 Redskins beat the Atlanta Falcons twice that season by a combined score of 80-24. That's 40 points per game, against the very team that held the 49ers to 14 points in the middle of their 8-2 run at the end of the season.

In addition, the fact that Steve Young had only played in one real playoff game 4 years prior to 91. Plus you throw in a 91 Redskins defense whose oppentents' passer ratings was at 58.8, which includes 4 appearances in 1991 against pro bowl quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Chris Miller. This would also have been a problem that the 49ers would have faced against the Redskins. Steve Young's first playoff game against the 87 Minnesota Vikings was a loss. Many people would agree that the 87 49ers was truly a great team that deserved to win the Superbowl, but Washington ended up winning that year as well.

Jake said...

Anon, good points.

I think the fact that the 49ers defeated the ‘Skins in both ’90 and ’92 does more to make me think they could’ve beaten them in ’91 than the fact that SF didn’t fare well in the playoffs in either 90 or 92 like you mention. For whatever reason, SF was able to knock of the ‘skins the year before and the year after 1991.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I think the first half of the regular season doesn’t matter. It’s just that clearly the first half of SF’s ’91 season was an aberration. The niners finished the regular season on an 8-2 run which was identical to how the ‘skins finished the season. I would say that how the niners finished was much more indicative of their level of play in December than whatever they did in September. I would also say that ten games is a big enough sample size to make a judgment on how well a team has been playing. Two games is clearly not the same evidence.

You are definitely on to something with regards to how Young would’ve performed on the road with little experience. That would have been an issue. But remember that Young did lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl just a couple years later.

The biggest thing for me is that SF beat Washington in both ’90 and ’92 with similar rosters for each. That is why I think SF would have had a shot. I really don’t have any reasons for thinking Washington would lose the game. They were stout everywhere. I just think they were extremely fortunate to not have face SF in the playoffs.


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