Posts Tagged ‘Denver Broncos’

NFL division races

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Here we are sports fans. Three weeks left in the regular season. This is about the time of year that we start to see the various playoff scenarios. The contenders play in meaningful “must win” games, while the pretenders look to play spoiler. Each year, the NFL has 12 postseason invitations. The eight division champs all make the playoffs, along with four wild card teams (two from each conference). So far, three teams have already locked up their division – Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots. The Houston Texans have clinched a playoff berth, but are still battling the Indianapolis Colts for the division crown. With eight spots still up for grabs, there are still a significant number of teams battling down the stretch. Here’s my take on teams that look likely to punch their ticket for the playoffs:

Green Bay Packers – at 9-4, they are in control of the NFC North. They have a huge rivalry game this weekend in Chicago, and a win would clinch the division title.

San Francisco 49ers – With one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL, the 49ers are on the verge of clinching either the division or a wild card berth. They need to play hard though, because the Seattle Seahawks are right on their heels with rookie Russell Wilson leading the charge. Even if Seattle doesn’t catch the 49ers, I still look for them to wrap up a wild card berth and advance to the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens – Leading the AFC North, but reeling from a 2 game losing streak, it’s time for the Ravens to put up or shut up. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are both right behind them in the division race.

Indianapolis Colts – Yes, the Colts are a surprising 9-4 with rookie sensation Andrew Luck. They play the Houston Texans twice in the final three weeks, so Indy can think about a division championship or at least a wild card berth. I don’t know anyone who predicted they would be back in contention so soon after losing Peyton Manning.

Any teams I didn’t cover are either on the bubble, like the entire NFC East, or far from contending. No worries though, as we’ll keep you up to date on all the playoff races, and offer you the freshest gear to cheer your contender on in their playoff quest. If all goes well, they will be playing in New Orleans in February.

Pigskin: It’s what’s for dinner

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

So I watching a recent episode of Friday Night Lights (shame on you if you’ve never seen it) and viewed a scene in which the wily Buddy Garrity talked his way into announcing East Dillon football games on an exclusively Spanish-speaking radio station. The owner of the station hardly understood a word. But “football” needed no translation. Mention of “futbol Americano” (or soccer’s ugly namesake of a cousin) upset the station owner as he threw his hands in disgust and turned away.

Apparently, this man’s been sleeping under a rock.

What has transpired in football circles recently – college and pro – borders on the absurd. In the NCAAs, we saw one of the decade’s greatest fly north to the NFL, another weasel his way west and insensitive, humiliating and criminal behavior including physical abuse and locking people in closets, allegedly. And I’m just talking about head coaches!

In the NFL, fortunately, the excitement has taken place between the goal posts. The playoffs have offered great entertainment: teams combining for 96 points, defensive linemen with a passion for spearing things, and Rex Ryan.

But let’s start in the amateur ranks, where the transgressions of several head coaches have been…well…amateur. Players accused Kansas’ Mark Mangino for making disparaging and humiliating remarks on the field. Down at South Florida, school officials concluded a report claiming Jim Leavitt grabbed a player by the throat, slapped him in the face and lied about it, was true. And at Texas Tech, receiver Craig James said that, after complaining about a possible concussion, Mike Leach forced him in – of all places – an electrical closet.

Sound doctoral advice. No?

Needless to say, all three men are currently on the unemployment line.

And then there’s USC.

A fantasy land for college football since Pete Carroll took over in 2000…until allegations involving recruiting infractions and Reggie Bush reached the surface. Next, headlines alleged running back Joe McKnight’s girlfriend received a vehicle as a gift. And just like that, Pete Carroll had had enough. Shortly after a disappointing 9-4 season, the long-sought after coach was wooed back to the NFL by the Seattle Seahawks. Must have been the weather.

But the drama was only beginning at “The Coliseum.” USC: a soap-opera for men.

The cliffhanger this time? Hiring Lane Kiffin. Yes, that Lane Kiffin. The same wunderkind fired after one season with the Oakland Raiders. The same loud-mouthed, baby-faced nuisance while at Tennessee. And now, just one year into his “tenure” at Rocky Top, he leaves recruits and Urban Meyer behind for a return to LA.

…and gets replaced at Tennessee by Derek Dooley. Come again?

Meanwhile, in the big boy league, stakes are high. We’re a Sunday away from learning the Superbowl matchup.

Vikings or Saints? Colts or Jets?

I can’t wait until Sunday to watch the final installment of a tremendous franchise, titled: Three Men and a Rookie. Starring two of the industry’s all-time greatest, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, an up-and-comer in Drew Brees, and, making his debut, Mark Sanchez – something tells me this chapter could be the best.
Give the rookie credit. He’s playing behind a spectacular defense, led by Deion…I mean, Darrelle Revis, a fantastic rushing attack and one heck of a coach – at the podium, at least. But as improbable as it seemed, Rex Ryan’s drawn-out post-season schedule – including a Superbowl parade through Times Square – is turning more and more probable each day.

Unfortunately, this week the Jets run into Indy’s relentless pass rush, led by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, and Manning, the human audible. The Colts broke protocol last week and won a playoff game after resting their starters to end the season. It doesn’t really matter where Manning’s throwing the ball – I think he could even find me on a post route – but the veterans (Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark) and the newbies (Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie) are getting the job done.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, some things never change. As much as I can’t stand no. 4 after embarrassing my Cowboys last weekend, it’s hard not to be impressed with Favre’s four touchdown performance – especially touchdown no. 4 (but I won’t get into that). If Jared Allen and the defensive line replicate last week’s performance, there is no way Brees will elude collapsing pockets – or mullets.

One thing the Saints do have on their side – New Orleans. The only place louder than the Metrodome may be the Superdome, and there’s no doubt the Saints’ passionate fans – who have waited years for this moment – will let Minnesota hear it.

My prediction? Colts 20, Jets 10. Saints 27, Vikings 24.

And for you naysayers…Time to pat myself on the back for calling, while 6-3, that the Denver Broncos would finish 8-8. They did. I also predicted the purple-hot Vikings would lose late in the season to the Arizona Cardinals. They did. Fortunately, many of my other predictions haven’t made this blog.

Clearly, when it comes to making news – good or bad – football of the American variety leads the class. You could argue there’s been too much excitement recently.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Pro Bowl…

Little Things and The Playoffs

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Little Things from the NFL’s 2009 Season:

88 players in the NFL had at least one carry of 25 yards or more, including New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Not among the 88: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai.

Eight RB’s finished with at least 1250 rushing yards, including the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson, who was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards despite being on a 1-15 team.

Two Carolina Panthers RB’s, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for at least 1100 yards.

Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns averaged 143 yards rushing in the four games in which he carried the ball more than 16 times, including 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson finished 5th in the league in rushing yards with 1383, despite only topping 100 yards in a game three times during the season.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans topped 2000 yards rushing on the year; he is only the 6th RB in NFL history to do so.

Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt on the season. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.9.

LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson both averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.

Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes on the year. 73 of them were for first downs.

The Top 21 players in the NFL in receiving yards include three tight ends: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten. All 21 had at least 11 receptions of 20 yards or more, except Wes Welker, who led the league in catches, 123, and was second in yards, 1348. He had eight plays for more than 20 yards.

The Blind Side book/movie subject Michael Oher, rookie RT for the Baltimore Ravens, had the fewest yards receiving in the NFL in 2009 with -8.

Oakland Raiders rookie WR Darius Heyward-Bey, 7th pick overall, played in 11 games, caught 9 passes for 124 yards and scored one TD.

San Francisco 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree, 10th pick overall, held out until after Week 5, then played in 11 games, caught 48 passes for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Austin Collie, 4th round pick of the Colts, and Percy Harvin, 1st round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, led all rookie WR’s in receptions with 60. Harvin and New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks led rookies in receiving yards with 790.

Ten QB’s threw for over 4000 yards this season. Seven of them are in the playoffs. Kurt Warner, the 8th playoff QB, threw for 3753 yards.

41 QB’s completed at least one pass of more than 45 yards. Kurt Warner did not.

155 players in the NFL caught a pass of at least 35 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did not.

14 QB’s threw at least 500 passes. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler led them (and all other QB’s) in interceptions with 26. Peyton Manning was 2nd with 16. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had the fewest at 7.

Jon Ryan, punter of the Seattle Seahawks, completed the longest pass by a non-QB, 42 yards. He finished the year with a 118.8 QB rating.

The Cleveland Browns won four games in a row after going 1-11 in their first twelve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost five games in a row after winning five in a row.

The Denver Broncos won six in a row to start the year and lost four in a row to end the year to finish 8-8.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints started the season 14-0 and 13-0, respectively. The Colts lost their last two and the Saints lost their last three.

The San Diego Chargers started the year 2-3 and then won their last 11.

The Tennessee Titans went 0-6 to start the year. They went 8-2 after that to finish 8-8.

BLACK MONDAY

Coaches are cleaning out their lockers today. So far Jim Zorn, who was for all intent and purposes relieved of his duties with the Washington Redskins somewhere around Week 6 or so, and the remainder of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff and have been told their services are no longer needed, wanted, or welcomed.

There is talk that Wade Phillips needs to win a playoff game to keep his job. Apparently an 11-5 season, the third playoff seed, a home playoff game, and a shutout to win the division in the season’s last game is not enough in Dallas to feel any sense of job security.

The expectations are different for Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. In Houston, Gary Kubiak will retain his position after the organizations first winning season, going 9-7 and being a loss by either the Ravens or Jets on the season’s final day away from making the playoffs. Plus Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led the league in yards at their respective positions.

The Carolina Panthers are keeping John Fox around… maybe? Because in Carolina, a winning season every other year is good enough. I think it is probably safe to say though that the John Fox-Jake Delhomme duo has reached its end. Delhomme threw for 8 TD’s and was picked off 18 times on the season, while backup Matt Moore started the last five games for the Panthers and threw for 8 TD’s and only 1 interception.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Raheem Morris losing his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was horrible, but Morris is a first year coach brought in to turn around a terrible team. You have to give the guy more than a year or two to do his job – unless of course you have Bill Cowher, his chin, and his mustache on the radar.

Maybe one case where it makes sense to fire a first year coach is in Oakland, where ironically nothing makes sense. Tom Cable allegedly hit a co-worker. That behavior is generally frowned upon. And Al Davis is Al Davis, so he may bring in a shuffleboard buddy of his who won a fantasy football league last season to coach the team.

PLAYOFFS

The Dallas Cowboys threw a donut at the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. With a win, the Eagles would have had a first round bye and a home playoff game. With the loss, they’ll travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys again this weekend. Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson and Tony Romo to Miles Austin are two of the more dangerous big play QB to WR combos in the league.

And speaking dangerous QB to WR combos, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would like me to mention his and Carson Palmer’s names right now, but if I’m playing the Cincinnati Bengals I’m more concerned about Cedric Benson. Maybe the New York Jets backed into a playoff spot and maybe they didn’t, but Mark Sanchez is in the post-season and will do a very nice job of handing the ball off until he is absolutely required to throw it. Thomas Jones, get ready to see nine guys in the box against Cincinnati this weekend. Jets fans can mail cards to the Colts and Bengals thanking them for mailing it in in Weeks 16 and 17.

Following Philly/Dallas and New York/Cincy, the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers will square off in the third rematch of a Week 17 game this weekend. The Packers rolled over the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and did most of the rolling over all by themselves. There are some health concerns for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, and Charles Woodson going into this game.

Baltimore travels to New England to play the Wes Welker-less Patriots. Welker tore up most of the _CL’s in his knee on Sunday. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and company will look to put to rest Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the Pats. Should that happen, the media will surely spark up the “Has Belichick lost it?” debate. For that reason alone, I’ll root for the Pats.

Brett Favre may or may not be on a tractor in Kiln, Mississippi this week. The Vikings can thank the Cowboys for beating the Eagles and getting them a first round bye. Favre loved Sidney Rice this season to the tune of 1312 yards and 8 TD’s. I don’t know what that tune sounds like, but it works for the Minnesota offense.

The New Orleans Saints are also waiting around for somebody to play football against. Drew Brees and his band of guys who can run fast and catch the ball will not have won in nearly a month when they take the field next.

The Colts are planning a really intense bye week in Indy. Somewhere Jim Caldwell is sitting with no expression on his face. The San Diego Chargers are taking it easy in a sunnier place where Philip Rivers can frolic on the beach and wait around for somebody to fly west to play a game.

THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in OT at Fenway Park in the NHL’s 2010 Winter Classic. Check out all our Winter Classic gear in this week’s items of the week!

Week 9: When Fungus is Acceptable

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

Last week Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers played 34 minutes and recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists. He managed two steals and two personal fouls and without those you may not have even know he was there.

Michael Wilbon made a brief argument on PTI that Fisher is a guy who does the “other things” to help his team win. I’m sure he was moving the ball, screening, playing some defense, and being a leader and a nice guy, but in 34 minutes you think he would pass it to a guy who would make a shot or he would accidentally run into a rebound. Fisher was just hiding in plain sight, not contributing anything noticeable.

Flashback to 2006:

*Comedy Central airs the last new Chapelle’s Show on July 23rd. Borat opens the first weekend of November at the top of the box office. The confluence of these two events that happened just 3+ months apart created a venn diagram overlap in pop culture relevance where it became virtually impossible to escape people quoting Chapelle/Borat, especially if you were in college at the time. Chapelle was on safari and done with the show, but new episodes aired with many re-runs of the old ones and three and a half months was not long enough for some people to beat those jokes to death. And then Borat happens. So the quote wheel keeps spinning for the frequent repeaters out there.

*The Chicago Bears are going 13-3 on their way to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at QB.

*Terrell Owens leads the NFL in touchdown receptions and has 1,180 yards receiving.
*Michael Vick throws for 2,474 yards and runs for 1,039 yards and combines for 22 TD’s.
*Larry Johnson is second in the league in rushing and rushing TD’s, with 1,789 yards and 17 TD’s. He also added 410 receiving yards and 2 receiving TD’s.

Now those three fantasy football studs are hiding in plain sight. Vick is out of jail and on the bench. TO is in Buffalo not doing a whole lot and Larry Johnson has been cut by the Chiefs for vomiting his thoughts on Twitter.

Many professional athletes and celebrities and people not famous have not yet evolved the filter between the brain and the fingertips. And it is not their fault. Evolution takes time and social networking is relatively new. The brain to mouth filter was not even fully evolved in many and now they are under stress to develop a second filter on the fly to protect themselves from their thoughts escaping through their fingertips to Twitter and the world. Maybe we should cut all these athletes who type stupid stuff a break because evolving that kind of ability will take generations.

Ups, Downs, and Laterals

Of course sports are cyclical and players begin to decline once they’ve reached a certain age, but TO, Vick, and Johnson seem to still have enough ability to offer a team something productive. Instead they are just being hidden in plain sight by their own specific circumstances.

While individual players find a way to hide in plain sight, it is very difficult for teams to hide team weaknesses. And at the half-way point of the NFL season, with the playoff picture forming, those weaknesses are apparent to everyone.

Three – maybe four – of the divisions are all but mathematically clinched. It would take a melt down of New York Mets proportion for the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, or Minnesota Vikings not to win their division.

The Colts and Saints both remain undefeated after getting challenged hard by the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. A missed FG by Kris Brown of the Texans prevented Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and DeMeco Ryans from taking a shot at Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and company in overtime. The Colts have played two tight games in a row.

The Panthers were marching, nearing FG range, down three with less than three minutes to go in the 4th quarter when Jake Delhomme fumbled and New Orleans recovered. Three and out for the Saints, followed by a DeAngelo Williams fumble returned for a TD by New Orleans on Carolina’s ensuing possession put the Saints up 10 with 2:00 to go and there’s your ball game.

The Vikings sat the week out on a bye and still gained ground in the division with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers losing. No word yet on any team boating excursions during the week off. Had there been some sort of team building exercise, I’m sure Twitter would have been a flutter. Maybe Brad Childress would have been in a drag. You never know.

The Saints have played three close games in a row which they won by one-possession scores. The Colts have played two close games in a row, winning the two by a combined seven points. The Vikings are a missed FG and a Brett Favre to Greg Lewis 32-yard TD with 0:00 on the clock away from being 5-3. There is no NFL team this season that is going to march over every opponent they play. Even the teams with the best records have won fugly a time or two and escaped with a win.

The New England Patriots not winning the AFC East would not be a Mets-type collapse, but probably more of a Minnesota Twins sneaking up on the Detroit Tigers sort of let down. It might be possible for them to get caught all season long, but nobody will believe it can happen. Tom Brady is connecting with Randy Moss like it is 2007 and they have a linebacker who is in his forties in Junior Seau.

The Show

Remember in Bull Durham when Crash Davis tells Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh that he needs to get new shower shoes?

“You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”

I think the same goes for bad mustaches and facial hair that looks more neglected than grown. At 6-0, it is something to joke about, but now with two Bronco losses in a row, it may be time for Kyle Orton to think classy. He’s had it off and on throughout his career, but it might be time go now.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting on top of the AFC North in a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals after beating the Denver Broncos on Monday night. The Bengals are coming off a win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cedric Benson rushed for over 100 yards for the second time this season against the Ravens. Maybe that vaulted Ravens-Ray Lewis-D that earned Trent Dilfer a ring is finally showing its age. Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward hooked up for two TD’s last night in their win over the Broncos.

The Dallas Cowboys went to the Philadelphia Eagles and took away a big win that, coupled with the San Diego Chargers victory over the New York Giants, puts the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East.

Tony Romo has 9 TD’s and only 1 interception during his team’s four game winning streak. Miles Austin continues to be a big play guy, catching only one pass but for a 49 yard TD.

Philip Rivers took the Chargers down the field and threw a TD pass to Vincent Jackson with 0:21 on the clock to give San Diego a one point win. Eli Manning was 25-33 for 215 yards and 2 TD’s, but the Giants were flagged for over 100 yards in penalties which will stop any team from gaining momentum in any direction.

The bye week for the Giants this week is sorely needed. DeMarcus Ware is salivating at the opportunity to play the Green Bay Packers and their O-Line this week. And the Eagles have to fly all way across the country to San Diego, which, for the sake of the entire city of Philly, I hope goes better than their trip to Oakland did.

The New York Jets come off their bye for a Week 10 match up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who beat the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The Jets and Jags are both 4-4 with neither team having a realistic shot at winning their division, so this game is huge for both teams in the scope of Wild Card spots. Maurice Jones-Drew leads the NFL with 11 rushing TD’s.

Matt Cassel stuck it to all Dwayne Bowe fantasy owners by throwing 2 TD passes to Chris Chambers, who had been on the Chiefs for about eight seconds.

Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals went to Soldier Field and inspired the crowd to boo loudly the home team Chicago Bears. Tommie Harris went ahead with a punch to the face of a Cardinal O-lineman to get ejected four plays into the game. We like your enthusiasm there Tommy, we just need you to direct it in a more positive way. Warner and Jay Cutler both had big statistical games, but the Bears could not overcome 89 yards of penalties and or their inability to convert on third down.

The Packers were probably hurt most by their Week 9 performance, losing to first time starter rookie Josh Freeman and the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron Rodgers was bludgeoned again and the defense did not do much in the way of stopping a bad offense. Two weeks ago Minnesota, at 6-1, was coming into Lambeau Field to play a 4-2 Packers team. A Packer win gives both teams two losses and sets up the Pack up to tie the division at Tampa Bay with Minnesota on a bye. Instead, the cheese falls to 4-4 in an ugly way. Three of their four wins are against one-win teams: Lions, Browns, Rams.

Speaking of the Lions, Browns, and Rams… the Browns and Rams were spared by being on a bye, but the Lions suffered another loss. So did the Washington Redskins.

Calvin Johnson returned to the line up for the Lions and they played the Seattle Seahawks tough, but could not find a way to win it, in part because rookie Matthew Stafford had five learning opportunities in which the ball went the other way on him. Matt Hasselbeck spread the ball around. Six Seahawks had five or more catches. T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught his only TD pass.

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Redskins to move to 5-3 and put themselves in a nice position for a Wild Card birth. Michael Turner had a huge game, 166 yards and 2 TD’s and Matt Ryan hooked up with Tony Gonzalez for a TD. Clinton Portis left the game and with him took Washington’s only hope.

The Tennessee Titans won their second game in a row and handed the San Francisco 49ers their fourth loss in a row. Vince Young is 2-0 as a starter and Chris Johnson leads the NFL in rushing yards.
The Niners have lost their last three games by one possession scores. Next week Mike Singletary squares off against his old team, the Chicago Bears, in what will be a critical game for each team’s drive for the post-season.

To Week 10:

Thursday night games begin with the Bears and 49ers.
The Bengals and Steelers play to break the tie for the AFC North lead.
The Patriots go to Indy for an always fun game to watch.
And either the Chiefs or the Raiders will win because they play each other.

The New York Yankees 2009 World Series Championship is still only less than a week old and there is plenty of World Series gear here for you to commemorate #27.

The item of the week this week is some real NFL sideline apparel to help you get ready for cold weather.

NFL Week 8: 10-Favre

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Usain Bolt adopted a cheetah named Lightning Bolt.

Stephen Colbert and Colbert Nation are sponsoring the U.S. speedskating team in the Vancouver Olympics.

A golfer tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Manu Ginobili pulled a flying bat out of the air during a basketball game. (I once accidentally pulled a live bat out of a washing machine. I thought it was a sock stuck to the wall of the inside of the machine. It screeched and spreads its wings. I threw it, said swear words, and ran upstairs. I don’t love flying bats.)

The three daughters of OJ Simpson’s lawyer are all over reality TV and gossip mags and marrying Lamar Odom and getting dumped by Reggie Bush.

The NFL and FOX devoted one camera to a single player for an entire football game on Sunday.

Stephon Marbury got ejected from a Knicks game… from the first row of paid seats where he was a spectator.

Nothing should surprise us in sports anymore – not Michael Vick, not Tim Donaghy (that one was almost predictable), not Tom Cable, or the Denver Broncos or Tennessee Titans, not Andre Agassi, and not even Syracuse WR Mike Williams quitting on his team this week. Stud college WR’s named Mike Williams do not have a good track record.

It shouldn’t surprise us that Brett Favre was booed mercilessly for most of the game in his return to Green Bay, where for 16 years the good people there put cheering for Favre on the same level as feeding their kids, going to church, and Old Milwaukee. I was a Viking fan living in Wisconsin for 14 years. I witnessed Favre becoming an icon, a legend, and seemingly a best friend to Packer fans. And while the treatment Favre got at Lambeau Field on Sunday should not have surprised me, it did. I didn’t expect a standing O or anything close to it, but I didn’t expect non-stop booing.

It’s about the same as a dude who dates a girl for a long time, then she decides to break up with him and he gets a bummed out, but when she wants to go back to him, he refuses and then hates her with more vigor than he ever loved her and when he sees her at the grocery store, he just boos at her through the produce section and all the way to the deli, down the cereal aisle and right up to the check-out counter where he encounters her new guy who is taller, better looking, makes more money, and was the same dude who struck him out in a high school playoff game to end his baseball career. And then when the girl and her new guy walk out to the parking lot, the dude is standing there with a sign that reads, “Legends Don’t Wear Purple.”

It’s about like that.

It seems to me that the same things that endeared Favre to Green Bay fans are the things for which they now boo him. He is human; he is flawed. They loved him for his energy and passion and for speaking uncensored early in his career. They loved his unorthodox play and didn’t mind his vices at all. He was like them, like us; he could have been your neighbor. But the flaw they couldn’t accept was the man’s inability to decide when to retire from the only thing he has ever done. He reached a level in the minds and hearts of Packer fans where the humanness of him transcended into something other than human and they expected him to be perfect. They forgot that he’s human. He is just like them, but they wanted him to be something better.

Then he went to a division, border, and bitter rival, which doesn’t help anything except the Viking offense.

And now he has found Sidney Rice and made him 6th in the league in receiving yards.

The Vikings improved to 7-1 on the season, including a Green Bay sweep, on which ESPN dedicated roughly 1,793 hours (and counting) of programming.

Chris Berman loves Brett Favre. He loves Favre more than Kanye loves Kanye.

Aaron Rodgers has taken 31 sacks this year through 7 games, thanks in great part to Jared Allen. Ten quarterbacks last year took over 30 sacks all season long, including Rodgers who took 34. Rodgers is a good quarterback. He can run and throw and he’s a smart guy. He can make every throw you need him to make except the one out of bounds to avoid taking a sack. And now he has two sprains to nurse.

Jared Allen has a great sack dance. As much as I didn’t like Gilbert Brown, he did too.

My brother works a job in Wisconsin where he uses two-way radios daily. He is a Viking fan living in Wisconsin and working with mostly Packer fans. When he confirms that he has understood a radio communication, in stead of saying “10-4”, he says “10-Favre”. One guy he works with has taken to responding to that with “12-Rodgers” – which is hilarious because it makes no sense at all.

Anyway.

The New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are the last of the undefeated. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are playing about as well as you can. The Saints receivers – Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, specifically – made some ridiculous catches last night in their win over the Atlanta Falcons. Jason Elam was struggling with the kicking last night and had he been on, it may have been more interesting than it was at the end of the game. Both Pierre Thomas and Michael Turner looked really good.

Manning and Brees are at the top of the NFL QB class right now, but Matt Ryan will be there one day soon, along with Joe Flacco, who led the Baltimore Ravens in a beat down of the previously undefeated Denver Broncos.

The Chicago Bears chewed up and spit out the Cleveland Browns. Derek Anderson has thrown 9 interceptions and has the same number of passing TD’s as he does rushing TD’s: 2. Not great. The Browns scored a TD… then missed the extra point. Not great. Eric Mangini, in response to a question about why he didn’t replace Anderson with Brady Quinn earlier, said, “I thought we actually moved the ball at times earlier.” Anderson was 6-17 for 76 yards, 0 TD, and 2 INT. Not great. They had 191 yards of offense and were 1-11 on third down. I’m not sure when Mangini thought they were moving the ball well.

The Dallas Cowboys routed the Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles spanked the New York Giants and now the NFC East has three five win teams. Dallas goes to Philly for Sunday Night Football this week. Big game with a couple of big play guys in Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson. The Giants play host to the San Diego Chargers, who had the good fortune of playing the Oakland Raiders last week.

I am begging Eli Manning to get things on track because I need Steve Smith to be an awesome fantasy WR for me and he hasn’t scored or cracked 100 yards in three weeks.

The St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans got their first wins of the year. Steven Jackson got his first rushing TD of the season on Sunday. He is second in the NFL in rushing with 784 yards and has only 1 TD. The Rams aren’t good, but they were playing the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, who I just cannot figure out at all. The Jags very nearly beat Indy in Week 1 and then beat Houston in Week 3. They beat Tennessee by 20 in Week 4 and then lost 41-0 against Seattle. They were favored by 9.5 points the very next week and managed a 3 point win over the then winless Rams and then this week they lose to the Titans by 17. No idea.

Vince Young played well, completing 15 of 18 passes. He did not have to do too much though because Chris Johnson ran for 228 yards and 2 TD’s. Maurice Jones-Drew had 177 yards on 8 carries in that game.

Ted Ginn, Jr is a guy I can’t really figure out either. Every once in a while he makes a big play – or two in one quarter like he did on Sunday – but he also does a lot of things that make you scratch your head (for non-Miami fans) and throw bricks at windows (for Miami fans). Rex Ryan and Bart Scott were not exactly gracious after the New York Jets defeat at the hands of the best football team with the best talent and the best of everything else in America, the Miami Dolphins.

Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers. Your QB’s: Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme

One of them is going to turn the ball over six times. Who is it going to be? Delhomme, right? Wrong.

Not a good game for Kurt Warner. Warner is a really good guy. This has been well documented. And good guys are often generous and more than willing to share, so maybe Warner took sympathy on the struggling Panthers and decided to share the ball with them. It’s easy to hold Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to 89 yards combined when Warner is being so generous.

If the playoffs started today, the Houston Texans would be a wild-card team. They beat the Buffalo Bills by three scores on Sunday. Two big things from that game: 1) Owen Daniels is done for the year with a knee (again, thank you Al Michaels) and 2) Terrell Owens was seen in the end zone with the ball in his hands for an alleged touchdown. It’s been a rare sight this year.

NFL leaders in receiving TD’s:
Vernon Davis, 7
Visanthe Shiancoe (and four others), 6.
Owen Daniels (and three others), 5.

Next Week: The Tampa Bay Bucs try to get their first win when Green Bay comes to town.

Quick World Series note on this NFL post: FOX gave the player of the game thing to Cliff Lee last night. Lee pitched pretty well but it was a mostly unremarkable performance. He gave up 5 ER over 7 IP, meanwhile Chase Utley hit 2 HR’s. I think FOX was more concerned with integrating movie previews into their broadcast than they were getting that one right. The Phillies go to New York now for Game 6. Pedro vs Andy Pettitte on three days rest. It should be a great. My wife cannot wait for it to be over so she can get her FOX TV shows back.

NFL Week 6: The Review

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

NFL week six is in the books. We’ve officially reached the point where teams are who we thought they were – or are.

So what do you say…let’s say we get this party started right…Raider-style.

Oakland Raiders v. Philadelphia Eagles

“We went out and threw a fight on somebody and said, ‘Enough. Let’s play,’” said Raider coach Tom Cable after the game. And if you’re headed into a fight, who better to lead you than Tom Cable? Allegedly. JaMarcus Russell set season highs for completions (17) and passing yards (224) as the Raiders somehow defeated the mighty McNabb’s 13-9. Reverting back to form of year’s past, Philadelphia ran the ball just 14 times. Eagles coach Andy Reid has an extra day this week to let his visible disgust subdue. Fortunately for Eagles fans, next stop is the nation’s capital.

Washington Redskins v. Kansas City Chiefs

In what may best be described as an “offensive pillow-fight,” the Chiefs recorded their first win of the season, beating a pathetic Redskins team 14-6. Don’t let the score fool you – there were no touchdowns in this one. Washington converted just 2-14 third down conversions and held the ball for 23 minutes. Jason Campbell was benched in the second half. Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties. And Dan Snyder paid one million dollars for an up-and-coming hot dog vendor. I’ll let you decide which of those are true and which is false. Congratulations, Ryan Succop. The Chiefs kicker – and NFL Draft 2009 “Mr. Irrelevant” – went 4/4 and was apparently the only player who didn’t “Suck-op.”

Tennessee Titans v. New England Patriots

Speaking of sucking…have you seen the Titans? I know they’ve been hit hard by injuries…but 59-0? They gave up five touchdowns…in the SECOND QUARTER! Jeff Fisher should have walked off the field at halftime and never come back: “Okay guys…I’ve had enough. But keep at it…see you tomorrow.” Alas, he stayed – long enough to watch Brian Hoyer sneak in for the Patriots eighth touchdown of the day. Warren Moon – at the ripe old age of 52 – would have looked better in those Oiler jerseys then the Kerry Collins/Vince Young duo. Two completions…negative seven yards. That’s not a misprint. Oh…and Tom Brady threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns.

Houston Texans v. Cincinnati Bengals

Trivia time: Who leads the NFL in passing touchdowns?

It’s not Drew Brees. And it ain’t Peyton Manning. The answer is Matt Schaub. The Texans rode Schaub’s arm and a stout defensive front to a 28-17 victory. After a run of exciting finishes, the Bengals and NFL rushing leader Cedric Benson (another great trivia question) were held to just 46 yards on the ground. Making matters worse, Cincinnati also lost NFL sack leader, Antwan Odom, (yet another amazing trivia question) for the season. Time will tell if the Bengals can regroup and challenge for the division – or if it’s time to kiss the baby.

New York Giants v. New Orleans Saints

From a baby to a grown man – Eli Manning spent many a football Sunday at the Superdome – but never as a player. And he might want to keep it that way. In Manning’s hometown return, the other quarterback, Drew Brees, spoiled the party. Brees (369 yards and four touchdowns) and the Saints offense scored at will against what many considered the league’s no. 1 defense, winning 48-27. New York gave up 34 first-half points – matching the total they had given up in the first half of their first five games combined. The previously undefeated Giants benefited from a relatively soft schedule, and while they are still among the NFC’s upper echelon, don’t be surprised if they start to falter.

Minnesota Vikings v. Baltimore Ravens

Here’s your Brett Favre alert. The Vikings quarterback hit Sidney Rice on a 58-yard bomb on their final possession to set up Ryan Longwell‘s game-winning field goal. But don’t forget the Ravens came right back and positioned themselves for a 44-yard field goal – until Steven Hauschka missed it. Or the fact that they allowed Baltimore and Ray Rice to score 21 points in the fourth quarter, turning a blowout into a ballgame. The Vikings are 6-0. They’ve got the best rusher in the league, Adrian Peterson, and the best pass rusher in the league, Jared Allen, but they could very easily be 4-2. Looking forward to seeing how this – and by this, I mean Brett Favre – plays out.

Pittsburgh Steelers v. Cleveland Browns

When discussing the bottom-feeders of the NFL, let’s not sleep on the Cleveland Browns. Now 1-5, after a 27-14 defeat to the Steelers, the Browns remain incapable of doing anything right. Derek Anderson played like a Pro Bowler compared to last week, completing a whopping nine passes for 122 yards. He was just slightly overshadowed by Ben Roethlisberger’s 417 passing yards. I would like to personally apologize to Josh Cribbs. He deserves better. After returning a 98-yard kickoff to the house and rushing for 45 yards some team has to get him out of Cleveland – don’t they? And the Browns aren’t willing to pay the man! Pay the man his money! Unbelievable! I don’t know who I feel worse for – Cribbs or Cleveland fans?

Carolina Panthers v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In the latest installment of “games you shouldn’t subject yourself to” comes Carolina’s 28-21 victory against the still-winless Yuccaneers. They’re baaack! They even get to wear their retro orange jerseys this season. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 362 yards rushing and three touchdowns, overcoming Jake Delhomme’s two interceptions and 65 yards through the air. There’s not much else to say about a game like this. It’s too bad somebody has to win.

St. Louis Rams v. Jacksonville Jaguars

Another winless team? Really? A week in which Maurice Jones-Drew publicly called out his coaching staff, the Jaguars rode their little bowling ball to a 23-20 overtime victory. Jones-Drew ran for 133 yards and three scores. Now, 0-6, the Rams have lost 16 straight games dating back to last season. And there really isn’t cause for hope. Fortunately, Sam Bradford is healthy and ready to turn one lucky team around…

Green Bay Packers v. Detroit Lions

How did the Packers manage two bye weeks in a row? Oh…right…they played the Lions. Take a bad team like Detroit, sit their best player, Calvin Johnson, and their starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and what do you have? A team incapable of scoring. Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton threw three more interceptions than touchdowns (zero) and Aaron Rodgers excelled at leading his team into the red zone – and letting Mason Crosby kick field goals – as the Packers won 26-0. In more cheerful news, Donald Driver passed Sterling Sharpe for first place on Green Bay’s all-time receptions list. And, no, Brett Favre did not come through the tunnel to carry him across the field.

Arizona Cardinals v. Seattle Seahawks

Matt Hasselbeck’s health was widely considered the Seahawks measuring stick for success. That is until Kurt Warner and the Cardinals debunked that theory. Warner threw for nearly 300 yards, tying Dan Marino’s record as the fastest to 30,000 career passing yards, and Arizona won 27-3. Adding injury to insult – Seattle lost Pro Bowl lineback Lofa Tatupu for the season. Adding insult to injury – it’s raining in Seattle right now.

Buffalo Bills v. New York Jets

Just when you thought we were done with terrible teams…”it” won! Buffalo allowed over 300 rushing yards and still managed a 16-13 victory in overtime. I’m assuming Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions didn’t help. Maybe it’s time to hold off on the photo shoots? Following a 3-0 start this season, Jets coach Rex Ryan finds his team at .500. Over/Under on swear word usage in the locker room this week? 362. Meanwhile, despite losing Trent Edwards, replacing him with Harvard great Ryan Fitzpatrick and Terrell Owens remaining as existent as Dick Jauron’s head coaching job after the season, the Bills are somehow two games out of first place.

Chicago Bears v. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday night featured two potential NFC sleepers. But penalties and turnovers doomed Chicago from the start – and ultimately, their final drive –in a 21-14 losing effort. Jay Cutler, who, at the moment, cannot be considered the best quarterback in his own trade, threw another red zone interception, Matt Forte fumbled on the goal line and the offense committed three penalties on the game’s final drive. Whether it’s been the porous offensive line or the adjustment to a new quarterback, Forte is in the midst of a sophomore slump of epic proportions. And who knows if he’ll ever climb out. On the subject of sophomores, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan continues his impressive play and has his team just a game behind the marching Saints.

San Diego Chargers v. Denver Broncos

This was to be the game when the undefeated Broncos faced reality. In their previous meeting with San Diego, they were demoralized 52-21. They couldn’t win another big game – especially on the road. But the Broncos stomped all over those sentiments about as fast as you can say “Eddie Royal.” The second-year receiver returned a 93-yard kickoff and 71-yard punt return for scores. The 5’10 Royal pumped those legs so fast his Bronco throwback jersey was almost tolerable – almost. The Chargers’ Darren Sproles returned the favor with a punt return touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. The Broncos defense has turned back the clock, going all-Tom Jackson on opponents – having allowed just 10 points in the second half this season – and Kyle Orton keeps winning. Go figure. Kudos to Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator – and San Francisco 49ers vagabond – Mike Nolan. Apparently they didn’t get the message this team should finish with double-digit losses.

How can you not love the NFL? Unless you’re a fan of the Titans, Redskins, Rams, Rai…Scratch that. There are probably a lot of NFL-haters right now. Until week seven…