Monday, December 1, 2008

Some NFL musings


I think this scenario is certainly possible, even somewhat likely:

San Diego wins two of its next three games (beat Oakland and Kansas City, and lose to Tampa Bay) and gets to 6-9 by the final week. At the same time Denver loses its next three games (Kansas City, Carolina and Buffalo) and gets to 7-8. Then in Week 17, SD beats Denver and a 7-9 team wins the AFC West. I think SD makes the playoffs in such a scenario but I don’t care enough to go look up the tie-breakers and shit like that.

That having been said, I think Denver will win the AFC West but I really don’t see them getting to 9-7--- I think they will win it at 8-8.

While all of the above excellence will be on display, a 10-6 team in the AFC---potentially the Patriots or Jets or Dolphins or Ravens or Steelers or Colts---could miss the playoffs in order to accommodate the AFC West “Champion“.
It doesn’t matter who makes the playoffs in the NFC, I don’t see anyone beating the Giants. Well, Eli “Fortunate Son” Manning can--- and he did for 3.5 years ---but the rest of the Giants have started performing at an Eli-proof level since late last year. The Cowboys have the offense to beat the Giants, but not the defense. The Eagles have the defense, and (depending on the day) the offense to beat the Giants, but that’s moot as it doesn’t appear that the Eagles are making the playoffs. The rest of the NFC, Tampa Bay and Carolina included, have only enough to make it close for 3 quarters with the Giants. I actually thought Green Bay was good enough to take on the Giants successfully in the payoffs--- not any more, and it doesn‘t look like they‘ll even make the playoffs anyway.

But you never know, I guess.
The way things stand, I think that the only team that can beat the Giants in the playoffs is the Steeler squad. Which means the Steelers will have to make the Super Bowl. And then they’ll need all their key players healthy. And after that, they’ll need their O-line to have a GREAT freaking day. I suppose it could happen.
When a visiting team turns the ball over three times--one of which you return for a TD-- and you don’t turn the ball over at all, you would think you’d win the game comfortably. Not lose it comfortably, the way the Chargers did.

Apparently the Chargers GM has assured people that Norv Turner will return the next year as head coach. The window is closing for Tomlinson and if Norv’s back I think the current iteration of the Chargers is finished. Too bad, as the Chargers could have been dominant with their talent.

Too bad on another front too---if they fired Turner the SD job would have been, by far, the best available on the market and they could have lured Bill Cowher or another really good coach pretty easily.
Finally, in Robb's league I had to choose from 3 QBs for my team this week: Peyton Manning, Matt Cassell, and Tyler Thigpen. I went with Thigpen, who ended up with 3.64 points.

But at least Thigpen made it into the positive side. Manning ended up with -1.6 while Cassell ended up with -3.57.

I chose least unwisely.


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Comrade PhysioProf said...

Dude, I hate the fucking Giants. But they are in a league of their own in the NFL this year, and no other team is even close to their excellence.

Anonymoustache said...

True dat.
But they are also only one key injury (on the O-line or the D-line) away from being beatable.

scribbler50 said...

Stache and Prof:
The defining game last year for the New York Giants was their final regular season game on Monday night when they played toe to toe with the then "invincible" New England Patriots. It told them, "Hey, we can beat these bastards" and it served them incredibly well in the Super Bowl. Well, (stay with my stretch here) the Steelers had a similar "Hey, we can beat these bastards" a few weeks back when they played the Giants dead even until injuries, muffed snaps, and a collection of other heinous anomalies crept into the picture late in the fourth quarter. (Anyone remember that 1st and goal from the one where Jacobs and company four times never crossed the line?) In fact if it wasn't for that fourth down beauty from Eli to Toomer that caught us by surprise near the end of the game, I dare say in spite of the "Heinousness" we could've won. So my point is, all things being equal and most of all "healthy", the Steelers in their minds have a fucking shot. And when the talent level is fairly even "mental" means a lot!

scribbler50 said...

And by the way, Sir Stache... thank you very much for seconding the recommendation over at DrugMonkey. I do appreciate it.

(an unabashed Steeler homer)

Anonymoustache said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymoustache said...

All good points, and you're welcome dude.
Now, as to the Giants. Their invincibility this year is different from the Pats' last year. Last year I knew that the Pats could be beaten. Their defense could really not win games against quality opponents and their offense was not predicated on the run. Baltimore practically beat them anyway. The old cliche "tough defense and good running game" is around for a reason. The Giants do not have to rely on one thing for success. They can control the clock, wear you down with the run---and of course it opens up the pass game even for a mediocre piece of shit like Eli. Notice, BTW, how Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson were "asked only not to screw up" on their respective SB teams, but Eli, who just recently started completed more than 60% of his passes on a regular basis, is apparently a fucking great QB! But I digress. For the most part, it is difficult to be fresher than the Giants in the fourth quarter. And if you dont have a big lead by that point, you're at a disadvantage.
Speaking of getting a big lead, or trying to----On the other side of the ball, the Giants have a tremendous pass rush and great line play and LBs; overall a D that is eminently capable of winning games if the O lays an egg.
This is a fundamentally different dominance and one that is harder to break.
I know that they can be taken---Cinci almost beat them and Cleveland did. In both those games however, the Giants had zero sacks, zero INTs and zero forced fumbles. And the opponents had a receiver who lit it up.
Even before the Steelers played the Giants, I think they knew they can play with those fuckers. They still do---I'm kinda glad they lost because they'll come with some extra red-ass if they play them again. Plus it is difficult to beat a good team twice and all that jazz, for what that's worth.
Anyway, my point is that the Giants have a fundamentally better dominance than the Pats did last year. The mental "confidence to hang with" is all fine, but it will take a near-perfect game wrt turnovers, great O-line play and a very successful aerial game ---and for the D to do its fucking awesome thing--- to beat them.

scribbler50 said...

Okay, (to use a Rachel Maddow phrase) you talked me down. I have to agree that the Giants are a more complete team than last year's Pats so perhaps some of my theory springs a leak. But if the Steelers are completely healthy, (and they even get to The Bowl for Christ's sake) they got a shot. A good shot. As you say, defense and a running game (which we're starting to show signs of again) are a cliche' for a reason. And damn we got us some defense!

Meanwhile, I'm sensing some major issues on your part with Eli. What up? Since we're new at this football rap I gather I've missed something?
Best... Scrib
PS:"Stache and Prof" has a pretty nice ring to it, no? Kinda sounds like one of those kick-ass buddy movies. Like "Tango and Cash"!

Anonymoustache said...

I'm not done laughing at the 'buddy movie' reference---I can't imagine what kind of apoplectic fit CPP's gonna have when he reads that! In any case, CPP already has his real life buddy-movie gig going on with DrugMonkey---the Riggs and Murtaugh of SciBlogging, if you will. I'll let them fight over which one's which.
As to Eli, you had to ask. I think I'll work up a post---It's a while since I did a piece on Fortunate Sons. But basically, that's it---he blackmailed the league into letting him be a free-agent from day one. He got better--and more--chances than most draftees do. I don't like people who don't play by the rules and who contribute to the steady slide of our country from a meritocracy to an aristocracy.